MAN ON BOARD!
The Philharmonic's chief exec, Michael Elliott has been brought on board the sinking ship of the Culture Company.
Elliott (known as 'Mick' to counter the Phil's famed cultural elitism) has been appointed for two days a week as yet another 'Cultural Advisor' following the departure of Robbing Archer.
Elliott's qualifications for this Titanic role are a bit of a puzzle.
First of all he is a bureaucract and has no cultural credentials whatsoever.
Secondly, the 'Phil' has always shown a lofty and arrogant disdain for 2008.
It was alone amongst the city's big cultural institutions in making hardly any contribution to the successful 2008 bid.
And it has been noticeable by its absence from all things Culture Company ever since.
The Phil is famous for always going its own way and doing its own thing - despite the heavy public subsidy it receives from the city council's taxpayers (a bumper £1.3million last time, ed.)
So if Elliott has been brought on board to try and tackle one of the Culture Company's biggest faults - the lack of consistent, comprehensive and sustainable engagement and involvement of Liverpool people - then he does not have a proud track record at the Phil.
After all, the Phil is hardly famed for serenading shoppers at Tescos, or inviting inner city kids backstage, or sending out string quartets to entertain the crowds at Anfield or Goodison, is it?
That would be mixing with the hoi polloi a bit too much, wouldn't it?
Far nicer to stay safe with its Wirral-based clique of conservative converts.
So our guess is that Elliott has been brought in to try and sort out the Culture Company bureacracy, which under The Chief Executive of Nothing, has signally failed to deliver anything whatsoever.
The official press release says this:
"Michael will work with the Culture Company Chief Executive, Jason Harborow, (thought the Harbarrowboy was still interim? ed) and the creative team (Robbing's nervous early appointments, ed) to advise on the Culture Company's planning and its relationship with the cultural organisations and practitioners in Liverpool and build on the already close links with the DCMS and Arts Council England. ( I don't understand a word of this either, but neither do they, so we can all remain in total ignorance, ed)
"He will also work closely with the Chief Executive in assessing the artistic and cultural structure required to manage the future development of the 2008 programme, its communication and delivery. " (gawd help us, ed)
In other words, Elliott has been brought on board at the last minute to try and keep the sinking ship afloat and:
a) to keep an eye on the money
b) to keep an eye on the bureaucracy
c) to keep an eye on The Harbarrowboy
Whether his appointment works, never mind reconciles the various warring factions on the Culture Company Board (of which more later, ed) remains to be seen.
The job should obviously have gone to Lewis Biggs, whose successful Biennial is one of the few cultural events to put the city on the international map, but he clearly refused to partake of the poisoned chalice.
Other things that should be said about Elliott:
1) Henshaw once memorably dismissed him as a 'lightweight' (that's recommendation enough then, ed)
2)Henshaw also conspired with Elliott and the shadowy Phil Chairman, Roger Lewis, into getting rid of former conductor Gerry Schwarz in the most disgraceful and shameful way. So Elliott is a ruthless hatchet man. (And we shall be watching Lewis in future, ed)
3) No one likes Elliott at the Phil.
So I wouldn't hold your breath for any great changes in direction as the Culture Company ship goes steaming towards the 2008 iceberg.