Notebook: "I've Just Seen Salman Rushdie Going under the Table," Said Deborah Moggach

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Michael Morris, one of London's most established arts impresarios, had a troubled air. "It's getting serious," he said. He was talking about fitting everything in. According to Morris, there are too many "must-sees" in the capital at the moment, and there is no sign of any let-up. "Even if things are on for three months, you find yourself missing them because there is too much on," he said. Which means that events need to be increasingly bizarre to swim high into people's consciousness. Either that, or they need to use the headlining celebrity of the moment, which is why David Lan should be congratulated for casting Sienna Miller in his production of As You Like It.


I was talking to Morris on London Bridge while a man in white plastic shoes crept to wards us at the speed of a garden snail. This illustrated the point perfectly. Why bother with the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition, which happens every year, when you can see an absolute one-off--namely, a man walking at the pace of growing lichen? Slow Walk (commissioned by Morris's company, Artangel) was being performed by Ohad Fishof in celebration of Longplayer, a very long piece of music that has been playing for five years (and will go on for the next 995) in a lighthouse opposite the Millennium Dome.

Fishof, dressed entirely in white, began his perambulation at 8am. This was no straightforward dawdle; he was walking with extreme purpose and care, flexing each foot with steady deliberation before placing it precisely half an inch in front of the other. Sometimes he stretched. If fellow pedestrians accosted him, he would smile and speak to them in monosyllables. It took him three and a half hours to get halfway; he eventually completed the return journey in nine and a half hours. …