Banksy’s Valentine   

Photo by RODNAE Productions on
Published 15th February 2023

Here’s the thing…

It’s February, and that means only one thing. It’s time to declare our love with chocolates, hearts red roses, and an array of other commercial nonsense. It’s all rather lovely in a sickly-sweet kind of way. But what if this year that all seems a little contrite? Perhaps, instead, it’s time to start a conversation about what love within a relationship should look like? And, perhaps, most importantly, what it definitely should not look like? Well, getting that conversation started, is a Banksy piece that popped up in Margate on Valentine’s Day itself – only to be dismantled by the local council within hours. That’s the thing about the authorities. Broken fridge-freezers left out on the streets aren’t really a priority, until they’re claimed in the name of something creative… 

Someone who says it better…

“The alley, a public footpath that leads almost to where the Banksy art piece is, has been like this for weeks and weeks. It’s shocking what is in the pile. Yet the council can arrive as quick as anything to remove part of the artwork 200 metres away. Someone’s priorities a little wrong me thinks.” – Richard Llewellyn via a BBC report.

Here we go then…

Banksy’s ‘Valentine’s Day Mascara’ depicts a 1950’s housewife smiling in spite of her swollen eye and missing tooth, as she appears to be shutting a man inside a freezer (the very dangerous freezer, that the council have removed, and ‘will return once it’s been made safe’). Now you might think that I’m going to use my blog to complain that the authorities should have used the piece as an opportunity to celebrate the Arts, and that clearing away a Banksy isn’t exactly a great look… But, no, I’ll leave the reporting to the journalists, thanks – what I want to do, is to continue the conversation. After all, that’s the whole point of art, isn’t it? To get us talking? To make us stop, think, and see something in a new light? So what is it that you’re seeing, when you look at those precise brush stokes? When you see that perfect smile, failing to cover-up the bruises, what is it that you feel needs to be said?  

It’s all too easy to think of abuse against women as a thing of the past – something that 1950’s housewives put up with as the general societal norm, and the sort of thing that just doesn’t happen now. We’ve got our freedom, and we can work (albeit with a gender pay gap), so what’s the fuss? But the thing is, it’s still very much a contemporary issue. According to Living Without Abuse, domestic abuse: will affect 1 in 4 women in their lifetime, leads to, on average, two women being murdered each week, and is still the violent crime least likely to be reported to the police. Domestic abuse occurs every single day, and whilst Banksy’s piece depicts a woman, of course, it must be said that abuse can happen within allrelationships, genders, and identities. It’s also too easy to think of domestic abuse as only violent; emotional abuse can be just as debilitating, inflicting bruises that can never be seen. Perhaps Banky’s right then? Perhaps this Valentine’s season, we need to look beyond meaningless roses? But how? Well, if you’ve read ‘Viable’ before, you may already know my answer – the Arts. For Banksy it was a paintbrush. For you, perhaps it’s dance, music or song. For me, it’s words… 

Let’s get creative…

I started this blog to embrace my creative writing, so I’m trying to challenge myself to write a poem, short story or flash fiction to accompany every post. (Makes another coffee. Procrastinates. More coffee.) Right, here goes… 


A piece of verse by Chrissy Kett, created with reference to information from ‘Healthline’

They’ll blatantly call you ‘stupid’, ‘a loser’, and ‘an idiot’. 

They’ll say you’re ‘always’ late, and ‘always’ disappointing. 

They’ll dismiss you with ‘you can’t do that’ and ‘who even cares?’

But it’s just because they’re cleverer than you. 

And it’s just a little: eye rolling, smirking, and sighing. 

They’ll ask, ‘why are wearing that? and ‘can’t you take a joke?’ 

They’ll say you’re ‘lucky to have them’ – ‘you’d get nobody else’. 

They’ll tell you they’re the reason for everything that’s yours. 

But it’s just because you’re always so sensitive. 

And it’s just a little: belittling, fight-picking, and shaming. 

They’ll say it ‘never happened’, and that ‘you’re making it up’. 

They’ll make all the decisions, and tell you ‘who you can see’. 

They’ll explode for no clear reason, and then blame it all on you. 

But it’s just because you’ve made them angry. 

And it’s just a little: screaming, swearing and intimidating.

They’ll control the banking, and make you ask for money. 

They’ll expect you to do want they want, and when they want it too.

They’ll make you feel so guilty – ‘look at all they’ve done for you’. 

But it’s just because they’ve always been so very good to you. 

And it’s just a little: implying, threatening, and spying. 

They’ll give you the silent treatment, and withhold all of their affection. 

They’ll tell you that your loved ones don’t really care for you. 

They’ll tell your friends you’re broken, ‘lost touch with all reality’. 

But it’s just because it’s your fault. 

And it’s just a little: ordering, lecturing, and blackmailing. 

After all, it’s just that… it’s not like they’d hit you, no one else would believe you, and without them, what would you do? 

And it’s just a little bit of emotional abuse… 

it’s just a little bit of abuse… 

it’s just a bit of abuse…

it’s just abuse…

it’s abuse. 


And there is no ‘just’ in abuse. 

*If you think you’re suffering from abuse, please go to the NHS website. There you will find information and emergency contacts– including support for men & the LGBTQ+ community. Here is their link:

Enough creativity. I’m a ‘Type A’ personality–give me a list!

I don’t wish to trivialise the above with a list – so I’m heading away from Banky’s ‘Valentine’s Day Mascara’ for this section, and onto a little reminder of the different Love Languages. You may have heard of these before? In a nutshell, we all communicate, and prefer to receive love differently. 

Valentine’s Day commercials would have us believe it’s all about the gift-givers: chocolates and flowers, but there’s a lot more to it… 

The Five Love Languages 

  • Words of Affirmation – valuing verbal acknowledgements of affection, eg. compliments, encouragements, and lots of written communication like texting and cards. 
  • Physical Touch – valuing non-verbal communication, like hugging, holding hands, and showing physical affection. 
  • Receiving Gifts – valuing visual symbols of love. Remember it’s not about the monetary value, but about the thought and reflection that goes into the process. 
  • Quality Time – valuing active listening, eye-contact and making time is the priority. 
  • Acts of Service – valuing making life easier for your loved one, eg. making dinner, helping with tasks, and giving practical support. 

Let’s cut to the last eight bars shall we?

I confess I’ve stolen this from my mother-in-law, but it’s one of her many sayings that I just love. 

It’s fair to say, that you might have been hoping for something a little more ‘cute’ this month. Something with the usual touch of Disney geek and Musical Theatre nerd within me. Perhaps I should have rattled off the old ‘roses are red and violets are blue’ whilst enjoying the ‘tale as old as time’ Disney nostalgia, as we all pretend that Beauty and the Beast isn’t just Stockholm Syndrome… (Shhh, don’t ruin the magic…) 

But that’s not what this blog is for – it’s called ‘Viable’ for a reason. And when an artist like Banksy creates a piece like that, and it, erm… gets dismantled. I figured, that’s what we should be talking about… 

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About Me

Hi, I’m Chrissy! I’ve started this blog to celebrate the Arts. I’m a performer who’s taking a little break from being a ‘talking prop’, and am enjoying the teaching and writing side of things. If you want to know a little bit more about me and my writing journey check out my About page.

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