Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The Boston Banksy and The Hackgate Conundrum

Yesterday was an entertaining day. I spent the afternoon glued to the amazing spectacle of the Murdochs being questioned on live tv by the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. Riveting viewing. Later that night I discovered a work of art worth, potentially, upwards of six figures to anyone who unwittingly owns the masterpiece.

I admire, respect and am intrigued by Banksy. I like the veil of mystery in which he has enveloped himself in. I like the healthy disregard he has towards authority and large corporations, and the way this contempt is demonstrated in his art. I like the way he sets his own agenda and functions outside of normal society rules. Most of all I like the fact that he refuses to authenticate any of his work.

Banksy has claimed that millions of pounds worth of works of art attributed to him are fakes. In 2008 a body set up by the artist himself, 'Pest Control', said that 89 street pieces and 137 screen prints had been falsely attributed to him. In recent years the number may well have escalated. To replicate a Banksy is not hard- all that's needed is a stencil and a spray can, and , as the man himself admits, many of the fakes are of a better quality than his own. The question which needs to be asked is why would someone spend £200,000 plus for a work of art potentially carried out by the young lad down the street with typical teenage interests of grime, M-CAT and street culture. The answer is simple. The buyer is taking a risk that the authenticity of a piece is either positively proved or, indeed, never proved. The ultimate motive is the accumulation of wealth and greed.

Watching Murdoch Snr struggling to answer questions about allegations, to supposedly have little idea of the corruption operating in a company over which he presided, it was hard not to feel sympathy. It was like watching your granddad and feeling the urge to protect him, put an affectionate arm round his shoulder and give him a hug. Then you remember who he is.

Could someone so successful in business really be so oblivious to what was happening under his nose? Was he telling the truth or deliberately denying knowledge in a way routinely done so in previous investigations into corruption by News Corp employees- placing the onus of proving the authenticity of the claims on other people. Disgraceful acts were carried out by Murdoch employees, under Murdoch supervision. The motive was again simple. The accumulation of wealth and greed.

It may take a while for facts to be proved, or they may never be proved, but, at this moment my mind is made. The Boston Banksy is real. Murdoch is lieing.

(Images of Boston Banksy and location withheld until purchase attempt completed. I need to accumulate wealth)

Monday, 18 July 2011

The ' True' Essence of Running.

A couple of days ago I posted a clip on a social media site showing scenes from The Self Transcendence 3100 mile race, organized by the Sri Chinmoy organization. Arriving at the clip had been a roundabout route starting with Don Ritchie, the great Scottish ultra legend,leading on to 6 day races and then James E Shapiro's seminal book 'Ultramarathon', in which the author re lives his own attempt to break the US 24hour record at Crystal Palace athletics track in 1979.

The Self Transcendence 3100 mile race is the longest certified race in the world. The competitors seek to compete 5649 laps of a 0.5488 mile course in a time span of 52 days. The route takes the competitors around one single block in Queens, New York. I commented that this race must be the ultimate test of body and mind. The difficulty of running a vast distance is compounded by the enormous mental challenge of negotiating the same stretch of road for such a long period of time. This morning I received a comment on the clip from my brother.
'Soul destroying- a freak show event that is devoid of the true essence of running.'
This got me thinking. What exactly is the true essence of running?

In modern Western society people predominantly run for three differing reasons- physical health benefits, mental health benefits and financial benefits. Humans evolved to run for one reason- to catch food. No one living in the Western world runs to catch food, so surely the 'true ' essence of running has already vanished. The nearest people may get to this is what I term 'Utility running (see previous post, 'Utility running, Rodney Mullen, success is elusive.') However the number of people using running for this purpose is also severely diminished, except in the developing world. People just don't view running as a bone fide means of transport except, perhaps, for running backwards and forwards to work now and again.

The number of athletes able to use running for financial benefit is minuscule. There are opportunities to earn vast sums in distances up to the marathon, but the talent required to take advantage of these opportunities eliminate the majority. Beyond the marathon prize money is virtually nonexistent full stop. The elite runners at these distances would find it difficult to rely on it inorder to fund day to day living.

The physical benefits of running are obvious and immediate, both to the individual and the greater society as a whole. This is where most of us begin. We take up running for the physical benefits bestowed, usually to lose weight or just 'get fit'. For most who continue to run long after the physical benefits are effected, it is usually to do with the mental health benefits afforded.

It is here that things get complicated. The mind is a complex mechanism and the predominant tool in formation of individual personality traits. People think differently, like different things. While some like rock, others like country. The same is true with running. Some people like roads, some like trails. Some like the flat, others the mountains and the fells. Some like short, others long. If one were to put it to competitors in the 3100 mile race that their performances were devoid of the true essence of running, they would certainly beg to differ. Similarly, if one were to put it to competitors in The Hardrock 100 or to someone attempting a Bob Graham Round that their attempts were devoid of the true essence of running, they would also disagree.

The thing is, in areas such as this, there are no rights and wrongs. Everyone identifies their own essence. There is no ' true' essence, only your own. That is why it is so beautiful.