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Vince Laws goes in search of his missing Poster Poem / 14 June 2010

image of a union jack with a slogan painted on it

Poster Poem 'Support the Troops; Start another War' © Vince Laws

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I got tired of hearing that to suggest the troops come home is unpatriotic. The logical conclusion of that argument must be: Support the Troops – Start Another War.

I first hung this poster poem on the railings of a church in Norwich, stepped back, and listened in. Some people laughed, some frowned and shook their heads, a man of the cloth tutted and hurried past. Three schoolgirls were outraged, “Why would anyone want to start another war?” they wailed at each other. Why indeed?

One woman said to her husband, ”That’s terrible.” “I think it’s a joke,’ he said, reassuring her. “Yes, I know,” she said, “But what if other people don’t realise that?”

More recently I hung the poster poem outside a two week art exhibition in Norwich. It was ripped down a couple of times and I simply put it straight back up. On two separate occasions men came in to tell me how offended they were, that they had friends fighting in Afghanistan, that I was insulting the troops.

“Don’t you think it might be ironic?” I asked. “There’s no irony in that,” shouted the second irate visitor.

Then it went missing – at the same time as international art thieves stole works by Picasso and Matisse in Paris – draw your own conclusions. One visitor I told was sure it had been stolen to order. “It was brilliant! I wish I’d stolen it first!”

I made a new, if slightly rougher version, and put it up the next day. It stayed there, more or less, for the rest of the exhibition. Next time I’ll tell you about my new poster poem – Kill All Extremists.