LEAVING LAS VEGAS

Such memories of Las Vegas, even if what happened there didn’t stay there. Actually, nothing happened there at all, except memories of the dancing Bellagio Fountain, like beating hearts, the atrocious ersatz skies in The Venetian and crossing the Painted Dessert, that of Ten Thousand Maniacs song fame, ‘Hey Jack Kerouac’, in the days when love was love, truth in every lover’s tongue, editors were actually people, and I was an author. I will avoid the ribald humour, or sheer humiliation of yours truly approaching the Excalibur Hotel with a suggestion of hosting, or doing a book signing, because my publisher who shall not be named had brought out an Arthurian Fantasy called The Telling Pool. Have a go sometimes, but really, leave it to the professionals. You could imagine mafiosi rushing in from their own murderous desert trips for a canape and a growling chat about mythology. ‘Hey Mickey brown eyes, who was dis Arthur guy, anyhows?’ Such heady, innocent times!

It all came back because TV are getting more and more exciting with their art programmes, even if they only make the twelve O’clock late night slots. Not only Fake or Fortune, but The World’s Top Ten Most Valuable Paintings. The presenter was articulate, passionate and entertaining and it does show you that the art world has everything for a great story, or nothing, in the Emperor’s New Clothes vein, even Geoffrey Archer! Money, greed, glamour, the mystery of markets, truly wonderful art, even mad Japanese Billionaires threating to destroy Van Goghs. The link of powerful provenance proved that a Rothko, but owned by Rockerfeller, meant and means money certainly follows money, more madly than according to simplistic ‘investment’ rules, but the top three were Picassos.

Hence the Vegas link, because the shiny American faced Steve Wynn owned so many, to theme his restaurant at The Bellagio, and put his elbow straight through one nearing $100 Million. He was nice enough to say that at least it was a good thing no one else did it. Incidentally, we used to spend family holidays with hotel owning friends in the real Bellagio, on Lake Como. What do you say about the struggling artist, or those dying in obscurity and poverty, achieving such extraordinary sums posthumously? You say the world was ever thus, in one way, except now it seems to be more thus than ever!

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