Exquisite sparkling diamonds are forged over billions of years under colossal pressure some 100 miles beneath the earth’s crust. They are only brought within mining distance to the surface by uncontrollable volcanic eruptions and the violent ebb and flow of magma.
So it has been with the Diamond known as Bob, who isn’t actually so exquisite or sparkling, and hasn’t nobly fallen upon his sword on a point of principle in the name of honour for the greater good. No, he desperately ignobly hung on until the magma had become a turbulent lava ball of irate politicians and shareholders, and the pyroclastic flow of super-heated criticism became intolerable. Continue reading →
Rationing Mammon emaciates the Muses. Plato knew it, and so does Polly Toynbee: it’s just simple cause and effect. And government cuts tend to be cyclical: seven fat years of abundance are invariably followed by lean years of famine. Unlike health and overseas development, the arts seem to have no divine right of exemption from the fiscal straitjacket presently being strapped around other departments of state: it is undeniably politically easier to cut Northern Ballet than hospital beds or malaria nets. But the suggestion that a reduction of £150 million amounts to little more than a slight nip‘n’tuck in a very fleshy sector is a little misleading. Certainly, there are savings to be made in the labyrinthine, pathologically-left-leaning quangocracy which generously bestows public money more in proportion to political correctness than artistic merit. But, my goodness, we need to be a little careful before we equate the RSC with a bloated BBC; the LSO with the inefficiencies of the NHS; our museums and galleries with otiose Harrier jump-jets; or the local school film club or drama group with rubbish collection and pot-hole filling. Continue reading →