In a whistle-stop tour of the Capital's artistic venues and ventures, Jeremy Hunt, Culture Secretary, gave every indication that he was approaching his new role with energy and vigour. In an astonishing act of oneupmanship, the Culture Secretary has already pledged to cut his departmental workforce by 50% and move the rest of them into a cupboard off the M25 corridor.
"I've nothing against ex-ballet dancers an' operatic types, but they're not very clever with an 'ole-punch, an'll 'ave ter go," he announced to James Naughtie at the start of a culturally diverse day. "I want ter start me day with a mug of tea, not a friggin' demi-plié."
First stop : Tate Modern. In a long and convoluted speech which clearly owed much to the Surrealist and Dadaist artistic movements, Mr Hunt concluded: "Me? I know nuffink bar t'art, bu' I know I don' like it."
Mid-morning, at a meeting of the T.S. Eliot Prize committee, Hunt hinted that there would be no Government funding for poetic sagas, sestinas, villanelles or laureates.
"If you can't say it in five lines, is it worth sayin' at all?" he shouted at a packed room of delighted poets who had only heard his final category of cut.
At Covent Garden he pleaded a flash migraine and asked 'the fat cow in the toga to put a sock in it' during a dress rehearsal of Verdi's Aida and told the 'fairy in tight to take the sock out' during a similar rehearsal of The Nutcracker.
Mr Hunt's visits received a mixed reception. The African Parrot and Tango Collective were sniffy about his reaction to a piece of Public Art assembled from 250,000 redundant vuvuzelas.
"He offered to strike the match, " said Segun Franko. "That man has no vision."
In a bid to lead by example in the area of philanthropy, Hunt offered a year's supply of Toffee Crisps and a £15 Book Token as first prize in the Jeremy Hunt Inaugural Limerick Competition.
Mrs Rollocks, of Putney Hill, was very impressed. "It's an excellent idea," she grinned. "And it will certainly take the poetic spotlight off me."