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StrangeSights: Banksy in Ukraine; stay in a shoe; and, cleaning sneakers for a good cause…

Ukraine Borodianka Banksy

DAVID ADAMS provides a round-up of some stories on the odder side of life… 

Ukraine Borodianka Banksy

A work of world-renowned graffiti artist Banksy is seen at the wall of destroyed building in the Ukrainian town of Borodianka, which had been occupied by Russia until April and heavily damaged by fighting in the early days of Russian invasion, on 12th November. PICTURE: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

Renowned graffiti artist Banksy unveiled a work in the Ukrainian town of Borodyanka, which had been occupied by Russia until April and heavily damaged by fighting in the early days of Moscow’s invasion of its neighbour. Banksy posted a photo of the mural – a girl gymnast performing a handstand on a small pile of concrete rubble – on Instagram late on Friday. The work was painted onto the wall of a building destroyed by shelling. At least one other piece of new graffiti in Banksy’s signature style, although not posted by the mercurial artist on social media, was spotted in Borodyanka, portraying a man being flipped in judo by a much smaller child. The symbolism of that piece was unmistakeable: an allusion to the Biblical story of David and Goliath, the unlikely triumph of the underdog, as well as a nod to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s much-publicised love of the Japanese martial art. Several curious onlookers came to see the artwork, some of whom had made the 60 kilometres drive from Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv. “This is such a historic moment for our country, that people like Banksy and other famous figures are coming here and showing the world what Russia has done to us,” said one of the visiting Kyivans, 31-year-old Alina Mazur. – GLEB GARANICH/Reuters


US The Shoe House

The Shoe House as seen on the Vrbo website.

“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe…” Now it’s your turn with news that a shoe-shaped house in the US state of Pennsylvania has been listed for short-term rentals. Waylon and Naomi Brown, who purchased Hellam Township’s Haines Shoe House in July, announced recently that the property had been listed on holiday rental website Vrbo.The house was built in 1948 to promote “Shoe Wizard” Mahlon Haines’ chain of shoe stores and it has since seen several different incarnations, including serving as a honeymoon suite, an ice cream shop and a tourist attraction. It has been renovated by the Browns and comes with three bedrooms filled with shoe memorabilia which have been wonderfully named “Shoelace Space,” “Instep Suite” and “Ankle Abode”. “We really tried to help preserve some of the original features, like the stained-glass windows, in order to make sure that it lives on for many more years for people to enjoy,” Naomi Brown told local TV station WGAL8.



Some 325 people gathered at Boxpark in Wembley, north-west London on Sunday all with a single aim – cleaning sneakers. Crep Protect, a company specialising in sneaker care products, organised the event which was watched over by Guinness World Records who presented the company with a certificate validating the effort as the “most people cleaning a pair of trainers/sneakers simultaneously”. Their efforts didn’t go to waste. Following the cleaning, all of the shoes were donated to ShoeAid UK, a charity that helps reduce footwear poverty and waste by providing shoes to those who need them most.



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