Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Confirming the Stereotypes

I helped at a press conference run by the Media Consultancy team at the EA for the launch of an art exhibition in St Paul’s Cathedral. The exhibition featured works from some of the foremost artists in Britain at the moment, including the controversial Tracy Emin, so the media interest in the story was considerable.

The journalists had shoes with worn heels, flapping grey or beige overcoats and assorted bags and notepads - the reporter from the Times was a perfect Hollywood journalist with his lean height, thin blonde hair and harried look. The photographers were, to a man, dressed as if ready to hop on a plane to a war zone somewhere; the khaki fatigues, pocket-covered safari vests and the pure amount of gadgets draped around necks and flourished in their hands. Most had two mobile phones, one to send photos and one to receive calls, as explained by the guy I actually spent most of the conference in deep discussion with. He was a photographer from AP, a news agency of the size of Reuters, who regaled me with stories from war-zones and his year as paparazzi. He told me some fascinating stories of a paparazzi he knew who was one of the top five in the world and got, and I quote, ‘those Dodi and Di photos’ which are now still earning him money.

Journalists and photographers aside the artists were the best show. There was a young one, about my age, with my taste in red accessories – the shoes, the bag, the hair baubles. A tall thin gentleman with grey windswept hair in bright red trousers, sky blue shirt and grass green knitted vest. A tiny woman dressed in biker leathers with short wild hair and eyes that made her look like Madame Hooch from the Harry Potter films. The man with the handlebar moustache and Russian Revolutionary hair topped with a leather airman’s cap that matched his sheepskin lined leather vest, Billy Childish I believe. Those without a coherent look were draped in green paisley silk scarves, bulky plaid wool scarves and had hair in various stages of artful disarray

The exhibition was in the Cathedral and it was my first time at St Paul’s and what a fabulous building. Though I must admit that while I am a huge fan of the architecture of this city, I sometimes assume that EVERYTHING old is medieval. St Paul’s was far more modern than I was expecting.