Tsoi’s Wall (Стена Цоя) is slap bang in the middle of The Arbat, a pedestrianized street traditionally frequented by many of Moscow’s most celebrated writers, artists, and musicians, and home to an eclectic mix of portrait painters, soapbox poets, street musicians, sidewalk cafés and souvenir stands.
Dedicated to the musician Viktor Tsoi and his band Kino, the wall has become an alternative landmark in Moscow, particularly for bohemian travellers, who not only share their views and feelings on the wall, but also sometimes leave a broken lighted cigarette in the special ash plate provided.
This quote, from the fantastic song Heartland by the English group The The, was written in 1986 at the height of the Reagan/Thatcher years. The song’s lyrics seem to sum up my feelings on many topics, but in particular about graffiti; and it seems fitting that I should include it in this blog post, as both when I took theses photographs, and when I thought of the subject “Wall”, I could hear them going around my head.
So many people, can’t express what’s on their minds,
Nobody knows them & nobody ever will,
Until their backs are broken & their dreams are stolen,
& they can’t get what they want, then they’re gonna get angry!
Well it ain’t written in the papers, but its written on the walls
The way this country is divided to fall,
So the cranes are moving on the skyline–
Trying to knock down–this town
But the stains on the heartland, can never be removed,
from this country, that’s sick, sad, and confused.
Here comes another winter, of long shadows & high hopes,
Here comes another winter, waitin for utopia,
waitin for hell to freeze over.
While on a holiday in Moscow, and as a self-confessed bohemian traveller, I found myself becoming completely obsessed with these spontaneous murals and messages. These are my three favourite images from the wall.