City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

Catfish Blues

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As I understand it – and now I’ve seen all 5 seasons of The Wire, I feel like I now ought to know this kind of thing – the sight of a pair of shoes dangling high from telegraph or electricity wires, usually over a junction, is a tacit sign that this might be a place to ‘score’ of an evening.

Yet how on earth to explain this?





A pair of catfish strung over a wire in St. Lucia, Brisbane. Photos shot through the windscreen of a State Library fleet car, on our way to UQ. Catfish Blues.


5 responses to “Catfish Blues”

  1. MsUnreliable Avatar

    Black market pet store? Or possibly a place to score a bit of tail.
    I can’t believe I just said that.


  2. Christopher Avatar

    From what I understand the deal about drug dealing is an urban myth. This has been investigated by the Straight Dope and Snopes and all kinds of people, without any conclusion. Ask a group of people and you will hear 20 different answers. We had shoes on overhead wires in my very catholic, very conservative midwestern suburb — don’t think they meant anything about drug dealing.


  3. Jarrett Avatar

    Could this be guerrilla advertising by the fishing industry? A “civic event” designed to startle and amuse us, while also subliminally suggesting that fish would be good for dinner tonight?
    Of course, it would only work for a day or so before it would start sending the opposite message.


  4. carlos vieira reis Avatar

    No way it’s drug related Dan.
    (and I’ve just finished the fifth season as well…)
    I saw a lot of this happen in Rio de Janeiro, not so in Lisboa. But as you can see here ( it’s quite a universal practice. I myself think it’s just a game/prank thing.
    As for the fish variation, well, it’s just onirical, some poet street wiseguy passing by maybe…


  5. carlos vieira reis Avatar

    By the way, it’s quite due to you (and your Simulated Baltimore post) that I’ve discovered and reveled with The Wire.
    For that I’m deeply grateful.


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