Flowers in New York and Tokyo

21 05 2017


Above, a rogue florist is turning public rubbish bins into floral art installations in New York. Below, a pop-up womens’ bathhouse designed by photographer Mika Ninagawa to promote Tsubaki (camellia) brand shampoo – open in Tokyo’s Ariake district for the next few months only.

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Subway monsters

7 11 2016


The illustrations of Ben Rubin, who doodles monsters over unsuspecting New York subway commuters.

On point

5 09 2016

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Modern-day minotaur at Afropunk.

Nasty Baby

29 09 2015

Nasty Baby came out of nowhere for me. It is a sweet, funny, modern and savage film about a Chilean artist in New York ( star/director Sebastian Silva), his boyfriend and his best friend, the ever-charming Kristen Wiig, getting pregnant together in the boho-Brooklyn enclave of Greene Park. I loved it – and it shocked me. The film also introduced me to the charming Tunde Adebimpe who plays the boyfriend, the singer from band ‘TV on the Radio’ and thinking man’s straight hipster fashion/lifestyle icon.

Afropunk Reloaded

27 08 2015

One of greatest recent travel disappointments was missing the Afropunk festival by a few days after my 2013 Summer in Brooklyn (and wow, two years have passed already…) Over the last weekend the event happened again in New York, and as with the Met Ball earlier in the year, it seemed to pierce through to a new level of public consciousness. My facebook feed was full of Afropunk street fashion snaps and even Vogue got in on the action. The concert seems to have been an unqualified success with the the high-octane lineup of noted tax-evader Lauryn Hill, Lenny Kravitz (retro!!!), Kelis (swoon) and the one and only godmother of Afropunk who performed topess, aged 67, and hoola hooped her way through “Slave to the Rhythm”. Ladies and gentlemen…heeeeeeere’ s Grace!

The Day That Love Won

29 06 2015

The decision by the US Supreme Court this week to legalize gay marriage took me by surprise. Like many non-Americans I hadn’t been following the twists and turns of the legal campaign, and the news came to me out of nowhere, a sudden and unexpected proclamation. I woke up one morning to a Facebook streaming with rainbows, many of them from straight friends, and the news that America had legalised across-the-board gay marriage.

As a non-American, and a formerly gay-married person, it would have been easy to be cynical or dismissive. But I was surprised to find that I wasn’t. Instead,  was deeply touched.  A few days later the joy is still being felt and the implications are still sinking in – the long-fought-for goal, seemingly so distant, now realised. The “culture wars” have been, decisively, won. It was like a moon landing. Nothing would be the same again.

The next generation will grow up in an America where gay marriage has been the norm, and the whole public debate is now re-framed. On the one hand I have wondered in the past why gay people feel the need to be part of such an institution, and whether we can’t be creative and honest and brave enough to make our own model, something better. But, reading the heartfelt articles from gay marriage advocates online today, it is hard to argue: this WILL mean so much to gay teenagers all over the world.

They are now being shown that their lives can be “normal” too, that they can have long-lasting love and that their love will be called by the same name and held in the same regard as that of their straight peers. Of course its all just symbolic, but thats what marriage is. A symbol.

So where to from here for the gay rights movement? It will be interesting to see, and I predict tough times ahead as the lack of a clearcut goal unties the bonds that have bought the community together.

And where to for America? A country long distained and discredited, but renewed this week out of nowhere as the symbol it has always promised to be – of freedom.

One only had to compare the victory in Washington with the gay pride parades being held around the world this weekend in a cosmic masterstroke of timing. In Istanbul, revellers were blasted with water cannons and in Seoul they partied defiant against Christian intolerance.  And in America, just in time for the US Stonewall weekend, and the start of Summer, love briefly reigned. Its an exciting time to to be alive.


2 06 2015

Missing Afropunk in Brooklyn by a single week was one of the cruellest disappointments of my New York Summer (now two years ago already!!). This year Grace Jones, Kelis,  Lauren Hill and Lenny Kravitz will be playing, and the party is spreading its wings to Atlanta and Paris. Should be massive. More here.