May 25th, 2018

Railcar graffiti not what it used to be

By Letter to the Editor on February 16, 2017.

I thought with all the negative stuff in the newspapers, on TV, the internet, etc. and even the arguments between individuals in the letters to the editor (which I know often are the best parts and highly prized by the editors and many of the readers, myself included) perhaps I could write something that I feel not too many in this burg are aware of. Should they be aware at all it is more often an expression like “darned graffiti,” unless they are somewhat “eccentric” like me.

Has anyone noticed that the vulgar stuff that used to be the main “attraction” — and I am well aware that “vulgar” and “attraction” are a bit of an oxymoron — on rolling stock/railway cars, including any type of car whether they are container carriers, boxcars, tankers, very old scrap cars, etc. has slowly been replaced by efforts that are more often than not works of art; I mean attractive, showing marvellous talent, showing wondrous imaginations, skills in design, etc. It also looks like even the juveniles doing the ugly stuff — you know what I’m referring to, don’t you? — have shown a kind of respect for the “good” stuff. You’ll see that even in the downtown tunnel; the more of the attractive stuff appears, the less of the “dirty” stuff shows up. Yeah, I know, those juvenile images will never really vanish. Most of us, especially the boys, will remember writing or sketching something faintly similar when we were young.

It appears the new stuff, the “works of art,” aren’t even covered up like they used to be, unless it covers some essential information. Even then the ones doing that marvellous bit of enhancing those cars seem to pay attention to what they know is absolutely necessary or the authorities then know that those essential parts must be visible. Even then they take care not to disturb the “good” stuff.

I often imagine folks living in some lonely one elevator village looking forward to the next passing of the Passing Parade of Art and Wonder. Someone is sure to look for when something “new” will appear. The artists themselves certainly get more exposure for their works than many well known artists. Yes, I am very serious.

Whenever I have the opportunity — which is frequently, living somewhat next to those coming and going behemoths — I stand and wonder and wait and admire the change from vulgarity to great talents, and how and where they would ever find the time to do their work.

Ted Kohlmetz

Medicine Hat

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