The Diary: Kylie inspires School of Life; Peta on the plinth; Indian garden at the British Museum; Gilbert and George; Cartrain 'liberates' Hirst's pencils

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The Independent Culture

The Botton line

The writer, Alain de Botton, who was one of the founders of the modern day literary salon (of sorts) called School of Life, told me he only hit on this idea after an illuminating conversation with Kylie Minogue's father (who is also the pop star's manager). He found himself sitting next to Mr Minogue at a glitzy dinner, talking about the current state of affairs for Kylie, when De Botton realised the future of literature was in live performances. "I happened to meet Kylie Minogue's father. I asked 'how is business?' and he said it had fallen by 60 per cent because of internet downloads. "But we have started to make it up with concerts," he told me, and he predicted the same thing for books. I asked him what writers should do: "do what musicians do, start a new revenue stream". He said the future was in the "live" element, which really made me think, maybe there's a community for books rather than it being a solitary thing." Thus the School of Life was born. Perhaps Mr Minogue deserves royalties.

Topless tirade

Peta, the anti-fur animal charity, is used to raiding the runways of Paris and Milan Fashion Week but now, one of its proponents has found a legitimate way to Antony Gormley's fourth plinth. Peta supporter, Natalie Simpson, 34, of Stoke Newington, in North London, has been allocated an hour on the plinth on 29 July for which she will appear as a topless mermaid surounded by an ocean scene urging passsers-by to "Try to Relate to Who is on Your Plate – Go Veg" ...while blowing bubbles.

Mango miracle

Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum, has admitted that on transporting the very tree that Buddha is said to have sat under to the Museum's annual garden, every last leaf fell off, while it was exhibited in the smog-filled capital. Not so for an Indian garden on the Museum's grounds. It has, miracle of miracles, sprouted leaves. "It could be the first recorded instance of mango trees blossoming in central London. Kew is very interested in this becoming a cash crop for Bloomsbury," he quipped.

Affairs of the art turn to marriage

The artistic duo, Gilbert and George, have refused to answer detailed questions about their professional (and personal) relationship for decades, although they have teased the art world with the possibility that they may have a working relationship that extends into their romantic life. After all, they haven't left each other's sides since first meeting at Central St Martins in 1967, produced four decades of work together and even went as far as saying that their first meeting was "love at first sight". This week, at White Cube gallery, where they are staging their latest and biggest show, they confirmed they married in Bow last year, for "practical reasons", with George (the British born one, as opposed to Gilbert, the Italian born one) saying: "It was really in case one of us falls off a bus".

Pencilled in for another row

Cartrain, the 16-year-old Graffiti artist who was last in the news when he got on the wrong side of Damien Hirst for incorporating photographic images of Hirst's skull artwork, For the Love of God, into his graffiti prints. Now he is in danger of getting on the wrong side of Hirst again. Cartrain has, according to his gallerist, "liberated" a packet of rare pencils from Hirst's Pharmacy exhibit at Tate Britain. He pilfered the pencils, intending to replace them with Tesco's pencils but could not find a security-free moment to do so. An act of vandalism, guerrilla art or shameless publicity stunt?