Me? Alcoholic? Never

I’ve spent a lot of time wondering whether this is the right thing to write on the internet or not. However, in recent months I’ve had the good fortune to have met and worked with some incredibly inspiring people – people with stories to tell that really help others to come to terms with the difficulties […]

Depression: an insider’s tale

I wrote this piece back in November 2011, formerly published under the title “Crumpled Skies and Electric Junkies”, but the site that it lived on has since fallen into disrepair. At the time, it received a lot of goodwill, and seemed to touch one or two people going through something similar. I’ve since been asked, […]

Visiting Kamikochi

During a brief stopover in Kyushu in the early 1990s, British broadcaster and former Monty Python, Michael Palin, stopped in at Huis Ten Bosch, a faithful recreation of a Dutch town, replete with gouda, tulips, windmills and a clock tower built out of bricks shipped from Holland. Not sure what to make of it all, […]

Tohoku earthquake: a live blog from a shaking building

On Friday March 11, 2011, I was at work in Hiroo, Tokyo. As editorial director of Time Out Tokyo, I was most probably tidying up for the weekend – reading the weekend roundup articles that my colleagues put together religiously each week, trying to decide how to spend an average springtime Saturday. What I remember most clearly […]

Haggling tips from an Abu Dhabi newbie

When I first arrived in the UAE, I met up with a family friend who’d spent more years in the Middle East than in his native Ireland. Keen to impart some of his local knowledge, we arranged a trip to Dubai’s Global Village where he agreed to verse me in haggling culture. ‘The golden rule,’ […]

Into Wilfred Thesiger’s Empty Quarter

Good old Wilfred Thesiger. The explorer’s five years in the heat of the UAE desert have inspired countless expats to dip their toes in the shallows of the Rub’ Al Khali, and his books and artefacts have become a small tourist industry in their own right. You can head out to the museum in Al […]