Thursday, 31 December 2009

End of Year Thoughts From The Gallery

And so the door is about to be closed on not only another year but another decade, the first of the new century. The funny thing about this is that whilst privately individuals are contemplating what this means to them and what changes or fresh starts they plan to make, there seems to be one preoccupation reported in the media that seems to have drowned out the more important issues - what name is to be given to the next decade? One idea that's been floating around is "The One-ders" get it? When considering that the new year and decade will find the world still wrapped in terrorist wars that have fractured international relations and unbalanced an already volatile world, not to mention trying to recover from from a global recession and the "perceived" threat of swine flu which has claimed thousands of lives, you have to ask yourself "who cares?"

In the film "2010" adapted from Arthur C Clarke's novel, Dr Heywood Floyd in his narrative epilogue points that this was the year that humanity could enjoy a new lease of life after a wondrous climactic change that rescued the world from the brink of a destructive war. When considering the horrific events of the past decade, the wars fought and the lives both civilian and military that have been lost as a result it would be too optimistic to hope that humanity could start to pull itself from the ever widening precipice we find ourselves hovering over.The new decade does however present everyone, politicians, monarchs, celebrities but most importantly ordinary people to bring about fundamental changes that could bring about a much needed peace, if but for a short time. A unifying miracle wouldn't go amiss either.

Happy New Year one and all and may 2010 bring you everything you deserve and more.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Shoe Thrower Pelted in Paris

By now the name Muntadar al-Zaidi is well known; the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George W Bush last December in protest over the occupation, torture and slaughter of his people, by the American and coalition forces. Of course Bush being the magnanomous world leader that he was, allowed him to be charged with assault and sentenced to a year in prison where the journalist was ill treated and even tortured.

Since his release in September, al-Zaidi has continued to rally for the plight of Iraqi victims, speaking at news conferences and events around the world. However in an about face, whilst in the middle of his speech at a news conference in Paris, al-Zaidi became the victim of a shoe throwing. He managed to duck in time and al-Zaidi's brother chased the attacker from the room. Although his identity has not been confirmed, it is thought the attacker was also an Iraqi journalist but one who supported the US policy and actions in Iraq, and who has previously attacked al-Zaidi as a man "who worked for a dictatorship".

Well everybody is entitled to their opinion but what is amazing is how al-Zaidi bears this man no ill will but has shown the sort of compassionate gesture that wasn't offered to him. Muntadar has become a hero in the eyes of many people not only for his actions last year but also his continued work, which has earned him many offers of large cash sums and even marriage proposals. However he has issued instructions that all gifts to be refused "until I find a way that they can be passed on to the people of Iraq".

Food for thought?

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The Murdoch Ultimatum - Bing or Google

Actually the title is misleading since Howlin' Mad Murdoch is looking to take that choice away and Microsoft are paying him to do it.

The latest development in Rupert's war on free online media access has been stepped up a notch thanks to Microsoft's answer to Lycos (let's face it you can't compare it to Google can you). It seems that Murdoch has been offered a cash incentive to make his content available exclusively to Bing, essentially taking Google out of the loop.

For further info, analysis etc read the following:

Friday, 20 November 2009

The Worst of Times - Online

Following on from my previous Murdoch rants and his efforts to rid the world wide web of any free news content, it seems their audacity knows no bounds (again no suprise there).

Not content with disparaging the BBC and campaigning for the disbandment of state - run media, charging for online content and ensuring it is blocked from Google and other search engines, it seems Murdoch's media machine is not beyond a spot of plagiarism. Anyone who tweets on Twitter and is an avid follower of writer/director Edgar Wright would have borne witness to the controversy, not to mention the tweeting equivalent of fisticuffs between Wright and The Times newspaper online.

The saddening news was broadcast/published of the passing of Edward Woodward on Monday 16th November 2009, aged 79. Tributes poured in from all over mourning the loss of this legendary actor. One such tribute came from Edgar Wright on his blog "" a heart felt and well written piece recounting his personal recollections as a yongster having seen Woodward in the critically acclaimed television drama Callan to his delight and honour of working with the great man on Hot Fuzz (of which Wright was director and co-writer along with Simon Pegg). The Times, rather than assign one of their own stable of highly paid writers to pen their own tribute, lift Wright's piece from his blog and execute what is tantamount to literary butchery before posting it on their website, without even contacting the author for approval or providing an opportunity to edit his own work for them.

Naturally Wright was unhappy about this not just because his work was stolen (that has legal and ethical concerns of its own) but that it was edited in such a brutal fashion it made him appear, according to his tweets, "ill informed and unfeeling". They even omitted his recounting of the time he worked with Woodward which was an essential part of the piece.

Since then, The Times, seemed to have acquiesced to Wright's calls for his piece to be published in full and will be making a donation to Woodward's memorial . I find it intriguing, however, that Rupert Murdoch spouts off about quality jounrnalism and integrity as well as a need for protecting the future of his on-line content by ending free access. If this is the sort of quality journalism one can expect from Murdoch's media outlets, and then have the cheek to charge for somebody else's work published without their permission (especially when that work can be viewed for free) then I suspect profit loss from falling advertising revenue might seem like a storm in a teacup.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Media Mogul Murdoch Out of Touch With The Modern World

It comes as no surprise to learn that Rupert Murdoch is considering blocking Google from listing any content from his online news outlets.

This comes in the wake of recent statements by James Murdoch and his attacks on the BBC and essentially calling for an end to free access media content, with plans by Murdochs Senior and Junior to charge for access to all their online news sites which include Sky News, The Sun, The Times, New York Post and The Wall Street Journal. The Murdochs also seem convinced that other media oulets will follow suit. The reason for this is a slump in advertising revenue, when really it is nothing more than a pitiful display of greed and showing a lack of understanding how the internet works.

Lets just say for the sake of argument that all the major newspaper and broadcasting companies (except for the BBC) start charging for access to their news items online. There are still many ways to get news stories for free that don't involving buyng a copy of The Times or venturing onto Sky News Website. Aside from television and radio, how about free newspapers such as Metro (assuming they don't follow the same monetary path) which are given out everyday to those commuting to work. Most offices have free copies of newspapers to read all of which can be copied/revised and then posted onto the internet. One of the biggest sources of news are social networking sites (look at the role Twitter played during the post election protests in Iran) and of course blogs such as this one. Properly maintained the blog is an excellent source of news stories from all walks of life and the best part is that you don't have to pay for them as many blogs generate enough revenue from advertising or have been created for the pure pleasure of writing and posting stories.

At the end of the day when people like the Murdochs, who are already obscenely wealthy and powerful try to squeeze more pennies from the common man/woman they only end up hurting themselves, not to any detrimental effect but enough to make a dent. They may be able to control their own content to some degree through subscription TV and internet access but all this will do is encourage people to find other sources and thus they end up losing customers. They cannot own and control every item of news on the internet, it is simply too vast to try. This is where they have lost touch with the world.

Contrary to what Gordon Gekko said in Wall Street Greed is not good and ultimately Rupert Murdoch could well end up a victim of his own greed.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Marvel Disney’s Latest Buy

How many comic fans, particular lovers of Spider Man and the X- Men shuddered with horror at the news that Disney had announced it’s intentions to purchase comic giant Marvel. It certainly sent shockwaves through the movie industry since Marvel had not long entered the furore of movie making. On the coattails of its success with Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk, Marvel Studios was viewed as a rapidly growing independent structure that did not need to be sold. That didn’t stop Marvel from willingly shaking hands on a shares and cash deal reported to be in the region of $4 Billion Dollars.

So what is there to be concerned about? Marvel may already be a commercial institution but at its heart it is still a name associated with comic books, the kind that you don’t pick up in your local W H Smith.

The best comics are found in small independent shops that specialise in nothing but comic books and graphic novels or if you frequent your local Forbidden Planet, the selection is even more content rich. Since Disney will have the rights to Marvel's 5000 strong library of materials these small independent outlets may find themselves pushed out of the market. It would mean that the further adventures of The Fantastic Four, Daredevil and Ghost Rider may end up lining the shelves of supermarkets everywhere or worse the dreaded Disney Store. Imagine Blade lined up next to Mickey Mouse; brrrrrrr.

Surely however this is just a knee jerk reaction and has little or no basis in truth. It is well known that Disney often appropriates other people’s stories and with a little magic makes them lighter and happier making the world such a fuzzy and swell place to live (does anybody else still cringe at the thought of The Hunchback of Notre Dame with a happy ending). For one thing Disney may not necessarily be interested in the comic book market and instead concentrating on the pending film projects.

Consider this also. Warner Bros. Studios and DC Comics (the flexing brains behind the likes of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman) have enjoyed a lucrative partnership over the decades, but then Warner Bros. have the savvy to avoid the urge to tinker outside their field, and just concentrate on the films. The same may be true of Disney. After all the sale does not interfere with the distribution rights of Iron Man 2 and Captain America via Paramount.

I guess the real concern is that gone are the days of the intense drama, strong characters and sometimes disturbing qualities that make the Marvel comics popular and that its penchant for three dimensional story telling may be distilled and sacrificed by Team Mickey. Maybe but then  Disney also own Miramax Films, responsible for Kill Bill as well as action fodder such as Face Off and Con Air hitting the silver screens unscathed. It should also be noted that since Marvel is a healthy company growing from strength to strength it would have been unlikely that they would have been sold under such stifling terms that would see The Thing whisking Cinderella to the ball or Venom handing Snow White the poisoned apple (although the latter might be amusing).

Whilst the fear of big corporations snapping up every bit of intelligent literature and dictating to us how it should really be presented should resonate in the back of our minds, this move by Disney may be a little act of desperation. For a company that has the audacity to proclaim that its films are shown on “Disney DVD” or “Disney Blu-Ray” (SONY DEVISED BLU-RAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), it would be in more trouble than asking Rogue for some hands on healing, if Miramax and Pixar were to jump ship, since Disney’s only success outside these two entities has been High School Musical.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

The Day I Met An ANC Activist

I met and interviewed ANC political activist Denis Goldberg during a student rally in London on 15th February 1990, demonstrating against the student loans. It was a typical February day, overcast but dry and very cold. Myself and 2000 other young idealistic students (I was only 19 at the time) had already marched through the streets of the city of London before converging around a makeshift stage in Hyde Park.

Mr Goldberg was invited to speak to the crowd, not about student loans but about the recent developments in his home country of South Africa. A few days before, his leader and friend Nelson Mandela was released from Pretoria Prison, by President F.W. De Klerk. He must have been a little bit apprehensive about speaking to us since the speakers who preceded him (Labour MP Andrew Smith and Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes) had been booed and jeered off stage. Yet when his name was announced there was a roar of cheers. This humble unassuming man in his late fifties took to the stage and was greeted like a legendary rock star. I never knew who he was until one of the students in the crowd told me. I quickly realised that this would be my one chance to interview someone who played a part on what was soon to be the downfall of the Apartheid regime. His message, to start off with was simple;
“Mr Mandela asked me to say that the strings of the anti-apartheid movements and of the students were of tremendous support while he was in prison, believe me it was, I know too.”
Imagine what it must have felt like for a young person being delivered a message from Nelson Mandela. I know I felt a small shiver of excitement down my spine.

Mr Goldberg expressed a feeling of complacency following Mandela’s release which he saw as nothing more than a photo opportunity for President De Klerk to boost his credentials. With hindsight this must now seem a little disingenuous however if you consider that Mr Goldberg had been in prison for over twenty years and seen the torture and execution of his fellow countryman, perhaps he should be forgiven for expressing some cynicism. He was principally concerned however that those countries he saw as forced to impose sanctions (and in the case of Margaret Thatcher’s government, that may have been true) on South Africa, would now see De Klerk’s actions as reason enough to ease those sanctions. He called for continued pressure on De Klerk to make good on his promises, dismantle Apartheid and hold open elections for all. It is nice to look back at this knowing that all he had fought for came to being.

In my profile of him I made reference to Mr Goldberg’s recollection of being taunted by guards on the way to serving his four life sentences. This was taken from the speech at the demonstration during which he talked about the day of Mandela’s release and why it was so important that he walk from the prison and through the neighbouring villages.
“We saw tens of thousands of people ready again to welcome our great leader who had insisted upon walking out of the prison gates and we were told by the commentators that he wished to greet the people of the neighbouring towns, and I guess he did. But it was much more than that. When we arrived at the prison, after having been sentenced to four terms, if you please, of life imprisonment, prison guards and security police, said we would never walk out of the prisons again. We would leave when were carried out feet first in a coffin. Well Nelson Mandela after 27 years walked out of the prison on his two feet.”

After his speech I saw on opportunity to grab a few words from this great man. I was ready for the possibility that he might dismiss me since I was only a teenager and no doubt only had time for real reporters. I could not have been more wrong. I was the first to interview him and he was very accommodating. I placed my tape recorder between us and to this day I still remember shivering not just from the cold but feelings of intense nervousness conscious of this man before me and the journalists behind me, as I asked my first question. We spoke briefly about the reasons for De Klerk’s decisions and I asked him if he felt those reasons were genuine or just an opportunity to boost his public image. This was his reply:
“I think both things are true. He’s come to the point, because of sanctions, because of the pressures from inside our country that the system is in decline. As Nelson Mandela said “we can see it has failed” and he knows it has failed, De Klerk. What are his options? To go on shooting, to go on seeing the whole system collapse or does he release Nelson Mandela with the hope of genuine negotiations. From his point of view he has a vision of the future of South Africa. It’s not quite the vision of the ANC but we have to talk too many people have died.”

Later one of those reporters said to me that Mr Goldberg was very pleased that I wanted to speak with him as he had always valued the support and interest shown by young students. To say I was pleased with this would be an understatement.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

No Freedom for Rowling

Another former Bush Administration staffer seems to have "gone rogue" on his former Commander and Chief, in yet another release of a tell all book. Former speech writer, Matt Latimer in his book "Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor" makes many interesting revelations. However whilst these are not shocking there are one or two things he notes that would certainly raise an eyebrow and possibly a chuckle.

One such revelation is that Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling was in consideration for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an award that acknowledges contributions to US national interest, world peace or cultural endeavours. Past recipients include Dr Benjamin Carson Sr, pediatric neurosurgeon, and Rep. Tom Lantos, D-California (born in Hungary), who was the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress. Rowling however failed to win the prestigious award because some members of the administration believed that through her books, she promoted the practice of sorcery.

Now when you consider that Rowling went from an unknown author to one of the richest women in the world and is a genuine philanthropist, the US government would want to celebrate what they should have realised was the epitome of the American dream - even though she is not American. Instead they pander to a few narrow minded politicians and constituents whose thinking never made it past the seventeenth century. Yet they advocated the curtailing of their citizens' rights, urinated on their own constitution from a great height, and carried out acts of brutality and torture on sovereign lands.

Give me sorcery any day.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Students Should Pay More for Higher Education?

It seems that whenever higher education funding hits the debating table all manner of groups and individuals crawl out of the woodwork with the ideal proposal which usually involves a way of cutting the number of university entrants. The debacle over tuition fees, five years ago, is also still very fresh in the minds of student associations and the NUS (and students still trying to repay those increasing debts) so any Labour initiatives in this regard will no doubt send shivers up their spine. Well that debate has raised its controversial head once again as the Government gears up for a major review of higher education funding and student fees.

Their aim, according to England’s Higher Education minister David Lammy is to invest further into the system and aspire for 50% of young people to go to university. This seems to further illustrate the government’s view of universal access to higher education when Business Secretary Lord Mandelson called for universities to protect access to poorer students and do more to promote social mobility should they see an increase in fees.

Whilst Labour are still climbing up the hill that this their continued attempts to convinces us they are the champions of higher education access, the good old Confederation of British Industry (CBI) are putting pressure on the Government to increase the cost of attending university. Their proposals include:

  • Reducing subsidies on student loans.

  • Corporate sponsorship of grants and bursaries

  • More means testing.

  • Increase in tuition fees (in England and Northern Ireland they are £3,225 and Wales £1,285 with no tuition fees in Scotland)

  • University focus on more economically valuable subjects such as Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Languages.

It’s no surprise also that these proposals have the backing of The Russell Group, a lobbying organisation made up of twenty of the country's prestigious universities, who consisently pressure the government for increase in fees and other initiatives that would limit the number of university entrants, supposedly to protect the quality of education offered.

Yes there are some common sense suggestions here. I am sure nobody would have qualms about means testing (as long as it is fair) or a focus on economically viable subjects, although one would wonder what do you consider an economically viable subject when more and more jobs are being sent abroad?

The hike in fees promotes an obvious fear of increased student debt, especially as fees could be increased to £5,000 - £7,000 per year, and some even higher. This would also have a limiting effect on those who simply feel that they only way they could afford to go to university would be to hold down multiple jobs, or follow the example of student Rosie Reid and sell their virginity. The ultimate effect would be the limiting of access, however if Lord Mandelson's call is answered then this may not be an issue.

I remember twenty years ago, attending a student demonstration against the implementation of top up loans. The mantra boomed over the streets of Bristol was "Education a right, not a privilege". Yet in an explicit display of arrogance and elitism the CBI and The Russell Group seem determined to reverse that principle thereby disuading those on low income from having aspirations of higher education. It took me ten years to repay my student loan and it was nowehere near the levels they are today.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Shoe Thrower Finally Gets to Go Home

Many may not remembr the name Muntadar al-Zaidi, but if I say he was the guy who threw his shoes at George W Bush, echoes of "Oh him" I am sure would be ringing all around.

To recap, Muntadar, an Iraqi journalist working for a Cairo based television station, threw his shoes at US President George W Bush, during a press conference in December, protesting over the Iraq invasion and the treatment of Iraqi citizens at the hands of US forces. As his size 10's were hurtling towards the stunned President, Muntadar cried out. "This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog. This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq." He was detained by the secret service, tried and sentenced to three years in prison, of which he was required to serve at least one.

The good news is that Muntadar is being released, hopefully today, three months early for good behaviour. However he should never have seen the inside of a prison cell. I don't wish to condone assault of any kind, however Bush had a chance as the outgoing president to be magnanimous, show a little compassion, maybe even display some regret over his decision to invade Iraq and the ensuing casualties that followed. All he had to do was whisper a word or two to the Iraqi authorities and Muntadar would have been home with his family. Instead, he allowed this man to be prosecuted like a common criminal, and by doing so left no doubt in many people's minds that either he never understood the reason behind people's discontent over the war, or did not care.

Read the link below and maybe you'll understand why Muntadar decided to berate the former president with the ultimate insult any Arab could muster.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

BBC let BNP on QT

Whenever the BNP feature in the news, in any form, it always provokes intense reactions. I guess this is the nature of being a controversial and extreme political organisation. The latest furore however is the announcement by the BBC to invite BNP MP's, including its leader Nick Griffin, to feature on Question Time.

The "Have Your Say" segment of the BBC and other forums are awash with heated comments in support and against dear old auntie's invite for tea, cake and politcal debate.

This can only be a good thing after all it strikes at the very core of what a democracy is all about; free speech for all even the minority. Stifiling the rights of bigots, either by censorship or frequently shouting and drowning them out will only strengthen their cause turning them into the underdog, and we all know how us Brits like to side with the downtrodden.

Let them have their say, after all like it or not they are a legitmate political party with duly elected representatives. Whilst it is easy to poke fun at the BNP and their electorate, berating them for their right to the right of Genghis Khan mentality, if one expects their views and position to be taken seriously, it is important we show the same consideration for those on the opposite side, no matter how much it pains to do so. This lies at the heart of free speech.

Also hasn't Question Time included on its panel many times, individuals with extreme views? A popular example being religious leaders, berating people's race, opposing faith and sexual orientation yet seldom is their right to be heared questioned. The BNP are no different to these people, despite their claims to the contrary, and although their political stance is growing, they are still lagging behind the main parties. The reason for their being a high profile party is not just their views but the fact that they shout so loud about them, like any group who preach on the extreme side.

Besides when you consider the viewing figures for Question Time, which is on after 11pm on a Thursday night, when most people are out on the town getting a head start on the weekend, or simply turning in early for work the next day, they are hardly preaching to a mass of fence sitters. The internet is a more far reaching arm for to plug their agenda, so to complain about giving them a spot on a seldom watched panel show is over the top to say the least.

Click here for image credits

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Sam Wanamaker and the MI5

I was somewhat appalled to learn that MI5 had spied on American actor and Director Sam Wanamaker, who came to these shores in 1951 to escape the fear and paranoia that had gripped his country thanks to the House Un-American Activities Committee. Led by Senator Joseph McCarthy, this congressional lynch mob with the force of the FBI behind them, baselessly accused and had brow beaten various Hollywood luminaries into confessing to being communists and providing names of other communists sympathizers.  

Fearing exile and imprisonment names were given, sometimes falsely with no definite proof sought or provided. Wanamaker however refused to co-operate with the committee and fled his home to the UK, which he deemed a land of tolerance and with the embodiment of “the true spirit of modern democracy”.

No doubt Wanamaker would have been disappointed to learn that his associations and activities were closely watched by MI5 and reported to the US embassy that had branded him a “concealed communist”. With the exception of having been a member of the Communist Party for two years in the 1940’s, there was no real evidence that Wanamaker was a spy, nor that he had been involved any propaganda for the Soviet Union. In fact the evidence against him, which justified such surveillance, was flimsy at best.

Reports recently released from the National Archives showed that his well-known influence of Stanislavsky – the Russian father of modern method acting, was deemed evidence of his Soviet subversive sympathies. Despite Wanamaker’s growing stature as an actor the home office considered acquiescing to US authorities requests for his stay in the UK to be revoked. US authorities even intended to rescind Wanamaker and his family’s passports, which meant they would have been made to leave. Luckily he received indefinite permission in 1957 to stay, and in 1993 he died a British Citizen. His daughter ZoĆ« (star of BBC sitcom My Family), has of course become one this nations finest and respected actors.

I can’t help but feel a little disappointed that our intelligence community, even at the height of the cold war, used the same flimsy justification as Joe McCarthy’s political rabble to spy on a man whose contribution to British theatre saw the re-establishment of the Globe Theatre in London and the New Shakespeare Theatre Club in Liverpool. Yet the latter was deemed by a Special Branch Operative as being the perfect platform to promote extreme left-wing propaganda, a “great asset to the Communist Party”.

Who would have thought that Macbeth was in fact a war cry for a communist take over of the Kingdoms of Glamis and Cawdor. So does this mean that Oberon and Puck are really communist double agents trying to poison the minds of freethinking westerners with the power of love to accept the Marxist doctrine?

For more info click on the links below:

Image Credits J'Roo

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The Banksy Supremacy

At last I finally made it to the BANKSY exhibition at the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery to see what all the fuss was about. As an avid fan of urban graffiti, I followed the antics of this local guerrilla artist with great interest. Whether he is seen as a genius or a vandal his controversial eye catching urban art and covert antics have certainly caught the world’s imagination. Armed with his trademark stencil work and imagery combined with clever re-imagining of classic art and lifelike animatronics, BANKSY has struck again.

A Clever Cloggs.

Everything about this local artist screams cleverness, from the enigma surrounding his identity (man, woman, more than one person?) to the varied and sometimes conflicting styles of his work which has everybody asking one other question; is this art?

Very few artists can make you laugh and shock you at the same time. BANKSY’s satirical illustrations fused with political and sociological messages do that in droves. One minute you are laughing at the statue of his “Angel of the North” – a chav stumbling home after a night out – to a feeling of self loathing. Let’s face it the stark white canvas of two little African boys out in the wilderness with one of them wearing a t-shirt that reads “I hate Mondays” should leave us all feeling disgusted with ourselves for complaining about our Monday mornings.

By also placing small exhibits subtly amongst the regular features, BANKSY has compelled visitors to examine every piece in the museum, as if on a bizarre treasure hunt to find the hidden items. Screams of joy and giggles of delight echo the halls as a rat is discovered here or a porcelain dish that doesn’t belong there. Confusion also takes hold as sometimes it becomes hard to determine what is a BANKSY piece since it has been observed that many past artists have produced some strange works.

Of course no exhibit of BANKSY’s would be complete without his trademark juxtaposed riot police, whether they are skipping through the field or sitting astride a child’s rocking horse.

Banksy The Teacher?

The exhibition offers BANKSY the perfect forum to make his point uniquely through the use of animatronics whilst poking fun at classic paintings, with his own bizarre interpretations. The make up wearing rabbit and the sleeping leopard skin point an accusing finger at human decadent cruelty, whilst his budget version of Lucas van Uden’s Flight into Egypt and one of Jean Millet’s “Gleaners” taking a cigarette break, leaves one chuckling away to oneself. Through his work BANKSY also displays an excellent quality of education.

You might laugh at the sight of Michael Angelo’s Statue of David dressed as a suicide bomber yet sadly few people may appreciate what is being said here. Unless you have an understanding of religion you might miss the oxymoron of the statue of Buddha sporting a black eye and blood stained knuckles. Sadly the latter provoked anger from an anonymous self proclaimed Buddhist who in mimicking BANKSY’s rebellious antics sprayed the words “Wansky Buddha Defiler”. Aside from the bad spelling the tagger clearly did not appreciate that Buddhists more than anyone would find the statue of a bruised Buddha amusing.

This Generations Greatest Artist?

With over 600,000 visitors and counting having piled into the museum, BANKSY is without a doubt the most influential artist of the century so far. Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin cannot hold a candle to this local boy made good (or bad depending on your point of view). He has inspired a young generation, through what is really seen as an act of vandalism, to get excited about and question the nature of art.