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Fuelling the debate: Should investors buy into fossil fuel companies?

Fuelling the debate: Should investors buy into fossil fuel companies?

Investors have long relied on oil, gas and mining companies to grow their wealth. These stocks tend to be among the UK stock market’s highest producers of dividend income – and this year looks set to be no exception. 

Yet some of these businesses are mired in controversy, especially the oil and gas giants as they continue to reap rich rewards from the country’s energy crisis, which has resulted in household and business fuel bills rising at an alarming rate. 

For example, BP’s profits for the third quarter of last year jumped to £2.4billion on the back of soaring oil and gas prices with boss Bernard Looney stating that the company was a giant ‘cash machine’. Meanwhile, Shell recorded record cash flows in its third quarter.

Both have rewarded shareholders with a tickle up in their quarterly dividends, although these payments still remain way below those made by the oil giants before the pandemic struck. 

Mining companies – the likes of Anglo American and BHP – have also provided shareholders with a stream of attractive income on the back of rising commodity prices. Yet, although these businesses are instrumental in the drive towards a more eco-friendly world – for example providing materials key to the production of electric cars – they have their detractors. Like the oil giants, they are deemed environmentally unfriendly, responsible for a big chunk of the world’s global carbon emissions. 

For income investors, it’s a dilemma. Should they invest in these companies despite their patchy environmental record and profiteering – or in the hope of them mending their ways. Or should they shun them?

WHY FOSSIL FUEL FIRMS ARE STILL WORTH A LOOK 

Some investors choose to avoid businesses that actively contribute to greenhouse gas emissions by ruling out these companies altogether in their portfolios or opting for funds that screen them out. 

Yet others, with the same environmental concerns, take a different approach. They invest in fossil fuel firms in the hope of using their influence as shareholders to pressure management into decarbonising their businesses and working towards energy transition – shifting to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. 

There is some evidence this approach from investors is starting to pay off. BP hopes to become a net-zero emissions business by 2050. It has pledged to reduce oil and gas production by 40 per cent by 2030, increase its renewable energy power generation capacity, and invest up to $4billion (£3billion) a year in low carbon projects. 

Rival Shell has set out a similar plan to become net zero by 2050, while miner Rio Tinto aims to cut its carbon emissions in half by 2030 and work towards net zero by 2050. 

Richard Marwood, a fund manager at Royal London Asset Management, is an advocate of this engagement approach. He believes the likes of BP and Shell can contribute to energy transition and will play a vital role given their scale. The transformation of their businesses will mark the end of significant spending on new oilfields and this money can then be diverted to renewable energy projects. 

He suggests readers ask themselves a simple question: ‘The starting point has to be whether you are personally comfortable as an investor holding shares in these companies. Do you believe that these companies are going to be part of the transition? If the answer is yes, they’re investible.’ 

‘CANCELLED’ FIRMS ARE POTENTIAL BARGAINS 

The number of potential investors in fossil fuel companies is falling as growing numbers express concerns about their impact on the environment. As a result, some investment experts believe these firms are much undervalued, making them potential investment bargains.

John Bennett, a European equity fund manager at investment house Janus Henderson, describes the shares of major oil companies as ‘absurdly cheap’. He currently holds French oil giant TotalEnergies and Swedish-listed Lundin Energy in Henderson European Focus, a £345million investment trust he has run since 2010. He adds: ‘Many listed oil, gas and cement companies are seriously undervalued because many are ‘cancelled’ on environmental grounds, despite the fact they are decarbonising and essential for the energy transition.’ 

The share price of Swiss cement producer Holcim is a case in point. Bennett says: ‘The share price should be 34 per cent higher than it is today, because investors are overlooking its ambitious plans to become a less carbon-intensive company.’ 

Royal London’s Marwood believes BP and Shell look undervalued, particularly in light of the strong cash flows they produce and the prospect of annual dividends producing returns of about 4 per cent. 

He says: ‘I think these companies are cheap and I can see why they got this way because there haven’t been many buyers of the stock.’ 

Marwood holds BP, Shell and mining giant Glencore in the investment fund Royal London UK Dividend Growth.

BUT WHAT IF THERE ARE NO BUYERS? 

Share prices may look undervalued, but if there are not buyers out there, Marwood believes it will be hard for the investment potential of some of these companies to be realised.

‘The concern is that today’s fashion for ESG (environmental, social and governance) scorecard investing runs longer than our patience can hold out,’ he says. 

However, Marwood adds that if shares remain depressed, companies may start to buy them back, which would help drive up the share prices and improve returns for investors. 

Veteran fund manager Gervais Williams runs investment fund Premier Miton UK Multi Cap Income. He advises that anyone considering an investment in carbon-intensive stocks should ensure they opt for those that will meet the climate change emissions targets.

‘It is no use buying companies that are going to become isolated because their customers move away from them, and governments won’t buy from them because they are not meeting the climate change agenda,’ he says. 

SOME INVESTORS SEEK CLEANER ALTERNATIVES

For some investors, the idea of buying carbon-intensive companies on the grounds they are transitioning does not stack up. 

‘We don’t feel that investing in oil on the basis of transition will ever work,’ says Ketan Patel, manager of the EdenTree Responsible and Sustainable UK Equity Fund. 

He points to the potential environmental damage that the major oil companies are likely to cause in the run-up to becoming net zero. The fund manager anticipates they will pump as much oil as they can before 2050, which will have disastrous consequences for the environment. 

He adds: ‘If they do want to transition, they must transition fully so they are no longer oil companies and become major renewable energy players. Also, are they going to make good on 150 years of ecological damage financially?’

Patel says there are attractive alternatives that offer a good income from less carbon-intensive sectors. For example, renewable energy investment trusts offer annual income of between 4 and 7 per cent – the likes of Greencoat UK Wind and Bluefield Solar Income. He says ‘Renewable energy trusts can produce a high-quality income stream without the price volatility that oil, gas and mining shares are likely to experience.’

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Here’s one (or 22) for the diary – the influential guide Time Out has named the 22 best new things to do in the world in 2022.  The number one spot goes to Maison Gainsbourg in Paris, a museum dedicated to the life and times of singer and actor Serge Gainsbourg, followed by the House of Hungarian Music in Budapest and Melbourne’s Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto exhibition. 

The list was carefully compiled by Time Out’s global network of ‘over 100 expert editors and independent local writers’, and is made up of the most ‘fun, original and simply unmissable’ experiences, events and new openings on the horizon. 

Caroline McGinn, Time Out’s Global Editor-in-Chief, says: ‘Time Out’s list of the best new things to do in 2022 is our essential guide to the most exciting things happening around the world this year. It includes monumental new museums and attractions, long-awaited comebacks for much-loved festivals, blockbuster theatre productions, and more.’ Scroll down for the list in full…

1. Maison Gainsbourg – Paris

Serge Gainsbourg’s Parisian townhouse is opening as a new museum in Paris - Maison Gainsbourg, pictured

Serge Gainsbourg’s Parisian townhouse is opening as a new museum in Paris – Maison Gainsbourg, pictured 

The No.1 spot on the ranking goes to Maison Gainsbourg, which will offer fans the chance to snoop around the house of musician and cultural icon Serge Gainsbourg.

Time Out says: ‘Closed off to the public since Gainsbourg’s death in 1991, early next year the interior of feted (and controversial) French singer Serge Gainsbourg’s Parisian townhouse will finally open as a museum dedicated to his life and work.’

According to the guide, his daughter, actor and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg, has taken the lead with the project. It adds: ‘The main attraction will surely be Serge’s famously eccentric living area, with its piano, Art Deco bar and huge collection of sculptures.’

2. House of Hungarian Music – Budapest, Hungary

The House of Hungarian Music (pictured above) has been designed with a perforated roof and 'magnificent spiral staircases', according to Time Out

The House of Hungarian Music (pictured above) has been designed with a perforated roof and ‘magnificent spiral staircases’, according to Time Out 

The House of Hungarian Music – described as a ‘stunning new concert hall’ by Time Out – is set to open in early 2022.

The guide says: ‘Sou Fujimoto’s House of Hungarian Music in City Park features a roof perforated with 100 or so cavities that allow natural light, trees and sound to infiltrate the two performance venues, exhibition spaces and library.’

The travel experts note that the building features ‘magnificent spiral staircases and a complete glass exterior’.

3. Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto exhibition – Melbourne

Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto (pictured) will run until April 25 at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto (pictured) will run until April 25 at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

According to Time Out, this is the first exhibition in Australia to ‘focus solely on the life and work of 20th-century French designer Gabrielle (AKA Coco) Chanel’.

The display will run until April 25 at the National Gallery of Victoria, in collaboration with Paris’ leading fashion museum, the Palais Galliera.

The guide says: ‘It sees Melbourne become the first city outside of France to host this epic touring show, featuring more than 100 Chanel garments, exploring Coco’s enduring influence on fashion, perfume, jewellery and accessory design – all with a multimedia twist that’s unique to the Aussie museum.’

4. Floriade Expo 2022 – Almere, Netherlands

Time Out says that the Floriade Expo 2022 (rendered above) will revolve around a theme of ‘Growing Green Cities’

Time Out says that the Floriade Expo 2022 (rendered above) will revolve around a theme of ‘Growing Green Cities’

The Floriade Expo 2022 is ‘a once-in-a-decade gardening show’, according to Time Out. The guide reveals that the event, which starts on April 14 and revolves around a theme of ‘Growing Green Cities’, is ‘so huge it only happens once every ten years’.

It says: ‘Known as the world’s ultimate flower show, the new, custom-built waterside site will feature countless pavilions, an arboretum, a magnificent greenhouse complex and a rich arts and culture programme.’

5. Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898 – 1971 exhibition at Academy Museum – Los Angeles

A preview of the work that is set to be displayed at the Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898 - 1971 exhibition at Los Angeles' Academy Museum

A preview of the work that is set to be displayed at the Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898 – 1971 exhibition at Los Angeles’ Academy Museum

‘Set to debut in the second half of 2022, the Academy Museum’s next exhibition will focus on nearly an entire century of often-overlooked cinema,’ Time Out says.

The exhibition is a collaboration between the Academy Museum and Washington DC’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

What can visitors expect from the fascinating new exhibition? The guide reveals that ‘Regeneration dives into the works of black filmmakers from the birth of the motion picture industry through to the Civil Rights era’.

6. National Museum of Norway – Oslo, Norway

Pictured is the new National Museum of Norway, which is set to become the largest museum in the Nordics next summer

Pictured is the new National Museum of Norway, which is set to become the largest museum in the Nordics next summer

Fancy visiting the largest museum in the Nordics? The new National Museum of Norway will claim that title in June 2022, Time Out reveals.

The museum will house a collection of 100,000 objects, with ‘highlights including Munch’s The Scream’ the Norwegian Baldishol tapestry from 1150, and an array of Golden Age Flemish landscapes’.

The guide notes: ‘As well as the art, the building itself will take visitors’ breaths away, with its 2,400-square-metre “Light Hall” made of shimmering marble glass.’

7. Museum of Broadway – New York

A rendering of New York's new Museum of Broadway, which will explore the history of the city's theatre scene

A rendering of New York’s new Museum of Broadway, which will explore the history of the city’s theatre scene 

The brand-new Museum of Broadway is the ‘first institution dedicated to the history of the “Great White Way”, aka Broadway’.

According to Time Out, the new tourist attraction will appeal to hardcore theatre fans, as well as tourists who have come to New York to take in a show.

The guide says: ‘The three sections of the museum will feature a map room showing how the theatre scene migrated across the city over the years, another space illustrating the development of the Broadway art form through various artefacts and works of art, and finally a “backstage” area looking at the professionals that make the shows happen every day.’

8. Detour Discotheque – Westfjords, Iceland

Detour Discotheque will take place in the remote fishing village of Thingeyri (pictured), in the Westfjords of Iceland

Detour Discotheque will take place in the remote fishing village of Thingeyri (pictured), in the Westfjords of Iceland

Dubbed ‘the world’s most remote club night’ by Time Out, Detour Discotheque will take place in the remote fishing village of Thingeyri, in the Westfjords of Iceland, for two nights only.

The guide says: ‘On April 29 and 30, DJs from Iceland, the USA and the UK will be performing to a small crowd of just 160, drawing inspiration from the discos of 1970s New York.’

It adds that the ‘self-styled “party at the edge of the world”‘ will be the first in a series of parties in remote locations around the world, and ‘is sure to be a night out like no other’.

9. Taipei Performing Arts Center – Taipei, Taiwan

According to Time Out, the Taipei Performing Arts Center (pictured above) 'looks like an industrial cake'

According to Time Out, the Taipei Performing Arts Center (pictured above) ‘looks like an industrial cake’

‘Seven years late to the date, the NT$5.4billion (£147million), 59,000-square-metre Taipei Performing Arts Center will no doubt wow visitors when it finally opens in summer 2022.’

So declares Time Out of Taipei’s ‘arresting’ new cultural destination, which ‘looks like an industrial cake with a giant silver sphere bulging towards an adjacent metro station and houses an 800-seat playhouse, a 1,500-seat grand theatre and an 800-seat multipurpose theatre’.

The guide adds: ‘The best thing about this outlandish venue? A looped walkway links all three auditoriums with windows into hidden spaces (and which is freely accessible to the public).’

10. Retrace the Silk Road by train – Tashkent to Khiva, Uzbekistan

Travellers can take to the Silk Road by high-speed rail next year, thanks to the extension of Uzbekistan’s railways

Travellers can take to the Silk Road by high-speed rail next year, thanks to the extension of Uzbekistan’s railways

Next year, the extension of Uzbekistan’s railways means that travellers will be able to ‘retrace the fabled route’ of Venetian merchant Marco Polo by high-speed rail, Time Out reveals.

It adds that the route will take passengers ‘through Uzbekistan, from the capital Tashkent all the way to western Khiva – whose 94 mosques and 63 madrasas make it a Unesco World Heritage Site’.

11. Hans Christian Andersen Museum opening – Odense, Denmark

The new Hans Christian Andersen Hus, pictured, invites visitors to 'escape into the fairytale worlds' of the Danish author

The new Hans Christian Andersen Hus, pictured, invites visitors to ‘escape into the fairytale worlds’ of the Danish author 

The brand-new Hans Christian Andersen Hus is just 90 minutes by train from Copenhagen, in the ‘charming’ city of Odense, Time Out says.

Based on the life’s work of the famed Danish author, the guide says that visitors can ‘escape into the fairytale worlds of The Snow Queen, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid and The Princess and the Pea’ as they wander through the museum.

‘Interactive and inventive biographical exhibits’ and ‘theatrical imaginings of Andersen’s memoirs’ feature among the displays.

12. An 11-day Primavera Sound festival – Barcelona

The 2022 Primavera Sound festival will take place across two weekends for the first time. Above is a crowd at the 2017 edition of the festival

The 2022 Primavera Sound festival will take place across two weekends for the first time. Above is a crowd at the 2017 edition of the festival 

Music lovers are in luck – the Primavera Sound festival is returning to Barcelona next year, and Time Out promises it will be ‘bigger than ever’.

The guide says that the festival ‘that turns Barcelona into a huge, beachside party’ will take place across two weekends for the first time.

It notes: ‘There will be additional concerts scheduled in between and an extra DJ event at the end, making it an 11-day sun-kissed celebration of music’s hottest names, including the Strokes, Dua Lipa, Jamie XX and more.’ 

13. ‘The Burnt City’ – London

A promotional picture for The Burnt City, which will take place across two former military arsenal buildings

A promotional picture for The Burnt City, which will take place across two former military arsenal buildings

The Burnt City is the top-ranking UK experience on the list. Running from March 22 to August 28, the show heralds the ‘return of Punchdrunk theatre’ – the British ‘immersive theatre gods’.

The last major London event by Punchdrunk was the staging of the ‘epic’ The Drowned Man eight years ago.

Time Out says of the theatre company’s new play: ‘Outdoing themselves for sheer scale and ambition, the new show takes place in not one but two former military arsenal buildings, and will be a (sort of) adaptation of two Greek tragedies set during the Trojan War.’

14. Color Factory comes to Chicago – Chicago

‘The eye-catching, kaleidoscopic installations of roving interactive museum Color Factory will land in Chicago in 2022,’ Time Out reveals.

Located in the city’s famous Willis Tower skyscraper, it will be Color Factory’s largest-ever show.

‘Expect a wildly colourful mix of Colour Factory classics and new rooms themed around Chicago itself,’ Time Out says, adding that previous Color Factory exhibits have featured ‘candy pink rooms and Nasa-themed ball pits’.

15. Ghibliland – the Studio Ghibli theme park, Nagoya, Japan

The world’s first Studio Ghibli theme park is set to open in 2022 near the Japanese city of Nagoya (pictured)

The world’s first Studio Ghibli theme park is set to open in 2022 near the Japanese city of Nagoya (pictured) 

Next year will see the opening of the world’s first Studio Ghibli theme park, Time Out reveals.

The amusement park, based on the work of the Japanese animation film studio, will be located near Nagoya, which is around three hours by train from Tokyo.

‘Visitors can explore five areas with rides, shops, exhibitions and gardens themed around hit anime like My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away,’ the guide says.

16. Phantom of the Opera in Sydney Harbour – Sydney

A new production of The Phantom of the Opera will play out on the open water of Sydney Harbour (pictured) next year

A new production of The Phantom of the Opera will play out on the open water of Sydney Harbour (pictured) next year

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s lauded The Phantom of the Opera is being staged on the open water of Sydney Harbour next year.

The brand-new production will premiere in March and run for one month, Time Out reveals.

‘The bespoke reimagining is the brainchild of director Simon Phillips and set designer Gabriela Tylesova, two of Australia’s most respected theatre-makers,’ the travel experts add.

17. Ride new Regiojet sleeper train across Europe – Prague, Czech Republic, to Brussels, Belgium

The Regiojet network is launching a new batch of sleeper trains in Europe next year. Pictured is a Regiojet train in Strba, Slovakia in 2020

The Regiojet network is launching a new batch of sleeper trains in Europe next year. Pictured is a Regiojet train in Strba, Slovakia in 2020 

Next year a new batch of sleeper trains run by the Regiojet network will take travellers across Europe between Prague and Brussels via Dresden, Berlin and Amsterdam, expanding Europe’s night-train network.

Time Out says: ‘Doze off in magnificent Prague, then wake up 800 kilometres away in EU capital and waffle-and-beer-paradise Brussels.

‘Spurred on by the climate emergency, it’s part of a huge continent-wide drive to revive the good old-fashioned sleeper.’

18. Game of Thrones studio tour – Belfast, Northern Ireland

The coat worn by Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) in Game of Thrones, pictured above, is one of the props that will feature in the official Game of Thrones Studio Tour

The coat worn by Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) in Game of Thrones, pictured above, is one of the props that will feature in the official Game of Thrones Studio Tour

The official Game of Thrones Studio Tour – the second UK experience to make Time Out’s list – is opening on February 4 in Linen Mill Studios, just outside Belfast.

Time Out describes the experience, which is based on the hit HBO fantasy series, as ‘Westeros’s answer to London’s Harry Potter studio tour’.

It adds that the tour will feature props, costumes and sets, including the ‘entirety of Winterfell’s Great Hall’.

19. Opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum – Giza, Egypt

When it opens in 2022, the Grand Egypt Museum (GEM) will be ‘the biggest museum in the world dedicated to a single civilisation’, Time Out reveals.

The guide says that the Giza museum has ‘views of the great pyramids’, and is just a 40-minute drive from the capital, Cairo.

It adds: ‘The museum’s rotating display will comprise 50,000 artefacts, with that number again in storage. Most importantly, this will be the first time that all 5,000 pieces of King Tutankhamun’s funerary treasure will be displayed in the same place – death mask included.’

20. Novi Sad: European Culture Capital 2022 – Novi Sad, Serbia

Novi Sad has a reputation for 'gorgeous architecture and unique history', according to Time Out. Pictured is the city's Svetozar Miletic Square

 Novi Sad has a reputation for ‘gorgeous architecture and unique history’, according to Time Out. Pictured is the city’s Svetozar Miletic Square

Novi Sad, Serbia’s second-largest city, will ‘wear the crown’ of the European Capital of Culture next year.

To honour the title, the city has planned more than 1,500 events featuring 4,000 artists, Time Out reveals, including an exhibition in an abandoned pasta factory known as The Mlin Cultural Station.

‘Many have been making the pilgrimage to Exit Festival for years, but 2022 will see Novi Sad’s gorgeous architecture and unique history put it on the map as a major destination-in-waiting,’ the guide notes.

21. Istanbul Modern – Istanbul, Turkey

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, pictured, will host more 'cutting-edge exhibitions' in the future, according to Time Out

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, pictured, will host more ‘cutting-edge exhibitions’ in the future, according to Time Out 

Time Out predicts that the return of the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, following its temporary closure, will ‘enliven’ the city’s Karakoy waterfront.

The guide says: ‘The new, expanded Istanbul Modern will have the flexibility to host more cutting-edge exhibitions, and also contain a library, cinema, design store and various event spaces.’

Other attractions in the area include the recently-opened Galataport, ‘a multipurpose development with a long pedestrian promenade along the Bosphorus’, as well as an array of restaurants and shops.

22. Time Out Market Porto – Porto, Portugal

Last but not least, Time Out Market is set to open a second Portuguese location, in Porto, in 2022.

The market will be set across 22,000 sq ft (2,044 sq m) in the city’s ‘iconic and historic’ Sao Bento train station. There, visitors will get the chance to wander through 15 restaurants, four bars, four shops, one café and an art gallery.

‘Time Out Market Porto will bring the city’s best chefs, restaurateurs and cultural experiences together under one roof,’ Time Out promises.

Read the full list at timeout.com/best-things-to-do-in-the-world


Getting the essentials in when you’re a time traveller is a hassle, but there’s a one-stop shop in California that has all the basics covered, from dinosaur eggs to ‘time-freezy hyper slush’.

Though for that, a sign explains, you may need to ‘come back yesterday’, because the machine is out of order.

These pictures offer a glimpse inside the amazing store – The Echo Park Time Travel Mart in Los Angeles – which has been running since 2008 and is billed as a ‘convenience store for time travellers’.

Getting the essentials in when you're a time traveller is a hassle, but there's a one-stop shop in California that has all the basics covered - The Echo Park Time Travel Mart (pictured)

Getting the essentials in when you’re a time traveller is a hassle, but there’s a one-stop shop in California that has all the basics covered – The Echo Park Time Travel Mart (pictured) 

Giving a taste of things to come, the shop’s window display features a mannequin of a caveman dressed in furs positioned next to a futuristic silver robot. The slogan stamped across the entrance? ‘Whenever you are, we’re already then.’ 

Worked up an appetite? You can get tins of ‘Mammoth Chunks’ that boast ‘bold mammothy flavour’, as well as ‘fresh n’ delicious’ doughnuts that claim to be straight from 1985.

The aforementioned ‘fresh dinosaur eggs’ can be found in a glass-door fridge that displays a sign warning: ‘They get bigger.’

Customers can buy packets of ‘robot emotions’, travel ‘pastports’, time travel sickness pills, ‘robot milk’ and a tin of ‘primordial soup’ from the beginning of time. 

Other gimmicks spotted on the shelves over the years include a knight’s chainmail and a ‘salvaged romance’ fire log that can wind back the clock to repair a doomed relationship.

A noticeboard on the wall is filled with tongue-in-cheek advertisements – one customer spied a flyer seeking reality TV show contestants for a dating series ‘where Henry VIII is looking for his next wife’. 

The Los Angeles mart has been running since 2008 and is billed as a ‘convenience store for time travellers’

The Los Angeles mart has been running since 2008 and is billed as a ‘convenience store for time travellers’

The out-of-order slushy machine advertises drinks in two flavours, Newton’s Apple and Grapes of Wrath

One freezer in the shop (pictured) is filled with ‘fresh dinosaur eggs’, with a sign warning that they ‘get bigger’

The out-of-order slushy machine (pictured on the left) advertises drinks in two flavours, Newton’s Apple and Grapes of Wrath. One fridge in the shop (pictured on the right) is filled with ‘fresh dinosaur eggs’, with a sign warning that they ‘get bigger’

Where do the shop-owners get their merchandise? A representative from the Time Travel Mart told MailOnline Travel: ‘Most of our branded items are manufactured in the 1970s. If it is made by a caveman, we will tell you.

‘Behind the scenes, all of our branded products are dreamed up and brought to life by volunteer time-travelling writers and designers who work together to source these products from the past and future.’

Store manager Carinne Mangold said her favourite item in the store is ‘Shade’. This is a packaged walnut, with the tree-embellished wrapping hinting that it will one day grow into a shady walnut tree. Its instructions read: ‘Travel back in time. Bury seed. Return to present. Relax.’

Hungry customers can splash out on ‘fresh n’ delicious’ doughnuts (pictured) that claim to be straight from 1985

Hungry customers can splash out on ‘fresh n’ delicious’ doughnuts (pictured) that claim to be straight from 1985

The shop's window display, pictured above, features a caveman dressed in furs and a futuristic silver robot

A noticeboard on the wall (pictured) is filled with tongue-in-cheek advertisements - one customer spied a flyer seeking reality TV show contestants for a dating series 'where Henry VIII is looking for his next wife'. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons

The shop’s window display, pictured on the left, features a caveman dressed in furs and a futuristic silver robot. A noticeboard on the wall (pictured on the right) is filled with tongue-in-cheek advertisements – one customer spied a flyer seeking reality TV show contestants for a dating series ‘where Henry VIII is looking for his next wife’. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons

‘It’s the perfect solution to a sunny Los Angeles day,’ Carinne said.

Do most people who visit believe in time travel? A store representative said: ‘Yes, time travel and everything in the Time Travel Mart is exactly as it appears.’

The shop is an eye-opener – but there’s more to it than meets the eye. At the rear is 826LA, a non-profit that supports students who attend under-resourced schools through tutoring, writing, and college access programs.

A ‘salvaged romance’ fire log that can wind back the clock to repair a doomed romance. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons

A ‘salvaged romance’ fire log that can wind back the clock to repair a doomed romance. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons 

Pictured is a range of Professor Clutterbuck's Elixir stocked on the shelves of the shop. The store was created 'to help time travellers of all temporal origins find convenient products to get them through their day (or year or millennia)'. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons

Worked up an appetite? You can get tins of ‘Mammoth Chunks’ (pictured) that boast ‘bold mammothy flavor’. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons

Pictured on the left is the mart’s range of Professor Clutterbuck’s Elixir. The store was created ‘to help time travellers of all temporal origins find convenient products to get them through their day (or year or millennia)’. Worked up an appetite? You can get tins of ‘Mammoth Chunks’ (pictured on the right) that boast ‘bold mammothy flavor’. Both images are courtesy of Creative Commons 

One customer snapped a photo of chainmail for sale in the quirky Los Angeles store. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons

One customer snapped a photo of chainmail for sale in the quirky Los Angeles store. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons

The rear of the shop houses 826LA, a non-profit that supports students who attend under-resourced schools through tutoring, writing, and college access programs. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons

The rear of the shop houses 826LA, a non-profit that supports students who attend under-resourced schools through tutoring, writing, and college access programs. Picture courtesy of Creative Commons 

The representative added: ‘The Time Travel Mart was created to help time travellers of all temporal origins find convenient products to get them through their day (or year or millennia). 

‘The store also sells books written by 826LA students (and other authors) and gives time travellers a glimpse into the fantastic and fantastical writing programs offered by 826LA.’

The store is a hit with locals and tourists alike, who stop by to pick up merchandise and to peruse the zany aisles.

One Yelp reviewer wrote: ‘It’s much more than just a mini-mart. I would say it’s a kitschy, cheeky, time-travel-themed art installation. The store decor and items for sale have tons of gags, even down to the labels and fine print.’

Another penned: ‘The best part is that the shop funds a writing workshop for kids. I love that if I buy something here it is going towards a good cause. Definitely check this place out.’

There is another Time Travel mart across the city in the Mar Vista neighbourhood of Los Angeles, which opened its doors in 2012.

For more information visit timetravelmart.com.


There are some blockbuster iPhone 13 deals on the market right now that make owning this latest Apple flagship seriously tempting. Three Mobile is currently offering this feature-packed device – which includes an improved processor, camera and battery life – for half the usual price, which means you can pop one in your pocket for just £31 per month.

This 50% off deal is also available on the more premium iPhone 13 Pro and bigger Pro Max right now. The half price discount only lasts for the first six months of the contract, but that still works out at a huge saving.

Not to be outdone, O2 has also launched a deal that features totally free calls, data and texts. That means for the first six months of the contract you’ll pay just £20.99 per month to own this device which is a bit of a bargain.

Both of these deals offer huge incentives to upgrade to the new iPhone 13 – but before you rush out to buy one it’s worth being aware of what could be launching soon. Rumours are rife that Apple is readying the release of a new smartphone that will arrive packed with features but at a much cheaper price. Apple already offers fans the iPhone SE which starts from just £389 and it’s this phone that is expected to get a big reboot in the spring.

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who has a track record of getting all things Apple correct, the new iPhone SE 3 could bring the latest 5G data speeds to this cut-priced device which would allow owners to access the web at speeds in excess of 300Mbps when away from their fixed-line broadband.

It’s also thought that the refresh will bring a faster processor to this phone and there could be a boost to the front and rear cameras for better photography.

When Apple launched the flagship iPhone 13 back in September, the US firm boosted the entry-level memory that’s packed under the shell with things now starting from 128GB as standard. The current SE starts with a meagre 64GB of built-in memory, so a boost to this storage would also be hugely welcome.

Sadly, one thing that looks unlikely to change is the design with most reports suggesting that the SE3 will stick with its current look. That means owners will still get the chunky bezels at the top and bottom of the screen and there’s no clever Face ID technology with the screen being unlocked via the old-fashioned Touch ID fingerprint scanner.

If the rumours are true, Apple could unveil this new device at an event in March or April. Watch this space!




Spotify had promised to roll-out improved audio quality to its streaming service in some regions by the end of last year. If you’ve logged into Spotify since the new year, you’ll likely to aware that there’s still no sign of the promised CD-quality music available within the app – despite the deadline now being in the rearview mirror. Dubbed Spotify HiFi, the company has finally acknowledged the delays to its long-awaited audio boost. Speaking to gadget blog Engadget, a spokesperson for the company said: “Artists and fans have told us that HiFi quality audio is important to them. We agree, and we’re excited to deliver a Spotify HiFi experience to Premium users in the future. We don’t have timing details to share today.”

In the Community forums for the popular music streaming service, moderators for the company have shared similar updates to subscribers who had asked about the release date of the feature, which was announced almost exactly one year ago. Songs streamed via Spotify are compressed – to ensure that playing the track doesn’t take too long on a sluggish internet connection, to save subscribers from running out of 4G or 5G data allowance after a few days, and to save storage on their smartphone when downloading a song to listen offline. But while this level of compression is incredibly useful for some, others are happy to use more mobile data and sacrifice storage on their device for a superior listening experience.

Bit rate is the amount of data transferred per second and has a direct impact on sound quality. Spotify Premium subscribers can expect tracks to have a bit rate of roughly 320kbps (when set to the Very High quality setting within the app). For comparison, the same song burned onto a CD will have a bit rate of 1,411kbps. That’s more than four times the amount of data stored for the same 3-minute track. As such, it’s hardly surprising that the files are much bigger – and that the sound quality is so dramatically improved. If you’re currently listening on Spotify with the audio settings set to Normal or Low, you can expect a meagre 96- and 24kbps, respectively.

Spotify has been testing CD-quality audio performance since 2017, when a small number of US subscribers were offered the chance to listen to lossless music for an additional $7.50 a month. Spotify hasn’t revealed whether it will charge customers extra to listen to higher quality versions of their favourite tracks, albums and playlists when Spotify HiFi eventually launches.

However, the company might be forced to bundle the option for free to all paid subscribers, thanks to rival Apple Music forcing their hand.

Last summer, Apple announced that 20 million tracks in its library would support lossless audio quality, with the goal of updating its entire catalogue of 90 million tracks by the end of the year. The Cupertino-based company appears to have hit that goal, with millions of albums now available to stream in the CD-quality format. The company has also added support for Dolby Atmos across its library too – without increasing its monthly subscription prices.

Yes, for the same £9.99 a month that you’ll pay to unlock Spotify Premium, Apple Music offers an almost identical library of music – available in the superior audio quality. Of course, you’ll need the right devices to stream in this format. Apple’s popular AirPods, including the £549 AirPods Max, cannot support this boosted audio quality since they rely on Bluetooth to connect to your device, which itself compresses files. However, even when using an adapter to connect AirPods Max to the Lightning port, the CD-quality tracks cannot be played.

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Sonos is believed to be looking to add support for Lossless and Dolby Atmos audio quality from Apple Music in a future update, and those with an external DAC and some solid wired headphones will be able to listen right now for the same subscription fee. Amazon Music HD costs the same £9.99 a month as Spotify and Apple Music and offers the same improved audio experience to subscribers. Likewise, TiDAL, which kickstarted the push towards improved audio quality for streaming services, also charges £9.99 a month for access to its library in 1,411kbps.

As such, it’s hard to imagine a world where Spotify can charge more than £9.99 a month for the privilege. The company does offer a number of features not available elsewhere, including its immensely-popular Wrapped event, which tallies together your listening habits from the last year – with animations, factoids, and stats to share on social media, and its unrivalled library of podcasts – including exclusives from Joe Rogan, Last Podcast On The Left, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Emily Atack, and more.