Spurred on by our last Bansky spotting success, we're off to find another. This one will be easy to locate, right? It's in Stokes Croft, number 80 to be exact, and we've been to this area once before. Mmm. . . Turns out we still need the help of two young shop assistants in the local Salvation Army Thrift Shop and their google maps to pinpoint the exact building, We've already walked past it - but from the opposite direction. The mural is tucked behind the corner of the building while all around, other in-your-face, wondrous street art yells LOOK AT ME.
There's a veggie-friendly cafe in a courtyard at the foot of The Mild Mild West, a perfect viewing platform. It's lunch time and busy, yet we notice that none of patrons, not even one, ever looks up at it. Which leaves us wondering: they don't know it's a Banksy, they don't care it's a Bansky, they've seen it so many times before they're can't be bothered with a Banksy, or maybe they don't know who Banksy is. It's true that this dates back to 1999 when (judging by the look of them) most were still toddlers, perhaps it's just not relevant.
It's awesome to see through a tourist's eyes. Other people's mundane world becomes something truly special.
The street maps confuse and disorientate us. We give up on those. It feels kind of mad to walk around following google maps' automated female voice instructions and we quickly abandon that option too. Which leaves us wandering without direction, our full attention needed to navigate narrow pavements parked up with cars while avoiding other peds and fly-by cyclists. When we do look up we're mesmerised by rows of chimney pots and contrails criss-crossing the sky - then assaulted by street art. This is Bristol UK and it's awesome.
We're based in Easton. Our meanderings take us through multi cultural 'burbs and the city fringe. The destination today is the corner of Robertson and Foster Road where we'll find an early Banksy. Just follow Bellevue Road and turn left, easy as that. Within minutes we're lost.
It doesn't matter though. The rows of look-alike houses are all different, some lovingly tended, some broke-down and crumbling, each with its own unique story. We're fascinated. The afternoon wears on as we wind our way through twisting streets, every one a new discovery.
And suddenly, when we've abandoned all hope, we're found. By a cat and two dogs. Not as bright as the photos and (fittingly, I feel) defaced by graffiti. Modestly sandwiched between other people's art. Unremarkable except for the fact that they're famous. And proof that if you wander around Bristol's streets long enough, a Banksy will find you.