When Art Goes Wrong


The well-meaning graffiti artist Banksy has stayed true to his roots, leaving artworks all over the place, but primarily in London and New York. Of course, it didn’t taken the auction house leeches long to cotton on, and one daub left in North London became the subject of a court case in the US after […]

Inside The Language Maze

Mad People

There’s been a bit of controversy lately about videogames – this time not about levels of violence, but about the rise of characters with differing ethnicity, sexuality and faith – you know, characters who reflect real life. Some people are very, very unhappy about this, complaining that the (white, Christian) children are being corrupted and […]

Why The Prostidude Couldn’t Find Work


Back in 2010, Nevada licensed its first male prostitute, working out of the Shady Lady Brothel under the name ‘Markus.’ The Shady Lady, billed as the ‘A gem in the high desert’, is about 150 miles outside of Las Vegas. Once Markus was licensed, he he had to wait ten days before his first ‘Jane’ arrived. […]

The Flintstones of Brunei


  I’m currently researching a thriller about ex-pats, set in a country that operates under strict Sharia law. It will appear after ‘Nyctophobia’, from the name publishing house, Solaris, as part of my two-book deal. I’ve been to such places, and usually there’s a hypocritical system in place that protects the rich. But this takes […]

Walken Back To Happiness


This probably doesn’t belong in the ‘World’ section’ – although the genius of Christopher Walken does clearly belong to the world – but I was fed up with seeing those bloody maps, so here’s the wonderful mash-up of Christopher ‘Happy Feet’ Walken, that’s only missing his brilliant gravity-defying Moby dance, presumably because of copyright reasons. […]

Dude, Where’s My Countries?


At first I thought this was another ‘Look how dumb students are’ article – US teachers gave blank maps to a class and asked them to fill in the countries – but what surprised me in some cases was just how well these kids did do. They got the big countries right, and it was […]

On The Move

No proper post today as I’m in Saigon airport looking for a wi-fi spot among a lot of people shipping TVs and microwaves to Kuala Lumpar. The only place to sit down is outside in a Burger King (ugh) which has the unappealing-sounding ‘shrimp-balls’ on the menu. Eek – the family on the next table […]

Vietnam 4: Last Stop

I have now left Hoi-An and have headed further south across Vietnam, finally reaching the spectacular Nui Chua National Park, an area of dry tropical woodlands and Arizona-type rocks which is home to around 1,500 species of plants, 160 species of birds and 60 species of mammals (including a few poisonous but shy snakes). At […]

Vietnam 3: Heading South

We’ve now reached Central Vietnam, and it’s still hard to equate the reality with the image I grew up with from American newsreels, especially as I’m reading Vietnamese literature.The jungles have been hacked back to more than 70 kilometres from the towns, so we look out at flat fields, rice paddies and the odd slash […]

Crossing The Road At Night in Vietnam

Two skills learned in London come in useful here. One is ordering Vietnamese food, the other is staring down traffic.