Anti-Concretism and Architectural Atheism: In Defence of Brutalism – Tom Jones

The pro- and anti-Brutalist building camps can be defined in two words apiece. There are those who believe such buildings are ‘concrete poetry’, and there are those who believe that each one is a ‘concrete monstrosity’. Like the battlefields of WW1, there is nothing living in between. Brutalism’s tenure at the forefront of architecture was…

Favorite Recipes – Ann Levin

I can still see her today. Tall, blond, and statuesque, a platinum-haired goddess with perfect teeth and a year-round tan. She was standing in the middle of the dance floor at my parents’ annual Christmas party – except it wasn’t really a dance floor. It was the dining room of our house, but with all…

Radio Music Magic – Paul Sasges

Turn it up, turn it up, little bit higher, radio Turn it up, that’s enough, so you know it’s got soul. ‘Caravan’, Van Morrison, 1970 The transistor radio came out between the vacuum tube in the fifties and the Walkman in the seventies. I spent many hours on our braided area rug prone upon my…

My Mother’s Quilt – Clare Reddaway

This is my mother’s quilt, but many other women have had a hand in it. It was started by my mother in the 1950s, and she made it for most of my life, in admittedly rather a desultory fashion. I remember her sitting on a freezing, pebbly beach in Suffolk, with the grey North Sea…

Tea for a Pandemic – Terry Kirts

1. My grandmother was a kitchen singer, an apron wearer who trilled the rs and drew out the tra-la-las in all the old songs while she kneaded bread dough or blanched tomatoes. Some days growing up, I spent more time in her windswept farmhouse outside of town than I did in my own home, my…

Mesoamerican Triptych – William Fleeson

Pérado I. Pérado stretched over its one paved road, the village elongated to avoid the mud of the side streets. Haitians called out Blan! – “White man!” – wanting attention or a cash handout or, failing the former, cash alone. I stopped for lunch at a roadside shack. They had rice and chicken and pikliz…

The Other Half-Orphan – Thomas Stewart

I was not the first. I knew that when it happened. But you feel like the only one it’s happening to. Because it’s happening to you, and there’s only one you. My father died when I was 23. He was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in July and died in February the next year. For the…

The Ache for Home – Sally Gander

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we areand not be questioned. Maya Angelou The box room where I was staying was dark, always dark. The window let in only a sliver of light and the lamp cast a weak pool of yellow over dark-painted…

Lord of the Ocean – Aneeta Sundararaj

“China is going to take over our world,” my friend declared. Unlikely to happen! I didn’t say the words aloud, though, for this man’s convictions were delivered with such ferocity that any meaningful debate was impossible. Rumour had it that he believed that every country was doomed to inevitable failure unless it bowed down to…