I’m a huge fan of Banksy. He shakes our complacency. He is a guerrilla artist appearing from nowhere and disappearing just as quickly. He challenges us to think. What more do you want from Art?

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Democracy For The Few

What is unsettling about the direction that the USA is taking is that if you stop to add up all the erosions of democracy you have to conclude that the idea that the USA is the world’s greatest democracy is totally devoid of substance. The right to vote enshrined in the constitution still holds fast but that those returned to Congress and the Senate have no choice but to serve their financial backers before their constituents. How else can you explain the appalling income inequalities? How else to explain the risible tax rates paid by the rich patricians?How to explain the total failure to punish in a substantive way those in the financial sector who caused misery for countless millions through their criminal acts? Only the lone wolves like Madoff get punished. If you’re at the head of a big financial institution which engaged in criminality you suffer no penalty except a fine paid from the profits of some of the illegal activities like manipulation of Libor which got you fined in the first place. It’s just a cost of doing dirty business.
The American people have lost control of their government. It’s owned lock stock and barrel by the money men. Mr Smith can forget about going to Washington today. The ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement tried that and came up against the riot shields of the defenders of the status quo. Nobody was listening.

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Raise High The Roof Beam Carpenters

There is something very exciting about getting to the roof. A sense of approaching completion.

The inner fabric

First to go on is the Hessian Fabric. Gill found this beautiful red color that works perfectly with the outside color.

Waterproof membrane

Above that goes the waterproof membrane. The wooden slats go on top of this but I’m not quite at that stage yet.

Hessian Roof

The hessian is stretched and stapled over the Hoops. Luckily I had reupholstered a settee so had some knowledge of the quirks of stretching fabric.

Decorating the outside continues apace. Doing the masking is incredibly tedious!

I’m using a metallic gold spray paint to catch the light

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Roy Buchanan

Roy Buchanan

If you want to hear some of the most sublime electric guitar playing watch this. What I love is that he is an incredibly uncharismatic performer but his musical performance is breath taking.

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The Resident

The Acrobat Clown who will live in the Caravan

All caravans need a resident. This is the acrobat clown who will live in my caravan when it’s finished and will be included when it moves to a new owner. Gill found him in a charity shop sitting in a very tattered cardboard box. We both thought he needed a special home so we bought him. He’s quite a character isn’t he?

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Paint Job

All Wrapped Up!

A very tedious day today. I had to finish off the gold detailing. This involved about 150 metros of masking tape and assorted plastic sheeting. The lines have to be a uniform 10mm wide including the curved ones. Anyway the good news is that I got the job finished and rewarded myself with a beer! You can also see the butterfly window installed.

Masking removed

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Boehner’s Utopia

F35 Lightning

On Fox news recently the Speaker of the US Congress John Boehner said on the topic of immigration, “Listen, to most people around the world, the United States is utopia, and, frankly, most people in the world want to come hereā€¦”

John Boehner

Now I understand that all politicians exercise a certain amount of poetic license when they have points to make but this one stood out for its egregious blindness to reality. Utopia is not a word to use lightly but in the context of describing the current society in the USA it’s risible. THe USA has one of the worst income inequality statistics in the developed world. If you want to see how underfunded their education system can be have a look at this appeal from a teacher for books and pencils.

PENCILS for goodness sake.

This is the country that can afford $153 million per aircraft for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II which will enter service in 2015. You might also like too ponder the fact that the programme costs for this aircraft will amount to $857 billion. No, that’s not a mistake- billion. These costs are being shared by NATO allies but the principal costs will be born by the US. Phew, thats good to know they won’t have to pay everything. Meanwhile teachers are begging for pencils and books. That’s not my definition of Utopia. But then maybe Mr Boehner was talking about his rich donors who presumably have lives that might be described as Utopian.

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The corbels will decorate the outside of the Gypsy Caravan. Each is made from two offcuts from the hoops glued together and shaped on the band saw.

Stenciling the decoration

Because there are 12 corbels with two sides it would be too time consuming to paint 24 sides so I cut a stencil and sprayed the basic shape. Then I highlighted them with some gold paint.

Corbels Attached

The corbels are then screwed to the body. You can see the gold lines on the body. These will have decoration in them as well.

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Medical Drama

An epi pen which you need if you get anaphylaxis.

Gill had an anaphylaxis drama a few weeks ago. She woke up at midnight feeling itchy and 30 minutes later lost consciousness in the Emergency Department of the local hospital. An adrenaline shot and quick treatment resulted in a good outcome but it could have been otherwise.
At moments like these you thank your lucky stars you paid taxes all those years so that there was actually a hospital with qualified people to take care of you. Without prompt care, the condition can be fatal. According to Princeton University around 1500 people a year die from it in the USA each year and about 200 in the UK. Interestingly this tells you that nearly 5 people per million die in the USA and .32 per million in the UK.

I couldn’t help wondering if the difference in mortality might be connected to the fact that the UK has a National Health service and the US does not. Im perplexed by the politicians in the USA who have equated the provision of greater health care as ‘socialism.’ If that’s socialism, I’d like to know what’s wrong with it. The USA has the billions to bail out mega banks whose managers committed massive and unprecedented crimes that affected the global economy yet a significant part of the political establishment regards the provision of healthcare as not the business of government. Curious. Government hand-outs to big business are fine but hand outs to the poor are creeping communism.

The supreme court just lifted the limit that private donors can contribute to political causes. The system is awash with money and it isn’t given without strings. This is the sort of freedom that George Bush told us the rest of the world hated. One thing he got right then. A huge amount of money has been given to help the Republicans fight The Affordable Care Act. To a normal person the very name of the act might suggest it’s a ‘good thing’. Apparently not.

But then this is the country that couldn’t bring itself to ban assault weapons after little children were slaughtered by such an obscene object. “C’mon man it’s our right to carry assault weapons and no one can take that away from us.. dead children or not.” Another of Bush’s freedoms that the rest of the world regards with sheer disgust.

So in the end I’m very glad we weren’t at the lower socio-economic end of the scale in the US. An employee of Walmart for example. The outcome from an attack of anaphylaxis might not have had such a happy ending.

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Walls Nearing Completion

The back wall is more or less finished after slight mishap with levels! Too complicated to explain, but the window turned out to be a few degrees out of true so had to be remade. However, all is well now.

These are corbels which will decorate the outside of the wagon. They will each be painted with a design. They are made with two separate pieces of wood which are offcuts from cutting out the hoop circles.

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