So at 6:30 this evening I’m acting slightly obsessive, leaning over the hot pavement at 15th and Arch snapping detail photos at a glob of wood glue and tar paper under which a Toynbee tile is adhering to the asphalt, when a young guy stops me and says something completely unexpected.
“That’s the guy who [redacted].”
What he said to me was not the identity of the tiler, but it was an important piece of information known only to a handful of tile researchers associated with the upcoming Resurrect Dead documentary. Apparently I was wrong about who knows what. Stunned that this stranger stopped me and told me a bit of super-secret tile knowledge, I asked him how he came across the information. Peter (his name) told me he heard it from Dave, who heard it from someone associated with the documentary. Amazing how information spreads.
The bit of information that’s leaked is actually an incredibly cool fact about how the tiles were originally spread. Since it doesn’t reveal the identity of the tiler, or hint as to who it is, I actually have told a couple of people about it. It’s the kind of fact that won’t ruin the documentary, but is still better left under wraps until the whole story can be shown on screen. I’m sure the other few who know this fact have spread it around a little too. Still though, it’s never been posted on the internet and has spread slowly in the old fashioned person to person contact.
That someone saw me in the 10-second window that I was standing in the street snapping photos and not only knew what I was photographing, but knew a piece of tile lore known only to a privileged few is just mind-blowing.
The tile news is even more mind-blowing. While the main message of the new, large tiles has yet to appear, a silhouette has begun to emerge at 15th and Arch. I am absolutely, positively, THRILLED that the message is clearly carved in the old school, original font.
What this means is that the 7 new tiles that have appeared in Philadelphia in the past couple of months are quite possibly the work of the original Toynbee tiler. If this is true, then the other, now crystal clear implication of this, is that there never was a copycat tiler. There has always only ever been 1. It’s too early to make that claim, but its evidence is starting to become very strong. That’s all for now! Thank you and goodbye!
Look at the “R” in that. That dark blob is the biggest tile news in half a decade.