Small Object of Desire #35 – Doing a Banksy?

Yeah, you could say that. Except without Banksy’s inimitable chutzpah.

Something’s happening to the street signs in Holborn, central London, near to where I live. While they may not be quite as inventive, succinct or as well made as any of Banksy’s, they still got my attention and raised a smile on an overcast day.

I wonder if there are any more? Let me know if you spot any and if you know anything about the who and the what and the why. 

Talking of Banksy…my friend the musician and producer Shawn ‘Monkey Boy’ Lee (except these days he’s transmogrified into a tiger) tells me that once, about 8 years ago, when I went to support him at one of his gigs and we were all sitting backstage, I ended up talking to Banksy for a couple of hours. I remember the night very well. I remember sitting talking to a man in a beanie and baggy jeans but for the life of me, I can’t remember his face. I have a photographic memory when it comes to faces but…that’s how mysteriously Banksy moves. 

A bit about Monkey Boy. You’d have heard his work if: you like the Superimposers; watch CSI, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, Ocean’s 13 or the Break Up; are a fan of the label Wall of Sound’s imprint We Love You; heard Will Young sing a track called Happiness; listen to Natacha Atlas, Bomb the Bass and several ads on telly. 

And that’s just for starters. That boy’s easily the most prolific musician I know! Apparently, he’s also the most sampled drummer of his generation. I really should have put him in a post all of his own! 

Here are the covers of some compilation albums from We Love You. They feature Shawn Lee in one guise or another. Cover art is – need I say any more? – by Banksy, of course.


Small Object of Desire #34 – A 1000 Words

As in what a picture is allegedly worth. 

A phrase often deployed by the inarticulate as the gospel truth. Sometimes words just have more power to shift ideas, attitudes even philosophies. I suppose the medium all depends on the purpose. A novel can’t do what a film can do and vice versa but by and large, for me, reading the novel on which a film is based is usually the richer experience. 

Sometimes though, it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, and more. Sometimes it leaves you speechless and you find that it’s pointless to try to put it into words because the picture says it all without having to resort to words. What I mean by that is that sometimes, a picture can shift you in so many directions, awakening many impulses, sensibilities, emotions and stories so febrile and visceral that you have to go and lie somewhere cool for a while before you can unpack and sift through your response to it. And still it hides most of its secrets. 

I only came across the work of photographer Francesca Woodman a couple of days ago when I met a visiting Italian friend of a UK based Italian friend. She didn’t speak any English but managed to tell me she was a photographer and loved the work of Francesca Woodman. Read more about her

Let’s see what and how many words come:

eerie, spooky, feminine, gothic, crumbling, wasted, old, sensual, story, layers, complex, low fidelity, strange, earthy, hidden, shadow, wood, organic, fairy tale, consuming, dark, death, spectral, ghostly, subconscious, on the edge, water, flesh, paper, leaves, peeling, skin, chiaroscuro…

I could go on but even taken altogether, they won’t manage to do what a single one of these images manages to do. Sometimes a picture is a poem.