2 Sep · Glyn Jones · No Comments

London Banksy Tour

The summer evenings are beginning to draw in and the mornings are becoming a little chillier. The August Public Holiday gives us a slight lull before those taking advantage of a quieter September descend. A time to reflect.

Training to become a London Blue Badge Guide introduced me to art in a big way. Never having set foot in an art gallery before my eyes were opened to a whole new world. A world I cannot get enough of. Part of the “but is it art?” debate of the modern era includes that widely accessible school of Street Art. I’ll accept the irony of the relationship between my former trade and calling to the era of acceptable street art.

LONDON, UK - JUNE 15, 2015:  Banksy graffiti on the side of a disused office block in an expensive part of Central London showing a woman shopper falling with her shopping trolley and goods including a champagne bottle and pearl necklace.  On public display, viewed from pavement.

My personal turning point was the introduction by Pepe Martinez to the the work of Jimmy C. Seeing Aerosol Pointillism on prominently displayed on a hoarding in a street in Hoxton convinced me that there was more to street art than spraying your name on a wall.

Over the intervening years, as the work of the street artist has been brought to prominence, periodically, I have returned to examples of his work in London.

So! When I was asked if could put together a Banksy tour around London, I jumped at the opportunity. I’d seen the work, understood the messages but needed to work out a way to run an interesting and diverse way to put the existing examples together.

With existing examples dating back to 2001 and not all treated with respect that those prepared to pay hundreds of thousands would expect, the task was A to spot the examples and B to work out a route where as many examples could be spotted in half a day could be found.

I finally settled on a route that began at London Bridge, took me to Bermondsey, to Mayfair, a long hike to Stoke Newington, then Camden, Kings Cross, Clerkenwell, Hoxton and Shoreditch. (I could have stretched it to Bethnal Green but with one small exception had set myself the task of not traversing the same piece of ground. All this armed with an Oyster Card and access to a Santander hire bicycle. Mobility and good company were also essential factors (Not to mention a bit of road sense).

Banksy provided us with ample discussion to explore the Royal Family, the Class system & high end retail, drugs and poverty, Princess Diana, the Rise and Fall of a major supermarket chain, Graffiti Wars, as well as the profusion of rats in our fair city. All in all, a jolly good day out.

After a bit of fine tuning I’ll be running the tour on a Sunday morning over the winter by special arrangement. Let me know if you want to join me.

Glyn Jones

Glyn is a professional Blue Badge Guide (the British national standard guiding qualification and internationally-recognised benchmark of excellence) and enjoys sharing his love of London with visitors from home and abroad.

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