William Cook

Power tool: Elisabeth Frink carving ‘Dorset Martyrs’, c.1985

The work of Elisabeth Frink is ripe for a renaissance

21 November 2015 9:00 am

In a converted barn in Dorset, not far from the rural studio where she made many of her greatest sculptures,…


On a British newspaper, Tintin would have been fired years ago

21 November 2015 9:00 am

Reading Tintin when I was a child, in Britain in the 1970s, I always assumed Georges Remi’s creation was just…

Dresden’s Striezelmarkt dates back to 1434

What's so special about German Christmas markets

7 November 2015 9:00 am

Why the fuss about German Christmas markets? Surely they’re just schmaltzy shanty towns, full of stuff you’d never dream of…

'Fire Woman', 2005, by Bill Viola

What is it about Bill Viola’s films that reduce grown-ups to tears?

17 October 2015 8:00 am

What is it about Bill Viola's films that reduce grown-ups to tears? William Cook dries his eyes and talks to the video artist about Zen, loss and nearly drowning

The scene in Hitchcock's film in which Pamela (Madeleine Carroll) removes her stocking while handcuffed to Hannay (Robert Donat) gives off an erotic spark to this day

Retracing The Thirty-Nine Steps in Buchan’s beloved Borders

10 October 2015 9:00 am

To celebrate the centenary of the publication of The Thirty-Nine Steps William Cook travelled to Tweeddale, where John Buchan spent his youthful summers

From top left: Lucian Freud, Rudolf Bing, Stefan Zweig, Walter Gropius, Rudolf Laban, Max Born, Kurt Schwitters, Friedrich Hayek, Fritz Busch, Frank Auerbach, Emeric Pressburger, Oskar Kokoschka

German refugees transformed British cultural life - but at a price

3 October 2015 9:00 am

German-speaking refugees dragged British culture into the 20th century. But that didn’t go down well in Stepney or Stevenage, says William Cook

The Alster: Hamburg’s centrepiece

Wealthy, cosmopolitan – and sometimes rough: the secrets of Hamburg (and my grandmother)

15 August 2015 9:00 am

‘What was it like growing up in Liverpool?’ a journalist asked John Lennon. ‘I didn’t grow up in Liverpool,’ he…

Richard Long installing the large slate cross, Time and Space (2015), at the Arnolfini

Richard Long interview: ‘I was always an artist, even when I was two years old’

8 August 2015 9:00 am

William Cook explores the elemental art and Olympian walks of Richard Long


If Putin comes, the Poles are waiting - a report from Nato's new frontline

4 July 2015 9:00 am

Nato’s beefed-up military exercises are impressive – and ominous

Cornelia Parker’s War Room at the Whitworth, Manchester

What are modern museums really for?

30 May 2015 9:00 am

Do we really need museums in the age of Wikipedia and Google? William Cook thinks we do but his children don’t agree

Guild houses in the Grote Markt, Antwerp

Antwerp: the compact, charming capital of a country that doesn’t quite exist yet

23 May 2015 9:00 am

Napoleon didn’t think much of Antwerp. ‘Scarcely a European city at all,’ he scoffed. If only he could see it…

Incline your upper body slightly forward and place your feet on a low foot rest. Then all the angles are correct

Digestion may be disgusting, but it makes for fascinating — and apparently now fashionable — reading

16 May 2015 9:00 am

Funnily enough, after my editor sent me these three books to read, my guts started playing up. Suddenly, food seemed…

Bigger mouths and longer legs—all the better to bite you with, and run away

Bigger, better bedbugs bite back with a vengeance

25 April 2015 9:00 am

‘Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite,’ my mother used to say when she tucked me in at…

The guilty man: Johann Strauss

Vienna is a crossroads of the world again – but something’s missing

21 March 2015 9:00 am

People get the wrong idea about Vienna and I blame Johann Strauss. His plinky-plonky waltzes have become the soundtrack to…

Staying power: Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard in ‘Blade Runner: The Final Cut’

How Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic, Blade Runner, foresaw the way we live today

7 March 2015 9:00 am

How Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, made 33 years ago, foresaw the way we live today, by William Cook


The Heckler: how funny really was Spitting Image?

21 February 2015 9:00 am

Hold the front page! Spitting Image is back! Well, sort of. A new six-part series, from (some of) the team…

Van Gogh's 'The Diggers' (1889). Credit: Collectie Stedelijk

Where Van Gogh learned to paint

14 February 2015 9:00 am

William Cook reports from the sooty netherworld that made an artist of Vincent Van Gogh

‘The Spectators’, 1947 and 'Woman with the birdcage' by Robert Colquhoun

The tragic tale of the Two Roberts is a story of two artists cut off in their prime

10 January 2015 9:00 am

In 1933, two new students met on their first day at Glasgow School of Art. From then on they were…


Cockfighting: the last, hidden link to Bali’s warlike past

3 January 2015 9:00 am

William Cook goes in search of an island tradition hidden from tourists


Europeans no longer fear Germany. But do the Germans still fear themselves?

13 December 2014 9:00 am

Germans are beginning to recognise that they will not always be able to stay out of military conflicts

The undiscovered country: ‘Germany? Where is it?’, asked Goethe and Schiller in a collaborative poem. ‘I don’t know where to find such a place.’ Above: ‘Goethe in the Roman Campagna’, 1787, by Johann Tischbein, currently on show at the British Museum

German history is uniquely awful: that’s what makes it so engrossing

13 December 2014 9:00 am

As I grew up half German in England in the 1970s, my German heritage was confined to the few curios…


Fortune tellers, pound shops and Orville: why I love Blackpool

13 December 2014 9:00 am

Fortune tellers, pound shops and Orville: it’s easy to take the piss out of Blackpool, but William Cook loves it

Vallée de Joux

Down on the Swiss watch farms

29 November 2014 10:40 am

A tranquil valley is the unlikely heart of fine Swiss watchmaking

Sea change: the old fishing town of Warnemünde has been transformed into an affluent resort

A voyage along my grandfather’s coastline

25 October 2014 9:00 am

William Cook follows family ties to coastal Germany

Quiet, quaint and understated: Cobblers Cove

Chasing the shadows of slavery in Barbados

18 October 2014 9:00 am

Driving up the west coast, from Bridge-town to Speightstown, you soon see why people around here call this the Platinum…