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There are those who believe graffiti is an art form and there are those who see it as vandalism. A local city council recently outlawed graffiti and hopes to wipe it all off its province’s walls. If you will excuse the pun (you probably shouldn’t) the writing is on the wall for graffiti artists.

Now, allowance will only be made for so-called ‘mural art’; those who want to make a statement may do so now only with a permit, which is a bit like telling a liberal newspaper they are free to publish stories about the government as long as they leave out all the bits about ministers buying gold-plated Lamborghinis with taxpayer’s money.

That said, you can see where the council is coming from – the difference between graffiti and mural art may be a hair-splitting affair, but it is worthwhile to point out the difference between a teenager writing something rude about his geography teacher in the tunnel at Kenilworth station and a talented artist painting a commissioned work on a chosen location in the city centre.

To offer another queasy pun: Where, indeed, does one draw the line? Does the poem on the toilet door at Cavendish Square, the one about genitalia with the accompanying diagram qualify as mural art? Surely not. But what, then, of the work of Basquiat, who became famous in the 90s for his (illegal) graffiti on the walls of Paris? Would the Berlin Wall have been as iconic had it been bare?

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