£15: who’s getting screwed?

Sorry: it may be clever, it may be “art”, but — to Malcolm (who sees it from Muswell Hill) — it’s plain ugly.

… and that’s the idealised, blue-sky, thronging crowds, “conceptual” image.

Now there’s this:

Artist Anish Kapoor has given a preview of his Olympic Orbit tower sculpture, but admitted the £15 ticket price was “a hell of a lot of money”.

The twisting red steel tower – known as ArcelorMittal Orbit – was officially unveiled to the media on Friday.

Designed by Kapoor and structural designer Cecil Balmond, the Orbit is the tallest sculpture in the UK – twice the height of Nelson’s Column.

Let’s put that into monetary context. When it was first floated, Boris Johnson put out a statement:

The Funding for the Orbit consists of a £10 million cash donation and £6 million in underwriting of capital costs which could be potentially recovered from post games profits. 

Was that dissimulation? For, soon after, another costing appeared: £19.1 million. £16 million was contributed by Lakshmi Mittal, chair of ArcelorMittal, which is why his name is so prominently on the thing. Malcolm is still not clear whether £6 million of that is merely a loan from Mittal. The remaining £3.1 was coughed by the London Development Agency, a wholly-owned BoJo subsidiary (now defunct).

Ars non gratia artis

Boris Johnson, who could polish any turd, especially his own, finessed thus:

Johnson also insisted the tower would be a money-making venture as well as providing a “perfect iconic cultural legacy”. He said: “We think we will be amply recouped after Games-time from the proceeds of renting out a very attractive dining facility at the top. It will be a corporate money-making venture.”

Just like those £1.2 million-apiece Boris Boggler buses where the development costs would be recouped on royalties earned in other markets. As if …

Hard Times for These Times
(Which is the full title of what may be Dickens’s best novel.)

Obviously the corporate types are permanently out-to-lunch elsewhere. Certainly newly-coined London, E20, doesn’t seem their natural habitat. Or perhaps their community chests were cleaned out by subscribing to BoJo’s re-election fund.

Swift re-think, a bit of market re-positioning, and now it’s down to the coach-parties and pensioners’ outings, and Jane and Joe Bloggs queuing with their fifteen quid.

For an view of Hackney Marshes and the Lea Valley Industrial Estate?

Helpful hint

Better views across London are to be had from Parliament Hill, Primrose Hill, and Greenwich Park. And all for free.

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Filed under Boris Johnson, Independent, London, Muswell Hill

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