Culture Shocks

Article excerpt

Byline: LUKE LEITCH

The British Library is finally brought to book

THE British Library is steeling itself to answer a request under the Freedom of Information Act to "list all items lost or stolen" since 1997. Here's one to get them started.

My man with a library card tells me that two books worth more than [pounds sterling]100,000 are missing from the British Early Printed Collection - a volume from the Bagford Collection and a volume of 24 Thomason Tracts.

Worryingly, both are "restricted" because of their rarity and value and any application to see them has to be approved by curatorial staff. But how hard have they been searching?

When I told the British Library that I knew about the loss they instigated a fresh search - and found one book. Perhaps the other is behind a radiator.

Former estate agent is packing in a full house

COULD Simon Mendes da Costa - a former estate agent, of all useful things - be the next big playwright?

His first play ran at the Hen and Chickens pub in Islington. His second, Losing Louis, starring Alison Steadman and Lynda Bellingham, is a sell-out at the Hampstead.

I hear it is getting a West End transfer to the Trafalgar studios.

Cultural Cherie recalls not being in demand

CHERIE Blair came over all confessional at this week's do to whip up Olympic support among London's culturati. …