First he abandons his early promise to focus on raking it in – then he goes on Blue Peter and attempts to inflict his stale, jaded, cynical views on children
Damien Hirst's appearance on Blue Peter later today, and his admission that he got the inspiration for his not-particularly-loved spin paintings by watching the show's great presenter John Noakes using a painting machine on telly in 1975 is his most striking public comment in years. A shame he has to spoil it by encouraging children to be lazy, cynical idiots.
Blue Peter in the 1970s was a richly educational children's programme. Of course it inspired an artist; it surely inspired many children to do many things. Noakes in particular was a kind of hero who climbed chimneys and was always saying "Get down, Shep" to his beloved pet dog.
1970s Blue Peter was worthy – "too middle class", it might be called by a modern TV executive – and promoted intelligence as well as fun. It was definitely the bookish kids at primary school who won Blue Peter badges. So young Damien Hirst, like me, sat watching Valerie Singleton narrate illustrated biographies of Grace Darling.
I happened to see the 2012 version of Blue Peter the other day and the top feature was about how to be a pop star. Although it still has educational aims, everything has to be filtered through a desperate down-with-the-kids style.
So what does Hirst do? He goes on today's Blue Peter and mocks the educational values of 70s Britain and the traditional BBC that he and I both benefited from. He tells kids that at first he assumed the spin machine was just fun, "whereas art is something more serious. And then as I got older, I started thinking about Van Gogh and all those painters, and cutting your ear off when you're painting, and at that point I just thought: 'Why does it have to be like that?' I thought: 'No, actually, the better art is the art made with the spin machine.'"
So, wait – poor Vincent, who spent his lonely life learning to draw, who finally encountered the impressionists in Paris and broke through to an intense visionary style of his own, who painted some of the most moving and enduring art of all time – Van Gogh was just some loser?
Don't be a loser like Van Gogh, kids. Be a winner like Uncle Damien. Forget talent, forget work, forget the imagination and creative energy that burned in Vincent van Gogh. Art is just a laugh and a con. So is everything else.
The tragedy is that Hirst was once a serious artist consumed by the terror of death. Now what is he doing? Well, raking it in. But it's gross and horrible for him to inflict his stale, jaded, cynical views on children.
Hirst once promised so much. Now he is a national disgrace, a living example that talent is nothing and money is king. How pathetic for him to go on the programme he says inspired him and use it as a platform to corrupt the young.