Culture Archives - whynow


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An Interview: Episode 09

Blenheim Forge

In Peckham’s Blenheim Forge, exceptional Japanese-inspired kitchen knives are crafted by hand to the most exacting standards, but it started out as a backyard hobby. Here, owners Jon Warshawsky and Richard Warner explain all.
An Interview: Episode 04

Dr Terry Moore

Dr. Terry Moore is the Honorary Director of the Cat Survival Trust, a twelve-acre site in Hertfordshire which nurtures endangered species of cats. His inspiring compassion for these animals makes him an expert on these enchanting yet threatened felines.
Chasing Ad Men: Episode 03

Paul Burke

Paul Burke’s natural wit has made him a hit in the world of advertising, in which he’s worked with Rowan Atkinson, Jack Dee, Joanna Lumley and more. Burke’s particular love for radio commercials has made him a specialist in voice acting.
Chasing Ad Men: Episode 02

Dave Dye

Art director (‘creative bloke’, as he terms it) Dave Dye has set-up three agencies. He’s an ad man who knows how to cut to the chase, so without further ado, watch him here as part of our ‘Ad Men’ series.
Chasing Ad Men: Episode 01

Bertie Miller & Dave Waters

Bertie Miller & Dave Waters, who together run the ad agency ‘Watermill’, have been plying their trade for years. Miller is the founder of Spectre, which was voted the most successful production company for six years, whilst Waters helped run a top 20 London ad agency for 20 years. Here are our ‘Ad Men’, in their own words.
An Interview: Episode 01

Shi Heng Jiu

As a 35th generation Shaolin disciple, Shi Heng Jiu is part of a long tradition. But, as he explains from the Shaolin Temple UK, the martial art practice has evolved.


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Piranesi: Love Among the Ruins

To mark the tricentenary of the birth of Italian architect, artist, and archaeologist Giovanni Battista Piranesi, we drift through the ruins of history to trace the history of ruins.

Stefananos was a Greek man / Notes from the Aegean

'Stefanos was a Greek man. He had strong broad shoulders, dark, leathery skin and hair severely slicked back with grease. His eyes boasted little colour but seemed alluring in a more complex way, as if all the difficult choices he made had laid to rest there...'

The Fading Idea of The Pub

'People were being themselves with abandon, enjoying a hard-earned session with familiar faces. The Pub.' Even before corona, pubs were closing down in England at a rate of one every 12 hours. To Kieron Passaway and every other Briton, the pub is everything, and to see it fade away like so many other aspects of our culture is dismaying. Are we going to let this happen?

Zoom and the History of Telephony

Whilst we take it for granted now, videotelephony is full-duplex, real-time audio-visual communication between or among end users. The idea of the video telephone, also called the videophone, is about as old as the telephone itself.

Bringing Back Dial-A-Poem: On the Legacy of John Giorno

Poet, activist, and former lover of Andy Warhol, the late, great John Giorno was a force to be reckoned with. 2020 sees the release of his memoir and an app that launches off from his radical public poetry service; we spoke to Crossed Lines, who are bringing back ‘Dial-A-Poem’

Kafka in the internet age

Alexis Self explores the enduring meme-ability of the Czech writer's legendary novella and its concepts. How many millennials out there today have woken up feeling like Gregor Samsa?

A paean to Beirut

After being hit with the most devastating explosion any country has suffered in years, Beirut's entire government resigned. Alexis Self remembers his time spent there and how he fell in love with the 'Paris of the Middle East'.

The beauty and sorrow of an emptier London

Alexis Self does what he does best: snooping and writing wherever he pleaseth. This time he explores the now quieter streets of London, in these premature dog days - appreciating the calm whilst pining for the return of pre-pandemic vibrancy.

The worlds through the windows – on Window Swap

Window Swap allows you to trade views with people around the world, and it’s strangely compelling. The quarantine project of Singapore creatives and husband-and-wife duo Sonali Ranjit and Vaishnav Balasubramaniam, Window Swap was created as a salve for lockdown blues. While there are still many restrictions on travel, the website is an endless source of wanderlust, and much more besides.

Scouse and Out in London – Magpie & Stump

Our resident Scouser, whose name has been changed to Disposable Cam for legal reasons, returns for his first post-work tipple since lockdown. Magpie & Stump is situated across the road from the Old Bailey – a reminder, in these novel times, to drink wisely and follow the rules when you can (something that an inebriated Cam needs reminding).

‘It seems there is no need for eel pie anymore’

In Stranger in Town, your perambulating pensioner weighs in on the behaviour of the capitals’ creatures. Bewildered and delighted in equal measure, he calmly watches the mysterious island's be-jeaned philosophers.

Icons of London: Charles Dickens’ statue

'Could Dickens have written about the destitute, in the vivid colour he did, without smell, sound, or exchange? For that matter, could any writer? Proximity to your subject once implied your senses would be stimulated. Now, lamentably our primal instincts have been stunted.'

Icons of London: Beau Brummel’s Statue

'Beau reminds those, who hear their heavy boots crunching dreadfully through life, of their nature. With a reproachful glance, he warns us not to pursue the silvery shawl over the balcony and scramble up the hill under the moonlight, only to find in the effort of the climb, we have muddied ourselves irrevocably. That midnight glow is for those born to it.'

Virtual Gonzo 6: Scott’s Hut, Antarctica

The latest in this series, which sees us travelling the world on Street View, is a journey to one of the most isolated places in the world. Retracing the steps of early Antarctic explorers, we explore what their stories can teach us about so-called ‘third quarter syndrome.’

Icons of London: George Orwell’s Statue

At a time when statues have been placed under the spotlight, Cameron Charters examines the works of his beloved George Orwell through the prism of the writer's monument outside Broadcasting House. The statue's inscription reads: “If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”.

Virtual Gonzo 5: the valley of the dolls

First, we drifted on Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s ‘Floating Piers’ in Italy. Next, we traded lockdown for lock up, with Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz. We walked The Line, London’s first dedicated public art walk. We discovered a monumental sphinx guarding the abandoned Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg. From the big city to a remote riverside hamlet, Nagoro is a sleepy village with an uncanny population.

Virtual Gonzo 4 – there’s no sugar-coating Kara Walker

This series sees us excavating Google Street View’s buried treasures. In 2014, a forty-foot sphinx stood guard over an abandoned sugar factory in Brooklyn, the first large-scale project by Kara Walker. We went to raid the tomb, a site that has since turned into condominiums and office space.

Virtual Gonzo 2 – Locked up with Ai Weiwei

From lockdown to Lock Up, we travel to the rocky shores of the world’s most notorious prison – on Google Street View. In 2014, Alcatraz housed Ai Weiwei’s @Large exhibition, which interrogates the nature of freedom and our attempts to restrict it.

Kobe: A Numbers Game

On 26th January the world found out the tragic news that Kobe Bryant aka Black Mamba was killed alongside his daughter and seven others in a helicopter accident in Los Angeles. No one could really ever predict the impact this would have inside and outside of the game of basketball – players and fans are still grieving, but his superhuman legacy lives on.

The mashed-up cartoon world of Thumbs

Nick Thompson, aka Thumbs, is the creator and cult hero of a mashed-up cartoon universe that everyone must discover. We sat down to learn about Thumbs’ exceedingly precise art form and matchless talent that so many have gawked upon across the globe.

Darticle: whynow at The Darts

whynow Culture Editor, Billy Holmes, took a trip to the darts with his photographer mate Ollo Weguelin. Get the scores on the doors here.

Stephen Walter is mapping the past, present and future

Stephen Walter guides the observer through images, featuring personalised signage and symbols. His maps are barometers of people’s present, past and futures, all delivered with clever amounts of wonderful British superciliousness.

Scouse and Out in London: Busker

Our resident Scouser, whose name has been changed to Disposable Cam for legal reasons, visited London Bridge last week to reflect on another test to the capital's resolve.

Henry Freestone’s cooking up something good

Lewisham-born Henry worked his way up the ranks to become head chef at Crispin, Spitalfields, by the age of just 24. He tells us what it's like being in charge of curating a top restaurant's menu.

Anything for ‘The Dons’

South East London outfit SE DONS have become one of the most loved and inspirational Sunday League football teams of our time - through YouTube.

Rampa  They Will Be