Tales from the British Library

Tales from the British Library

Back in August, I got a call from a PR at the British Library. They said they’d read my piece on Qatar in High Life magazine, and wondered if I’d be interested in something else to do with Qatar. What followed was a heads-up about something which I’d already been vaguely aware of, but hadn’t properly…

Read Full Post

BBC stories: hot (Doha) and cold (Antarctica)

BBC stories: hot (Doha) and cold (Antarctica)

A couple of my stories went out on the BBC’s From Our Own Correspondent programme this summer. First – a hot place. My story from Doha looked at how sudden extreme wealth hasn’t necessarily been a wholly positive experience for Qatar and Qataris. Radio 4 audio here starts 17’27” (a slightly edited version went out on World Service…

Read Full Post

Stories from Qatar

Stories from Qatar

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to be in Qatar, on assignment for the British Airways inflight magazine High Life. It was for an idea I’d pitched to them, trying to give a bit of insider perspective to the way Doha is usually covered in the Western media – which tends to be either PR-driven…

Read Full Post

Sandhurst and the Sheikhs

Sandhurst and the Sheikhs

THE CHASE: My half-hour documentary for BBC Radio 4 on Britain’s contradictory military relationship with allies in the Gulf was broadcast August 27th, 2014. Full audio here or here, related article here.   BACKSTORY: On March 5th last year, 2013, while discussing possible ideas for the BBC Radio 4 commissioning round, I sent an independent production company,…

Read Full Post

A story from Gaza

A story from Gaza

Yesterday, I rediscovered a story of real life from the Shaja’iyya district of Gaza. The small tale was written twenty years ago by Diala Khasawneh for her book Memoirs Engraved in Stone: Palestinian Urban Mansions, published by the Riwaq Centre for Architectural Conservation (Ramallah, 1995) – and republished by the Institute for Palestine Studies (Beirut & Washington,…

Read Full Post

New unique tour of Jordan

I’m really delighted to announce my latest venture, a unique tour of Jordan, led by yours truly and promoted via the Daily Telegraph here in the UK. Click the links for more. It’s all pretty self-explanatory, and there is full extra detail and the complete itinerary on the Mosaic Holidays site (they are the ones handling bookings – apologies…

Read Full Post

A historic flight along the Nile

Late last year, I was tweeting with Tom Fletcher, Britain’s ambassador to Lebanon – that’s the great thing about Twitter, it’s such a leveller: anyone can tweet with anyone. He mentioned in passing that his great-grandfather took part in the first-ever aeroplane flight along the River Nile, exactly one hundred years ago. That sounded like…

Read Full Post

Amman’s new hotel

Amman’s new hotel

This week saw the launch of what is being touted as the first new hotel in Downtown Amman since 1927 – the Art Hotel. Can that claim be true? I guess it depends how you define a hotel (as opposed, perhaps, to a hostel). The Art Hotel is calling itself three stars – which would…

Read Full Post

Jordan visa fees rise for 2014

I’ve had it confirmed to me from several independent sources today (March 31 2014) that Jordan’s government has decided to double the cost of a tourist visa to enter Jordan with immediate effect – from 20JD to the new price of 40JD (which equates to £35 or US$60). The new, higher rate applies from tomorrow, April…

Read Full Post

Travel in southern Iraq

Travel in southern Iraq

Géraldine Chatelard, a friend from Jordan, sent me a write-up of her recent visit to southern Iraq. She has kindly allowed me to reproduce parts of it here, with her own photos. Names have been removed or altered and I have skipped over some parts that could identify people who might not wish to be identified. Géraldine…

Read Full Post

Beacon: a new approach to journalism

Beacon: a new approach to journalism

Friends and followers: I’m trying something new. This is a pitch for money. I first heard about Beacon when Iona Craig, a freelance journalist for the Times in Yemen, tweeted that she had joined it. Then I saw that Gaar Adams, a UAE-based freelancer, was on it too. Gaar put me in touch with Dan…

Read Full Post

EasyJet drops Amman, favours Tel Aviv

EasyJet drops Amman, favours Tel Aviv

EasyJet is pulling out of the Jordanian capital Amman. The route, which launched in March 2011 with flights from London Gatwick, will be withdrawn in May 2014, with the last flight departing Amman on Sunday 4th May. It was the only route easyJet maintained to Jordan. UPDATE: Venture, a Jordanian business magazine, covers the story…

Read Full Post