Tag Archives: Middle East

Confessions of a graphomaniac.

Doctor, dear doctor, help me for I’m a graphomaniac. Yes doctor, I love paper. I adore the smell of the thing, the muffled noise of a pencil running on a smooth sheet. In a nutshell, doctor, I love writing. I … Continue reading

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Beirut people watching.

Humanity is the best spectacle, in this city where gated communities rub shoulders with bombed-out, charred shells. Pneumatically-enhanced bimbos and babes driving Dodge Camaros on one end of the spectrum and ragged Syrian children tapping on their rolled-up windows for … Continue reading

Posted in Lebanon, Middle East | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

You Were Filthy But Fine.

“You were filthy but fine” sang James Murphy in that LCD Soundsystem jewel that is New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down and I, for once, think that it could very well fit to Beirut. Spotless, it certainly … Continue reading

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Remembrance for scatterbrains.

Landing takes place at night. We descend into the warm Mediterranean air, those of us sat on the left-hand side being treated to a royal view of the entire city of Beirut lying, invitingly, beneath us. Here is Ras Beirut, … Continue reading

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Approaching Beirut.

Beirut, Paris of the East. Beirut, mother of laws. Beirut, the city that can be Rio, Miami and 1943 Stalingrad all within the same block. Beirut, the filthy. Beirut, the ironic (another French legacy I suspect). Beirut, you’ve got the … Continue reading

Posted in Lebanon, Middle East | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

“I have never encountered splendour of this kind before”. Visiting Isfahan with Robert Byron

On paper it sounded like a good idea: visiting a country whilst reading about it, journeying through the physical space and the mental one concocted by a great travel writer, attempting to match my experiences to those of the author. … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Iran | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Weren’t all they supposed to be madmen?

Lunatics. Zealots. Religious fanatics. These were a few of the attributes that friends and acquaintances slapped on the people of Iran whenever the topic came up. Unrequested opinions were offered, together with garbled memories of articles penned down by the … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Iran | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

An afternoon south of the river: finding Armenians in Iran and how civilization begun.

“…a wicked regime where anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial is official ideology, and with […] killing of women just because they’re women”  – Sarah Palin The south bank of the dried Zāyanderūd river is Armenian at heart. This piece of Iran, long … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Iran | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A taste of things to come

Ah, teasers, don’t we all love them? Despite Turkish Airlines’ best efforts I’ve arrived home from a visit to the most photogenic place I’ve been to recently – Isfahan in Iran. I’ve filled half of my notepad with scribbles which I’ll … Continue reading

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“Arabian Sands”, by Wilfred Thesiger, Penguin Books.

Italo Calvino once wrote that a ‘classic’ is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say. If this is the approved meter of judgement for the category, then I’ve no doubts that Arabian Sands belongs to … Continue reading

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