The Diary: Banksy; Sky; 'England People Very Nice'; Angelina Jolie; Queen Victoria

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The Independent Culture

Less of a draw

Could the failure of Banksy's six Warholesque prints of Kate Moss to sell at a Bonhams auction last week have diminished the going market price for a work by the mysterious Bristol graffiti artist? One of his signed prints, showing three shopping trolleys in the middle of a field, is currently on offer for 1p. The 'Trolleys' original print is being housed in a formerly disused shop just off Carnaby Street this week, ready to be sold off in a live auction raffle on 27 March, for the cost of spending a penny. The public can register their interest on

Looking up at Sky

The financial world may be in mayhem, but all must be well with the arts sponsors Sky, who recently enlisted the help of the English National Ballet and the English National Opera to raise some cheer among their staff. Voice coaches from the ENO attended one of Sky's call centres in Scotland to give telephone operators a lesson in voice projection, while staff at Sky's head office in Osterley were given a lunchtime Pilates class by an expert from the English National Ballet.

Attention not nice

The National Theatre has seen a surge in ticket sales following a protest against Richard Bean's play 'England People Very Nice', which is accused by some locals of portraying the Bengali community in a stereotypical and bigoted way. The chief protester, Hussain Ismail, met the National's artistic director, Nicholas Hytner, and spoke to the papers. It may not please him to know that his efforts have done a great job in marketing.

A heated affair

The glamorous shadow of Angelina Jolie will loom large over the Royal Court Theatre this spring. Wallace Shawn's film 'The Fever', which originally co-starred Jolie as a "revolutionary" alongside Vanessa Redgrave in 2004, is to be staged at the Sloane Square theatre in March, this time starring Clare Higgins. The story traces the journey of a middle-class liberal do-gooder who wants to change the world. The play is part of a season dedicated to the playwriting of Shawn and will be accompanied by a series of his films, although it is not yet known if Jolie's performance will have an airing.

Right royal laughs

A letter revealing Queen Victoria's more "amused" side has been discovered by Dr Geoff Hicks at the University of East Anglia. In the letter, from 1852, the Prime Minister, Lord Derby, recalls a thunderstorm during a drive with the Queen on the Isle of Wight. Lord Derby describes how they had to seek refuge at the home of Lord Downes: "We must have disturbed his dinner arrangements. He was still more disturbed, however, by the rain forcing its way into his drawing room... The Queen was amused, and took very good-naturedly having to sit on cushions nearly soaked through."