Brexit skeletons, Anglo art and the fashion for film studios
Planet Business: Who runs the world?
A House of Commons Brexit debate, but with skeletons, set to go on parade in Cologne, Germany. Photograph: Martin Meissner/AP
Image of the week: No bones
What more does the (ongoing) Brexit saga need than a German satirical carnival float depicting British MPs as skeletons? It’s all part of a preview of Cologne’s contribution to next Monday’s Rosenmontag (Rose Monday) parade, in which blunt political ribbing is the norm. There was another float showing Boris Johnson, dressed as a jester, showing off his bare bottom to the queen while holding a Brexit sign, but that one is perhaps best left to the imagination, as indeed were former prime minister Theresa May’s appearances in previous carnivals. The great thing about all this is the current British government is absolutely fine with being laughed at, hence its steadfastly comic approach to trade negotiations.
In numbers: Art yield
Number of artworks from the New York office of the very much defunct Anglo Irish Bank that were auctioned on Monday by Whyte’s.
Sum fetched by the art, almost twice as much as the upper limit of the guide price, suggesting that whoever was buying Anglo’s art was good at their job and/or that the estimates were on the low side due to it being a liquidation sale.
Price paid for The Musician and Her Apprentice by American-Iranian artist Ali Golkar, one of the “conversation pieces” picked up in the auction.
Getting to know: Arnold Donald
Arnold Donald is a man familiar with the concept of a crisis-response meeting. He’s the chief executive of Carnival Corporation, the biggest cruise company in the world that includes Diamond Princess operator Princess Cruises among its brands. Only the most contrarian analysts in the world will regard the headlines generated by the Diamond Princess over the past fortnight as a boon to the cruise industry, given its “completely chaotic” coronavirus quarantine saw more than 540 of the 3,711 passengers on board being infected with Covid-19 while the ship was miserably docked in Yokohama, Japan. Meanwhile, almost 800 passengers from Carnival’s Westerdam cruise ship have been stuck in Cambodia. Donald (66), who came to Carnival via notorious genetic modifiers Monsanto, is from New Orleans, where his high school had a special PA system message for its all-male students: “Gentlemen, prepare yourselves. You’re going to run the world.” Alas, the virus mustn’t have heard.
The list: Studio explosion
A “build it and Hollywood will come” philosophy is in full flow at the moment, with everybody and their dog planning to construct the massive sound stages that film and television companies say they need.
1. Belfast Harbour. It’s only been open for three years, but the film studios in Belfast Harbour are – like those in Ashford Studios, Ardmore Studios and Troy Studios in the Republic – set to undergo a major expansion.
2. Ashbourne, Co Meath. This one, backed by Kieran Corrigan and director John Boorman, has been mooted for a couple of years now.
3. Reading, Berkshire. Blackhall Studios, the production company behind the Jumanji films, plans to erect new studios in the Thames Valley Science Park.
4. Elstree, north London. Sky Studios Elstree is set to become the hub for European production for Sky and NBC Universal, now both owned by US giant Comcast.
5. Edinburgh. Not one but two film studios in the city have been mentioned in dispatches as Scotland seeks to snag a role in the global production boom before everybody decides they have enough studios now, thanks.