Shhh! Don't tell dad...
Jamie Wood, son of Ronnie, is embarking on a new art venture. A cut-price alternative to Scream, the Mayfair gallery he runs with his younger brother, Tyrone, Whisper (geddit?) will open down the road in Eastcastle Street on 10 June and will sell limited-edition prints and work by emerging artists, from £300. "It's nice to get someone into art and help them start a collection," says Wood, whose own haul includes works by Matisse, Picasso and Dali. There won't, though, be any wall space for his father's work in the new gallery. "He's just cut a deal with Halycon. I think he's more suited to that mass-market type gallery," says Wood. "I said to Jay Jopling a few years ago that I wanted to do a show of dad's paintings at White Cube and he just laughed and said he was 'too one-dimensional for us'. Which is true. He just paints things. I mean he's good at still lives and portraits, but he's too one-dimensional for Scream now." Tyrone, though, is on hand to help out with the new family business. "I just drag him with me wherever I go. He needs guidance because he's not as clever as me."
How to Currie favour
Much pleasure to be had in Robin Soans' Deep Heat, a collection of transcripts of the conversations the playwright has had in the name of research. He has spoken to terrorists, drug addicts and aristocrats, but the most pleasing monologue comes from Edwina Currie, quizzed by Soans about her affair with John Major for 2007's Life After Scandal. "We used to arrange our dates sitting on the Front Bench in the House of Commons, whispering to each other," she reveals. She also relives the time that Major offered her the "poisoned chalice" Minister for Prisons job – to her disgust. "I re-ran the scene in my mind as it should have gone. We would have met in a small private room, just the two of us. He would have kissed me and then said, 'There are three or four jobs still vacant... Edwina, do you have a preference?'... looking deep into my eyes... I would have said, 'The one which is for the country's good... and you know I'm particularly good with inner cities'." Steamy!
A Gold standard in swarthy spiel
Aardman have assembled a stellar cast for The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists. The 3D animation is due for release in March 2012 and is the first stop-motion film from the studio since 2005's Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Hugh Grant plays the lily-livered pirate hero, while Imelda Staunton and David Tennant voice Queen Victoria and Charles Darwin. Most exciting, though, is the casting of Jeremy Piven, aka Entourage's heroically profane Hollywood agent Ari Gold, as the baddie, Black Bellamy. A quick flick through Charles Johnson's 1724 General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates (I'll lend you a copy) records this speech from the real-life Captain Bellamy to a captured ship. "Damn the sloop... Damn ye altogether: damn them for a pack of crafty rascals, and you, who serve them, for a parcel of hen-hearted numbskulls... I have as much authority to make war on the whole world as he who has a hundred sail of ships at sea!" Now that, Ari, is a rant.
An alliance in bloom
Visitors to Kai and Sunny's new show, which opens at Stolen Space Gallery next Friday, will enjoy an unexpected literary exclusive from David Mitchell. The Booker-shortlisted author has written a new short story, The Gardener, to accompany the artists' silkscreen images of flowers. The duo have previously designed Mitchell's books, including the cover for Cloud Atlas. "We've always admired him as a writer, so we approached him. We liked the idea of combining the two," says Kai Clements. The story will also be on sale, in a box set with five images, from the gallery on London's Brick Lane.
Flame-haired foghorn Florence Welch is working on her second album, which will have a spooky feel with songs about "ghosts and rumours, my dead grandmother, things visiting you in a dream." She also reveals, in Nylon magazine, that singing was not her first choice of career. "I wanted to be a witch when I was a kid. I did a spell to try and make the boy in the other class fall in love with me." She's since turned to music to charm the boys. "I'm not actually very good at saying how I feel in person. It's almost as if, to get a message across to one person, you have to sing it to a couple of thousand." Which would explain her ubiquity at festivals.