Thursday, February 21, 2019

38 results for 'iancochrane'

Going somewhere?

By iancochrane, published on Aug 13, 2015

Grandma was a short, stooped lady fond of telling stories in her Scottish brogue. In that blue, white and green MacDonald tartan pinny over a floral dress, she cooked up batches of potato scones, fried fruitcake and black pudding.

No one in her family had seen a tree until arriving at the grey wharves, cobbled alleys and dilapidated sandstone tenements of Glasgow in 1930. They’d journeyed from a distant Atlantic rock – Britain's most remote inhabited island and part of the St Kilda group, the farthest-flung archipelago of the Outer Hebrides. The entire population abandoned the islands... (more)

Tags: australia, melbourne, st kilda, school. travel

Jigsaw Days - missing pieces

By iancochrane, published on Jan 31, 2015

From Berlin I've flown to Paris late winter, driving north for 2hrs and overnighting in the hamlet of Behen, a classic French Chateau with stately entry paved for WW2 German tanks, towers and walls from 15th and 18th centuries, the stables once bombed by American war planes.

Graceful shapes glide on a Monet pond; a pair of swans not white, but black: Australian and a long way from home. I'm told the first were white, until one choked on the bread of well-meaning guests, the second dying of loneliness.

Next morning I wander the fog-laden legacies of a world at war: one war drifting... (more)

Tags: france, war, ww2, ww1, picardy, somme

The Beat Goes On – pure poetry.

By iancochrane, published on Jan 5, 2014

It’s New Year’s Day, and Joe Strummer – poet of the streets – looks down from a giant mural facing Tompkins Park. From here I walk west with my girlfriend towards St Marks church-in-the-Bowery, past webs of winding fire escapes; hands deep in our pockets, wrapped scarves covering chilled cheeks and chins.

Tribal drums sound from subway stairs – reminiscent of Sudan, Nigeria or maybe Marrakesh. Steam rises from underground labyrinths through metal manhole covers in the middle of the road.

Finally the shape of the church looms between boughs of bare winter trees, small burial ground... (more)

Tags: new york, st marks, east village, poetry reading, the bowery

Happy New Year Frank – a friend indeed.

By iancochrane, published on Jan 5, 2014

A guy has fallen on hard times, huddled under gentrified tenement stairs; on one side his clapped-out shopping trolley bound by trash bins and black cast iron pickets. The stairs span from streetside pavement up to an ornate doorway, moulded guardian face glowering overhead.

He seems in his 60s, but his real years are anyone’s guess. One day I ask, but my question is met with a non-committal nod of his grey face and averted blue eyes. The voice is a low cigarette-drenched rumble, sentences broken with a retching hack of a cough.

“Yeah, times are not so good buddy; rents are steep.”... (more)

Tags: usa, homeless, new york city, new years eve

Postcard from Lagos – a white Christmas in Black Africa.

By iancochrane, published on Dec 26, 2013

I’ve been stuck in Johannesburg traffic for an hour now; finally pulling off the treadmill of Rivonia Rd, and into the Nigerian Consulate compound – open Tuesday and Thursday mornings only – to be greeted by a mountain of a security man casually swinging a semi-automatic and demanding I stop.

“You cannot be bringing your car in here, and must certainly be parking outside.” The voice is classic Nigerian: all gravel and English gravitas.

I poke my head out the window and twist in my seat to peer back over my shoulder and from where I’ve come; now a stationary stream of morning peak... (more)

Tags: christmas, travel, africa, lagos, postcard, lekki. nigeria, harmattan

A Tale of Three Cities – once upon a town.

By iancochrane, published on Nov 10, 2013

It’s early morning, The Healer a tall woman with the short-cropped, knotted hair of her people. I lean closer to hear her words, those bloodshot eyes blurred but vacant. She talks of `home’ – and the importance of family – before suddenly falling silent.

We’re standing on an elevated ancient seabed: the rocky ridge of Johannesburg’s Melville Koppies; at our backs the distant towers of Jo’burg proper. The temperature drops, across the way the rolling urban hills of Sophiatown: these days neat, quiet houses and gardens, tarred roads and pale rendered walls, first surveyed in 1903, an urban... (more)

Tags: family, south africa, apartheid, sophiatown, soweto, gauteng

Bells and Whistles – mothers and fathers.

By iancochrane, published on Nov 4, 2013

Dragano is an editor initially from up north. He’s tall and rakish, the wisp of a moustache and sleek brown hair; has the habit of whistling unexpectedly, as he ponders the ways of an unjust world while stroking a precocious black cat. His villa is classic Tuscan, the bricks and terra cotta gables more orange than red. I soak up the sun while a younger woman serves coffee and biscotti, rubs Dragano’s shoulder and returns to the kitchen.

I mention Venice: Dragano’s birthplace and from where I’ve come. “Ah yes, but that was not to be.” He smiles wistfully and his eyes drift off to one... (more)

Tags: family, italy, truth, tuscany, cerebral palsy, san gimignano

Lofoten Lost Dogs – back from the brink.

By iancochrane, published on Sep 24, 2013

“Puffin dogs?” Hege shakes her head. “You know, there are none on the island at this point in time?” I’m speechless with disappointment. “Yah,” she adds, “but there were hundreds here last week.” It seems we’ve just missed the Norwegian Lundehund Club 50 Year Anniversary – a meeting of puffin dogs from around the world.

Værøy (‘Weather Island’, population 780) lies off the southern tip of the northwestern Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Lofoten; an ‘awe-inspiring’ part of the world according to National Geographic. Magical Værøy has cave paintings, Northern Lights and soaring birdcliffs... (more)

Tags: norway, værøy, røst, lofoten, puffin dogs, lundhunds

Children of Earth and Sun – searching for Frank Lloyd Wright

By iancochrane, published on Sep 15, 2013

The sound of our footsteps is muffled by patchwork drifts of snow on a gravel track winding past the bottom of carpark stairs. Surrounding hills are covered in local rhododendron; the air icy, the trees tall, rough barked and bare.

Our guide strides ahead – rugged-up for the 10min walk – black puffer coat full length, fur trim sleeves and hood. She stops, adjusts her mittens and points her umbrella. There’s a gap in the trees, and the house appears on cue among flurries of snowflakes that float to rest on a leaf-littered forest floor.

Brenda is a local, and long-time disciple... (more)

Tags: frank lloyd wright, architecture, fallingwater, bear run

Topknots and Talking Stones – the sinking of Easter Island.

By iancochrane, published on Aug 4, 2013

I’m met at the airstrip by Toi my guide, with a vice-like handshake and welcoming lei of yellow bougainvillea draped around my neck. Two skinny girls in grass skirts and goosebumps serenade to the strains of a ukulele played by a man in a knitted jacket over an Hawaiian shirt. It’s winter on Easter Island.

Toi’s home is on the coast, by the main village of Hanga Roa. He swaggers around his clapped-out Kombi, kicking tyres with dusty sandaled feet. “The roads, they are no good here. I must be checking for tomorrow.”

That night we walk a beach strewn with stranded sea cucumbers... (more)

Tags: easter island, moai, make make, ahu, hanga roa, polynesia, navel of the world, south pacific

« previous 1 2 3 4 next »