The Diary: John Cale; balloonatics; Slumdog sequel; Daniel Depp; Morgan Spurlock


Arifa Akbar
Thursday 24 April 2014 02:45


Home sweet home

John Cale, the musican turned artist who is perhaps best known as a founding member of the Velvet Underground, was something of a controversial choice to represent Wales in this year's Venice Biennale, it would appear. Born and bred in south Wales, he studied art at Goldsmiths in London before meeting Lou Reed in 1965. The 10-strong committee who picked him to represent his country of birth were apparently hotly divided over his Welsh credentials, with a couple of threats of resignation. For his piece, Cale has returned to his family home to create an aural installation that includes the sounds of the house at dawn, as well as the Pendyrus male choir.


If you come across a flotsam of anarchist texts strewn on the streets of London this morning, worry not – it's the latest artwork by the artist Gosha Ostretsov, who released hundreds of helium balloons with books attached to them last night, just outside Paradise Row Gallery in London, where she has an exhibition. The move was a response to the G20 summit by Ostertsov, who is representing Russia at this year's Venice Biennale. We shall see what passers-by make of this cultural riposte.

Slumdog sequel

Simon Beaufoy, screenwriter of 'Slumdog Millionaire', who is now working on a film adaptation of Steven Hall's book 'The Raw Shark Texts', settled on this project, a conceptual book about memory as a metaphor for Alzheimer's, to seek out the most impossible book to adapt into a film. "Another one I considered was a book about a woman who fell in love with a black hole," he said. Beaufoy wants to make more films based in Mumbai and plans to work with Danny Boyle again. Slumdog Millionaire II?

Hollywood detective

Daniel Depp, whose debut novel 'Loser's Town' is plotted around a blackmail scheme in Hollywood, began writing "noir" detective fiction set in the unlikely rural surrounds of Kentucky before he relocated the detective thriller to Los Angeles. Depp, of course, is half-brother of the film actor Johnny. His book was an attempt to update the genre and add some gritty social commentary. He said: "Noir fiction can be updated and it's a great platform for saying things that are social observations about Hollywood."

Fat chance

Morgan Spurlock, who put on 25lbs for his documentary, 'Super Size Me', by living on McDonald's meals for 30 days, said documentary-makers were increasingly forced to go to extreme experimental lengths in an attempt to get a doc made. "I'm going to be the first person to make a documentary on the moon," he joked. Speaking at the IndiePix film awards for independent film-makers in New York, he said he liked to succeed "against all the odds".

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