Christopher Beanland

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

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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.

Blocked out: Robin Hood Gardens resident Monsur Rahman

Robin Hood Gardens: An estate worth saving?

To some, Robin Hood Gardens is an architectural treasure, to others, it's home. The local council wants to knock it down but resistance is fierce, as Chris Beanland discovers

The icewoman cometh: Björk is performing at the Hall of Science in New York

Björk's ready for a not so quiet night at the museum

The Icelandic star wants to educate as well as entertain

English Heritage awards 16 London Underground stations Grade II-listed status

Chris Beanland asks the experts why these stops are worthy of underground preservation

The golden age of cinemas

Before identikit multiplexes, a trip to the movies meant audiences could see bold architecture as well as a film. Chris Beanland celebrates the picture palaces of the past
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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links