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
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Image has been released by the BBC
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Will there ever be a Friends reunion?
TV
News
Harry Hill plays the Professor in the show and hopes it will help boost interest in science among young people
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A Van Gogh sold at Sotheby’s earlier this month
art
Arts and Entertainment

MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word

Arts and Entertainment
It would 'mean a great deal' to Angelina Jolie if she won the best director Oscar for Unbroken

Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says

Arts and Entertainment
Winnie the Pooh has been branded 'inappropriate' in Poland
books
Arts and Entertainment
Lee Evans is quitting comedy to spend more time with his wife and daughter

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

music
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

music
Arts and Entertainment
Look out: Broad shoulders take Idris Elba’s DCI John Luther a long way
tvIdris Elba will appear in two special episodes for the BBC next year
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.

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?