When I saw that Banksy was launching a Dismaland exhibition in Weston Super Mare, my first thought was “how has he managed to keep that secret?”
Closely followed by “I deffo want to go”.
As luck would have it, the dates fit in nicely with our weekend in Looe, meaning we’d practically be passing Weston on the way home.
What I was less prepared for (although should have anticipated) was that tickets would be hard to come by. Priced at just £3 plus £2 booking fee in advance, they were a veritable bargain. And also highly in demand. Unable to buy any online, I resorted to ebay listings and See Tickets message boards to source some.
I eventually managed to bag a couple for £15 each. Which isn’t too bad, but it’s still 3 times the face value. Which is annoying, but not worth missing out for the sake of an extra tenner each.
What did amuse me was that the some of the people who were selling at silly prices were emailing me the day before offering them for much cheaper. Meaning that, for once, touts haven’t made a mint. It also means I could have got some cheaper if I’d have waited, but it wasn’t worth the risk.
When we arrived I recalled immediately that I’d read the staff have attitude – it’s all part of the “experience”. The trigger was how rude the girl was on the door, followed by the ticket checker. One of the fake security guards in the foyer told me to take my hat off “you’re not Michael Jackson”. Without fail everyone who worked there was bad mannered, disinterested or disengaged. It was all part of the fun.
Without further ado, here are some pictures! As you’d expect there are a lot of political statements, a heavy dose of irony, and the inimitable Banksy don’t give a fuck attitude.
References to the horsemeat scandal. The carousel was particularly clever – it looked at odds with the rest of the park at first – being all shiny and colourful – but one of the horses was hanging and cut open and an operative with a cleaver was sitting on boxes marked lasagne
There were lots of battered old kids rides around the park
The burnt out ice cream van bore a sign that said customer service, closed 24 hours
This was my favourite piece of artwork; half of the letters that spell Disneyland have fallen off, leaving Dead
Mickey Mouse with a serpent tail
Mini “Gulf”, set on a course made of oil cans, old pipes and petrol pumps
This was rather close to home – I guess that was the point. Based on the remote control boats you play at theme parks, these were filled with tightly packed in migrants. Some were floating face down in the water
And, of course, some political and anti-capitalist statements
There was an outdoor cinema which showed some rather weird films – we caught the end of one with a teddy bear being cut open to show real human organs
And a rather jovial big sandcastle!
Was it worth it? Absolutely. Even with paying so much over the odds for tickets. Because it’s only a temporary exhibition there’s that feeling of being part of something special – it’s conceptually brilliant and very well delivered; so sardonic and scathing.
Are you a fan of Banksy’s work?