The Flower Girl and The Lizard King – Père Lachaise (Paris, France)

February 8, 2015

There’s a raspy laugh, parted purple lips, a toothy gap and shining silver orb perched on a pierced tongue. “French? Me?” Mascared eyes shine from an impossibly pallid face. “Like…God no.” There’s a slight lisp, the word ‘God’ stretched for effect, the intonation classic Celtic.  Layla is barely 120cm tall in patent platform boots shining […]

Something from Nothing – mystic gifts (New York, USA)

November 10, 2013

There’s something about these multi-coloured cocoons, the plaque on the wall `Judith Scott: 1943-2005’. I adjust my glasses and lean closer, scratching my head and struggling with the notion of an artist not only deaf and mute, but also stricken with the effects of Down Syndrome. I’m in the New Museum of Modern Art (or […]

Children of Earth and Sun – searching for Frank Lloyd Wright (USA)

August 5, 2013

The sound of our footsteps is muffled by patchwork drifts of snow on a gravel track winding past the bottom of carpark stairs. Surrounding hills are covered in local rhododendron; the air icy, the trees tall, rough barked and bare. Our guide strides ahead – rugged-up for the 10min walk – black puffer coat full […]

Rites of Return – an African cemetery in New York City (USA)

May 11, 2013

Just off Broadway I’m in a side street by City Hall, the ubiquitous New York crowds somehow missing, the hum of traffic vague and distant. A lonesome monument sits silent and tucked in the shadow of City Planning offices and a 30-storey Federal skyscraper; that building’s construction leading to the 1991 discovery of the largest […]

The Winds of War – Freedom x 4 (New York, USA)

February 25, 2013

To the west, lay a somehow insignificant cityscape: the stacked steel and glass profile of a floating Manhattan. We’re among 7700 tonnes of precision-cut gleaming white stone taken from 12,100 tonnes of quarried granite: an architect’s melding of modern imagination and ancient form, the 1.5-hectare Franklin D Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. I’m reminded of the […]

Towers, Castles and Kane – the lord of all things (New York, USA)

January 21, 2013

It’s Citizen Kane that brings me here, just south of Columbus Circle; to a castle of a place built in 1928 for William Randolph Hearst’s publishing empire. Hearst was a powerful man – with a thing about castles it seems – his newspapers read by 1 in 4 Americans and at the time already owning […]

Fabled Gates – Aesop in the big Apple (New York, USA)

January 11, 2013

A small green plaque reads `Ancient Playground’, the entrance a pair of black cast-bronze gates  set between tall rectangular pillars of polished pink granite; topped by bears on the left – one upright – three deer on the other. The pillars are engraved in gold letters, dedicated to William Church Osborn – `PRESIDENT THE CHILDREN’S […]

Joe Strummer, Lower East Side

The Beat Goes On – pure poetry (New York, USA)

January 6, 2013

It’s New Year’s Day, and Joe Strummer – poet of the streets – looks down from a giant mural facing Tompkins Park.  From here I walk west with my girlfriend towards St Marks church-in-the-Bowery, past webs of winding fire escapes; hands deep in our pockets, wrapped scarves covering chilled cheeks and chins. Tribal drums sound […]