The Diary: Terry Jones; Zach Braff; Edinburgh Book Festival; Ricky Gervais

Terry tales

Helped by a couple of high-profile radio interviews, this week ex-Python Terry Jones became the first to have his book given the green light by Unbound, a new crowd-funding initiative. Evil Machines, 13 short stories about man's fraught relationship with technology – from a truth-telling telephone to a too-powerful Hoover – will be published in October. "Terry had started to write some stories, but there was the usual problem of where to put them in the shops (were they for adults or children?) and he was disheartened," says John Mitchinson, the co-founder of Unbound. "He's a bit of a rebel, so I think Unbound appealed to him. And I know he liked the idea of a 50/50 profit share."

The website allows writers to pitch their ideas directly to readers who can, in turn, pledge their support for the book – £10 for an e-edition and your name in the back up to £250 for lunch with author. Jones received over 1,000 pledges, averaging £31.20 each.

"It is a commercial venture for us," says Mitchinson. "It's been met with curiosity and some hostility. The truth is, publishers are staring into the oncoming headlights. The digital revolution is a huge opportunity but if you're a traditional publishing house, it is a scary time. But I don't think Harper Collins are quaking in their boots yet."

Return of the Zach

Scrubs star Zach Braff has turned playwright. His debut, All New People, opens at the Second Stage Theatre off-Broadway on Monday and stars Justin Bartha (the missing groom in The Hangover) as Charlie, a 35-year old who escapes to a Jersey Shore beach hut in winter to heal his broken heart, but finds his peace shattered by local eccentrics. Braff started writing it while appearing at the same theatre, in Paul Weitz's Trust, last year. "On Scrubs we'd shoot 10 punchlines and then head to the editing room to see which one worked best... With a new play you're figuring things out in front of the whole company," he told the website Broadway Buzz. "Someone will say, 'Well, don't you think it should be this?' and you say, 'Can I go in a dark room and get in the foetal position, figure it out and get back to you?'"

Go Figes

Alan Hollinghurst, Carol Ann Duffy and Jo Nesbo are all on the programme, but the most intriguing prospect at Edinburgh Book Festival is a talk from Orlando Figes. He'll be discussing his history of the Crimea but might he also, finally, spill the beans on Amazon-gate? Last year the author was revealed to have posted savage reviews of books by rival historians, Rachel Polonsky and Robert Service, on the website, while showering his own with fulsome praise: "Leaves the reader awed, humbled yet uplifted... a gift to us all." No media asked any questions about Amazon-gate at his event at Hay festival in May. Maybe they will this time, and he'll take some questions on it. That really would be a gift to us all.

The whole ten yards

As builders fill the skips at the Olympic Park, a resourceful young theatre outfit have poached their scrap materials and used them to build a new theatre. The Yard opens tonight in an old print warehouse across the canal from the Park, in London's Hackney Wick. Practice Architecture – best known for Frank's Café, the fearsomely cool art gallery/ hangout atop a Peckham car park – have designed it while the 120 seats have been salvaged from offices and hospitals. "We don't have much money but we have people," says Jay Miller. "The idea is to create a modern ensemble." On the bill is Stationary Excess, a one-woman show performed on an exercise bike and a play inspired by Ai Weiwei, performed by a cast of 139.

Brent is honoured

Happy 10th birthday to The Office! Marking the day, Ricky Gervais has revealed the original inspiration behind David Brent – a temp agency boss he met aged 17. Anti-hero he may be but he deserves our sympathy, adds Gervais on The Huffington Post. "David Brent doesn't represent evil, or nastiness or even ignorance. He's just a little out of place. Out of time. His worst crime is that he confused respect with popularity. He just tried a little too hard. He wasn't a bad man. In fact, he was quite a nice man... Insecure, eager to please, and needing constant positive feedback." You might say the same of his creator.

Arts and Entertainment
Jude Law in Black Sea


In Black Seahe is as audiences have never seen him before

Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops


Arts and Entertainment
Full circle: Wu-Tang’s Method Man Getty

Music review

Arts and Entertainment
When he was king: Muhammad Ali training in 'I Am Ali'
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
Arts and Entertainment
Scare tactics: Michael Palin and Jodie Comer in ‘Remember Me’

TVReview: Remember Me, BBC1
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Image has been released by the BBC
Arts and Entertainment
Will there ever be a Friends reunion?
Harry Hill plays the Professor in the show and hopes it will help boost interest in science among young people
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A Van Gogh sold at Sotheby’s earlier this month
Arts and Entertainment

MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word

Arts and Entertainment
It would 'mean a great deal' to Angelina Jolie if she won the best director Oscar for Unbroken

Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says

Arts and Entertainment
Winnie the Pooh has been branded 'inappropriate' in Poland
Arts and Entertainment
Lee Evans is quitting comedy to spend more time with his wife and daughter

Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

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.

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game