Friday, October 2, 2009

Conversation among the Ruins




Romantic neighbors in Wrocław-Śródmieście - it seems that my neighborhood has quite a few fans of subfenestral grafitti. (I have another example of this that so far has only found its way to the German version of my blog, just like the canine digestive literacy from the last entry here has not yet been re-used in a Germanified version.)

So - yeah, ever since I moved here, I must admit that on my way home, I have had this melody playing somewhere at the back of my head, "Gentrify.... gentrifyyyyy meeee" sung to The Doors by, I assume, some part of my subconscious that feels safer when walking through streets with painted facades. The effect is really quite surprising and not too reasonable: Gentrification has very suddenly reached Śródmieście, with a new restored facade unveiled almost every week. Stucco heads smile down benignly at passers-by, roses bloom anew even now that autumn is here, and I walk down feeling much more relaxed than when everything was still in a state of decay. Interestingly, even though the crumbling balconies were quite a real danger, there is a greater atmosphere of threat, especially in the dark, and even more so in the rain. Somehow, even to the calm and confident mind, there seemed to be dark creatures lurking in every crack and badly patched hole in the wall.

Now, examining the people on my street and their love for spending their time urinating into doorways and yelling at pedestrians, the threat may not have been all that imaginary. Also, the reflex to feel safer after a few buckets of paint and plaster have been put to good use along the street does not seem all that wise if life behind the facades has not changed...

And lastly: That facade poetry above - it just does not have the same effect on a freshly-painted wall.

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