i love art.
there are few things in this world that i like better than wandering around a gallery stroking my chin and pontificating (to myself) about the meaning of life and art. i'll gaze upon the art and allow myself to wonder at the majesty of artistic creation.
true there are times when as i look at a piece of art it is all i can do to hold back the guffaws of laughter at something that looks as if it has been thrown together during the advert break in x-factor.
and there lies the beauty of art, because it is in the eye of the beholder. one man's work of genius is another man's scratching on tracing paper.
the national gallery is one of the finest places to go and see art. so much to love, so much to enjoy.
right now they have 'leonardo: painter at the court of milan' on. it is what is called a 'blockbuster' show, which means a lot of people want to go. it also means that if you go you get to see the works on display in pretty crushed conditions as people huddle around the art, shuffle slowly along from one piece to another piece. there is no time to cogitate on the artist's work because someone is impatient to get to where you are standing.
the standard ticket price is £16. if you can get it. the bbc reports that tickets are selling for up to £400 on ebay and other such sites.
the national gallery has responded by saying that such 'resold' tickets would be cancelled and no money refunded (i guess if you have splurged £400 for a ticket - getting £16 is an additional kick in the teeth).
according to the national gallery such practice is against their terms and conditions.
i have never understood this.
look i am no fan of touts - but if people are prepared to pay very much over the odds for the ticket then that is their choice.
it is not like the national couldn't do something about the demand. the show runs until february 2012 and it looks as if it is going to be a big seller throughout that period. so rather than bemoan that tickets are being sold at a profit why not take a leaf out of the bank of england's book and print more tickets.
hold on pat you have just said the place is crowded.
i know i did. i know.
so how do i square that circle. easy peasey lemon squeezy.
open the gallery earlier and keep it open longer. those extra hour slots you charge more for the ticket prices to pay for the overtime. if people are prepared to pay £400 then they will pay £20 or £25.
not only that but think of the additional merchandise moved - books, posters, magnets, postcards and the all important gifts - because as we all know christmas is here and christmas is a time of rampant comsumerism.
so trustees and managers of the national gallery i give you a solution to your ticket problem and a way to make even more money.
no need to thank me - just send me a couple of free tickets.