Remember Baghdad

I haven’t been to the Ultimate Picture Palace in Oxford for years, not since it was called the Penultimate Picture Palace. Its re-naming conjures up a shuffling line of picture palaces, like heirs to the throne, which all shimmy up a place in the queue when one ahead of them closes. I wonder if there’s … More Remember Baghdad

‘A fading time’ – Iraq in black-and-white

In The Aspern Papers, Henry James wrote rather gloomily “When Americans went abroad in 1820, there was something romantic, almost heroic, in it, as compared with the perpetual ferryings of the present hour when photography and other conveniences have annihilated surprise,” and this is far, far truer today with the universal availability of countless indifferent … More ‘A fading time’ – Iraq in black-and-white

Running to Catch the Bus (1) – Baghdad

Snaking across the gravel deserts of Syria and Iraq, Algeria and the old Soudan in the 1920s and 30s were lines of oil-drums. Crossing the Syrian desert they were a mile apart: after Adrar, going south across the Sahara, they stood every kilometre along Bidon V, marking water depots, and neatly numbered. They indicated motor-routes, … More Running to Catch the Bus (1) – Baghdad