Product Displacement

I peeled back the adverts and found
a beautiful town

Waiting at the bus stop
I stilled the rotating displays
and pasted timetables and useful information
in their place

I restored all the lamp posts
to their role as posts bearing lamps
rather than gallows
from which buy-me banners hang

I descended the escalators
and with a flick of my wand
exchanged each advert alongside
for a work of art

I stopped fast-food so-called restaurants
giving young children logo-and-slogan-festooned balloons
to make them into unwitting, skipping,
sandwich-boarding commercial hoardings

I made the black cabs black again
and the red buses red again
and the bikes for hire just bikes again
rather than pedal-powered product pushers

I commissioned an urban art practitioner
to paint a mural on the station platform wall
(She had to do it at night when the trains weren’t running
for health and safety reasons)

I tore away every corporate sponsor’s emblem
from every stadium
and every player’s shirt
at every games and test and match

I removed the advertising boards from around the field of play
especially the moving ones
I dug up the promos painted on the (sales) pitch
and laid fresh green turf on the wound

I got the folk who hold up big arrows
pointing to the golf sale
to point them instead
to the recycling depot

I dropped the flying banners
and banned the flyers
that dropped unwanted from magazines
and flopped onto pavements

And every time a broadcast began
telling us what to buy and why
I shouted so loud and high
that no-one could hear it

And when I’d done it
I saw …

Complementary colours
without painful interruptions
Lines of urban designs
without ‘new, improved’ signs

Public spaces
without product placements
and TV shows
all the way through

I saw that not all teeth are gleaming white
and not all bodies are
impossibly slim and flawless
But they are all awesome

That art can be brought to you
by human creativity and public funding
rather than the generosity of sponsors
who weren’t actually doing it out of generosity

That behind that huge hoarding
unseen past the screen
is a breathtaking view
or an unusually attractive wall

That it’s easier to relax
to sit back
without distraction, refraction
and pokes to provoke a reaction

That fast food joints
aren’t really interested in
giving kids nice things like unbranded balloons
Or decent food

And that everyone still knew
what stuff they wanted
But now they also knew
what stuff they didn’t need

Issues and Campaigns:




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