ESSAYS & ARTICLES

Before The Swarm
Atavist

This was my first piece for the ‘Atavist’ – it’s the first on-line publisher that understands how to use modern media to enhance a story. This was more like writing a mini-book than an article. For a start, it runs to 20 pages – you can tell that everyone involved in the magazine has New Yorker roots – but they also had me rewrite this piece 9 times before it reached its final shape. Not entirely unusual, but still a work that came about over months not weeks. It tells the story of intrepid naturalist, Mark Moffett, a fascinating character who lives somewhere in the middle of science, adventure and storytelling. He’s as independent a soul as you can find, one that revels in his controversial theories as he backs them up by roaming the world’s remotest jungles, subjecting himself to near death experiences.
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How Soccer Defeated Apartheid
Foreign Policy Magazine, June 2010

This article for Foreign Policy was written at the start of 2010’s World Cup. I have a small obsession with that subsection where sports meet politics. People prefer to see them as two separate arenas but there is never separation between the two. Sports are political and politics are a highly competitive game, full stop. Here, I look at the extraordinary role soccer played eating away at the foundations of Apartheid South Africa.
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Mr Courage In The Congo
Men’s Vogue Magazine, November 2008

This article was an attempt to compare China’s thirst for African commodities with the conservation movement’s desires in the Congo Basin – a story told through the eyes of the Amos Courage. Courage, the stepson of one of Britain’s great eccentrics, has seen it all trying to keep a band of his gorillas alive in the Congo rainforest. It’s a list that includes plane crashes, viruses, animal attacks, kidnapping and now the threat of a dam built by the Chinese inside what was supposed to be a national park.
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Leap Of Faith : A Journey To Mecca
Middle East Magazine, October 2010

The challenge here was how to find a new angle on a worn-out subject – the fault line between Islam and Christianity. I traveled to Morocco to get to the set of ‘Journey to Mecca’ an IMAX film produced by a pair of Christian Englishmen and directed by a Mormon from Salt Lake City. Not so easy to do when the big shoot takes place in Mecca and they were barred, as a matter of faith, from even stepping into the city.
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Among The Beautiful People
The London Times, November 2003

Sometimes apparently superficial events take on great meaning. I went down to Venezuela to be a judge in their national beauty contest. Venezuela dominates the Miss Universe and Miss World competitions and it’s a business that has survived the creeping nationalizations of Hugo Chavez. Still, as this article reveals, Chavez is never very far away from any moment of cultural significance. ‘Miss Venezuela’ always receives the highest TV ratings of the year and the President can’t resist the temptation to have his say.
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