The Diary: Kate MccGwire; The King's Speech; Jo Shapcott; Man Booker Prize; London Music Masters

Winging it

Some years ago, Kate MccGwire turned Charles Saatchi's head at her degree show at the Royal College of Art when she used a chicken wishbone as the basis for her installation Brood. The collector snapped it up to display in his Thameside gallery. Now, she has developed the bird theme, collecting bird feathers of all varieties – duck, pigeon, magpie, pheasant, crow – for works of art made from feathers. She receives the material from some 150 pigeon racers, farmers and gamekeepers. "Every time the pigeons moult, the racers send me envelopes filled with feathers," she says. Crow feathers are a different story. "They are killing song birds and damaging crops so farmers and gamekeepers shoot them and I get the feathers." I heard of her recent work (Writhe) when I received an invitation to her latest show, at Pertwee Anderson & Gold in London, which came with a mallard feather attached. The pièce de résistance will be Slick, a blue installation made entirely of magpie feathers: "It's a comment on magpies being regarded as thieves, the deviant species of the bird world," MccGwire says. The work features in a group show opening on 21 February. Hopefully, it won't ruffle any feathers.

Voices from the past

If you discern a fuzziness behind some of the sound effects in the film The King's Speech, starring Colin Firth as King George VI, your ears are not deceiving you: in an attempt at authenticity, five vintage royal microphones were unearthed to record the movie. The equipment, used by the Royal family and dating back to 1923, was retrieved from Abbey Road Studios' vaults and used for the speeches in the film. The score was composed by Alexandre Desplat, and recorded, mixed and mastered at Abbey Road Studios, too. The senior recording engineer, Peter Cobbin, reveals the story behind the recording: "I was thrilled when Alexandre Desplat called to ask if I could record his score for an upcoming film. What I knew, but couldn't let on then, was that many years ago, on a mission to seek out vintage Abbey Road recording equipment, I had noticed some microphones held at the EMI archives which had been used by the British Royal family. These microphones were made by EMI dating back to 1923, and were used by the Royal Family for speeches on significant occasions." Maybe the authenticity will lend weight to the film's Oscar campaign.

A perfect harmony of rhyme and reason

Jo Shapcott, the poet who last week won the Costa prize for her collection Of Mutability, conceived in the aftermath of a breast cancer diagnosis in 2003, says "one good thing" came out of the experience (other than the poetry collection). "I had a nice oncologist who was a great fan of poems," she says. The doctor invited her to be patron of an organisation called Medicine Unboxed, for medics who get together to explore language. She has since been invited to read poetry at their meetings. Reflecting on her diagnosis, the poet says that the statistics she was given helped to ground her while she was ill. "The more statistics and science they gave me, the more I liked it. I know everyone doesn't feel like that but it was those concrete numbers that I found exciting."

Flawed vision

Ion Trewin, the literary director of Man Booker Prizes, says it was his idea to send judges electronic submissions and e-Readers, though he is waiting for feedback. The Kindle and its like suit some tastes and not others, he says, relating a story that marks out the potential flaws in the idea: "I was on a train and I watched a man with an iPad. He was reading or watching his screen until the sun hit it when he had to move seats for a better picture – so it's not perfect yet."

Cash for concertos

The music charity London Music Masters, which provides music education in inner-city primary schools, is launching an innovative fundraising campaign inviting donors to buy a bar of music for a new composition. The composer Martin Suckling has been commissioned to write a violin concerto, and the charity is asking Facebook users to help with the process by offering donations from £5. The aim is to raise £4,250 by the end of March.

Arts and Entertainment
The Rolling Stones at the Roundhouse in London in 1971: from the left, Keys, Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor and Mick Jagger

Music ...featuring Eric Clapton no less
Arts and Entertainment
In the dock: Dot Branning (June Brown); Union boss claims EastEnders writers are paid less than minimum wage

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Roger Christian wrote and directed the 1980 Black Angel original, which was lost until 2011

film
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Green (Hand out press photograph provided by Camilla Gould)

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones reviewWarning: Spoilers aplenty
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Healy of The 1975 performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset

music
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe Withnail and I creator, has a new theory about killer's identity
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Arts and Entertainment
The Clangers: 1969-1974
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emilia Clarke could have been Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but passed it up because of the nude scenes

film
Arts and Entertainment
A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora pictured together in 2012

music
Arts and Entertainment
A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

    ‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

    Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
    Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

    Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

    But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
    Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

    Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

    Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

    ... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
    Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

    Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

    Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
    12 best olive oils

    Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

    Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
    Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

    Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

    There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
    England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

    England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

    In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)