In a Bucket with a Big Stick

Artist Aelita Andre might only be four years old, but that has not stopped her opening her first art exhibition in New York.

She is said to be the youngest ever professional artist with nine of her paintings on show at the Agora Gallery, in Manhattan, already selling, with pieces priced up to $9,900 (£6,000) each.

Angela Di Bello, the director at the gallery, said Aelita had already developed a style of her own.

Her parents, Nikka Kalashnikova and Michael Andre, who are also artists, both agree that their daughter’s art has an innocence to it.
(BBC NEWS, June 5, 2011)

Doesn’t that tell you everything that you need to know about the art world ?  I never know whether to laugh or cry when this sort of stuff comes up. You tend to find the people who defend this sort of bollocks are the same mob who can’t wait for this year’s Turner Prize winner, or Tracey Emin‘s latest con-fest.

When I see this sort of stuff, I inexplicably start humming The Emperor’s New Clothes (the Danny Kaye version, of course). It never fails to amaze me how many hitherto intelligent people get conned – year after year – by Man Shits in Bucket or Lump of Old Rope by the latest Brit Art genius at The Tate. They really are geniuses judging by the amount of cash they screw out of the art world and its followers.

Every now and then some elephant (usually in Germany) gets hold of a brush and makes a few daubs and is hailed as the next Jackson Pollock. A chimpanzee rubs his arse over a canvass and is predicted to have as much talent as the elephant, or even, indeed Emin herself (which is actually true). Brilliant. Well Done. Open a gallery and have a peanut. (Or can I tempt you with some German beanshoots?)

But these are not new arguments of course. There have been old farts moaning about new art (I desist from call it modern) for hundred of years. I dunno why we get ourselves so upset?  Leave them too it. I have several mates who despise my views on art. They get very defensive indeed when I scoff and try to tell them they have been conned by a charlatan and a pile of old tutt. I just can’t help myself.

But my doctor has told me not to get so angry any more. So I shan’t.  I’ll leave it to someone who can explain and expose rather more eloquently than I ever could. This is over 50 years old, and remains as spot-on as it always was.

You’re all raving mad.

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An Offer Not to be Sniffed At

I feel I’m missing out.

As predicted, all week I’ve been fighting off the lurgy. It had been jabbing me on the hooter, with the occasional left hook to the throat, to counter which I’d been ducking and weaving, and defending my body with linctus, Lemsip, Lockets and Lagavulin. But by Friday morning, standing in a packed compartment on the DLR, I realised that I’d succumbed to a nasty bout of, if not Swine Flu, certainly Man Flu. Yes, I had a rotten cold. Being the trooper I am, I made my way to the office, but after an hour of snotting and sneezing my way around the department, I threw the towel in and made the return journey home.


I slipped into my favourite kitten-soft striped pjs and nice wooly bedsocks (well, cricket batting socks anyway), collapsed onto the sofa and under the duvet, remote control in hand and surrounded myself with jollop and tissues. Semi-content and semi-conscious, I settled down for an afternoon of all the crap my new cable service could throw at me. A quick flick through all 183 channels revealed that there was nothing decent anywhere on telly. No matter, I had all the stuff to watch which I’d recorded over the last couple of weeks. I had no mum around to mop my sweaty brow, but I did have lieutenant Columbo of the LAPD. A whole 4 episodes. 8 hours of recorded heaven. Comfort tv and a comfy pit in which to recuperate/feel sorry for myself. Trouble is, such was the heaviness of my cold, I soon nodded off only to be woken up at every advert break (which, of course, are several notches louder than the actual tv show). It was then I started worrying.

Or, to put it another way, I realised that I’m not been worrying enough!

As more ad breaks came and went it became clear to me that I’ve not been spending enough of my life worrying about cheaper car insurance. Like Twitter, Facebook and going to the gym, regularly comparing car insurance is obviously part of modern life that has passed me by. If the adverts which bombarded me that afternoon are to be believed, the nation is gripped by an ever-present fear that they’re paying too much for cover on their motor.

Confused dot com? I certainly am. You can apparently save yourself not only Pound££££££££££££££££s with but also minutessssssss of wasted insurance-buying hell if you go to (do you know about Admiral Multicar????) and during the seconds you’ve saved there, you can get yourself onto the to sort out your Transit. Yep, there’s a dedicated site for insuring vans too. Stephen Fry and Paul Merton lend their weight to‘s campaign for car and home cover, while cheeky cockney builder from Ground Force, Tommy Walsh touts Direct‘s line in van protection. Sir Steve Redgrave used to dress up as an Admiral before they realised that as an actor, Sir Steve makes a great Olympic rower, and Vic Reeves used to be the voice of Churchill, before an unfortunate incident with a breathalyser. Ohhhh yus.


Who are these people who spend their lives insuring stuff ? I’m clearly doing something wrong. Watch these ads and look at the sad, insurance-less faces of the sad old cows therein, quickly replaced by their look of ecstacy when they save themselves £17.50 cos their daughter’s have suddenly taught them how to work a mouse. Is this really a scene that takes place across the land?

I haven’t owned a motor for four years, since I shunted my old Rover up the arse of a parked car on a sliproad off the M25. But when I did have a car, I’m pretty sure I insured it when I bought it, then once a year I would open and close that letter which told me I should do nothing if I wanted to continue my policy for another year. Do nothing, what a wonderful phrase? That, to me, is worth pound££££££££££££££s of fucking around on a dull, dull website. “Mike, would you like to weave your way around the web, looking for the best deal on a van, or do nothing? ” Er…..?

Perhaps they are right and I am wrong (there’s always a first time)? Perhaps instead of tapping away talking to you I should be logged into Morethan to see if I can shave a fiver off what The Incumbent pays for her jam jar, though she seems about as bovvered as I am. She’s brighter than me, so doubtless she’s with Diamond or Sheila’s Wheels to benefit from the fact that she is indeed a Sheila. Perhaps Tommy Walsh does a discount for fat cockneys, as I don’t own a van.

I wonder who insured Columbo’s old Peugeot ? I bet Mrs C got him a good deal.