Spacing juxtapositions


Finding space in a neoliberal city

Jordan road runs along the edge of Mong Kok.  As one progresses down the street  towering behind is the ICC building, which completed in 2010 is the worlds fifth tallest building and bosts a hotel that has the highest lobby. The street runs through a market district with side streets are impassable in a car becasue of market stalls and street hawkers (leagal and illeagal) physically stand in the way automobiles while the throngs of people make other forms of mobility also as impossible. Continue reading

Habit, morals, food and social media



Every year, for the past several I’ve gone to Brussels to review grants for the European Commission. It is not a habitual exercise, however as I must be invited, and this is not a certainty. I love going and look forward nervously for the invitation every spring. I gain a huge amount of satisfaction and validation from the effort. For the past several times, when I’ve gone, I meet a group of friends at a Moroccan restaurant near the Bourse. On the recent visit, at this restaurant, I learned about what is known as the Paleo diet. Roughly, on this diet you avoid pulses, grains, dairy, and sugar. It is meant to help you feel better. It does, but you have to break a few habits first. Continue reading

Driers of fish and hewers of place


Hewers of fish

While the word hue refers to colour, to be a hewer is to be someone who carves out. When I was in graduate school, one of the more influential papers I read was written by geographer Kathy Gibson. The paper, titled “Hewers of cake and drawers of tea”, was an analysis of class struggle and gender in the face of miners strikes in Queensland, Australia. The point of the paper was to illustrate the importance of domestic activity and women’s work in the reproduction of conditions under which strike action is made possible.  Indeed, strike times, as well as times of employment and plenty, are sustained by the graft of women and the community in which and through which they forge their domestic craft. It is often through ordinary activities, such as cooking, from which social life is hewn. Continue reading

Urban food: Lines of opportunity into patterns of possiblity


rain gutter garden
At the moment the Sheffield Food Festival is happening.  Over the course of the weekend, in the town centre, there are stalls of folk selling the foods they grow, make, deliver, and cook.  Given the weather has been wonderful, it makes for a very nice day out.  This being England, along with purchasing your food items to take home, you can also buy a nice bit of something to eat, a drink to get a bit happy with, and find out more about urban gardening (the last of which is what this post is really about).  Continue reading

Looks great, but the smell…


IMG_0670When I first saw these wrapped in plastic, for sale in the market, I though they were candies. Chewy candies. The deep orange colour looked like a promise of tartness. Later, as  I walked through the village of Tai O, I saw this basket sitting on a white table out in the sun. Full of salt and fresh egg yolks, I realised that what I saw was not candies at all.  Unappetising now, the flies buzzing around make them seem even less so.  I am told, however, that my prejudices are wrong. These things that I struggle to think of as food are according to some “quite good”. Continue reading

Up, down, all around the town



There are more than 800 steps up this hill. It is on the MacLehose Trail in Hong Kong. The whole trail is over 1000 km long. You might not expect this of Hong Kong but, there are thousands of kilometers of trails throughout the SAR. Continue reading