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Half Way to Mars

Half Way to Mars

The first time I met Gary Player he gave me a little cuddle in front of a big crowd. It was in early 2010, shortly before the official opening of Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, the Abu Dhabi course designed by the South African. I was there with a dozen or..
The Hospital Built by Gorillas

The Hospital Built by Gorillas

In a jungle on a mountainside, in the southernmost part of Uganda, in the very heart of Africa, there stands a hospital, a hospital built by gorillas. It’s an ongoing job, and though the Bwindi Community Hospital first opened 12 years ago, on some mornings you can still faintly hear..
Furiouser and Furiouser

Furiouser and Furiouser

On a hot night in late June 2001, a group of young, largely unknown actors shuffled along the red carpet at the premiere of their new film in Los Angeles, California. Many had made fashion choices they would later regret. Among them, Paul Walker wore an ill-fitting suit with a..
Slicker Cities

Slicker Cities

Victoria Derby Day in Melbourne passes largely in monochrome. That is not to say it is dull – tens of thousands of people attend the 140-year-old race which traditionally marks the start of Melbourne Cup week, and most hell-bent on having a good time. But a history that no one..
What Becky Said

What Becky Said

One of the first things a broadcaster learns is how to control their voice: intonation, pronunciation and, crucially, pacing. Veteran CNN presenter Becky Anderson does all of this perfectly on air, but off it things are a good deal pacier. For example, when asked if there’s such a thing as..
The Return of Ali Mostafa

The Return of Ali Mostafa

Ali Mostafa looks like the most relaxed man in the UAE when he should be anything but. I meet him in a Dubai café, five weeks before his second feature, From A to B, is to open the eighth Abu Dhabi Film Festival. The final version of his film was..
Finding Leviathan

Finding Leviathan

It’s hard to quantify the enormity of a whale. A North Atlantic right whale can weigh as much as 10 African elephants. So what? Unless life has taken you down an unlikely path that requires you regularly interact with elephants, that’s a fairly meaningless comparison. Telling you that blue whale..
Be Careful What You Piss For

Be Careful What You Piss For

It’s disgusting, of course. I am disgusting. I think that again and again as I refill my idiotically large cup at a Burger King soda fountain, somewhere just south of Miami. If it hadn’t taken so long to get through immigration, I wouldn’t be reduced to this, but after three..
The Great White Hope

The Great White Hope

When I ejaculate and the cry of “Geronimo!” goes up and my boys – my beautiful boys – go over the top, it’s the equivalent of 6,100 London Marathons starting at the same time. It’s a mad, violent race in which there can be only one winner. You’d think it’d..
Loathing Las Vegas

Loathing Las Vegas

I have no cocaine, nor any mescaline. I certainly don’t have any ether, either. The skies are mercifully bat-free, and yet, the longer I spend in Las Vegas, the more peculiar I feel. Half of the city lies abandoned or half-finished in financial crisis gloom, but like Iron Man, it..