I’m the King of the world!

If your only knowledge of the Titanic story is through Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet, you’ve a lot to learn. I’ll confess now, I’ve never seen the film. And nor did I really know much about the doomed ship. Five years ago, and at a cost of £77 million, the Titanic Belfast opened on the site…

A warm welcome in a Windy City

“The weather’s pretty good but there’s a still southerly breeze blowing – so the final approach might be a bit choppy.” When a pilot is so specific, you know it’s going to be a rough landing. Fortunately, we’re flying on a smallish properllor plane, so we feel every last jolt as we descend into George…

Looking Up and Looking Down

Berlin is blessed with lots of green spaces, but none ar as grand as the Tiergarten. An ancient hunting ground, the sprawling parkland was badly damaged during the Second World War but has since become a focal point for joggers, doggers and walkers. During. A mid morning stroll I see two of those (I won’t…

Der Muggelberge und Der Blues

Like many big cities, the best way to deal with Berlin is by treating it as a series of smaller towns and neighbourhoods. And the city is surrounded by a series of interlocking canals, rivers and lakes. Which gives the locals plenty of messing about on the water, and the tourist industry plenty of money…

A Home Fit For Heroes 

On an ordinary street in the Shoneburg district of a Berlin is an ordinary looking door. It sits among a row of run of the mill cafes and shops. But its door was used for a couple of years in the mid seventies by anyone other than ordinary. Because this was David Bowie’s home.   …

You’re Very Wilkommen 

I’ve always tried to support my local area, using its services whenever I can. Previously I’ve praised the facilities at East Midlands Airport – which were never going to match anything that the big boys could provide – but at least the place ran efficiently.  But no more. There must be a dozen early morning…

Tell Laura I Hate Her

I’ve made this point before; journalism is perhaps unique as a career where you can expect to be openly, personally abused simply for reporting what others have said. And as public figures, perhaps we should accept that strong differences of opinion are part and parcel of the job. It’s even harder when you’re part of…

Sold : Dancing Hamster – £40m

The sale of a group of radio stations to a much bigger company often brings with it anxiety among staff, doubts over job security and a collective sigh among the anoraks that things will never quite be the same again – and wouldn’t it be nice to bring back some old heritage brand names. Yet…

Original Oregon

There are few places where I’ve managed to encounter a city’s mayor, live band karaoke, really bad stand up comedy and a post midnight doughnut all in one evening. It started off quietly enough in the Davis Street bar, one of the huge, converted old buildings which is now embracing one of Oregon’s biggest industries…

The right side of the tracks

Monday, and it seems that more people want to use the train today than my previous encounters with North America’s rail system. Seattle’s King Street terminal is bustling this morning with two popular services. The first is heading all the way to Los Angeles. It’s one of those grandiose double decker units, complete with an…

Lift off

It’s certainly the most touristy thing I’ve done so far in this trip, but you can’t visit Seattle and not go up the Space Needle. Built in the early Sixties, the landmark dominates the skyline, and greets you as you arrive by that other notable sixties development, the Monorail. The guidebook tells me I can…

Bed and border

If hardly anyone in the United States travels by train, even fewer take the Thruway buses which connect the network when the trains aren’t running. This 1130 from Vancouver to Seattle has fewer than a dozen passengers, though annoyingly one is a small child, frequently screaming loudly. The journey begins at Vancouver’s Pacific Central station,…