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Crowns and gowns: British royal fashion

Imagine a time when only certain people were allowed to wear purple. That time was the Elizabethan period, when your clothes defined who you were infinitely more than today. If you were a peasant or commoner then earth tones were your bag, and a penchant for purple could get your neck stretched. This was decreed by English laws known as the Sumptuary Laws. Only royalty were allowed to wear purple, for a variety of reasons including an association with Roman Emperors’ purple togas and the fact that the dye of that colour was incredibly expensive.

Popular Culture degree proves, um, popular

Is popular culture the frivolous fluff floating on the surface of human existence, or the very glue that binds societies together? Well, it’s both, really. You can watch The Simpsons just for laughs or analyse it as a serious social barometer. However you choose to consume it, though, the show sprang up spontaneously without intervention from the Establishment and is not highbrow, so it’s part of popular culture.

Beyond the selfie: learn (proper) mobile photography

Modern smartphones have a host of software tricks to make photos look better, plus cameras in some models that are as good as dedicated digital cameras. Almost everybody has a good quality camera in their pocket at all times now. But, as the saying goes, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. The technology takes care of a lot of things, like exposure, colour and effects processing, but it does not (yet) point the camera in the right place and compose a scene for you.

Play hard, play hard: toy design

Where would we be without toys? If we were never allowed to use fascinating objects as springboards for our imaginations, our brains would fail to develop properly. We project ourselves onto toys, explore the world with them, learn with them. We discover cause and effect, relationships, and our own identities through toys. From Ancient Mesopotamia to Toys ‘R’ Us, children have constructed their realities with the help of tangible playthings, either made for them by their parents or made by the children themselves out of what’s lying around.

Yes you Cannes: four weeks to filmmaker

The credits have rolled at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, with Swedish film The Square winning the Palme d’Or. The Short Film Palme D’Or went to Chinese film A Gentle Night and the top production from a film school student was Paul Is Here by Valentina Maurel from INSAS, Belgium.

The latter prize shows that film students can make a mark on events as prestigious as Cannes while they are still at film school. Good filmmaking is good filmmaking, whatever the director’s background, credentials and budget.