this morning i was spotted by a team of ad company maintenance staff covering a car advertisement on elizabeth street (near the intersection with flemington road) at about 4am in the morning.
there were two vehicles that pulled up on the tram tracks alongside me, only the driver in the front van spoke to me (over the top of the two young guys in the passenger seats), no one got out of the van, the two guys in the trailing light truck didn’t get out either and probably couldn’t hear much.
the driver of the van asked why i was doing this, i told him because advertising is shit (at my articulate best), he said you’re just making more cleaning for us, i apologised for that but said i hope they get paid more for any extra work they were asked to do and suggested that if they don’t like the work perhaps they should not work for the ad company.
i explained i was unconcerned about being identified, the police had already taken my details for this sort of thing twice but haven’t done anything yet, hadn’t interviewed me or charged me.
i told him that i wanted to make an issue of this in court, was willing to risk jail, because i thought that would be necessary to force this issue into the public sphere.
he then said ‘so you don’t mind if we take a photo?’, i said no, i didn’t mind, and obligingly gave a thumbs up at the request of the camera/phone-operating young passenger.
i tried to find out from them if it was much more difficult to clean off acrylic paint with the pressure hose as it was to clean off well-dried posters, but i didn’t get a proper answer, he just said ‘oh, don’t start painting them!’ — he might have never cleaned off acrylic house-paint before anyway, don’t think it’d be commonly applied, i guess he, like most, just thinks of paint as more permanent whatever the truth might be.
then both cars drove off and a guy from the light truck following behind yelled, ‘keep it up mate, you’re paying my bills’, so i yelled back that i was glad he had that attitude.
i was impressed that they didn’t take the opportunity to vent any pent-up aggression they may harbour for some other reason, they were pretty good about it considering the usual degree of confusion they had about what i was doing and why.
then i went to a new location, not far away on peel & queensberry street, and just when i had finished and was taking a photo, the cops pulled up as if i was robbing a bank (the ad company staff had called them).
i actually thought they were going to run off the concrete bound track onto the open rails (tracks like standard railway lines), i was glad they didn’t, because they were pissed off enough as it was.
the driver accused me of ducking down to avoid being spotted, i said that i wasn’t ducking, i was probably just reaching for something or putting something in my bag, he insisted that i was ducking down — when i said i wasn’t trying to avoid being caught he said ‘then why are you sneaking around in the dark then?’.
one policeman went to go through my bag, asked me if i had any weapons, i said of course not, then they asked me if i had any sharps (syringes) and if i ‘used’ (heroin), again i said no.
i tried to explain that it was a political protest, that i thought advertising, while being a negative social force in itself, had terrible effects on the public sphere of our democracy.
they chose to ask me if i had a job, as if that was of key importance to the issue, i said i didn’t, the policeman said ‘well you’ve lost me there mate’.
can’t argue with that (i’m so fucking depressed).
i did try to explain anyway, but it was hard to convey my side of the story to an unsympathetic audience, and it would never sit as simply and satisfactorily for the police officer as his ‘no job = stupid dickhead’ formula.
he said ‘so you take money from the government and then go out and make trouble for the government?’.
true, the government is nothing but nice to me, always has been, i’m definitely a lazy ingrate biting the hand that feeds me (i don’t think i’d mind if he shot me).
they also asked me if i had a child, i told them i did — i guess you know where they went from here, i was failing in my gender-role to provide for my child (financially of course, i’m a male, caring is not my job).
i said i was concerned about the future of the whole world, the world my child (possibly even her children) would inherit — there were lots of things i could have said i guess.
they tried to get me to take the posters down, i refused, that irritated them, i said to them that they didn’t have to do it, it wasn’t their job, the ad company cleaners will do it anyway — they did pull all the posters off though.
the ad i had covered was for sports gambling, i told them this when they arrived, along with the fact that a lot of people have problems with gambling, they didn’t say anything but they still wanted to be angry at me.
one of them was rejecting all my reasoning for my behaviour and saying ‘mate, your breaking the law, hard working people are going out and doing their jobs and you’re just fucking things up’ (or something like that) — i told him the law has often been wrong throughout history, using the examples that women used to not be allowed to vote and that it used to be legal to own slaves… i don’t think i made much progress.
they said i was obviously an intelligent guy, why couldn’t i think of a way to go about this that wouldn’t bring me into conflict with the law, like forming a group and lobbying the government — i can’t remember what i said, again the subject matter was too complicated and subtle for a one-liner that’d explain all with great impact.
they also asked me if i was a part of ‘occupy’, i said no — i went down there to check it out a couple of times, and i was sure that i shared a few of their concerns, but i didn’t think the protest was directed enough at achieving specific outcomes for me to want to get involved.
they eventually confiscated my shit and let me go.
i had told them that brookes was the informant on my other pending charges, but i didn’t know what station he/she was at — they must have got in contact with brookes because i had a missed call and a message saying to contact brookes at west melbourne police station when i woke up, i tried to call back, they told me he was out, i left my number again, didn’t hear back.
i guess i’ll have an interview with brooks and get charged soon.