Wednesday, 9 May 2012

No Turner Prizes for The Apprentice candidates this week (or The One With The Fight Over Pure Evil)

Rargh. Sell some art, Apprentice candidates
On tonight's Apprentice, art.  A particular sort - street art.

Will the candidates know their Urban Banksy from their Utter Bollocks?  On their form to date, it's dubious.

The call comes at 6am.  The teams are to go to Waterloo.  Clearly expecting a jaunt on ze Eurostar, they're somewhat bemused to discover Lord Sugar on a massive telly under the arches.  It soon becomes clear that they're expected to be art critics.  Erk.

As it's The Apprentice, there are the traditional two teams.  And what do Apprentice teams need?  Leaders!  Stephen is keen to do it and says just that.  But Gabrielle says just that, and then goes on to actually outline her experience in running art events, including catering expertise, so that wins the day.  Even though Stephen can turn his mouth into an enormous upside-down U and make his top lip disappear.

Over on Phoenix, Tom knows everything about street art.  I suspect the police may quiz him one day about his in-depth knowledge.  Well, he knows that nobody knows who Banksy is.  So maybe they won't.  Anyway, he is the leader of Phoenix, and Adam is mighty relieved, because he's just about bright enough to realise that blag and a giant pink face only get you so far in the art world.

The task?

Get some corporate clients and other punters to rock up to a hastily flung together art gallery in a trendy part of East London and buy street art from up-and-coming artists.  The team which earns the most commission wins.  Easy.

Tom's team head to Renault, where he says, "Jwayur de vivruh" to a Frenchman, who may or may not know that he actually meant "Joie de vivre".  Their budget for art is £5k.  Nick Hewer has only praise for Tom.  I suspect he wants to stroke Tom's fledgling moustache.  Laura says nothing.

Gabrielle decides they want someone "quite unique".  How unique?  Quite.  Not very.  Not a bit.  Quite.  Fgs.  No budget discussed with their corporate client, Beefeater Gin, though, which Karren thinks is a mistake (because it is).  "Get on that train with that particular artist..." Stephen makes unintelligible statements about nothing in particular with great enthusiasm as his alien face looms at the corporate clients.

Nathan Bowen, building site graffiti artist and man who draws scribbled figures of  is much liked by Gabrielle when they visited him.  Unfortunately, Nick and Ricky find some work that looks like his on a building site and don't like it at all - possible conflict point in the future #awkward

Tom says "obviously" a great many times to street artist Pure Evil and explains how much he knows about street art from across the world.  Pure Evil's loins wither; he is clearly in need of some ego-stroking and, fortunately, Sterling rock up to do just that.

Gabrielle, Stephen and Jenna visit "the artist known as Pure Evil" and Gabrielle bangs on about how drawn in she is to the icons and how she wants to really look at the art.  Which is nice.  And Pure Evil begins to get his semi-on back.

Phoenix visit Copyright in Bristol.  Adam proceeds to demonstrate he knows nothing about art, but makes serious faces a lot.  Big pink ones.

James Jessop shows both teams his work, using his frankly ker-azy voice which is frantically monotone.  Possibly off his tits on oil paint, who knows?  "If I could go back to 1982 in a TARDIS and spraypaint a whole train, this is what I'd do" - his canvas looks like a big ol' train covered in graffiti, which I think is frowned upon by the authorities, so it's probably for the best that the TARDIS doesn't exist and the strange-voiced artist has to stay firmly in the present, flogging his graffiti for £15k a pop.

Both teams want Pure Evil (possibly subliminally hoping it will please Lord Sugar, who surely has a white cat somewhere).  However, Sterling wins the day and signs Pure Evil and Tom is distraught.  He scrapes his forehead with a pen and does some thinking.  (As an aside, IS he growing a moustache?)

So, Sterling have Pure Evil and Nathan Bowen.

Phoenix have Copyright and James Jessop.

Tom thinks Pure Evil is "mental" for not choosing them to represent him.  Perhaps he should've stroked that artist ego some more.  So to speak.

Brick Lane now and the galleries.  Ooh.

Oh, fuck.  The art that Ricky Martin hated is the art of Nathan Bowen.  The art that Gabrielle wants to offer to Beefeater Gin.  Gabrielle wants Nathan to do a live art demo at their gallery evening.

Over on Sterling, Adam Cor-blimey isn't impressed with the James Jessop art - they're too massive, apparently.

Stephen has an idea.  Nathan is to do his live art "out the back" so that nobody sees him, playing on the Banksy theme.  "What the actual fuck?!" think Gabrielle, Ricky and Nick, but, more politely, say, "We love the idea, but no." It was, as Stephen said, "way outside the box" - why, yes, Stephen, having a live art demo that nobody can see is not in a box called "good".

Tom says obviously some more.  Laura seems to be hiding, because she's said, "Thank you very much" today and that's pretty much it.  Perhaps she might be scared of the big green monster in one of James Jessop's paintings?

Stephen's selling technique seems to be inspired by Brian Cant, saying as he does, "Take it away?" many times over.  Unfortunately, nobody does.

Adam thinks the artist appreciated his "naivety, unbiased-ness and innocence", but does manage to flog paintings.  Surprising, really, given that his art knowledge is akin to that of a toffee apple.

Laura speaks!  But only to say she's not used to selling things like this - you know, taking an item and giving it to the public for money.  She's used to the other sort of selling, like - well, what is there?  Laura isn't sure.  But she blames Adam for it, anyway.

Ricky couldn't possibly do three paintings for one chap (with surely a wig, Donald Trump would be proud) for £3,000, no way.  Eventually, however, he does them for a staggering sum more - £3,100.  Surely-a-wig-man goes away happy.  Well, as happy as someone who's just purchased some faces with black make-up running out of their eyes can be.

Stephen then demonstrates how useless he is as a corporate host.  "We were hoping for a gin and tonic" say his corporate clients - he actually replies, "I wish!".  Well, perhaps they wish that you'd said hello, introduced them to the rest of the team and said goodbye to them when they left - because, as Karren Brady points out, that was a masterclass in how not to treat a corporate client.

Gabrielle, on the other hand, is yelling, "If you want it, come and buy it!" at her punters, which seems to work, bizarrely.

Back to the boardroom for the dissection.

Lord Sugar - oh, the pun wizard - "the writing was on the wall with this task".  How we laughed.

Adam was out of his comfort zone and Lord Sugar was away with the jokes again - "not the Turner prize, more like the turnip prize" - seriously, Shuggs, enough, my sides are a-splitting.  Mind you, you're the one with the fat wedge of cash and the "my boardroom" - and I'm the one titting about on a netbook, so...

"You couldn't have bestowed your enthusiasm on more grateful subjects" - says Karren to Gabrielle, re Pure Evil.  I think Karren had clocked the stiffy too, don't you?

Lord Sugar picks holes in Gabrielle's "tactic" not to ask Beefeater Gin what their budget was.  Gabrielle pretends it was her strategy, but it soon becomes clear that it was a colossal fuck-up as the boys all make wry little lines with their mouths and shake their heads.

Beefeater Gin didn't buy anything.  This wasn't a shock, was it?  No gin and tonic on offer, fgs!

Renault bought art.  Coo.  Well done, Phoenix!

However, in the final analysis, Sterling were a heady £137 ahead of Phoenix, so they got to dress up in enormous rubber johnnies and go and sploosh lots of paint over each other and a vast expanse of paper in what can only be described as "a mess".  

Back to the greasy spoon.  Tom admits that it is his fault.  He takes "some responsibility".  Adam says the failure of the task lies with Tom.  He says Tom is "wet behind the ears" (should've worn one of those johnnies the other team had on - would've kept them dry).

Laura says nothing.  But, to be fair, Jade has said just about bugger all the whole task too.  I suspect they do talk, but it's just not interesting enough to make the final edit.  Ooh, controversial.

Back to the boardroom and Laura gets animated and vocal, blaming the failure of the task on Tom's choice of James Jessop, once they were let down by Pure Evil (although, to be fair, resting one's hopes on pure evil is never a good plan - did the Bible teach us nothing, boys and girls?!).

Lord Sugar seems to like Tom's gambling spirit.  Will it pay off for him?

Adam did lots of sales, Tom and Jade sold some and Laura sold next to nothing.  However, she doesn't question her own sales ability.  She does, however, insult Adam by calling him a blagger.  Whoops.  However, her eyes remain dramatically surrounded by as much tarry black stuff as the women in the pictures Ricky sold to wig-on-his-head man earlier.

Adam gets to go back to the house as Tom makes a good, if bleeding obvious, decision not to bring his top salesman back into the firing line.

Talking of the bleeding obvious, Lord Sugar has to "decide who's responsible for the failure of the task", he says.  Um, yes.  You've watched this before then, Alan?

Laura then finds her voice and protests that she was "still involved" - though she doesn't seem to know what she was involved with.  It wasn't sales.  Perhaps it was drawing dark lines round her eyes.

Is Jade indecisive, Lord Sugar wants to know.  I can't decide.

Tom talks himself into saying "decision" a number of times, then persuades Lord Sugar that he's not a waste of a seat on The Apprentice, because, two years out of university, he's running a £multimillion company.  Clearly Lord Sugar is worried that he'll be outdoing Amstrad by the end of the month.

Tom then wisely sits back and lets the girls scrap it out.  Laura says "myself" a lot.  And she's "devastated" that she didn't do more sales.  And it'll be a "travesty" if she leaves this process now.  I preferred her when she didn't talk.

Lord Sugar says Tom is responsible for the decisions that cost them the task this time.  Is it curtains for him?

Jade is indecisive some more.  Lord Sugar isn't sure whether he likes that or not (he suspects not).

Laura is "certainly a good talker" (and she agrees) - but, ultimately, she's talked herself out of the show - it is "myself" who gets the finger this week.  "Take care," she bizarrely urges them all as she leaves the process in a travesty.  Or was it a taxi?

And myself, for one, won't miss her.

However, you can see her eyes at 7.30pm every Thursday on BBC Two as they star in their own dramatic miniseries from September.

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