Grayson Perry

A bit of Fry and Perry launches £6m Royal Academy upgrade

The Royal Academy of Arts is seeking to bring in younger visitors and "repay our friends" with a multimillion-pound refurbishment of facilities for its members – the first step in a wider overhaul of the entire site in London's West End.

The Diary: Joe Orton; The Fighter; David Hare; Grayson Perry; Les

In 1962, Joe Orton and his lover Kenneth Halliwell were sent to prison for six months for stealing and defacing books from their local library. Bored by the selection on offer the pair amused themselves by sneaking out dust jackets and altering them with collages and their own text. "I used to stand in the corners after I'd smuggled the doctored books back into the library and then watch people read them. It was very fun", noted Orton in his diaries. Now some of the defaced books, normally hidden in storage at the Islington Local History Centre, have gone on show at London's Ancient and Modern gallery. It was Adam Gillam's idea to exhibit them, alongside his own sculptures. "My work is not as racy, but there's a shared playful spirit," says the artist. "They're provocative and amusing." Covers on show include The Collected Plays of Emlyn Williams, with altered titles including Night Must Fall to "Knickers Must Fall"; Agatha Christie's The Secret of Chimneys with added cats; and Collins Guide to Roses in which a monkey's face unexpectedly stares out from the centre of a beautiful English rose.

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