When Exit Through The Gift Shop premiered at Chicago’s Landmark Theater, the city’s hipsterati were pissed into a frenzy when Banksy’s graffiti was discovered in quiet folds of the city. What followed in the summer of 2010 was the stress and congestion from gawkers trying to snap photos for social media. Debates of mural preservation or vandalism came into play. Chicago’s Graffiti Busters turned a blind eye and real estate developers raced to catch a ride on the coattails of street art popularity. But this all consuming crazy train of Banksy hype is to be expected in a major city. What if the eccentric artist paid a visit to an unlikely rural community with simple folks leading quiet lives? Small ponds ripple high and wide just the same.
In the South Wales Valleys are the deep scars of collieries closed in the 80s and the blue-collar communities that suffered as a direct result. Through struggle and adaptation, their economy crawled forward with fringes of tourism and unusual imports. What is a working-class lad without a side hustle? This is where we meet Glyn and his best mate, Kev. Childhood pals you likely remember from your own school days of smoking and goofing off.
Glyn enjoys a self-sufficient existence far from most people on the family farm. He maintains the front of tending to sheep while moonlighting as a profitable bud tender. Comfortably playing his part in a local black market that serves its community well enough. So when Banksy arrives with a thoughtless gift for the side of Glyn’s barn, the hot take attracts the wrong kind of attention. Suddenly the reclusive luxuries enjoyed by the hapless skunk growers are gone as social media lights up. Between thirsty journalists, locals trying to cash in, and art-scene charlatans, Glyn and Kev are left to sort out the chaos and protect their business.
Author Roy D Hacksaw was inspired by his own experiences with the 3-ring circus on the heels of Banksy’s Barton Hill installation on Valentine’s day of 2020. He completed the novel in 16 days while on lockdown. Quick read and a cheeky laugh, Bugger Banksy examines both sides of the coin on guerrilla-graffiti’s much larger impact.