Monday, 26 January 2009

Monday 26/01/09

This weekend I was overcome by a desire to buy and wear a balaclava. Worryingly, the desire seemed entirely rational. Have I reached that milestone in life that eventually comes to us all when practicality takes precedence over style?

Boris Johnson is lobbying for an airport way out in the Thames estuary comprising a couple of floating islands. Passengers would be ferried in by rail links. Given the distance, you could just as well put the new London airport in Lincolnshire. I have a better idea; get UK bound air passengers to fly into Paris and then put them on the Eurostar to London. That would offload all noise pollution and CO2 problems associated with another airport to the French.

Here’s some useful information that I was unaware of until Saturday. Take a look at your driving licence (the plastic variety) and note item 4b. That’s the date by which it needs to be renewed. I, like almost everyone else, was under the assumption that the new driving licences lasted for the rest of your life. The first batch are coming up for renewal this year and it’s going to cost about £17 odd to renew them.

I was watching my eldest son playing football on Sunday. There was the poor old coach trying to impose a strategy and tactics on a bunch of 10 year-old school kids while a gaggle of ‘competitive dads’ were shouting contradictory instructions at their progeny. Half time was funny; in the old days the oranges would be brought out, but these days is seems that Jaffa oranges have been replaced by Jaffa Cakes.

We stayed in St Ives, Cornwall, for the weekend and it’s an immutable law of commerce that any surfing Mecca (which St Ives happens to be) has a Fat Willy’s surf shop outlet. However, I remember some years ago that the first ever Fat Willy’s shop I saw was in my adopted hometown of Southport, which is about as far from a surfing paradise as you could imagine. The standing joke in Southport is that it’s such a long time since the tide came in that there’s an oil painting of it in the local museum. The other one is that there’s so little water that the Coastguard is on camels.

Charles Saatchi is meant to be in discussion with the BBC about an art X-Factor programme. This is the man who perpetrated the Great Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin Art Swindle on an unsuspecting art market. Mind you, the art market deserved it and all power to Hirst and Emin for having made a bundle from their stuff. However, once your pension fund starts investing in ‘art’ it goes beyond a joke. I dread to think what an Art X-Factor will produce. Will it attract arty types as the voting public, or will it be the same semi-illiterate, gum-chewing couch-potatoes as watch the normal X-Factor? Can’t really see Saatchi’s purpose behind such a programme, as there’s a dichotomy between what the voting public considers art and what buyers of art (i.e. the rich) actually purchase. Would a collector (i.e. Saatchi himself) buy something voted for by a Saturday evening TV audience in the hope of making a killing? I suspect not, as it would not be what critics or art collectors would consider to be great art. Saatchi, like Simon Cowell, will undoubtedly be in it for the money – but where’s the money in popular art? I guess Saatchi may invest in printing thousands of ‘limited editions’ to sell to the public at £15 a throw so as to make it affordable to the masses and make a killing in that manner.


  1. Sorry to go all arty, but the thing about art is that you have actually to stand in front of it, to sort of feel it - How will it work on TV, with Brian Sewell, Dr Fox, Mylene Klaas and Anthony Gormley as judges??!

  2. If Brian Sewell could be persuaded to be one of the judges I'd watch is just for the entertainment value; however, I don't think he'd prostitute himself to that extent.


  3. I agree, I think Brian is a national treasure!