Dubrovnik: GOT, The Lot.

This article originally appeared in Gafencu magazine, August 2015 There are two types of tourist currently flocking to Dubrovnik, the principal city in the Dalmatia region of Croatia. The first are discerning travellers, who appreciate the history, culture, architecture and location of this so-called Pearl of the Adriatic. The second are fans of a TV fantasy show – Game of Thrones (GOT) whose love of culture and architecture must remain a matter of conjecture. Dubrovnik has been used as a location for the series since 2011, doubling for King’s Landing, the capital of Westeros and one of the programme’s major settings. Despite […]

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A Singles Life

  Billboard has been charting music hits for 75 years.  Is it now out of tune? This article originally appeared in Gafencu Magazine, August 2015 Seventy-five years ago this summer, the US Billboard magazine launched the first-ever record – or music popularity – chart. Some long-forgotten employee came up with the wheeze of ranking the bestselling records nationally to produce a “Top Ten” of the records sold that week, a concept that has more than endured. If J. Alfred Prufrock – the time-conflicted protagonist of one of T. S. Eliot’s most-loved poems – measured out his life in coffee spoons, there’s […]

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Ghent: Brussel’s Sprout

      THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED IN GAFENCU MAGAZINE, JULY 2015 Belgium is a country few boast about visiting. If pushed, travellers may admit to a mini-break in Brussels or Bruges. Quietly and steadily, however, one of its cities is emerging as a number one travel destination for the cool and the hip. Ghent. The pride of East Flanders, Ghent has been the recipient of such accolades as “the best European City you’ve never thought of visiting” and “one of the most beautiful places you’ve never heard of.” If that’s damning the place with faint praise, then rejoice. You don’t want everybody […]

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The magnetic north of Toronto

  ARTICLE ORIGINALLY FEATURED IN GAFENCU MAGAZINE, June 2015 The late Peter Ustinov, renowned raconteur and wit, reportedly described Toronto as “a sort of New York City run by the Swiss.” That doesn’t quite cut it. These days the Swiss only get a brief look in – and there are now more than 140 different languages and dialects in the city – a reflection of a vast international influx over recent years. A modern day Babel? No. One of the most multicultural cities in the world? Quite possibly. The whole world, it seems, is now beating a path to Toronto. […]

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A hundred years of air raids

Originally published in Gafencu Magazine, May 2015 The advent of death from the skies marks its sad and ominous centenary… Death from the skies is a relatively recent phenomenon in the long history of warfare. When the intrepid Wright brothers took flight for the first time in 1903, it didn’t take long for governments the world over to recognise the military potential that aviation provided. And a whole new battlefront was opened up. Barely eight years later, the Italians were lobbing grenades out of their planes, all squarely aimed at Libya’s troublesome Turkish population. A few short months after that, […]

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