The Diary: Poster pilfering
Friday 31 October 2008
The marketing department at the Barbican has, it appears, become the victim of its own success. Its latest poster campaign on the London Underground has been such a hit with passing commuters that the striking black-and-white portraits of this season's performers have been going missing at a rapid rate.
The posters, in lightboxes within hand's reach of the escalators, consist of a series of images of musical artists, including the singer Antony Hegarty and the Italian conductor Riccardo Chailly. The most popular "disappearing" image features the Grammy-nominated fado singer Mariza . The head of marketing, who can hardly complain about the pilfering, sent an email round to heads of arts departments: "Although this is ultimately a bad thing in that they are there to serve a purpose... [our posters] are proving to be hot property and are being stolen from various stations. I guess the upside is that people like the campaign..."
Campaigners trying to raise £50m to keep Titian's 'Diana and Actaeon' here may have been dismayed when a photocall at the National Gallery coincided with the Bank of England's governor Mervyn King announcing that we're in a recession. No matter, said the NG's director Nicholas Penny, Brits are good at digging deep in hard times. "A recession concentrates the mind. Two of our most famous paintings – the Wilton Diptych and Titian's 'The Vendramin Family' – were acquired in a recession," he said, comfortingly.
Fame is the spur
Melanie Cantor, the celebrity PR who has represented, among many others, Ulrika Jonsson (for 17 years), Michael Parkinson and Adam Ant, gave up her day job this summer to write a novel partly inspired by her experiences, and has just finished it. Now scouting for a publisher, Cantor says her book will "take you behind closed doors after 'Hello!' has left". But don't expect a tale of Swedish weather girls and football managers: "There are elements of people I've worked with, but you won't think, oh my God, that's so-and-so."
The real thing
Jane Campion (left), the Oscar-winning director of 'The Piano', is certainly a stickler for authenticity. She has located her latest film, 'Bright Star' (about John Keats's relationship with Fanny Brawne, which stars Ben Wishaw and is due for release next year), at the poet's one-time home on the Piazza di Spagna in Rome. According to the house's curator, Catherine Payling, Campion began the project at the now much-visited Keats-Shelley House by examining its extensive collection of books and artefacts.
Luck of the draw
The "Secrets" sale at the Royal College of Art, in which the public can buy a £40 postcard without first knowing the identity of the artist, is coming round again next month. One postcard (right) that turned out to be by Peter Doig has just sold for £16,250 at Sotheby's. People start camping a week before for the show, in the hope this will happen to them. But be warned: you could be saddled with a dud, as I was a few years ago. I joined the queue bleary-eyed at 6am, but by the time I got to the counter all my earmarked postcards had been sold. I panicked, bought blindly, and am still waiting for the student who created my postcard to be discovered as the hot new thing. It could be quite a wait.
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