Site created by Clive Gray 2018

The above photo was taken by Angie Catlin in 2010 at the Guru Hanuman Akhara in Delhi, which is India's most famous wrestling seminary. The ancient centre draws the nation's best young male talent who come to live, train and practice kushti, an ancient form of mud wrestling. 

 

The young men live an almost monastic existence as they pursue perfection of their craft. No smoking, drinking or sex is allowed. They rise at 4am and follow a strict regime that includes exercises and weight training. 

 

Their sole objective is to hone their wrestling skills and under the watchful eye of Rau, one of India's most revered coaches, they learn grips, feints and tricks which few people alive know.  Our story was published by The Herald Magazine in 2011 and a hard copy is available on request. 

 

Other memorable features are listed below. They include interviews with a Haitian voodoo priest and the man who exposed Israel's secret nuclear arsenal, causing a global sensation.

 

Some features are not online, but hard copies are available on request.

                                 

 A DEFIANT SPIRIT

Mordechai Vanunu is a former nuclear technician at the Negev Nuclear Research Centre in Dimona, Israel, who served an 18-year prison sentence for revealing information about Israel’s atomic program in 1986.

 

After his release from jail in 2004, Israel banned Vanunu from travelling abroad or speaking with foreigners without approval, alleging he had more details to divulge on the Dimona atomic reactor.

 

I've been to Jerusalem twice to interview Vanunu. In 2005, Vanunu was arrested three days after we met and charged with speaking to foreigners and violating the conditions of his parole.

 

In 2009, I visited Jerusalem with photographer Angie Catlin to meet Vanunu again on the fifth anniversary of his release from prison.

 

The Herald Magazine published a 3000 word feature in 2008 - available in hard copy - and an abridged version was published by The Sydney Morning Herald on 11 April 2009. Link below.

 

https://www.smh.com.au/world/a-defiant-spirit-20090410-a2vs.html

                         

HAITIAN VOODOO SHAKEDOWN

A visit to Haiti in 2007 with photographer Angie Catlin was fascinating and included an unnerving interview with a voodoo priest in a slum called Cite Soleil, in the nation's capital, Port Au Prince. 

 

Our story was published by a now defunct magazine called Bad Idea in the Autumn of 2007. A hard copy is available on request. This is what happened inside the voodoo temple, as the priest, Emanus, conjured up a spirit for us.

 

"By this time Emanus is barefoot and wearing a straw hat. He ties a red silk scarf round his neck, lights a pipe and swigs from a bottle of rum. The room is claustrophobic and the drumming seems to get louder, reverberating around the cramped space. I wipe the sweat off my face with the back of my arm. Maracas and cowbell join the rhythm.

 

"We watch as Emanus jigs in a circle, shaking a silver bell in front of wooden crosses. Round he goes again while rubbing something onto the back of his neck."

                                  

 STILL DOING THE ROUNDS

Ken Buchanan is a former world lightweight boxing champion from Edinburgh. According to some sporting commentators, he was arguably the greatest pound-for-pound boxer ever to come out of Britain.

 

In 1978 Buchanan was voted the greatest ever British boxer in a poll organised by Boxing News, the sport's trade newspaper. Buchanan and Lennox Lewis are the only living British fighters to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

 

Buchanan fought 69 professional fights during his career. Of those bouts, 64 took place outwith Scotland - an extraordinary feat for a fighter. He enjoyed some legendary duels including a fight he famously lost - the 1972 battle with the legendary Roberto Duran in Madison Square Garden, New York City.

 

In 2011, at the age of 66 years old , he still sparred regularly at Lochend Boxing Club in Edinburgh, proclaiming: "I'm 100 per cent convinced I could take on some of the young lads who are boxing today."

 

Click link below to read a story published by the New Zealand Herald -

 

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10760939

                               

BEDROOMS OF THE FALLEN

Ashley Gilbertson is an acclaimed photographer based in New York who covered the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan for Time Magazine and The New York Times, among others.  

 

In 2004, he won the Robert Capa Gold Medal for reportage from The Battle For Fallujah, his courage providing insight into the mayhem of places such as Baghdad, Ramadi and Samarra. 

 

Gilbertson's 2014 book, Bedrooms of the Fallen, reminded us that wars in Afghanistan and Iraq reached deep into homes, far from the noise of battle, the homes of family and friends who bear their grief out of view. His images depicted the bedrooms of 40 fallen soldiers - the equivalent of a single platoon - from the US, Canada, and several European nations including England and Scotland. 

 

Left intact by families of the deceased, the bedrooms are a heartbreaking reminder of young lives cut short: we see high school diplomas, sports medals and souvenirs, and markers of the idealism that carried them to war, such as images of the Twin Towers and Osama Bin Laden. 

 

During his seven year project, Gilbertson visited the Isle of Mull and photographed the bedroom of Private Robert McLaren, a Black Watch soldier from Kintra, who was killed in a roadside explosion in Kandahar, in June 2009. 

 

He was welcomed by Robbie's parents and stayed in touch and they agreed to be interviewed for an article. Our story was published by The Herald Magazine and it was a privilege to meet the McLaren's and write about their son, Robbie.

 

The photograph above was taken by Angie Catlin. A hard copy of the magazine is available on request.