Londoner’s Diary: Tate chief hits back at ‘wokeish drivel’ critics

·3-min read
“The March of the Guards to Finchley” by English artist William Hogarth (AFP via Getty Images)
“The March of the Guards to Finchley” by English artist William Hogarth (AFP via Getty Images)

TATE Britain’s Hogarth exhibition delighted critics — apart, that is, from the “wokeish drivel” on the wall panels accompanying the paintings of the English master. But now the gallery’s director has said they were taking an “innovative approach” and that Tate Britain has “the confidence to provide a public platform for those conversations”.

Hogarth immortalised the seedier side of Georgian London with works such as Gin Lane. The Standard gave the “stunning show” four stars, but also noted “bizarrely earnest panels beside the pictures, on the slave trade, 18th-century attitudes to race, the problematic origins of its consumer goods and sex.”

Other critics were less generous. Waldemar Januszack in the Sunday Times took aim at “the collapse here of useful scholarship and its replacement by wokeish drivel”. Alex Farquharson, Tate Britain’s director, is undeterred, though. He tells the Art Newspaper: “Hogarth emerges from this process as an even more sophisticated and influential artist than we already knew.” Panel wars.

Marr’s exit ticks all the right boxes

Andrew Marr (Getty Images)
Andrew Marr (Getty Images)

ANDREW MARR already feels “10 years younger” after announcing that he is leaving the BBC and his Sunday morning political show. The Londoner bumped into him at last night’s starry Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year Awards at the Rosewood Hotel in Holborn, where he explained: “It’s rare you get a chance aged 63 to start something new”. Marr, who has worked for the BBC for more than two decades, will join Global and LBC in the New Year. As for what he’s most looking forward to, “no box ticking” — in contrast to the Beeb — comes high on the list, he said. Brave new world.

PM’s daughter bares sore soles

 (Dave Benett)
(Dave Benett)

LARA JOHNSON-WHEELER is all about embracing eccentric fashion. The Prime Minister’s daughter, right, tells us she believes people have missed “sore soles” during lockdown and so relish the chance to don heels.

Leather Tabi boots (Leather Tabi boots)
Leather Tabi boots (Leather Tabi boots)

She’s no exception. At the launch of Malone Souliers’ flagship store in Mayfair last night she showed off her split-toe Tabi boots, similar to those above: “I really like things that are that mix between ugly and kind of sexy.”

Baby Pip bridges political divides

Stella Creasy (PRU/AFP via Getty Images)
Stella Creasy (PRU/AFP via Getty Images)

STELLA CREASY brought her baby son Pip along to the Spectator bash last night. Might he be a bigger star than her, we asked? “I think he already is,” she said. After the awards ceremony a crowd formed to coo over the three-month-old, who is already bridging political divides. The Londoner spotted Helena de Chair, Jacob Rees-Mogg’s wife, cradling him. If anyone’s a safe pair of hands it’s the mother of six. But even more impressive than Pip’s popularity was his placidity over the four-hour do. A real sleeper hit.

Sweeney muses on sandwich fillings

EDIE CAMPBELL and Victoria Williams last night joined young creatives at the launch of artist Joe Sweeney’s cook book: Still Life/Still Eating. Reflecting on the recipes, Sweeney pondered: “Isn’t everything just a sandwich filling in waiting?” Magaajyia Silberfeld was also in Mayfair with Gillian Maguire and Mimi Xu. At the Design Museum chair Peter Mandelson went to the opening of the Amy Winehouse exhibition.

SW1A

DAVID DAVIS is no longer bowled over by awards ceremonies — if he ever was. When the Londoner asked if he hoped to bag a prize himself at next year’s Parliamentarian of the Year Awards, the Tory MP told us he had won enough of those in his time, laughing: “I have a full mantel shelf of awards”.

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ALSO there was Matt Hancock, who told us he is “playing it all down” when it comes to other jobs right now after having been briefly made a UN special envoy. Not that he’s getting tired. As guests went to a Soho after-party, we hear Hancock enthusiastically leaped into an Uber, taking the seat of the journalist who booked it.

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