In the arts, half a million of anything is a lot. A few months ago our own LPO discovered that its Mr-Nice-Guy finance director had been siphoning off lashings of lolly for his family home. [UPDATE, THURSDAY 4 FEB: LPO wins high court judgment of £2.3 million against him] And now it is nothing less than the mighty Salzburg Festival. My blogging colleague Intermezzo has the story here: holy Mozart balls!
[UPDATE: 8 Feb, more about Salzburg, from The Independent...it is getting positively Wagnerian!]
6.10pm: UPDATE: AND only today the Grauniad reveals that the Barbican's former ticket sales manager has been jailed for 18 months after snaffling £33,000 to feed a gambling habit. Read all about it. And to think our government has actually *encouraged gambling*....
It's endemic. It's the Me generation. It's the Grab What You Can And Screw Everyone Else generation. Where else is the money vanishing to in the Age of Greed? Why's it happening in the arts, fGs - if you want to steal money, there are plenty more moneyed places to find it.
Or - I have to ask this - here in the arts world, are we all chumps? Are we so naive and idealistic that we can be taken for a ride by someone who happens to know how to do it?
The questions continue. Why is it always people who are already on gigantic salaries who do the stealing? How can we stop this happening again? (NB: bank bailout with public money is not the appropriate answer.) Should we introduce a sort of Hippocratic Oath for staff with access to their organisations' bank accounts? And how many more such revelations will there be before we know the true extent of the pilfering, lies and filth that's going on behind the scenes in many, many more companies? Will we ever know it? Who can you trust?
I appreciate that Standpoint is maybe a strange place to turn revolutionary, but I hardly need to remark that the arts world is of course only one of countless areas in which corruption and greed is overbalancing what the whole thing ought to be about. It is not only in the arts that we're all chumps. I don't have any answers, but maybe this man has. Scary to think that it's got to the point where revolution is thinkable. Even at the Salzburg Festival.
Jessica Duchen is a music journalist and the author of four novels, two biographies and several stage works. She writes regularly for The Independent and BBC Music Magazine. Her latest novel, Songs of Triumphant Love, is published by Hodder.
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