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The AnswerBank Articles

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Two world wars, one world cup - and the postcard

Q. And the postcard A. Yes, the postcard. As of 18 February 2002, a Briton has now been officially acknowledged as the inventor of the postcard. The postal historian Edward Proud has discovered a01:00 Thu 21st Feb 2002

The Kalevala

Q. The what A. The Kalevala, the Finnish national epic Q. So, what's the story A. Kalevala, the homeland of the characters in the poem, is a poetic name for Finland, which means 'land of heroes'.01:00 Thu 21st Feb 2002

Don Van Vliet: Run Paint Run Run

Q. Don Van Vliet A. Perhaps better known as Captain Beefheart to most, Don Van Vliet is the given name of the man who, at the helm of the Magic Band, created some of the most singular and01:00 Sat 16th Feb 2002

Two tonnes of T: Baroness Thatcher's statue finds a home

Q. Two tonnes A. Not exactly: 1.8 tonnes of white Carrara marble, in fact. Q. Wouldn't an cast-iron statue have been more appropriate A. Just because she was known as the Iron Lady A bit01:00 Fri 15th Feb 2002

The Fawcett Library

Q. What is it A. The Fawcett Library is the UK's oldest and most comprehensive research library on all aspects of women in society. Q. Why has it been in the news A. It was located in an east01:00 Fri 15th Feb 2002

W.G. Sebald

Winfried Georg Maximilian Sebald, the British-based German writer, was killed in a car crash in Norfolk on 14 December 2001. His novel Austerlitz had just been published. Q. Who was he A. W.G.01:00 Sat 09th Feb 2002

Art installations

Q. What exactly is an installation A. Installation is a term used to describe an environment, construction or assemblage, which is distinguished from more conventional sculpture by its physical01:00 Sat 09th Feb 2002

Return of the Tabot

Q. The what A. A Tabot is a carved wooden tablet representing the Ark of the Covenant in Ethiopian churches. It is the most holy part of the church, seen only by the priests. The Tabot in question -01:00 Mon 04th Feb 2002

Practical cats

Q. What's this about cats having three names A. 'The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter, / It isn't just one of your holiday games; / You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter / When I tell01:00 Fri 01st Feb 2002

A mission to 'ennoble Photography': Julia Margaret Cameron

Q. Never heard of her. Who was she A. Julia Margaret Cameron (n e Pattle) was an English photographer known for her portraits of eminent people of the day and for her romantic and artistic pictures01:00 Fri 01st Feb 2002

Holding out for a hero: The Epic of Gilgamesh

from Gilgamesh the Kingby Ludmil ZemanQ. Sounds like some fantasy nonsense A. Considered to be the oldest known example of literature, the so-called Epic of Gilgamesh is more properly a cycle of01:00 Thu 31st Jan 2002

Andy Warhol looks a scream

Q. Huh A. 'Hang him on my wall/Andy Warhol, Silver Screen/Can't tell them apart at all'. So sang David Bowie in perhaps the most famous of the numerous musical homages to the celebrated New01:00 Sun 27th Jan 2002

The man who put the pain in paint: Francis Bacon

Q. So, was the great 20th-century painter related to the 16th-century polymath asked lovelylad A. The Grove Dictionary of Art says that the artist Francis Bacon 'was probably a collateral descendant01:00 Sun 27th Jan 2002

Whitbread 2001: Philip Pullman's surprise coup

Q. What is significant about this year's Whitbread winner A. Each year one of the winners of the five categories of Whitbread awards - children's, first novel, novel, biography and poetry - is01:00 Wed 23rd Jan 2002

Paintings in Hospitals

Q. What is it A. A charity organisation which lends art to NHS hospitals to try to soften the institutional blow of the environment. Q. Do they charge for the service A. Pictures are issued on01:00 Sun 20th Jan 2002

Parky's Best: George and Michael

Q. What was Michael Parkinson's George Best biography called asks Birchy. A. A co-authored number, it was called Best: An Intimate Biography and first published in 1974. It's not currently01:00 Sat 19th Jan 2002

The Queen's Head

'You're no oil painting, Ma'am,' said the Daily Mirror in their critique of Lucian Freud's recent portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. This kind of reaction to the painting - though not usually so witty -01:00 Fri 18th Jan 2002

'Art for all': Gilbert and George

Q. Art for all A. It is Gilbert's and George's stated wish that their art be for everyone. They see their work as an exercise in accessibility, as a reaction against the elitism inherent in much01:00 Sun 13th Jan 2002

Agatha Christie Mallowan: Archaeologist

Q. Surely not the 'Queen of Crime' A. One and the same. Christie's second husband was the celebrated British archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan, and she accompanied him on digs, particularly to Iraq,01:00 Fri 11th Jan 2002

Rabindranath Tagore: Copyright changes put him back in the spotlight

Q. Why is this news A. Because for many years, the Vishva-Bharati University in West Bengal, India, enjoyed sole copyright on all Tagore's huge body of work, including his poetry, novels, short01:00 Fri 11th Jan 2002

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