Category Archives: culture

The Italian Mafia is making cash by exploiting refugees

Both the Mafia and the Catholic Church in Sicily have effectively recognised the business opportunity represented by migrants. As with many private companies, they are pocketing government money for looking after these vulnerable people from Africa and Asia, making extra profits by cost-cutting in the quality of the food and accommodation they offer. At the same time, camps often take a hefty cut of what migrants earn through working outside as cleaners, labourers or bar staff – often as much as 50 percent of their earnings.

The Mafia-run camp in Corleone was an intriguing place to visit in this respect. This is a small village with a population of 12,000 in the province of Palermo that is famous for having given the characters in The Godfather … Read the rest

No means no, it doesn’t matter how women say it

This week I learned that merely sitting in my favourite London writing spot and reading a book was a contentious move for a woman.

Books, like earphones, are usually a great indicator that someone doesn’t want to be disturbed. That has always been my understanding at least.  But not everyone gets that message, which can lead to uncomfortable situations.

Women are conditioned by society from a young age to be polite and accommodating, especially to men. And so, more often than not, when faced with a man demanding our unsolicited attention, we will look for the least aggressive way to let them down as not to make a scene. This is exactly what I did on Saturday, when a man insisted on buying me a drink.… Read the rest

Japan’s Radiohead transcend all notions of a tribute band

Radiohead fans like to debate exactly what the song ‘Videotape’ is about. Its wistful, trembling sound concludes 2007’s In Rainbows, slowly peeling apart until all that’s really left is a series of indelible piano chords and Thom Yorke’s near-isolated falsetto. It’s one of their finest moments, even if its meaning is somewhat opaque.

Some argue that it’s written from the perspective of a dying man saying goodbye to his family. Others believe that it’s a lover contemplating the end of a relationship. But one of the more intriguing takes on the song is that it’s about a memory; a brief section of time so inexpressibly perfect that the speaker, whoever they may be, wants to capture it forever: a ‘videotape moment’.

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For Yasuko Otani, these … Read the rest

Blue Planet’s director shares his tips on shooting nature

At the tail end of last year, Blue Planet hit the UK’s screens for its second season. The groundbreaking, lavishly-shot documentary series swiftly became the country’s most-watched TV show in 2017 – serving up gripping wildlife sequences and unseen footage from our ocean’s darkest corners.

Much of this was thanks to Mateo Willis, who worked on the show as a director and cinematographer. Having previously shot the equally trailblazing Planet Earth II and Frozen Planet, Willis has become known as one of the most esteemed cameramen in the industry; securing Emmy and BAFTA awards for his work behind the lens.

“I became a cinematographer in my early 30s,” he tells Huck. “I’ve always enjoyed creating things; taking photographs as a child, later working as a … Read the rest

Vintage ’80s Polaroids of Amsterdam’s barflies

In spring 1979, Bettie Ringma and Marc H. Miller moved from New York’s Lower East Side to Amsterdam. The newly arrived couple had already become known on New York’s downtown art scene, taking “Paparazzi Self-Portraits” with the new Polaroid SX-70 instamatic camera, and giving the world a taste for instant gratification.

In search of a way to support themselves in a new city, they remembered a photographer hustling Polaroid portraits at Coney Island and decided to test the waters. “We tried first at Zandvoort Beach but it was too much work,” Miller recalls. “The sand was potentially deadly for the camera so we moved to the nightclubs and it clicked right away.”

For next two years, they made the rounds five or six nights a week, … Read the rest

It’s time to talk about how Britain treats its homeless

It’s early in 2018, yet it seems one trend is already taking hold in Windsor: the bold return of feudalism. Any wedding involves mind-melding amounts of preparation, but only a royal wedding could demand the clearing of homeless people from the streets to avoid the glances of the massed crowds landing on a huddled rough sleeper. Nothing, according to the council responsible for the move, should detract from the pomp and pageantry of Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day, and presumably the realisation that all subjects are not equal risks damaging the patriotism around the event.

The move has provoked outspoken fury, with homelessness charities and even the prime minister condemning the decision from the council. But elsewhere, other homeless people were the subject of much … Read the rest