Christopher Beanland

Christopher Beanland writes about architecture, the arts and the media.

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Food that will serve up a serious debate

A dinner party with a difference will be serving up quirky dishes like “deconstructed caldo verde” (all the ingredients of soup served dried on a plate) and “the Lusophere Flip” (sous vide fish with sauces from former Portuguese colonies Macau, Goa, Brazil and Angola – which were once poor but are now thriving). The idea is to provoke debate about architecture and cities. “These Planetary Supper Club dinner parties are about getting people talking about the events of our time,” says artist and cook Zack Denfeld of the Center For Genomic Gastronomy, who devised the menus for the event, as part of Lisbon's forthcoming Architecture Triennale. “The fish dish for example is about imagining a more horizontal world where ideas, food and people flow equitably around the Lusophere.” Denfeld will also dish up Cobalt 60 BBQ Sauce (above) created with plants bred from mutations – which questions how we use and abuse intensive agriculture and bioscience in the kitchen.

Judge a book by its cover version

The Bookshop Band are Britain's only literary band. “We've just written a song inspired by Damian Barr's Maggie & Me,” says Ben Please. The Avon trio are fresh from a UK tour of independent bookshops and last month played Glastonbury. Authors who've had their books immortalised in song love it: “Rachel Joyce brought her family to see us when we played at a shop near her home,” says Please.

Easy money: the Sage payment app

Is a cashless society really on the cards?

The next wave of cash-free technology will see you paying for your plumber with a smartphone. Or will it, asks Chris Beanland?

Bestival's giant inflatable Lionel Richie head

Bestival unveils giant Lionel Richie head

It sounds like a hoax but the protagonists behind it swear it's true: a super-sized version of Lionel Richie's head will be officially unveiled at Bestival this summer.

A Yo! Home convertible desk/bed

The art of living in small spaces: Architects are learning how to make less, more

New flats are smaller than ever and space in cities at a premium, as Chris Beanland discovers.

The man who built Brum: A lament for the demise of John Madin's Brutalist Birmingham

The architect's buildings were supposed to leave an indelible, futuristic mark on his beloved hometown but they are now being inexorably torn down.

Stars such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie find their new liquid assets

The arts and intoxication have gone hand-in-jittery-hand for centuries – so perhaps it's no surprise how many stars are making their own booze.

The celluloid short that is a bit of a Blur: Alex James directs his first film

"If I can make a film, anyone can," jokes Blur's Alex James. The 44-year-old has swapped his bass guitar for a viewfinder, by directing his first film – which explores tiny moments of happiness. James explains that he filmed the short for "$45" and shot it on the fly between Blur's sets at Coachella Music Festival in California last month.

Video stars: (clockwise from left) director Edgar Wright with zombie; ‘Son of Rambow’; footage from the Battle of Orgreave; ‘Eurotrash’

It's a spool world: A new film is paying tribute to the legacy - and afterlife - of VHS

Chris Beanland rewinds with the film's director Josh Johnson.

Bitcoin exists without a central bank able to manipulate its value

Bitcoin: Is the virtual currency the new gold standard?

The virtual currency has been making waves since 2009, but the financial crisis in Cyprus has seen people rushing to invest. Are these encrypted files really the future of cash? Chris Beanland reports.

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