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The Apprentice Week 8 – A View From The Cheese Shop

This week, we were thrown into the world of art. ‘Street’ art, to be more accurate.
I could go on for hours about artists and art critics and the utter nonsense that they often spout …mostly the critics, mind you. It’s like wine tasting. There is always someone there who is able to sniff out an array of plants, (and a chestnut, for some reason), and proceeds to tell everyone in the room about it, thereby making themselves instantly dislikable.

Anyhow…the remaining candidates were whisked off at 6 in the morning to the underground at Waterloo station, where they were greeted by a tv with Lord Sugar’s face on it, telling them that that they were going to be visiting several ‘street’ artists, and that they had to choose two to represent to sell at an exhibition to the public, and to corporate clients that he had ‘laid on’… (imagine.)

Team leaders were quickly sorted, impressively done so by Tom Gearing. He knows loads about street art and said Banksy & Graffiti a few times. I love Tom.
Gabrielle was the other team leader.
So it’s Team Tom… and Team Gabrielle (or team Gabs, for handiness sake).

Adam Corbally and Jade Nash from ‘Team Tom’ were ushered off to Bristol… home of the elusive Banksy, who is as mysterious as the Stig, apparently.
Tom and the remainder of the team went for a meeting with Renault.
Renault seemed impressed, and Tom said some French words to them. It was a cert.

Gabs and the other team were having no such luck with the Beefeater Gin company… she didn’t ask about pricing. That’s a bit like not asking about what type of art they’d li… oh, she didn’t do that either…

Next stop for Tom and his team-mate, Laura Hogg was a meeting in a very chic office with a gentleman in nice clothes called ‘Pure Evil’.
Mr Evil listened quietly as Tom rhymed off as many street artists as he could, like he was playing a game of ‘Name as Many Street Artists as you can’. Mr Evil looked a bit glum.

Meanwhile, Slippy Stephen and Ricky Martin popped in to to give James Jessop’s massive paintings a once over. Stephen’s already consistently bewildered face was now even more bewildered; art in itself. But the 12 foot painting of a creature tearing through the canvas with the word ‘Horror’ scrawled along the bottom of it wasn’t deemed to be ‘suitable’. I would have thought it would have been perfect for the Gin crowd, considering it looked exactly like how I feel after a few glasses of the stuff.
The artist, Nathan Bowen and his pictures of squiggly men in hats had more of an appeal though to Gabrielle’s artistic eye.

But who got who?

DISASTER! Both Team Tom and Team Gabs wanted Pure Evil!
Tom confidently rang Mr Evil (or Pure, to his friends), and was subsequently knocked back. Mr Evil was going with team Gabs.
I felt a bit sorry for Tom, who looked as though he could almost do a tear.  He quickly thought on his feet though and chose James Jessop, and his 700 foot paintings of monsters and the like. Disaster averted………………..
Oh dear.
Along with James Jessop, Team Tom went with the artist Copyright as their second choice.

Team Gabs got Pure Evil, and coupled that with Nathan Bowen and his squiggly men in hats drawings. And as a little sweetener, they got Nathan to stand at the exhibition and draw more squiggly men. Right there. At the exhibition. With his hand.
For Slippery Stephen, this just wasn’t enough. He phoned Gabs with an ‘Outside The Box’ thought… what about, if Nathan hid out the back, and just knocked out some pictures, but no-one could see him… you know, a bit like, some other artist. Gabs rightly but politely told Stephen that it was about as good an idea as printing them and selling them for £100 a pop.

On opening the exhibitions, the usual gallery heads shuffled their way in, to drink free wine, look at a few pictures and quietly slip away, but they weren’t getting to do any slipping away… not whilst Laura was wandering about asking how people were.
Stephen approached one art-y type and asked if he had “seen anything he liked?”
Stephen’s always bewildered face became yet again a little more bewildered.
As time pressed on, Adam started explaining how he interpreted some pieces… ‘I thought, lak, one was one, but if ya fink abaat it, I thought, lak, one.. is lak two lak. Ya know wot I mean lak?’ and so on.

The corporates arrived.
Team Tom were ever so lovely to Renault, by giving them wine, to get them drunk…. possibly to help make a James Jessop painting of a big green monster look good.

Beefeater Gin arrived looking a bit lonely into Gabs’ gallery… Karren Brady pointed out their ‘fatal’ error… a masterclass on how not to treat a corporate client’…
You see, these corporate types can’t just walk into galleries. They frighten easily.

As the evening drew to a close, Tom was desperately trying to shift an original Bowen; which was impressive, due to the fact that they’re 14 stories tall.
Sadly, none sold… so Team Tom was counting on his Copyright sales.

To the boardroom… (or ‘boredroom’… *snort*)

Sitting a little confidently, Team Tom had Tom’s back. A great team leader all round.
Over to Gabs, and there was a little bit of silence, but then Sugar found out that they didn’t ask the Gin company about price, then all hell breaks loose from Alan’s mouth… ‘ya didn’t bladdy ask em abaat the blaady praace??’
So, onto the results.
Team Tom lost by just under £190! This made Shiny Stephen happy, as team Gabs won the once in a lifetime opportunity to cover themselves in paint, throw it at a wall while the mastermind behind this activity is rolling about in a bag of money laughing.

Team Tom were in the dreaded café of doom, a place, given what it represents, has done a bloody good job of not succumbing to the recession. Maybe Lord Sugar should invest in the café. Tom put his hand up, admitting that it was a mistake to invest in the 14 mile high paintings, at which point everyone simultaneously thought ‘he’s fired’.

Back to the boardroom, and Sugar wanted to know where it went wrong, and as Tom predicted… ‘them blaady big blaady paintings…’
Then there were the sales.
Adam was the top man, which made a smile creep out of his pout, a little; Jade and her voice were second. Tom himself third, with the Scottish lass, Laura in last place…
Adam was allowed to go “back to the house” because he was a bit smug. And sold the most. But mainly because he was smug.

Tom struggled when deciding who should get fired between Jade and Laura, all the while trying not to say ‘my fault… I made a whoopsie.’
But after a bit of toing and froing between Jade and Laura arguing over nothing, Laura got the boot.

Well, that was that. Laura was gone. Only 4 more bloody weeks until I start enjoying my Wednesdays again.

In the words of the mysterious, but commonly referred to artist known as Banksy :





  1. […] you cast your mind back to last week’s post, you’ll remember that I referred to artists/art critics and how they’re as unbearable as wine […]

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