Spring Cleaning (The Stories I Never Got To): What’s in a Name? Pound For Pound The Tag Measures Up


Oh Lord!

When I think about Lord Pound it takes me back in time. There was a different house and neighborhood and our dog Max, who I walked when I spotted most of these tags, has since passed away. The photos are from three years ago. I’m not sure if Lord Pound is active. When I knew of this entity claiming naming rights to every square inch of the Kenton neighborhood I had to admit it had a certain intrigue. I wondered about what was going on with that combination of words and why they were everywhere.


Ground pound.

So here’s the disclaimer I issue every time I write about graffiti. This is not about promoting or condoning graffiti. I’m here to observe and document even as I risk glamorizing and encouraging works in this medium of vandalization. While it seems irresponsible, it’s also irresistible. Graffiti continues. This under read blog offers scant chance of bringing fame or glory to any graffiti producer. Why would they need it anyway? Lord Pound is already royalty according to his moniker. My first assumption is that this is a guy tagger given the male dominance in the graffiti world and the “bro” feel of this tag but I could be wrong.


Triple pounder.

Lord Pound received a brief mention in this blog in an old post. It’s hard to imagine how he wouldn’t given the ubiquitous nature of his tagging. I couldn’t walk in the neighborhood without seeing his name. Looking over photos, I’ve noticed a certain panache. I can also appreciate its small scale. There’s versions of Lord Pound in different scripts on a single pole. There’s Lord Pound with hearts on the old Comfort Inn, surely painted over by now. Then there’s Lord Pound dripping out of a double arrow on a traffic sign. These tags have flair. They don’t feel slopped and splashed about.


Pound sign.


The original Lord Pound?

At first glance the internet provides no clues as to who or what Lord Pound could be or where the name may have derived. There was Dudley Pound who became Admiral the of the Fleet aka First Sea Lord in the British Navy back in 1939 but this hardly seems like a nod to him. There was a mention of a Marvel character named Lord Pound—a god of money, on a database, but the site was making little sense and this would be an obscure reference. There was also much discussion on Reddit from three years ago about Lord Pound tagging the Mt. Hood National Forest. Not cool. I’m sticking with what I’ve learned reading the Pittsburgh Orbit posts written by self-professed speculative journalist Will Simmons  as well as watching multiple episodes of The Alaska Triangle show and offer wild guesses as to what inspired the name Lord Pound.

  • A British boxer with a powerful uppercut, a glass jaw who’s also a bleeder?
  • Religious? As in our Lord and Savior seeking retribution.
  • Some kind of deviant thing, a nod to old school locker room talk? Still affiliated with a bragging British guy wearing Union Jack shorts?
  • Pound sign? Hash mark? Hash tag?
  • Royalty? Money? Royal money?


I thought I had a few more entertaining guesses but I am stymied. Regardless, Lord Pound would be a rough neck of some kind. I recall hearing and enjoying the word pound often in the 80’s. It had more of an association with beer drinking as I recall. No one is threatening to pound anyone or anything these days. Then there’s that sexual figure of speech which doesn’t exactly seem gentle or loving. There was a website, something about hot shots, that was written near one of the tags, a half second look revealed it to not be for the faint-hearted or anyone with a heart for that matter. As for Lord Pound he may still be out there replacing the tags that wear off from weather, time or clean up. Then again he may have gone into hiding or he’s retired.


Hearts pound.

After one of my other graffiti posts I was contacted by someone who offered to enlighten me on this subject. At press time, I was unable to establish contact but I might be able to and I’ll add an addendum. The question remains. Why do people feel a need to create a tag and then splash it every and anywhere? Yet, why not? Who doesn’t crave attention any way they can get it? It’s that spirit of look at me that some of us never outgrow. It may have nothing to do with having something to say or it could be saying more than anyone realizes.


Pound it down.

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The Reddit crowd mentioned not posting pictures because it only encourages people but the idea behind the Portland Orbit’s new Spring Cleaning series is to release old photos and ideas. We can only hope that Lord Pound has gone on to bigger and better things besides tagging nature and the Kenton neighborhood.

The Portland’s Orbit’s 100th Post: What’s in a Name?

 Orbit notebook (1)

We celebrate the 100th blog post of the Portland Orbit by getting self-reverential, explaining the origins of the blog and how I arrived at the name for it. Thinking a blog would change the course of my life or make me famous, I’ve since found out that the Portland Orbit exists for people to discover in the hopes that those who read it appreciate it. The blog is rooted in an interest in journalism I’ve flirted with my whole life. This might reflect the newspaper sounding name. In another life I could only have hoped to have hired Clark Kent away from the Daily Planet.

I tried blogging in the past. The short lived photo blog named with little imagination, “Year of the Camera” was the result. I posted three photos before realizing something was off. I still do love those landlocked boats but I needed to regroup. My independent video projects seem to take forever for me to get around to editing, sometimes taking the better part of a year to complete. I was looking for a format that was quicker with topics I could explore and consider for a short while and then move to something else in an attempt to satisfy my short attention span.


Landlocked boat from a prior failed blog.

Since moving to Portland I cataloged ideas and interests I wanted to explore. I considered subjects for videos, places I’d visit or people I’d want to interview. Listening to local podcasts, reading the two alternative weekly newspapers every week and seeking out culture, more through the papers than in real life, I kept these ideas in the back of my mind. A blog seemed a way to expand on my interests so it was in my subconscious, as were my journalism aspirations that haven’t left since my reporter days at my college newspaper. I found myself not leaving my neighborhood or going anywhere that wasn’t a bike ride away which led me to seek my immediate surroundings for inspiration.

orbit entry (1)

The blog urgency struck after getting back from a trip to Vietnam. Something crystallized there. I’m not sure if it had to do with being out of my comfort zone but I was energized after seeing more of the world. Returning to Portland, jet-lagged and spacey we headed over to the Portland Museum of Modern Art for a show and concert by outsider artist Lonnie Holley. I dropped my wife, Ronna, who has a bum ankle, off at the front door and found a nearby parking space. As I headed back to her I ran but then got closer and closer to someone walking towards me who I recognized but couldn’t place. As I blazed past I realized none other than my guitar hero, Peter Buck, was walking out of the museum. You know him from his old band R.E.M., but he’s also in a few bands now and even fronts his own band a solo artist. I hope I didn’t spook him and I was glad that I didn’t really recognize him enough to throw myself at his feet. He was also better off not timing his visit to the record store and museum where I might have had a chance to corner him and bombard him with questions about Roswell, Georgia.

That afternoon we experienced the engaging, yet mystifying outsider artist and his equally enigmatic pianoman performance outside the museum in the park area that had become engulfed in the warm, late afternoon, August sunshine. The photo I took of Lonnie, facing the sun created no actual image of the man, only rays of light that appeared like the remnants of the big bang explosion. It was time to start something. A blog was the one solid idea that surfaced and I had been pushed over the edge to move forward. A blurb about Lonnie Holley was the first post.

Big bang 2

Seconds after Big Bang 2.

The next thing I needed was a name. I had long wanted to call the media conglomerate of my daydreams “local loco” which spoke to me of a specific micro-journalism ideal–writing about what’s around me. I researched the name and saw a similarly named local burrito place. I could not name my blog after a burrito restaurant. I was at my then group home job, thinking hard about what I would call this blog that would make me famous and change my life forever. It had to be something good. I was straining my brain. At the point I relaxed for a second, a series of thoughts helped me come up with a name. Around that time I had been reading Facebook entries from Sid Deluca who had been promoting an art show. I had become familiar with him through Jeff Dodge, even participating in a film screening with him. I thought about Sid and considered his art to be the kind of thing I would write about. I thought that as someone I was familiar with, he was in my orbit. Inspiration struck. Orbit seemed to be the word that captured what I wanted to do: write about my strange encounters with my surroundings. Later I realized I had named the blog after a brand of gum. That still seemed better than naming it after a burrito joint.

other notebook