The Diary: Marc Quinn; Todd Haynes; Mother Courage; Charles Darwin, Philip Kerr

The art of the facelift

Marc Quinn, the one-time YBA who uses 10 pints of his own blood to create frozen busts called 'Self' every five years (the latest of which has been bought by the National Portrait Gallery), is working on an exhibition to feature more than a dozen sculptures of "artists" who have had extreme forms of plastic surgery. It will be exhibited at Jay Jopling's White Cube gallery in April 2010. He revealed: "My new project will be about people who have transformed themselves through plastic surgery, people who I call 'artists' who have completely changed. I call them artists because they have used their bodies as their medium. They are ordinary people who have become extraordinary people. They have acted out what is on the inside on their outsides." Some of the sculptures will be created in bronze, the material he used to create a large-scale artwork of Kate Moss in a yoga pose. Quinn, right, said he had become fascinated with the cult of plastic surgery in modern society. "The show is about a topsy-turvy world," he said.

Far from cinemas

Todd Haynes, the American film-maker best known for 'Far from Heaven', is turning his attentions to television. Speaking in Venice, he said: "I'm stepping out of the film world. HBO offer a great deal of creative freedom and intellectual curiosity that you don't often find in the independent film world." He is in discussions with HBO to adapt James M Cain's book 'Mildred Pierce', about a single mother's struggle to keep her family afloat during the Great Depression, possibly starring Kate Winslet. The Oscar-winning film version of 1945 starred Joan Crawford.

Truly epic theatre

Audiences at the first preview night of the National Theatre's adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's 'Mother Courage' – starring Fiona Shaw – were miffed when the director, Deborah Warner, appeared on stage to tell them that only half the play would be performed as they had not finished the technical rehearsal. All tickets would be fully refunded, she said, but those who wanted to stay and watch up until the interval were very welcome. One member of the audience who stayed to watch felt that at two hours and 20 minutes, it was quite long enough as it was.

Digging Darwin

Randal Keynes, co-writer of the Charles Darwin biopic 'Creation' (starring Jennifer Connelly), and great-great grandson of Darwin, is now working on bringing the evolutionary theorist's garden back to life for modern-day readers. He said: "I'm working on a book about Darwin's garden in Kent, at the house he lived in after he came back from the Voyage of the Beagle. I'm working with English Heritage to look after the house. Darwin was a very keen experimenter. It was his wife's garden, so she chose all the plants except in one small area where he was allowed to do his experiments on vegetables and flowers."

Soothing short stories

The crime novelist Philip Kerr has admitted to being keen on listening to audiobooks while doing a spot of yoga. Having got through the latest John le Carré and 'Restless' by William Boyd not long ago, he finds literature a soothing backdrop to the pain of his "downward-facing dogs". "I used to have a teacher, but she was rather grave. She was a former ballerina and I'm a portly writer. I can't empty my mind so when she gave up on me, I tried doing it with a book on tape. It's probably not what Mr Iyengar had in mind, but I love listening to the books on tape, and don't even notice that they're abridged."

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