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The Lo-Fi Lifestyle: Touring Europe with a Chilean Psychedelic Band

What is Life Like on a European Tour with a Chilean Psychedelic Band?

There is a giant shrimp staring down at me. Its beady black eye is the size of my head, and it feels extremely judgemental. Around its hard-shelled body falls a cornucopia of foodie abundance: a halved avocado, bulbous raspberries, a veiny sugarsnap pea, tumbling slices of lemon. Elsewhere, blue tinged butterflies perch happily on ears of […]

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Speaking London’s Language Through a Poet’s Eyes

“Did she ask for directions to Nelson Mandela?” We are standing huddled in the doorway of the Southbank Centre, right beside a sizeable bronze statue of the famous South African revolutionary’s head. The fourth member of our poetic little group hasn’t managed to find us yet. Overhead, the springtime skies are inappropriately ominous: grey, clouded and […]

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The Day King Tutankhamun Changed My Life

The Day King Tutankhamun Changed My Life

“You know… If you trust in yourself, you can do anything!” Sammy’s words echoed round my mind as I looked up, panting, at the Egyptian buildings which surrounded me. It was a sunny July day in central Cairo. The shouts of street vendors blasted my eardrums; the smell of frying meat on spits and pungent piles of […]

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Springtime Theatrics in Hospital

Springtime Theatrics in Hospital

My dad has spent his life working in the theatre. He’s acted, directed and stage managed; written plays, sketches and pantomimes; taught students, professionals and celebrities, and even met my mother onstage (she was his leading lady, once upon a time). A fortnight ago, my dad rode to hospital in an ambulance. His fibrosis lungs […]

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I Joined London’s #WomensMarch with a Hundred Thousand Others. What’s Next?

I Joined London’s #WomensMarch with a Hundred Thousand Others. What’s Next?

“We only predicted 18,000 people today…” Sandi Toksvig’s voice echoes through the cardboard placards which fill Trafalgar Square. Faces are turned towards the sun; banners flutter below Nelson’s column, flanked by roaring bronze lions made 150 years ago. If I squint, I can see Big Ben in the distance. We are in the midst of London’s […]

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Why Life in Arezzo Really is Beautiful

From the moment I stepped inside Antonio’s small second-floor apartment, I knew I was going to like Arezzo. This jovial Italian B&B owner seemed resolved to ensure that I saw everything important in his home town, even with just eighteen hours at my disposal: so after Antonio had shown me my bedroom (complete with a view of […]

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Love, Loss and Jewellery, Eight Years On

My mum once pierced her ears with a needle and an ice cube. Well, not exactly. Mum was eighteen, travelling in the US, and it was her American friends who happily volunteered to do the piercing for her; Mum’s friend Lainey who slightly misjudged the needle’s point in Mum’s right earlobe and made the hole a few […]

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Che, Castro and the Legacy of Cuba’s Communism

Hugo and Consuela have a framed photo of Che Guevara above their fish tank. This middle-aged couple, my casa hosts in Santa Clara, have just bought three slices of peso pizza from the hole-in-the-wall round the corner. We sit at their small kitchen table, fans whirring overhead: I nibble at a corner of the greasy slice while Hugo sips […]

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An Explorer’s Motivation

Sir Ranulph Fiennes doesn’t like climbing. “I get vertigo,” he says matter-of-factly to the sea of faces in front of him, explaining that for a long time he refused to embark on any possible expeditions which involved heights. That is, until his wife Ginny died twelve years ago, when he set about trying to confront the fears […]

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What Makes You Happy?

This afternoon, a man on a bike cycled past me. He had headphones jammed in his ears and was singing along to music which was only faintly audible: the song was one I didn’t recognise, but the big smile on his face spoke for itself. ‘How nice – that man is really happy!’ I thought. And […]

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