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Clapton Is Good

December 23, 2009

While we’re on the theme of local findings, here’s another photo I’ve had on my phone’s memory stick for a while. This appeared on a hoarding next to Clapton Pond. I found out recently that the author was local artist Shane Deegan, who intended it as a riff on the Clapton is God graffiti
(in this case Eric Clapton) that appeared in Camden in the 60s.
A spate of murders and some creative media headlines between 2000-02 earned Clapton the nickname Murder Mile, and the area’s notoriety had achieved nation-wide acknowledgement by the time it was named by Channel 4’s Property Ladder as the worst place to live in Britain in 2006 (the show featured a shot of the block of council housing in which my friend Jill lived. I’ve never seen her so proud of anything before or since).
The Arts Council may well bang-on about inclusivity and “engaging the community”, but I’d be impressived if anything inside a local gallery managed to reach half the number of people this did (the 38 is a popular bus, afterall). It’s simple, funny, optimistic, and gently self-mocking.
The grafitti lasted only a week or two, but was another soon too its place (not one of Shane’s, according to a local blogger known as Fat Hands), suggesting the message found sympathetic ears. Clapton is good, I might even go so far as saying it’s Super Good.

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