Notebook

Impressive Egyptian temple built for the pharaohs.

The ancient art of sycophancy

Sycophancy, like most political diseases, is not new. The ancient Egyptians developed it to a fine art and its aura persists to this day.

The Mercury Seven immortalised in Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff

The new Right Stuff

Space entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk are recapturing the bold and individualistic spirit of America’s first astronauts, the Mercury Seven.

A South Korean soldier runs past a billboard poster for 'Matrix Revolutions' during an anti-chemical weapon attack drill at a subway station in 2003 in South Korea.

In defence of The Matrix: Revolutions

Unfairly maligned by critics, the third edition of the Matrix series is the true heir to cyberpunk and a tonic to the cold sheen of Holywood Sci-Fi.

Battersea power station from across the thames

Conversationalist in brick

Overlooked in his own lifetime, Giles Gilbert Scott’s architectural skill in uniting the past and the present make his buildings unforgettable.

Picture of two knights on horses fight on a battlefield on the cover of a history book by R.J. Unstead

The merrie histories of R.J. Unstead

The histories of R.J. Unstead brought the past to life for millions of school children. His name and his story-telling talents deserve reviving.

Why bittersweet beats SOUR

Early twentieth-century poet Edna St Vincent Millay’s laconic verse is an antidote to modern pop’s cult of heartbreak.

On tea

Within this international drink is a microcosm of all the movements and ambitions and exchanges of mankind.

The secret life of hemp

What connects a cannabis plant with the French Revolution? The little Italian town of Carmagnola – where the manufacture of cannabis hemp became local myth and an international phenomenon.

Turin’s touch of the divine

Any trip to Turin would be incomplete without a visit to Palazzo Madama, a treasure trove of Renaissance art and mysterious relics.

Babylon-upon-Thames

London’s plaques are testament to its status as a city of exiles.

Resisting the saccage of Paris

Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s push to ‘green’ Paris is turning one of the world’s most beautiful cities into an urban wasteland.

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