I made myself late to dinner to take these photos, since this time it wasn't hailing.

Sunset, St Kilda

Hail, and windsurfers.

The there everywhere

"There's no there there" has become a popular phrase in the media just as a kind of offbeat way of saying 'nothing to see here'. The original meaning is honestly kind of unclear, but one suggestion is that it's saying a place has no sense of place - no identity, nothing distinct about it.

There are no places like that.

Here's Hamad International Airport, in Doha.

Airports really can feel the same: that orangey shade of yellow on all the signs, the giant Toblerones, the rows of uncomfortable seats. They are, of all places, the places most designed not to have any identity. And yet here is a giant bear, or mouse, or something, under a lamp. Is this very Qatari? Not in any obvious sense. (If you Google 'Qatari bear', you will find this beast, but nothing else.) But nobody anywhere else thought to invite an artist to put a giant soft toy in the middle of the terminal to remind people of their childhood.

Pavilion Mall, Kuala Lumpur:

You have to look pr…

Prague, September 2015

My main impression of Prague, when I think back in a vague way, is pretty ambivalent. Looking at the photos, I can't exactly see why: it's certainly a city with more than its share of extraordinary architecture and history. I can think of two explanations for my lukewarm reminiscence, both of which are completely ridiculous. One is that I was fatigued of beautiful European capitals. The other is that the food wasn't very good.

This was the menu pretty much everywhere. 'Dumplings' are extremely stodgy balls of bread. Nothing has much flavour.

Believe whichever you prefer, and mock me accordingly.

Bratislava, August 2015

Bratislava is an urban centre.

There were a few more 'urbans' that we didn't take pictures of. And it felt like there were even more, thanks to us getting lost a few tiems and walking past the same ones repeatedly. Urban Bistro, in particular, we spent a lot of time in, not completely voluntarily. This was a hipsterish cafe full of smiling young people, blackboards with witticisms (in dubious English) and advertising a 'Melbourne breakfast' - so how could we not? 45 minutes after we ordered, the only mildly-stressed-looking waitress came over to tell us that actually the cook wasn't there, but the barista was making our breakfasts, and there'd been a delay because they'd had to send someone to buy avocados. 

The food, after that saga, was surprisingly good. This was not one of the better bits, but it's more important to convey the pretentiousness of the place than its tastiness. It was good enough for us to go back the next day, when the chef did se…

it's August!

These photos are nearly a year old, which is too much. So I'll churn out the next few cities without so much commentary and storytelling, because there are more recent things in my life that I'll never get to at this pace.