The report, released last week via the Reuters news agency, criticises the low standard of artwork found on 87% of the town's buildings. And in a stark warning to would-be street artists, leading local officials are predicting hard times ahead if Keynsham fails in it's bid to land the Award.
I spoke to the EU chief responsible for the report, Msr Sebastien Champignon, over Espresso in a Starbucks in Brussels. He told me: "Zis is all true mon ami. We came to zees place for ze pub closure
reasons, yet it is your inadequate graffiti which is causing us ze most concern. Quite frankly, it ees very, very, very bad. Like urine. But much worse"
Keynsham's crap efforts
And now leading Keynsham arts expert David Ffordinghamm-Quive has voiced his fears that unless something can be done to educate the vandals, all hope of the Culture Award is lost. He told us: "I've spoken to the teachers at both comprehensive schools, with a view to educating these louts with the basic principles of design and technique. Unfortunately, I visited during an in-service day, but the cleaning lady told me she'd pass the message on to the art department when they got back from Amsterdam."
Winning the 2009 Culture Award would put Keynsham firmly on the map of European dormitory towns, an accolade which would bring increased revenue to the town via tourism and television rights. One anonymous councillor told us: "That money was earmarked for new office chairs in the Town Hall. It's a disgrace. These pesky kids are displaying a complete lack of flair in their ink-work, and, as a result, it's the town that suffers. Well, the councillors anyhow."
Keynsham has seen an upturn in wanton destruction during the first half of 2004. Recently vandals demolished a listed building on Bristol Road, while Edward Joll's shop was broken into last month - the culprits leaving the premises strewn with tanning beds. Even the Keynsham Observer has been hit, with the 'newspaper' showing signs of artistic vandalism since early May.