Ho Chi Minh: City of Beautiful Madness

Ho Chi Minh: City of Beautiful Madness thumbnail

45,000 Dong - that's just under a couple of British pounds - will buy you entry to the South Saigon Pools: a secluded oasis in hot suburban district 7. Kids play in the sand-filled shallow water, and in the adult pool a middle-aged Australian is teaching his Vietnamese companion to swim. She paddles with her [...]

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Street Photos and Portraits: Valletta, Malta

Street Photos and Portraits: Valletta, Malta thumbnail

Maltese travel guides are full of references to a chequered history made up of Greek, Roman, Arab, Norman, French and British influences. They talk at length about the legacy of the Knights of St. John, the interesting architecture and the great food that characterise this Mediterranean island with its temperate December days. It's all there [...]

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A mini portrait of Angel and Highgate

A mini portrait of Angel and Highgate thumbnail

Attempting to take some candid street shots in Islington isn't quite as easy as photographing in Brick Lane. People quickly became suspicious of me and my camera, and one or two shopkeepers sternly asked me to stop taking photos. So there weren't too many shots to choose from, partly due to these restrictive conditions but [...]

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Brick Lane and Shoreditch: Sunday

Brick Lane and Shoreditch: Sunday thumbnail

Every time I go to Shoreditch I see evidence of the City's encroaching wealth. The signs of creeping gentrification are everywhere: from boutique fashion shops to gleaming luxury apartments, through carefully staged pop-up venues and finally to Microsoft ads posing as street art. Still, amongst the trendy cocktail bars and chic hotels a lot of [...]

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Dash for gold: Stratford 5 weeks before London 2012 thumbnail

Today I took a walk around the new Olympic Park's perimeter, starting at Hackney Wick, passing through the flashy new Westfield shopping centre and ending up in Stratford's original high street. The area's seen some major changes, but will the Games realise its promise of economic regeneration?

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Snapshots of Kolkata from a taxi

Snapshots of Kolkata from a taxi thumbnail

The last time I visited Kolkata I was filled with fear and wonder, shock and poetry, confusion and excitement – eager to dig beneath the dusty outer layer of this faded, vibrant, mad, laid-back, modern, ancient, rich slum of a contradiction. I wrote hasty ..

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Clapham’s cleaning army

Clapham’s cleaning army thumbnail

Following a night of indiscriminate looting, the residents of Clapham responded to a #riotcleanup Twitter campaign to reclaim their streets.

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Street view: Ibiza

Street view: Ibiza thumbnail

I resisted visiting Ibiza for a long time, simply because I did not imagine it to be the kind of place to have a relaxing holiday, due to its reputation as binge party destination. Finally succumbing based on friends’ recommendations, I was genuinely surprised ..

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1989: Observations on my memory of change

1989: Observations on my memory of change thumbnail

It is 1984. I pick this year because it is where my political memory begins. Every Sunday we say prayers for “people who live behind the iron curtain”. At the heart of our pious plea lies the fear that South Africa will eventually submit to the tyrannical order of Communism ..

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Anti-hate crime vigil, Trafalgar Square

Anti-hate crime vigil, Trafalgar Square thumbnail

London’s Trafalgar Square was dressed in candle light and solidarity last night as thousands gathered in a vigil to express their opposition to hate crime. This follows the death of 62-year-old Ian Baynham, who sustained critical injuries as a result of a homophobic attack.

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