That'll Do Nicely, Sir

Art Monthly, October 2007 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

That'll Do Nicely, Sir


Remember the Not the Nine O'Clock News spoof TV ad--the one where Pamela Stephenson, at sight of the familiar green card being flashed at her, repeats the mantra: 'American Express? That'll do nicely, sir!' adding, as she unbuttons her blouse, 'and would you like to rub my tits too?' The series began broadcasting in 1979, the year that Margaret Thatcher came to power, and this sketch perfectly captured the 'greed is good' spirit of the 80s, the legacy of which is still being felt. In 1997, when Tony Blair came to power, he made no secret of his admiration for the Iron Lady, an endorsement intended to signal to the City that it was 'business as usual'. Anyone who hoped that, with the accession of Gordon Brown as prime minister, a new era was about to dawn will have had their hopes dashed by the spectacle of a Labour prime minister welcoming Lady Thatcher--dressed symbolically in shocking pink--back to No 10 for tea while publicly praising her 'conviction politics'.

That the spirit of the 80s is still with us is evident from Brown's approach to public spending. He has made it clear that the public sector as a whole will have to 'tighten its belt', while he has done nothing to suggest that the creeping privatisation of public services will be halted. As to the arts, never very high on Brown's agenda during his Treasury days, their funding continues to be raided to support the 2012 Olympics programme, forcing museums and galleries back into the waiting arms of the private sector to make up the shortfall. The Arts Council, meanwhile, has been recast as the entrepreneurial go-between, even going so far as to endorse vanity exhibitions of private collections in a publicly funded gallery, ostensibly to 'stimulate many people to enjoy collecting in their own way' as part of its 'Own Art' scheme. 'The Collector Series' is a three-year initiative at the Baltic, Gateshead, which is described by the gallery as a 'collaboration'. The first is with Newcastle-born collector Anita Zabludowicz and Sir Elton John, and is being promoted as offering the public 'a unique insight into individual and corporate collections' and 'rare access' to otherwise private collections. Despite director Peter Doroshenko's bullish claims to the contrary, it is hard to avoid the suspicion that this initiative is an opportunity for the cash-strapped flagship regional gallery to plug gaps in its exhibition programme. The Baltic has had a difficult time lately and things could have been even worse: at one time it was rumoured that in return for the company's support, the gallery might be renamed The Northern Rock Centre for Contemporary Art.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

That'll Do Nicely, Sir
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?