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'Overpaid, oversexed and over here'
Posted on: Thursday, July 20, 2017 Category: Cultures

All that's left are ghostly traces. Nissen huts incorporated into farm buildings, runways pushing up through East Anglian soil. Outside the Suffolk village of Horham, near Diss, there's a patch of concrete where feet once jitterbugged to Glenn Miller and his Army Air Force Band. Suddenly I was hearing A String of Pearls among the sugar beet and cereals.

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For Guernica read Aleppo: why the bombing, and painting, still resonate
Posted on: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 Category: Cultures

My two companions, Edorta Jiménez and Irati Agorria, show me a machine built for noise and it reduces me to silence. For this is one of the air-raid sirens that sounded 80 years ago - on April 26, 1937 - as German and Italian planes bombed the Basque market town of Guernica (Gernika in the Basque spelling) in the Spanish Civil War.

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Darkness, an endangered species
Posted on: Sunday, February 19, 2017 Category: Cultures

Darkness on the South Downs. Owls hoot and boy-racers accelerate along distant B-roads. But just how dark is it? To find out Dan Oakley points a 'sky quality meter' at the stars. This, he explains, measures sky brightness in 'magnitudes per square arcsecond'. The read-out clicks beyond 20 - which is good apparently, but means nothing to me. Luckily Dan has another test: 'Can you see the Orion nebula?'

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