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Art

Back in the good old days, just before the Millennium, I rented for a very short period a shop/workshop in Ruthin Craft Centre, North Wales (don’t ask !). One day a highly intelligent master criminal walked around the Centre to case the joint and upon seeing the café till open decided grab what he could from the till and make his getaway into the nearby Snowdonian mountains on his motorbike.

A brilliant plan destined to work except that he had forgotten that he had first chained his bike to a lampost before coming in just in case someone stole it! The upshot was that Mr Big hid in the bushes surrounded by jeering Centre residents until the ‘boys in blue’ came to collect him in the car with the flashing lights. He was later charged with leaving his house without his brain.

On another occasion, this time in Ireland in 2008 a large group of ladies and one chap who just happened to be visiting the area from a certain central European country came ‘steaming’ into my shop and left with a lovely Regency period inlaid rosewood box. Sadly for them one of the ladies had an accident on leaving and the said box fell from under her voluminous skirts just as a local Garda sergeant was passing, thus ending their Irish shopping trip rather abruptly. Now, I hear some little toe-rag has nicked a London wall. Not a whole wall but just a bit of it, you understand, the bit with some graffiti sprayed on by a Mr Banksy whoever he is.

I’m not about to discuss the artistic merits or otherwise of Mr Banksy’s artwork, that’s for others more qualified than myself. My point is, how do you steal a public wall in Wood Green, London, and having stolen it how do you get it to America to sell it ? Whenever I have tried DIY on a wall it all either breaks apart into little bits or comes away in one huge concrete lump that even Popeye couldn’t lift. It also makes a lot of noise including some very unsavoury words when the heavy bits fall on my foot. Another thing. How do you get it to the USA ? Those of us who have flown cattle class on ‘Bryan Unfairways’ or ‘ Sleazy-jet’ know that a bag even a milligram overweight will bring about an extra surcharge so great that we will still be paying it off with our pensions .

Now I didn’t get where I am today without being an avid fan of Inspector Morse and his side-kick Lewis. So, mulling all this over in the pub with a glass or two of the Irish Black Stuff in hand I have come up with a cunning theory.

What if the wall wasn’t stolen and sent across the pond at all? Think about this for a second or two whilst you buy the next round. As I understand nobody knows who Banksy is (excepting of course his agent, his bankers, his mum, dad and lots & lots of ‘arty’ types all in on the joke). I also given to understand that his art works are spray painted using pre-cut stencils, not exactly the method used by Michaelangelo on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, but hey ho, that’s progress. What if, and I’m only thinking through the bottom of a near empty glass now, that the original graffiti on the London wall was deliberately obliterated and a new one created on a bit of old wall in the USA by Mr Banksy using his original stencils ? After all Mr Banksy is not going to say anything if he wants to stay anonymous and it’s not really in the interest of the Auction House to comment ,is it?

Whilst writing this I have just learned that this bit of wall has now been withdrawn from auction and the shop in Woodgreen, London wants it back. ‘Poundland’ if you will, couldn’t make that up in the circumstances, could you ?

If any Mr Banksy is reading this (could be dozens out there for all we know all armed with spray paint and stencils at the ready) then I recommend Co. Wexford as a perfect place for a holiday. Sunny South East Ireland, vast unspoiled empty beaches, best pubs in the British Isles and lots and lots of lovely walls. The one around my own house is stone and constructed around 1840 at the height of the Irish famine. Constructed by the starving it remains a sad and poignant memory to those tragic unnamed folk who strove to clear the land. My neighbour however has a massive new wall in rendered modern blockwork and is just perfect for your art works. If you did one on his wall he could knock it down and flog into America thus doing us both a great favour.

How about it Banksy, I’ll buy you a couple of pints if you do …….