Dubai beach

Dubai – 100% man-made, nothing non-artificial

Dubai makes the rest of the world seem fake. That might seem like an odd thing to say, given that it’s usually regarded as being the other way round. After all, everybody knows that Dubai is the ultimate in fakery, a completely artificially-constructed glass-and-steel playground, ‘man-made’ in every glorious, jaw-dropping, common-sense-defying meaning of the phrase. […]

The Entrance lights

The Lights at The Entrance

Visiting The Entrance on the Central Coast recently, I was struck by how many shops had illuminated signs in their windows. Typical examples are the Open signs pictured here but there were others too, flashing and blinking, scrolling and winking their endless words of welcome. It was as if a gung-ho illuminated sign salesperson had […]

MONA, Tasmania

MONA – a place for grown-ups

On the first day I visited the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Tasmania, the fire alarm went off. Visitors were forced to congregate outside in the drizzle while the building was evacuated. As more and more visitors turned up expecting the museum to be open, they quickly filled the small café, cramming […]

Statue at MONAS Jakarta

Jakarta – MONAS part 1

Earlier this year I visited MONA in Hobart, and more recently MONAS (Monumen Nasional) in Jakarta – very different, culturally, but similar in the way they both tell a story about our times through the medium of art. Both feature sculpture but, again, like chalk and cheese in execution and intent. I was intrigued by […]

MONAS diorama

Jakarta – MONAS part 2

Underneath the MONAS tower there is a huge hall called the National History Museum. It’s very much of its time, all shining marble and bright lights. On the day I visited, there were dozens of colour-coded groups of children there – green, pink and white – their voices ricocheting off the hard surfaces. It could […]

Manhattan at dawn

Hometown NYC

Why New York? Why Manhattan? What is it that makes this place the metropolis? It’s certainly not the biggest city in the world and its skyscrapers are no longer the tallest, and yet somehow New York remains the archetype for all modern cities. It is the city, in my eyes anyway. Certainly size has something […]

Sittin' on the dock

Hey, this place looks familiar…

I’m not the first traveller to spot the similarities between Lisbon and San Francisco but, by coincidence, I visited both places in the space of a month so, for myself, the sense of a double-take was even more pronounced. Both cities are ocean ports situated on wide bays on the Western lips of their respective […]

Thomas More by Hans Holbein

At home with the Fricks

It’s a problem faced by many home decorators: how to fill those awkward wall spaces on either side of the fireplace. The hero spot above the mantelpiece is easy to solve; this is where narcissism holds sway, either as a portrait or a large mirror. Or perhaps you make a statement with something bold, eye-catching. […]