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Wanksy gets his spray can out to make Rochdale council take action on defects - but they're not impressed...

An anti-pothole campaigner with an artistic bent is trying to force his local council to take action to fill them in – by paining penises around them.

He says his artwork, which first appeared in Ramsbottom, is yielding results with the holes filled in quickly, but Bury council say cleaning his graffiti is costing money that could be used to repair roads.

Going by the name Wanksy, his Facebook page, which has around 1,000 ‘likes’ has images of his work, which is done in non-permanent paint.

In the ‘about’ section of the page, he describes himself as “taking direct action by using art to highlight the dangerous potholes that damage our vehicles and harm cyclists on a daily basis.”

He told the Manchester Evening News: “The roads of Manchester are in an appalling state, especially around Bury. I have cyclist friends who have been hospitalised.

“They damage vehicles. Sometimes it’s hard to know which pothole caused the damage because there are so many. When I’ve finished in Ramsbottom, I’ll move on to the rest of Manchester.”

He went on: “I wanted to attract attention to the pothole and make it memorable. Nothing seemed to do this better than a giant comedy phallus. It’s also speedy, I don’t want to be in the road for a long time.

“It seems to have become my signature. I just want to make people smile and draw attention to the problem. It seems to be working, judging from the Facebook fan page.”

He says that typically potholes, some of them there for a year, are filled within between 48 hours and a week of his contribution.

“Some still remain, it’s not a 100 per cent success rate, but it works. I’m inspired by the alternative style displayed by artists such as Grayson Perry and of course by graffiti artists like Hazer and street artists especially Banksy.

“It has a message that people get, but also has a bit of comedy value. Hopefully mine does too.

“However, unlike these artists I want my work to be destroyed, I like it when it gets dug up and replaced with fresh tarmac.”

However, a spokesman for the local council described the graffiti as “obscene” and said that removing it was diverting resources from road repairs.

He said: “The actions of this individual are not only stupid but incredibly insulting to local residents.

“Has this person, for just one second, considered how families with young children must feel when they are confronted with these obscene symbols as they walk to school? Not only is this vandalism, but it’s also counter-productive.

“Every penny that we have to spend cleaning off this graffiti is a penny less that we have to spend on actually repairing the potholes!”

The spokesman, who urged anyone catching the street artist in the act to contact police, went on: “People are entitled to express their grievances to the council, but offending the public and wasting their council tax is not the way to resolve the situation.

“Painting obscenities around potholes will not get them repaired any quicker, but simply waste valuable time and resources.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

40 comments

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Bez [608 posts] 2 years ago
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Toast [32 posts] 2 years ago
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I guess they could pre-emptively go around fixing potholes before he got to them. That might be cunning... Just a thought.

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Liaman [63 posts] 2 years ago
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"He says that typically potholes, some of them there for a year, are filled within between 48 hours and a week of his contribution."

“ 'Painting obscenities around potholes will not get them repaired any quicker, but simply waste valuable time and resources.' ”

It would seem that his grafitti is having the desired effect, whatever the council's official line on the matter is.
It's just a shame that it takes something like this for councils to bother fixing the potholes in the first place.

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thx1138 [64 posts] 2 years ago
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"Wanksy"  21

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Toast [32 posts] 2 years ago
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Look forward to "honey-pothole council invest £10k in creating bait potholes to catch spray can vigilante - no conviction yet, multiple injuries sustained."

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edster99 [338 posts] 2 years ago
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If they are there repairing the hole, I suspect they don't need to spend much (if any) additional effort on removing the paint.

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farrell [1946 posts] 2 years ago
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"Has this person, for just one second, considered how families with young children must feel when they are confronted with these obscene symbols as they walk to school"

They probably feel quite relieved that it's not a real one, because let's be honest, Rochdale council are having to spend a lot more money on covering up the real ones that have been near kids than on these spray painted ones round potholes.

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Gkam84 [9098 posts] 2 years ago
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Some of them are great....must get myself some paint and get the potholes sorted here

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lookmanohands [119 posts] 2 years ago
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forcrz6 [29 posts] 2 years ago
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And I will now carry a can of paint in place of my 2nd water bottle.

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forcrz6 [29 posts] 2 years ago
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And I will now carry a can of paint in place of my 2nd water bottle.

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pullmyfinger [39 posts] 2 years ago
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He used mine for the outline.

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brooksby [2218 posts] 2 years ago
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pullmyfinger wrote:

He used mine for the outline.

Really? Then you might want to go see a doctor.  4

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arrieredupeleton [580 posts] 2 years ago
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'Has this person, for just one second, considered how families with young children must feel when they are confronted with these obscene symbols as they walk to school?'

What? Of course, no school kids ever drew a comedy knob on his or her desk or pencil case.  21 21 I'd rather my kids had a giggle about one of these that them or me lose our front teeth.

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mingmong [276 posts] 2 years ago
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Filling the cracks  103

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BikeBud [255 posts] 2 years ago
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Wanksy 5 : Council spokesman 0
(3 own goals by Council spokesman)

Wanksy:
...which is done in non-permanent paint.

Council spokesman:
“Every penny that we have to spend cleaning off this graffiti is a penny less that we have to spend on actually repairing the potholes!”

...removing it was diverting resources from road repairs.

Wanksy:
potholes, some of them there for a year, are filled within between 48 hours and a week of his contribution.

Council spokesman:
said that removing it was diverting resources from road repairs.

Council spokesman:
“Has this person, for just one second, considered how families with young children must feel when they are confronted with these obscene symbols as they walk to school?

Me:
Has this council spokesman, for just one second, considered how people feel when they are injured because of a pothole which the council haven't repaired?

The spokesman, who urged anyone catching the street artist in the act to contact police, went on: “People are entitled to express their grievances to the council, but offending the public and wasting their council tax is not the way to resolve the situation.

“Painting obscenities around potholes will not get them repaired any quicker, but simply waste valuable time and resources.”

Aren't injuries caused by potholes aren't treated by the NHS?
Isn't urging people to call the police wasting valuable time and resources?
Wouldn't putting resource into fixing potholes quickly reduce the resource burden at source?
Wouldn't it be better replacing the Council spokesman with someone less useless?

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Fifth Gear [105 posts] 2 years ago
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Think of the children!!!

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Ric_Stern_RST [43 posts] 2 years ago
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Great, can Wanksy come and do this around Eastbourne, where there's a ton of holes, which the council refuse to fill for another 8 months.

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alg [172 posts] 2 years ago
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Let's hope that,like Bankski, his work is copied all over the country

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Hector Ch [55 posts] 2 years ago
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What a fantastic idea!!!!!

Will have to start doing that here now.. it's getting ridiculous....

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vonhelmet [841 posts] 2 years ago
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A mate of mine recently came off as a result of hitting a pothole in Bolton and broke his jaw, so I can sympathise with the desire to get the holes fixed!

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DAG on a bike [81 posts] 2 years ago
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Maybe they don't like it because the local highways authority is already full of dicks.

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PpPete [34 posts] 2 years ago
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Puerile.
But made me laugh - and seemingly effective.

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
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How about a variation on the theme and painting the email address and / or phone number of a local councillor in the ward, next to the pothole?

Most local councillors are dicks anyway so the artist integrity will remain and it may encourage people to contact them. Councillors dislike nothing more than pesky council tax payers making them do stuff for their generous allowances.

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Argos74 [434 posts] 2 years ago
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What brand of paint does he use? Ahem. For scientific purposes, naturally.

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Northernbike [229 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm surprised the council isn't selling these cocks to London art collectors for £thousands each

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belgravedave [272 posts] 2 years ago
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The man deserves a medal.

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Pjrob [35 posts] 2 years ago
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What a good idea!

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Dropped [110 posts] 2 years ago
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This is a great idea - I work for a council and I have to say Highways rank right up there on the tosser scale

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bikebot [2120 posts] 2 years ago
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How long before someone digs up an original wanksy to flog it on ebay?

Just think how much worse the roads will be if that happens!

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