Tuesday, 15 August 2006

The weekly shot of Schadenfreude

This is old news but it's worth dusting off.

Vic Hislop makes a living by fishing for sharks. He used to kill great whites until they became a protected species in 2004. That was a sad day for our brave Vic. Nowadays, he restricts himself to unprotected species. Oh, and there's the shark 'museum' at Airlie Beach.

(I'm not sure how informative the museum displays are. I haven't visited. But I'm doubtful about the quality of information. In an interview following a fatal attack in South Australia, Hislop referred to sharks as 'a massive blight on marine life'. That makes me wonder just a little bit about his understanding of ecology.)

Melbourne newspaper, the Sunday Age, ran a story about his encounter with ageing Young British Artist Damien Hirst, the man with the penchant for shoving things in formalin. (Here's a tip from someone who's worked in natural history museums for quite some time—fix in formalin, preserve in ethanol, Damo.)

Hislop has supplied sharks to the artist for 15 years. It seems to have been on a no-questions-asked basis.

Mr Hislop went fishing last year on a request from Hirst, who had ordered three big tiger sharks and a white pointer for his ongoing artistic needs.

"I caught this beautiful-looking little tiger, so I chucked it in as a freebie," Mr Hislop explained.

Imagine how he must have felt when the Sunday Age told him that the beautiful-looking little tiger had been sold to the Samsung Gallery in South Korea for … A$5.7 million.

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