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Banksy does athletics

When the magician and show-off David Blaine came to London to do one of his endurance feats – the one in a box suspended from a crane, for ages – the natural response of the good people who live there was to take the mickey: eggs were fired with catapults, one wag suspended a burger from a toy helicopter and flew it near his starving, not-feeling-quite-so-clever-now face. The grandeur of the event (in his eyes) was undercut by the lack of respect shown, even though no one present could claim to be able to survive for that length of time, and under those conditions. It’s simply what the Brits do, when faced with a person on a plinth. Forget sincerity, that’s how we engage.

So with London itself having been put on a golden podium for the games, it’s no surprise that some wry potshots have started to emerge. Not so much as a direct challenge to the importance of the event itself, but more as a gentle tousle to the immaculately-combed hair of the organisers.

Actually, maybe hair is a bad example. Let’s start with the video editing sprite known as Cassetteboy, and his artful reconstruction of Boris Johnson’s (Mayor of London) recent TV appearances, discussing the history of the games themselves:

And if that felt a bit pointed, how about Sir Paul McCartney’s mischievous video, in which he claims to be rehearsing for the big opening ceremony, with one slight problem at the end.

Yep, that’s a dig at the London authorities who pulled the plug on his appearance with Bruce Springsteen. It would possibly work better if the PA wasn’t palpably still on after the electricity was supposed to have failed, but y’know, points for effort.

Then there’s this frankly odd viral made by Old Spice, which mocks the aspirational advertising of some of the sponsors of the event, while still clearly supporting the games wholeheartedly:

I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking “surely Banksy has done something to commemorate the games? Surely he’s come up with the perfect twist on sporting achievement that really makes us all think about the nature of sporting endeavor in relation to world financial collapse, constant global warfare, and, y’know, stuff…”

Well he has. Not once, but twice. The first is above, and the second (and therefore the fifth on our list, pedants) is here:

Yeah! Take that, pomposity!


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By Fraser McAlpine