This week, Sharon Stone received France's top artistic award, the Chevalier des Arts, for her services to world culture. This could be just the beginning...

There were angry scenes at the Tate Gallery last night after the art world's most prestigious award, the Turner Prize, had been conferred on David Shepherd, the popular depictor of elephants and steam-engines. To the sound of booing from gallery owners protesting on the steps outside Mr Shepherd defended his art. "I know that I work in an unconventional way," he said. "Those who think that art is just human blood, dead cows and endoscopic cameras may well be shocked by my exploration of the paint brush as a medium, but I think it's right that art should shake up our preconceptions." Nicholas Serota said he was dismayed but no longer surprised by the reaction: "You would not get this anywhere but Britain," he said wearily. "David Shepherd explores ideas of species, consciousness and otherness. In these confrontations of the pachydermic with the human, sentiment is the shadow cast by primal fear." Asked whether he thought he was worth pounds 20,000, Mr Shepherd replied: "Oh well, they have to give these things to someone. Personally I think it should have been Rolf."

Shock waves were still spreading in the literary world today after the announcement that Jeffrey Archer has won this year's Booker Prize, a consternation all the greater since his latest novel Adam and Yves (a "prequel" to the bestseller Kane and Abel) had not featured on the short-list. After scenes of disturbance at the Guildhall, the Chairman of the Judges, Dame Iris Murdoch, defended her decision in a speech several times interrupted by angry shouts. Dame Iris said: "We understood when we came to this decision that it might lead to intellectual controversy but the panel of judges felt unanimously that it was time to make a clear statement on behalf of literary standards. Too often the award of the Booker Prize leads to a sterile, relativistic debate about the merits of an individual work, a debate mired in subjective bickering. As a result, we felt, the notion of universal standards of good and bad had become discredited. We wanted to recognize a work that would unite all those who care deeply about literature and quality. So this award is not just for Adam and Yves, but for the Archer corpus - books which have made it abundantly clear that literary merit is not 'just a matter of opinion'. " Asked to comment on the prize, Mr Archer said that he was "absolutely thrilled by this long overdue recognition. I hope certain gentlemen in Stockholm have been paying attention."

A spokesman for the Campaign for Plain English has been defending the society today after the furore caused by the decision to honour Sylvester Stallone with a Special Commendation Medal, the campaign's highest honour. "There's been a lot of elitist nonsense talked about this," said Michael Digmole. "Mr Stallone clearly represents what we have been campaigning for for years. He never uses two words when one will do - indeed he often doesn't even use one if he can get away with a grunt." Mr Digmole explained that society members had first been impressed by the simplicity of expression Mr Stallone gave to American foreign policy in the Rambo films, but that it had been felt that the political climate was not then right for a public award. "But several of us went to see Judge Dredd," he continued, "and we were very struck by the way in which the complex social issues of a post-industrial dystopia were condensed into the simple phrase 'I yam da law'. If only more people spoke with such clarity we might not be in the mess we are." When asked by one journalist if "post-industrial dystopia" was really plain English, Mr Digmole became heated and insisted that journalists substitute the phrase "lawless shithole" in all reports of his remarks.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Arts and Entertainment
Panic! In The Disco's Brendon Urie performs on stage

music
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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.

    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform