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The Shak Grass mystery


Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.

I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views might have changed in the 11 years since I wrote this post.
  • This post might use language in ways which I would now consider inappropriate or offensive.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken; embedded material might not appear properly.

Many thanks for your understanding.

Shak GrassThroughout Stockton-on-Tees, graffiti has appeared stating ‘Shak Grass’. In some places, it’s ‘Big Nose Shak Grass’. In one place, it’s been spelt wrong and corrected. But it’s all over the place in Stockton, right from one end of the town to the other: Far too widespread for one person to have done on a drunken rampage (and anyway, it’s continuing to appear). I’ve counted at least twelve different sites, though some of it has started to be cleaned up now.

The graphic above doesn’t show the best example, but I feel I bit of an idiot taking photos of graffiti, and then worried slightly that I might be arrested on suspicion of creating it myself, so we’ll just have to make do with it. But, more importantly…

What the heck does it mean?

There are a couple of theories here:

I think it’s one of the asian guys that live near me. Some dude called Shakif (I Think) got a coke dealer sent down.

It’s a new indie night!

This guy has used it as a comment on YouTube.

But none of these are particularly satisfactory explanations. Does anyone have any other suggestions, or actually know what it means?

This 916th post was filed under: Headliner.

More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 4th December 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 6th November 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 5th October 2017)

Notes from a drug user (published 12th March 2007)

2D: Religion & stuff (published 23rd October 2013)

The Book (published 29th August 2003)

The great advertising argument returns (published 3rd April 2008)

Comments and responses

Comment from Jim Gardner

by Jim Gardner

Comment posted at 19:02 on 11th December 2006.

There was something about graffiti on Look North, with the delectable Carol Malia this evening and me Mam said, “Did we ever find out what ‘Big nose Shak grass meant?”. “I’ll Google it”, said I – and here I am.

I’d forgotten all about leaving it as a comment on YouTube and am utterly blown away that you should have found it. I have nothing to do with the slogan however, but would love to learn of it’s true meaning and the artist who devised it.

I for one think it’s good to see the return of cryptic graffiti to the little sleepy village of Stockton on smack.

While, “Much has happened, little has changed”, on the gable end of Mr. Ben’s costume shop had a heart warmingy cynical message of acceptance, it never quite matched the pure confusion factor of “Dogs like cars”, which greeted motorists who passed under it in the opulent 1980’s, daubed on the railway bridge at the end of Durham road, opposite that house with the creepy china doll in the window.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

by sjhoward

Comment posted at 19:33 on 11th December 2006.

I’m sad to report that I’ve still no more idea what the whole thing was about. Interesting that you should mention the railway bridge on Durham Road – the picture above is from the bill-board right by there. It was great fun trying to take it without looking obvious.

I wasn’t in Stockton back in the 1980s, so don’t remember ‘Dogs like cars’. But, as you say, it’s good to see the return of cryptic graffiti instead of the regular boring kind.

Comment from Jack

by Jack

Comment posted at 20:00 on 2nd April 2007.

We’ve had a bit of a re-org at Haxed and have noticed we’re still getting links from here. The link above no longer works, but this one does ..


There has been a few mew theories added too.


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