Alongside the notes of the musical keyboard and the letters
of the alphabet, colours provide the building blocks of our
emotions. It is not for nothing that we say we are
‘feeling blue’ or ‘seeing red’. Each colour is
subtly connected to a web...
Modern architecture produces truly innovative work:
glittering, staggeringly tall buildings, opera houses that
look like folded origami, even museums that look like
spaceships. However, in turning towards everything new,
architectural modernism also dogmatically left behind much
of what makes buildings lovely. The best architects of...
We tend to get pretty nervous around the idea of political
art. Some terrible things have been done in its name: it’s
encouraged fanaticism, demonised vulnerable groups and
pumped out delusional propaganda. But despite our
misgivings, our collective existence is very much in need...
The 19th-century designer, poet and entrepreneur William
Morris is one of the best guides we have to the modern
economy – despite the fact that he died in 1896 (while
Queen Victoria was still on the throne), never made a
telephone call and would...
Abstract art continues to provoke annoyance and confusion in
equal measure. You know the kind of thing: a large empty
white canvas, with a solitary deep black line down the
middle. A splodge of purple paint against a yellow
background. Ten steel beams arranged...
Wise men are able to make a fitting use even of their
I recently did an event at the School of Life titled What
Stands in the Way becomes the Way. The event focused on how
to channel Stoic principles into modern life,...
There’s something very special about the five-day
intensive Summer School, something that makes it much more
than a week of some very good The School of Life classes.
And, when I teach it, both here in the UK and, as we have
Whenever something looks interesting or beautiful, there’s
a natural impulse to want to capture and preserve it –
which means, in this day and age, that we’re likely to
reach for our phones to take a picture.
Though this would seem to be an...
Next Thursday 15 May we are thrilled to be joined by Natalie
Merchant, in an evening of music and conversation with
Alain de Botton.
Natalie's career began when, as a college student, she
joined the seminal alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs. She
left the group in...
To celebrate her upcoming Sunday Sermon 'A DJ Saved My
Life', we asked Mary Anne Hobbs to give us a playlist of the
songs that shaped her. It shows off her eclectic tastes,
covering everything from hip hop to techno to jazz.
1. Respond honestly to what you really love
When punk emerged in the mid-70s, the whole fabric of John
Peel’s BBC Radio 1 programme changed overnight. He
abandoned epic 25-minute Prog-Rock overtures made by men in
embroidered capes, and gave over all of his...