In the outskirts of Denver, there is an abandoned church all fenced up. It’s odd to think about the fact that a place of such beauty is now grimy and run down, burrowing its secrets in the surrounding neighborhoods. The church looks like the beginning of a horror movie in which some pesky teens explore it and get trapped in there with all of these insane creatures. In reality, it is just a church.
People always talk about “vibes” that come from things and people, and although the way they comment about those vibes in Instagram captions is annoying, I certainly believe in the concept itself. This church was creepy and quite sad to see, but there was no gut feeling of terror or resentment. No vibes were given off. It just sat there, staring at the cars racing to get downtown.
Vandals easily jumped the shabby fence that gave up protecting the fortress a while ago, and took their spray paint with them. I like to think about a scene from “That 70’s Show” where the clan climbs the water tank and spray paints a marijuana leaf that just looks like a hand flipping the bird. In this context, I imagine two high schoolers wearing all black, a bottle of vodka tucked into one’s belt and a can of spray paint in the other’s. One stood on his friend’s back as he hoisted himself over the metal, snake-like wires. They were snickering and talking about “fighting the system!” while they crept near the church. On the front wall that faced the streets and homes, one of them took out the black bottle and shook it, the bead inside rattling like a racing heart. He stood in front of the deteriorating beige bricks and pulled out the most basic angsty teen lyric of all time, “Love ill tear us apart”.
He sprayed quickly and messily, not caring about how his statement was presented, just that it was. A few of the letters only got one coat, but he and his friend had to leave as soon as possible. Dropping the empty can in the overgrown shrubbery, the vandals left.
To be entirely honest, I think that’s what actually happened. Almost every sad teen with a music taste that matches his personality stereotypically identifies with the Smiths and Joy Divisions famous anthem, “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. It is a fantastic song with beautifully constructed lyrics, and is a greater art form when the backstory of Ian Curtis is known. The band itself is different. Not different in the quirky, “we wear ill-fitting clothes from thrift stores” way, but in a much different, darker sense. Ian Curtis, a man plagued with extreme depression as well as epilepsy, was a poor individual from England who created a legendary post-punk band. When he was twenty three, Ian committed suicide. I believe that his suicide granted Unknown Pleasures, their debut album a newfound sense of meaning and passion characterized by how emotions and life are fleeting. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” goes down in history as a disturbingly honest piece with so much history and life surrounding it. Although the song is composed of nothing but deep, shaking lyrics and awkwardly timed beats, it presents the idea that love is terrifying and truly exposes human nature towards others.
It symbolizes how when two people love each other so much, they see each other’s flaws clear as day and acknowledge how different they truly are. It questions whether love brings people so close, just to rip them apart eventually.
When this was spray painted in a public area, also it dawned on me how truthful and raw that lyric is. To be written on a church of all places, a palace of solitude, forgiveness, and most of all, love, is something that is an artform in and of itself.
I love the idea of forces of nature fighting against the ink over the many months of Colorado’s insanely fickle weather. I’m fond of the fact that someone broke the law in the name of Curtis and his work.