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September 14th, 2015watch now
We have only had our new Culture Secretary for about a week but it's already become clear that he's a bit of an idiot, reports The Independent.
Sajid Javid, a former merchant banker who worked for Chase Manhattan and Deutsche Bank, was caught out a few years ago sticking up for ticket touts (an illegal activity here in the UK). While speaking as an MP in the House of Commons he said;
"Ticket resellers act like classic entrepreneurs, because they fill a gap in the market that they have identified. They provide a service that can help people who did not obtain a supply of tickets in the original sale to purchase them for sporting and cultural events..."
Mr Javid seemed to have missed the point that ticket touts are not so much entrepreneurial and more exploitative crooks, snapping up reasonably priced tickets and selling them at a huge mark-up.
He doubled down however with this;
"..chattering middle classes and champagne socialists, who have no interest in helping the common working man earn a decent living by acting as a middleman in the sale of a proper service."
When you read comments like that it becomes less of a mystery about why the banking system almost ended the world.
Mr Javid is completely oblivious to the fact that touts sell tickets for a lot more than their face value, it's the whole point of touting, and as such the "working man" on minimum wage has even less of a chance of being able to afford said tickets.
It would appear that an ability to do simple arithmetic and a basic understanding of economics is not required when you work at Deutsche Bank. If you have any money with them we recommend moving it to the nearest available mattress.
Hedging Your Bets
Over at the Guardian it was time for more slack reporting with the news that Arts Council England will be investing £3Million at Channel 4 television to make some "radical" arts programming. For non UK folk Channel 4 is a semi commercial/publicly funded TV station that makes [cough] television programmes.
The programmes will be called 'Random Acts', named for the, usually tedious, short film project that went to air when everybody was asleep.
"New arts commissioning editor John Hay said he wanted the broadcaster to provide a "more radical alternative" to the BBC's focus on more "establishment" arts."
That comment is probably a reference to the recently announced BBC arts push that will see lots of Shakespeare and other "posh" art going out through the BBC's main channels over the coming years.
ACE's involvement is rather weird and completely contradictory though because they are also heavily invested, to the tune of millions of pounds, with the BBC on the massively crap Space project.
There is no word when 'Random Acts' will kick off or who will be on it but if the history of Channel4 and television in general is anything to go by expect lots of over made documentaries and uber-pretentious short films.
The big problem with the arts on television is that television people are really not good at covering the arts, no matter how much money they spend.
Heads Will Not Roll
Staying with the Guardian for this next story as an art critic goes rogue and demands the sacking of a gallery director.
The gallery director in question is Penelope Curtis from Tate Britain and the critic is Waldemar Januszczak, an art critic for The Sunday Times (stop laughing at the back).
Mr Januszczak is apparently very unhappy not only about the 10% drop in attendance to Tate Britain over the last year but also the curating prowess of Ms Curtis;
"I first noticed what an appalling exhibition-maker she was when she co-curated the Modern British Sculpture show at the Royal Academy in 2011," Januszczak wrote. "It was, quite simply, one of the worst exhibitions I have ever seen. Subsequent shows at Tate Britain have continued the trend."
Here in TheLab™ we have no knowledge of what goes on at Tate Britain and, to be frank, we couldn't care less. What Mr Januszczak is missing with all of this is the fact that people in the arts don't get fired, ever!
The chief bottle washer at Tate is Nicholas Serota, an entrenched insider if ever there was one, and he is highly unlikely to sack anyone, unless they are an unpaid volunteer, probably.
In the arts the chosen ones simply move on to other positions with a tip of the hat and a sly wink from their friends in the right places, no matter how bad at their jobs they prove to be.
Flogging a Dead Horse
Do you know we can see you? War horse from the National Theatre
The BBC reported on the strange case of the well subsidised goings on at The National Theatre after they sacked the musicians who played the music for 'War Horse', the show about puppet horses that won the war or something.
Five musicians in total have been shown the door;
"The five, who had been with the hit show since 2009, had their roles cut back in March 2013 to just a few minutes per performance, until live music was cut altogether in March this year.
Lawyers for the five - Neyire Ashworth, Andrew Callard, Jonathan Eddie, David Holt and Colin Rae - told the court they were given 11 days notice of the contract termination but had continued to arrive on time for daily shows."
Curiously the five string pluckers have continued showing up at the theatre to do the show despite no longer being employed.
For their part the NT said that real life musicians cost a fortune and why the hell would they pay real people when they can just plug in an iPod and be done with it?
Ok, they didn't say that but it would have been funny if they did;
"The National Theatre contests that it was bringing the London production in line with War Horse stage shows around the world, which do not use live music."
The legal case drags on with things looking good for the musicians at this point in time because the NT are acting like complete tools.
The Week in Tweets
When we reached out the ACE Chairman and National Theatre cheerleader Peter Bazalgette about the story above he said.......... nothing at all.
Well, why would he?
Have a nice weekend.