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EDITORIAL: Problems of the .00000001 per cent

A luxury yacht marina in the Mediterranean. —
A luxury yacht marina in the Mediterranean. — 123RF Stock Photo

Poor little rich folks.

Life has gotten so hard that now the ultra-rich have to shell out money just to train the crew in how to handle priceless art on their multimillion-dollar superyachts.

Will the outrages ever end?

Seriously, in a world where truth is stranger than fiction, art historian and conservator Pandora Mather-Lees is offering paid art training for ships’ crews to prevent accidents like the one that saw a Picasso painting damaged by an errant champagne cork, and a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting that was improperly cleaned by a crew member after the children of the very rich threw breakfast cereal at it. (Because, apparently, they found the painting scary.)

It is an issue that’s on the increase, as superyachts cross the half-billion-dollar mark and carry art collections that outstrip the value of the vessels themselves.

Talk about your real-world problems.

Life has gotten so hard that now the ultra-rich have to shell out money just to train the crew in how to handle priceless art on their multimillion-dollar superyachts.

Mather-Lees is offering training at $500 a day per crew member to explain how to care for expensive art, and how to find emergency expert help in the case of things like errant corks and junior art-critic corn flake dousings.

But clearly, if the bottom of the painting gets stained, you just cut that part off and reframe it, right?

The whole concept brings to mind a whole new field of training course affecting the staff of the super-rich, classes that of course could command top dollar.

• “What do you do if you get poor people on your shoes?” — a shorter course offering, because, obviously, the only answer is to throw out your shoes and send the staff out to purchase an identical pair, even if the staff have to fly to Bijan in Beverly Hills to pick them up.

• “Doesn’t air traffic control know who I am?” — 101 ways for your aircrew to find you an earlier landing spot for your private jet than the one you’ve been given, without having to declare a fake inflight emergency. (But not ruling out declaring a fake inflight emergency.)

• “Beyonce won’t play at my daughter’s wedding for any price.” — the ethical questions raised by having your mercenaries kidnap her and force her to perform. (Course cancelled — this course will be replaced by a new offering, “How can we kidnap Beyonce and still have her sing?” Any reference to ethics is, of course, irrelevant.)

And in case you think this is all over the top, the Guardian story that talks about the new course on art care has other snippets about how the ultra-rich treat their art — including hanging pieces on their sides to suit the confines of yacht space, and in one case, cutting up a work by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami to make it fit in the spot the yacht owner wanted it to fit.

Life is so hard.

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