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
Emo rockers Fall Out Boy

music

Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment

film

Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Latest stories from i100
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.

    The super-rich now live in their own Elysium - they breathe better air, and eat better food, when they're not making beans on toast for their kids

    The super-rich now live in their own Elysium

    They breathe better air, eat better food, take better medicine
    A generation of dropouts failed by colleges

    Dropout generation failed by colleges

    £800m a year wasted on students who quit courses before they graduate
    Entering civilian life 'can be like going into the jungle' for returning soldiers

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Entering civilian life can be like going into the jungle
    Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

    Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

    Fifty Shades of Grey director on bringing the hit to the screen
    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch