CHAMP WISHES AND CA DREAM
PAGNE ES AVIAR MS
Hey Gang, It’s everyone's favourite time of year and the booze is flowing. This issue is dedicated to all of your sun-soaked shenanigans, we’ve been busy crafting this one for a while and we think you’re gonna love it. Summer’s for cocktails & pool parties, BBQs & packed parks, beaches and bikinis. Now summer’s finally rolling around and we’re ready. Are you? Our next issue is coming up this September and the theme will be Love and Betrayal. If you want to contribute to the cause simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with your pitch, article, art or whatever content you believe fits. Follow us on all the usual social media @readpublichouse You can also subscribe via patreon to access our Member's Lounge, a new area for our boldest readers.
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How to Fly Like a Man 10 The Curmudgeon's guide to flying 11
My Summer Vacation in North Korea 14
Family Vacation Comunicado
Summer Is a Bummer
Enemies of Summer
24 26 28
Halstein's 35mm Summer Adventures
Summer of Love
The Beginners Guide To Raicilla
El Camino del Pensador
Public House Summer Drink
40 62 74 78 80
A m u s e - b o oz e 7
one on the Megabus really wants to be on the Megabus, I realise as my head is wedged between the toilet door and a gap in the low ceiling while I piss in the sink.
"Once back at my seat, I watch the steady stream of passengers entering the toilet,
I don’t want to piss in the sink, but I have no other choice. I’m desperate. We’ve been crawling towards Swindon for the best part of an hour, and a man can only spend so long fiddling beneath his trousers before ending up on one of those registers.
consider what to do and then ultimately piss in the sink."
The sink isn’t my first choice either — I wanted to use the toilet. I’m just a traditionalist like that. But the toilet is close to overflowing and I don’t want to go on the floor, so the sink seems like a good compromise.
This isn’t a slur on the other passengers — the bus just brings out the worst in people. The company bases their entire economic model on this; they sell complete degradation of moral standards. The cost of a journey is so cheap that you’re willing to put up with things you never would on a train, plane or rickshaw.
Deciding to at least maintain some semblance of respectability I decide to clean the sink, grabbing some toilet paper and hand soap to wipe it down.
Take this journey between London and Cardiff for instance. It’s a trip of over 150 miles, and it somehow costs only £9. It’s hard to fathom a business model that allows you to travel across huge swathes of the country for a fee that won’t even get you into your local cinema.
Then I realise — with a high degree of certainty — that I’m probably not the only person to have chosen the sink, but I’m most definitely the only person who has decided to clean it afterwards.
Megabus' Twitter contest, January 2018. Spot the different Chuck. Our bus is terminating in Cardiff but has passengers who want to travel further west. The other two busses that are travelling further west are full. It’s similar to the brainteaser about a farmer trying to work out how the farmer gets a fox, chicken and sack of corn across a river. I always figured the farmer should just kill the fox.
And it’s not just the toilets. They often have broken AC systems, pumping out Arctic air with a distinct smell of Wotsits. Or there is the risk of developing DVT because although standards may exist for the transportation of livestock, they aren’t currently applicable to human cargo. But for £9, or sometimes less, you’re willing to lower your standards.
I listen in anticipation, hoping a driver suggests a similar solution that will provide me with some leg room. After an hour, they all seem to come to an agreement — do nothing and just carry on to Cardiff. And so three hours later than scheduled, we arrive.
Once back at my seat, I watch the steady stream of passengers entering the toilet, consider what to do and then ultimately piss in the sink. They all emerge, slightly ashamed and shuffle back to their seats. It kills an hour. As my interest in the toilet wanes, we arrive in Bristol, a mere two hours late. But you can’t really complain — not for £9. At Bristol, another two busses heading to Cardiff pull up at the station. The drivers start chatting, and they realise there’s a problem.
As we disembark a passenger mumbles that we could have flown to New York in the same amount of time it took to arrive in Cardiff. This is true, but you can’t do that for £9.
Dan Hooper @danhoopercomedy
How To Fly Like a Man 1) Stay sober
uncomfortable are you in your own skin that you can’t sit still for a few hours without getting drunk? I’m a borderline alcoholic and I recently sobered a 12-hour flight without much trouble. And if you’re a full-blown alcoholic, the broken blood vessels on your nose make you too gross to sit next to strangers so stay at home.
2) Lean your seat back Adam Carolla recently debated on his podcast whether to lean your seat back on a plane, and it’s sad there’s even a debate about it. Seats are built to lean back yet some guys are such wussies they’re still afraid to do it. These must be the same guys who constantly check in to make sure a girl is feeling okay during sex.
5) No wheelie luggage It’s sad to see a grown man wheeling his luggage like he’s an elderly grandmother puttering around a laundry cart. The crutch comes before the limp, so if you need to substitute your deltoids for wheels, you’re already looking for apartments in Estrogenville. And nothing’s worse than wheelie-luggage guy trying to fit his crap in the overhead bin. Dude, you lost the battle when you thought hard-case luggage isn’t just for girls anymore.
6) Dress well Looking sharp gets you better service, and if there’s a funny smell coming from somewhere on the plane, nobody will figure out it’s coming from you.
3) Always be talking
7) Appreciate aeroplanes
I find it unconscionable that a man would sit next to a stranger for several hours and not even say hello. If you’re uncomfortable with talking to others then you’re uncomfortable with yourself, end of story. Don’t cite me your Myers-Briggs introvert test.
Always take a moment when you’re flying to appreciate the fact that you’re flying - at 35,000 feet going 600 miles per hour, and oh yeah it’s 70 times safer than the next safest form of transportation. Double oh yeah, the aeroplane isn’t even a century old. Sweetness overload.
4) Get a window seat The only reason you get an aisle seat is because you’re afraid to ask your neighbour to stand up so you can go piss. Lame.
Mark Derian Elite Male Psycologyst animusempire.com @animusempire
The Curmudgeon's Guide to Flying You don't back up your car without looking back, do you? Didn't think so. Also, if you don’t recline it’s not the end of the world. Personally, those extra 20 degrees of comfort do absolutely nothing for me.
1) Drinking at the Airport
sick of pretending that drinking at the airport is only to kill time. There’s a reason they ask you to be 3 hours early, drinking is part of the experience, sit at the bar, order a Guinness and ask people where the fuck they are flying to.
5) The air hostesses are cops and you are in their magic country Delta’s air hostesses are like cops who’ve had a bad day for a year, but even they have to be obeyed. You are on a 20-tonne piece of flying metal, if the cops want you out of their magic cylinder for any reason, you must comply like a bitch. Flying is a privilege, not a right.
2) No outside food Aeroplane food is not plain and horrible by random, it was designed this way by the same engineers as the plane itself; the odour particles in aeroplane food have been meticulously measured to keep everyone from puking their guts out. Think about it, we are already travelling at 700 km/h through turbulence, add gherkins to the equation and the plane will come alive and shit everyone’s luggage into the ocean.
6) That fucking neck pillow Neck pillows are the selfie-sticks of flying. How is having a neck brace more comfortable for sleeping? You are walking around with a neck-haemorrhoids croissant.
3) No jammies
7) The moving walkway
This is not a slumber party, dress properly, have some respect for the miracle of science you are on. You are like those people in Canada Goose coats who don't like being uncomfortable even by one degree, ever.
The reason 100% of people miss their flight is because they stand on the moving walkway. “It’s not a fucking ride, do your legs work at all?” - Jerry Seinfeld
4) Mind your reclining Daniel Corrochio Creative Director at readpublichouse.com @nvvmxac
If the seat behind you is empty or there's a child or a midget then you are golden, otherwise you need to look behind you first. If they have reclined, then you may recline.
PAVLOV’S GOD Here on the small island of Pahvlo, we celebrate logic, reason, and scientific thinking, as we have since Pehavi’or created the land a thousand years ago.
very winter, we make a sacrifice to Him to ensure the days will grow longer and warmer and the fields will sustain a crop. Being logical, reasonable, and scientifically-minded, the High Priest Kontish’oneeng proposed an experiment to determine whether the sacrifices could be done away with altogether. The first critic of this plan was the peasant Kohn’trol, who blasphemously suggested that the sacrifice might not be necessary in the first place and the best way to find out would be to just stop. Naturally, this was deemed far too dangerous, and Kohn’trol was put to death in the great volcano, Grand Prohppo’osall. To go about beginning the great experiment, it was determined that Pehavi’or’s association with the desired outcome (the return of summer) must be systematically transferred from the original stimulus (the annual human sacrifice of a dozen and a half virgins) to an introduced one (the chief suggested ringing a bell, but it was decided this probably would not be heard in the heavens, so lots of fire and lots of noise were chosen instead. To appease the chief, the high priest volunteered that this could be accompanied by lots
of bell ringing). This idea was met with general approval, and that year, on the longest night, candles and bonfires were lit all around the island, and the sounds of bells and singing could be heard from anywhere on land or in the sky. The sacrifice went on as usual, though at least a dozen and a half people (obviously not very intelligent) proposed we test the theory already. Thus, for the next several years, the new customs and rituals coexisted comfortably with the old, proven ways. After twelve years of singing and dancing around a bonfire on the longest night of the year, the sacrifice was tentatively reduced to fifteen virgins. Summer came as normal, and no one could wait for the next solstice. That year, the number was lowered to twelve, with no observed change in annual weather patterns. Finally, after two decades of devout and devoted empirical experimentation, the winter sacrifice to Pehavi’or stood at three virgins and a youth of questionable morals. Yet still the days became longer and the terraced fields grew. After one-quarter of a century, with three chiefs having come and gone by assassination, and the high priest no longer able to recall why we started, we finally, and with bated breath, ceased the sacrifice altogether. That winter, we made sure to increase the
nal feast day. There was singing and dancing and lantern-boats were set adrift, carrying questions and prayers to the sea-gods.
Illstration by Allen Forrest
But the days kept getting longer, and the sun kept getting hotter, the more the people danced and lit fires. The manioc died in the earth; it was soon followed by the melons and the palm trees. By now, the people had stopped celebrating, but it was too late: the cycle had been initiated, and the stimuli were out of our control. It was so hot and dry, wildfires became common, and wails of agony could be heard in the market-place. The more noise and fire there is, the more brutally hot Pehavi’or makes the winds; the more scalding and scorching the atmosphere becomes, the more fires and screaming people there are. There is no solution. revelry; we sang and danced for twelve straight nights, and the bonfires burned down two huts and half of the drum-maker’s hair. Everyone waited for the winds to change, hoping against hope and praying to Skih’inah that the sun would not be swallowed by the sea forever. For almost a month the waters were watched with rapt attention, and the old men started at every rumble from the mountain. Finally, it became apparent the experiment had been a success - summer rolled in; every village on the island rejoiced. There was dancing in the streets; some coloured lanterns set alight the net-maker’s shack by the bay. That was when we noticed that the days kept getting longer after the midsummer festival. The manioc delivered a record crop, and the days were balmy enough that working men halted in their labours and declared an additio-
I write these words in the hope they may be found and read as an artefact of our hubris and subsequent destruction, or at least before the leaves I am writing on succumb to the climate and are burnt to a crisp. I am - was - the high priest’s assistant; I suppose I am now the new high priest, as he was killed when the Small Fern Cluster Village burned down last week. Though priest of what, I am not quite sure. If you are reading this, take note: try not to apply classical conditioning to omnipotent sky-fathers.
Assistant to the High Priest of Pehavi’or Feeba’ak Luup
Daniel Galef @DanielGalef
My Summer Vacation in North Korea
any people wrongly believe that North Korea—officially called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK—is completely closed to foreign tourists. The truth is that it’s quite easy to get into the country, assuming you are willing to do some coordination and visa paperwork in advance.
You are required to go with a guided group tour, however, and there are only a few to choose between. I picked a company called Young Pioneer Tours, which seemed the most suited toward my travel style, which is decidedly group-tour averse. Traveling frequently for work, I find being on a plane to be a fairly trivial experience, but being on a North Korean plane was nerve-wracking as hell. Every jolt of turbulence felt like it would be life-ending, every adjustment in air pressure like an inevitable path toward suffocation or cranial explosion. We distracted ourselves by chatting, sleeping, and drinking the local Taedonggang beer. Sound from a repetitious anime cartoon blared from the tinny speakers on the TVs overhead for the full seven hour flight.
Night fell as we piled on our tour bus and headed through the wide streets of Pyongyang, which were shockingly dark and empty for such a big city, making me remember satellite photos of the country from space, largely shrouded in darkness. As we drove, Kim used a microphone to tell us how excited she and Lee were to show us their country from their perspective. She hoped to shed light on a country we may have biases or preconceptions about, a surprising nod to their knowledge of the North’s reputation globally. An hour later, we arrived at Yanggakdo International Hotel, the most common place for foreign tourists to stay in the city. Gareth gave us a tour of the hotel, which had a bevy of amenities ranging from the normal pool and hot tub to the more quirky: a bowling alley, a karaoke bar, an extremely sketchy basement casino, and a massage parlor which catered to “tired Chinese businessmen,” which seemed to be a cheeky way of saying that the place specialized in handjobs.
The hotel had few ways to get in contact with the outside world. It offered basic services allowing you to send a postcard or make an expensive call to select foreign countries. Surprisingly, for a steep fee, you supposedly could write a message, give it to the hotel, and have them send it from their email account. The Internet is effectively non-existent in North Korea, and this was the only internet-connected computer I heard about during my stay.
GREAT LEADER & DEAR LEADER Our first full day was spent on a whirlwind tour of sights in central Pyongyang, hopping in and out of our air-conditioned bus along the way, getting glimpses of the fascinating city enveloped in the morning sun. Bulky soviet-style apartment blocks lined each street. In lieu of stoplights, uniformed female traffic cops robotically swung batons to guide buses and cars across massive intersections. Rickety trams chugged along, packed with people on their way to work, curiously looking at the busload of foreigners driving past. Cheerful paintings of Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung smiled down from massive propaganda posters lining most streets. We stopped to see the enormous bronze statues of the Great Leader Kim Il Sung and the Dear Leader Kim Jong Il, perched on Munsudae Hill overlooking Pyongyang. As instructed by our guides, we marched in-stride toward the statues, came to a stop, bowed three times, then one of us presented a few bouquets of flowers we bought to pay respect to the leaders.
WAR That afternoon, we toured the extensively renovated and newly-opened Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, which provided my first big dose of reality when it came to North Korea‘s perception of the United States, at least militarily. In the museum, our guide described the battles and the overall series of events in the war. I had studied the Korean War a fair bit before my trip, having read a half-dozen accounts of the 3-year skirmish. For a quick run-down, I highly recommend the 15-minute Korean War Overview on Khan Academy, which is as succinct as it gets. Three major differences jumped out to me in the North’s version of the war compared to the West’s account:
1. They believe that the United States started the war This is questionable logic, if only because the US was clearly not ready for any kind of military action in Korea. After the war abruptly began, it took three weeks to even get American troops mobilized to defend the tiny corner of Korea still under US control, the so-called Pusan Perimeter. Declassified documents from the Soviet Union show that Joseph Stalin was even surprised by Kim Il Sung’s attack south, not to mention Harry Truman. Still, the official account in North Korea is that the US started the war, but then promptly began getting trounced by the North Korean army.
The DPRK does not allow you to keep your Nor-
Our sketchy Air Koryo plane sits in final preparation
th Korean visas, which get stamped as you move
for our 7-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Pyong-
through the country, then taken back by the gover-
nment once you leave.
From space, North Korea’s darkness makes South Korea seem like it is an island rather than the end of the Korean peninsula.
2. They believe they fought mostly alone If you read accounts of the war, China played an essential part in the success of North Korea, effectively saving its neighbor from defeat. Chairman Mao’s army was seasoned and tough from their fight against Japanese imperialism, and posed a much more significant challenge for the US Army than the North Korean troops. Yet, in Pyongyang’s War Museum, China’s sacrifice of one million troops to help its socialist neighbor barely
We spent 20 minutes trying to get up onto this diving platform. It took the Wonsan locals about four seconds.
even got a mention. Supposedly, when Chinese tour groups visit, they take them through a different wing of the museum which more overtly praises the Chinese for their help and sacrifice.
3. They believe they won the war North Koreans take a lot of pride in “defeating” the Americans, but in my view, the war was a tie for both sides, at best. Millions of lives were lost with no real gain on either side. Still, the North Koreans are not entirely wrong on
this point. As the US regained control of the war, United States General Douglas MacArthur famously over-reached far into the North, only to get beaten back by the Chinese Army as he approached their country’s border, ceding a lot of land back to Kim Il Sung’s control. In that sense, it was a North Korean victory because land north of the 38th parallel was in play.
PEOPLE In the afternoon, we went to an oceanfront area in Wonsan cordoned off for foreigners, sandwiched between beaches packed with lucky locals enjoying a day off from work. Out in the water, we saw an enormous diving platform made of wooden planks, neglected and dilapidated, with easily half of the planks completely rotten or missing entirely. Its ladder broken, we spent twenty minutes trying to boost each other up onto the platform, spiky barnacles and rusty rebar slicing into our feet, blocking our ascent. A handful of jovial locals saw us swam over from the public beach and easily hoisted themselves up onto the platform, laughing and roughhousing, expertly tiptoeing across the ramshackle diving platform and swan-diving into the water. We spent 20 minutes trying to get up onto this diving platform. It took the Wonsan locals about four seconds. In many ways, our tour was designed to keep us separate from regular citizens of the DPRK, and I cherished these moments of actual interaction with real North Korean people, even though they were brief, infrequent, and largely inconsequential.
Back on the beach, we found ourselves in a shower room along with a few local men from Wonsan. The water in the showers wasn’t actually working, which prompted one of the men to wordlessly mime about the situation. With a broad cartoonish smile, he twisted knobs, looked up at the dry shower head, looked back at us, twisted the knobs of another shower, then looked back at us bemused. He pointed a finger in the air as if to say Aha! I have a solution to the shower problem!, then walked over to a nearby bucket of water and dramatically dumped it on his head. It was like a schtick from an old slapstick movie, and we foreigners laughed along with the local men.
STRANGE SIGHTS Back in Pyongyang, we took a few day trips outside of the city proper, touring a smattering of wacky socialist sights, factories, and farms, providing an interesting glimpse of how the country projects itself to foreign visitors. We visited a truly miserable science and technology museum housed in a concrete building shaped like Saturn, with rings and everything. On the ground floor, a large exhibition hall flaunted recent technological innovations, including some newfangled invention called the “CD-ROM,” which is apparently the greatest thing since the floppy disk. We also swung by an English language class, where people stood a the front of the dark room waiting for their turn to mumble phrase into a microphone in incomprehensibly broken English. Another surreal place in Pyongyang is less subtle: the 105 story pyramid-shaped Ryug-
yong Hotel. The building topped out in 1992 as a massive concrete shell, but due to an economic crisis caused by the fall of the Soviet Union, the building was not was not covered with windows until nearly 20 years later, in 2011. It is currently the 49th tallest buidling in the world, only a hundred feet shorter than the Empire State Building in New York. Amazingly, the building is almost completely vacant to this day, its opening delayed by political turmoil — a nd probably also a lack of foreign guests to necessitate such a behemoth hotel. I was expecting North Korea to be quirky and strange, yet tightly controlled and constantly on-message. While that is probably true in broad strokes — t here is a zero percent chance a tourist will see North Korea’s notorious prison camps, for example — I overestimated how planned the tours actually are, and how unfazed the tour guides seemed about letting you see weird things: awkward museums, modest factories, dusty hospitals and libraries, or embarrassingly unoccupied buildings. Even though we were firmly on the tourist trail, the place was surprisingly rough around the edges. At one point, I went to a zany circus performance and was allowed to venture into a cavernous basement bathroom without my guides. The power had gone out, and the bathroom was dimly lit by daylight pouring in from a few basement windows. The bathroom smelled rancid, and as I relieved myself, I noticed that the few dozen porcelain urinals simply dumped out directly onto the concrete floor, explaining the smell — t he entire floor was covered with years upon years of dried urine. On my way back upstairs, I passed a North Korean man who held his
nose jokingly, laughing and rolling his eyes at the condition of the bathroom. This was not the perfect and polished authoritarian country I expected.
PALACE OF THE SUN On the sixtieth anniversary of the victorious defeat of the Americans during in the Korean War, we ventured into the center of Pyongyang to visit the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, a mausoleum housing the embalmed corpses of Kim Jong Il and his father Kim Il Sung, the infamous leaders of the DPRK. Kim Jong Il passed away on December 17th, 2011, confirming the longstanding suspicion that the Dear Leader’s health was in sharp decline after his publicly-announced stroke in August. Upon his death, Western media was inundated with bizarre footage of tear-soaked gatherings, as well as the surreal pomp and circumstance of the somber funeral procession through the streets of Pyongyang. Upon entering the building, the place felt sacred and solemn compared to other places we had visited. I had seen Vladimir Lenin’s mausoleum in Red Square, but visiting the Palace of the Sun was a much more complicated and elaborate process, with plenty of security, fanfare, walking, waiting, and prostrating to show respect. We were instructed to dress nicely for this visit, with many people in my group donning somber conservative dresses or shirts and ties. We had our cameras confiscated and went through several levels of security along the way, indicating more than anywhere we had been so far that this was not a visit to be taken lightly.
FOREIGNERS One night while drinking in the hotel bar, I got word that a reasonably cute Russian girl from another tour had taken a liking to me, and she wanted to go walk around the parking lot outside the hotel. I accepted, if only out of curiosity. She and I ventured outside into the darkness, and traipsed around the limited area where we were allowed to walk. She was tipsy and getting a little bit frisky, and let me know in broken English that she wanted to kiss me. Oh, but there was a catch! She insisted that she would only kiss me if we tried to escape from the hotel and go into Pyongyang proper, mingling with the locals, away from the repressive clutches of our organized tour. I laughed. Was she serious? She was. In the back of my mind, this felt familiar somehow. And then it struck me: we were mirroring characters in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. She was Julia and I was Winston, and this was not going to end well for us. Big Brother was watching us. We approached the outer gate of the hotel complex, and a sleepy guard stood up from his modest folding chair perch. He shined a flashlight on the two of us and signaled calmly that we could not go any farther. Suddenly, the Russian girl made a run for it. At full speed, she darted past the guard, across a bridge, and into the darkness of Pyongyang. I couldn’t believe my eyes, and neither could the guard. This person was completely fucking insane. The stunned guard swung his flashlight back on me for a second. I put my hands over my head and indicated to him that I was absolutely heading back to the hotel, and that I posed him no threat whatsoever. I turned around
and immediately marched back to the hotel by myself. He started chasing after the psychotic Russian girl. Her disappearance was extremely concerning to the western guides, who were drunk already for the evening and not sure what to do. People doing stupid things in North Korea put their tour company at risk, and they were less than thrilled about her disappearance. Amazingly, the Russian girl returned to the hotel in the wee hours of the morning, claiming that she had spent a fantastic time cavorting around with the locals in Pyongyang.
FOOD & DRINK We stopped again in the somber and quiet town of Kaesong for a special lunch featuring a North Korean specialty: dog soup. I like dogs as much as the next guy, but people in the West are unaware of what street dogs in third-world countries are like: they are much more like wild animals, scrappy and terrifying, often rabid-seeming. Dogs in the first world are legitimate members of a family — c ute, pampered, and carefree — a nd eating them sounds barbaric. Curiosity outweighed my sentimentality, so I did not hesitate ordering the soup. The dog meat was gamey and tough, and the soup was spiced aggressively, almost too spicy to eat, but I carried on — t hat is, until a tourist at a nearby table discovered a canine tooth in his broth, at which point I gagged and had to stop eating immediately. I shudder just thinking about it. Dog was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to nasty food in North Korea. Apart from a handful of genuinely delicious meals, eating felt like being on an episode of Fear
Factor. Waitresses would bring out bowl after bowl of nearly-inedible craziness, and since there were no other options, I ate pretty much everything. I remember during one meal I was relieved to be presented a bowl of what looked like finely minced greens, perhaps seaweed. Vegetables! It was a revelation! Then I looked closer. It was a big bowl of tiny dried eels, intensely salty and crunchy to the bite. Almost all meals came with kimchi, Korea’s national dish of fermented vegetables. I was skeptical of kimchi prior to my trip, but I actually found myself enjoying trying the kimchi at every meal, because there is a surprising amount of nuance and difference from one kimchi to the next. Sometimes spicy and bitter, sometimes mild and sweet, sometimes insanely fermented to the point where it tastes funky and rotten. Even the worst kimchi was decent, however. Barbecue is as about as good as it gets in the North Korean tourist culinary scene. There were a few culinary highlights, like the day we got a nice bowl of bibimbap, rice topped with chili paste, vegetables, meat, and an over-easy egg. I also liked the pansangi, an array of more than a dozen small tastes served in bronze bowls. We were also treated to several meals of Korean barbecue, cooked to your liking over hot coals right at the table. Unlike many meals we had, the barbeque was legitimately delicious. Surprisingly, the drink situation in the country is not bad. The country has a weird little microbrew scene, and in addition to the standard bland Asian lagers on offer, our hotel served a steam beer that tasted roughly like San Francisco’s well-known Anchor Steam. It was a pleasant surprise, given that Asian
A spicy bowl of dog soup. Sorry, buddy..
beer has a tendency to be uniformly boring. In nearby Sariwon City, we stopped by a place specializing in a more obscure traditional drink called makgeolli, a mixture made with boiled and fermented white rice, containing about 6% alcohol. It was somewhat like Japanese sake, but to me tasted a bit sweeter, considerably less filtered, and with a more pronounced sour funk from the fermentation. Compared to the rest of my group, I found the beverage fairly delicious and interesting, but we all agreed that the act of drinking makgeolli is unnerving because there is no escaping that it looks like a massive bowl of semen.
LASTING IMPRESSIONS Before I left, I had read Sophie Schmidt’s feeling that North Korea was akin to a large-scale version of The Truman Show, where people are living in a society that is so controlled that it eclipses any perspective of the outside:
"Ordinary North Koreans live in a near-total information bubble, without any true frame of reference. I can’t think of any reaction to that except absolute sympathy. My understanding is that North Koreans are taught to believe they are lucky to be in North Korea, so why would they ever want to leave? They’re hostages in their own country, without any real consciousness of it. And the opacity of the country’s inner workings—down to the basics of its economy—further serves to reinforce the state’s control. The best description we could come up with: it’s like The Truman Show, at country scale." The comparison is apt. Traveling in the country as an outsider, however, did not feel like being a part of a complex hoax or the lone audience member in elaborate play. Instead, visiting North Korea felt like time traveling, as if we had turned back the clock to around 1950 or 60 when Korea began to isolate itself from outside influence.
Ryan Nee @ryannee
Family Vacation Comunicado Hey Smith Family! I hope you’re all excited for the upcoming long weekend get-together. Long weekends are the perfect amount of time to spend with your family. It’s just long enough that you no longer feel guilty about not seeing each other since Christmas, and it’s just short enough that you can leave right as we start to get on each other’s nerves. Just a reminder that we’re all staying in one place. Isn’t that great?! Besides saving on cost, there are SO many reasons why having everyone in your immediate family under one roof makes an amazing trip:
There’s always just enough rooms to fit everyone. With only two bedrooms having queen sized beds, it’s always fun to see which sibling’s family arrived to the house first to claim ownership of the best room. Everyone else is either sleeping in separate twin beds like a 1950s sitcom (how fun!) or going way back and sleeping in the one room with a bunk bed. Didn’t think you’d be doing that past the age of 12, did ya?
No one can agree on a good temperature for the house so it’s always a fun game of Who Touched The Thermostat Last? Make sure to bring layers of clothes because you’ll either be sweating in the middle of the night or wake up with frost covering your body. Either way, what an adventure! And while we’re on air conditioning, it’s always fun to see which areas of the rental home it actually works in. Can’t wait to see who gets stuck in the room from hell that was a later addition to the house, so no actual venting goes to it. Don’t worry, we’ve brought plenty of loud and barely functioning fans to keep you cool.
The living room is HUGE and has a TV so we’ll have plenty of boring stuff to watch. Because no one wants to watch what they normally do at home while their siblings and parents are around. Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and Homeland just aren’t as fun when you’re cringing out of awkwardness for 70% of the show. Don’t worry, we’ll leave it on Food Network as it’s the only channel we can all watch without feeling guilty about what’s showing on it.
No need for alarm clocks. Who can sleep in when 8 other people in the house are walking (or stomping) around and somehow using every dish in the house to make breakfast while opening and closing every cabinet drawer? You’ll be up early to catch that amazing sun rise.
There are three showers in the place, two of which are the exact height so the water hits just below your hairline. Washing your hair is now both uncomfortable AND difficult. But don’t worry, you won’t be in there long because all the hot water will be used up after the first two people anyway. I can’t wait to show you the local restaurants in the quaint downtown. You know, the ones that are always packed. And since we didn’t make any reservations, we might get to eat dinner at 11pm when a table for 15 is finally available. While we wait for our seats, we’ll peruse the many shops that sell just the cutest stuff! It’s so exciting to see if you can make it through without having a heart attack as your toddlers continually touch and almost break everything. Get your game face on! I’m also bringing plenty of board games. I’ve got three types:
*Board games that are missing half the pieces. *Board games that are the most fun with four people. So when 10 want to play, it becomes weird and tedious. *Super advanced board games that my co-workers and I love to play that only require two hours of set-up and an hour of explaining the rules. I can’t wait to see which family members get in a heated argument over the rules of a game and end up barely talking for the rest of the trip. Speaking of debates, since this is an election year, there’s going to be plenty of great arguments amongst family members. Nothing goes with A Day At The Beach like incessant arguing over health care carrying on well into the night. Can’t wait to see you all. Oh, and one last thing, there’s plenty of room in the fridge for beer and alcohol. Bring extra because you know I’ll drink the stuff you bring instead of my own.
Eric Munn Eric Munn @emunn @emunn
ummer is a ummer
happens every year without fail. There’s nothing anyone can do to escape it, and around about May you start seeing the first twinges of it: chicks wearing shorts, dudes start breaking out the sandals with socks, and people in general start talking about how they “looooooooove summer”. At the first sign of a warmish sunny day, Facebook and Twitter fill up with wistful fantasies of walking on tropical beaches hand-in-hand with a Slurpee and a bottle of suntan lotion. Around the Fourth of July, the reality sets in: Summer is goddamn awful. First, there are children running loose everywhere. If you go to a supermarket in the middle of the day in, say, November, the aisles are free, clear of little human obstructions, and you can wander the cereal aisle with complete freedom. Going to a supermarket in the middle of the day in August is a completely different story. Stay-at-home mums, forced to entertain their wildlings for three months out of the year, bring the brigade to run errands. What was once a smooth passage from the deli to the bakery is now a minefield of running, crying,
laughing balls of unsupervised energy intent on walking right in front of my 50-pound metal shopping trolley. I have no idea why more children aren’t injured every hour by shopping trolleys. I guess that’s one of life’s great mysteries. Secondly, summer trips out of town are only cool for about a day, then they are anno-
"Summer clothing is where the freakydeaky stuff comes out—tank tops revealing excess body hair, sandals, and flip-flops that have been worn down to gross blackened slivers of the slabs of plastic they once were."
ching on TV at this moment back home. You haphazardly plan a basic itinerary consisting of dinner, visiting the beach… I guess? Why did I even leave my house in the first place? Thirdly, summer clothing and the lack thereof is awful. Sure, there’s a few attractive girls roaming around in bikinis, but they don’t want to sleep with me or you. Summer clothing is where the freaky-deaky stuff comes out— tank tops revealing excess body hair, sandals, and flip-flops that have been worn down to gross blackened slivers of the slabs of plastic they once were. Everyone’s normally hidden hideous tattoos are flapping in the wind for the world to see. During the hot weather months, you can really see everyone’s taste level come out in full force, and that tribal radioactive symbol tattoo you got at 18 suddenly seems like God’s cruel joke on humanity.
ying and boring. Around the middle portion of the summer stretch, people’s minds start wandering to thoughts of a better, cooler climate. “Let’s go to the beach! Let’s go to Disneyland!” You pack yourself, your significant other, and whatever else in tow and embark on the journey. Summer always means there will be at least one long, excruciating car ride. For me, this means about four Dramamine tablets because I get horrifically carsick. You eventually arrive at your destination after stopping to pee approximately five times and spending £25.84 in incidentals along the way (and stopping to puke on the side of the road twice). You wander to your strange holiday bed, suitcases in hand and automatically miss whatever you would normally be wat-
This doesn’t even to begin to cover the shitstorms that are summer weddings, summer holidays devoted entirely to alcohol and the shittier people that need it to function, camping, boats, “brunches,” buildings and cars with no A/C, people who say “scorcher,” and the way the sun appears to be silently crushing the population under it, slowly and surely, into submission. Basically, summer is awful. Bring on the sweaters and hot chocolate, because I’ve had enough of this bullshit.
—YUPPIE PRINCESS @troubleeveryday
Enemies Of Summer There can’t be a more annoying group of people on the face of this planet than parents.
doesn’t matter how old or long a person has had children for, once someone has reproduced, they’re impossible to tolerate.
couldn’t care about. The worst comes when you finally make it out of the house and think you’re free from their grasps, though.
Part of it has to do with the fact that their offspring become number one in their lives. So, going out and getting hammered with friends becomes less of a priority than making sure their little brats are still breathing. That means they hardly ever hit the streets with the homies and when they finally decide to, everyone else gets excited as hell for no other reason. Unfortunately, when they do eventually show up for a night out, they’re constantly talking about and showing pictures of their little shits. It’s nothing like dealing with parents of your own though, especially during summer.
Once a person really begins to enjoy “adulthood” (like, when they’re done with university, have a steady job, and can afford all the retarded things that bring them joy) their parents usually start to shit the bed, both literally and figuratively. This is when it actually helps to be a soulless piece of garbage. Not just because it’s a lot easier to just ignore the mess but because you realize the payday is right around the corner. Unless they’re poor, in which case fuck em. But If you have any conscience whatsoever, you realize it’s time to act like an adult and repay the favor. This means going home and helping them with the stupid shit they can’t manage anymore, like reorganizing the furniture and screwing in lightbulbs, instead of relaxing on the beach with your lady or getting blasted with your buddies and getting into all sorts of dumb fun.
It all starts when you’re a little turd and your parents decide to send you off to some crummy camp, while they go off to an exotic location for their annual or biannual bang. It’s always somewhere they make you do all sorts of lame activities with losers you don’t know. That is, until the last few days, when you realize it’s the greatest place on earth filled with the coolest kids ever and you end up having to go back to your terrible existence with your parents. Then, it gets even worse, when you’re a teenager and your mom and dad decide to include you in their elaborately planned vacations where you end up spending most of your time waiting in-line to walk through museums filled with crap you
Helping your elderly and senile parents fix the garden and clear out the attic may sound like a shitty way to spend your summer vacation but it’s not quite as bad as spending your summer teaching them how not to be dickheads. For some reason, that’s exactly what happens with baby boomer parents, who started their successful lives and careers immediately after college. Unfortunately, when you spend a significant
amount of time with your parents in adulthood, you tend to recognize they’re not quite as polite as you may have once thought. This isn’t always a discredit to them and how shitty they are compared to you. Sometimes, it’s a testament to how well you’ve turned out and what an extraordinary human being you are. Still, you hate to be constantly apologizing to strangers and reminding your parents how they ought to behave when bringing them out in public. This may sound like an odd thing to have to do but if your parents are fairly successful and never worked in the service industry, chances are they’ll have a hard time recognizing other pieces of shit, who aren’t you, should be treated like human beings too. This makes for quite the awkward night out but it’s not quite as awkward as when you realize they’re not as great as you remember them being. You would think spending all this time helping your parents get around town and fix things in the house, as an adult, would be a great way to bond with them before they finally croak. Turns out, it only helps you learn what each other are really like. All the things you’ve struggled to hide from each other become common knowledge and you stop holding one another in such high regard, if that were ever the case. Rather than connect over similar experiences or shared views, you start picking up on all the things they do that piss you off about other people. Even worse, you realize you were right all those times you got into arguments with them as a kid. When you’re fixing shit around the house, you start asking “why the fuck did you do this?” or, “are you retarded?”. Instead
of becoming "pallies", they wind up being just another couple of obnoxious idiots you have to deal with every day. The problem is it’s not only annoying as shit, it’s depressing as fuck, because that’s your own flesh and blood turning into authorities on absolutely nothing and a sign of what you’re either already like to others or, what you will be like in the future. Summer is supposed to be the most killer time of the year. A lot of that has to do with the weather, some of it has to do with everyone’s overall attitude, and if we’re really being honest with ourselves even more of it has to do with what the chicks are wearing. But most of it has to do with the lack of obligations and as long as they’re alive, parents will always find some way to saddle you with more of them. That’s why they’re the enemies of summer.
Enemy of summer, this guy right here.
JOHN PITTSLEY @mitherpitthley
Can you spot: 1)The woman waving her fake leg. 2)Teresa’s table flipping face. 3)The psycho who snuck into the White House State Dinner back in 2009.
ummer’s finally hit and with that, another onslaught of reality tv goop (for the inside types that hate the sun), tied up in a mouthwateringly dramatic Real Housewives Reunion. An indecipherable appeal for most, I think it was my Aunty in Palm Springs, CA that first told me about the shows. Declaring, ‘I never watch scripted television anymore, it’s all about Bravo.’ The favourites being Atlanta/Beverly Hills/NYC/ Jersey/Miami and now on our fair isle, The
Real Housewives of Cheshire. They all quickly became like my version of the Football League. Absolute sauce, a modern day Gladiator’s Arena, scoffing at the downright bizarro behaviour of “grown ass women!” It all started with Orange County, #RHOC back in 2006. Mal-shapen women, a mere, 34 miles from L.A. with the same self-aggrandising snootiness you get in the Hollywood Hills, without the celebrity - until they all did become celebrities - poorly masquerading, as the perfect Californian mothers and wives. Some, former playboy bunnies, no longer connected with their silent, comatose ex-baseballer husbands who shuffle around the house; the life insurance tycoon with a new face lift each year and the former single mother, now married with 4 other kids, training for her real estate licence.
There are similar arcs and patterns across the Real Housewives cities, parallels drawn in these gated communities, as we see women gain more attention and have to combat their traditional set up. Either their husbands bend or the women walk from their controlling men. Tamara was the first example as a long standing member of the Orange County cast, we saw how her marriage with her maniacal looking husband, Simon, deteriorated after she no longer felt like being a trophy. Estrangement from their oldest daughter together, is an ongoing plot to the series to this day as she cites his controlling nature as the root of all their problems. Across Atlanta, OC and New York City, women share their stories of abuse from childhood to previous relationships and there’s always a difficult start for the new girl on the block as the pack sniffs them out. Their moronic tagline at the beginning of each ep. have become a RH institution:
“People say I have a picture perfect life and I do!” Porsha RHOA “I put others in the spotlight but somehow it keeps finding me.” Marysol RHOM “My fabulous life comes down to love and laughter, not luck.” Chyka RHOMel “I’m not about the drama, don’t start none, won’t be none.” Kandi RHOA Scandal sweeps by like the 7 plagues as the women do questionable things and are tied to men who have a penchant for embezzlement. One particularly shady dealing left a
housewife widowed after her husband tragically killed himself in the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. No joke. In the New Jersey Franchise, the Italian American Queen, Teresa had to serve time before her husband ‘went away’ all due to his dodgy dealings. Luckily, she found yoga during her 12 months in the pen and ended her long standing feud with sister in-law, Melissa Gorga, so, you know, silver lining there for ya. Arrests; cheating; estranged relatives, you can’t write this shit! It’s like an anthropological study in how not to behave. America watches, incessantly. After 12 years, we’ve seen these women from their late 30’s and 40’s to their 50’s and 60’s. Andy Cohen is the reigning king of Bravo. An executive producer of all the franchise, a gay Jewish boy, originally from St. Louis, with an open face, is the man poking the fire of this mad gravy train and the only one able to wrangle the women during the series reunions, where all the ladies get to address their misgivings and have now seen all the back handed commentary that intersects scenes in every show. One of his catchphrases #Mazel he uses to congratulate. He has an ease and wit that the actual, real housewives watching at home - get a kick out of his sweet camp, charm as he dashes the cast members, usually decked out in ball gowns, with the questions on everybody's lips. The real life producers are now becoming a part of the narrative for MTV shows, appearing in episodes of Cat Fish and Teen Mom, where you really see how this crew has been there with these young mums and watched their kids grow. Reality TV is now so meta, it’s like a matryoshka of unreality meets reality. In real female friendships, ( or at least from
my experience ), you don’t pull your mate up on every little time she rubbed you the wrong way. Lord knows, you do it too! Obviously that’s where the producers come in, kicking off the drama. Sometimes I’ll have watched too many episodes at once and suddenly have the urge to confront my friend that she made that remark about Judy’s hair and I thought it was harsh - then I know it’s time to read a book! Outlandish accusations are rife in the Housewives Hub. One cast member accusing another of wanting to drug and rape her really hit new levels of cuckoo and indeed, slander. With EIGHTEEN different cities, chronicling the lives of five or six women - frienamies, inlaws, and besties, it’s incredible how far the format spreads. From Melbourne to Washington, Atlanta to France - the french series was a flop - guess there’s enough Bravoesque setup currently in the Palais de l’Élysée. It’s a crazy phenomenon, why are people so obsessed with watching affluent; nipped and tucked; superficial; garish; delusional; middle aged women? Erica Jane may perhaps be my favourite cast member, one who really seems to have harnessed the power of the platform to make her star soar. As a 40 year old, club/party singer, she’s now lifted off as a pop culture icon, getting one of the highest Hollywood accolades, appearing as an avatar on the Kardashian’s game app. A former cocktail waitress, single mum, served a rich Hollywood Lawyer and the rest was history. Seems her closest friends are her glam squad but that doesn’t stop her throwing down some home truths with the shrill hysterical women that all vie for her attention, crumble when they think she sees them negatively. Her mantra
is to ‘Say Yes To Everything!’ and boy is it paying off. Across all the series, it’s impossible to understand how, after watching themselves behave appallingly, there is no learning curve. Usually it will be at this point where they’ll take a hiatus, permanent or not. Maybe under the bizarre lens they have invited into their homes, they start ‘playing the part’ in all aspects of their lives - how could you not. It ain’t no joke, these women are whack, with or without the cameras but, the hustle and opportunism, you can’t help but admire. All their dirty laundry, splattered on the public toilets that have become our screens, yet they still manage to (co-)write New York Times BestSellers; have hit songs on iTunes; their own spin off shows; open up plastic surgeries on their estates and create successful clothing brands. Bravo dubs them a brand and they run, crawl, backflip through the fire of public opinion to get there. I’m not saying these women are my idols or that I aspire to be them but I’ve learnt a fair bit about the capabilities and the lengths my sex will go to. In the beginning they do attempt good with their charity work. Coming together in Atlanta for the Houston Hurricane, fundraising, speaking out about abuse and activism for the LGBTQ community. These women are no longer themselves but like shopping channel hosts for a weird strange lifestyle that America seems to be captivated by. Many of them are their own business owners AND mothers, AND wives. It’s the only thing on TV that really shows how
insane divorce; bad habits; repeated patterns; ageing hormones and fucked up friendships can make you. I’m not naive enough to think there aren’t a lot of strings being pulled and these women would give Putin a run for his money - but it’s hard to fake true crazy. Saying that, ratings have dwindled and it’s hard to see how after a decade, they can keep the masquerade going. But the key lesson we can all learn from The Real Housewives - Carnie Parade; comes from Countess LuAnn, take it away, Lu: Money can’t buy you class Money can’t buy you class Elegance is learned, my friends Elegance is learned, my friends. The lesson all should learn Even if there’s cash to burn Respect yourself ‘cause no one else can change your path When entering a room Greet everyone and soon You’ll be invited and entitled to the grandeur Money can’t buy you class Money can’t buy you class Elegance is learned, my friends Elegance is learned, my friends. Life is all about elegance and flair And savoir faire. You don’t have to be rich or famous to be unforgettable It’s not about where you’re from It’s about what you’ve learned.
(All of this coming from the woman who blacked up as Diana Ross last Halloween.) Money Can’t Buy You Class - 2010 Ultra Records, Inc. Countess Luann Who needs religion or self help when you've got The Real Housewives!
A Yellow Summer
It’s strange, feeling like you’ve been saved when you had no idea you needed saving. When you naively thought your summer was going to be spent ‘helping’ other people, whatever that means.
ast summer was hard for me. Nauseating words like dementia and cancer had wormed their way into my family, becoming household names. Daily panic attacks and feelings of helplessness engulfed me. To top it all off, I was almost broke and had booked a one way flight to a tiny Greek island to spend time with people I had never met. What the hell was I thinking? My anxiety-riddled brain was telling me I was mad.
A young girl modelling her flower crown she’d just made at one of the festival workshops
I was about to sail to the Greek island of Leros to help set up The Yellow Days Festival,
a four day celebration without borders, promoting love and unity amongst refugees and locals, proof that you don’t need to be an NGO or have years of charity experience or a university degree to make a difference in people’s lives. I’d heard about the festival through a post the founder, Nina Alonso, wrote on a Facebook group. I would soon come to realise how inspirational she is; someone who has bold ideas and gathers likeminded people around her to put them into action. Originally from Spain, Nina is every bit as warm and welcoming as the Spanish sun, radiating positive energy and light to everyone she meets. She made me feel instantly at ease as I nervously rocked up alone to that first Yellow Days meeting in the Haringey warehouse district almost two years ago. As a group of us tucked into some home-cooked food, she began to unravel the situation in Leros for us. In short, there were around 600 refugees on the island, and the stigma surrounding refugees meant there were social barriers in place that needed to be broken down between them and the locals. After travelling around Greece with her brother and ending up in Leros, she saw the need firsthand for refugees and locals to integrate and have fun together, and what better way to do that than through a festival based on the universal concepts of food, music and art.
a stunning 360° view of the island and the Turkish coast. You get a feel for how small the island is then, indeed there’s only around 8500 people living on it. Leros seems to have that slow-moving mentality that’s unique to islands; everyone knows everyone, summer days are laid-back and long, uninterrupted except for an errand or two and of course a siesta. Locals cruise around the old and narrow streets on scooters, their light summer clothes flapping in the sea breeze, and there’s never any rush. Ayman, from Syria, and Blake, from North London
The festival was entirely self-funded, made possible through events and parties the Yellow Days team put on over the course of the year leading up to the festival. After all, what do young creatives do well? Throw a party, that’s what. Only now, it was being scaled up to festival size, without the drugs and with people who had been through horrors we couldn’t even begin to imagine. We knew we couldn’t change the situation but we were going to make the best of it; this was our response to the humanitarian crisis. I knew all of this, yet I don’t think any amount of prior knowledge could have ever fully prepared me for what was about to happen last summer. Leros is an intriguing island. It is one of the only Dodecanese Islands that still feels like a secret amongst tourists in the know, and is nestled in between the better known and larger Greek islands Kos and Samos. The seafront villages Agia Marina, Alinda and Panteli with their traditional bakeries and tavernas, waterfront cafés, cocktails and freshly caught seafood attract the holidaymakers. Their yachts of all shapes and sizes can be seen anchored in the bays, bobbing along quietly with the current. For sightseers, the 10th century medieval Castle of Panteli is a must, providing
Argyris: taxi driver, smooth radio presenter, iced-coffee provider, all round vibes and adopted festival uncle
At first glance you’d be fooled into thinking life on this island had always been idyllic. Although Leros is a beautiful, picturesque gem surrounded by the azure waters of the Aegean Sea, it has had a stormy past. The town of Lakki certainly gave the impression that the island is still recovering from a colonial hangover. Leros has always been occupied at some point or other by the Turkish, Germans, Italians and English. It has the largest deep-water harbour in the Mediterranean, and so it has always had a military appeal to leaders of these countries. During WWII Le-
ros was under Italian occupation, and echoes of this can be seen dotted around the island. Mussolini commissioned the harbour town of Lakki to be built on what was previously a marshy swamp. It is unlike the rest of Leros with its art deco style architecture and wide, flat streets big enough for an army to parade up and down. Up on the rocky cliffs near the mouth of Lakki Bay there are dilapidated, crumbling look-out bunkers and war munitions yet to be unearthed. After the war, the British tried their hardest to dump thousands of tonnes of these into the sea, but they are still being found around the island to this day. Whilst out idly snorkelling and looking for mother of pearl shells we found an old-looking cartridge shell, whether that’s from WWII or not I don’t know, but in any case it’s creepy thinking about what wartime artefacts might be hidden in the depths just off shore. Mussolini was also responsible for building the presently disused mental asylum, the grounds of which are now “home” to hundreds of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine, in a government-controlled facility called hotspot. It’s as bleak as it sounds. The refugees reside in shipping containers, which are often filled to twice the capacity, cramped in together with strangers, waiting for what must seem like an eternity for the European Union to acknowledge their existence. I wonder what must go through their minds as they first arrive at hotspot, if dreams of a possible bright future after everything they have been through are quickly distorted into cold, grey and stark thoughts like the concrete prison they have just been escorted into. Pikpa, on the other hand, is an abandoned hospital block turned refugee shelter, run by
no less than a wonder woman. Matina Katsiveli, retired magistrate and co-founder of Leros Solidarity Network, is a force to be reckoned with. She works tirelessly, devoting every minute of her day to complete any and every job under the sun in order to help refugees who live at pikpa, such as vulnerable families, the elderly, pregnant women and unaccompanied minors. Matina shows the refugees love and compassion and above all, treats them as humans rather than numbers or worse.
Garlands for the workshop area made from fabric and drinks cans
In the days leading up to the festival I worked in the art department, creating decorations for the festival site out of donated scraps of fabric, and discarded rubbish collected from around the island. We worked long hours under the blistering Greek sun, alongside our refugee friends, to build the site and ensure it was perfect. Each morning would start with a group meeting, and everyone would be given their own little missions to complete for the day. Say the words “blunt scissors” and “plastic bottle” to me in the same sentence and you’ll have the satisfaction of seeing me shudder every time. The reasoning behind
the recyclable decorations was two-fold. On the one hand, to show people that you really don’t need money and a load of materials that will end up in landfill to create a beautiful festival site, and on the other, creating plastic decorations resembling sea creatures at a festival situated right on the beach was a nod towards the plastic and rubbish that’s killing our ocean inhabitants. After the festival, the decorations were either recycled or used to decorate the walls of pikpa. The four day festival was a whirl of laughter, stories, dancing, art, music and eating Syrian inspired food. I took great joy in helping out with the daily meals, preparing food so everyone at the festival could eat a delicious and nutritious free meal. Aziz, one of my friends from hotspot, told me he’d be happy if he never saw mac ‘n’ cheese ever again after being served the slop at hotspot on a near daily basis. Note I only said preparing the food, not cooking. Greek Mama Popi, who kindly let us prepare the feast at her taverna after it didn’t work out with our original caterers (if you’re ever in Leros, go to her seafront restaurant, Popi’s Sunset Merikia Taverna, everything from the food to the views are wonderful) and the pikpa ladies were adamant that we should only stick to the jobs we were capable of. I often work in kitchens, but I’ll never forget the look of horror on one of the pikpa ladies’ faces at the way we were preparing the parsley.
Juliette’s workshop was a jam session where everyone used an instrument they had found or made themselves
It was heart-warming to see people from around the world dancing together as if nothing else mattered. Poets and writers and artists and musicians. I remember clearly when it was that golden evening hour, light dancing away on the sand before the pink and orange sun sank below the sea. The gentle waves were unhurriedly lapping at the rocks, being guided ever closer towards us by the patient full moon, bigger than I had ever seen it. I had that unmistakable feeling you get when you look out to sea and all you feel is freedom. I sipped on a beer, idly listening to new friends’ voices as soothing as the waves themselves. How could life be so perfect and cruel at the same time? How could I sit here enjoying myself when my refugee friends had been through such awful times? How could people that had been through so much be some of the kindest and most generous people I’d ever met?
Hanging out with Aziz on the beach, one of my last days on the island
The next week, Aziz invited us festival stragglers to a barbecue at hotspot with his fellow shipping container roommates. The evening consisted of drinking beer and red wine, listening to shitty music, eating charred meats with fresh salad, bread and dips, and dancing around the fire. Hold up, isn’t that what everyone likes to do on a balmy summer evening? When did these wonderful people from distant lands to our own suddenly all become the “other”, evil, sneaky, and no good for nothing job-snatchers? We think we are worlds apart but we’re not. We’re the same. All we really want is to be ourselves, to have fun, and for our family and friends to be safe. And these people, who have had everything taken from them, still refused to let us chip in for food, and the men from Aziz’ container who had cooked it for us only started to eat after we had been offered second and third helpings. Last summer I was humbled. I learnt not to take everything for granted, even little things like being able to afford food. There was a day where I just ate a couple figs off a tree and seeds I pinched from a sunflower when I ran out of money, and it never occurred to me to complain.
We all take our lives for granted from time to time and if one day everything we know is threatened by war and persecution I hope the rest of the world would be there for us in a heartbeat, even if it were to just acknowledge us as people and listen to our stories. From the refugees who thanked us for giving them hope, for coming and showing we careed, and telling us we had made friends for life with them I know our efforts weren’t in vain. I can’t thank The Yellow Days enough for inspiring me to always push myself, to never stop being creative or think that my actions can’t have a positive impact on someone else. We’re all just tiny drops in the ocean but together we make one big tidal wave, right? Let’s not sit back and do nothing when crises hit our brothers and sisters around the world, let’s show the love and compassion we’re capable of. All it takes is putting an idea into motion. The Yellow Days have a vision to take this festival experience to which ever place in the world needs it most. For now, they are concentrating on fundraising and gaining the right sponsorship to put the festival on again next year. This summer, they will be returning to Leros to screen The Yellow Days documentary and give pikpa the money they have raised for them. If you’d like to keep up to date with their work, get involved, donate, or attend one of their many summer events in London, you can find their page on Facebook. I hope you all have a yellow summer...
Mila Wood Editor at Public House Magazine Photography by Dora Damian
Unlocking Frida Kahlo's wardrobe Produced as part of Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up Opening on Saturday, 16 June 2018
Summer Is For Travel It started with us wasted and me asking her to hold a plank of wood against a wall. The plan was to run up it and grab the windowsill of the flat we had forgotten the keys to. After just missing it, I fell to the floor without a scratch, she wasn’t so lucky. Angel, London.
After repeatedly telling her to horizontally cross the tram lines, she cycled straight into one. She was thrown across the street and trashed her hands and knees, the Ofo didn’t turn out too well either. Milan, Italy.
The Airbnb seemed a little shabby but otherwise fine. That was until a crackhead with two tears tattooed under his left eye sniffed meth off a knife on the steps outside, at 11am on a Tuesday. I kindly declined when he offered me a bowl not even five minutes later.
Venice Beach, Los Angeles.
My dad filled the water supply of the camper-van we were travelling in with diesel. 3 days of passive-aggressive arguments between my parents ensued, with my Mum crying a lot because she thought we’d lose the deposit. My Dad grew some balls and called the owner, who didn’t even give a shit.
Beautiful sunset when you averted your eyes from the flea-ridden cats and garbage strewn on the floor. Ercolano, near Naples, Italy.
The best photos of my ex have her face in them. Berlin, Germany.
Our group spent all night here and never got in a single club. It might have been because one mate choked out another, at his request, until he passed out and collapsed in the street, every single person saw. Lisbon, Portugal.
I got my first tattoo here at a house show. The guy whipped a tattoo gun out and after he did a 6 on my big toe, gave it to his girlfriend. She had never even held one and proceeded to draw a smiley face on the underside of his foot. He walked around barefoot for the rest of the night, fuck knows how it didnâ€™t get infected.
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Donâ€™t work in January
Swims with views
The British Seaside My Neo-Pictorialism began when I started experimenting with altering the film emulsion. I tried different film stock and different ways of applying the technique until I came up with an optimum combination. The bubbles, the distortion and the colour shifts appeared all at the same time. I had some control as to where on the frame to apply it but not much. What I liked about it was that it was like alchemy and could turn an ordinary picture into gold but conversely it could totally destroy a good one. I had to work on the originals and many would go in the bin because they disintegrated or they just curled up. I also could not do too many at once because of the noxious fumes the process created. BERNARDINISM.COM
Every Summer my mind turns to photographing PublicHouse flowers. Some years I manage it and some don't. The idea for this series came to me when I was looking at some nude studies. I wondered what it would look like if I tucked flowers in the lines where the body parts met. bernardinism.com
Charlotte Le's Verdurous Vietnam PublicHouse PH: Hi, why don’t you give us a breakdown on exactly what you’re doing on the far side of the world. CL: What am I doing in Hanoi exactly… Good question. I am predominantly brunching (that’s basically all we do here). Secondly, I am attempting to be a motivating and successful English teacher to the loveliest, most hard-working children. I am generally trying to avoid death at all times (on the road and whilst walking). But principally, I am trying to gain more from my days, by going on daily ventures, making new friends and doing more things that will make me happy. PH: So, you’ve been in the Nam for a little while now. I remember from my time there it can be quite the culture shock. What’s the most shocking thing you remember that you’ve since acclimatised to? CL: The crazy little things I witness here, really do make my day. There is nothing that REALLY shocks me, but the way of living here couldn’t be more different than in the UK. Seeing things that people squeeze on a little moped... you can nearly always see a family of four squeezed on a bike, with only the parents wearing helmets and the mother cradling a sleeping baby. During New Years, it’s tradition to buy kumquat trees. And of course, the bigger the tree, the more ‘fruitful your year will be’. So for a month, the roads were filled with little mopeds, juggling hefty orange trees. You also see dogs propped up, casually enjoying the ride. I’ll leave my house and around the corner, locals are slaughtering chickens on the street. At every moment of daily life here, there are so many utterly insane but amusing things you witness. PH: Coupled with the people, who are among the friendliest I’ve met, Nam’s more or less a paradise. As a foreigner you experience things quite differently to real life in the country.
PublicHouse You’re ethnically Vietnamese but you’ve grown up
nest about it, stating that they can’t hire me because I
in London. How does that influence the way you’re
look Vietnamese. It’s incredibly disheartening being so
treated when you’re there? Do you still get the more
clearly discriminated against for your race. And an even
polished Viet experience or are people a lot more re-
stranger feeling when you are discriminated against by
laxed around you?
those of the same ethnicity - by people from your home-town. I just hope that over time, they can look past
CL: People are generally pretty baffled by me. From
the skin colour.
initial appearance, most assume that i’m a local and will speak Vietnamese to me. But if I respond in Vietname-
PH: Still, with an adventure like this the experience is
se, my English accent shines through (you can take the
it’s own reward, what have you enjoyed most about
girl outta london). Often, the Vietnamese are just intri-
your time in Vietnam? Is there anything that you can’t
gued and really happy to ask me questions. Being able
wait to get your hands on when you finally get back
to make basic conversation, does make everyday tasks
to the U.K?
so much easier. And it has made my experience more personal and unique I feel, as I share special little mo-
CL: I have had so many amazing and unforgettable ex-
ments with locals.
periences in Vietnam. My highlights were the unreal sand dunes in Mui Ne, kayaking around Ha Long Bay,
PH: Naturally there arechallenges that come with a
the breathtakingly beautiful city of Hoi An and some
trip like this, were you expecting that to be
insane camping festivals in Hanoi like Quest and Mystery
one of them? Would you say it's improved over time
or has it become more pronounced? I miss the little things like making a toasted salmon and CL: I would have never expected my race and natio-
cream cheese bagel for lunch! Or picking up some sco-
nality to become a challenge out here. I guess I have
nes, clotted cream and jam at Tesco! I also of course
found ways of dealing with it over time. But in terms
simply miss drinking clean water from a tap and brea-
of looking for work as an English teacher, the fact that I
thing in fresh crisp English air.
am British Asian is something that is really pronounced. It has become increasingly clear that I am less desirable
PH: Thanks for giving us a little window into your Viet-
over a white teacher with the same qualifications, and
namese journey, is there anything you want to flog
possibly even less teaching experience. My teaching
to our fine PH readers? They have have impeccable
abilities are also enhanced by the fact that I can speak
tastes, much like yourself.
and understand Vietnamese. I can help accordingly when the student is speaking in Vietnamese and I could also do the teaching assistants job by translating my lesson. However, it is really all about selling an image here, and unfortunately for me, that image is white na-
CL: Despite my unfortunate experiences with finding work here, Hanoi is a truly special and remarkable place. I feel incredibly fortunate that I have the opportunity and choice to live and work here. There is so much
tive English teachers.
good to take from Vietnamese values and their way-of-
PH: What would you say is having the biggest impact
(including all the children) and yet are always generous,
welcoming and genuinely happy.
CL: This issue has definitely had a huge impact on me
PH: That they are. Ta, Gal, I’ll see you on the flip side.
and has tainted my love for Hanoi. Employers are ho-
For more on Vietnam Charlotte Le can be found on
living. They’re so fearless, they work ridiculously hard
instagram at/ charlottele
The Good Old Days
SummeR Of Love 1967 “It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era — the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run... but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant... There was madness in any direction, at any hour. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning... And that, I think, was the handle — that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply PREVAIL. There was no point in fighting — on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave... So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high water mark — that place where the wave finally broke, and rolled back.” -Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Extracted from Fear an Loanthing in Las Vegas | Random House Publishing | ISBN 0-679-78589-2
"I photographed Hunter S. Thompson on the island of Cozumel, Mexico, in March 1974, sitting on the seawall at El Presidente Hotel before being interviewed for the November 1974 Playboy Magazine. Hunter would usually wakeup around 11am, we'd work on the interview for a couple hours and then head into town for the rest of the day." -- Al Satterwhite Hunter S. Thompson, Mexico 1974 by Al Satterwhite
O l i v e r PublicHouse
Our friend Oliver headed down to Hope Gap in Sussex by The Seven Sisters chalk cliffs to try and enjoy our Great British Summer. As you can see they were mildly cursed by the weather gods, who love to tease you with a heatwave then rain all over your parade as soon as you make plans, but Oliver still managed to shoot some awesome photos.
V i l l e g a s PublicHouse
Kudos to the model Sarah Kershaw, we bet that water was bloody freezing. Sarah is a pianist, she is making music and films on Patreon, support her work at patreon.com/skno1 and visit her Tumblr at skno1.tumblr.com OliverVillegas.com Insta: olivervm.photo
friends over at robotbutt.com have created a parody account for National Lampoon. In case you are a fresh millennial and you donâ€™t know what National Lampoon is, you need to look back to cult films like Christmas Vacation, Animal House, Caddyshack or the most recent one A Futile and Stupid Gesture.
National Lampoon was an American humor magazine which ran from 1970 to 1998, it started as a spinoff from the Harvard Lampoon and is the humour that founded the base of this publication you are holding right now. Follow their account on Twitter and Instagram @FakeNationalLampoon and make sure to check Robotbutt.com, too.
Begginners Guide to Raicilla
By Ninfa Raicilla & Martin Kovar
In recent years, we’ve seen several lesser-known artisanal Mexican spirits cross the border and flourish.
acanora from Sonora, distilled from agave pacifica, and sotol from Chihuahua, distilled from the Desert Spoon plant, caused a frenzy among cocktail enthusiasts. To add to the mix, there’s one badass mezcal being produced in Jalisco that we’re pretty sure big tequila companies wouldn’t want you to know about.
The Raicilla Story Made in the highlands of the Sierra Madre Occidental, raicilla (pronounced rye-see-ya) is an agave spirit rooted in folklore and tradition. With a 400 year history in Mexico, this artisan spirit highlights the floral characteristics of the Maximiliana Agave, commonly known as lechuguilla. From the heart or “piña” of the lechuguilla surface, a bouquet of light citrus and floral aromas are joined by notes of hibiscus, beach plum and pineapple. In comparison to its agave cousins, tequila and mezcal, raicilla is considered the most fragrant and floral spirit in the agave family.
With the arrival of distilling technology in the 16th century, raicilla was transformed from a fermented beverage to the distilled spirit it is today. During this transformation, the spirit grew in popularity among indigenous locals, which led to its illegalization by the ruling Spanish who believed it to be an unsavoury custom. This illegalization forced producers into remote areas to distill in secret – a practice that remained for centuries. This is why for more than 400 years raicilla has been made in the same traditional way, passed down through generations of family distillers.
The Future of Raicilla Compounding the challenges: official recognition in Mexico remains as elusive as the unofficial recognition. The Council of Raicilla Producers, which meets once a month, owns a collective brand that protects the name and distribution. A process to obtain Denomination of Origin status has begun, the same accreditation that mezcal and tequila have. The Ninfa Way
Ingredients And Instruments Adobe Oven – Adobe Clay
“Raicilla is considered the most fragrant and floral spirit in the agave family”
Maximiliana Agave Hearts Oak barrels Alambique (distillation device) Wood canoas or small electric grinder Oak wood
Artisanal Process You will need a full day or two of harvesting and cutting the Maximiliana Agave hearts from your plantation or certified wild agave in the Sierra Mountains, and then wake up early the next morning to manually fire your adobe oven 6-8 hours prior to the introduction of the agave, using preferably local oak wood. Introduce the agave by tossing the sliced hearts over the back entrance of your oven, this should be done quickly to avoid heat loss, cover front & rear oven entrances with adobe clay, if cracks are present cover them as well as temperature is essential. Wait for a minimum of 24 hours (depends on experience and knowledge on your oven) and crack open the front entrance with the help of a hammer, carefully (ovens can reach 800 Celsius) extract the cooked agave and select burnt pieces to discard. The good agave will then be taken to your electric grinding station or your wood canoa to be manually ground with an axe. Once the agave is completely shredded take it into the fermentation room, which should have been insulated and cleaned prior to this. Insert the agave into the oak barrels and add your agave yeast. The fermenting process should take a couple of days. Next put the fermented agave into the pre-heated alambique oven and start your distillation process. Depending on the alcohol volume, make a second distillation to obtain your blanco raicilla. Mark the lots and send the finished product to a certified lab to be tested. Once the raicilla is cleared you are able to bottle it or age the liquid in the Cava for the desired amount of time. It will take 3 to 6 months for reposado,
6 months to 2 years for aĂąejo, and more than two years for extra aĂąejo. The whole process of making a batch should take no less than a week, from one tonne of agave you should obtain an average of 100 litres. This is definitely hard work, and it has been the same process for more than three centuries, relying mostly on the experience and expertise of the Maestro Raicillero, but the rewards are infinite. Enjoy your fragrant and delicious raicilla. Cheers From the Ninfa Team
e’ve teamed up with El Camino Del Pensador Mezcal in our Summer Issue. Pensador, which was founded by Hackney resident Ben Schroder, was awarded a Master Award in a blind tasting at the ‘Spirits Business Tequila and Mezcal Masters 2018’. They were crowned king of the mezcal category, beating off stiff competition from established global brands, including Licores-Veracruz. We’ve dished out free Pensador Mezcal to our members at our launch for ‘Summer Vacation’ and it proved a big hit. No surprise there - for two months Ben drove around Oaxaca, Mexico, trying to find the perfect liquid. It needed an ‘incredible, rich, strange flavour surrounded by tradition and character... magic.’ Pensador is as delicious as it is exotic, a mix of Espadin and Madrecuishe (two distinct agave species) from the Miahuatlan region of southern Oaxaca. “With pensador I knew I had the full package – rare agave, ancient methods, and an unashamedly high proof. Each sip is a burst of flavour: cooked agave, earth, grass, chocolate, and smoke, but with a balance and elegance not normally found in the category - the perfect vehicle for sharing the magic of mezcal” - Ben
Mezcal, for those not in the loop, is Tequila or rather Tequila is a specific strain of Mezcal. Grown exclusively from agave plants in five of Mexicoâ€™s thirty two states Mezcal is an ancient and punchy elixir. Once thought to be a heavenly nectar by Meso-americans its since been refined into the classic sipping spirit its famous for today. Pensador still uses the old school method of craft though - think large millstones, underground baking chambers and enormous root veg. Its all very rustic. All of this is getting Pensador noticed. As well as its recent award, Pensador can be found at award winning bars including Dandelyan and Happiness Forgets, and will soon be going into Harvey Nichols and the Soho House Group. Grab the good stuff online: pensadormezcal.com thewhiskyexchange.com
Public House PublicHouse
T h e G u a n a b a n e r a
Step 1 Combine all ingredients and shake!
Dash of Angostura
40 ml Guanabana
50 ml Mezcal
20 ml Gomme
20 ml Lemon J
Strain and garnish with lime and lemon
CREDITS John Pittsley - Mark Derian - Hal Furness MIla Wood - Ninfa Raicilla - Martin Kovar - Allen Forrest Oliver Villegas - Sarah Kershaw - Charlotte Le Alva Bernanrdine - Rory DCS - Fausta Joly - Dan Hooper Yuppie Princess - Eric Mun - Ryan Nee - Daniel Galef - Allen Forrest The Wanabanera By Hall Furness & Daniel Corrochio
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Daniel Corrochio
ART DIRECTOR Leon Villalobos
DEPUTY DIRECTOR Joseph Connolly
EDITOR Mila Wood
PUBCAST Eddie Mitchell
PRODUCER Amy Mcquarrie
SEO & DATA Arabelle Lutz
HEAD OF SUBMISSIONS Kaylee Collet
ASSISTANT EDITOR Jackson Palmer
AMBASSADOR-AT-LARGE Gideon Hooko GIDEON@READPUBLICHOUSE.UK
In loving memory of our friend Fernando Ortiz "Frunshko"
You'll be missed, party boy...