Bag a Banksy

Most little tikes agree that birthday parties are greatly enhanced by a decent party bag. This principle also applies to Don’t Panic’s packs, distributed twice a month around the UK’s cultural venues.

Inside can be found a selection of cultural items, tawdry gee-gaws and – incredibly – a free limited-edition poster by the likes of Banksy, Shepard Fairey or Ben Eine.

Starting tomorrow, marketing company Don’t Panic is celebrating these packs’ tenth birthday with a retrospective of 50 of the best posters, including work by Angus Hyland, Sea Design and Neville Brody.

’We have had hundreds of RSVPs to the party already, including one from a guy begging to get in by sending us a picture of his flat, which is covered in our posters,’ says Don’t Panic director Joe Wade. ’These posters seem to have been an important part of peoples’ socialising over the past decade, and they do get kept.’

The story began in 2000, when Don’t Panic started distributing packs of club and arts flyers to cultural venues. ’But we wanted to give something away with the flyers that actually had intrinsic value, and we wanted to talk about political issues as well as hedonistic pursuits,’ says Wade.

Thus was born Banksy’s Stop Esso poster and others like it. Nowadays, Don’t Panic has shifted its political remit to its website. If you don’t know Don’t Panic through its packs, you may recognise last year’s political protest viral about a pound-shaped flower bed being dug into expenses scandal MP Alan Duncan’s lawn.

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