Christopher Beanland

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

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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.

It's a cut above most other exhibitions in Paris

You might be having a bad hair day but you wouldn't give your hair much more thought than this. Yet hair is rich in cultural connotations.

Shelf life: A computer-generated shot of the new Strand East development

London's newest development: The rise of the Ikea city

The furniture store has opened the first part of its huge east London mini-city. But don't expect too many Billy bookcases

The basketball arena in the Olympic Park

Temporary buildings: Should they stay, or should they go?

Some of the world's most famous buildings were – like much of the Olympic Park – not built to last. So why have they stayed put? Chris Beanland investigates.

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