Anti-tram yarn bomber strikes with new banner

The 'yarn bomber' banner. Picture: contributed
The 'yarn bomber' banner. Picture: contributed
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WOOL I never . . . in a yarn worthy of the mystery-solving talents of fictional detective Hercule Poirot, we can reveal the Capital’s very own anti-tram knitter has struck again – this time berating council officials over the loosening of purse strings that has helped pour scorn on the long-delayed scheme.

A colourful creation bearing the slogan “Imagine . . . what we could have done with £1 billion” sprang up outside the House of Fraser department store in Princes Street on Monday.

Copymade director Grant McKennan and one of his posters. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Copymade director Grant McKennan and one of his posters. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The artistic design adorning the barriers surrounding the West End roadworks is the latest effort from the unknown “yarn bomber”, who first turned heads in September last year with another catchy knitted slogan. A small label bearing the tag of Revolutionary Crafting Circle woven into the latest banner is the only clue as to the anti-tram artist’s true identity.

The work impressed avid photographer and keen knitter Mary Gordon, who said she believed both banners had been created by the same hand.

She said: “It does look similar in style. It really depends on how quick you are as a crafter. Some are amazingly quick. There is an older lady in our craft group who is astonishing. For someone like myself who is a middling quick crocheter I would say [this would take] about 50 hours.”

The banner’s notoriety was again short-lived – it was removed within 48 hours of its appearance.

It continues a long line of inventive protests created by residents to voice their 
frustrations at a trams scheme that has been tipped to 
eventually cost the city £1bn.

Haymarket printing firm Copymade made a habit of entertaining passers-by with humorous anti-tram posters bearing slogans such as “Silence of the Trams” and “You’ll have had your Trams”. Traders on Leith Walk also decided to mark the one-year anniversary of an unfilled crater on the busy street linked to the tram works by throwing a street party in 2008.

Balloons and a homemade banner bearing the message “Happy Birthday Hole” were tied to barriers around the site, with a cake baked for the 
occasion. The light-hearted stunt was somewhat soured by a subsequent scuffle with tram contractors.

Richard Dowsett, owner of Leith Cycle Co, said he believed tram bashing hadn’t turned into a competition, but added: “It’s become a bit of a standing joke. Certainly it’s not quite as funny amongst the retailers.”

Neither Mr Dowsett, Ms Gordon nor Copymade have owned up to the latest creation.

Far from berating the mystery knitters, city transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds applauded the time put into the witty blanket.

She said: “Of all the ways to express opinions about the tram, this is certainly one of the more creative. It was up for a few days, but it’s now been taken down and can be collected if its creators want to get in touch.”

Sew funny

THE mystery “yarn bomber” first struck with the canny slogan “Tramway to Hell”.

The knitted design appeared on roadworks barriers on Princes Street in September last year. The blanket is still in the city council’s possession, waiting to be claimed if the artist comes forward.