Art à la carte

Click to follow

Today I am setting up an emergency clinic to help those of you who have been caught up in the Andy Warhol authentification disaster...

What Andy Warhol authentification disaster?

Ah - our first inquiry already! Jolly good! Well, for those few of my readers who don't have multi-million-dollar art collections, I should explain that Andy Warhol was an American art operator of the 1960s who favoured the factory approach to art. In the old days, an artist had an idea and then he carried it out. But Warhol just liked having the idea and getting other people to carry it out. Or, even better, getting an assembly line to carry it out. That way, you could produce more stuff. Your chaps in the factory would be producing the stuff while you were thinking up more ideas for them to do. Damien Hirst has the same idea. Theoretically you could then go on producing art works after your death!

But the people who now look after Mr Warhol's estate have recently decided that perhaps Andy was a bit too productive in his lifetime and they have therefore withdrawn recognition from many previously recognised Warhol works. Thus it is that many people who thought they had an Andy Warhol now turn out to have an "Andy Warhol".

How will this affect the value of my collection of Miles Kington columns?

I'm sorry?

Well, for many years I have been collecting Miles Kington columns in the fond belief that, as nobody else was doing so, one day they would be valuable - or at least be useful for firelighting. Can you give me a strict ruling on what constitutes a genuine, authentic, collector's edition of a Miles Kington?

Yes, of course. But first it is necessary to sketch the artistic process which leads to the creation of a "column" such as a Miles Kington.

Briefly, the columnist has a so-called "idea" for a column. He then gives it to the hungry team of Youth Employment Workers doing work experience in his cramped attic, and they flesh it out for him. He then shows it to his wife. His wife reads it without a flicker of a smile on her face. She then turns to him, and she says, "Are you sure that is really the right way to spell 'imbroglio'?"

The columnist then snatches the paper impatiently back from her and transmits the text electronically to the "factory" or "newspaper office". Here, highly artistic and sensitive hands will check references, remove jokes, trim libellous asides and change various spellings (sometimes for the better) and then send it to the "printing works", where several hundred thousand identical copies of the column will be produced and put on sale the next day.

All of these columns are authentic. They are put on sale for a mere 60p. And you get an entire daily newspaper free with it! That's value for money in any language! And what's even better is that most of these are destroyed or thrown away on the day of purchase, so any columns retained will immediately be worth much more than the 60p you originally paid for it...

A reader writes: So you would be prepared to pay a large fortune for the complete collection of your columns I have amassed?

No, I am afraid not. Unfortunately, the people who run the commercial side of my business have recently decided to withdraw recognition from my printed columns, and have declared that the only authentic ones are the hard copy typescripts which I show to my wife before printing.

But there can't be many of those!

On the contrary. I now spend most of my time printing off hundreds of these original typescripts and individualising them by adding handwritten comments (many by my wife), small alterations, doodles in the margin, small drawings etc. There are now masses of these authentic columns available, all different, all collector's items. And all for sale, if you hurry.

Gosh, how wonderful. And what a quick and easy way to get rich! How do I take advantage of this?

Just send a signed, blank cheque to this column. We will do the rest.