Royal throngs a boon for 'chewing gum man'
Britain’s Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge married in Westminster Abbey, London, April 29, 2011. (REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)
LONDON - Six months from now, Ben Wilson is likely going to have a lot more painting to do.
It takes that long for chewing gum, spat onto the pavement, to lose enough moisture for Wilson to deal with it.
He doesn't step over it or even scrape it up off the old streets of London.
Instead the "chewing gum man" uses flattened out gobs as tiny canvasses -- over the past six years, painting at least 8,000 miniature masterpieces that started forming in someone's mouth.
Sprawled out by himself on the cool pavement near Piccadilly Circus, we meet up with him as he's repainting a few of his patches that have worn over time.
"I like the idea of making art out of something people throw away," he explains, using a small torch to heat up the gum and then applying lacquers to paint on.
"It's art from rubbish."
His diminutive works includes commissions by people who want reminders of dead loved ones painted on the pavement as well as special occasions marked by a spot on the gummy ground.
But he wasn't asked to commemorate the royal wedding.
However, Wilson knows, thanks to all the royal fans who flocked to this city to see the nuptials, he'll have a lot more candy canvasses to work on in about six months.
Kiwi anti-royal reporter dealing with the abuse
It may have been the wedding of the century for many, but not for Kiwi rock fans, apparently.
Among the journalists covering the event was Mike Garvey, who works at The Rock, a national radio station in New Zealand.
He says die-hard monarchists sneered him at as he walked around with a T-shirt that proclaimed himself an anti-royal wedding reporter.
"I've been abused -- telling me to go back home," he says across the street from Westminster Abbey.
Those who tossed abuse his way may have been aware of a poll the station ran, asking their largely male listening audience which they would rather do -- watch the royal wedding or slam their male bits in a car door.
"One hundred percent said they'd slam their old fella in the door...you know, their tackle," Garvey explained.