The Mystery of Nottingham’s “Questionmarc”
Nottingham has a new ‘mystery’ of late with the presence of an unknown graffiti artist with a statement or two to make the about the city she or he lives in. It’s all very curious – and not a little amusing for those who enjoy a wry sense of humour tied in with a well-meaning protest.
Prior to Christmas, a story appeared in the local Nottingham Evening Post regarding some signage that was being placed on various was around the city centre. The professional looking sings displayed a male toilet logo with text saying “Public urination permitted after 7.30pm”. It was authentic enough to deceive many members of the public into using the alleys, side streets and doorways as a place to relieve themselves.
Shortly afterwards, what was believed to be a woman’s voice was delivered in a recorded message to the newspaper stating that the signs were an attempt to remind the city council that there were a large quantity of pubs in the city centre but extremely few toilets to use after the pubs and clubs close. She also questioned whether the 24-hour alcohol license was being used responsibly and indeed if it was appropriate.
The sender of the message used a voice programme which sounded similar to the one used by physicist Steven Hawking. The message was as follows:
“Hello, I am responsible for the public urination signs that have been put up throughout the city.
“Why did I do it? To remind Nottingham that there are so many pubs but nowhere to p*** at shutting out time.
“Twenty-four-hour licensing laws – my a***!
“I go by the name of Questionmarc, spelt with a C not a K.
“I will be back. Merry Christmas.”
The somewhat light-hearted nature of the protest has been noted by the media and the local authorities. Whether anything is done about the lack of public conveniences in Nottingham is another matter however. Certainly the city appears to have a major problem here. Many evenings a week the concise city centre with its large array of watering holes witnesses thousands of revellers teeming onto it’s streets. The problems of using the streets as a toilet is not confined to Nottingham of course, it is merely exacerbated by so many people being in such a comparatively small area.
I’m actually applauding ‘Questionmarc’s’ actions in bringing these problems to people’s attention. Certainly it would be a step in the right direction to have an appropriate amount of public conveniences In Nottingham but I’m afraid this is only part of the wider problem. Being a regular user of the city in my employment and as a pub-goer in the evening it’s not rare for me to see youths stumbling out of bars and straight into a shop doorway to urinate. Some have little intention of using the facilities that are provided in the pubs. Sadly it’s not just the men either, a friend noted a young girl urinating in a shop doorway in full view of a taxi rank baying encouragement one evening..
Maybe tackling and punishing this anti-social and often quite unnecessary behaviour would be just as helpful. This is not aimed at the many of us who have got ‘caught short’ at an inopportune moment but rather the kind of people who are just not prepared to act within the bounds of common decency when enjoying a good night out.