Post promotes “vandal thug”

The fucking hypocrisy! Today, Bristol’s own Banksy opens his massive new show at the City Museum. As part of the PR hype the artist has given an “exclusive” to the Evening Post.

Although it isn’t really that exclusive. Internet rumours of a Banksy summer show in Bristol have been flying around for ages; Venue magazine reported the rumours weeks ago. Last night Twitter was burning up with Tweets revealing the venue to be the City Museum and a local blogger actually managed to get a sneak a picture through a gap in a door. Even Radio 4’s Today programme had reported from the Banksy V Bristol Museum show before the Post revealed its “exclusive” online at 0930 (presumably to meet the PR’s embargo instructions).

And what a load of gush the story is; someone at the Post this morning must have very wet undercrackers:

The world’s most famous living artist is coming home. Banksy has sneaked his biggest ever UK exhibition into Bristol.

The Bristol Evening Post can exclusively reveal that the mysterious artist, best known for his subversive stencil graffiti work, has taken over much of Bristol’s City Museum and Art Gallery.

We even have a world exclusive in publishing a picture of the outlandish installation that will greet the hundreds of thousands of art lovers who are likely to descend on the city through the summer from around the world.

. . .

Speaking exclusively to the Bristol Evening Post, Banksy said: “The people of Bristol have always been very good to me – I decided the best way to show my appreciation was by putting a bunch of old toilets and some live chicken nuggets in their museum.

. . .

Many of his most iconic pieces of graffiti have become landmarks in Bristol – from the distinctive Mild, Mild West mural in Stokes Croft, to the naked adulterer apparently hanging from a window on the wall of a sexual health clinic in Park Street.

But this exhibition will be the greatest gift he could have presented to his home city . . .

Banksy personally requested that news of his latest show should be revealed in his home city’s local newspaper.

We have also been offered an exclusive sneak preview of the show today, ahead of its opening. There will be more pictures to follow, and don’t miss your copy of the Bristol Evening Post tomorrow.

[. . . pukes]

But can this really be the same Evening Post which in 2004 ran an “exclusive” photo which “unmasked” Banksy along with this accompanying comment:

So the graffiti artist Banksy is unmasked.

After years of hiding behind a full-face balaclava his identity is revealed.

With his loss of anonymity has gone much of his mystique.

For he thrived on the majority of us not knowing who he was.

Perhaps now we have seen his face we can focus upon whether he is an artist or a common vandal with a talent for using a spray can.

. . .

Raising an aerosol in the name of art may be a way of celebrating free speech but it has a damaging impact on the environment.

For graffiti spawns graffiti and there is no guarantee of its calibre.

. . .

And as Bristol South MP Dawn Primarolo rightly remarked the other day, it scars communities.

If we tolerate graffiti then it will occur everywhere. And that means on walls, buildings, shops, pavements and bridges.

It doesn’t bring colour and interest to an area – it desecrates that area.

And as graffiti grows so people’s pride in the area dwindles.

Someone like Banksy has to understand that and take responsibility for it.

And the same Evening Post which in 2007 said:

Bristol City Council deserves great credit for its plans to tackle graffiti.
It spoils and devalues the look of the city in which we live. And the people responsible for it are nothing more than vandals.
So the city council’s plans for undercover surveillance of the most frequently targeted places is exactly the right approach.
Graffiti artists operate by stealth, so let’s catch them by using the same tactics.
Don’t be fooled by people who bleat about graffiti being a form of self-expression. Nor by those who hold up the likes of Banksy and claim him as a great artist.
Talented he may be and some are willing to pay ludicrous prices for his work but by his own definition he is a vandal.
So let us not make any exceptions. Let’s tar all of those who daub graffiti on buildings, walls, bridges and trains with the same brush.
They are breaking the law and they should be prosecuted.
The city council’s surveillance plans must be the first step. When they have identified the people responsible then it is crucial that they are prosecuted. And it is equally important that if convicted they receive a harsh sentence – whether it’s a fine or a jail term.
No one should shy away from coming down hard on these people. They deface the world around them, they make our environment a poorer place, not a better one.
They are not artists, they are just thugs with spray cans who have found a way to put two-fingers up to society and it is about time society hit back.

Of course, as Banksy has become more popular, famous, rich and establishment, the Post have gradually come around to appreciating his art.

This is obviously philistine bollocks; defining art by its cash value or its celebrity endorsements. It leads to the ludicrous debates we see regularly in the Post about whether a particular piece of graffiti is or is not “a real Banksy”: a paternity test to divine its value and decide whether it is art to be praised or vandalism to be scrubbed away by the council, trashed and forgotten like yesterday’s Evening Post.


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16 Responses to “Post promotes “vandal thug””

  1. Fred Says:

    It is an exclusive … rumours are one thing, but the Post revealed exactly where and when. Believe me, if anyone else had ‘known’ it would have got out on the net. It didn’t. Lighten up, mate, you’ll give yourself high blood pressure with all this bitterness and resentment. It must be horrible to have such a dislike of something and spend all your time spouting forth about it. Maybe I’ll set up Evening Post Watch Watch and find fault with what you do. Then again, I’ve got a life.

  2. Sarah C Says:

    The point is the complete u-turn on whether Banksy is a vandal or a genius once his art becomes profitable.

    Fred said “then again, I’ve got a life”

  3. BristleKRS Says:

    Fred – it wasn’t an exclusive in that the location and time of it were amongst the things already known!

  4. Fred Says:

    Location was known by whom (other than the organisers)?

    And anyway, if Banksy painted someone’s house red who didn’t want it, that would still be vandalism. It’s not unreasonable to praise his art but condemn on the occasions where he has produced art on someone’s property which wasn’t wanted. If Leonardo da Vinc had done a bit of unwanted grafitti on the side, it wouldn’t lessen his status as an artist and genius but he would still be a vandal in some people’s eyes. Genius isn’t an excuse for a lack of respect. I like Banksy’s stuff but I wouldn’t think it OK if he painted all over an old lady’s front door.

  5. anarchist606 Says:

    Great article! Again EPW delivers.

  6. Wet undercrackers Says:

    The cat may have been out of the bag by 0930 but perhaps you should bear in mind that the Post is a newspaper and was on the streets from first thing in the morning.
    I don’t think the info and pic in the blog really compares either (eg you yourself thought the one used in the Post was a better one and used it yourself).

  7. Francesca Says:

    If Banksy’s work forces us to ask the question is it art or vandalism, we have to constantly re assess what we mean by art. Surely anyone interested in art would welcome this challenge.
    Likewise, anonymous celebrity is a bit of a contradiction in terms and challenges us to question what we mean by celebrity.

  8. eveningpostwatch Says:

    “Wet Undercrackers”. Point taken about paper vs web publication. I think the time the paper is available varies throughout the city. But you acknowledge that the Bristol Street Art blog had the first photo the evening before the Post. Anyway, my main point was about the hypocrisy of the Post in its attitude to Banksy and to street art.

    Francesca. I kinda agree with you. But I don’t think for a minute that the philistines who write the EP Comment think about or care about art at all. It’s just cynical populism designed to shift copies. They have very little thoughts or agenda on most subjects beyond selling papers. Personally, I think Banksy is brilliant and is obviously a great self-publicist. I think he understands the need to use the Post to promote the show but is no doubt aware of the irony of being promoted by the rag that was recently demanding he be arrested and prosecuted. He’s laughing at the Post with the rest of us.

    Fred. You are an idiot. You don’t get it. You don’t seem to get anything. I’m not bitter, although the Post gives us enough reasons to be angry. I love my city but hate the way its only newspaper misrepresents everything great about the place; that’s it. You keep telling me how crap this blog is, but you keep reading it and posting inane comments; who’s the obsessive? Who has no life? Basically, my point is that you are clearly a dysfunctional half-wit. I’m not going to continue to lower myself to discuss anything with you. Go away, please.

  9. Fred Says:

    You keep telling us how crap the Post is … but you keep reading it. What’s so funny is that you set up a website with the sole purpose of sneering at something (EP) but then you are so prickly whenever anyone questions your view. You can’t say something is inane just because it opposes what you think. I note that when ‘wet undercrackers’ makes a pint about the ‘exclusive’ you say “point taken” but when I do you start all this “You’re an idiot”.

  10. Bristol Blagger Says:

    I don’t get you EPW. “I love my city but hate the way its only newspaper misrepresents everything great about the place”. That is just too harsh. The BEP might do many things wrong but to say it misrepresents everything about Bristol is just unfair. I have no loyalty to the BEP, but I have lived all over the country and can tell you that, as local papers go, the BEP is pretty good and pretty fair. Perhaps that is your problem, your experience of the media is just not wide enough. It is a mainstream publication but it has many more diverse views than you seem to give it credit for. What I read on this site depresses me. You criticise the paper when it stands up for things and yet you slate it when it takes a stance against things – usually because they are things you have a different view on. I am a regular BEP reader. I think I know the paper pretty well. I am fairly intelligent, left-leaning and I really do not see the BEP as the biased, right-wing rag you seem to want it to be.

    • eveningpostwatch Says:

      “The BEP might do many things wrong but to say it misrepresents everything about Bristol is just unfair.”

      Well, perhaps it’s Bristol you don’t get, then.

      • Bristol Blagger Says:

        Right. I try to make a constructive point and you reply with a flippant insult. Here’s a thought… perhaps it’s you that doesn’t get Bristol. A lot more people read the Post every than read this blog. Ever wondered why that might be?

      • eveningpostwatch Says:

        Stop being silly, Blagger.

  11. Ian Laughlin Says:

    Ignore the tirades of the Northcliffe employed blaggards EW. You read the Evening Pest so that the rest of us don’t have to. Thanks for providing us with a small antidote to the political line peddled by the Post. If your detractors don’t like you exercising your right to free speech, then they can always go to Iran.

  12. Ian Laughlin Says:

    Fred keeps telling us how crap leftist blogs such as EW are … but he keeps reading it. What’s so funny is that he gatecrashes other people’s websites with the sole purpose of sneering at something but then acts so prickly whenever anyone questions his view.

  13. Martin Says:

    I think the point is that EPW seems to be set up solely to sneer. It’s like those Rovers/City fans who are so blinkered that they can never see any good in the other team and would certainly never admit it even if they did see some good. I think the website would have more credibility if it offered some balance. But that’s just my view. Cue insults.

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