From the ancient Romans via the Big Top to the modern stage, circus has kept us enthralled for thousands of years. Its remarkable ability to adapt and evolve to maintain the fascination of audiences over time is what makes it unique.

WHILE the children of the 30s were wowed by the emergence of the “talkies” – cinematic films with both images and synchronised sound – the modern day teenager thinks nothing of playing tennis on their Wii, setting people on fire in real time and examining the computer generated world of Pandora in three dimensions.

The inner world of man has interested philosophers since ancient times. Plato thought the soul to be the organ of experience, Aristotle studied it in De Anima, and Descartes proclaimed “I think, therefore I am” in the 1600s – a realisation that has been distorted ever since. For a long time, philosophy was the authority on mental matters.

Up until the 1850s the human mind was conceived to be something beyond scientific observation. The idea of a Cartesian soul was first shaken by the phrenologists in the early 1800s, who believed that the human mind was a biological phenomenon to be studied by...

“IT started half by accident some 15 years ago,” says Janne Laine of his collecting hobby. “I was on a trip during winter break and I bought a water gun as a souvenir — a nice dinosaur-shaped piece. After that I started buying water guns on every trip, and pretty soon my friends started buying them for me on birthdays, housewarming parties and so on.”

Having amassed more than 800 individual items, Laine now holds Finland’s largest collection of squirt guns. In 2005, an exhibition of his collection was held in his hometown of Turku. It was touted as the most extensive water gun exhibit in the Nordic countries.

Are all collectors people with strange passions, cluttered homes and long-suffering spouses?
Often appearing to be merely grown-ups with too much money to waste on childish pursuits, they seem somewhat kooky compared to us reasonable, non-collecting, normal people. Right?

Well, you might say that you don’t collect anything – except, for those less inclined to regularly pick up a vacuum cleaner, maybe dust bunnies. But how about those interesting euro coins you like to put aside? Or that not-so great album you reluctantly bought to complete the discography of your favourite band? Why exactly do you have more cute mugs than you can possibly find use for?

The fashion industry is still one of the most socially and environmentally exploitative industries in the world. Separating domestic waste and avoiding factory-farmed produce has become second nature to most of us, but fashion seems to be an area where we are still stalling in addressing the environmental, ecological and ethical issues in full. So what exactly is fashion’s current ethical position?

Ethical fashion is a somewhat nebulous term used to describe ethical practices in design, production, retail and purchasing. In particular, ethical fashion concerns maintaining ethical working conditions, sustainable production, environment effects and animal welfare.