Glasgow promoter claims he has set famous Scottish comedy backdrop from The Stand in Edinburgh on fire

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A comedy promoter who snapped up an iconic stage backdrop from Scotland's longest-running club said he has set it on fire - in protest over its removal.

Alan Anderson paid £7,500 to snap up The ‘Cowboy with Gun’ backdrop at a fundraising auction during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The image - which depicts a child cowboy with a gun to his head - was removed from The Stand comedy club in Edinburgh after it was deemed offensive and inappropriate.

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The 9ft tall and 8ft-wide painting provided the backdrop for appearances at The Stand by Kevin Bridges, Frankie Boyle, Phil Kay, Stewart Lee, Daniel Sloss and Johnny Vegas.

But the club’s management said ‘countless’ comics had made reference to child suicide while standing in front of the backdrop, people had found it ‘offensive’.

Alan Anderson has snapped up The Stand Comedy Club's famous cowboy backdrop for The Rotunda Comedy Club in Glasgow.Alan Anderson has snapped up The Stand Comedy Club's famous cowboy backdrop for The Rotunda Comedy Club in Glasgow.
Alan Anderson has snapped up The Stand Comedy Club's famous cowboy backdrop for The Rotunda Comedy Club in Glasgow.

The logo had had to be altered for advertising campaigns. After buying the backdrop Mr Anderson announced plans to install it at rival venue the Rotunda Comedy Club in Glasgow that he runs.

But he has now announced he decided to burn the iconic image in protest at its removal from The Stand.

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Mr Anderson said on social media: “When you are having a quiet Thursday night burning a painting of a cowboy and the fire brigade turn up because oil paint on mdf makes big coloured flames.”

He added: “According to The Stand’s communications about the backdrop removal, it is offensive, it is inappropriate and it is triggering.

“They wanted it removed from their club, but strangely over a month on they still have similar images on display as the backdrops to their venues in Glasgow and Newcastle.

“So because of this alleged inappropriate offence and mental instability the image causes, the ultimate conclusion is that it should be destroyed.

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“If they had the courage of their convictions, instead of pandering to nonsensical complaints, then the painting would have been destroyed by them and not left to others to fulfil.”

The painting was created for a degree show at Edinburgh College of Art by artist Thomas Macgregor.

MacGregor, who based his cowboy on an old family photo of his brother Dave, has been asked to reproduce the club’s classic image without the gun.

Mr Anderson, organisers of the Scottish Comedy Awards and the Scottish Comedian of the Year competition, outbid Sloss to snap up the painting.

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After acquiring the painting, Mr Anderson said: “The cowboy has become the second most iconic image in Scottish comedy after Billy Connolly’s banana boots.

“The decision to remove the Cowboy, juxtaposed with Glaswegian Jerry Sadowitz’s shows being cancelled in Edinburgh, illustrate that comedy is losing its cutting edge.

“A comedy club should not be a safe space for ideas. It is where comedians should shoot down both themselves and the establishment.

“Glasgow is the real beating heart of the Scottish comedy scene.

“We will ensure that this beloved image remains intact at a Scottish comedy club to help inspire the next generation of comedians.”

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