Jack Serle

President Wilson’s backside, hackery, the Graffiti Street

In Local, Suisse on October 10, 2011 at 12:00 AM

Last week I found myself speaking with a young American. Conversation had turned from her dwelling in the backside of President Wilson* to my eagerness to immerse myself in the ignoble world of hackery. To declare yourself a hack was rather alien to my new friend from t’other side of the Atlantic and she cocked an eyebrow quizzically.

In the US, I discovered, hack is most definitely not a term of endearment. It dawned on me that journalists merrily declaring themselves to be hacks is something of an odd one. Lawyers don’t refer to themselves as ambulance chasers, doctors bridle at the term quack. Yet alumni from my old journalism school revel in the term. The lecturing staff happily call themselves hackademics.

I decided it is a self-deprecation curious to the honourable profession**. I suggested that hackery is a happy embrace of the muck-raking mentality: the scrabbling through the soiled undergarments of society, lying in the gutter looking up at the sordid underbellies of our betters, taking the sharp knitting needle of truth to the engorged egos of the ruling classes (That’s enough, Ed.).

I bring this up because my inept casts for employ in the world of hackery mean I am exploring yet more avenues to air my wares. I am exposing myself and my work, prostituting my rough approximation of ability to the highest, or more accurately any, bidder.

Therefore I have decided to develop a Flickr account as a repository of images captured by my cackhanded photographic ventures, with the occasional exception entirely the product of luck not judgement.

My camera is now out of action – the days of the vendor from whom I purchased it less than a quarter of a year ago are numbered to be sure. However it has had some use and it is these images which you will find, among others, adorning this latest addition to my collection of social media thingies.


In the final weeks of August Bristol unveiled its innovative and rather startling new exhibition of public art. Nelson Street, an ugly, dirty little passage running from the city centre to the Broadmead shopping district has been turned into a multi-coloured avenue of the most remarkable street art.

The Nelson Street’s makeover is the combined effort of a multitude of the finest street artists from across the globe – See No Evil, a three day art and music event in Bristol’s city centre. I ventured to the scene some days following the weekend’s festivities. to take a couple of snaps as life continues around a stunning new addition to the city’s landscape.

The full collection of images would be too extensive to post all here but below are some edited highlights.

“‘Ten years ago we could have never done this project with the council, [now] we’ve legally painted the old juvenile and magistrates’ courts where a few of these artists have been processed and charged. It was quite a surreal thing to see.'” Brandt quoted in the Guardian blog

‘Launch day generated considerable interest with some 10,000 people turning up to see what all the fuss was about.’ Bristol Evening Post.

‘”Nothing of this size has ever taken place in Britain and it’s an event that has captured the minds of some of the world’s most respected street artists.”‘ Inkie quoted in the Metro.

‘The walls lining this street are now covered in ‘pieces’ [terminology for a labour-intensive piece  short for ‘masterpiece’]’ the Independent.

All images author’s own, all rights reserved.

* She lives in a flat to the rear of a hotel called President Wilson. It is cosy with a charming view.

** My grandmother kindly pointed out to me journalism is neither honourable nor a profession – she is a medic, what can you do?


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