Christopher Beanland

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

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Enco in Palm Springs

Palm Springs, California: The enduring appeal of a desert playground

Palm Springs has long been the favoured resort of stars and architects, as Christopher Beanland discovers

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.

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Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific