the Disillusioned kid: Singing all the way to the Banksy
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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Singing all the way to the Banksy

Banksy, self-described "art terrorist" and scourge of the Keep Britain Tidy campaign, has been at it again. After detourning phoneboxes, the Israeli "security wall" and Claude Monet he's decided to go after the very embodiment of 21st Century culture, Paris Hilton.

Hilton is the heir to the Hilton hotel empire, but remains most famous - some might say infamous - for the video of her screwing her boyfriend, charmingly entitled 1 Night in Paris. While this passes for a highpoint in her career, she's also dabbled in modelling, film, TV and now music.

Banksy has targetted her album, altering their inserts and replacing the CD with an instrumental remix by DJ Danger Mouse (who gained notoriety for producing a mash-up of The Beatles' White Album and Jay-Z's Black Album and is now a member of chart-toppers Gnarlz Barkley). The CD now includes comments on celebrity, such as a picture of her stepping from a luxury car which now features an image of a homeless person and the caption, "90% of success is turning up."

Not content to produce just a handful of these CDs, Banksy made 500 of the things and then replaced them in record stores across the country. Surprisingly the proprietors of these stores don't seem particularly concerned. A spokesman for HMV told the Beeb that they had found seven altered copies in two shops in Brighton, but weren't aware of any other affected locations:
No customers had complained or returned a doctored version, he said.

"It's not the type of behaviour you'd want to see happening very often," he said.

"I guess you can give an individual such as Banksy a little bit of leeway for his own particular brand of artistic engagement.

"Often people might have a view on something but feel they can't always express it, but it's down to the likes of Banksy to say often what people think about things.

"And it might be that there will be some people who agree with his views on the Paris Hilton album."

A spokesman for Virgin Megastores said staff were searching for affected CDs but it was proving hard to find them all.

"I have to take my hat off - it's a very good stunt," he added.
(Ms Hilton herself was presumably unavailable for comment.)

More predictably, copies are already available on eBay and they ain't cheap, which is surely a text-book example of what the Situationists used to call recuperation.

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