Lives and Times

Writing on the world around us.



A Fowl Society: On Human Behaviour in Chickens (and Vice-Versa)

The Venus of Willendorf. Shoes. Omar Khayyam. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Sewage. The feats and fames of humankind are many and diverse – but we remain, as ever, animals; and as animals we forever behave. Continue reading “A Fowl Society: On Human Behaviour in Chickens (and Vice-Versa)”

Exploring La Sauceda, Spain: A Town Wiped off the Map by Fascism

It is July 1936, Spain, and a long-planned military conspiracy aims to dislodge from power a democratically elected government. Aircraft fly in mercenaries from abroad, troops are mobilised across the country, and a war begins. Continue reading “Exploring La Sauceda, Spain: A Town Wiped off the Map by Fascism”

Imagining a Cooperative Australia (Essay)

Australia is in the early twenty-first century a society of competition. We teach our children to compete in academic achievement, with their talents and even against each other with ‘likes’, and in their maturity they will compete with their degrees and compete for internships. Continue reading “Imagining a Cooperative Australia (Essay)”

Photo Report: Thousands March in Jerez to Defend Public Healthcare

Often said to be a conservative city, Jerez de la Frontera took to the street on mass this weekend to defend a public, quality healthcare system. According to police estimates, around 5,000 people streamed into the central plaza to listen to the movement’s leader, Joaquín Fernández, decry the cuts and negligence which left his wife waiting injured on a footpath for some 45 minutes before being attended to after being hit by a motorcycle.

Continue reading “Photo Report: Thousands March in Jerez to Defend Public Healthcare”

The Power and the Passion of Marinaleda: A Vanguard Village (Feature)

On the road to the ‘Utopia towards Peace’

‘Marinaleda!?’ we call out to the few cars rolling down the country road to an Andalusian utopia. Most drivers unwillingly decline – headed elsewhere, they indicate; no room in the scoop, a tractor-driver laughs – but soon enough one stops to help out two lost pilgrims. Francisco is his name, and he tells us that our promised land, though beautiful, has both its disciples and its dissidents; those who would call its mayor, Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, a prophet, and those who would call him a despot. Continue reading “The Power and the Passion of Marinaleda: A Vanguard Village (Feature)”

A Bitter Drop: Conflict in the Bodegas of Jerez

Whether enjoyed as a glass of red after work or a copa of fino with friends, wine is a beautiful thing. But there is in every glass a drop of some grape-picker’s or bottler’s sweat running from their brow to your lips, and this salty note should be savoured as much as the wine itself, but some disagree on how much value it adds. Today, in Jerez de la Frontera, home of sherry wines, conflict ferments over bodega workers’ pay. Continue reading “A Bitter Drop: Conflict in the Bodegas of Jerez”

People Before Profit: An Anti-TTIP Rally Photographic Report

In Jerez de la Frontera several hundred people took to the streets to demand the termination of the secretive TTIP Free Trade Agreement between the EU and the US, a deal which threatens to bolster the legal power of multi-nationals against democratically-accountable states. The act was part of hundreds of similar protests across Europe, with tens of thousands taking place across the continent. Thanks to the anti-TTIP protest movement, the TTIP agreement is now facing further delays, with many observers predicting that the deal will soon be scrapped entirely.

Continue reading “People Before Profit: An Anti-TTIP Rally Photographic Report”

A Tale of Two Campaigns – Australian and Spanish 2016 Elections

The past twelve months or so in international politics has seen some dramatic events: the rise and crushing of Syriza in Greece, the emergence of a still-nascent North American left and the re-emergence of a British one, the ebbing of the South American ‘pink tide’, and the many crises facing the European Union. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Campaigns – Australian and Spanish 2016 Elections”

Meeting Bob Ellis (1942-2016)

It was, I think, 2009 when I met Bob Ellis, a writer who was not content to sit idly by to ‘objectively’ observe his objects like the rest of the voyeuristic journalist class of Australia, but instead to fight for them and fight against them throughout his life that ended not long ago. Continue reading “Meeting Bob Ellis (1942-2016)”

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