Phantom Blog

June 2024

Viewing posts from June , 2024

Poetry on the Streets of Philly.

With National Poetry Day fast approaching, we always find ourselves reminiscing about the important history of poetry in New Zealand.

With that sentiment in mind, we look back to our founders blog from 2011, an excerpt from Diary of a Billsticker.

‘We drove into Philly early in the morning of Memorial Day. There were not a lot of people around and it was very peaceful and quiet. This always sets the tone for a good poster run. Later in the day, it would get to be 95 degrees (Fahrenheit), but at just after 8 AM it was around 70 degrees – so it was relatively cool work and it was unhurried. The people you run into on a poster run are usually very friendly and they well understand what you are doing. It is just normal stuff to them. In fact, it is a craven-hearted individual who does not understand another person putting up a poster.

We put up posters by the following poets: Janet Frame, Chris Knox, Sandra Bell, Sam Hunt, Tusiata Avia (all from New Zealand) and Robert Creeley (USA). About 80 or 90 A3 posters were placed in the South Philly area and this took less than an hour. You put two up on each wooden lamp-post with a kind of semi-industrial stapler, you stop and photograph them and then you move on.

South Philly is a very cool and funky area. The local clubs and gigs use posters (of course) and the best I have seen lately are for the Mexican music acts. Their posters are ultra colourful and really do the work they are intended to do: they tell the local Mexican population where the gigs are. They breathe life and vitality into the streets.

Anyway, I was asked to explain how to do a poster run. So here it is:

1. You stand in front of a lamp-post with a heavy industrial stapler and a couple of poetry posters until you decide to do something about it. You always put the posters on the poles at an angle where they will be seen by the maximum number of people. You think of the way people walk past the poles.

2. You look right and then left for signs of the proximity of Homeland Security or anyone else who might think you could be a terrorist. You make sure your hair is short and that you have no beard. You must wear no unusual clothes. You decide that you are the same religion as the person who might question you and you also decide to be subservient. You will go into any difficult encounters by agreeing with the encounterer. As Hunter S. Thompson once said, “To get along, go along.” This will be your mantra. You will apologise to anyone if you have to and then you will ‘move along.’ The key is to hold onto your stapler.

3. You hold the poster up against the lamp-post and then you whack it with the stapler with all your might. You think of this as being something like getting rid of the dirty water off your chest. You may grimace. But, if you are putting up a poem poster by any of the six poets who have been mentioned, then you will instantly feel much better. By God, there’s some satisfaction to be had by doing something enormously simple over and over. There’s power in that.

4. After about four or five poles you will begin to loosen up and really get into the rhythm of it all. At that point, you may be able to look back and see people reading the posters and then you know you have done something good. That’s important. It’s just a small step, but it is a step forward. When you really get into the swing of it, you will not want to stop and you are always disappointed when you must. But tomorrow is another day.

5. After about thirty or forty poles (or notice boards in cafes etc), you realise you have made a difference and brought something to the lives of others. That’s the key to it all. But you must keep doing it’

Keep the Faith,

Jim Wilson

We Skate Pōneke.

You may have seen it in the flesh, or heard rumblings about it on the streets of Wellington.

There are some changes going on in the big (little/medium) smoke, and the team behind We Skate Pōneke are leading the charge when it comes to skateboarding in the capital and indeed Aotearoa.

Having employed many a skateboarder over the years, we realise how vitally important this often overlooked activity is for the creative energy of a city.

Just barely scratch the surface of the culture and you instantly see a tight knit, creative and passionate community thats as inclusive as it is innovative.

Having run the We Skate Pōneke campaign on our network a little while ago, we caught up with Max for a quick chat about the project.

Hey Max, For those reading who don’t know, what is WSA and We Skate Poneke

WSA is Wellington Skateboarding Association, a group of volunteer skaters from around Wellington who work together to advocate for the skate community.

Basically, we’re a touchpoint for councils, the media and anyone who wants to find out more about skateboarding in Wellington. 

We Skate Pōneke is an initiative from Wellington City Council (WCC). A couple of years ago they ran some posters and a social media campaign with profiles of local skaters to show we’re quite a diverse and interesting bunch. This year, they’ve helped out by paying a local skater/tradie named Kyle to build some obstacles and getting permissions to have pop-up spots at a few sites around the city.

So, What’s the purpose of the campaign? 

The purpose of the campaign is all about making space for skate in the city, and celebrating the positive benefits that street skating brings to Wellington.

Personally, I’m excited that the council is down to do this kind of stuff – it’s a complete 180 from placing knobs on ledges and yelling at us to leave public space for daring to ride a skateboard, which is the way our community is used to being treated.

What’s the current state of skateboarding in Wellington?

I think the state of skateboarding is really healthy – there’s a bunch of younger skaters who are locals at ‘Mems’, as well as strong communities at the two DIY spots, as well as the old dogs at the bowl at Waitangi and the vert heads at Karori – and plenty more besides.

Skateboarding in Wellington has never been more diverse or exciting, and I’m really encouraged by the relationship we have with the council. Hopefully we get some new permanent facilities soon to reflect that, and to help foster our communities to get together more (as well as encourage new people to join) – because the current state of our skateparks is embarrassing, to say the least.

Was there a reason behind choosing Phantom Posters to showcase the campaign and is this the first time you’ve worked with Phantom? 

Phantom rules! Not only are they easy to deal with, they employ skaters. 100% down!

Is there anywhere you want to direct people to? 

Our poorly maintained Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Are there any other exciting projects coming up? 

We have a few things coming up, pitching in with a group working to activate Pukeahu (Mems) as a proper skate spot, a few skateparks in the works, and the big goal of upgrading Waitangi Park in the city. The city needs a decent central skatepark – imagine that!