Walking through Shoreditch the other day and a piece of paper on the footpath caught my eye:
It read: PLEASE DON’T SIT HERE OR USE THIS DESK AREA IF YOU CAN’T LEAVE IT CLEAN AND IN THE SAME CONDITION YOU FOUND IT. THAT MEANS DON’T LEAVE COFFEE CUPS, OLD COPIES OF NUTS, HALF EATEN SUBWAYS ETC FOR ME TO CLEAN UP. LEAVE MY PERSONAL ITEMS THE HELL ALONE AND DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT, ADJUST MY CHAIR.
This made me smile as it reminded me of my old office, where the art director’s chair was plastered with a note saying DO NOT MOVE THIS CHAIR, DO NOT SIT IN THIS CHAIR, DO NOT ADJUST THIS CHAIR. Needless to say, everyone tiptoed round that (usually unoccupied) chair like it was an unexploded bomb.
So I picked up the little note to save and that’s when I noticed a smaller stamp at the bottom, and realised it was actually an advertisement for a Passive Aggressive Notes exhibition in nearby Hoxton Square. I popped along and found the walls plastered with notes left to inconsiderate housemates about all kinds of domestic crimes, such as one on a half eaten piece of pizza that read ‘Next time, just take the whole slice, OK?’
The exhibition is inspired by the website passiveaggressivenotes.com which was started in 2007 by veteran house sharer Kerry Miller.
I’m sure most people have a passive aggressive note experience. I once lived in a bedsit in North London that housed seven separate households and had just two bathrooms. God, I don’t know how I did it but it was only forty pounds a week. And luckily most of the tenants rarely washed or left their rooms. Anyway, downstairs lived a young couple who were fond of a drink. So Sundays were often difficult for them, and every so often there would be a note left. For example, Please don’t use shopping bags for your rubbish. Black bin bags are widely available in many nearby shop or Please don’t use the bath to wash your clothes. There are many laundromats nearby where you can wash your clothes.
And then there was the one was about slamming the front door. Please don’t slam the front door. It will close with a gentle push, and that way the hole in our wall won’t spew out dust all over us. I remember one night they came home completely smashed and began screaming at each other and waking up the whole house. So I engaged in my own passive aggressive behaviour, which was running downstairs, opening and then slamming the front door as hard as I could, and racing back upstairs. By the time he emerged, dusty and bellowing, I was safe behind the locked door. I can’t remember if there was a note left the next day or not, but I imagine I kept a pretty low profile.
The exhibition is on until June 30, and it’s very funny. I’d put it down as first date material, in fact, especially as there are some nice cafes in Hoxton Square to discuss former flatmate experiences with afterwards.
KK outlet, 42 Hoxton Square, www.kkoutlet.com