Monday, 15 August 2011

Exit Through The Gift Shop

The highlight of Channel 4's recent street art weekend was the new Banksy movie 'Exit Through The Gift Shop'. It purports to tell the story of a video-maker from LA who rises to fame as a clueless street artist and features not just Banksy (in hoody of course) but also US artist Shepard Fairey, best known for his Obama election poster. It really is a must-see, but like so many Banksy exploits, maintains a strong prankster element. Is there really a Mr Brainwash or is it all a big hoax ? Look around on the web and no-one seems to be sure.

A different face of Banksy was shown on the Sunday night documentary ‘Graffiti Wars’, which tells the story of his alleged feud with graffiti artist King Robbo. It’s an amusing tale of clashing egos and spray cans at ten paces, with some interesting points to make on the differences between stencil and freehand work and even street art and vandalism. Sadly, there is a shocking twist at the end when it is revealed that Robbo was badly beaten up just when he was on the verge of making it in the commercial art world. He is currently in hospital in a deep coma. As the tags say on walls all over London: ‘Get well soon Robbo !’

Durham City Open Mic 10/8/11 – The Seven Impressions

1 – Crossing Framwellgate Bridge at around 9.45 in the evening, I see Durham Cathedral silhouetted by a full moon behind the western towers. Storm clouds scud past at speed adding to the Goth vibe. Was that Nosferatu gliding through the graveyard ?

2 – Enter The Market Tavern to the full-on strumming of a visitor from Croxdale. He does a great version of ‘Blaydon Races’ later in the evening. Proceeding to the bar, I see that Adnams Broadside is on. I consume in volume.

3 – Chatting in the back room with Nick G and Fishburn Mafia to a backdrop of public disorder scenes on BBC News 24. Nick gets up to play and turns in a killer version of Half Man Half Biscuit's ‘Trumpton Riots’.

4 – My turn and I stumble towards the stage. Have difficulty remembering the lyrics to my first tune. I get up to speed and finish my set with a robust version of ‘This Wheel’s On Fire’, pitched somewhere in between the Julie Driscoll and Siouxsie & The Banshees versions.

5 – Alan surprises me with two obscure classics: The Byrds’ ‘5D’ and The Hollies’ ‘King Midas In Reverse’. Pretty psychedelic or what ?

6 – On stage with Cr√®me Brulee, we deliver a scorching ‘I Fought The Law’. After four days of rioting, our audience expects nothing less !

7 – Wake up next day with banging headache.