Sep 06

Banksy Hitting Barn Door (Paris Hilton) With Banjo (Doctored CD)

FT + The Brown Wedge31 comments • 14,534 views

Sort of what Banksy's version looks like, but not as nudeyAnd so we continue Paris Hilton week here on FT with the initially a little bit amusing story that Banksy has doctored 500 Paris Hilton CD’s and slipped them surreptitiously into a number of major record stores in the country. Having slipped in a CD of his own making – well, probably a Dangermouse mix of some form – and added a satirical cover as you see to the right (except his version has Paris with her tits out), some Paris fans will be in for a shock. Or the charts will be. Or something. As usual Banksy’s point is a bit obvious, and has picked about the most obvious target he could think of.

So who is the target? Paris or her fans? Or his perception of Paris (spoilt rich kid) and her fans (celebrity obsessed teenage Heat readers)? But when you read into this perception, or at least my perception of his perception, it all seems a little bit mean spirited. The actual doctored cover, tits out (as can be seen here) is barely any different, and the song titles are not that far fetched. And anyone can do a bit of photoshopping: its what I did to make a clean version. So someone fetches it home, hears a probably competent mix-CD and then is told by the media that what they have is not a Paris Hilton album but a collectable piece of art. Not only that but one whose sale will count towards Paris’s chart position (Banksy duplicated the bar code after all). Suddenly you see that this is neither satirical or making anything like a point not obvious to everyone who knows who Paris Hilton is. Instead it is actually just good advertising for the album.

As for Paris? She might be a target, but this is a woman who starred in a show called “The Simple Life“, and is more than adept in tolerating the piss being taken out of her. And so therefore the real, actual target is the gullible media (one might think this story had been invented for The London Paper its timing is so good). And me of course cos I’ve just written about it. But then by wholly playing into the media’s hands, Banksy shows that lack of wit involved in this stunt, so ironically the real target of this hoax is himself.

Put it like this, don’t go on a shooting fish in a barrel trip with Banksy. He may end up shooting himself.


  1. 1
    Tom on 4 Sep 2006 #

    I think this is a touch harsh on Banksy – it’s hard to see anyone who comes out of this particular stunt badly. OK it isn’t a landmark in the history of humour but it’s good advertising for all parties really.

    The most interesting aspect for me was the nudge-wink response of the HMV salesperson, keen to show they were in on the joke. It underlines the sheer lack of permission PH has for her pop star career.

  2. 2
    Pete Baran on 4 Sep 2006 #

    With the exception of getting the discs into the stores (easily done with record company help) I am not sure what ground is broken here. The hostory of media celebs having successful pop careers is low (remember Naomi Campbell’s album?) and the general buzz on this album is that it is better than it has “any right to be”. Tits out is juvenile and I am not sure if it is appropriate to Paris’s own image. Some of the inside art work is a lot more interesting, but the suggestion is of a complicity beetween Paris and the buyer into her popularity which is a no-brainer. The only way this bounces back on the people actually responsible for her career is by making them print a story which will already be done to death by 4:31 (when life begins – but that’s another post).

    If Banksy had done a Keane album, or the Scissor Sisters, or Ciara, I’d be more impressed.

  3. 3
    DV on 4 Sep 2006 #

    Hey Tom, can you talk more on this Paris Hilton not having permission for her pop career thing? I kind of guess what you are getting at, but may be guessing wrong.

    Apart from that, yeah, making fun of PH as talentless spoilt rich kid is a bit obvious. I have also picked up the idea that she is actually some kind of hyper intelligent media manipulator, so this is all grist to her mill.

  4. 4
    pˆnk s lord sükråt cunctør on 4 Sep 2006 #

    i. stan freberg = quite funny sorta
    ii. zappa = um shall we say “DIVIDES THE CRITICS” (zappa provides humour for ppl w/o a sense of humour AND WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT YOU KOM3DY F4SCISTS)
    iii. barron knights = pinnacle of teh phunny evah obv
    iv. weird al j. = note he did not call himself HILARIOUS al j.
    v. culturcide = >:(
    vi. negativland = lamer than culturcide even
    vii. john oswald = FOR GOD’S SAKE GROW SOME SHAME MAN

    the “sneaking it into the sales process” is the “breakthrough” here — same as gluing a painting up in the tate* — except “somehow” it has ended up in the marketing process instead!?!

    (as noted before on FT, what banksy targets, mimicwise, he is on the whole secretly celebrating not mocking)

    *haha the thing i always liked best abt this story wz that it FELL OFF THE WALL — for some reason this image was the core of the anecdote for me

  5. 5
    pˆnk s lord sükråt cunctør on 4 Sep 2006 #

    first response: he’s turning into the MIKE YARWOOD of CULTURE JAMMING
    revised response: ok let’s say the DEAD RINGERS of the um “cheeky pirate fine arts”
    poptimist comeback: WHAT’S WRONG WITH ALISTAIR McGOWAN YOU BIG SNOB!! is this “shared assumption” or is it “as-yet-unspoken-but-actually-contentful argument”

    is that argument the point that genuinely strong work like (say) “girl w.balloons on israel’s exclusion wall” redeems the mcgowanism — or that mcgowanism is a fair-enough portal to such “serious propah politix” — or that the mcgowanism, bland as it basicially is, stands as a cost-free SYMBOL of a tougher but untaken position (kinda the way d.frost still pats himself on the back about the edgy danger of “satire”, when this was already more collusion than confrontation as long ago as 1965)?

    as a performance artist, banksy reminds me of “i’m a geezer, a little bit woo a little wahey” in the fast show — but that makes part of the point for the happy boho consumer to always be checkin exactly WHOSE pocket just got picked

  6. 6
    Pete Baran on 4 Sep 2006 #

    Reason for this is news inches, and almost certainly at the root of that is perhaps annoyance that doing this will get more column inches than “girl w.balloons”. The root of that annoyance, celeb culture bigger than art culture. But then he positions himself outside of art ANYWAY so big case of having cake-eating it seems to undermine any point he was trying to make. BUT HIS POINT DISAPPOINTS: it reminds me of Carter making Lenny and Terrance.

    Its the tits that piss me of fmore than anything. It makes it clear that this is not real, whereas the true culture subverter would have altered to something vaguely plausible LIKE I DID!
    (Actually, Hitler moustache on Hilton vs tits out on a CD cover, which is actually more likely)

  7. 7
    pˆnk s lord sükråt cunctør on 4 Sep 2006 #

    a gag’s just a gag — it can’t be “undermined” (it can be “not funny”)

    it’s when an unfunny joke is “made important” — “it may not be funny but we LEARN SOMETHING URGENT AND KEY” — by (alleged) political content that the bad sprial starts i think

    if “subversion” exists at all — i am agnostic in this — it can subvert itself by mistake; or subvert itself on purpose; i am inclined to enjoy banksy for doing the latter quite a lot (bcz to me his default persona = cheeky street conman with an eye for TAT WITH A HEART)

    (“girl w.balloons on israel’s exclusion wall” is after all just one logical step away on from “child w.big eyes” being sold on the north railings of st james’s park — in other words it is KITSCH, and not a skit on kitsch: but i am pro kitsch — which contains unrealised utopias — where skits on kitsch tend only to contain the insistent that utopia can never be realised)

  8. 8
    Pete Baran on 4 Sep 2006 #

    Whilst the issue of intent is on the whole not only uninteresting and irrelevant, with Banksy that changes slightly because even his subtlest works* are meant to be not only discovered, by identified as his work.

    ie What would this story be like if some mother had complained to the shop that tits out Paris Hilton was inappropriate for the general consumption racks. BUT THAT HAS NOT HAPPENED, and for all we know there might not have been much chance of it happening because someone (Banksy’s agent?) has got this story in the press already.

    I think this is an unfunny joke, not made important.

    *Clearly that we are aware of. For all we know he may have painted a picture of a hippy inside a guardsmans box outside horseguards and we’d never know.

  9. 9
    pˆnk s lord sükråt cunctør on 4 Sep 2006 #

    does the banksy edn actually even exist? maybe the “artwork” is getting banksiness reported/acknowledged/approved by the hilton peeps

  10. 10
    Pete Baran on 4 Sep 2006 #

    Banksy’s people have acknowledged it, and made the ambiguous – er – biguous.

    “He’s saying you can be a celebrity, but you don’t have to do music.”

    That seems a particualrly stooopid thing to be saying, even if it is through a PR. Sony grasping at the media backfire adverts upthread seems both canny and desperate.

  11. 11
    Tom on 4 Sep 2006 #

    Inside PR’s spin on it is a little strange too – Banksy says “I don’t know if she’ll even get it” – this is interpreted by IPR as B saying PH is “too stupid”.

  12. 12
    Pete Baran on 4 Sep 2006 #

    Its almost as if they were spoiling for a fight.
    (aka trying to give the story legs…)

  13. 13
    pˆnk s lord sükråt cunctør on 4 Sep 2006 #

    ok the “painting falling off the wall” of THIS piece for me is the phrase “making the ambiguous biguous” — so WELL DONE BANKSY PTEE

  14. 14
    nafe on 5 Sep 2006 #

    banskys a ledgend fuck her shes a whore, born a millionaire she shouldnt b famous or a ‘pop star’ as she dones not need that much money!! (i would only support her if she did more for charity she could wipe out fammin with that 500 million she won in cort!) i’d rather b know for doing that then keeping it if i was already as minted as she was from birth! M O N E Y W H O R E at the end of the day

  15. 15
    Pete on 5 Sep 2006 #

    I would not be so harsh, though I agree that putting more money into charity might be a good idea. There are some good literacy charities out there for instance.

  16. 16
    Jon on 5 Sep 2006 #

    Banksy is jealous of Paris Hilton and this ‘work’ is an expression of that jealousy. Banksy is more famous for his anonymity than for his work and this really riles him. The reason he can’t reveal him self is that he knows his work is at best average and he would be open to personal criticism and artistic scrutiny (which he avoids at the moment because there is no pleasure in attacking an anonymous artist). Banksy knows that he is no better than Paris – he is a publicity machine and not an artist. However, Paris has more integrity because she is honest about her lack of talent, but crucially she is not afraid of her critics. So while Banksy is lorded, anonymous and a fraud, his nemesis Paris is reviled but she is famous and authentic – the two things Banksy really craves but is too afraid to achieve.

  17. 17
    nafe on 5 Sep 2006 #

    agreed i was pritty harsh, i just think there is no reason for her to A)be in the public eye in a infamous way just for doing nothing an B) when u have that much money to abolish any fammin or disease! theres being rich and there is having way too much if u kinda get what iam saying……….?

  18. 18
    Doctor Mod on 8 Sep 2006 #

    This reminds me of an earlier merchandise alteration “intervention” staged by the Barbie Liberation Organization (BLO). As PH is merely the latest manifestation of Barbie, I’m quite sure it’s all related:


  19. 19
    nafe on 9 Sep 2006 #

    jealous of paris hilton r u on e or somthing, no hes not the reason hes is undercover jonny boy is the fact he’ll be knicked, afetr all he is a wanted man his statment is about this false stardom and stupid people whom worship them. Paris being authentic mate u must give me the shit ur one cos the words u use mate couldnt be placd wrong. ps some1 cant b a fraud when they are genuine for what they say and do……………u obviouslhave no clue JEALOUS thats a good 1 tho

  20. 20
    profpixel on 1 Oct 2006 #

    I have one of the Banksy/Hilton CD’s.

    I was wondering if there is any interest in the purchase of these?

    The CD has the serial number R049-1712-5155, which seems the best way to tell it is genuine?

    If you could give me any more info I would appreciate it.

    Kind Regards,
    Pete B

  21. 21
    jonno1973 on 20 Nov 2006 #


    I’d be intersted in purchasing.

  22. 22
    paris hilton fan on 14 Jan 2007 #

    I love paris hilton

  23. 23
    AlcoholTestInfo on 4 Aug 2007 #

    Is Paris talented enough to come out with a debut CD? Come on everybody, don’t you think that while Paris was in jail she practiced her singing hours upon hours each day? Sadly, as irresponsible as Paris has been about drinking while driving, her lack of character probably won’t make much difference in the “show biz” world because they don’t care whether she can actually sing or not. If Hollywood thinks they can make Paris a major recording “artist,” their hype and BS machine will make it happen. And the more people who create doctored Paris Hilton CDs, the more free PR she will receive. It sounds to me like Paris is as dumb as a fox.

  24. 24
    Al Ewing on 4 Aug 2007 #

    Paris hired Banksy… on a grassy knoll!

    I’m interested in knowing if the under-the-table sale of the doctored CD as detailed above ever went anywhere or what the price was. Did any of these ever make it to eBay?

  25. 25
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  26. 26
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  27. 27
    Peter on 12 Sep 2007 #

    In answer to Vic’s question. Yes.
    Here is one which is currently going for £227:

  28. 28
    pete on 13 Sep 2007 #

    Now up to £260…

  29. 29
    Pete on 17 Sep 2007 #

    OMG, it eventually went for £800.

    (I wish I had gone to HMV now, rather than write a snidey piece about it).

  30. 30
    Alex on 6 Jan 2008 #

    If someone wants to save 800 quid you can listen to the mp3 and view the video of him planting them here.

  31. 31
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