Political and cultural freedom in New Zealand has reached its most vulnerable point in history

Political and cultural freedom in New Zealand has reached its most vulnerable point in history

In the past week writ large across the world, we have seen how millions of people have protested extradition laws in Hong Kong. This would allow Hong Kong authorities to extradite Hong Kong residents to China for crimes they have committed instead of being tried in Hong Kong. New Zealand enjoys a free trade agreement…

Book Review: In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

Book Review: In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

Yeonmi Park has to be the bravest girl/woman in the world. She was born in the North Korean city of Hyesan which is separated by a river to the Chinese border and at the age of 13, she boldly and bravely managed to escape from there and gain her freedom. Yeonmi Park’s autobiography written at the…

The challenge of ruling a diverse nation never changes

The challenge of ruling a diverse nation never changes

This very weighty and important subject is as relevant right now as it was in the 16th Century. That was when a Dutch engraving by artist Pieter van der Borcht the Elder managed to capture the complexity and challenging nature of geopolitics and ruling in a country with many different ideologies and in the midst…

Dni Głogowa

Every Picture Tells a Story: Dni Głogowa

One day while walking along the lovely Odra river in Głogow on a hot and sunny day, I came upon the Museum of Archaeology and History in Głogow. Teenagers were reenacting some kind of WWII scene. This was done in conjunction with a yearly festival they have in the town called Dni Głogowa or Days…

Film Review: The Distant Barking of Dogs

Film Review: The Distant Barking of Dogs

Another film that featured at the New Zealand International Film Festival was The Distant Barking of Dogs. It’s the story of a young boy and his family who live on the Ukrainian and Russian border, on a slice of disputed land that is being fought over tooth and nail, for years. The people in this…

Film Review: Cold War 2018

Paweł Pawlikowski directed and wrote this love story that’s set in the 1960’s. This film is unlike any other Polish film I’ve ever seen and I mean that as a compliment. That’s because it has more in common with one of these cool French New Wave films of the 1960’s – Bande A Parte or…

Dismaland is Banksey's dangerous molotov cocktail of pop culture rip-offs

Dismaland is Banksy’s dangerous molotov cocktail of pop culture rip-offs

Banksy's pop up exhibition Dismaland in Weston super-Mare in Somerset this weekend  is a dangerous and provocative molotov cocktail of pop culture references, Eurozone politics, rabid consumerism, and Disney fetishism exposed for our bemusement. Graffiti artist Banksy along with fellow art legends Damien Hirst, Jimmy Cauty and Jenny Holzer have taken over a derelict beachside lido…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Wir Bleiben Alle https://wp.me/p41CQf-KHm

Travel: Wir Bleiben Alle, Berlin

Wir Bleiben Alle which roughly translates to We Are All Staying is a punk anarchist squat, bar and multi-level music venue. It's an integral part of the modern resistance movement in Berlin which protests against the rising rents and gentrification of suburbs Prenzlauerberg and Kruezberg. This is where artists, writers and bohemian types used to…

Travel: Yarchen Gar, Tibet

Travel: Yarchen Gar, Tibet

Yarchen Gar also known as the Yaqên Orgyän Temple is located in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province, China Geographically remote and nestled in a valley some 4,000 metres above sea level, the temple rarely sees tourists or visitors. The monastery is associated with the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism . At Yarchen Gar there is a concentration of…

Comparing the Great Wall of China to the Great Wall of Trump

I'm in the middle of reading the brilliant travel book Ryszard Kapuściński 'Travels with Herodotus' in which the author talks about his travels as a young journalist through Mao's China of the 1960's. Kapuscinski sets out the politics of China in such a poetic and intensely profound way that it resonates across the decades. His reasoning is resonant…

Theatre Review: Jack Charles V The Crown at Auckland Arts Fest

Theatre Review: Jack Charles V The Crown at Auckland Arts Fest

Last night I went to see Jack Charles V The Crown at the Auckland Arts Festival. Jack Charles is an Australian legend. He has traveled from movie sets to state prisons in Australia and run the full gamut of life as child of the stolen generation as well as a gifted Indigenous Australian actor, potter…

Every Picture Tells a Story: What remains

Travel: What remains, Berlin

When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 parts of it remained up as a monument to the dangers of state control. On these remnants of the Berlin Wall are a series of constantly changing murals and street art which makes a statement about the current political state of the world. Some of them simply are…

<3 The Internet: Radio Garden is the audible heartbeat of towns, cities and nations

Designed by Studio Puckey in collaboration with Moniker. Radio Garden was developed in coordinator with the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. Radio Garden is one of the internet's most ingenious and surprising apps. It brings together the voices, music and the rhythms of different bustling cities and quiet villages together. All of this is suddenly accessible at the…

A piano reverberates over collapsing glaciers

A piano reverberates over collapsing glaciers

Earlier this year, renowned Italian composer Ludovico Eindaudi performed his 'Elegy for the Arctic' on a small floating platform in Wahlenbergbreen glacier in Svalbard, Norway. Around him glaciers crumbled and collapsed into the pearlescent water and the pristine quiet was pierced with the deafening sound of a fragile environment on the verge of implosion. His…

The Art of Illusion: The Panorama of the Battle of Racławice

The Panorama of the Battle of Racławice (Panorama Racławicka) is a definite must on any trip to the city of Wrocław. The panorama is as iconic to Wrocław as Wawel Castle is to Kraków. The Wrocław Panorama is a gigantic 114 metre long and 15 metre high painting that depicts the battle of Racławice. This was an epic battle of…

Book Review: Their Lips Talk of Mischief by Alan Warner

Book Review: Their Lips Talk of Mischief by Alan Warner

Scottish writer Alan Warner's novel Their Lips Talk of Mischief is a boisterous, vigorous and energetic novel about two literary wannabes (Lou and Douglas) living in a glum 80's Thatcherite slumland in Britain. The pair share an interest in Lou's enigmatic and sexy girlfriend Aoife. Thus develops a complex menage a trois that follows. The year…

Documentary: Australia in the year 2020 (as envisaged in 1990)

This documentary from the late 80's/early 90's Australia offers fascinating insights into what the pre-internet world thought the new century i.e. right now would be like. As a child I remember watching this TV show and pondering about what 202o would be like. It felt like a pipedream to me, as inconceivable as driving a moon rocket…

The Iconic & Subversive Oz Magazine – In all its Psychadelic Glory

OZ magazine was published in Australia and London between 1963 and 1973 and under the stewardship of Richard Neville and later also Jim Anderson and Felix Dennis. This magazine left the door wide open for everything wild, illegal, outrageous, radical and until then largely unimaginable. OZ magazine is reproduced by permission of Richard Neville in…

A brief history of artisan and merchant guilds in medieval Poland

The medieval artisans of Poland

On a visit to the Muzeum Narodowe we Wrocławiu in the Polish city of Wrocław I was astonished not by the grimly beautiful Renaissance paintings of Christ, angels and demons but of something far more tangible. Medieval shop signs and merchant guild coats of arms that illustrated the professions of artisans, traders and merchants of medieval times.…