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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Walkouts put art sale at risk

Artists and the Royal College of Art are among the victims of the postal strikes. Each year the RCA invites hundreds of world-renowned artists to design postcards, which are then mixed in with others by art students. The whole lot are then put on display and sold anonymously for £40 each. In the past, Anish Kapoor, Grayson Perry and David Bailey have taken part. This year's Secret exhibition opens on 13 November.

Turner Prize exhibition unveiled

A whale's skull, a heap of dust made up of the remains of a jet engine and a workman's naked backside are among the artworks featuring in a display by this year's shortlisted Turner Prize artists.

Parties: Beth burns up the art world

Nicky Haslam says Beth Ditto isn't beautiful, just fat. "Parties" wouldn't dream of wading into such a spat, but we can report that the Gossip girl was operating on Gas Mark 8 at the Royal Academy of Arts' summer exhibition party last week, first to shimmy up the blue carpet and last to leave, belting out her songs on a specially erected stage as the well-refreshed throng tripped into the night.