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See No Evil

See No Evil

Unless you followed cricket, it hadn't been a good summer. 'Capital burns' ran the August headlines - the only warmth we were likely to get as the Atlantic depressions rained spite on our heads. Meanwhile in Bristol, capital of counter-culture, some half-hearted looting (after all we're talking Broadmead) gave way to something better, something we thought we'd forgotten or never known: a commercially naive, do-it-for-the-fun-of-it festival of art. Art that, because we're in Bristol, comes from a can. Street art, graffiti, calligraffiti, call it what you like, for a few days some of the best practitioners were in town, from the States, the UK, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Australia, Poland and Holland and the best of Bristol. And the target? A few hundred yards of 60s municipal Brutalism known as Nelson Street. Here on and about the dripping walkways 70 or more artists came to paint and thousands came to watch, dance, dodge buses and enjoy. Mike Bennett, the council's director of place- making, put GBP40k in from his own salary and the council matched it. Office workers, passers-by and tourists said it was mostly money well spent. Even the Evening Post (though not all its readers) approved. On Saturday a 'good-natured' crowd of 10,000 drank, ate and danced to Greg Wilson and DJ Milo once of The Wild Bunch - back on home territory. Weeks later and the crowds still come to look and take pictures and nobody's yet tagged the finished work. Inkie dreamt up the event, the Council and Team Love signed up and Cheba and Sam Brandt from Weapon of Choice pulled it all together.