Culture

Medal of dishonour: why do so many people cheat in online video games?

Fall Guys had only been online for two days when it started. This bright, silly multiplayer game, in which rotund Day-Glo bean people race toward a finishing line avoiding giant tumbling fruit pieces – a sort of digital equivalent of a school sports day, albeit a slightly hallucinogenic one – had tens of thousands of …

Culture

Pandemic epics or great escapes? What classic movies might tell us about post-Covid Hollywood

The screenwriter William Goldman cautioned against making predictions in the movie business with the line: “Nobody knows anything.” That said, there is one thing we do know: global events leave their mark on cinema – and things don’t get much bigger than a worldwide pandemic. And not always in the ways you’d expect. So, if …

Life Style

My thoughts became poisonous’: the toll of lockdown when you live alone

When the first headlines about coronavirus began to appear in January 2020, they had little impact on south Londoner TJ, 25. “It seems outrageous now, but I thought: ‘I’m young, I’m healthy, I’ll be fine.’” By the time the first lockdown was announced, his mindset had begun to shift. He’d been single “for ever” and …

Life Style

A cavalcade of good bad taste’: men leading the revival of flares

As comebacks go, this is probably not the one you’ve been waiting for, but after years of being maligned by most men as more suitable for fancy dress, flared trousers are now being embraced by younger generations, including the likes of Harry Styles. Flares had their heyday in the 1970s, of course, but now fashion …

Life Style

Lunch at Venice’s Locanda Cipriani – and the recipe I took home

It was autumn in Venice. Pale mist hung over the canals in the early mornings before vaporising as the sun rose, and the city dressed up in its familiar, magical brocade of opulence and decay, like a raddled courtesan donning her finery for one last flourish. It should have been a time of melancholy, as …

Life Style

When you work from the heart, it’s effortless’: the lockdown bakers who turned professional

The past year will be remembered for many things, and the baking craze early in the pandemic will certainly be one of them. While some of us were nailing banana bread recipes – more than 45,000 pictures of these bakes were posted to Instagram in the first two months of lockdown – and naming sourdough …

Life Style

Cake and inner calm: Different ways to improve your mood – without exercising

As lockdown continues, exercise is often touted as one of the best ways to promote good mental health. But as good as running and cold swimming are if they work for you, they do not appeal to everyone. Nor are they an option if you are ill, injured or living with certain disabilities. I am …