Spare a thought for the people derisively labelled as "arts bureaucrats" by many a starving artist (including, at various points of his life, your correspondent).

Unlike their colleagues in the more precarious sectors of artistic and cultural endeavour, public servants in arts agencies enjoy a steady pay cheque and some nice super. But in return for the public service day job, they earn the contempt of many in the art world. The rest of the public service doesn't appear to take them too seriously either -- especially not policymakers in the central departments of government, who mainly encounter "the arts" when an arts agency comes begging for a bailout for this or that orchestra or festival.