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Date: 2 May 2014

Today's Topic: Street art or vandalism?

Triggers: BBC News Report

My Grump: The double standards of police and councils when grafitti is proven to be a Bansky

Doesn't it get on your nerves? You drive around the city and the sides of private houses and public buildings are daubed with giant murals half painted over, or Timmy loves Daphne, or some other slogan.

Up to now I've always thought of it as some junkie with nothing better to do causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to other people's hard earned property. Then along came Banksy who has somehow made it all okay to vandalize other people's property, provided you have a legitimate point to make while you're doing it.

The latest piece shows a couple embracing while checking their mobile phones. Within minutes of it appearing on a youth club wall, the club leader is seen levering it off with a crowbar, to make a few quid for the club. Thus is born a row over ownership which kind of misses the point that it is illegal to deface other people's property in the first place.

The city's mayor George Ferguson said Mr Stinchombe (the crowbaree) had made a mistake, and that it's not yours after all, it's the council's and will go on display in the city museum. But not to be too tough on the club, a donation bucket will be provided for the coinage that legitimizes the whole fiasco.

Pretty soon, everyone with a bit of wall near a roadside, will be painting it cream, in the hope that Bansky, or someone equally or otherwise talented miscreant with something to say, will see it as a blank canvas and paint something on it they can auction on Ebay. This is when it will all get out of control.
Bansky Graffiti - Mobile Lovers
The best example of double standards is Bristol's elected mayor George Ferguson is quoted as saying: "As far as we know it belongs to the city."

I do, on the other hand, admire the artwork, seeing as my own attempts at painting (other than a wall or door frame) are decidedly poor. But being art doesn't excuse the painter because the Criminal Damage Act 1971 says that damage to another persons property is a criminal act, for which there are consequences.

Until this law is repealed, no matter how good or skilled your artwork, graffiti is criminal damage, a fact seemingly ignored by the media, including all the papers and TV that are reporting the stories. Where is the justice for those who are victims in all this?

Individually, a Bansky might put the price of your 3 bed semi into the millions, but all the wannabe's that are copying him are costing the rest of us millions more in cleaning up their vandalism and the god awful mess they leave behind.

Anyway, Bansky old boy, the side of my garage has just been freshly painted. So anytime you want to come over, I'll put up the screens and even install a portaloo for the duration. But at the same time, if you'd like to leave your card and address, I've got several old cans of car paint in the shed that I need to use up before they rust through. Deal?

7 May 2014 Update: The street artist Banksy has said the disputed Mobile Lovers piece should be kept by the Broad Plain Boys' Club, Bristol, on whose doorway the painting appeared in Clement Street. A note to the club written by Banksy said they can do what they "feel is right" with the piece. But presumably, the first thing they should do is replace the blinking door!

A nice little windfall for the club that should ensure it's future and that of other youth projects around the city for several years to come. Good job!

Please share your thoughts below, thank you.



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