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West End Extra - THE XTRA DIARY
Published: 4 December 2009
Antony Gormley’s terracotta army at Earth: Art of a changing worldAntony Gormley’s terracotta army at Earth: Art of a changing world
Terracotta army turn green for eco summit

SCULPTOR Antony Gormley’s passion for the fight against climate change remains undiminished ahead of the Copenhagen summit next week.
“We’ve got to main­tain the commit­ment to 50 per cent reduction by 2050,” he told Diary at the launch of the Earth: Art of a changing world show at the Royal Academy, which opened yesterday (Thursday).
The artist, who was brought up in Hampstead, has repositioned his own terracotta army of figures – Amazonian Field, 1992 – which fill an entire room at the show. These were first exhibited at the Rio Earth summit
17 years ago and are among works by 34 contem­porary artists on show to highlight the impact of environmental damage.
Gormley’s 50 per cent is a reference to the aviation industry’s pledge to cut carbon dioxide emissions, based on 2005 levels. But he goes further: “We’ve got to do it ourselves,” he says. “I’m doing my utmost to limit my [carbon] footprint.”
Is he optimistic ahead of Copenhagen?
Well, he praises the climate change secretary: “I think Ed Miliband is doing a good job,” he says, but recognises the Americans’ response is really the key to success.
And the way ahead?
“Carbon seques­tration,” says the artist, to deal with “what’s already there”.

Dig their way out? More dirt on MPs

DIRT has been sticking to MPs just that little bit more resolutely ever since one of their herd thought it was a good idea to buy a floating duckhouse with taxpayers’ money.
So it may come as a surprise that some are actively going out of their way to get mucky.
This week Hilary Benn MP pulled on some wellies and put his back into some serious shovelling for a special tree-planting drive in Marylebone.
Mr Benn, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, was joined by schoolchildren from Portland Place school in picking up shovels to plant the trees in Great Portland Street.
It marks the start of planting season that lasts until March.
Mr Benn said: “This is a carbon-eating machine and in a world where we need to reduce CO2, this tree will contribute to meeting the goal. The trees will be here a long time after we go and they remind us that we are a continuum of nature.”

Dead ringer for Gandalf!

SURELY there can only be one Gandalf.
And Diary doesn’t remember the need for any body double. So Sir Ian McKellen must have felt something of an out-of-body experience when he met another one in Holborn this week.
The star of the Lord of the Rings dropped in at the Cochrane Theatre to catch a panto performance of Dick Whittington where Iain Stuart Robertson, Gandalf in the stage version of The Hobbit, was starring.
McKellen is no stranger to playing the Dame, having appeared as Widow Twankey at the Old Vic after a bet with Kevin Spacey, so it was apt that he was watching Robertson in the role of Sarah the Cook.
Dick Whittington is at the Cochrane ­Theatre until January 3.

NEXT week for one day only Marylebone institution the Cabbages and Frocks market will relocate to University College London for a special Christmas market.
Kicking off at lunchtime on Tuesday at the Gower Street campus, students will perform various acts as part of an outdoor charity concert which will be running alongside the indoor and outdoor Christmas market.
Besides the usual attractions, Santa will be making an appearance in his grotto, there will be a mouthwatering hog roast and enough mulled wine to float an ocean liner.

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