The Clarkson-Shaped Hole in Our Chablis Strategy

By Donald, Gideon | New Statesman (1996), August 3, 2009 | Go to article overview

The Clarkson-Shaped Hole in Our Chablis Strategy


Donald, Gideon, New Statesman (1996)


My miserable run of luck re: placement continued unabated as last Friday, at one of Dave and George's We're Just Like You, Really soirees, I found myself wedged between Philip Hammond and Tracey Emin. What Hammond was doing at the summer highlight of the "Chablis campaign" to bring the arty crowd on board is anyone's guess. Far from welcoming, he is hell-bent on taking on the role of hatchet man and becoming a national hate figure in exchange for a place in the cabinet.

Mind you, Hammond has always been odd. The kind of person who, if present at the Bullingdon head-bumping of Osborne, would have refrained from doing the up-and-down work in order to free things up so he could film the proceedings Not, it must be stressed, for blackmail purposes, but simply for his own personal enjoyment. He is, by the-by, also a very limited conversationalist.

Emin, as you are probably aware, is an artist. She suffers, if anything, from too much conversation--very little of it comprehensible, and even less of it credible. She claims George, still soft in the head after all these years, has bought some of what she described as her "oeuvre". Not the kind of investment one would necessarily be looking for from a putative chancellor during the age of austerity. Having talked at length about her "oeuvre", Emin moved seamlessly into talking about her love life, asking: "Does Dave Fancy me?" "No," 1 replied.

Artists are surely best treated like children. The more you pamper them, the more generally difficult they become. Ignore them, however, and they will do anything, no matter how demeaning, to attract your attention. Seen in this light, our Chablis campaign is flawed. We should feign ignorance of their work, such as it is. …

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