Walking round my local park recently, I spotted about two dozen empty beer cans (along with the cardboard packages in which they had been bought, plus an empty vodka bottle) next to a bench. These were evidently the remains of a nocturnal binge by a group of youths – or am I being unnecessarily stereotypical in my assumptions? – an event which, in itself, is not without precedent in the park. What made this discovery unusual, however, was that the group of drinkers seem to have made a half-hearted attempt to line up the empty beer cans against the cardboard boxes.
Was this, I wondered, a formative example of accidental art? An attempt to appear responsible citizens (“I can’t be bothered to take them to the bin, but at least I won’t leave a real mess.”)? Tidy litterers? Or was it just one of those things that you see around you, and never quite understand?
But perhaps I am reading too much into it. Maybe the cans just fell into that position. In any case, at least the drinkers were tidier than the last lot, with whose detritus I filled four bin bags. But on that occasion the irony was that they couldn’t light their barbecue, and the rubbish included unopened packs of burgers, sausages and bread rolls.