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Paddy Power has been brandalising again,  this time at the Cerne Abbas Giant.

They are well aware they shouldn’t (because of the danger of unauthorised and damaging copycatting) for back in 2012 they brandalised Uffington (see below) and dealt with the criticism by donating some penance money to charity, whereupon they seem to have been forgiven.

uff8

But the message from the Trust has never been firm enough. Of the latest Paddy Power stunt they said they didn’t encourage that sort of thing but in 2003 they accepted £2,000 for allowing this, see below, promoting Big Brother and then, after complaints about the lack of respect for monuments and the bad example it set, their spokesman announced “we might have got this wrong”. Too true. How about a policy stronger than “we do not encourage”?

bb2003

A while back Stewart Lee in the Observer had a powerful message for both Paddy Power and the Trust:


Last weekend, the world woke to find Morrisons had projected an image of a cut-price baguette on to the outstretched wings of Antony Gormley’s iconic public artwork The Angel of the North. The stick of bread was the perfect shape to occupy the Angel’s wingspan, and one wonders what other products Morrisons might have filled Gormley’s emotionally resonant secular sacred space with next. A toilet brush perhaps?

In March 2012, the stupid bookmakers Paddy Power celebrated the Cheltenham horse murdering festival by drawing a jockey overnight on to the 3,000-year-old chalky flanks of White Horse of Uffington. Paddy Power claim to have done no damage and instead their own blog invited us to think of them as “lovable scamps” and “mischief makers”, the Horrid Henrys of wilful cultural vandalism.

Our last culture minister suggested that public art’s only value was commercial, and our new culture minister supports ticket touts, suggesting culture’s value is merely whatever the market wants to pay for it. In receipt of such mixed messages, is it any wonder Morrisons looked at the aching wingspan of Gormley’s Angel and saw only an empty space that wasn’t being maximally monetised?

And that’s where we are now. Ancient forests can be destroyed, if equal amounts of trees are planted somewhere else, an inherent sense of place and historical resonance translated into the worth of its mere weight in wood. It’s me that’s out of step, I am sure.”

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