The Diary: Neil Gaiman; Theatre Titanick; Tim Parks; David Cassidy; James Corden

A (new) romantic lead

Neil Gaiman, the sci-fi and fantasy writer and graphic novelist, who yesterday picked up a Carnegie Medal for The Graveyard Book, about a graveyard-dwelling little boy who makes friends with the dead, tells me he started out as a jobbing writer-on-demand who was asked by a publishing company if he'd like to write a biography of a band when he was in his early 20s. He jumped at the chance, thinking he would be describing the lives of an edgy, iconic band such as The Velvet Underground. He was brought back down to earth when they gave him three options: "I got a phone-call from a publisher called Proteus who said they'd heard I was a good writer, and did I want to write a music book for them. They gave me three choices: Barry Manilow, Def Leppard and Duran Duran. I chose the last option. Looking back, I think I made the right choice," he says. Far from sneering at the assignment, Gaiman looks back fondly at the venture. "It bought me my first electric typewriter and paid half a year's rent," he says.

An unexpected hit (and a show about it)

As unsavoury as it may seem, the centre of Carlisle will be transformed into an outdoor theatre for what is billed as a "spectacular re-enactment of the sinking of the Titanic" next month. Carlisle Castle will be the backdrop for Theatre Titanick's performance that will see water cascading across the stage. A huge open-air set with seats will be constructed in the grounds of the site and the stage will be dominated by the bow of the great liner. Set to an orchestra, the drama will begin with engineers constructing the Titanic and end with its sinking. All in very bad taste you may think (I certainly did), but the production has proved a "major hit" around the world and garnered rave reviews.

He finally got it licked

The Booker Prize-nominated novelist Tim Parks provided the sunniest sentiments of the week when he told me that despite not having his first "five or six novels" published, he wrote on undeterred, working part-time as a teacher and translator. "I don't know why I carried on, it just became a way of being me, but I was planning to stop when I was finally published," he remembers. His words come as a breath of fresh air amid the scare stories of publishing hardship and penniless writers, and they reveal Parks's remarkable lack of egotism. Fortunately, Parks' seventh (and first to be published), Tongues of Flame, was an award-winning success.

Just fancy that: Cassidy lives on

David Cassidy's particular brand of 1980s sex appeal is in the process of being reignited by women of a certain age, it would appear. First, Dawn French wrote about her obsession with him in her book, Dear Fatty, while Lisa Kudrow has mentioned her crush in interviews. Now, two actresses, Lucie Fitchett and Victoria Willing (the latter the daughter of the artist Paula Rego), have written a play summing up the phenomenon called Could it Be Forever? about a group of adults reminiscing about their "love" of Cassidy.

Corden blare

James Corden, the Gavin & Stacey actor and sometime singer, who this week maintained the No 1 spot for the second week running in the singles charts with "Shout", is also, it turns out, closely connected to Royal Air Force Squadronaires, who hit No 5 in the pop album charts with their Glenn Miller classics, and who used to be helmed by Corden's father as band leader. As a child, he often went to see the band perform. So fond are these memories that he has pledged to lend his musical talents to The Squadronaires later on in the summer. In the Mood: the Glenn Miller Celebration features The X Factor's Stacey Solomon, who recorded the Glenn Miller/Etta James classic "At Last". Released by the RAF's official Big Band in the 70th Anniversary year of the Battle of Britain, the album has steadily overtaken acts including The Rolling Stones, Florence & the Machine, Justin Bieber and Pixie Lott.

Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Arts and Entertainment
Kate Bush: 'I'm going to miss everyone so much'
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’


Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'


Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from


Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?