elcome to the final Londoner’s Diary before the weekend begins. Firstly, we hear from Gilbert and George, who rubbish NFTs and talk about the launch party for their new museum. Later on, Booker prize winner Marlon James discusses his love of avoiding writing while Hilary Clinton enthuses about not having to follow the facts at last. In SW1A today we hear that the mood among Tory politicians is worsening over the Greensill scandal.
Gilbert and George have hit out at the latest art world craze for non-fungible tokens, saying they were “never interested” and would not be dabbling themselves.
“All our lower-class friends are very excited by the financial aspect of this,” George told us. “We are not decorating rich people’s houses,” added Gilbert.
The pair are instead focused on creating their new museum — with plans for a tap from the pub next door.
George claims their launch party will be a big-name affair and plan to invite Boris Johnson. The artists hope the centre will secure their legacy as Gilbert explains: “All the big museums… have a different agenda so they would never show us.”
Besides, he adds: “It is next to the Pride of Spitalfields pub… we’ve got to have a tap going through the wall.”
The centre will show a variety of their art, including works from their recent White Cube show, New Normal Pictures.
They are certainly ready for the return of the old normal. “We never cooked in the house… we’ve had to take all the champagne out of the fridge to put food in there,” George sighs. The horror, the horror.
MOST Tory MPs initially shrugged off the Greensill lobbying furore. Now many worry about the general re-toxifying effect. Others have yet other concerns — worries that are a tad more venal. One senior Westminster figure told The Londoner only half-jokingly that his post-politics career prospects are lesser as a result of the scandal. Add to this a growing concern that the arm of Lord Pickles, chair of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, will stretch far (he has already had to defend a lobbyist engaged in his team) and another former Tory MP says anxiety and anger is high against former aides, civil servants and former ministers. Presumably, that is, because of what will come to light next. Hold on to your seats…
Fiction is a novel feeling for Hillary
Hillary Clinton is embracing the world away from fact-checking. The former US Secretary of State is midway through the drafting of her first novel, a political thriller co-written with Louise Penny. “It’s been an incredibly exciting experience because unlike everything else I’ve tried to write where I’ve had to fact-check… our imaginations can just run riot,” Clinton told a Queen’s University Belfast event last night. Sometimes the grass really is greener.
Arthur’s not so magical for Marlon
Booker Prize-winner Marlon James says there’s nothing he loves more than avoiding writing. Researching mythologies, he’s learnt, is perfect procrastination. James told a Royal Society of Literature event: “King Arthur is a fundamental mythology for Britain to hold on to the idea that they were all very civilised, there was always chivalry,” before going on to pour cold water all over the story. “Arthur is a made-up amalgam of a few warlords… more backward than the Vikings.” Busted.
Coles hauled over for ticking the box
Reverend Richard Coles had to perform an unorthodox translation when he applied to become an Anglican priest. Coles had ticked a box marked “Have you ever taken non-prescription drugs?” on his application form and got a call from the Church’s chief medical officer who made him talk through the substances. “I only knew the street names… and he knew the pharmacological names,” Coles tells James O’Brien’s podcast, so his “bohemian experience” had to be rendered into his interviewer’s “professional discipline”. “You ticked the box,” he told Coles, “no one has ever ticked the box.”