Apparently the people who bought the old Whitehouse Pub, on the corner of Berry Street and Duke Street, are going to paint over the Banksy-painted rat that has adorned it for the best part of a decade.
I’m unsure whether this is a bit of publicity stunt, or simply because of twattery.
Although there are reports elsewhere that suggest businessman Billy Palmer wants to keep the mural and convert the pub into a shop and bar, The Grauniad reports that Palmer wants to get rid of the rat and turn the building into ‘luxury flats’.
I suspect, and I hope I’m right, that this is a bit of scouse ribbing on the part of Palmer, who presumably know how well talk of more ‘luxury flats’ will go down in Chinatown, especially if that involves destroying some quite brilliant public art.
The Grauniad also reports that the rat on the side of the Whitehouse is ‘holding a machine gun’, which suggests a spot of remote copy filing to me, so I don’t know how much faith we can put in its reporting on this matter.
If he’s serious Palmer wouldn’t be the first to try to destroy the Banksy rat – which is clearly holding a marker pen that it has used to scrawl all over the building, for anyone doubting the meaning of the image – after Liverpool’s idiot City Council decided it was going to destroy it a few years ago.
Personally I’m all for keeping the artwork as is, derelict building and all. I’ve watched with dismay as the Ropewalks veers towards another cut-and-shut luxury flat and drinking pit grid.
The council has recently put together some sort of steering group to make sure Ropewalks doesn’t fall into disrepair, though I don’t think they’re talking about the disgusting state of Concert Square and Slater Street on a Friday night.
Bars and binge drinking may be the price of progress, but there are 101 derelict buildings in Ropewalks that the council could look at before its starts OK-ing the destruction of public works of art that bring something unique to the area, beyond the array of Jackson Pollocks that pebble dash the area in the early hours.
The other two corners of Berry Street and Duke Street would be a start.
• Image courtesy of Dave the Pap