Taking a shortcut to avoid the lights led me past this magnificent fraction, although it’s not really a fraction but a warehouse unit and street number. It’s the highlight in a pretty ordinary stretch of factories, a stretch that is particularly quiet on the weekend when everything is closed. But this number is lively at any time: it shouts ‘look at me look at me’. And indeed I did! I like the scale of it, and the spacing — and I don’t know if it’s a slash, a solidus or a virgule, but whatever you want to call that obtuse line, this one certainly makes a statement.
My friend found this number nine during her neighbourhood wanderings and was most taken with it, and keen that I should see it too. And it is indeed a most splendid number nine: bold and flamboyant but simultaneously a little secretive and teasing, not only because it tempts you to open the door and see if more will be revealed, but because it is circumscribed by shadowy greenery that hints at an inner life.
This mess of cracked timber, dripping paint and rust could only have evolved over time, so there is surely a story to its evolution. Whatever it is, the stencilled number 10 must be important enough not to have been covered up, but it is the combined effects of time, weather and neglect that have turned it into something interesting.
Last weekend my local neighbourhood held its annual Italian street fair. It was full of the usual food stalls, pasta displays and trinkets. Oh, and more food stalls. I made my way to the very end and was rewarded with the sight of two rows of shiny vintage Fiats, every one of them so obviously loved and cared for. This one was polished to within an inch of its life, but the main attraction, apart from the painterly effect of the reflection, is the very typographically stylish number.