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Vince Laws puts his pants on the line for the Pope / 14 September 2010

photo of a house with This Pope is Pants bunting

This Pope is Pants bunting, decorating a cottage somewhere in East Anglia. Photo © Vince Laws

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The Politics of Protest
As explained in my previous blog I’m protesting the Pope’s visit to the UK with a visual poem, THIS POPE IS PANTS. BBC Radio Suffolk offered to interview me if I had a Suffolk connection. I rang a friend who owns a pub in Suffolk and got permission to lie and say I could hang three strings of THIS POPE IS PANTS bunting on the pub during the Pope’s four day visit. I got my interview!

Immediately before the pre-recorded interview took place the presenter told me I could make my point but I had to say I was criticising the Roman Catholic Church, not the Pope. I was still considering this new information when the interview started, and went really well until the presenter asked me quite specifically, was my protest aimed at the Pope or the Roman Catholic Church?

I hesitated, I couldn’t lie, my protest is very clearly aimed at this current Pope, not at Catholics, "Both," I said, and then listed my complaints against the man himself. "He’s P – a protector of paedophile priests, A – against abortion always, N – No condoms never, T – trashes lesbian gay bisexual and trans people’s human rights, and S – supports segregated education."

So 23,000 listeners got to hear my protest poem = a result. But by now the pub owner had rung me twice and emailed me once (after I put the phone down on his second rant!) to insist he was mad to ever say yes, when actually he never said yes!

Now I have three strings of THIS POPE IS PANTS bunting and nowhere to hang it. Except I do. Rather than go and stick it on the railings of the Catholic Cathedral in Norwich, or waste time and money taking it to one of the Pope’s gigs, I’m going to hang it on my own home, a tiny cottage in the country, and send out a photo and press release and see where it goes.

You can listen to the podcast of the interview on BBC i-player. The podcast is 3 hours long. I’m on after 2 hours and 5 minutes, after Robbie Williams sings 'Angels.' Exercising BBC balance, as always, my bit is followed by an interview with a Catholic priest.

Keywords: subversion,the pope,visual art