||Found: Repent Sinner||
Has anyone in the Vancouver areas been seeing those Repent Sinner stickers? I would welcome any information or anecdotes that anyone has. Please comment or E-mail me with them. The other day I was digging through a pile of them I’d collected. I wonder if the originator is still around. Or originators, more likely. I never quite bought the theory that they were made by one person. Look here. And here.
For several years there used to be a Jamaican lady who sat by the old Woodwards Building handing out religious pamphlets blended with her own indecipherable noise. As I recall she was one of those people who had been so insane for so long it was like a calcified barnacle of madness on the surface of the city. I don’t think that she was “homeless”, she probably lived in a shelter or a care home somewhere.
She was believed by my father to be the originator of the stickers. I do believe that she was involved with the source of them, but she wasn’t the source. The writer linked to above makes the sensible point that she wouldn’t be physically capable, being walker-bound, of placing the stickers in the hard-to access places they were often to be found. And instead he advances an inhabitant of my hometown New Westminster as the culprit. A man named Roy. The description isn’t detailed enough for me to identify him. I might have seen him around, I might not. That, I guess, would have been his advantage that allowed him to carry the campaign on for so long. Reportedly traveling from Edmonton to Vancouver during the ’90s. Total anonymous invisibility of the itinerants. It really is like being an earthbound ghost, nobody can see you except for small children and some animals.
Probably the stickers were distributed by several people. The handwriting on them was functionally identical from one to the next. The only things that ever changed were the materials used and the formations that the stickers were placed in. I saw them occasionally arranged in long strips, or in a grid pattern. They were never in very large groups though. Only as many as a single person could place in just a few seconds. They were often to be found in the utility alleys of the eastside, which are TEEMING with people smoking rock or poking dope, day or night. If anyone knew some of them would, but, anyone I asked could give me no complete description, or none at all. Dogface Mikey claimed to see someone placing those stickers on a wall in Gastown. His description was different from the Roy character. A youngish white guy, tall, with a green jacket and curly hair.
Those stickers were part of the delicious mystery of urban space that permeated my childhood. I remember once I was entrusted to the care of my cousin, Cody, one night which became a late night party. After the party Cody and one of his friends, Adam I think it was, decided to go out tagging on the east-side during the wee-hours. Having nowhere to stash my sleepless self, they took me along. During that night I trailed along behind, or ahead of them, watching the city.
I can’t really find the words to describe the aura of that night. My brain was still so young then, it still had the capacity to experience things it had to words for. (Now, even wondrous things get crammed forcefully into ill-fitting descriptions.) The walls were coated with words. With symbols. People who seemed to be made of asphalt, brick, concrete and metal prepped cold-shakes sitting in fabric nests. Trellises of scar tissue. A bald man with a zagging scar across his skull pulled up on a bicycle pulled up and handed me an apple, said nothing, and left. The sticker was still attached, and it felt chilled like it came straight from the cooler.
A young man walked past us singing: “Rubber ducky you’re the one, you make my life so much fun…” on his way to the lineup outside the Christian mission. Everywhere we went, hidden in the margins of the huge bomber tags and the scaling tapestries of wheat-pasted flyers, were the Repent Sinner stickers, and sometimes little messages. Part of, what I discovered later, was a massive analog communications network.
This stuff isn’t even art anymore. It’s just a series of annotated diagrams. They serve no other purpose than to assemble and collate the recurrent thoughts of a time.
Scooped some free art stuff. I purposefully seek out the cheapest materials. Art is blue collar, I contend. Art is what you’ve got left outside the hours in the last pay-period.
See, I hate that phrase, “art”. I hate that sense of pretension. If art can be made of anything, then it is everywhere, in the hands of everyone. A beautiful delusion.
What I usually think that I’m doing is recording complexity for reinterpretation. The artworks are a residue of that ongoing project. Periodical reports to headquarters.
\\ Progresivo \\ (Personal noise)
Time goes by. Every morning when I return from work some new data has accumulated. A world still continues out there. Friend A is seemingly experiencing an oblique crisis. Friend B is caught in a type of love triangle. Friend C is being pursued by a young, naive woman he’s encouraged not to encourage. But, ultimately, he says, he cannot resist. I say, he should have wisdom enough for both of them. Friend D has gone silent, and cannot be found. My personal cellphone is essentially a clock. Who cares?
Having a smoke and a coffee and doughnut in the parking lot on my 15min break, sitting on a metal staircase, watching the cars converging at the entrance to the HWY 1 on-ramp. Someone calls out to me: “Are you okay?” I look over at the source of this sound and it’s a middle aged woman. Glasses, dark hair grey at the roots, “Yeeeaaahhh… are you?”
Millionth time that’s happened to me. Once, the guy who asked me turned out to be the suicidal one himself. I was only wandering around, bored, exploring. I suppose that he was hesitant and wanted to talk to someone. As it turned out he was one of those 50/50 suicidals. His conversation was laced around this world, and the things taking place in it. Not focused on the experience of leaving it. He had too much unfinished biz, to really will his legs to throw himself off the middle of Granville Bridge where I found him.
We walked together for a time, as he unfolded his story in detail. His pain was centered around a woman that had rejected him. By the time that he took the plunge and made his approach to her he’d invested a lot in the possible relationship against a future return of happiness that now, certainly wouldn’t happen.
I told him he could kill himself, no one could stop him, but not even I could say what might happen if he didn’t. Maybe life would actually continue. As insufferable as it is, it’s always open to transmogrification. And you know, Save the suicide as the real trump card. For when you REALLY need it. Can’t remember who said it, but: “The only unbearable thing is that nothing is unbearable.” (Rimbaud maybe? Verlaine? Wilde, possibly?)
I walked with him to his house across False Creek. Near where the Olympic Village is now. He wouldn’t let me in though. I didn’t want to leave him alone. I asked for his number and his e-mail address. These he also refused, turning quite cold. I think maybe he was expecting some other result from speaking to me. Short of tackling him, there wasn’t much to be done. If he really wanted to die, he wouldn’t have reached out to this skeez he met on the bridge… In any case I never saw him again. I hope he’s alright.
Facebook continues to buzz with activity. Notifications pile up in my inbox: “Look what you’ve been missing!!” screams Mark Zuckerberg. Look at this miraculous piece of indelible reality! I say, you! Yes you! Over there! The sulky one with the ever-present cigarette! Even though you’ve benched yourself to the sidelines, all is still in motion! HEY! It’s no use fleeing the interview! SIR! SIR! Please! You’ll forfeit your parking pass if you…
Humanity is down below me, orbiting this seething ocean. I am a cold, acaulescent sphere. Self-contained, inoculated. It’s all here in my hands, not strewn around me in a circle of protection.
So, the gods of computer equivalence have struck again. I bought a small 11.6″ Aspire 722 with some upgraded hardware and then put a RAM upgrade in it. After installing Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, I was heartily impressed. Everything just worked, with two exceptions I fixed instantly. The speed was good, the hard disk is big, WiFi reception’s strong, keyboard fits my huge hands. Couldn’t ask for better.
And then when I clean out the heat sinks in my tower and laptop machines, I find that the laptop won’t boot up. Won’t fire up, won’t boot, won’t beep out a fault code… nothing. So, I have to get my tools out and find out what’s wrong, or I have to strip it down of all the usable hardware in it and buy a new laptop box. Such a bummer though, I was working on that thing for years. But, three years is pretty long for a HP laptop. Anyone know where I can get a CPU fan for a HP G61-420CA?