Category Travel

Peterloo

‘Rise like lions after slumber In unvanquishable number— Shake your chains to earth like dew Which in sleep had fallen on you— Ye are many—they are few.’ —The Masque of Anarchy, Percy Bysshe Shelley On 16 August 1819 a large crowd—variously estimated at between sixty and eighty thousand—assembled in an open area in the centre of Manchester known as St Peters Field. It was a warm, summery day and many

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Lexit

My Dutch friend Bart told me the Dutch like the British because they saved them from the Nazis. The queues around the block day after day to get into the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam (pictured above) indicate there is still huge interest in what happened during the Second World War. While I was in Amsterdam in 2017 I was reading Phillipe Sands’ East West Street, an engrossing history of

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Brexit: The Morecambe-Bridlington Line

The American singer-songwriter Cass McCombs said in a recent interview, ‘Write about what you care about. Write about what you love. That’s what the world needs right now.’ I care about Scotland. I love Scotland. So whither Scotland in this time of phoney Brexit? My ideal Scotland is an independent state. My Scotland is a republic, free of the monarchy and the aristocracy it supports. My Scotland is a parliamentary

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Whisky: ‘Whether or not it is Scotland’s oil, it is mostly not Scotland’s whisky’.

  No account of the Highland county of Moray would be complete without a mention of whisky. There are 49 operating malt whisky distilleries in the Speyside region, the greatest concentration in Scotland. The clean air, the plentiful and pristine water of the Spey coming off the Cairngorm mountains to the south (plus natural springs) and proximity to the main barley growing areas of the country provide ideal conditions for

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A kangaroo cousin looks at the Saltire

In June 2017 Di and I left Sydney and spent two weeks in Amsterdam and then ten days touring around the Scottish Highlands. As much for myself as anything else, I decided to set out my impressions and thoughts of Scotland in this period of great uncertainty about the future of the place I was born. In the canal house flat where Di and I spent most of our time

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Live, Work & Play: the Sports’ 1979 U.K. tour

I first met Keith Shadwick in 1978 when he came to Adelaide on tour with the High Rise Bombers. Keith was a poet and a saxophone player and he was friends with my housemate Larry. They’d both been part of the Melbourne mid-70s performance poetry push, with people like Eric Beach, Gig Ryan and πο. Keith had an impressive musical pedigree too, having been in Renee Geyer’s first band Sun, Sydney

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