Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories
No one could have been more delighted than Rakewell to see the front page of the Financial Times last week. Your roving correspondent was not as thrilled by the subject – the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid – as by the general mise-en-scène. The FT showed Javid in a somewhat curious pose, looking away from the camera and towards his right and seated at a table in a seemingly empty cafe with a reproduction of Tamara de Lempicka’s Self-Portrait in the Green Bugatti (1929) above his head.
While others may have been marvelling at the lurid yellow and green walls behind the UK’s finance minister, Rakewell felt the warm glow of recognition – for the photograph was taken in none other than Pickles, a cafe on Old Queen Street, just a few doors down from the Apollo offices. Rakewell was also more than tickled to make sense of a scene witnessed a few days before – The Saj seated in a rather more populated Pickles, and surrounded by listeners who really were, it turns out, hanging on his every word.
But who can see a politician inside Pickles these days without thinking of the cafe’s most memorable appearance – in the final series of The Thick of It – when the rather more menacing Malcolm Tucker plots the downfall of his boss?