Wednesday, 10 August 2011

stay safe

The riots of the last few days in England have raised some pretty obvious spectres of former times as well as dystopian nightmares of a future yet to come. Haunted barely covers it. Thoughts are obviously with everyone affected by the violence and destruction, and massive thanks go out to all the emergency services and ordinary folk who've put in a massive effort. I hope we're past the worst, in more than one sense. One phrase dominated throughout for me – "stay safe" – which was everywhere, heartening and comforting, but also throwing me back to 1970s public information films. I should stay with the most recent morphing of Keep Calm And Carry On, turned by the riotwombles into Keep Calm And Clean Up but then, as with other reappropriated uses of phrases and images in rhetoric, that's also become Keep Calm When Rioting (& Always Mask Up). So I'm back at those 70s safety films, seeing another sinister side as they resonate a little too clearly.

After all ...

Below, pre-CCTV and yet ...

The images resonate even where they're not meant to, either in look or feel. This is a warning about not burning coal when there's fog.

 And the fella here becomes a totally different kind of stranger danger. 

We're not so far from the past, and yet a long way from knowing where we are. All I can do is say, wise words as ever from Mr Stardust. We could use some coo-ca-choo.

And, away from the film stills, this poster might be where the solution starts.

thanks to Nate Hill for the image

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