Thursday, 24 September 2015

Banksy's Dismaland disregards Disability

Dear Banksy, 

Thank you for bringing Dismaland to my HOME!!

When you set up your bemusement park a mere 15 minutes away my son was thrilled. He has been a fan for many years…though that may now have changed.

My son has Asperger’s Syndrome and the fact that he ‘got’ your work is a miracle in itself. He admired it, questioned it, and learned from it.

As soon as he learned Dismaland was open, he dogged me to get tickets. (When I say ‘dogged’, Aspie’s are notoriously obsessive when they have a goal – and yes, I am the one who has to respond). Needless to say, your abysmal website failed to produce time and time again. And sorry, you may be cool and clever, but I am not paying £50 for tickets that cost £3, as the other touting websites offered.

After many a rant at my inadequate attempts via the website, my son accepted that he was going to have to chance queuing up. We worked out a strategy to make this feel manageable, so off he went with his support worker, full of hope and excitement.

Well, you know where this ends – in an interminable queue.

He phoned for advice having stood for two hours, only to be told that there was the slightest chance they’d get in –AFTER the next hour it would take to process the people with tickets, then the long queue in front of him. They were also told that there was further queuing inside the site. If you know anything of Asperger’s, you didn’t just create Dismaland, you created hell.

Perhaps that’s what you wanted. It has been said that it’s all part of the ‘dismal’ experience. Well, guess what – I don’t appreciate having a miserable reality forced upon the world I work really hard to make pleasant for a young man who faces crap every day.

Thanks for hurting him and disappointing him. Thank you for your witty cruelty. 

As your brochure says, ‘It’s not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster’.
Congratulations on your art: I’m still fixing the disaster.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Rebuilding burnt bridges: your job or mine?

Let me give this a little context, given that there have been several over the years.

You do something that lets me down terribly, that causes great pain, that calls into question everything I believed our close relationship to be, something that has repercussions among my friends and family…so I step away from you in shock and disappointment.

Surprisingly, this is not the outcome you anticipated.

Some years later, a mutual friend delivers a message, your message: ‘the bridges aren’t burnt’.

That’s generous – to inform me that the damage I caused can still be undone. Because that is what you mean – that I can come back to you and all will be forgiven and forgotten.

Um, wee problem here. How have you twisted that situation so that I am invited to rebuild the bridge that you burned? When did that become my responsibility? Because in your grandiose statement, ‘the bridges aren’t burnt’ you are offering to forgive me. You’re saying, ‘I’m here anytime you want to build that bridge.’ 

It’s clever. Even as I write this I’m almost talking myself around.

So let’s get this straight: if you want something to happen here, you get to build the new bridge.
I’d start with an apology.

But if that’s too much, I’d start with a point of recognition – of the day you did something so monumental you fucked this relationship.

When you see that, and own it, and still want to say the bridges aren’t burnt…start building.
And tell me a really safe spot to meet you on and talk to you, if I decide I am interested in your bridge.