Gilgamesh, and Climate Change

4,000 years ago, a poet wrote the epic of Gligamesh. At one point Gilgamesh, the king, the symbol of human civilisation, enters the great cedar forest and kills the demon there (the demon being nature). Gilgamesh then cuts down all the trees. The poet makes a point of inferring that this is bad, that humans know it’s bad, perhaps because they did it before 4,000 years ago and witnessed what happens when you destroy nature. That was 4,000 years ago, remember, we knew then that we must respect nature, not…

The Toronto Academy

I was talking about John Pilger being the only journalist worth anything in the world, with perhaps George Monibot as a distant second, and how there’s really nobody of any substance writing in the USA right now and hadn’t been for some years, all the time looking in on myself and disagreeing – one of the lessons that long distance running teaches one is to recognise the self as made up of several opposing points of view. My body is always telling me to stop, my mind is always urging…

Motivation, and The Playlist

On the loss of my best friend. On the discovery that I was never anything other than a magic doormat, something to wipe their frustrations out on whilst at the same time transporting them places they think they deserved to see. On the resolution to fool myself into thinking I am something other than their reflection of me. On thinking that running around in circles for 24 hours might do the trick… Wow, lucky, talented me. Still, one does what one can, right? Of course, winning the Canadian Championship was…

The Veils of Babel

Flowing shards of fake silk damask trapping insulating, alternating layers of ignorance and fear, enveloping the human world almost entirely. The Veils of Babel, as told of in The Book of Sand, a fluid, shape shifting book without end. A façade of prosperity and righteousness that can be lifted with only the most dedicated effort at intense thought and paradigm shifting (temporary, ever temporary) conclusions. Lush Cosmetics, the company I work for, has an admirable practice of financially supporting community groups and of sending us employees off on paid days…

On Improving Running Performance

I’ve done pretty good in my racing this year. The first 6 events, in wildly varying conditions, resulted in me beating my personal bests over 4 distances and gaining my first ever 1st place at a 10km race whilst the last event, a 50 mile mountain trail race that I didn’t train for at all, delivered an age group podium finish. This short article tries to explain the reasons for this relative success. Here are a few finish line selfies to set the scene. Firstly, 5km in March in 18:35, over 2…

What they think of the English. Sorry, British. Very sorry about that. Terribly sorry…

Our media creates many ways in which it believes the world should view the English, I’ve realized this over many years working as a travel writer. I say ‘English’ as that’s what’s generally meant when any journalist talks of the British. At least if they’re saying bad stuff. If they say nice things, they’ll ensure they mention the words Scottish, Irish or Welsh. Such is the world we live in; archytypes have got to be upheld, you can only rock the boat so much before people start getting too sick to…

A Love Letter to the Great Lakes

Lush Handmade Cosmetics, the company I work for, has been supporting the Pangea Seed Foundation for several years and last week they allowed a few of us workers to volunteer on their street art project that was taking place in Toronto. Many will write far more extensively and eloquently than I about the whole project so I’ll leave that to them, and say that if you want to know more about the project, please click this link – https://www.pangeaseed.foundation/sea-walls/a-love-letter-to-the-great-lakes/ I’ll just note down a couple of observations. I had my preconceptions…

Yoga in the Park

I really enjoyed our running/walking and yoga session today in High Park. My friend Tim knows the trails well, and afterwards we joined another friend, Pamela, for a yoga session in the water gardens. The gardens so reminded me of those in Moorish Andalucia, beautiful on the eye. It was so relaxing to do yoga there with the sound of the fountains and the occasional peacock calls rising up from the nearby zoo. I thought of doing this as it’s become so clear that I need to do serious work on myself….

10 Year Anniversary

In early 2006 I was offered a press trip to report on the Colombo Marathon in Sri Lanka. I’d never run a marathon before but I thought I was fit – I used to spend an hour a day in the gym and was a trim 200lbs so reckoned I could handle a marathon (wrong!) – and although I was a self taught journalist I knew enough to understand that you can’t write anything without first experiencing it on your own skin. So I said yes to the invite; Colombo…

An Unlikely Win in Athens

All photos have been kindly provided by George Spyros I went into the Eirindromia 10km race thinking I could maybe get a top 30 finish. It was going to be hot, though, about 25 degrees at 9am, and I could see there were  a good few athletes around me who looked very organised (warming up with purpose, in groups, in luminous running shoes). Then my friend Viktor, who knows many of the top local athletes, started to point to various people and say something like ‘Oh, he’s a strong runner,…