Published in The Independent, The Telegraph, BBC, Rough Guides, TES, Record Collector, Esquire, BA High Life, Reader's Digest, Fodor's and VICE
5 Things you didn’t know about Metallica’s Black Album
August 12 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Metallica’s self-titled fifth LP, known as the Black Album, which was their biggest-selling and transformed Metallica into the stadium band they remain today. But it was also their most controversial—to this day seen as the pivot on which the band’s trajectory forever changed, for better or worse. To mark the anniversary, here
The £10-a-game poker player who won $2.6m
I'm at a poker festival in an east London casino and with more than 300 tournament players around 34 tables the room is thrumming with the muttering of calls and raises. There is a victory whoop here, a groan of defeat there, and the constant clacking of chips riffled by players contemplating their next move...
The Palmyra in Baalbek, Lebanon, once attracted royalty to its ancient playground, but today faces its biggest challenge yet
It is a story as old as tourism itself: destinations experience rises and falls in fortune and favour, be they cities, countries, attractions, and even hotels. And it is at one such lone hotel in an untouched corner of the Middle East that we see one of the more dramatic rise-and-falls of the last hundred years. It is also where
When Joni Mitchell wore blackface for Halloween
The singer Joni Mitchell startled her friends by appearing at a Halloween party 40 years ago disguised as a black man in pimp-like garb. It would be unacceptable today but times were different then, her friends argue. Others disagree. Whichever view you take, her black alter ego was a reflection of her intense identification with black music, writes Kris Griffiths.
The best Indian restaurants in Britain
Over 200 years have passed since Britain’s first curry establishment opened in London (the Hindoostane Coffee House) and Britain's love of spice has only grown. Always a British favourite, Indian cuisine in this country has been enjoying a renaissance of late. In 2014, Gymkhana in Mayfair was named National Restaurant of the Year, while in 2016
Bowie book ‘Me and the Starman’
Wrote a chapter in 2019 anthology book on David Bowie: a collection of stories and essays by journalists, musicians and those who knew him. Includes contributions from novelist Paul Magrs, Glass Spider tour performer Victor Manoel and musical artists Adamski, Kristian Hoffman and Jessica Lee Morgan.
Interview with Shakin' Stevens
The 80s’ biggest-selling singles artist discusses his new, much darker album, Echoes Of Our Times, encompassing global concerns and the social injustices suffered by his ancestors, and the career progression this represents.
Lessons learnt: the fall and rise of my high school
It's the annual school arts festival and a hush falls upon the assembly hall audience as a nervous Year 9 girl takes to the stage with a cheap acoustic guitar. An outsider whose family has not long arrived in the country from the United States, she is terrified, having had difficulties settling in and now facing her first public performance. Her Joni Mitchell-style composition, while not as polished as the preceding older students' acts, is greeted
The decline of the Australian in the UK
Once moving to the UK was a well-worn path for many young Australians. Now the numbers arriving on British shores are falling. Kris Griffiths asks why. Rising migration might be a source of much British soul-searching, but the numbers of one long-standing immigrant group appear to be receding
Why do mornings get darker after the winter solstice?
Today is the shortest day of the year, so it should follow that mornings will start getting brighter from now on, shouldn't it? Not necessarily, writes Kris Griffiths. This Sunday, 21 December, the northern hemisphere will experience the shortest day of its year, marked at 23:03 GMT by an astronomical phenomenon known as the winter solstice - the moment the North Pole is tilted furthest
Is the Anglo-Indian identity dying out?
A product of the British Empire, with a mixture of Western and Indian names, customs and complexions, 2,000 Anglo-Indians are to attend a reunion in Calcutta. But their communities in both the UK and the subcontinent are disappearing, writes Anglo-Indian Kris Griffiths.
How Australian is Foster’s lager?
An Australian news website has warned that Brits are about to become "unbearable" following the possibility of England winning the Ashes. It aims to take the swagger out of the UK's stride by arguing, among other things, that British beer is tasteless: "Hence the longtime popularity for Foster's, an Australian brand". But how Australian is Foster's, and other lager brands?
On the trail of the real Twin Peaks
It’s been 25 years since we first saw the famous Twin Peaks waterfall disgorging through the show’s opening credits, and the town’s kooky characters speaking enigmatically over their cherry pies in the local diner. David Lynch’s masterwork was so effective in evoking this small-town atmosphere because he used actual localities of Washington State in the Pacific Northwest to depict his fictional world.
Kingston, Jamaica: in the footsteps of Bob Marley
Kris Griffiths takes a tour of the birthplace of reggae, following in the footsteps of Jamaica’s most famous son, Bob Marley, on what would have been his 70th birthday. Reggae music was born in the downtrodden townships of this Caribbean island. It’s a genre that has managed to captivate most of the globe with its bouncing riddims and One-Love jubilation
Five reasons to go to Zimbabwe
It’s been a tragedy for the people of Zimbabwe that the country has garnered so much unfavourable publicity over the last ten years, with headlines ranging from its controversial land redistribution programme to the ensuing collapsed economy. In the last few years, however, it has made a steady recovery following a new