Art, Man and Technology

Evening views over Pariser Platz from the Akademie der Künste exhibit...

Evening views over Pariser Platz from the Akademie der Künste exhibit…

Okay, I swiped that title from Steve Kilbey. It’s the name of a really cool box set containing a CD of spoken word tracks that accompany a series of postcards printed from his paintings. I highly recommend checking it out — my favourite prose poetry pieces on there are The Visitor and The Lonely City.

Take a Drink at Beckett’s Head

No Berlin visit is complete without a drink at Beckett’s Kopf...

No Berlin visit is complete without a drink at Beckett’s Kopf…

I’ve been in Berlin for the past few weeks, soaking up some art and inspiration in my favourite city. And no visit is complete without soaking up a few of the local spirits, too.

Tachikawa: Where My Writing Life Began

Tachikawa has grown and changed...

Tachikawa has grown and changed…

I’ve been running this website since March 2009, and this is my 300th blog. I guess that’s an anniversary of sorts, and it got me thinking about my early years as a writer.

Inside Krakow’s Collegium Maius

The Old Library Chamber is a peaceful place to read

The Old Library Chamber is a peaceful place to read

When I was a teenager, my vision of university was one of solid stone buildings, some covered in vines. The footsteps of a single person echoing from a lonely courtyard late at night. Vast libraries with wood panelled walls and statues of ancient Greeks. And new worlds of knowledge opened by brilliant professors, who would spark discussions that would rage far into the next morning’s light.

A New Anthropology of Drink

Aperitifs and the digestifs: the fuel of conversations deep and wide...

Aperitifs and the digestifs: the fuel of conversations deep and wide…

Me and Tomoko were shopping in Prenzlauer Berg early one evening this past Fall. And when the time was right, we walked down a quiet street until I found the blank steel door that I’d been searching for. There was no sign. Just a photo of the Irish playwright Samuel Beckett in a dark window.

How to Go Deep — Doing Your Pre-Trip Homework

You get out of a trip what you put into it...

You get out of a trip what you put into it…

The topic of pre-trip reading came up on my Facebook page the other day when we were discussing Iceland.

I want to share a little of my process, because I think you’ll find it helpful.

The RoadWisdom Guide to Traveling Iceland

Iceland feels like another world, one caught midway between geology and Norse myth...

Iceland feels like another world, one caught midway between geology and Norse myth…

I’m just back from a couple weeks in Iceland, exploring remote corners of the Central Highland deserts, and just soaking up the silence and that clean subarctic air.

Where Viking Rune Stones Meet Celluloid Dreams

The final scene of Shame was filmed on this beach...

The final scene of Shame was filmed on this beach…

It’s in the middle of the Baltic Sea, halfway to Latvia, but it’s Sweden’s largest island.

Salty Cathedrals Deep Under the Ground

A salty cathedral deep underground...

A salty cathedral deep underground…

I consume an enormous amount of salt — at least, according to my wife, who scolds me each time I twist that grinder over my dinner plate for more than 3 minutes.

“It’s an insult to the cook,” she says. “You didn’t even taste it first.”

Auschwitz: Looking Away is Not an Option

"Work sets you free." Just how inhumane would you have to be to think up a sign such as this?

“Work sets you free.” Just how inhumane would you have to be to think up a sign such as this?

Many people have written the horrifying story of Auschwitz, so I’m not going to rehash it here.