Billposting wars in Glasgow.

Fly and be damned

Flyposting is illegal. but it’s so prevalent in Glasgow that it has become an art form. Kathleen Morgan reads the writing on the wall.

These are up-front. small-time law breakers. thriving on gushes ofadrenalin and pots ofglue.

the face in broad daylight. and lure you towards a nightlife of thudding glamour. The substance: flyposters. The dealers: young. dedicated and mad.

Over the past four years. and particularly with the advent of the highly successful Slam crew promotions. flyposting has become a boom industry indulged in by more than just radical droves of Socialist Workers. Every day during the rush hour. small posses ofclub ‘fliers‘ take to the streets in the attempt to snaffle the most desirable poster locations. Armed with little more than a roller and a lookout. they dodge the long arm of the Litter Act. under which a flier can be prosecuted and fined.

The battle ofstrategy and sheer brass neck is a losing one for the authorities. and common sense seems to have prevailed with a degree of tolerance being displayed by Strathclyde police. who frankly. have more important things to deal with. Without wanting to admit that there are few. if any. arrests for flyposting. Mark Paton. Press Officer for Pitt Street police station. suggests that ‘there are no hard and fast rules. A lot depends on the circumstances. and whether another offence has been committed.‘ The ambiguity of police reaction to flyposting has engendered stories of penalties paid ranging from being throWn in a

The stuffthey deal in is potent; it will smack you on Q

Abstaining altogether from the murky world of flyposting is The Tunnel‘s (‘olin Barr. who regards his publicity stunts as having far more impact than

posters. ‘We don‘t flypost because everybody else

gs, e.’/ 7

police cell. to a mere tweak of the ear.

Lindsay Hoyes. DJ and flier for Tankin‘ at Tin Pan Alley. has escaped with little more than a bruised ego: ‘After running up an alley and waiting for about ten minutes. we were cornered by the police and they confiscated our gunge and buckets. One of them asked me what I did. and when I told him I studied English Literature. he told me to take my literature elsewhere.‘ Responsible for the publicity ofa fledgeling club which began in January. Lindsay and his soul-mate Rory Weller find that the police are the least of their worries; other flyposters proving to be the tougher cookies. Many of their fliers are physically intimidating. they explain. looking at each other‘s cool. but slight frames. padded out by lumpy dufer coats. Having survived occasional threats. they tend to respect the unwritten rule ofthe flier: ‘Thou shalt not obscure my poster with yours.‘ with the additional clause. ‘unless it's bigger than my one.‘

However. not all clubs are involved in such tactics. Dave Clarke is promotions manager for Slam. who are responsible for Atlantis and the new Icon. as well as the biggies. Slam in the Park and “1-D. Generally regarded as the leaders in the flyposting revolution. Slam say they have no wish to stand on anybody‘s toes in the struggle for exposure. ‘A lot ofsmaller clubs are quite irresponsible and selfish with their posters. and whether deliberate or not. they do antagonise people like us. However. we generally smooth any confrontation out by a gentleman‘s agreement. Nothing is worth violence. as the war in the Gulf will testify.‘

does.‘ he explains. ‘We do our PR more like direct marketing. rather than just slapping it up for anyone to see. The customers we have. we got in our own way.‘ Barr‘s Tunnel-vision has in the past involved engaging in Jean-Michel Jarre-like extravaganzas over Jamaica Street during the festive season. and tugging trailers around town during the rush hour. and he plans more surprise packages for the opening ofa Tunnel in London later this year.

Flyposting. however. remains the most immediate means ofspreading the word and. according to many. it is an art. (‘hris Lord of the Third Eye Centre. commenting on the exhibition ofSlam posters in the summer of 1990. saw the eyes ofthe world resting on the walls of Glasgow: ‘One of the most ubiquitous things about Glasgow were the Slam posters. You saw them everywhere; they always looked dead cool. brilliant choices of colours. good corporate designs. Putting them on a gallery wall made people look at them differently. Flyposting brightens tip the city. and enables very busy 90s people to be able to tell what‘s going on without having to pick up a newspaper. lt‘s fabulous.‘

Tell that to John Scullion. (‘harge Hand Painter at Glasgow University. who has himself in the past had to scrape club posters off the walls of the university locality fora living: ‘We have one man who spends about half his working year removing flyposters. from Great Western Road to University Avenue. It's quite horrendous that a time-served tradesman has to go cleaning bill-posters off lamp-posts. He wasn‘t trained to do that.‘

The great process ofstripping and redecorating is at the moment accelerating. to the frustration of

.some and the delight ofothers. And given the odd pot ofglue and a smattering ofdetermination. Glasgow is likely to be stuck with it.

What do you think of flypostin g? Is it a nuisance. an art form or just a good way of conveying information .7 A nd do you pay any attention I) We want to know. Write and tell all to the Letters Page. The List. 14 High Street. Edinburgh [ill I I T15 or the Old Athenaeum Theatre. [79 Buchanan Street. Glasgow GI 212.



I Weekender warning . .. plenty of chalet capers. no anyone who fancies doubt. Happy campers call re-creating ‘Lord Of The 0772 700282 tor more Flies' with a hard house details.

soundtrack need look no I Money's too tight to

mention just now- and clubland is no exception. So it's with sadness, butno great surprise. that we hear ol the closure ot The Choice in Glasgow. Question is. who'll be next?

lurtherthan Sundrum Castle Holiday Park, Ayr on 15-17 March. ‘Moondance' features A Homeboy. A Hippie & A Funki Dred. Fabio and Grooverider plus those Slam boys; as well as

I Still In Glasgow. and your area: Cabaret Voltaire rumours abound regarding - at Edinburgh's Callon the future of The Champion. . Studios on 14 April. You which as you all know lelt thought Nightmares 0n Wax the ring sometime ago. were making innovative With a pedigree like that of music? These boys have

Graham Wilson‘s behind it. been turning out a we’d expect the venue to be hard-edged electronic back in contention in no sound iorau otsmeen

time—theolticialword, . though. is not quite yet.

years. That's before anyone , had ever heard otYorkshire

I Forthcoming club gigs in I techno, by the way,

58The List 8— 21 March 1991