Christopher Beanland

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

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The Independent around the web
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.

A new UCL exhibition showcases the men who swallowed everything from knives to balls of hair

Chew on this: UCL exhibition showcases the men who swallowed everything from knives to balls of hair

A macabre new exhibition at University College London looks at the 18th-century “extraordinary eaters” who would gobble up things one should not at sideshows. “They challenged their bodies to cope with swallowed knives, keys or balls of hair,” says curator Sarah Chaney, from UCL's Centre for the History of Psychological Disciplines.

Hollywood: An A-list invasion in the West End

More Hollywood-friendly stars than ever are swapping screen for stage in 2013.

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Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices