All right, there’s going to be several articles in this, but the first one is going to be something that should make a good number of people’s blood boil.
The British Library blocks Shakespeare.
A common argument against censorship is that many themes that self-proclaimed “moral guardians” wish to censor have been around in literature, music, and film for centuries. Intimidated by the apparently bloodthirsty lyrics of many gangsta rappers? Johnny Cash shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. W.S. Gilbert wrote a song about killing off classes of people who annoy him. And many of the plays of Shakespeare can get pretty bloody; in fact, quite a few of Shakes’ plays contain puns on the C-word. Does this mean that “Folsom Prison Blues,” The Mikado, and Shakespeare’s plays should be censored? Well, no less of an institution than the British Library tried to do just that. Author of such books as the Etymologicon and the Horologicon, Mark Forsyth, tried to access the text of the play online, but the blocker blocked it due to “violent content.”
Yes. The British Library. Censored. Shakespeare. The British Library addressed the bug; apparently, it was caused by a new WiFi service from a third party. Quoth a spokesman: “The upgraded service has a web filter to ensure that inappropriate content cannot be viewed on-site. We’ve received feedback from a number of users about sites which were blocked, but shouldn’t have been. We’re in the process of tweaking the service to unblock these sites.”However, some have questioned the propriety of the British Library even having security filters in the first place. Prof. Ross Anderson of Cambridge University, a security expert claims it’s completely inappropriate. He adds: “Everything that is legal should be available over the library’s WiFi network. The only things they should block are the few dozen books against which there are court judgements in the UK. One of the functions of deposit libraries is to keep everything, including smut.”
Worker cleans graffiti, finds himself on the wall the next day.
I feel graffiti art is one of the most underrated styles of art. Of course, this is due in no small part to the artists’ anonymity, a necessary evil, considering that their work tends, by and large, to be illegal. Here’s just one example; an up and coming stencil artist who calls himself “DS” found that his first piece “Bad Kitty” was being cleaned off its Islington wall. It was created in May, but 8 hours later, he looked and saw a man already decided to remove it.
He then decided to take pictures of the removal, and eventually chose one, and, in retaliation, made graffiti of the man who removed it on the wall.
DS said: ‘I did the first piece ‘Bad Kitty’ late last year with the second May this year. The first piece isn’t my style but I have a bit of a dislike of Hello Kitty’s squeaky clean image so I wanted to use her and Miffy. My reaction to it being removed was a little different than normally. Knowing a piece as been removed or painted over doesn’t bother me, it’s the name of the game in graffiti but this time was a little different as it only lasted eight hours. So you can imagine my frustration when coming back I found the council (or private company I’m not sure) starting the process of erasing it from the wall – which I documented. Looking through the images I took I saw a great one of the removals man so I wanted to put him up in the same space. Having known they were mighty quick to respond to graffiti there I was up early the next day in hope to get a photo of him, removing a stencil of him, removing a stencil. I thought it would rip a hole in the space-time continuum or something. He came when I was across the road having breakfast, after a while and having his photo taken next to it lots of times he left it.’
He added: “Banksy does a piece and it gets protected by the council with perspex and another piece from a just as edgy artist with better technical skills gets taken down. I don’t think the council should decide on the legitimacy or worthiness of a piece but rather let graffiti run it’s natural course even if that means great art being painted over – another one will takes its place.”
But, here’s the strange thing: Islington Council denied any responsibility for the removal; it was not aware of the graffiti in the first place and the man who removed it wasn’t an employee. Quoth a spokesman for the Council: “There are three reasons we would clean off graffiti: If it is offensive, if it is on council property, or if it is on private property and the owner wants it removed.” So, basically, this guy is an anti-graffiti vigilante.
Pint-sized painter worth £1.5 mill.
Kieron Williamson started painting during a holiday in Cornwall when he found inspiration during a family holiday to Cornwall by looking at the boats. Two years later, in 2009, 19 of his paintings were sold for a total of £14,000. And in the years since, he has gained international fame, with collections getting snapped up for hundreds of thousands of pounds from buyers around the world. Most recently, 23 paintings were bought for £242,000 in 20 minutes. Prices ranged from £2,450 for a watercolour to £30,000 for a snow scene near his Norfolk home. Where is he now? He’s just finished primary school, so he can be homeschooled from here on out, that he may concentrate on his painting. He’s 10 years old now, and they call him the “Mini Monet.”
He’s earned £1.5m, enough for his family to get a much larger house for his parents Keith and Michelle and even invest in works by other artists. Kieron has his own company, Kieron Williamson Ltd., which his parents direct. Later in the year, it will open its own gallery. Personally, Monet isn’t my cup of tea. I’m waiting for a Baby Breugel, or a… I can’t find good “G and H” words to go with Francisco Goya and Edward Hopper.
Man paints in his sleep.
Some people walk in their sleep, some talk in their sleep. Lee Hadwin of London paints in his sleep. If you’re going to London in the next month and a half, go to Ripley’s Believe Ir or Not at Piccadilly Circus, and see what he does in his sleep. On Friday, August 16, the artist himself made an appearance at the venue where he met members of the public and signed prints of works he made while asleep.
Quoth Hadwin: “The Ripley’s Believe It or Not! brand is such a good fit for my pieces. I’m excited to have a pop-up exhibition somewhere that celebrates all that is different and I hope that the visitors will enjoy my unusual talent and the pieces I’ve created.”
The exhibition will stay at Ripley’s Believe it or Not until September 29.
Tartan Army storms Trafalgar Square… and fills the fountains with bubbles.
While, in my hometown, the football team is guaranteed at least one game with their rival in Green Bay per season. However, England and Scotland haven’t had a game between their football teams in 14 years. And here’s an account of the insanity that comes when the Scottish team’s fans tailgate at Trafalgar Square.
Of course, while some may consider it a stretch to include this as art news, I think it helps to consider this as a piece of mass performance art.
Before the game, fans of the Scottish team covered walls near Nelson’s Column with the Scottish flag while wearing kilts, facepaint, big grins, and the odd red MacAdder-style wig. They convened near the fountains and contaminated the water with lots of dish soap and Scotsmen went inside it.In the words of Michael Connell, a mechanic of 48 who goes to as many international Scottish events as possible: “If we win, there will be a party. If we lose there will be an even bigger party but it will have been after 90 minutes of inconvenience. It would be sweet if we could get something, a win, over England. It would be the best feeling in the world. We are passionate and we like to party.” Well, if they don’t win, they can always just wait for Jim Broadbent to use the right words to get them riled enough to beat up on Hugo Weaving in drag… Okay, that’s just what would happen in the world of Cloud Atlas.
Another tailgater, Roscoe Hendrie, 67, wore a badge saying “Proud to be Scottish” on his Scottish team shirt, with a kilt and a flag beating Wimbledon champion Andy Murray. Quoth Hendrie: “It will take the lads working together and doing as they did against Croatia to win. We are behind them all the way.”
On the impact of Andy Murray, he added: “He (Murray) has certainly given us a huge spur. Hopefully we have got the spirit of Andy Murray and that lad will encourage everyone to do their best in tennis and everything else.”
According to Aberdeener Nicola McLaughlin, 29: “This is going to be my first Scotland-England game. It is going to be great and I could not miss it. Wayne Rooney (of England) is only half-fit, so we don’t do Wayne Rooney and anyway Scotland are going to win.” And so, everyone burst into song. And everyone who wasn’t had a bagpipe in their mouths.
One interesting event came when a schoolboy, separated from his family, unhurled a flag of the St. George’s cross on one of the lions. He pulled it down when the Scots started a chant in his direction, saying: “What the f****** hell is that?”
The Scots draped Scottish scarves on several of the military heroes on the plinths. Whether they put any on the Hahn-Cock statue that currently occupies the fourth plinth was not noted. Of course, given that it’s a bright blue statue of a rooster and that the flag of Scotland is mostly blue, whether anyone would have even noticed is unknown.
25,000 Scots went to London to see the game. 2,500 of them congregated there by lunchtime. The match, a plan to celebrate the 150th year of the Football Association, is the first time they met in 14 years. In FIFA rankings, the Scots are 50th, and the English are 14th. But this isn’t putting any damper on the celebrations. Graham Johnson of Aberdeen said: “We have heart and that is what gets us through – right from the team, the players and the supporters. We are a small country with passion.” One of his friends added: “We are rubbish at football but so are the English – they just think they are better.”And so, everyone burst into song. And everyone who wasn’t had a bagpipe in their mouths.
And, for what it’s worth, England won 3-2.