Painting the Town Red

My brother was at home from studying at university for the duration of the summer holidays and we were living in Victoria West for a short while, after coming back from Australia, where Judith and I had married in the late ‘60’s.

On this night Judith had already turned in for the day and was fast asleep, leaving us brothers to make our own entertainment. As there wasn’t too much to divert our attention to, with no television as yet, and only radio tales and LP records to listen to, we were sitting around having a few beers. Time marched on and we drank more beers and sat there chewing the fat and coming up with ridiculous ideas about what we would do in the future or how we could liven up the place. In the course of the conversation we decided that we should paint the town red and so, without much ado, we went to my garage where house paint of various colours were stored and looked for red paint. As it happened we did not have any red paint but found at least two litres of oil based bright blue paint which was left over from our bathroom renovation. With brushes in hand we set of on an adventure. Being partly inebriated did not help us with our mobility but once we had a speed up, of sorts, we were good!

By now the time was well into the early hours of the following day and the town was at peace with the world. We had decided that we should paint a few ‘Peace’ signs somewhere on the asphalt streets of town just to stir the populace up. So as not to be detected we rode our bicycles to our intended areas of misdeed. The night was still warm and of course we were warm inside with all the alcohol we had consumed in the hours before.

The town was so quiet at 3am you hear a pin drop and strangely enough, we did not hear any dogs barking. Even the traffic on the National Road was quiet. So we picked targets at the front of the Apollo Theatre, Ansteys Clothing and Grocery Shop, and the last one right, in the centre of the intersection of the National Road and Church Street. And away we went drawing very plausible round peace signs about two metres wide. After each artistic conclusion we would give hand signals and move on to the next one.

At around 4am we had done our night of mischief. We had even completed the last sign at the cross roads without a single vehicle disrupting us. Now we took what was left on the paint in the tin and the brushes and dumped them in an industrial rubbish bin near the Municipal Offices.

Back at home we resumed our beer drinking until we succumbed to fatigue just as daylight was approaching.

All hell broke loose in the town the following morning!

Many people were accused of being the perpetrators of this evil deed. Some Hippies just passing through town were arrested for being persons of interest but they were released again soon afterwards. The owners of Ansteys Shop were upset as they had come to the conclusion that the sign was an attack on their religion. Others in town immediately pointed the finger at the younger generation and in particular young ladies who were always making mischief somewhere. No one suspected that we may have been responsible for this dastardly deed and we stood by and shook our heads at these signs in disbelief.

Those Peace signs remained there for many years. Attempts to remove them were made by first by painting over the signs and later by putting another layer of asphalt over them but that Bathroom Blue kept on surfacing year after year.

Posted in Life Stories.