What’s it called?

Seriously …

What’s it about?

Anything and everything under the sun, from the weird and wonderful illustrations found in the margins of Medieval manuscripts – “It’s a drawing of what is essentially Iain Duncan Smith, with the body of a falcon and the legs of a heron and ears of a chinchilla,” is one expert’s description of a typical flight of fancy – to why we love pebbles, what it means to be “Butch” and the life and legacy of Scott Hutchison, the late Frightened Rabbit frontman. There’s even a cultural history of the lift, narrated by … a lift.

Who’s in it?

Experts, lots of them, aka people who know what they’re talking about.

What’s so good about it?

Its underlying belief that even the apparently trivial has great meaning for us, and that difficult subjects – think gender, class, racism, birth, health, sickness, death, inequality – can be illuminated, and our understanding of them deepened, if they’re presented properly and discussed thoroughly. So if you started Tolstoy’s War And Peace as your lockdown learning project but you’ve given up even before the Battle of Austerlitz why not turn to instead to this as a way of exercising your brain cells and giving yourself a different perspective on the world, and on other people’s lives?

Fun fact …

In late 19th century Germany, medical studies appeared to show that the most unhealthy places in a building to live was the top floor, closest to the roof. Accordingly those spaces became the least desirable – until the proliferation of the lift, when what one expert calls “the vertical hierarchy” was turned on its head.

Where do I find it?

Created by the BBC, it’s available to download for free.