Contributing to Vertu Select

I have been contributing short articles to the luxury digital publication Vertu Select for more than a year now, but there has been such a backlog that it has taken a very long time to see any of them published – and even longer to get my mitts on the prints! But now, they have kindly supplied me with the few of my articles that have made it to public consumption. The first, published in May, starts like this:

“The 20th century was a trying period for Ukrainian art. After a promisingly avant-garde start to the 1900s, during which many popular contemporary movements like Futurism, Constructionism and Cubism swept through the streets of Kiev, everything came to a very sudden (and very prolonged) halt in 1922 with the foundation of the Soviet Union. However, since the parting of the Iron Curtain in 1991, Ukrainian art has enjoyed a stuttering resurgence – and it’s set for an enormous boost this summer with the opening of Kiev’s first ever Biennale…”

You can read the rest of ‘Kiev Arsenale 2012′ by clicking on the image to the left. Or you can read my latest one about Eastern European cruises. Here’s the intro:

“Medieval hilltop castles, high gold-domed churches and ancient Mediterranean ports… Eastern Europe has a wealth of treasures just waiting to be discovered. As there’s no finer way to acquaint yourself with a city than with a late night excursion on the water, here are five of the East’s favourite evening cruises…”

You can read the whole article by clicking this here link (it’s external, you know).

If you’ve noticed a theme emerging, it’s that I specialise in Central and European destinations for Vertu. Hopefully, the remaining dozen-or-so articles covering this area, plus the few elsewhere, will appear in my travel journalism portfolio shortly.

Top Marx: When Socialism Meets Tourism

I’ve had a new travel article published in the July issue of stalkingElk – a comedy satire mag, for which I’m the ‘roaming correspondent’ – all about when socialism meets tourism. Here’s how it begins:

“Look at the condition of communism today and it’s easy to conclude that Karl Marx has been forgotten. China is now home to twice as many KFC outlets as giant pandas. Vietnam is famed for its vast income and gender inequalities. And while Laos’ clampdown on the media is a big commie tick, its free market policy is like defecating directly into Lenin’s cold, dead gullet. Each of these states, a mere two decades after some vexed Germans shouted at a wall, are now about as socialist as Joseph McCarthy in a kaftan.

However, not every socialist state has opened its arms and spread its legs to greet rampant capitalism: there are still three corners of the globe where hard-line communism stubbornly prevails. Three of the most unique and alien places on earth. Which makes them three of the most interesting places to visit…”

If you’d like to read more of ‘Top Marx: When Socialism Meets Tourism’, you can click here for the whole article. Or if you want to read more of the kind, you can visit the stalkingElk website and buy the whole mag for just £3. Bargain!

Socialism & Tourism #2: Transdniestr

Prior to the release of my new travel article about socialist tourism, I will be previewing a few of the socialist states featured. This time, it’s Transdniestr.

Following Poland’s 1989 overthrow of the commies, Soviet states toppled like pissed dominoes. Within two years the USSR had gone and socialism in Europe was finished. Or so you might think. Actually, as Poland and co. marched towards democracy, one sliver of Eastern Europe was left behind.

Transdniestr, a teensy region in the east of Moldova, broke away from the then Socialist Republic in 1990, following ominous rumblings of reform from Chişinău. After a two-year girly fight, a fresh yet familiar socialist system was formed under cuddly, pastry-faced autocrat Igor Smirnov… and it’s one which continues unopposed to this day. Continue reading

Getting Back to Losing Ways

As England’s World Cup dreams turn to soiled bed sheets for the second time in six short months, Joseph Reaney asks if it’s time for the country to get back to losing ways.

After a week of endless debates, accusations and excuses, the country has finally settled on the key reasons why England’s vomit-inducing World Cup pity plea ended its long life nestling in the u-bend of an Alpen-clogged Swiss shitter. In the end, we decided, it all came down to three things: the British media’s nasty habit of reporting the facts, the FA’s naivety/arrogance/collective ugliness and Sepp Blatter’s thoroughly unpatriotic lack of neutrality (although personally I’d also like to see some of the blame fall at the feet of Guy Garvey – after all, there are only so many times you can listen to One Day Like This without feeling the irrepressible need to defect to Russia.) But whatever the reasons for the nation’s failure, the simple fact is that England weren’t good enough. What baffles me is why this constitutes news; surely not being good enough is what we’re good at. Continue reading

Transdniestr: Last Kid on the Bloc

I’ve recently had a travel article published in the latest issue of Shoestring Travel Magazine. It’s about Transdniestr – the last remaining communist state on the old Eastern bloc – and here’s how it starts:

“1989 was a watershed moment for Europe. It was the year when Poland, after 44 years of stringent Soviet rule, finally turned its back on the communist ideal. This act of defiance was the spark that lit the fire of revolution across Eastern Europe, and within the next three years East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Romania and more than a dozen other socialist states – including Russia itself – had overthrown their respective governments and entered a new era of capitalist democracy. Communism in Europe was dead and buried.

Well, almost buried. For as the world watched Poland and co. march towards a bright new dawn, no-one seemed to notice that one tiny piece of the Eastern Bloc had been left behind…”

If you’d like to read more, simply click here for the whole article. Or you can visit the Shoestring website to read the entire issue for free. I’ve also been commissioned to write for the next Shoestring Magazine, so watch this space.