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The AnswerBank Articles

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The Goons

Q. Why are we still on about a radio show that finished over 40 years ago A. Because, directly or indirectly, almost all the most cutting-edge British comedy of the last 40 years, that which has01:00 Fri 12th Apr 2002

Robin Cook

Q. Why 'I was Robin Cook' A. Just a little pun on one of Cook's better-known titles under his pen name of Derek Raymond, I Was Dora Suarez (which was put to music in the early 1990s by the band01:00 Fri 05th Apr 2002

The Venerable Bede

Q. Hang on. Mackem A. Someone from Sunderland or its environs. Said to come from the saying 'We mackem; you tackem', it refers to the days when the city had some of the most important shipyards in01:00 Fri 05th Apr 2002

Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 'Kubla Khan'

One of the greatest poems written in English, 'Kubla Khan' by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is loved by many, loathed by some but acknowledged as a classic by almost all. Q. So, what's all this about01:00 Fri 05th Apr 2002

Clarice Cliff, chinaware artist

Whenever set designers are required to evoke a feel of the 1930s they will almost certainly include some brightly coloured, geometrically-shaped, china. In the English-speaking world, this will01:00 Fri 29th Mar 2002

Sven Hassel: True or false

Q. Well A. That's a tough one. It really depends on which of the two versions of his life - both of which stretch credibility - you believe. Version one - that most appropriate to the books -01:00 Fri 29th Mar 2002

Shock horror: Sensation Fiction

Q. What, horror, sex, crime, violence and the like A. Exactly that, but we're not talking Stephen King or Jake Arnott here. Sensation Fiction or Sensation Novels were a genre rooted firmly in the01:00 Fri 29th Mar 2002

London Underground: A Platform for Art

Q. Surely not A. Surely yes. In 1999 London Underground introduced its - wittily titled - Platform for Art programme, a public-art initiative which seeks to provide a welcoming, interesting and01:00 Sun 24th Mar 2002

Library Classification Systems

Q. Sounds gripping. Just how do librarians keep those books in order A. Of course it's gripping. To try to categorise the sum of all human knowledge is, to say the least, a daunting - and01:00 Sun 24th Mar 2002

The world's first photograph

Q. So, how old is it A. 177 years old. The image of a boy leading a horse was made in 1825 was auctioned by Sotheby's in Paris on 21 March 2002 and had been expected to make in the region of01:00 Fri 22nd Mar 2002

Collecting cigarette cards

Q. Cut to the chase. Are they worth anything A. Some cigarette cards are worth fabulous sums, but almost all of these will be rarities published before World War I. For the most part, even whole01:00 Sun 17th Mar 2002

Lisa or Caterina : Who was Mona

Q. So, what's new A. A respected German art historian, Magdalena Soest, reckons she's discovered the true identity of Leonardo da Vinci's famous portrait - and the world's most famous painting - the01:00 Sun 17th Mar 2002

Barcelona celebrates 150 years of Antoni Gaudi

Q. What's going on, then A. Barcelona is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of Catalonia's most famous sons, the architect Antoni Gaud . The city has declared 2002 the01:00 Thu 14th Mar 2002

The wickedest man in the world: Aleister Crowley

Q. The wickedest man in the world A. So Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) wished to be known. Doubtless you're all aware of Crowley's reputation as a black magician and acolyte of the 'dark forces',01:00 Sun 10th Mar 2002

International Standard Book Numbers: ISBNs

Q. Sounds fascinating - hmmm. Go on then, what are they A. Have a look on the back cover and/or the imprint page (usually page 4) of any book published in the West - and increasingly elsewhere - in01:00 Sun 10th Mar 2002

Auntie knows best: the BBC reading group

Q. What's Catch-22 got to do with it A. BBCi, the BBC's website, ran a vote to choose a book for 'simultaneous reading', and Joseph Heller's classic satire was the winner. They approached mayor Ken01:00 Thu 07th Mar 2002

This old house

Q. So what is the oldest building in Britain A. That depends on what exactly you mean by 'building'. Q. A building's a building, isn't it A. You'd think so, but the Council of British Archaeology01:00 Sat 02nd Mar 2002

A record-breaking charity donation: the monks auction their wares

Q. Record breaking A. Three paintings put up for sale by the Saint Francis of Assisi Foundation, a charity run by the Franciscan Order, went on sale at Christie's in London on 4 February. They were01:00 Sat 02nd Mar 2002

Magnum PA

Q. Not PI A. Photo agency not private investigator. You're thinking of Thomas Sullivan Magnum, eponymous hero of the Hawaii-based detective show, which ran from 1980-8. Q. OK. So what is Magnum01:00 Sat 02nd Mar 2002

The Marquis de Sade: Champion of the rights of man, vile debauchee or a bit of both

Q. What's all this about passionate philosophers A. The Passionate Philosopher is the title of an anthology of de Sade's writings edited by Margaret Crosland. Her view, and that of many others, is01:00 Fri 22nd Feb 2002

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