Damien Hirst has a new show at the White Cube, and Adrian Searle has the knives out for it. This is one of those bad reviews which has made me keener than ever to see the show itself. I’m not at all impressed with the last paragraph, in which Adrian addresses the already-notorious “Charity” (a giant version of a Spastics Society collection box familiar to anyone who lived through the 70s in the UK). Aside from the fact that “Hymn” was plainly not what made Hirst famous, it seems bizarre for a critic to lay into a piece of sculpture like that because its meaning is ambiguous. It seems to me that “Charity” was made in the same way as “Hymn” but to completely different effect, and what’s more, how many artists don’t refer back to their previous work? Maybe I should see the show before I allow my pro-Hirst dudgeon to become too high.

I love Hirst (partly) because he seems to me utterly and convincingly punk rock: that beguiling brand of arrogance, misery, hedonism and self-hatred, contradictions held at once to be totally unacceptable and a self-evidently good thing. He’s in it for the money and he has complete integrity; he’s taking a rise and he’s deadly serious. He knows the joys of causing irruptions, however small or temporary, in the smooth face of proper grown-up Culture. What’s more, when I look at his work I get that feeling of a sense of possibility even in the context of all that apparent nihilism. Oh and it’s generally fun. Nasty fun.