What tangled textiles we weave

arts notebook

Share
Related Topics
There's something about the decorative arts that have the effect of a full moon on those that run them. Take the Victoria and Albert Museum. When Roy Strong was director he kept and latterly published diaries exposing curatorial baronies that would have shocked the mediaeval Turkish court. Elizabeth Esteve-Coll, his successor, whom I always found thoughtful and committed, managed to unite half the museums world in an alliance against her for a time. And now her successor Alan Borg has succumbed to textile fatigue syndrome.

Dr Borg has made a conspicuously bold start at the V & A, launching and this week relaunching the Liebeskind Boilerhouse extension which should take away the V & A's stigma of being the only major London museum yet to get a lottery award. But discussing it with him over breakfast this week, he started to show signs of what we must now refer to as TFS.

Despite increased visitor numbers, the signs of depression were upon him. "People don't really like the decorative arts," he mused. "They prefer their art flat on a wall." This is a curious proposition to hear from the director of the world's most famous museum of the decorative arts. But over the croissants, his mood grew yet more depressive. "Besides," he said, "we are in the wrong location." South Kensington, known throughout Britain and arguably Europe as home to the great national museums, does not immediately strike one as the wrong end of town. But Dr Borg was adamant. "To be central would be better." And he quoted an adage from 1857 about how far it was to get to the museum from London. Yes, but 140 years ago, Kensington was a village and you needed a jolly fit horse to take you there. Surely things have changed? He was unmoved. Wrong location, he continued to muse. Textiles do this do a man.

Jeremy Thomas, chairman of the British Film Institute and Wilf Stevenson, his chief executive, are both stepping down from office. Thomas, already an Academy Award-winning producer, is to fulfill a lifelong ambition to direct movies. At the advanced age of 46, he is making his debut behind camera on a new thriller All The Little Animals, starring John Hurt, Daniel Benzali and Christian Bale. We have yet to see what Mr Thomas's directing style will be. Perhaps it will be influenced by the last film he produced, a little arthouse number called Crash. In which case, call the RSPCA.

The arts minister, Mark Fisher, "played" Glastonbury last night. His brief was to tell the audience how much New Labour supports the music industry. This was ill-judged. The last thing Glastonbury-goers consider themselves to be is part of an industry. This is the anti-industry, apolitical festival, an opt-out lifestyle either in reality for the few New Age travellers there, or in fantasy for the middle managers taking a weekend break from conformity. To be reminded that they are just cogs in a machine oiling the bank balances of record companies, agents and promoters, must have made them want to hurl mud packs at the well-meaning Mr Fisher.

Photocalls to plug a new show are commonplace. Normally, though, they don't cost almost as much as the show itself. Next week, to plug the opening of the Kander-Ebb musical, Chicago, in London in October, the producers of the Tony Award-winning show are bringing the entire cast across, plus orchestra, and not just to pose for pictures. They are going to perform the show. One insider estimates the cost of all this to be around pounds 200,000. The objective is to sell tickets. I estimate they will have to sell 10,000 just to cover the cost of the photocall. There's no business like...

React Now

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

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Amjad Bashir said Ukip had become a 'party of ruthless self-interest'  

Could Ukip turncoat Amjad Bashir be the Churchill of his day?

Matthew Norman
King Abdullah made Saudi Arabia prosperous but had absolute disregard for what liberal Westerners would view as basic human rights  

The media cannot ignore tricky questions when someone dies - but it must stick to the facts

Will Gore
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us