Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Signs I Have Loved
Every time I drive to Huddersfield, I see a sign that reads: 'This Is A Sign'.
Isn't that great? It's permanently placed outside a signmaker's shop, and as an advert for their services it's actually a bit dull - too small, and unobtrusive. I'd like to see it being used in a more surreal manner, posted on giant boards about the countryside, briefly visible from the motorway as you flash past in your car. 'Oh my God', you'd think, 'that was a sign...'
We saw something like this in France some years ago, billboards that loomed over hedges, saying 'BUT...'
'But... what?' we wondered. But... this is all a mirage?
But... the state is watching us and knows that we're not carrying one of those breakdown triangles like we're supposed to?
It was an advert of course, for some French beverage, 'but' being the imperative of 'boire', to drink. We knew that really, BUT...
A musician friend and I saw some great signs on a road trip in the States:
'Antiques 'n' Stuff'
'Chooky Chicken Steaks - over Three Dozen Sold!'
'Welcome to Hicksville, Home of Lyndon B. Johnson and the Weeny-burger!'
We think we saw a sign outside a funeral parlour that read 'Stiffs 'n' Stuff', but by that time we may have been hallucinating from lack of vegetables. Or too much tequila.
My brother in law says that he remembers there being a metal sign close to where he lived as a boy. It said 'Do Not Throw Stones At This Sign.' I mean, what are you going to do? Actually, this may well have been the brainchild of a local council with an unusually strong grasp of psychology. There's an argument for erecting such signs in every park, street, shopping mall and playground in the country. A stone being thrown at a metal sign is a stone not being thrown at some old lady's head, I say.
There's a sign on the M6, just outside of Birmingham, that I love. 'Floors To Go'. Probably the most redundant slogan ever. One of these days I'm going to pull over and visit that store.
'Good morning, Sir. Can I help?'
'Yes. I'd like forty square metres of parquet flooring, please. The antiqued birch.'
'Certainly Sir! And would that be to go?'
'Um...tell you what - no. Let's just lay it right here, shall we?' Feckwits.