Category: Journalism

How to a spend a perfect weekend in Nimes — my ultimate guide

My first assignment for a few months — long story.

But it was a good one: a trip to the Occitanie region of France for the opening of the new Museum of Roman Civilisation.

It was a Roman-heritage-themed trip, visiting the Pont gu Gard, the Unesco-listed aqueduct, and the city of Nimes — one of my favourite cities in the south of France.

The new museum is opposite the Roman Amphitheatre [pictured above], home to one of the largest bullfighting festivals outside of Spain.

Here’s a sneak preview of one of the stories that came out of my trip:

It brings together the city’s huge collection of Roman antiquities with its four sections tracing the development of Nimes from the Iron Age, through the halcyon days of the Roman Empire to the Middle Ages, and concludes by considering the legacy of the Roman era today.

Read more with my Ultimate Guide to Nimes in Independent Travel and look out for my Nimes feature in the August issue of France Magazine.

 

 

My story for Guardian travel will make you save the bees

May half term, then.

Here’s an idea for a family day out based around my story for Guardian Travel.

The story is based around a visit to the National Beekeeping Centre Wales, near Conwy, combined with a preview of the new trail at Bodnant Gardens.

It was also a family day out for half term with Maya and Olivia [pictured above].

Here’s a preview:

This friendly visitor centre acts as a champion for Welsh honeybees, which are increasingly under threat from climate change and loss of wildflower meadows.

The visit raises awareness of environmental issues and highlights the art of apiarist over 4,000 years of honey-making history from the ancient Egyptians via the Romans.

Combine a visit with a trip to Bodnant Garden, taking the new Lost Words Trail, based on the book by Robert MacFarlane, for May half term (normal entrance fees apply).

The trail follows clues around the gardens to discover words from nature.

Read the whole story, Connect the kids with ecology – because the bees need us.

 

The Amazing Story Of How My Music Fanzine Made History

The first issue, published May 1994

It was 1994.

I was a student on a postgraduate magazine journalism course in London with a project deadline.

Step forward Heaven Up Here, a music fanzine I put together with two fellow students.

We dreamed of jobs on Select magazine and loved getting on the guestlist for gigs at venues like the Astoria and the Water Rats.

It was the Nineties and we didn’t have a care in the world.

The first issue, published in 1994, featured a lead interview with film-noir favourites The Tindersticks and went backstage with Britpop breakthroughs Sleeper at the now-defunct TV show The Beat.

Last week I took a couple of issues from 1994 and 1995 to the London College of Communication.

There they will join the likes of Sniffin’ Glue and Smiths Indeed at the University Library Zine Collection. It has over 200 zines from punk to fashion from the late Seventies onwards.

You can find out more from the collection Facebook page.

It only lasted for three issues but our little fanzine helped to launch a career in the media for its founders. And it was lots of fun along the way.

As for the name? Heaven Up Here was the second album by Echo and the Bunnymen, my favourite band as a overcoat-wearing student in the early Nineties.

On the day that the NME sees its last ever print edition on the newsstands, my little bit of history is a reminder that, while we all now work multi-platform, print is still not dead.

Why I made the shortlist for the French Travel Media Awards

It was close but no cigar.

My story about a tour of the French Riviera [pictured above], first published in the Daily Telegraph, was shortlisted this week at the French Travel Media awards.

The article describes a trip in the footsteps of film stars and the Euro glitterati. It was timed around the 70th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival.

Here’s a taster of the text:

I was formulating my bid to be the next James Bond from the casino at Monte Carlo. All I needed was that powder-blue suit from the Hugo Boss store on La Croisette (a snip at a mere €750), a couple of well-promoted selfies on the red carpet outside Le Palais and a bit of luck with the croupier to thwart Le Chiffre’s plan to take over the world from a Monte Carlo gaming table. Watch your back Idris Elba. After a week on the Riviera, there’s a new leading man in the frame.

Better luck next time, then.

I’ve got my eye on Roman Nimes and Monet’s Giverny for next time.