ARTS / Cries & Whispers

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The Independent Culture
I HAVE a few New Year's resolutions - for other people:

For John Birt: to make a list of things at the BBC that don't need changing, and not change them.

For Damien Hirst: to buy a brush, and some paints.

For the makers of dance music: to refrain from reissuing disco hits of the Seventies with contemporary beats. If this means some of them being unable to release a record, so be it.

For the producers of West End plays: to go to fringe shows, rather than each other's, and find some new writers.

For the Tate Gallery: to postpone all the shows it has planned for the second half of the year, and instal the Matisse exhibition instead. If the full, 300-work New York version proves hard to get, the Pompidou Centre remix (130 works of 1904-17, many of them from the Hermitage) will do.

For Tony Slattery's agent: to learn to say no.

For Dennis Quaid's: to learn to say yes.

For Sony Music UK: to accept that George Michael is serious about not wanting to make another record for them, and release him from his contract forthwith.

For John Tusa: to reconsider his decision to retire as managing director of the BBC World Service.

For Camden Council: to keep the Town & Country Club open, whatever it takes.

For the Rolling Stones: to do a British tour, playing indoor venues only, starting with the Town & Country Club.

For Jonathan Powell, in his new role as head of drama at Carlton television: to intone a mantra - 'I once made Barchester Chronicles . . . I once made Barchester Chronicles.'

For Melvyn Bragg: to stop talking about public service broadcasting and start making it again - and to signal the change by refusing to do any more South Bank Shows that are co-productions with record companies and the like.

For the Arts Council: to stop ignoring London City Ballet.

For Madonna: somehow not to get round to promoting her new film Body of Evidence, or indeed anything else.

For Sister Wendy Beckett: to stay as sweet as she is, and not be sucked into the abyss marked 'TV Personality'.

For the Royal Opera House: to stop building anachronistically lavish sets, use a little imagination instead, and pass the whole of the consequent saving on to the customer.

For Kenneth Branagh: to stick to acting.

For the people who run Wembley: to freeze bar prices.

For Paul Morley: to try to make a programme, or write an article, that doesn't mention itself.

For Julia Roberts: to make a light, frothy, low-budget film, in the tradition of Pretty Woman.

For Radio 1: to make it harder for the Government to abolish it, by producing more programmes for music lovers, and slightly fewer for people who just need some wallpaper.

For Tom Stoppard: to stop rewriting other people's duff film scripts, and start writing great plays again.

For Britain's ballet companies: to take a year off from Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and Romeo and Juliet.

For David Bowie: to ring up Brian Eno, Carlos Alomar, Dennis Davis and George Murray, book a studio in Berlin, and make a record as good as Low and Heroes.

For Britain's drama schools: to turn away all applicants with improbably deep, fruity, self-satisfied voices.

For the Royal Albert Hall: to take no bookings from rock bands until it has sorted out its acoustics.

For everyone in arts administration: to stop complaining.

And, of course, for Britain's record companies: to accept defeat with good grace, and see that no CD, DCC or Mini-Disc costs more than pounds 10, unless it's a double album.

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