Arse Gratia Artis

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Arse Gratia Artis

“Art for art’s sake
Money for God’s sake”



From BBC News:

Artist Tracey Emin has said she is thinking of leaving the UK in protest about being overtaxed.

In a Sunday Times interview she said she was “very seriously considering leaving Britain,” adding: “I’m simply not willing to pay tax at 50%.”

Far be it for me to undermine your significant cultural significance here, Tracey, but doesn’t this behaviour – technically speaking, of course – put you in the same category of artist as, say, Jim Davidson, Paul Daniels or Phil Collins?   Phil, as you might remember, was another multi-millionaire who didn’t like the prospect of paying higher taxes, so he threatened to leave the UK if the Tories lost the 1997 general election.  Many regard this as a key decisive factor behind New Labour’s landslide victory.

You then go on to say that you’re thinking about moving to France:

“At least in France their politicians have always understood the importance of culture and they have traditionally helped out artists with subsidy and some tax advantages,” she said.

France, of course, is a wonderful country with a rich cultural heritage, Tracey.  You could do a lot worse than to move there.  I must admit, though, I’m not particularly au fait (as they say), with the country’s political system.   I don’t know, for instance, how supportive French politicians are of crass, inarticulate, creatively-bankrupt charlatans.   Don’t get upset, Tracey – I’m not saying that you’re like that, of course.  Of course.  I’m just trying to illustrate a point (and, no, Tracey – I don’t need to employ a team of assistants to help me illustrate a point).

You then say:

“We simply have what I call ‘ambition politicians’ who go from one department to another for career reasons,” she said.

Good on you, Tracey – someone has to stand up to these schmucks.  And ‘ambition politicians’ – that’s such a clever, nuanced turn of phrase.  I really hope it catches on.  And if anyone mentions “‘Ambition artists’ who go from one country to another for tax reasons”, then you take no notice.  Sticks and stones, and all that.

One last thing, Tracey.  I know that the Tories today announced that they’re planning to keep Labour’s 50% top rate tax for the foreseeable future, but you shouldn’t take it personally.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s some kind of cross-party campaign to encourage you to leave.

Maybe they just don’t want Phil Collins coming back.


About the Author:

My name is Tom Lennon and I'm a freelance writer who specialises in humour at the geekier end of the pop culture spectrum. I'm based in Birmingham, UK, and my work has recently appeared in BuzzFeed and Time Out.


  1. Mike Harmon October 7, 2009 at 12:32 am

    Great post. I will read your posts frequently. Added you to the RSS reader.

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