Was Friday’s synchronised pant wetting from Bristol City Council and the Evening Cancer over the Banksy exhibition quite what it seemed?
The Blogger’s hyperbole-o-meter went through the roof when the Cancer gushed, “The world’s most famous living artist is coming home”.
“Banksy has sneaked his biggest ever UK exhibition into Bristol,” they assured us.
Meanwhile the wicked witch of the city’s museum service, Kate Brindley said of Banksy’s audacious stunt™, “just five people knew about it – including three senior managers at the venue.”
Really? Is that right?
Er, not according to people slightly further down the pecking order than Ms Brindley and her management gang it isn’t.
Because The Blogger has learned that staff at the museum were all forced to sign an extremely dodgy confidentiality agreement by Ms Brindley prior to the exhibition, which had the potential to make individual council employees personally and expensively liable should any information about her forthcoming exhibition/stunt/career development project come out.
However, so dementedly over the top were the terms slammed down in Ms Brindley’s gagging order that the legality of her document is extremely doubtful. It potentially contravenes employment law, the staff’s contracts of employment, the council’s staff code of conduct and possibly even her staffs’ human rights we’re told.
One insider told the Blogger, “The gagging order was fucking ridiculous. Fair enough, if it’s for a matter of national security or a terrorist threat or something where people’s lives might be on the line. But for a top secret display of animatronic salamis? They’re all fucking mad.
“Couldn’t they just have politely asked us to please not tell anyone?”
But who cares about the basic human rights of a few Bristolian workers when a major “reputation management” opportunity arises on the scale of Banksy and his um, “highly charged caustic, political sense” for council bosses to try and make themselves look really good with?
However, no amount of animatronic salamis or gagging orders can hide what’s really happened to the city’s museums service under Brindley.
With the unwanted and unloved Museum of Bristol building project now massively over budget and sucking funds dry and with no money to run this new white elephant “cutting edge visitor attraction” when it opens, cuts are the name of the game.
More precisely staff cuts. Already museum curatorial work is being quietly farmed out to CONsultants and freelancers after a series of staff layoffs. But once the Banksy ice cream wagon’s been safely packed up and packed off and the “reputation management” bandwagon is parked up elsewhere, the city council will undoubtedly be unveiling further rounds of drastic cuts in the museum service.
Not that it will affect the manager behind the shambles, Brindley. After a very short four year career-enhancing stay in Bristol, a big pay hike is in the offing so she’s packing her pointy hat and broomstick and legging it to Middlesborough to play modern art.
Where, no doubt, she’ll set about destroying their museums service with similar gusto while forcing through a load of expensive, unfinanced, self-aggrandising projects for her own benefit.