Expect wings, feathers, fins and limitless legs. Plus, tales of metamorphosis and unbreakable characters doing eggcellen good stuff to put Earth back together again
Welcome to Season 02 of TOPIA.
It’s inspired by the humble egg.
And a cracking good read.
Did the universe hatch from a cosmic egg? Can gamers save the world’s weirdest parrot from extinction? Which species hasn’t had sex for 80 million years? Does the octopus stretch our moral universe? Just how hungry is The Very Hungry Caterpillar? And is there anything funnier than a politician being hit by an egg? (Well, yes, but it’s up there.)
We’re going to answer all this and more in Season 02. Perhaps it came before the chicken, perhaps not, but in TOPIA’s case, The Egg came second.
As a symbol of mystery and ultimate metaphor, the egg or cacklefart – as it was known in Britain in the 19th century – can be found across cultures, continents and millennia, from Finnish epics to Polynesian mythologies to the ancient texts of the Egyptians and the Zoroastrians (whose Persian god may be at the heart of Game of Thrones).
Dalí’s muse and Hitchcock’s nightmare, you don’t have to look hard to find a city’s original ovum curiosity. I am writing this from Barcelona, home to a 15th-century dancing egg festival. Every spring, Catalans blow an egg’s innards out of a hole in its ass, then whack the hollow shell on a fountain to ‘dance’, suspended in the water jets. Odd? Yes. And not one for vegans. But it’s magical too, as symbols of life and creation, originality and mortality, and transformation and regeneration often are.
Like TOPIA, the egg stirs imagination as a celebration of life itself. And that’s why it’s the focus of our Season 02 (Autumn-Winter 2022).
Every week, we’ll publish new interviews with unbreakable characters – from the worlds of culture, nature, design and travel – who are smashing the status quo and creating cracking solutions to fix our broken systems. Because, as sure as eggs is eggs, you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.
We’re in l’oeuf with Season 02’s eclectic cast of eggs-traordinary people: fearless iceberg aquanaut Jill Heinerth, paleontologist Steve Brusatte, Pulitzer Prize-winning butterfly-chasing author Diana Marcum, quadruple Michelin star-awarded chef Dominique Crenn (her omelette is “the bomb”), marine photographer Tony Wu, world surfing champion Pauline Menczer, modern-day samurai Zen Takai, coral gardener Titouan Bernicot, octopus mind reader Jennifer Mather, revolutionary Fulani chef Fatmata Binta, marine biologist Diva Amon, shatterproof actor-turned-ISIS fighter Michael Enright, menopause policy ballbreaker Lisa Snowdon, pioneering time-splicing superstar DJ Yoda and top comic Atsuko Okatsuka. Plus, a brood of bug experts, vegan VR campaigners, wildlife photographers, artists, innovators, designers – and all-round good eggs.
We’ll be asking them to pay it forward by bigging up – or “egging on” – other brilliant people and projects we should know about.
Can conservation and creativity go hand in hand? In S02, every egg matters as we follow our winged, feathered and finned friends across the globe, from cross-continental cuckoos, magnificent vultures and dragons “with a propeller bum”, to gender-fluid clownfish, zombie sex slave barnacles and fried egg jellyfish.
When it comes to the birds, the bees and the fishies, TOPIA’s S02 is an evolutionary rainbow of patriarchy-smashing revelations and sexual cannibalism that includes insights about Darwin’s obsession with the barnacle penis. (Imagine a sort of X-rated Mr. Tickle.)
To commemorate the TOPIA S02 podcast with British zoologist and National Geographic explorer Lucy Cooke, we’re giving away one copy of her book, Bitch: A Revolutionary Guide to Sex, Evolution and the Female Animal.Find out more.
This season is full of hidden messages and images in the form of ‘easter eggs’. For more competitions follow us on Instagram and Twitter and sign up to our newsletter – A WORLD OF GOOD.
In TOPIA, the joy is in the mashup. Click on The Rabbit Hole at the top and bottom of every page – as many times as you like – to scramble the magazine and find inspiration in a different feature each time.
Disclaimer: To be totally honest, this theme was inspired by watching a pigeon smash into a window by the Sagrada Familia. Almost as instantly as it slammed to the ground, a seagull swooped it up and devoured it. After spending far too long pondering whether I could base an entire season on ‘roadkill’ (short answer: no), I had a Humpty Dumpty moment dropping an egg bap over the wall while chatting to a neighbour. Consider the theme hatched.
Like your stories sunny side up? I love to overegg the pudding, so get ready for some eggs-quisite puns in Season 02.
Because if anything is going to save the world, it’s us falling in love with it.
Just some of the eggs-ellence to expect this season – plus more special guests
Candid convos with planetary defenders
In S02, The Futurenauts get Bitch-y with zoologist Lucy Cooke; Dutch VJ Simone Angel and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Diana Marcum chat butterflies in Belize; Nelly Ben Hayoun meets underwater iceberg explorer Jill Heinerth; John Elkington interviews Nature Iraq founder Azzam Alwash, and Lisa Snowdon explores menopause matters.
Get heroic with conservation legends
TOPIA meets the ecologist tracking the cuckoo’s adventures, the marketing agency for nature” supporting the world’s weirdest parrot, a variety of vulture conservationists and coral gardener Titouan Bernicot.
Three experts, one big question
Termite or not termite? Hoverfly hero or mother of dragonflies? We pitted three bug-loving humans against each other to argue the toss: which is the greatest bug superhero? (Hollywood, you’re welcome.) Plus, we ask which media needs to make sex and gender truly representative.
Nature’s talking – can you listen?
Vultures, ducks, ostriches and swans – what have all these creatures got to do with your hard-earned cash? Come face to face with a cornucopia of cool birds in TOPIA, a place where nature has a voice. Featuring a talking red kite, axolotl and even an egg.
Revolutionaries design their ideal worlds
Find out which superchefs and vegan visionaries think that in an ideal world everyone would be sillier and Lionel Richie’s ‘All Night Long’ is on repeat. We hear from Dominique Crenn, Morag Myerscough, Lisa Snowdon, Louisa Ziane, plus more surprise guests.
The power of human creativity
Renowned wildlife photographer Tim Flach focuses on the fascinating world of birds, marine photographer Tony Wu brings spawning to life, and artivists expand the definition of queerness. Plus, ‘unfit Mother’ Carrie Reichardt, unbreakable Russian artists and more.
Fall down the rabbit hole
Is deep-sea mining inevitable? Why don’t we have death education? Could sexbots go a bit Westworld? What can we really learn from octopuses? Discover weird science and tales of the unexpected in this impossibility-denying space.Plus, the Wonderful World of Eggs Quiz.
Filmmakers and entertainers cut deep
Small screens, big screens and stages are filled with folks making sense of this world. We meet the people behind vegan-friendly VR, the world surf champions who wiped out sexism and homophobia, top American stand-up comedian Atsuko Okatsuka, and top screenwriters tell us how they deal with writer’s block.
Tales that sting – just a little bit
Guest Posts from the award-winning writers working on cracking life’s mysteries: Bobby Palmer (Isaac and the Egg), Rob Palk (Animal Lovers), Sophie Pavelle (Forget Me Not), Gaia Vince (Nomad Century) and top food columnist Bee Wilson.
Curated by brilliant insiders
The inspiring winner of 2022’s Basque Culinary World Prize, Fatmata Binta shares her Good City Guide to Accra, Ghana – and some Fulani cooking tips. Colombia’s foremost sommelier Laura Hernández Espinosa reveals the positive side to Bogotá. Plus, Afghanistan’s first female guide takes us on a tour of Herat, and a Japanese city guide with a twist.
Rocking for a cause
The world’s worst record covers inspired by the egg (yes, really), Savages drummer Fay Milton tells us about Music Declares, and DJ Yoda on cracking the past into samples and his obsession with breakfast, and more protest songs.
The indie storytellers fixing media
Nothing ‘pale, male, stale’ here. We celebrate the food storytellers and tastemakers addressing media’s blind spots. In S02, we journey to the source to celebrate life, death and soy with Celestial Peach, Sourced Journeys, Dialogues of Diaspora, Dana Thompson and Jeremy Umansky.
Stories of rebirth from chaos
Need some positive transformation affirmation from unbreakable characters? We meet Michael Enright, a British actor who left Hollywood to fight ISIS, the Kenyan fisherwomen breathing life back into a dying island, a modern-day samurai, the artists behind Queercircle, and take a deep dive into The Very Hungry Caterpillar with emerging authors.
An exclusive tea eggs photo essay from Taiwan. Plus, wine, eggs and the miracle of the Georgian qvevri, a good tortilla de patata guide to Barcelona, and a global hunt for the perfect Egg Benedict.
Presenting mini-worlds of drama
Get your escapism fix with serialised fiction and egg-filled stories – thanks to The Wibbly Wobbly Bird and the ‘Tuluminati’.
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