Archive for the tag "Elizabeth Pisani"

Elizabeth Pisani’s next project – “Indonesia Etc. – Exploring the Improbable Nation” (16/01/14)

                                        In late 2011, epidemiologist, writer and adventurer Elizabeth Pisani granted herself a sabbatical from the day job and set off to rediscover Indonesia, a country she has wandered, loved and been baffled by for decades. […]

Indonesia: a miracle despite itself (19/06/12)

I’m nearing the end of the first (nine-month long) leg of my Indonesian Odyssey and I don’t feel much closer to understanding the heart of this torturously complicated but endlessly fascinating nation. I’ve done my best to try and sum up some of my thoughts in the June issue of Prospect, one of UK’s more […]

Spanish wisdom, from hookers (and me) (27/03/12)

Spain. With the possible exception of the one I’m trailing around now, it’s my favourite country on earth. For many reasons, including a sense of social solidarity and the fantastic pragmatism of Spanish women. Madrid’s sex workers have been displaying both, refusing to sell sex to bankers until those blood-suckers start lending money to the […]

Silliness in the snow (with my trans father?) (29/12/10)

Seasonal silliness from my family. I’d like to claim to be the stylish one on the ski-bob, that odd bike thing with skis where the wheels should be, but I’m afraid that accolade goes to my father. He’s on the bike in the final video clip (I precede him on the sled). But for the […]

Wisdom eBook WAS free for December 2010 (04/12/10)

I’m very grateful to my publisher, Granta, for allowing readers free access to the eBook of the Wisdom of Whores for December 2010. A little disclosure: I had a bet with Granta staff about how many people would download the eBook. The bet was made in second bottle territory so the details are hazy; one […]

World AIDS Day: get the “Wisdom of Whores” eBook for free (01/12/10)

I’m very grateful to my publisher, Granta, for allowing readers free access to the eBook of the Wisdom of Whores for December 2010. A little disclosure: I had a bet with Granta staff about how many people would download the eBook. The bet was made in second bottle territory so the details are hazy; one […]

La sabiduria de las putas, stilo mejicano (14/11/10)

I’ve just spent an interesting couple of days at the Cuidad de las Ideas festival in Puebla in Mexico. I spoke of sex and drugs as usual; Puebla being one of the more conservative towns in this still overwhelmingly Catholic country, some were perhaps shocked by the directness of my language. But I was more […]

Tilting at windbags — it’s AIDS conference time (19/07/10)

Illustration by Fernando Vicente This week, the Great and the Good of the AIDS industry gather in Vienna for the biennial AIDS circus. With delicious irony, the conference, held right next to the barracks of the UN’s Drug Warriors, will focus in part on getting more countries to do the one thing that really works […]

Troll of the Year Award: Am I a fungus or a Marxist? (28/05/10)

I have several loyal readers whose comments regularly make me laugh: this, for example. And I almost never refuse a comment unless it’s trying to sell a cure for AIDS or the commentator is too much of a pussy to give an e-mail address. But this one, from a fount of indignation calling Himself “Derrail”, […]

Seasonal cheer, and new year challenges (26/12/09)

Christmas in London — what better way to celebrate than carol singing in the streets of Soho with singers from Westmister Abbey and the International Union of Sex Workers? The Rector of St Anne’s parish in Soho swished out in front in long robes and fuschia beret but it was this banner, carried by Nico […]

Should I go for a drink with this man? (05/07/09)

The Guardian on Saturday ran a review of The Wisdom of Whores, which is newly out in paperback in the UK. In it, Nicholas Lezard suggests I sound like a fun person to go for a drink with. By conincidence, I spent the weekend with someone who was at university with Nick. He was, aparently, […]

That night in Tiananmen Square (03/06/09)

Off-topic but on memory: 20 years ago today I was in Tiananmen Square, reporting for Reuters on the chaos that was the student movement. It was an odd time — sweaty, rank-smelling but rather jolly. Erica’s photo captures rather well the unbridled hubris and optimism of the students, right up to the last day or […]

Easter Greetings to the Vatican (10/04/09)

When the New Statesman New Scientist asked me for my idea of God, I described God as a ventriloquist’s dummy, worked by puppeteers in the religious bureaucracies. But in this video Canadian director Patrick Boivin delightfully makes puppets of the puppeteers also: Thanks to Paul Canning for pointing me to Patrick’s work. Readers might want […]

Of NEJM, “required reading” and brotherly love (27/03/09)

I’ve just tipped off an 11 hour flight to find the paragraphs below posted on my behalf by my friend, advisor and brother, Mark. I spent the flight preparing for a training about scientific publication; I’ve been making a song and dance in my lectures about both plagiarism (bad) and disclosure (good). And I mulled […]

Talking heads (25/11/08)

An experiment in technology. I happened to be chatting the othernight at the Frontline Club in Paddington. For those who are in London and don’t know it, check it out. A great hang-out for hacks, former hacks and those who just like telling stories, it also gives good restaurant. Graham Holliday, who writes the Frontline […]

Housekeeping and the movies (27/07/08)

I’ve had lots of fun in recent weeks pontificating in talks and interviews about sex, drugs and the AIDS biz, usually to people who know a lot more about all of the above than I do. (My favourites of recent weeks: sex worker radio XXBN and Sex Goddess radio Susie Bright, not pictured below). But […]

Come and argue with me, please (05/06/08)

From June 8th to July 4th I’ll be in the US and Canada. I’ll be visiting New York, Toronto, Washington DC, San Francisco, LA, Seattle and Vancouver. My schedule is here. Or you can see my Google calendar. Please come along to agree, disagree, make me think, change my mind, or entrench me in my […]

More trumpets (only one a litte off key) (25/05/08)

There’s another clutch of reviews of The Wisdom of Whores posted to the “What They’re Saying” page. They include Rachel Holmes in The Times (she thinks I’m a nerd, in the best possible way), Michael Fitzpatrick in The Guardian (who seems vaguely disapproving), Stephanie Merritt in the Observer (who is seduced by the mysteries of […]

If you’ve got it, flaunt it department: Elizabeth’s mafia connections (19/05/08)

It’s been a busy day on the airwaves. Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I managed to hit BBC World TV’s HardTalk interview and be on BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week, both in one day. On HardTalk, Stephen Sackur spent a lot of time quizzing me about my mafia connections. Comments have ranged […]