Category Archives: Travel

Busy, busy: Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Singapore, Denmark, Paris, Berlin, London… and over twenty visits to New York City.

Tiger and the Rats

I once had a dog called Tiger, a Manchester Terrier, bred from a long line of ratters, one of which still holds the world record for killing 100 rats in six minutes forty-two seconds. He deserved a silver collar.

The Olsonite

Is an “Olsonite” a committed follower of the poetry of the great US poet Charles Olson, 1910 to 1970, poet and literary theorist, widely credited with first using the term “postmodern” in discussing American poetry and known for his association with the Black Mountain poets and for his influence on the generation of American poets who emerged after World War II?


Or just the material used to manufacture a toilet lid in the Durant Hotel in Berkeley, California?


No offence meant to the career, work or reputation of a great American poet. He can’t help being accidentally related to the American plastics industry.

Sea Lions

There are around 1,500 sea lions at Pier 39 in San Francisco Bay, near Fishermen’s Wharf. They migrated there from the coast after the big earthquake in 1989, and found a safe haven from predators with lots of seafood in the nearby Bay. They smell awful. What with their stentorian barking, and a life that is a mix of sleeping, loafing, shitting in the water, barking and biting each other, they reminded me of a huge poetry reading.

Photo by John Tranter, January 2014.

Sea Lions, 2014.


No, not a memorial to US poet Frank O’Hara, as poetry lovers might imagine, or John O’Hara, for those who prefer prose. Two of three such devices, much-trodden-on, let into the sidewalk of Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, California, long ago and discovered in December 2013 and photographed by John Tranter. Once upon a time the O’Hara Company made these little brass lids for under-sidewalk pipes — for fuel oil, perhaps — some ten centimeters square, about the size of a CD cover. The address of the firm in Los Angeles, some three hundred and fifty miles away, is now (in 2013) a near-derelict building not far from the Los Angeles Galvanizing Company.