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Sketches from Luzern

Sketches from Luzern

The piano recital had just passed the 90-minute mark and I’d run out of things to do. More pertinently, I was wrestling with my internal monologue.

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Binge-drinking artists debunk Chinese script

Binge-drinking artists debunk Chinese script

Zheng and his collaborators in the Yangjiang Group, Sun Qinglin and Chen Zaiyan,use Chinese calligraphy and alcohol to occupy exactly this space – the unconscious mind seething up through the cleft created when you know vaguely what it is you’re trying to say, but you’re so bladdered on the local Zhujiang Beer you can barely hold an ink brush.

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Hotel art for art’s sake

Hotel art for art’s sake

Hotel art is so often synonymous with mass-produced prints, thoughtlessly arranged in carbon-copied rooms. But there a few emerging boutique properties who are celebrating artistic expression and embracing artists, both locally and on a global scale.

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After Afghanistan, when the war begins

After Afghanistan, when the war begins

When I meet Ben Quilty he looks and smells exactly as I imagined. He’s dressed in a flannelette shirt, jeans and sneakers, with scruffy hair and a beard that's fiercely thick. He smells of oil paint and I can see it still jammed under his fingernails. Sitting in a leafy courtyard at the National Art School, Quilty disarms me with his warm and welcoming presence despite the obvious emotion he displays as we start discussing his latest exhibition.

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Not just art for art’s sake

Not just art for art’s sake

There’s a new, or perhaps old, kid in town and it’s pulling both the punters and the posh crowd to Philadelphia. The Barnes Foundation is probably THE most talked about opening in the art world these days. Its list of holdings alone is staggering: 181 Renoirs (the largest single group of the artist’s paintings), 69 Cézannes, 59 works by Matisse, 46 Picassos, and 16 Modigliani’s are just some highlights. Barnes also befriended and collected American painter William Glackens (70 of his works reside at the Foundation).

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Skype’s not the limit for Estonia

Skype’s not the limit for Estonia

Most tourists flock to Paris for the kind of bread that breaks the will of even the most die-hard Atkins devotees, but the French aren’t the only ones who take their crust seriously. The Baltic state of Estonia could mount a marketing campaign based on their thick, black rye bread.

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Boston – a city on the move

Boston – a city on the move

Boston’s a city dear to my heart. I grew up just a couple of hours south, in Connecticut, a small state that straddles New York and New England; the best of both worlds.

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Planespotting: Air China goes Irvine Welsh

Planespotting: Air China goes Irvine Welsh

It’s not often you get to walk into an airport and know from the outset that what’s about to unravel over the next 24-hours is going to be the worst airline experience of your life.

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India’s billion beckons

India’s billion beckons

If you listened to Australian businesses you could be forgiven for thinking there aren’t any other countries left in the world that matter – aside from China that is.

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Here there be dragons

Here there be dragons

Ever made an absurd travel insurance claim? Yes? We can guarantee you that you’ve never made a claim as wacky as some of these. From bag snatching monkeys to Mozambique cobra snakes, travellers are constantly faced with the absolute unexpected. Compare Travel Insurance media spokesman, Natalie Ball today revealed some of the most crazy travel …

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Sisters wear pants when it comes to preventing violence

Sisters wear pants when it comes to preventing violence

An unfashionable pair of homemade harem pants worn by 50 women has raised $10,000 to help prevent violence against women. The pants made it to Las Vegas, appeared on Oprah, went skydiving and even had the odd breakfast in bed and returned to their maker with a large mystery hole in one leg.

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A new Dark Age – coming to a wedding near you

A new Dark Age – coming to a wedding near you

If there’s one thing I despise in a columnist it’s the phrase: "I was watching TV the other night.'' Writers should be out living - goddammit! Not watching TV. They should be dragging themselves through the gutter. Sharing the slumgullion of the Earth’s forgotten.

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No west end in sight for Soho hostess

No west end in sight for Soho hostess

In the heart of London’s theatre district, one woman has been serving customers for more than 70 years and she’s still going. Elena Salvoni is heralded as the unofficial Queen of Soho, greeting a loyal, and famous fan base once a month for lunch.

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Europe’s last maverick

Europe’s last maverick

On a crisp, cold, sunny winter’s day, I meet President Grimsson at his official residence just outside Rejkjavik. With minimal security, I’m led into the President’s library where we being talking about his controversial handling of the banking collapse three years ago.

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The perfect getaway – from the end of the world

The perfect getaway – from the end of the world

Where better to escape with a brace of breeding females than the ocean - millions of uninhabited islands to choose from, fresh water and unlimited food. What better way to ride out a zombie apocalypse or just the end of the world as we know it and get away from the madding and possibly murderous and brain eating crowd? But wait I hear you ask - what about that apartment I just bought in that nuclear missile silo in Missourah? As my sergeant used to say, “a bunker is a grave’’.

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Breeze into the 21st century

Breeze into the 21st century

Nowadays the wind is used to power Bahrain’s megaskyscrapers, like the mighty turbines between the gleaming sails of the 290m World Trade Centre. But for thousands of years wind towers were an ancient architectural technique used in Bahrain to cool buildings. They’re now coming back into fashion, and it’s less about substance, and more about style.

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Luxury back in style baby, says SLH supremo

Luxury back in style baby, says SLH supremo

One of the key planks to the brand’s success has been its loyalty scheme, the debonair chief told Lunch Magazine in an exclusive interview in Sydney recently. “There are three levels: guests are either Special, Loved, or Honoured,’’ he said with a smile. The brand is also investing heavily in technology and scrapping its mouth watering coffee-table book which lists all the organisation’s 500-plus hotels in 74 nations around the globe.

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MCA’s Liz Ann Mac humble but proud

MCA’s Liz Ann Mac humble but proud

It is difficult to imagine Liz Anne Macgregor being humble. But the tenacious flame-haired Scott who has headed one of Australia’s premier cultural icons for the past 13 years says that is just what overseeing its $53 million revamp has made her. “It’s neen humbling, exhilarating exasperating, but finally it’s come together and look at the results,’’ she tells Lunch Magazine from the Sculpture Garden on level three of the new wing that was three years in the making. “There were moments when I thought it was never going to happen and I felt like saying “let’s give it up and go home’.’’

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Policing Bahraini revolution … softly, softly

Policing Bahraini revolution … softly, softly

Irish-American John Timoney spent 40 years successfully reducing crime and excessive force within police departments in New York, Philadelphia and Miami. I sat down with John Timoney to ask about the goals and timelines for Bahrain’s Police Department.

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2012 the year free enterprise gets people in space

2012 the year free enterprise gets people in space

Did you know that going into space will soon be slightly simpler than buying a loaf of bread in Weimar Germany? That’s right, all you need is to take a wheelbarrow full of cash into the offices of Virgin Galactic, or even better use a credit card with $20,000 room on it. Sometime in the …

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People-friendly Ljubljana worth copying

People-friendly Ljubljana worth copying

Amy Hughes takes a bike tour of Slovenia's capital. Set in the centre of Europe, Slovenia recently elected a new Prime Minister, Zoran Janković. The former Mayor of the capital city, Ljubljana, Jankovic is credited with creating what many consider a model city for its pedestrian and bike-friendly city streets. On a recent visit, I took a whirlwind tour with Ljubljana’s Deputy Mayor Janez Koželj and urban mobility expert Blaz Lokar.

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Artists’ haven in Balkan ex-army base

Artists’ haven in Balkan ex-army base

Squatting in the ex-military complex, so from a really rigid military concept into a free art space...that’s something really important. It’s the image; the way it looks, that still everything is possible, what is nowhere else possible. It has a Metelkova style. It’s very Metelkova.

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Travel bug incurable: survey

Ask any non-Aussie traveller and they will tell you they’re a friendly, laid back bunch. Though positive on the surface, a new study by Macquarie Banking and Financial Services Group points to the fact that this nationally celebrated “she’ll-be-right”-ism is a clever façade for the sinister truth: They are terminally incapable of making decisions. The …

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Run to New Bonnard Museum

Run to New Bonnard Museum

A smaller, quieter, more charming sister to Cannes, Le Cannet is just a few miles west of the French Riviera’s most glamourous city. Le Cannet is also now home to the first museum devoted to the French 19th and 20th century artist Pierre Bonnard.

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Tiny dancer … big show

Tiny dancer … big show

The entrance sets the stage perfectly, with a dramatic, darkened room. Shadows of ballerinas float on the walls, in a scene not unlike the tiny plastic dancers doing endless pirouettes atop musical jewellery boxes in little girls’ bedrooms.

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Real passion breeds success

Real passion breeds success

Karma has a way of working out for Spence, who chatted with Lunch Magazine recently. “I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve never done a job I didn’t like doing,’’ he says.

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Clean Singapore’s new world water

Clean Singapore’s new world water

The island nation exports green technology to the world. It is one of the most densely populated nations on the planet yet Singapore also happens to be one of the most resource efficient. With virtually no resources of its own to speak of and little access to fresh water, the island state is very near self-sufficient in its utility needs.

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It’s not a casino

It’s not a casino

It was a strange place to lament Arnold Schwarznegger's lost years. The years as Governor of California which ripped away from us the greatest bad acting talent of his generation. I was sitting in the Sands Theater in Singapore's magnificent new Marina Bay Sands development listening to the chairman of Las Vegas Sands,

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Tanzanite is forever

Tanzanite is forever

Mark Eggleton It was a strangely exhilarating experience. Standing in-between a couple of hessian bags hanging from the ceiling I was subject to one of the first pat downs (outside of an airport) of my life. I was in Durban’s A5 Hawkers Wholesaler at the city’s Victoria Markets and had just bought some toothpaste. Now …

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