Commissioning artistic portrayals of museum and gallery directors is an interesting new trend, set against the background of declining subsidy and purchase grants - and one that I applaud. I trust, though, that gallery directors will allow themselves to be immortalised by the artists they have thrust on to the rest of us. Julia Peyton-Jones, director of the Serpentine Gallery, can be commemorated by a high-voltage Rebecca Horn sculpture which literally electrifies any rude visitor who tries to touch her. And when Nicholas Serota eventually leaves the Tate, who better to immortalise him than Damien Hirst? They would form queues half-way down Millbank to come and see Mr Serota cut in half and pickled in formaldehyde.
Computer games have found God. The first issue of Essentials, a new catalogue of Christian items, old- and new-tech, is advertising "computer games that help children develop in their spiritual life". There is Sunday Funday ("hop on your skateboard and get to church while people are trying to stop you from getting there"). There is Spiritual Warfare, where you have to collect the full armour of God "without being distracted by the background gospel music" - presumably a click on the mouse at the wrong moment provokes a rousing chorus of "Onward Christian Soldiers"; but shouldn't that be a spur rather than a distraction? And another game features Captain Bible in Dome of Darkness where, "armed with his computer Bible, Captain Bible must find his way through seven levels of action adventure and apply Scripture to destroy the forces of deception".
What awaits us in the second wave of Biblical computer games? Will we help Abraham sacrifice the ram with 640K RAM? Or will a full-colour graphics Eve hand Adam the apple on an Apple Mac and smile as he takes a megabyte?
The Beatles' Anthology continues its highly subjective progress on television. The sacking of the original drummer, Pete Best, was covered in three brief interviews with the surviving Beatles, but no attempt to get the views of Best himself, even though he is alive and available. I asked the Beatles' spokesman how often the Fab Three had run into Best since the night of the long drumsticks back in 1962. Incredibly, the answer is never. I propose that the Anthology series should conclude with a head-to-head confrontation between Best and the men who deprived him of a fortune: 33 years of pent- up aggression unleashed would make a great climax.
I am glad to see that the new president of the Law Society, Martin Mears, has a proper sense of his own presidential gravitas. In the Law Society Gazette he chronicles his indignation at being asked to remove his watch and house keys (inter alia) by security men when paying a duty visit upon the Lord Chancellor.
"But I am the president of the Law Society visiting the Lord Chancellor by appointment," he announced in a regal manner. It was lost on the security guards: "Sorry, sir. We've got to apply the rules to everyone."
"What, even the Queen Mother when she makes a call?" asked Mears innocently. "Does she have to turn out her handbag?"
The security guard sighed, unmoved, as he helped Mr President to remove his watch. "Well, Sir, no offence, but you might be an imposter ..."
Queen mothers, of course, have an inestimable advantage over Law Society presidents. Their faces are well known from the newspapers and television. And they do stick around rather longer.
Chivalry obliges me to expose a surprising error in Too Close to Call, the rather breathless account of life with John Major at No 10 by Sarah Hogg and Jonathan Hill. Recounting how Mr Major came under fire at his very first Prime Minister's Questions almost exactly five years ago for not appointing a single woman to his first Cabinet, Hogg and Hill rush predictably to the defence of "The Boss", saying that he "had not, to be fair, inherited a wide choice of female talent. Since 1964, there had been only one woman in any Tory Cabinet: Margaret Thatcher." This is something of a calumny both on Lady Thatcher and the woman she herself appointed to the cabinet post of Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords in 1982: Baroness (Janet) Young.
It's true that the Thatcher memoirs contain the observation that although "very well liked by their lordships" Lady Young "had turned out not to have the presence to lead the Lords effectively" and (crime of all crimes in the Thatcher canon) was "perhaps too consistent an advocate of caution on all occasions". But such failings are scant reason to be written out of history.
Hats off this morning to Lord Vestey, the chairman of Cheltenham racecourse, who has enriched the English language. I was one of the 10,000 who set off gaily in the crisp weekend air on the long journey to the races, after Cheltenham officials had kindly gone out of their way to broadcast that there were "no problems at all" at the course. Except for one: racing was abandoned without a fence being jumped just after one o'clock. The reason, said an apologetic Lord Vestey, was that the frost had been expected to clear, but to everyone's surprise it had remained too cold. One has to sympathise with his lordship here. Who could have anticipated that temperatures would remain around freezing, in England, in December? But as I say, hats off to Lord Vestey. He has at least thwarted a potential British Rail monopoly on weather excuses in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. He has given us "the wrong kind of frost". Best wear a thermal vestey.Reuse content