In Defence of the High Street Signs

November 18, 2016

The other week, a series of illustrations appeared on the window boards of the now closed Southend High Street BHS store.

Featuring uplifting slogans such as “People Can Be Wonderful” and “Dream Wonderful Things”, set against a brightly coloured backdrop, the works seem to have had a positive reception amongst the general public, with the exception of a few grumpy Gus’s that just can’t let something lovely exist.

Just why the works elicited such tumultuous ire, we aren’t really sure. They aren’t trying to sell anything, or force any form of political stance upon those who see them. So why is it, in today’s society, that something as seemingly innocuous and pleasant as a few saying provoke such wrath? Are we so opposed to objective positivity?

It is true that what happened with BHS was a terrible thing, and no-one should be let off the hook, but to directly attack an innocent attempt to make something a little more bearable to the eye does reek of the kind of smug omniscience that one must get when defacing a Starbucks cup. Bully for you, that’ll bring the establishment crashing down.

I suppose a certain amount of skepticism is expected. Backlash is the norm now, as for decades, politicians and brands have used such similar slogans to “brainwash” the masses into conformity. However, before it all gets a bit tinfoil hat, let’s look at the facts.

This is not a commission on behalf of “those who control everything from the shadows” and was painted by local artist Charlotte Wright of Joe and Charlotte as an attempt to brighten up what was before an eyesore in it’s phase of redevelopment.

Outrage at this, with all the crap that’s gone on this year, is like taking offence at the colour of a dog’s collar as it bites off your face.


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