Ban Kingsley

I love football. I am very fond of the work of the artist David Shrigley. I always enjoy mischievous subversion in art, and its inevitable corollary, the Twitter-storm. I am, however, at best ambivalent about mascots.

Which is why, although I’m a day or so late (which in social media terms is a decade), I am thoroughly enjoying the brouhaha surrounding the unveiling of Kingsley, the new mascot at Partick Thistle FC. This is he:


I caught a glimpse of Kingsley in my Twitter feed yesterday, but other than recoiling slightly, didn’t spend any time following the story. I wish I had. Kingsley has become quite the celebrity during his short life so far, accused of doing everything from making children cry to “bringing shame on the good name of mascots” (according to H’Angus the Monkey, something of a legend among the mascot-aware). Is that a hanging offence?

Mascots traditionally interact most with children (and inebriated adults), but are seen by everyone. Surely the best mascots, like the best children’s films, should appeal to kids on one level but to adults on another (as H’angus the Monkey does to a certain extent).

Usually, those responsible for commissioning mascot design tend to forget this dual audience and default to anodyne, cuddly creatures but Partick have gone to the other extreme and created a mascot who forces people to think after their intial reaction. Admittedly the thought is likely to be “What in God’s name is that?”, but still. And, if upon further research they discover that Kingsley is the creation of David Shrigley, they will either ‘get it’, be inspired to seek out Shrigley’s work, or express irritation and annoyance on Twitter, to the amusement of the first two groups. All reactions are equally valid and add a few stitches to life’s rich tapestry.

Either way, any mascot unveiling that can produce this on a national newspaper website can’t be all bad. (I love the fact that he crumples.)

As for me, I am now pro-Kingsley, for the reasons stated at the beginning of the article. He’s replaced the Tampa Bay Rays’ rarely seen Recycles McGee as my favourite mascot.


But I’m not sure that David, or Partick Thistle, have quite got it right. Because ultimately, if a mascot does terrify children, one has to assume he is not quite fit for purpose, even if “the sun after it’s been out all night partying” is a fantastic conceit for a furry club emblem.

Unless… the unveiling of Partick Thistle’s new mascot would not normally be a story in Glasgow, let alone worldwide. So if Thistle are trolling us, well done: Kingsley is the best piece of brand awareness marketing I have seen for some while.


  1. B Bresslaw
    July 9, 2015 at 10:02 am

    If you really are a media genius get that McGee guy to represent the Royal Family in a Global Branding exercise.

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