Is this Banksy? Is it? Is it really notorious Bristol spray-paint maverick Banksy? Could it possibly be the elusive, un-unmaskable, ever-popular BANKSY? IS THIS HIM? IS IT? WELL? TELL ME! IS THIS MAN WALKING IN THIS ROOM BANKSY? IS IT OR NOT?
Here you are, reading an article about whether or not a man is the man people think he may be. But what happens if it is? Will you rush home today and say ‘Brenda! I’ve found out who Banksy is!’ And Brenda will lower her copy of Grazia, place it calmly on the antique coffee table you bought together when you had that weekend away in Rye, and look you in the eye, her lower lip quivering. ‘I know, Brenda! It’s incredible, isn’t it? Banksy!’ And she’ll reply, her voice aflutter with emotion yet somehow strong, ‘Barry, I’m leaving you, you’re a twat.’ Is that what’s going to happen when you find out if this is really Banksy?
Look, the answer is maybe. Maybe it’s Banksy. And maybe it’s not. This image is from a 20-second phone clip, supposedly showing Banksy at work on an installation in a mall in Israel. He’s a big fan of working over there, having previously made his mark on that big wall, and recently opened a hotel in Bethlehem. Yeah, take that, mainstream society – I’m opening a hotel. Someone filmed this guy getting up to some spray-paint shenanigans and when he turned around and saw he was being filmed, he shielded his face. Classic bit of Banksy face-shielding there.
Previously, tabloids like the Daily Mail thought they’d unmasked Banksy as some bloke called Robin Gunningham, and this doesn’t look like him. So… I don’t know. Make of that whatever the hell you bloody want.
So it could be him, or it could not. Sure, camo and a Panama hat is how you’d imagine he’d dress, ready for urban warfare but also gin and tonics. But what have we become, you and I? Engaged in a terrifying danse macabre, twirling around each other in a spiralling nightmare of pointless information. Has this been worth it? Has it?
Oh look, here’s a map of every Banksy in London! Handy!