LAW REPORT : BIGOT-JOHNSON v. THE ARTS COUNCIL
( 2013 )
With the SHBC in such dire financial straits its beleaguered chairman, Bigot-Johnson, made a rather audacious bid to secure a quick injection of some desperately needed cash. He had asked the Arts Council of Great Britain for a £200,000 grant in order to promote bridge as " one of the fine arts " to the wider public. His application was refused outright on the grounds that " nothing took place inside his club which could even be remotely classified as a fine art ". Not surprisingly Bigot took real umbrage over this remark, deciding to take The Arts Council to court over breach of its constitutional remit. As usual Bigot elected to represent himself, and a short extract from the trial's transcript appears below.
B-J : As a leading representative of the Arts Council is it not a duty of yours to promote through funding the fine arts in Great Britain ?
Representative ( R) : Yes, that is fundamentally our remit under the Royal Charter of 1941
B-J : ..............and to award grants to all organisations which are actively involved in the practice of fine arts ?
R : Yes, but bridge does just not qualify as a fine art
B-J : Well, according to my research you have shelled out millions to organisations actively involved with music, drama, poetry, festivals ....not to mention a whole stack of art clubs
R : Yes....
B-J : So why not bridge clubs, where the game is without a shadow of doubt a fine art...... a game of sublime skill and abstract beauty
R : It's just a game of cards.....one which I'm led to believe only fills people's minds with rancour, bitterness and anger
B-J : What !.....Snap is a game of cards......but bridge demands a creative and inventive mind if it is to be played at the highest levels......in fact there is more of an art to playing bridge than there is to playing music or character parts in Shakespearean play
R : Surely bridge is more of a science than an art..... with its very prescriptive bidding systems, counting, probabilities.... and the technical handling of every type of suit combination ?
B-J : You sir are an ignoramus !
R : Well, I'm sorry you feel this way about me.........but if you could prove to me that bridge clubs are centres, where indeed the fine arts are practiced......then your club can have the £200,000 grant which you applied for
B-J : So please remind me what the definition of fine arts is ?
R : Originally, fine arts may be viewed as embracing all those arts in which the power of imitation or invention are exerted , chiefly with a view to the production of pleasure by the immediate impression they have upon the mind. However, the phrase has of late been restricted to a narrower and more technical definition : namely to all those activities by which their genius and creativity fill people's minds with pleasure.
B-J : Yes....yes.....and let me tell you there are activities taking place inside my club which require a tremendous amount ingenuity, imagination and creativity.......all giving immense pleasure to all those involved
R : Such as ?
B-J : First off.... there's the cheating that goes on all over the place.....some of which has achieved such a degree of perfection, it has become a fine art...... then of course there's the fine art of lambasting and crucifying your partner, which requires a level of sarcasm which can only be achieved through creative thought and twisted imagination.....BUT the activity which really epitomises invention and creativity at the highest level is the committee's work in expelling undesirable members from the club for the benefit and pleasure of the majority. This ongoing process really has been developed into the finest art of all.
R : By George....you're right. I've heard such amazing tales about the highly creative methods your club has employed to kick members out....especially the wonderfully inspired, trumped up, completely spurious and fictitious disciplinary charges against those known as pantopods. Sheer genius. Hell's bells....the money is yours.
B-J : Thank God for that.....now we can all bugger off and enjoy a swift pint or two down at the pub