Arts diary

Meet Jon Snow and Krishnan Guru-Murthy - the rap stars. The two stalwarts of Channel 4 News have recorded an as-yet-unbroadcast badass free-funk track, "The Snowman v The Guru", in which they rap about their working lives. Snow raps about getting on his bike after eating a hearty bowl of porridge at his north London home and pedalling off to the ITN studio. "The Guru" (right) makes an interesting play on a favourite hip-hop subject (birds) and that perennial newsman's favourite: avian flu. I'm told the tune may surface in the next few months. Can a recording contract be far behind?

It's not only Britartists such as Tracey Emin (pictured below) and the Chapman Brothers who are benefiting from the largesse of Charles Saatchi. The moneybags's microsite Your Gallery, on which wannabe artists showcase their work for free, has attracted more than 5,000 contributors from all over the world. Word from the pile of the soiled bedlinen is that many hundreds of the paintings have gone on to be sold - some for more than £100,000.

Will London really lose its Theatre Museum, igniting the wrath of celebrity supporters including Kevin Spacey, Donald Sinden and Sir Peter Hall? Representatives of the museum, which is based in Covent Garden, tell me that a decision on closure has been deferred by its owner, the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is discussing partnership proposals with the Royal Opera House.

One possibility is a buy-up of Bow Street Police Station. Another possibility is a bumper Museum of the Performing Arts, incorporating artefacts from the much-loved Museum of the Moving Image, which closed in 1999. But will the government come in and invest? In Whitehall, the talk is of developing a power station in Greenwich and using Olympic money. Apparently, all will be resolved at a V&A trustees' meeting in September.

Much silly-season frenzy in the papers about Hollywood "making" a film about Robert Maxwell ("Citizen Kane meets Wall Street", and so on). The truth is that the US producer Edward R Pressman has optioned the rights to the current West End stage play Lies Have Been Told - but Hollywood producers option hundreds of scripts and books every week, and barely any make it to celluloid. Maxwell watchers out there would be better advised to focus their attention on BBC2, where the controller, Roly Keating, has commissioned a drama about the old scoundrel. Colin Barr, who produced The Lavender List, Francis Wheen's play about Harold Wilson broadcast back in March, will direct - and this one will be made.

Remember Amnesty International's Secret Policeman's Balls? The original show was in 1976 at London's Royal Albert Hall, and over the years the event showcased just about anyone who was funny and talented, including the likes of Dawn French and Stephen Fry. Another ball is being mooted for October, but this time the top talent will come from across the pond. Larry David, of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm fame, is being lined up as the star.

bendowell@btinternet.com

Ben Dowell is a 32 year old freelance journalist who has written extensively on the arts and media for a range of publications including The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Evening Standard, the Sunday Mirror and most tabloids. As well as providing punditry for a number of media outlets he has also sat on judging panels for many awards including Bafta and the Royal Television Society. He writes the Arts Diary in the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 10 July 2006 issue of the New Statesman, The house of slaves