The Diary: Alex Wheatle; The Rivals; Go BZRK; Frieze Art Fair; Amy Winehouse

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

 

 

Literary redemption

The bestselling author Alex Wheatle reveals that it was during a short spell in prison in the 1980s that he had a life-changing encounter that set him on his creative path. He picked up a book in the prison library which redirected the course of his life: "I first came across The Black Jacobins by [the Afro-Trinidadian writer] C L R James in prison and that turned my life around. It made me realise that even though my life was crap, black people in history had lived a lot worse. It also made me think, 'maybe I can contribute'," he says. Staying true to his word, he wrote his bestselling debut novel, Brixton Rock, not long after. Wheatle is marking the 30th anniversary of the Brixton riots with a stage play that will dramatise his life and times from troubled teenager to sound system DJ and then to acclaimed author (he has just published his latest novel, Brenton Brown). The play, Uprising, to open at the Albany Theatre at Deptford on 11 October, takes audiences on a personal journey through Britain in the 1980s, from the brutality of the children's homes that Wheatle passed through as a child to the Brixton riots and the prison cell he shared with a Rasta cellmate.

Money talks

A modern-day remake of a Sheridan 1775 comedy, The Rivals, starring Imelda Staunton, Joseph Fiennes and Albert Finney, has come unstuck after attracting only half its financing. The project has hit a halt, a disappointed source has revealed, until further funds roll in. Lets hope financiers can dig deep into their recession-hit pockets to give the eternally entertaining Mrs Malaprop an airing.

From blog to book

Following the success of Pottermore – the online-enhanced Harry Potter experience – an entertainment studio is doing it the other way around by launching the online enhancement before a new series of mystery adventure books is even published. The series is written by the bestselling author Michael Grant for young adults, and the online activity offers a sort of prequel to the book. The studio has created a "transmedia experience" that acquaints readers with plotlines and characters. The online experience has been labelled Go BZRK and includes character blogs, interactive games, online videos and mobile apps, culminating with BZRK the book at the end of it all in February 2012. Sounds BZRK.

The fine art of causing outrage

Frieze mania has begun. For attention-seeking art during the annual week of contemporary art in London, which always comes with its fair share of art stunts (remember the year the Chapman brothers scribbled all over bank notes?), it might be hard to beat the Iranian artist Reza Aramesh's idea to create a set of Catholic-style icons based on figures of Muslim captives, which he will exhibit in a former church in Marylebone. The Muslim subjects have been taken from photography featuring captives in conflict zones, mostly in the Middle East, and they appear largely in boxer shorts or jeans. The figurines are made by a family workshop in Italy that has been producing religious statuary for generations. They are infused with an air of old Catholic saints, I'm told, in order to look like "modern-day Christs or St Sebastiens". It's hard to anticipate who the work will offend more: Muslims or Christians.

Pop art and myth

Amy Winehouse will be the subject of an exhibition by the pop artist Gerald Laing, who painted her in 2008 at the peak of her troubled celebrity. He has captured her flamboyantly dressed and kissing her then husband Blake Fielder-Civil. The complete collection of paintings and drawings goes on display at Thomas Gibson Fine Art in London's Mayfair from 11 October, with a percentage of all sales donated to the Winehouse rehabilitation project launched by her father, Mitch. "My work is concerned with the myth, and portrays her as she appeared to us, the public, via the media," says Laing. "Now that the drama has ended, and all is quiet, I hope it will be seen as a tribute from one artist to another."

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
books
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
books
Arts and Entertainment
The man with the golden run: Daniel Craig as James Bond in 'Skyfall'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Waving Seal' by Luke Wilkinson was Highly Commended in the Portraits category

photography
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
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.

    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor