Partying with the Bayaka

The pygmy village of Yandoumbe stretches for about a kilometre along a road of red earth outside the small town of Bayanga. Banana and mango trees shade the wooden huts with their palm frond roofs, an… Read article


  ‘Who wants me dead?’ Cheevers was cowering with Gilman beneath a large desk in the centre of the office. In one clammy hand he clutched a bottle of lukewarm Riesling whilst Gilman swiped an… Read article

In the Family Way

The ride arrived on time. But its proud gait, gleaming mane and the big red bow tied to its reins at a jaunty angle could hardly disguise the fact that it was a couple of hands short of being a horse.… Read article

The Secret History of Longitude

On the BBC’s old General Overseas Service, every news bulletin began the same way. Twenty-eight seconds before the hour: ‘This is London’. Next, the jaunty tune we call ‘Lilliburlero’. Five … Read article

  Originally commissioned by Oliver Coates for Harmonic Series at Southbank Centre, London, March 2014 to accompany L'Île re-sonante, a piece of electronic music by Eliane Radigue   The Î… Read article

Why We Should All Go to North Korea

‘The sun always shines in Korea,’ one of our two compulsory guides declares. We have nicknamed her the Laughing Policeman. Not only does she never smile, but – being a state-sponsored guide – … Read article

Deep Shit

In 1974 the philosopher Thomas Nagel asked: ‘What is it like to be a bat?’ In 2013 I set out across Mexico to direct a BBC film crew following the thousand-mile migration of a small and unusual… Read article

North Sea Travelogue

  Exhausted, feeling hemmed in, I took the first northbound train. Making notes in a moleskine pad I wrote down everything good I had: girlfriend, sister, one or two friends, some skill with words, … Read article

La source du Nil

  ‘On est déjà en retard, Monsieur Nicolas.’ I was hung over. I was tired. I was being told off by a retired colonel. This wasn't a good start to the day. ‘Je suis désolé, Monsieur A… Read article

Working Space Thinking

  ‘But inasmuch as any entity within-the-world is likewise in space, its spatiality will have an ontological connection with the world’ – Heidegger I. I’m on a couch at the back of Columbi… Read article

Time and the City

8.15am on a Monday morning in 1908. Ruth Belville leaves her modest house on St Luke’s Road in Maidenhead and walks to the station. She gets there 20 minutes later and boards a train for Paddington.… Read article

Duck Soup

The first time I had the honour to meet the late Count Pázmány, I lent him my last 20 korona to pay for a bottle of champagne. He said he needed it, and a cursory appreciation of his somewhat frayed… Read article