In the 1960s a cosmopolitan collector friend of my father who had fallen on hard times took salaried employment with a Bond Street gallery. When asked how he was adapting to his new life, he replied serenely: ‘In the art world, there are the crooks and the supercrooks. I’m with the supercrooks.’
Today, he might not have found the transition so smooth. In the past ten years the art business has changed almost beyond recognition, especially in the field of contemporary art.
If you are lucky enough to be in Iowa next week, don’t miss a new TV ad campaign against the Democrat presidential candidate front-runner, Howard Dean, ahead of election primaries in the state. The ads, run by a right-wing pressure group, suggest that ‘Dr Dean should take his tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show back to Vermont, where it belongs.
Last Monday it emerged that the Saville inquiry into the Bloody Sunday killings would carry on for at least another year. By the time it ends, supposing it ever does, Saville’s shambles will have taken nearly a decade, cost more than £200 million, and some of those most intimately involved will surely have died.
Over Christmas and the New Year, Lord Hutton is said to have been at his home in Northern Ireland, not that far from Saville’s Londonderry base, drafting the final passages of his investigation into the death of the brave, public-spirited government scientist Dr David Kelly CMG.