muzej savremene umetnosti

Delighted to hear the news that the Museum of Contemporary Art is opening again after ten long years. Six years ago, it featured in one of the first posts that I wrote on, what was then my new blog, belgradestreets.


Decided to add an extra post today, a sort of ‘Sunday Supplement’.

Yesterday, whilst shopping at Ušće for some of the random necessities of life, I wandered across the swathe of parkland that lies along the river toward what seemed a rather fascinating yet random group of sculptures set among the grass and trees, it became clear that they were not random but some of the outdoor (and now quite weathered) exhibits of Belgrade’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

Sadly closed for repairs since being damaged in the bombing of 1999 the Museum’s collection numbers some 35,000 works of art produced since 1900 in Serbia and the former Yugoslavia.

This lonely and decaying building, partly hidden behind fencing, is located near the confluence of the Sava and Danube and was designed by Ivan Antić and Ivanka Raspopović in 1960 with construction taking place between 1960 and 1965, Wikipedia states that…

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belgradestreets in china


Delighted to report that an image from belgradestreets was recently featured in the January 2017 edition of Condé Nast Travel Magazine in China.

My book belgradestreets featuring a series of my photographs of Belgrade, Serbia is on sale in bookshops and online.

Each year, royalties from the sale of belgradestreets are donated to charitable organisations caring for children in need in Serbia.


cause we need a little controversy
’cause it feels so empty

 – lyrics from without me, eminem


This is my response to the prompt for Day Eight of the WordPress Writing 101 Poetry course. And, as the prompt is, err, amazingly, my very own prompt, I’m interrupting your enjoyment (momentarily) so that I can thank Ben Huberman for inviting me to contribute today, even though there are so many better qualified poets out there. By which I mean, those of you who can actually, you know, write, uh, poetry. You know who you are.

More to the point, thank you to all who have taken the trouble to find your way to my post!

< gratuitous plug >
The photo, by the way, was shot by me in the dark interior of the BIGZ building in Belgrade. If you’d like to find out more, or failing that, see what I saw, feel free to visit belgradestreets and check out bigz graffiti or  all that jazz or even broken, and then book a flight to Belgrade, and then, why not pop into a bookstore and take a look at my book! 😉
< / gratuitous plug >

And hey, if you need more Poetry when this is all over, why not make a note to join Poetry 101 Rehab every Monday?

< graffiti >

in your face
it’s my freakin’ space
my only

 < / graffiti >

so out of order
blood splattered border
couldn’t be (more) bored(er)

< graffiti >

i don’t freakin’
how you fare or (even)
if you

< / graffiti >

it’s my

 < / even >

writing 101 | poetry | eight | seconds | prompt by me (in’em) 😉


beneath your feet

“No man is an island…
…Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.”

– John Donne


I have been very lucky in life, in some ways.

You may choose whether you agree. Or you may not.

I have circumnavigated the globe by air. Twice. In both directions. In Business Class. Pampered and spoiled. Wined and dined. And once, just once, in First Class, been plied with glass after glass of Krug until wheels up, before flying across half the world under a goose down duvet with tea served in a china cup by a flight attendant who actually appeared to genuflect.

As a senior official in the Federal Government of the Commonwealth of Australia, I found myself invited by Qantas to pass through the hidden portal of the Chairman’s Lounge, rubbing shoulders with Ministers of the Commonwealth, riding the wave, full of a sense of my own self importance. One of the chosen few.

And, as I flew across the world, this way and that way. Did I know the plight of those below? Did I?

On Sunday morning, during a drive across rain storm riven France, weary with a headache, I stopped, tipped the wrappings of my sandwich and empty plastic water bottles into the bin, walked into the Flunch franchise, ordered an Americano and two croissants. Slid my slice of plastic into the offered orifice. On this occasion, for everything else, there wasn’t Mastercard.

Card declined.

The barista looked at me, mouth curling, eyes turned away. Do you have cash? No.

The labels, the badges, the false friends, gone.

I found myself worrying, not merely about the (unattainable) coffee rapidly cooling in front of my eyes, but of the prospect of being marooned in France when my fuel ran out.

Poor me?

Just over a week ago, I visited Belgrade, a place that, despite my early negative feelings, has won a special place in my heart.

I rode the dvojka, the number two tram, around the heart of the city. As the tram rattled past the train station and then the bus station, before it approached the brash flags and even brasher promise of the Eagle Hills “Belgrade Waterfront” development, I was shocked to see the people in the park. Sleeping rough, young and old, men and women, babes in arms. Sleeping in the park off Karadjordjeva, in front of the Faculty of Economics. In a country where the average wage is around 300 euro (and most survive on far far less), where the government impose austerity measures on its battered electorate, in a city where the shoeless children of Roma people bathe in waste bins flooded with hydrant water and build houses from discarded cardboard, a city bombed and blasted by the West, a proud and decent city, a city with its own problems, here were migrants desperate for a new home, huddled under trees. Sitting in despondent groups, waiting, and for what?

The people in the park are reported to be migrants en route through Serbia to the promised land, north, in the European Union in Germany, Sweden, Holland or wherever they believe they can find shelter, food, safety. Most are believed to have walked from Syria or Afghanistan, many have scant clothing, no shoes and the children are poorly prepared for the journey, the intense heat, the privation of a long march. The people in the park are falling sick, they have no bathrooms, no real hygiene. Friends of mine, back in the city, who run the Belgrade Foreign Visitors Club, are working hard to help them in whatever way they can, so also, as they did when the floods came, are ordinary Serbian citizens, folk who, by our standards, also need and deserve our help, they again are reaching out to help these migrants. But, for every one person they help, two more arrive on the following day. And, in a scene worthy of the Game of Thrones, there are reports that Hungary is erecting a wall, physical or virtual it does not matter, but a wall nonetheless to keep the marauding bands of migrants out of Fortress Europe, or at least their part of it. And back in the UK, the government buy more barbed wire, and worry about the economy in Kent.

But these are not ravaging monsters, they are desperate people, children, people fleeing from oppression in countries where Europe has intervened with scant regard for the consequences for the ordinary people that live there. Remember Libya, the cries of delight in certain quarters of the Western media when Gaddafi was “eliminated”, well what of that country now?

So, when I hand over the keys to my company car in a month’s time, surrender my company iPhone, and mourn the loss of my once privileged status, maybe I would do well to remember that I have a bed to sleep in, I don’t have to walk in bare feet half way across a continent in fear for my life, or rip through barbed wire, break into a lorry, to be safe.

All I need to do is look, smugly, at my passport.

And, what does that make me?


(for wordpress weekly photo challenge – beneath our feet)

Promocija knjige Belgradestreets u Dvorištancetu

Join me next Thursday evening, 23 July at 19:00 at Klub Dvoristance, Brace Krsmanovica 14, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia to see Belgrade through my eyes courtesy of Klub Dvoristance and publishers Komshe.


Join me next Thursday evening, 23 July at 19:00 at Klub Dvoristance, Brace Krsmanovica 14, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia to see Belgrade through my eyes courtesy of Klub Dvoristance and publishers Komshe.

Would be great to see you there!


Now thrilled to announce that that the team at the Belgrade Foreign Visitor’s Club have decided to combine their popular “Thirsty Thursday Event” with my exhibition at Klub Dvoristance this Thursday evening, 23 July at 19:00 .

Do hope you can come and thanks again to Dimitrije and Branko and all their colleagues at Komshe!

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Once more, I chose to explain this post before I begin, and not add one of my cryptic, and often ambiguous, notes, after the piece.  This time, it is the end of the piece that may, for some, appear ambiguous.  For which, I do not apologise.

This is my response to day seventeen of the Writing 101 Blogging U. course run by WordPress. The course will end on Friday.

The brief, came in two parts.

As usual, a prompt, with a twist.

Today’s prompt

“We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears.”

And, the twist?

“Write this post in a style distinct from your own.”

The man sat at the bare wooden table. In the corner. Heavily. He was exhausted. It had been a long day. Again.

For him it was always so. Each day the same.

Alone. Contemplating his surroundings. The bar was dim, dingy after the searing sun in the street.  A long mirror behind the bar, an empty hatstand.

And cold. Very cold. The floor, stone, covered in dust and the remains of well chewed cigars. And other stuff. He didn’t want to think what stuff.

Turning, signalling to the bar tender, with a single raised finger.

The bar tender looked across the room. Blankly. No response. His head seeming to sweep slowly across the bar. And its solitary occupant. His reflection, in the long mirror behind the bar, completing the circle.

“Hey, what do I have to do to get served around here?”

The bar tender appeared unmoved by the request. Not a shrug. Not a raised eyebrow. Nothing. At all.

The man pushed back his chair, legs scraping through the detritus that covered the floor.

“Hey. I really. Could. Use. A. Drink. Here. Yeah?”

Nothing. The bar tender turned away. A finger rubbing his chin absently.

The couple entered the bar. He, sombre, miserable looking, black tuxedo, open white shirt, top buttons missing, unshaven. She, tight fitting little red dress, little else. Or so it seemed to the man, his attention distracted from the unresponsive bar tender.

The tuxedo and the red dress stopped, looked. Moved past his table. Saying nothing. At all.

They sat, fell, into a plump sofa pushed against the wall. So close, he could smell their heat, their lust. It disturbed him.

He looked away as the tuxedo explored the red dress. He didn’t need to see what he guessed was inevitable. Hearing their grunts and hot heavy breathing was enough. More than enough.

From the corner of his eye, he saw the tuxedo and the bar tender exchange a glance. No words. A nod. That was all.

Their drinks appeared quickly. Left on the low wooden table. It was covered in stains. He watched the ice melt in their glasses.

The man turned away. Looked directly into the bar tender’s cold grey eyes. Sought to hold his gaze for a moment. The bar tender turned away, his eyes drifting to the battered old TV set flickering, buzzing, in a corner above the bar.

Coughing, the man stood up. Walked to the bar. Angry now. Very.

“Listen. Can. I. Have. A. F******. Drink. Mate!”

His fingers, dry and twisted, drumming on the edge of the bar.

The bar tender turned. Checked out the tuxedo and the red dress. His face twisted in a sneer, one that made it clear he had seen it before. Seen them before. Knew how it played out. He walked away from the bar, past them. Towards the door in the corner. Left the bar. The door closing behind him. Slam.

The only sounds in the room, the TV, the moans from the couple on the sofa.

“What the f*** do I have. To. Do. To get a f***** drink in this bar!!!”

In a red veiled rage, he reached across the bar, fingers grasping for the bottle of whisky that lay there.

Bottle in hand, he splashed a heavy shot from the bottle. Filled the glass.

“I’ll f****** well help myself then!”

He raised his glass, looked directly into the mirror, saw the tuxedo, the red dress.

And nothing else.

point of view


Her fingers were gnarled, sore and stiff. Shoulders hunched against the cold wind that embraced her. A wind that cared for nothing, no one.

Glasses balanced on her nose, the red of the small sweater filled her field of view.

She continued to knit.

As she always did.

She wondered who might one day buy this tiny knitted thing. It seemed that no one bought anything anymore. They walked on by, they looked, or looked away, they shot their photos, and, embarrassed, walked away.

She was nothing to them. These people that walked on by.

She remembered that day, so long ago, when the wind was not a wind, but a warming breeze. That day, she had sat on the bench. In that park.

And yes, she had been working away on the tiny red sweater even then.

Intent on her work she had not seen them approach. But she knew.

He, the tall man with those cold blue eyes, felt her slim fingers tighten in his palm, the nails drawing blood in thin lines. Those delicate fingers he knew so well, that even in the heat of that late summer afternoon, felt cold, brittle.

And, he knew why.

He heard, felt, her catch her breath. He looked at her. Light hair blowing in that gentle breeze, and he saw her turn and look at the bench.

He knew who she would see, even before his eyes joined hers.

It was her. Again.

That feeling came back to him, some long buried sense of duty, fear, emptiness. He could not quite place it. It was just there, it always was.

She felt him recoil slightly as with her fingers she tightened her grip on his hand, that big hand, the hand she both wanted and feared. She felt the wind in her hair as she sensed him turn to look at her. Her eyes were fixed on the woman on the bench.

That same sense of longing filled her. If only he could feel what she felt.

For now, she felt the wind in her hair.

He could not look again at the woman on the bench. Not again.

She paused, her fingers gripping his, she turned to the woman on the bench. She bent lower, with her free hand she brushed her hair away from her eyes.

She knew what she wanted to say.

As she remembered this, the look in the woman’s eyes as she brushed away the hair from her face, she paused in her knitting. Shivered against the cold. And against it all.

The words she wanted to speak would not come, despite the warm summer wind, she shivered, as if a cold wind had swept across the park. She looked at the woman, their eyes met. They both knew then, that nothing would ever be the same. But, that it would always be. Nothing more.

He saw this, turned away, gazed across the park to the river. he knew that it was over.

She sighed, and continued to knit.

As she always did.

(for wordpress writing 101 – day nine)


blended fitness

weaving, back and


his memories clashed


the smell of those sneakers

melded and

left him

remembering, how once he knew

where he


(my fifth of five posts in response to a very kind nomination for the “five photos / five stories black and white challenge” from desleyjane and for the “black and white challenge” from albert

(and inspired by a dreadful awakening and by a walk on the edge of town)

(oh, and as my fifth and final nomination, I’d like to invite jane lurie, if she feels so inclined, to share with you her perspective on “how photography helps people to see” through five black and white images and stories…)

*shot also for lucile’s the clinic – photo rehab, and justine’s electic corner #7, with nikon d700, 50mm f/1.4 nikkor lens and edited in aperture 3, photoshop cc, and silver efex pro 2, a layered blend of belgrade and brüssel* 


DSC_5836_4038 - 2012-04-22 at 14-24-02

two fight
for the balance

the west gate
confronts an evil
will they become
russian dolls
shaped by
etched from
broken glass
screaming out
keep out

or just give me enough rope!

will we take the right path?

(found poetry featuring landscape and a little enumeratio for wordpress writing 201 – landscape)

*shot with nikon d700, 16-35mm f/4 lens, edited in aperture 3, silver efex pro 2, diverging paths intersect*

Notes and queries

During the last couple of weeks I have been participating in the Writing 201 Poetry course under the expert guidance and watchful eye of Ben Huberman.

Each day Ben has set us a new challenge including a word prompt, a poetic form and a device.

Today’s challenge involves responding to the word “landscape” using the found poetry form and the device of enumeratio.

My response, a piece of flagrant and unashamed self promotion 😉, is to use a landscape shot I took in the Spring of 2012 at Ada Huja, a long disused site on the banks of the Danube in Belgrade which also serves from time to time as the site for the Supernatural music festival. I used this shot for a number of reasons . Firstly because it is one of the few landscape shots I have in my archive and second because it is one of my favourite images to be found in the first edition of my book belgradestreets which featured photos drawn from my blog of the same name.

I then selected ten captions (in bold) placed beneath every second photo in my book leading up to and ending with the caption from the photo I chose to construct today’s “found” poem.