Matthew Bell: The IoS Diary (13/06/10)

Share
Related Topics

Sensitive art historians should look away now, for I can reveal that Jake and Dinos Chapman, the enfants terribles of the art world, have gone back to defacing works by the Old Masters. In 2003 they caused a furore by buying 80 prints by Goya and desecrating them for a work of their own, titled Insult to Injury. Now they have bought a 17th-century school of Brueghel landscape and daubed their own work on top. The work, a scene of a crucifixion dating from 1607, has gone on display in Zurich. The Chapmans have previously painted over works by Hogarth and Adolf Hitler, though people minded less about that.

***

News in from India of an ugly scene between author William Dalrymple and Mandira Nayar, literary ed of Indian mag The Week, at the Jaipur Literary Festival. Dalrymple is said to have seized Nayar by the neck and practically throttled her, apparently over a bad review she had run. Dalrymple, a director of the festival, confesses to administering "a bollocking", and explains: "She wrote the only nasty – and very inaccurate – review of the previous lit fest and I was irritated that she had bothered to come back if she had hated it so much the previous year." Happily, bridges have since been built and Dalrymple admits to feeling "very silly afterwards".



***

Why has Tony Woodley come over all shy? Ordinarily keen to make his point, the joint general secretary of the union Unite has failed to return my multiple calls to his mobile asking why he is endorsing Sky News in their current ad campaign. The ad shows the left-wing firebrand emerge from a building to a press scrum; he then appears to seek out the Sky camera in preference to the others. If he is being paid for his appearance surely we should be told; if not, why has he allowed the network, owned by Rupert Murdoch, who famously broke the print unions, to use his name? Perhaps they have rewarded him in some other way.



***

Under the previous editor, The Spectator was so toothless that even book reviews were watered down to avoid giving offence. How times – mercifully – have changed: the current issue runs a devastating review of Paul Johnson's memoirs by A N Wilson, even though Johnson is a long-standing Speccy contributor. Wilson cruelly portrays Johnson as pushy, social-climbing, muddle-headed and venal, lambasting him as the author of "thousands of 'Why, oh why?'" articles for the Daily Mail. We can't help feeling the words pot, kettle and black deserve a mention, Wilson having written many such a piece himself. "Andrew is clearly writing about himself," whispers a friend, "like Paul, he is a self-hating sinner who churns out dozens of books and articles." And what does Johnson make of it all? "I haven't read a review of any of my books for over 30 years," he tells me. "I have received a letter from the editor apologising for it, though." And does he still consider Wilson a friend? "No, I wouldn't say so."



***

An astonishing accusation against Ken Livingstone is made by Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick in an interview with MPs' news-sheet House magazine: he says that Ken "was out supporting George Galloway against me during the general election campaign". If this were true, it would throw doubt on Ken's loyalty to his own party just as he launches his bid for the London mayoralty. A spokesman denies the allegation, and accuses Fitzpatrick of launching a "dirty tricks campaign" against Livingstone. Over to Fitzpatrick: "Ken was on a platform supporting Galloway in February," he says, before launching into a rant that is, frankly, too boring to repeat here. But February? As I recall the election was only called in April. Hmm.



***

Cross-dressing potter Grayson Perry was in a tizz when I ran into him at the Royal Academy summer party. He had just insulted a prominent female academician and now fears his chances of becoming an RA have dramatically dwindled. Although he wouldn't reveal her identity, it was not Tracey Emin, who, in any case, it would be hard to shock. Here's hoping Perry is let in – judging by this year's dreadful crop of bad art they could do with some real talent.

m.bell@independent.co.uk

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Thousands of Russian troops marched on Red Square in the annual Victory Day parade in a proud display of the nation's military might amid escalating tensions over Ukraine  

Once again, the West fails to understand Russia

Mary Dejevsky
Jamie Oliver joins children as they celebrate Food Revolution Day 2014 by cooking bread, making smoothies and creating salads at St Paul's Whitechapel CE Primary School in London  

Teaching children to cook at school is a recipe for self-respect

Grace Dent
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before