The Robert Johnson Mystery

Eric Clapton, arguably the greatest living blues-rock guitarist, called Robert Johnson “the most important blues musician who ever lived”. Quite a compliment from a living legend whose own status was marked out with ‘Clapton is God’ graffiti on buildings in the 1960s and 70s. The Robert Johnson Mystery
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Old slave law still relevant in Louisiana tourist trade

Race was, and still is, a major flashpoint in the United States, and nowhere more so than in the South where, as William Faulkner put it, the past is not dead yet. Essentially, many Southerners want to deny their own past. Presenting slavery in Louisiana.
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Poor service reflects bad organisation in Day’s Bay Cafés

When you’re eating a rather indifferent toasted sandwich at ten past two on a fine September afternoon having first tried to order to order food at 12.45, you know things have not gone well. We called into Chocolate Dayz in Day’s Bay for lunch, a place which served me a stale, partly uncooked vegetable frittata the last time I was there. I stood in the queue to order food. I was tenth in line, and the line doesn’t move quickly. Twenty minutes later I am finally in front of the lady taking the orders. (Two other customers had abandoned the
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A Walking tour of Boston published

A piece I wrote about the joys of walking around Boston has been published in Rotary Downunder, the magazine that goes to 61 000 Rotarians in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands
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Profiling three Kiwi Chefs in New York in the Listener

  As a result of my travels in the US earlier this year I’ve had a piece published in this week’s Listener on three Kiwi chefs making a go of it in New York, including the big guy Matt Lambert whose restaurant holds a Michelin Star. The others are Pauli Morgan of the Nelson Blue bar and restaurant and Mark Simmons of the Kiwiana Café in Brooklyn. A pleasure to talk to all of them.
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Martin Luther King Museum Founder dies

  I knew of him but I never knew his name. This evening I learned D’Army Bailey, an activist who founded a museum where Dr Martin Luther King was shot and killed in 1968 had died. In 1982 he raised $142 000 to buy the Lorraine Motel in Memphis where King was shot standing on the balcony of his first floor room on 4 April 1982. Later $9.7m was spent to transform it into the National Civil Rights Museum. Today’s New York Times reports, “The two rooms that Dr King had rented were restored, the bloodstained concrete slab was reset
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Airbnb booming in Spain – is it  a good experience?

News that the number of tourist beds in Spain offered by Airbnb operators now outnumbers hotel beds is an interesting development but not necessarily a welcome one. AFP quotes a survey by the Spanish tourism sector body Exceltur that in Barcelona 64 per cent of available rooms are offered by online home rental services. Airbnb and other similar sites now list 2.7 million beds in Spain (December 2014 figures) compared to 2.4 million beds at hotels and other lodgings. Tourism accounts for about 11 per cent of all economic activity in Spain and for one in nine jobs. But apart
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An American Traveller’s Tale Part five

Santa Monica: chill out in an oasis of calm Forty minutes down the road from Los Angeles International Airport is the seaside settlement of Santa Monica, and a charming spot it is too. Very chilled out, but also modern, authentic not tacky, with great restaurants and cafes (always important for me), an interesting and historic pier, a thunderously good beach and no showoffs (go to Venice Beach for that). I spent several hours there last week in between flights in and out of LAX. What a contrast to the hustle and hassle of a busy airport. It’s dead easy to
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