Revolution in the Head

I stood at the intersection of Haight and Ashbury. An old man walked past wearing technicolor surf shorts, a Hendrix T-shirt, flip-flops, large yellow-rimmed sunglasses and a San Francisco baseball cap. It was a vision both appalling and hilarious, a walking spectre, as though a child had been artificially aged. But it made me smile to think that fifty years after The Summer of Love took over this part of the city in 1967 some of that spirit still endures. Continue reading

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Airport Rant

I’m lying on the industrial grade carpet and looking out the thick plate glass windows of Fort Lauderdale’s Hollywood Airport. Outside it is 75F but here on the inside I am cold and getting colder. A delay in Lima yesterday and we missed our morning connection to San Francisco. The airplane seat was a relic from the 70s and we barely slept. I am in a mood to rant. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Tennis Courts

Travelling, whilst embracing a whole host of new opportunities, inevitably involves leaving some things behind: old friends, family, a secure base, that which is known and familiar. For me, as well as all of the above, I had to forgo my guitars and my tennis, two major passions. Fortunately, however, guitars did appear at odd intervals along the way and I did get to play tennis twice whilst on this trip, on different continents and across a huge economic and social chasm. Continue reading

Awesome Again

Over a year ago I wrote a post entitled ‘Awesome’ which celebrated the hospitality of the citizens of the Unites States of America. Having just spent another hugely rewarding 3-months in that country it is time to update my feelings about the folk who call the US home. Continue reading

The Disunited States of America

It was a beautiful November day in Topanga Canyon, California. Driving down the twisting canyon road to the Pacific Highway we passed a 25-year old silver BMW parked on the verge: the registration plate read BAN NUX: a slogan that had a more sharply nuanced edge this morning. Continue reading

Sleepless in Seattle

I have never been a terribly political animal. Something about the whole business of politics and politicians just seemed to be unwholesome, so duplicitous and self-serving. But all of a sudden here in America my political conscience has been pricked. Why? A good question and one my sleepless nights in Seattle tried to solve. The first point to be pinned down was a recognition that the male nominee running for president of the United States was at heart a bully: that he is many other odious things as well need not clutter the page. I have a loathing of bullies – in every form – that goes back a long way. Continue reading

Castles made of Sand

Today had a certain rebellious quality to it and bears sharing. On 6th November 2012 the state of Washington in the United States of America approved by popular vote legislation that legalises small amounts of marijuana for adults aged 21 and over, taxes them and designates the revenue for healthcare and substance abuse prevention and education. So, this morning it was with huge interest that I showed my ID to the amiable security guard sitting by the frosted glass door and stepped inside the Herban Legend store in downtown Seattle. Continue reading