The Diary: Andrew Lloyd Webber; John Walker; Alice Channer; Ian McEwan; Hilary Mantel

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Phantom finds himself a new haunt

Andrew Lloyd Webber confessed that he has already sent the soundtrack of his latest musical, ‘Love Never Dies’ (sequel to ‘The Phantom of the Opera’) to two key figures – both of whom were involved in ‘Phantom’, and neither of whom have a part to play in the sequel: Cameron Mackinstosh, who worked with Lloyd Webber on the original, and Sarah Brightman (right), Lloyd Webber’s former wife and the first leading lady, Christine. Lloyd Webber said: “The two people in the world I most wanted to hear the soundtrack were Sarah Brightman and Cameron Macintosh.” After hearing the songs, Webber said that Cameron “wrote me one of the sweetest letters I have ever had”, while Sarah’s response was similarly supportive, and “funny”, he added. When quizzed about why Mackintosh was not producing the sequel, which takes place a decade after we last encountered the murderous phantom, now living on Coney Island, Lloyd Webber said: “Cameron has been incredibly supportive… but he has got his own life.” He said there would be no other sequels after this one. “I can’t say that the story could possibly continue.” The show opens on 9 March 2010 at the Adelphi Theatre, London

Gamble pays off

John Walker, a Turner-nominated Birmingham-born artist, has used a hoard of bingo cards that he found abandoned in his studio in Maine in 2005 as the canvas for his latest artwork. The cards had random numbers on one side, and were plain black on the other. He used the blank surface to paint coastal scenes in Maine and used the numbers as part of his artwork as well. Fifty of the resulting 7in-by-5in paintings are to be offered for sale at Offer Waterman & Co, in London, from 16 October to 14 November.

Tar very much

An artist has just joined David Hockney in his offensive against the anti-smoking lobby. Alice Channer, a 32-year-old who often uses cigarette ash in her work, has just had one piece called 'See-Thru', bought for the Tate Collection from the charitable Outset/Frieze Art Fair Fund. The work is made up of a pair of black-and-white paintings garnished with cigarette ash. A friend explains that Channer "sees cigarettes as a glamorous thing associated with the fashion industry. She often uses fabrics in her work as well as cigarettes".

Anti-hero given chance of atonement

Ian McEwan might be best known for his brooding, angsty dramas but he has lately turned his hand to consciousness-raising comedy – with a satirical book on the dangers of global warming. The award-winning writer, whose musings on how to deal with the theme of climate change in fiction date back to 2007, has now penned 'Solar', featuring the middle-aged Michael Beard, a bald, overweight Nobel Prize-winning physicist whose best work is behind him and whose fifth marriage is on the rocks. But then an opportunity presents itself for Beard to extricate himself from his marital mess, reinvigorate his career and very possibly save the world from environmental disaster. His publishers said while it's a novel about "the most serious threats to our world", it is also "very, very funny".

Howling success

Hilary Mantel, the recent winner of the Man Booker prize, said she regarded her £50,000 as earnings for half a lifetime of dogged scribbling with barely two pennies to rub together. "(If you consider) the cost of what an author earns per hour... I have been working since 1984, and the return is not that great." Still, she added, the Booker cheque will "buy time" as she gets working on her sequel to 'Wolf Hall', entitled 'The Mirror and the Light'. The cheque, she said, will be spent on living, rather than a one-off luxury splurge.