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flyposting guide

the essential guide to flyposting
urban75's guide to getting your message across

Why flypost?

Why not? Why be shy about what you want to say to the world? Almost all the information that reaches people in our society about the world around us goes through channels ('the media') which are controlled and mostly owned by people with a huge vested interest in keeping society how it is.

While some stuff which challenges this gets through, the vast majority of news and views that reaches people is confined within very narrow boundaries - anything outside those boundaries is labelled as 'extremist', and easily dismissed.

All sorts of dodgy people pay huge amounts of money to designers and councils to paste their consumerism bullshit all over our streets - why shouldn't you have your say?

What to post:

Anything you like. Information you want people to know, events that are happening and news that never gets in the 'mainstream' media.

You can also paste up all sorts of other things: artwork, slogans, surreal messages, stories. Anything that puts an alternative point of view onto our streets is playing a valuable role in undermining the 'status quo', by challenging people's automatic acceptance of mainstream values.

You can make copies of things you like or design your own. If you are doing something that obviously comes from a particular group or organisation, remember to put 'not for flyposting' at the bottom of it.

You may have access to a flashy computer and high quality copying or you may be writing something by hand and copying it in a shop. Don't be ashamed to put up really rough-looking stuff. The important thing is getting the message across - and no-one knows it's you anyway!



Where you put your posters depends on what they are. Stuff with loads of information on needs to be where people are likely to read it all - bus shelters are good, but your poster won't stay up very long. Look out for old posters that are still up - a sure sign of a site with a long life. Show some respect to fellow flyposters and don't stick your stuff on top of theirs unless the event has already happened (unless they're a dodgy Nazi outfit, of course!) You may like to post your stuff over billboard adverts that you don't like - your poster may even be specially designed to go over particular adverts (eg car ads).

Be warned though, that if you start regularly posting up over the big music posters, you may end up getting a visit from some very unsavoury types - that operation is run by some very dodgy gangs who are not adverse to a bit of aggro if they think you're invading their 'patch'.

Our favourite spots include disused buildings, lampposts, tube stations, backs of buses (if you're cheeky enough!), street furniture, pub toilets and even (yes we did this to a Radio One DJ once!) someone's back! Be audacious! If you're targeting an individual corporation, stencilling the steps up to their office with your message is often a good way of reminding them of your cause!

The most important thing is to get the message out!

How to Flypost

You need: wallpaper paste, a big paint brush (some people prefer rollers) and a bucket. Plastic bags are less obvious than a bucket, but make sure to use two or three bags - spilt paste can be very messy! Another very useful bit of kit is a bicycle - it's amazing how much more you get done!

It's best to post in pairs (or threes), so one can keep a lookout, Watch out also for closed circuit tv.

Remember that if you look shifty and nervous you will draw attention to yourselves - also being relaxed helps you appreciate just how much fun you are having,

Paste on the wall where the poster is going to go. Put the poster up, press it flat and then paste over it again. This helps to smooth out bubbles, and also makes it harder to rip the poster off.

Some people prefer to flypost in the dead of night, some do it in broad daylight. This depends a lot on the area you are in, it's up to you.

Human billboard

Human billboards
If you don't fancy breaking the law or getting your hands mucky with all that paste there is another option: the human billboard.

Although very effective, it is a time consuming business and you may find yourself being moved on by the police if they decide that you're causing an obstruction.

More info:
Human Billboards photo feature
History of London Human Billboards


THE LAW (updated August 2006)

In most areas there are local by-laws against flyposting and these can vary from borough to borough. Breaking these by-laws is a criminal offence, which means that if the police catch you, you can be arrested and charged and possibly end up in front of magistrate getting a fine.

Flyposters can be prosecuted through the magistrates court using:
Town and Country Planning Act
Highways Act
Anti-Social Behaviour Act
Local Government Act
Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005

The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 increases maximum fines from £1000 to £2500, with authorised council officials now able to issue £50 'on the spot' fines.

Many authorities have bylaws making the venues (or the owners of the advertised event/product) responsible for any publicity bearing their name, punishable with fines.

The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 makes the business/event being advertised equally liable, unless they can demonstrate that the posters were being displayed without their knowledge or that they took reasonable steps to prevent their display.

Make sure you've got some idea of your rights if you are arrested, just in case - this will make you feel a lot more confident dealing with the police.
» (see the 'rights on arrest' section for more info).

Other Ideas

Stickers: you can make these on a computer, or use sheets of stickers by drawing onto all the stickers on one sheet, then photocopying from that.

Stencils: Good for putting a message up quickly, Especially good for symbols/ logos/ pictures?. Best made out of lino to last a long time and stay flat easily.

Banners: Another handy method of drawing attention to your message is to paint up and old bedsheet and hang it from a busy footbridge (the pedestrian footbridge in Vauxhall, London is especially good for this). Make sure that it's securely tied and that you won't be needing it for the night's kip!

Legal disclaimer: naturally, urban75 does not encourage anyone to break the law and we suggest that you only flypost the walls of your own house...or something...

London flyposting ban spreads [Guardian, June 2004]
Judgment day for the phantom flyposters [Guardian, June 2004]

billboard subversion
arrest bustcard
your rights on arrest
Police complaints

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