Remembering Robeson – a book review

Paul Robeson was a black American man and an important civil rights activist of the early to mid 1900s, but there is so much more to this story. Until hearing Jeff Sparrow's impassioned presentation at his recent Melbourne book promotion, my own knowledge of Robeson...

Welcome to The Badlands – a latenight lullaby

Bodies of children, guns more sacred Lay in heaps on crimson pavement The future dead, the ghosts of hope A shattered nation with prayers will cope . Pagoda beauty, suddenly soured Hateful icons, a new leader's power Crowded camps, no fault their own Despair and...

Ding, Dong, the Blog is Dead – pondering progress

Blogging these days is not like it once was... a fickle, little-read beast at best. And it's hard to believe that just five years back I chose to take a dip in the blogosphere, a late starter, a wandering writer through the once-was maze of Wordpress and Blogger, of...

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

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...

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

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...

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

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...

Faces of Fame – an ode to John Wilson St

A face stares out from my PC screen: a suited-up man about 30yrs old, the boyish face round, the hairline receding. I see a clean face, but for the sparing outline of a beard.  I see a thin mouth, the eyes narrowed and slightly turned, the face of a man who killed...

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

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...

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

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...

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

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...

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