One of the guardians who lives in a flat managed by Dot Dot Dot just sent us the above photo – a Sitex door on an empty flat near her, graffitied with a massive ejaculating cock.
The instinct to draw willies on things is beyond me (though psychoanalyst Philippa Perry has something to say about boys’ obsessions with it) but I guess if you’re going to do it somewhere, then why not on a metal door, since that is the clearest possible sign that no one cares about a building.
That photo to me sums up the damage empty homes do to neighbourhoods. Families and individuals front doors don’t get graffitied – or if they do, it’s almost certainly a specific, bullying attack against a specific home. Taggers tend to focus on property that is clearly neglected or ignored– railway sidings, building site hoardings, subways. Painting onto someone’s home would be so invasive, so clearly upsetting to them, that no one casually passing the time with a spray can would do it.
So it’s telling that empty homes are such a common target for tagging. Once metal shutters are put over doors and windows, it’s obvious to any passer-by that the building isn’t a home to anyone, and even if the owner cares about it as an asset, they don’t care about it as a comfy place to get home to after work. Similarly, gardens get filled up with litter, bricks go through windows for fun.
In fact, this door was installed with the cock-decoration already on it by the security company responsible for it – they simply hadn’t bothered to clean it off. After all, it works just as well as a security device with or without the spray paint, but it has been placed in a corridor where families are living. Pretty depressing. And also, once something has one graffito on it, it’ll almost certainly get more. Another way in which one boarded up empty home starts dragging down a whole area.
Luckily, if the building caretaker won’t clean it off, then our guardian is going to have a go. And at least it’s another prod to keep going with doing everything possible to stop homes from sitting empty unless absolutely necessary.