Arifa Akbar's Arts Diary: The word on the street is that Walliams is happy to book a date with his big fan


As far as the art of pairing and chairing goes, Nick Barley, the director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, seems to be very inspired this year.

e reveals, exclusively to The Diary, that Sarah Brown, wife of the former PM Gordon Brown, will be interviewing David Walliams (above) on 27 August about his latest children's book. She revealed her love of Walliams' books to Barley after a book event with her husband last year. "She is a real fan of his books so I said to her: 'how about chairing his event?' She agreed and of course there is always a slightly anxious moment [when you tell the author of their chair] but David Walliams was absolutely delighted," Barley says.

Even more inspired is his pairing of Ian McEwan with his chair, Alex Salmond (22 August). "For me, the real excitement is finding a pairing that is surprising and unusual," Barley says. Professor Peter Higgs (of Higgs Boson fame), who is rarely seen in public, has agreed to join Frank Close in a talk. "I wasn't expecting him to say yes," Barley says.

Never mind the cockney, here's our new street patois

The film-maker Julien Temple has single-handedly identified a new patois being spoken on the streets of London, over and above the cockney and mockney already out there. It is Jafaican. Here's an official definition in Temple's words: "Against the odds, indigenous Londoners have come to enthusiastically embrace their new city. They are even beginning to speak a new language of their own. The good old cockney dialect is disappearing, mutating into a new Metropolitan London English (MLE) aka Jafaican, spoken by London Tibetans, Trinidadians and Notting Hill Trustafarians alike – innit!"

He discovered this in the course of making a film about London's cultural upheavals in the past century, London: the Modern Babylon. For more on Jafaican, Temple will be at post-screening talks at the BFI Southbank, as well as Rio Dalston and Notting Hill Gate, in London next week.

Chicago erection at the centre of the latest erotic offering...

First there was Fifty Shades of Grey, then there was the mushrooming market in erotic fiction, and now there is serialised erotic fiction. Following our current craze for all things Grey, Headline has brought out an ebook serialisation of the erotic novel Because You are Mine by Beth Kery, to be told in eight weekly instalments. It features an art student who is commissioned by a billionaire to create a centrepiece for his Chicago skyscraper.

According to the press release, their "chemistry draws them into a passionate, all-consuming relationship that will change both of them forever." As far as an inventive storyline goes, it doesn't sound very inspired. As far as serialisation goes, one has to wonder if the cliffhangers will bring readers back or merely prove to be an interminable tease.

Rock'n'roll and royalty make for a sound mix

A man wearing a yellow Angry Birds cap was seen playing table tennis in the backstage area of the Womad world music festival last weekend. Prince Harry, it turned out, had returned for the fourth year running, to join the crowd at Charlton Park. The everyman Prince was happy to hang out with festival-goers.

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