The Current Issue

July 2017, Issue 455 Douglas Smith on the Russian Revolution * Lucy Lethbridge on Jane Austen * Henry Gee on first impressions * Michael Burleigh on US–Chinese relations * Jonathan Meades on vinyl cover art * Anne Somerset on Dickens, Darwin & Disraeli * Paul Addison on the impact of the Second World War * Jane O'Grady on Kierkegaard's muse * Miles Amoore on military surgery * Tom Blass on catching sharks * Lucy Moore on the Koh-i-Noor * Sam Leith on Nicola Barker * Daniel Beer on Soviet female snipers * Simon Heffer on the Spanish flu * Fergus Fleming on Highland retreats * Dominic Sandbrook on declining Western liberalism * Keshava Guha on Neel Mukherjee * Lesley Downer on Junichiro Tanizaki *  and much, much more…

Jonathan Meades

Facing the Music

The 12-inch 33rpm vinyl LP began to oust the 45rpm single in the later 1960s. Peter Blake’s endlessly imitated design for the cover of the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Andy Warhol’s banana for The Velvet Underground & Nico were as inspired as the music itself, and inseparable from it. These were, however, exceptions to the general rule that the cover should be little more than a flattering publicity shot, even if those depicted were dressed in Alphonse Mucha’s clothes. During the bad-hair decade and a half of its existence, from 1967 to 1982, the prolific design studio Hipgnosis seldom succumbed to flattery. Instead it relentlessly exploited the freedom and limits of the format in multitudinous ways... read more

More Articles from this Issue

Daniel Beer

Mothers, Daughters, Soldiers

In March 1945, with victory over Nazi Germany only weeks away, Pravda praised the nearly one million Soviet women who had fought the Germans and their allies. They had ‘proved themselves as pilots, snipers, submachine gunners. But they don’t forget about their primary duty to nation and state – that of motherhood.’ In accordance with the official policy of the state, women combatants were henceforth to lay down not only their arms but also their wartime identities... read more

Michael Bywater

The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth about Healthy Eating

By Anthony Warner

Angry chefs create angry reviewers and Anthony Warner scores double here. First, because his anger is so bloody righteous, and second, because what I really want to do is just type out a list of all his arguments and then stand over you while you read it, jabbing my finger and shouting ‘See? See?’ and ‘Have you got to the bit about Gwyneth Paltrow’s mouthwash?’ (coconut oil, which may have antimicrobial... read more

Adrian Woolfson

A Crack in Creation: The New Power to Control Evolution

By Jennifer Doudna & Samuel Sternberg

The fact that Homo sapiens was preceded by multiple now-extinct hominid species tells us that evolution has experimented with a number of different ways of being human. One of the most ancient and best characterised of these prior forms of human existence, Ardipithecus ramidus, is a case in point. It lived roughly 4.4 million years ago. Extracted from the reddish-brown sediment... read more

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