Monday, 11 November 2013

Keep The Cone

Keep The Cone probably won't make any sense to you if you are outside the Scottish City of Glasgow. If you know Glasgow, however, you will know exactly what it means.

The Duke of Wellington statue stands guard at the entrance of the Gallery Of Modern Art in Royal Exchange Square. For a couple of decades now, he has almost always had a traffic cone on his head, courtesy of passing Glaswegians.

I don't know anyone who doesn't find this humourous, or agree that it sums up Glasgow humour and all that is great about this city. A city that , yes, may have had a lot of negative press and in some cases it is justified but Glasgow has a wonderful side to it. Wonderful, warm people, great style, a vibrant nightlife and world-class art galleries.

Having moved to Glasgow to live just over a decade ago, I always had a soft-spot for the duke and his cone. So much that I produced several paitings of him.

So, it has been interesting to see what has happened today as Glaswegians sprang into action following Glasgow Council's decision to raise the plinth that the statue sits on  to prevent the cone being placed on top of the statue. They have said that it costs thousands to keep taking it down and it has to stop. Twitter is alive with #keepthecone chat and a facebook page Keep The Cone grew from nothing to 25000 in a few hours. There is also now an online petition.

I have met tourists who love the statue, and what it represents. They ask taxi drivers to take them past it and are dissapointed when it is not there. I discussed this when I was contacted by a reporter at the Scottish Sun Newspaper today. They had contacted me as I have painted the Duke of Wellington Statue with his traffic cone several times. I told them that I believe that the counclil should glue the hat on rather than raise the plinth. That would prevent the statue being damaged and it would save money whilst keeping everyone happy. Glasgow Council have already had to make an embarassing u-turn this year after plans to "modernise" George Square in the heart of the City cause a public outcry.

Yes, everyone loves the Duke of Wellington statue and his traffic cone: it remains to be seen if Glasgow Council do.