Carmageddon: its killing urban life. We must reclaim our cities before its too late | George Monbiot

Land Rovers latest ads tell us that gas guzzlers contribute to urban culture. They do the opposite, says Guardian columnist George Monbiot What is the best way of wrecking a city? Pour cars into it. Heavy traffic, they use 60%. The car eats the public space that could otherwise become parks, cycle lanes, markets and playgrounds. Land Rovers new advertisements for its marketed as the Range Rover for the city, which sounds like a contradiction: SUVs like this were originally designed for dirt roads in the countryside. But now, according to the agency behind this revolting campaign, we are features the supermodel Adwoa Aboah driving through Brixton, staring at the interesting street life as if on a human safari and …

The curse of Masakado: why Tokyo is still haunted by a malevolent ghost

The tale of the first samurai whose severed head still terrorises Tokyoites today is the story of the city itself A Tokyo bank once opened an account in the name of a man who had been dead for 1,000 years. The bank was a branch of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (now part of MUFG, the largest bank in Japan), which looked out over a neighbouring lot that contained the grave where the man was buried. The bank employees were reportedly instructed not to open any windows to the mans grave, nor to turn their backs on it, even when at their desks; the account was set up to placate him. The figure? Taira no Masakado, a rebellious warrior who was killed in …

Queer today, gone tomorrow: the fight to save LGBT nightlife

They survived homophobia and Thatcher. But is gentrification now sounding the death knell for gay clubs and pubs? We meet the artists battling to save them On a summers day in 2017, in gardens near the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in London, an unusual drag show took place. A lot of work had gone into the costumes, but these were not of the kind youd expect: there were no rhinestones or wigs. Each performer was wearing an architectural model on their head, and instead of lip-syncing, they were reading out snippets of planning and licensing documents. The models didnt represent buildings of any great distinction, but to members of the audience they were a familiar lineup: the Black Cap, the Joiners …