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Well, no one can say it's lightweight

TWO huge rectangular blocks of forged steel may not be your idea of art, but they sure are heavy. The Tate has opened its Duveen Galleries to a sculpture, Weight and Measure 1992, by the American artist Richard Serra which consists of 'sarcophagi' of 39 tons and 35 tons. Getting these in was a job: the main doors had to be removed for three days and the floor of the galleries reinforced. Total cost pounds 90,000 - at a time when the gallery is crying for funds to repair the fabric of its buildings, particularly the rotunda's roof. The money was raised, says the Tate, from the Henry Moore Foundation and corporate members. Yesterday Serra, in New York, said that he never takes fees for exhibitions: 'Museums don't pay artists for the tubes of paint or the canvas they use.' The Tate, he added, has the most 'thoughtful, considerate, considered and polite people I have met, unique in that they treat artists with a great deal of respect'. And new floors.

AN EXCITED press release arrives from the Department of Trade and Industry, the unemployment ministry, on a visit by the junior minister Baroness Denton to give 'a boost to Birmingham businesses'. So what did she do? Opened the Birmingham Business Debtline.

Poetic justice

WHO said the literate policeman was dead? The Rebecca Hossack Gallery in London's Windmill Street has a show of paintings that are also poetry: there's a 10ft example by Edward Farrelly in the window. Arriving the other morning, staff found a City of London Police memo pushed under the door: 'For your information - incorrect use of apostrophe first verse, last line. Apostrophe not used to denote possession, but missing letters. Your fourth line reads literally 'I planted my moon in it is snow.' ' Must have been a member of the Salman Rushdie Squad.

MADONNA meets Andrew Neil in this weekend's Sunday Times. But can it be true that when he met the singer, the editor was so overcome with excitement that he positioned his tape recorder the wrong way round? And that the tape had to be sent to a sound studio for 'boosting'? Neil won't return our calls. Anyway, there's an awful lot of kneeling with Madonna due this Sunday. It is to be billed as 'the hardest interview she's ever done'. Folk on the Sunday Times say they found reading it pretty tough, too.

God bless America

AT LAST, we may have a winner for Jacques Delors' pounds 140,000 - promised, you'll recall, to the Euro-citizen who could come up with a one-sheet explanation of 'subsidiarity' and thus save Brussels a fortune in turgid documentation. Bryan Cassidy, a Conservative MEP, has had a go in one sentence:

'The powers not delegated to the Community by the Treaty, nor prohibited by it to the member states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the

people.' As you may be aware, substitute 'United States' for 'Community' and 'Constitution' for 'Treaty', and you've got the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

WHICH company do you suppose the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy has drafted in to help with its PR? British Nuclear Fuels Limited, who magically transformed leaky old Windscale into happy, shiny Sellafield. So how about Chernobyl? St Safeashousesburg?

A day like this

16 October 1867 The Goncourt brothers observe in their journal: 'Dined with Hebert at Philippe's. He comes from the Dauphine, like Berlioz. They lived in two houses in the mountains, one a little higher than the other. He had seen Berlioz this morning and the composer had told him that at the age of 12 he had fallen in love with a local girl of 20. Since then he had been in love many times, madly, romantically, frantically in love, but deep down in his heart there had always been the memory of that first love, which had revived in full force when he had come across the girl in Lyon, aged 74. And now he wrote regularly to her, talking to her of nothing but memories of his twelve-year-old heart, and living for nothing but that bygone passion.'