Gromits. Everyone loves the Gromits. Well, nobody actively hates them.
A couple of years back Bristol was covered in life-size fibreglass gorillas, all of which were done out in different colours. Everyone loved the gorillas. Children got all excited whenever they spotted one, and even adults could be seen traipsing all over town to tick off every one of the 61 primates on the list. The whole thing was done to mark Bristol Zoo’s 175th birthday and it all raised a load of money for charity.
So this summer we have Gromits. As in Wallace and. As in Aardman Animations being a Bristol firm, and Gromit being one of their most loved creations, and so forth. Anyways, there’s a load of Gromits all over town, each with a different sponsor, and each decorated by a different artist.
The Gromits will be even more popular than the gorillas. You’d want to be some kind of weirdo not to love them, or at any rate not to love the way that kiddies squeal in delight every time they spot a new one.
Here’s one outside the Victoria Rooms, Clifton, photographed at 7.30 this morning. So we have a fibreglass model of an animated comedy character covered in gold mosaic tiles right next to a statue of King Edward VII. The statue, by the way, was unveiled 100 years ago this summer by his son George V. George didn’t want the Bristol statue of his dad to be on a horse (as is the normal etiquette with statues of kings) as it might be better than the one he was putting up in London.
Either way, one’s a flattering representation of a worthless parasitic sybarite who in later life was so corpulent he had to have a special chair made so that he could be serviced by his mistresses, and the other one’s a plasticine dog who’s brought innocent pleasure to millions. (This is the first and, I imagine, the only occasion on which I’d had some grounding in postmodern philosophy, so’s I could say something clever here.)
So foreigners, visit Bristol this summer, why don’t you? You can spot all the Gromits. They beat the living bejeezus out of 90% of all the other public sculpture in Bristol, and indeed the rest of the world. More here: http://www.gromitunleashed.org.uk/
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