There’s nothing quite like a quiet Sunday drive in Malta. Music on, the sun setting, the air flowing through your hair (or scalp)… swerving around dangerously to avoid potholes and the third puncture you’ve gotten this year. Bliss.
Malta’s roads are a mess, perennially lopsided and with more holes than a politician’s alibi. With little hope from residents that their street will ever be fixed, maybe it’s time for the public to look elsewhere and see what other citizens did to get a smoothly tarmacked road.
So while we wait for the proposed €700 million rollout on every single road in Malta and Gozo or the next election, here’s what you can do with your local potholes.
1. Draw dicks on them
Frustrated by the number of potholes pockmarking his city streets, one man, affectionately known as ‘Wanksy’, discovered a way to get the city to pay attention: penises.
Using industrial chalk, Wanksy drew penises around a series of potholes around Manchester. The trend has even spread across the UK and other parts of the world ever since.
The drawings fade away in a week or two, so it’s just a temporary, creative way of getting something done. And hey, all those years drawing penises in your school textbooks will finally pay off!
2. Turn your road into a lunar landscape
— baadal nanjundaswamy (@baadalvirus) 2 de setembre de 2019
Taking things to a lunar level, just last week Indian artist Baadal Nanjundaswamy dressed up as an astronaut and slowly stepped across a street-come-moonscape in Bangalore.
The video went viral and within days authorities took action and filled the potholes that adorned the street.
3. Plant some trees
Think Wanksy but with an eco-edge. In January 2019, residents of Boulder Creek, California, took an interesting approach to solving the unwanted problem; plant trees. The trees were even left with lights to make them more visible to drivers.
Others have followed suit, with a Dutchman also adding a little green to a tarmac strip in the same month.
And with Malta’s determination to see every tree uprooted and replaced by concrete, using potholes for agriculture kills two birds with one stone (and yes, we’re just trying to win over the hunters).
4. Put a crocodile in one (or any wild animal)
Our Indian astronaut makes a second appearance on this list after he filled a pothole with a life-size fake crocodile back in 2015.
A day later, a group of contractors turned up to repair the damaged road… but not before one man reported that he saw a live reptile roaming the streets.
5. Turn them into an art project
Rubbish roads can be a source of artistic inspiration, as two photographers who drove over an enormous pothole in 2014 found out.
The scenes in “MyPotholes”, shot in streets in New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Montreal, are wildly imaginative takes on what a bump in the road might be: a dog wash, a baptism, or a drowning swimmer being rescued on Baywatch.
It seems like we’re going to be stuck with potholes forever, so might as well get a bit creative with them!