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ANASTASIA MIARI
Writing Samples

Hi!
I’m a London-based freelance travel and lifestyle writer with an
arts, culture and food leaning.
My writing experience spans restaurant reviews and hotel
features for the Regent Street Magazine, EasyJet Traveller,
[Wherever] Magazine and DialAFlight + freelance stints at The
Telegraph.
The following is a pick and mix selection of recent travel and
lifestyle features and copy. Please do feel free to check out my
website if you’d like to see more.
www.anastasiamiari.com

G O T HIC GAT HERING

Rub shoulders with the Athens art set at
Documenta 14, a world-class exhibition
that’s being held in the city for the first
time in its 62-year history. Get up close
and personal with some controversial
contemporary art and explore usually
off-limits buildings all over the city on a
guided tour through Documenta’s many
venues – a great way to tease out local
tips on underground drinking holes too.
Fly to Athens. 8 April-16 July. documenta.de

Transylvanian Manchester resident
Ottilia Ördög is sick and tired of Dracula
jibes, so she’s launched Góbéfest, the
UK’s first Transylvanian Hungarian
festival of arts and culture, to show
there’s much more to her homeland and
to promote the music, dance, art and
food of the ethnic Hungarians from this
region. It’s a whistle-stop tour of the
culture without a pair of fangs in sight.
Fly to Manchester. 13-14 May. gobefest.com

C U LT U R E

A R T SM A R T S

SECRE T GA RDENS

Forget everything you know about
bingo, replace purple rinses and free
bus passes with dance-offs on tables
and you’re getting close to Bongo’s
Bingo – a riotous reimagining of the
classic bingo hall, complete with ‘rave’
intervals between games and nostalgic
pop performances from the likes of S
Club 7. It has to be seen to be believed.
Number 62, tickety boo. Fly to Liverpool.
6-8 April. bongosbingo.co.uk

If putting on fairy wings and frolicking in
the woods sounds like your dream day
out, then Amsterdam’s Mystic Garden
Festival could be your soul home. A
day spent in this Narnia-esque world,
populated by acrobats, techno DJs and
dancers will make you want to pack in
the job, take up stilt-walking and flick a
two-fingered salute to normal life. You
have been warned. Fly to Amsterdam.
17 June. mysticgardenfestival.nl

PART Y

023

M A GIC NUMBER S

BE ACH DE T OX

What’s more relaxing: cracking open a
nice frosty beer or stretching out in a
sun salutation? Take part in a beer yoga
session and you won’t have to choose.
That’s right: yoga, while drinking,
balancing beer bottles on your body
in different poses. Its creators aim to
combine two age-old therapeutic rituals
to reach a higher state of mind. Don’t
upend your bottle in downward dog.
Fly to Berlin. From April. bieryoga.de

Winter has left us all in a bit of a
state. The Living Retreats package at
Sardinia’s Is Fradis beach club and its
re-balancing programme is designed
to iron out leftover gripes – whether
that’s addressing stress, weight loss or
insomnia – through beach workouts,
mountain hikes and forest runs, fuelled
by locally sourced meals. It’s a fast-track
way to a healthy body and mind. Fly to
Cagliari. 27-31 May. livingretreats.co.uk

WELLNESS

B O O Z Y Z EN

THE
MANUAL

Q&A

HOW TO
BE MORE POPUL AR
08.

Artist Grayson Perry talks selfies, motorbiking and a pathological loathing of velvet with Anastasia Miari

PHOTOS RICHARD ANSETT

“ t h i s i d e a o f t h e artist
being some sort of chaotic
bohemian ended years
ago. We’re all international,
super-rich businessmen now,
who run on a tight schedule,”
is Grayson Perry’s opening
gambit to my asking if he’s
had time to squeeze in any
breakfast before our interview.
Between making gender-scrutinising television
documentaries and penning a new manifesto for
masculinity (The Descent of Man, Penguin, £8.99),
the Turner Prize winning, cross-dressing artist
best known for his social commentary
ceramics and bold tapestries – not to mention
an enviably colourful wardrobe – has been
hard at work on a new exhibition.
This summer, London’s Serpentine
Galleries will host what promises to be
Perry’s most varied exhibition to date. The
subject? Popularity. Given Perry’s own rise to
acclaim, the Essex-born 57 year old seems well
placed to explore the topic.

Grayson Perry
dressed as his alter
ego, Claire

What makes a successful artist these days?
“I just plod on. There’s
a bit of sticking to
my guns, a bit
of being a good
communicator and
making work that
people actually
want to buy.
Being
saleable is a
big part of

023

art. It’s a commodity and anyone who fights against
that is going to be quite poor.”
Any ‘sliding doors’ career moments?
“I nearly went into the army when I was a troubled
teenager. It was quite an extreme choice: army
or art. The minute my art teacher said I’d do
well at art school, it was like a lightbulb
moment. I’ve never looked back,
although it’s been a bit of a slow
journey. I didn’t really get
going in terms of acclaim until
I was 40.”
Has fame changed the way you
create art?
“Part of the reason I like the
public-profile side of my work
is that I can reach out to more
people from nontraditional
backgrounds. Having done
lots of TV, I’m now probably
almost as recognisable
without a dress as with one.
I don’t mind the odd selfie.”
What about selfies in galleries?
“This is a problem. No one is present
any more. The unique selling point of
art is that you make a pilgrimage
to the gallery to see the
actual object. Now people
have a selfie in front of it
and don’t even look at
it properly.”
Any favourite
galleries in Europe?
“The Musée d’Art
Contemperain in
Basel has a

THE
MANUAL

Continued from previous page

fantastic collection of modern art and I always liked
the outsider art museum, Collection de l’Art Brut, in
Lausanne. I haven’t been abroad for a while though,
because I love London so much. The last place I went
was Denmark, which was very hipster.”
Did you cycle when you were there?
“Yes. Bicycles are the future. It’s great to go down
a mountain on two wheels – it’s like flying.”
Is this why you love motorbikes?
“I was 18 when I got my first motorbike. I grew up
in the country and the last bus out was at 6pm, so
a motorbike was the only way of having any sort of
social life. I have a fantasy about being a vagabond
traveller, which of course is nothing to do with the
reality, that I’m just taking out my expensive, show-off
machine. I’ve lived in Islington most of my life – I’m
now a member of the middle class metropolitan elite
– I’m not a rusky-tusky biker.”
Your work is known for exploring gender themes.
Do you think we’re starting to break down some of
those walls now?
“Being a transvestite has definitely flagged up
what masculinity is for me. I thought about gender
and the performance of gender from an early age,
and the way in which transvestites are kind of
dependent on gender being quite extreme. Often,
when you go to a gallery, the transvestite’s the one in
the vibrant skirt and everyone else is in boring black.”
Where do you get your dresses made?
“Central Saint Martins art-school students make
them for me.”
Do you have good taste?
“There’s no such thing. Good taste is that which
does not alienate your peers.”
The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! opens 8 June

GR AYS ON PERRY ON. . .

The artist and presenter takes on our quick-fire round

MARRIAGE
“The important thing
is not who you commit
to, but the fact that
you commit.”

FASHION
“At the top end it’s lovely,
like art. At the high-street
end, it’s a sort of machine
to make us hate what we
just bought.”

ART GALLERIES
“There are probably too
many of them and
they’ve got too big for
me on the whole.”
THERAPY
“It’s like someone
cleaning up your
tool shed.”

HOW T O DO
SILV ER SERV ICE
AT THE CINEM A

0 9.

f i r s t, c i n e m a s n a c k s went gourmet
– gin and tonic popcorn, anyone? – and
now movie maestros are pushing the food
agenda further, pairing flicks with fine
dining. EuropaCorp cinema near Paris
serves champagne, caviar and macarons
to movie-goers, while UK chef Rick Stein
has created a bespoke seafood menu
(think salmon and scallop sashimi and fish
pie) for Pop Up Picture Company
screenings this month and next in the
024

sumptuous surrounds of Berkshire’s
Cliveden House.
“We’ve become spoiled by unique
cinema offerings,” says the company’s
brand director, Chris Hughes. “Roof-top
cinemas, screens in graveyards, boats,
hot tubs… why not with a fantastic meal?”
So is this the end of rubbery hot dogs
and soggy nachos? “There’s definitely a
demand for more interesting cuisine,”
says Hughes. “Beautiful food and classic
films go hand in hand, and our front of
house are good at serving dishes
discreetly throughout the film to enrich,
not distract from, the movie.” We can’t
promise it won’t interrupt back-row
canoodling though. popuppicturecompany.co.uk

W O R D S C L A IR E B E N N IE IL LU ST R AT I O N M A RY L O U FAU R E

REEL FOOD

THE
PERFECT
CATCH
WO R D S BY A N A STA S I A M I A R I
P H OTO G R A P H S BY E L L A LO U I S E S U L L I VA N

“Perhaps I should not have been a fisherman, he
thought. But that was the thing that I was born for.”
— Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
Spending 24 solitary hours at sea, toiling with tides, tackle

Nathan Clark (aka ‘Chilli’), 27

and the biting wind, only to return with no catch, is a cruel

Loremipsum Doloramit

business. Crueller still, is the potential that landing the
perfect catch could cost a man his life. The fishermen – or

Fishing history: “I was born and bred into it. I love being

indeed, women – of Portsmouth inherit this means of

out at sea. It’s all I know. My dad and his dad were

making a living. Generations of families have lived and

fishermen. For as far back as I know we were all fishermen.

fished on these sleepy shores. From young lads, to

I first went out on a boat when I was six – and I left school

wisened old men, the sea, their boats and the changing

when I was fourteen to do this full time.”

tide is what they know. Punitive fishing quotas now in
Caught today: “Scallops.”

place mean that the line of fishermen is dwindling, along
with depleting numbers of fish. The solution? An education
in how to cook your catch. Eat it fresh, buy it local* and

What’s your perfect catch? “My favourite’s Dover sole and

cook it the way the fishermen do.

skate and I’ve been experimenting with a few different
ways to cook it. Recently I’ve been throwing my fish in the
oven with sweet and sour sauce then I have rice with it.

*London based? Buy fresh, sustainably sourced fish from these

When I’m on the boat, it’s Uncle Ben’s rice in a packet and

Portsmouth fishermen through Wandsworth’s Faircatch Fish

I pan fry with lemon and salt. I have a little supply because

Box Scheme. Members can choose how much fish they’d like,

I travel all ‘round the country on this boat. I’ve even got a

pay upfront for a 4 or 8-week period and pick up their fish

bed down there – no room for a girlfriend, mind.”

weekly or fortnightly from a local collection hub.

2

A N A STA S I A M I A R I

Tony Smith, 47
Loremipsum Doloramit

Alan Young, 60
Loremipsum Doloramit

Fishing history: I’ve always been a fishermen. My mum’s side
of the family were all fishermen and I got into it from there.

Fishing history: “I been fishing for 40 odd years now. I started
with my dad and that’s how I got into it. This used to be my

Caught today: My whelks here are going to Korea. They love
them over there – they’re a delicacy.
What’s your perfect catch? “How old are you? - 25? - You’re
the same age as my bird! You’re getting an interview and a
date ‘ere! Fish wise, I don’t mind a bit of sole. I fry it up in a
bit of olive oil and have it with chips – always home-made –
and proper peas. None of that processed stuff. And I do like
bass on the barbie with lemon.”

boat but I sold it to my mate Mickey over here. But I’m the one
that keeps it going – he’s still the skipper.“
Caught today: “Nothing. The weather’s crap innit? No fish and
the tide’s not right. It’s the wind factor here with us as well; it
gets dangerous. We lost four men last week. It ain’t all bad
though, it isn’t often we get a pair of mermaids on the boat…”
What’s your perfect catch? “Cod - the way my wife batters it.
We have mashed potatoes and mushy peas with it and we’ve
been eating it that way for 30 odd years now. When I don’t
catch it, mind, we get it from the chip shop – but it isn’t the
same. Chippies don’t use fresh fish - they don’t know how to
fillet it– these days they just buy it in frozen. I’m not no cook
but I like herbs and spices. I mainly take mackerel home for
the wife but I’m not really a fan of it. I wouldn’t take it home to
eat personally, but my wife likes it, doesn’t she? Gotta keep
her happy.”

Roy New, 28
Loremipsum Doloramit
Fishing history: “Born and bred fisherman. I’ve been doing this
since I left school. Not sure it’ll carry on down the generations
though, I’ve got a baby girl.”
Caught today: “Lobster. I got this one from the Isle of White.
Sometimes I go further than that though. It’s a bit too far really.
I get up at 5am and I just put myself on autopilot. Sometimes if
I’m trawling or beaming I’ll do 24 hours out on the boat.”
What’s your perfect catch? “Dover sole is my favourite fish. I like
to breadcrumb it and have it with jersey royals and fresh peas. I
let my bread go stale, chuck it in a blender with garlic, then dip
my sole in whisked up eggs and then cover it with bread crumbs
before frying it. I do like getting lobster in. I’ll cut this one in half,
crack his claws, lay him down so the meat’s facing up and
smother him in garlic butter. Then when he’s nice and red, I’ll
pull him out and cover him in Calvados – then set him alight.
I’ve got some of these tips from the big French chefs. It’s all
French, the best cuisine, isn’t it?”

4

5

A N A STA S I A M I A R I

Julie Magdwick, 43
Loremipsum Doloramit
Fishing history: “I’ve been working at Villiers fish market for
God knows how many years!”
Caught today: “We get everything in here – from all the local
fishermen. I’ve got my eye on the salmon today though.”
What’s your perfect catch? “I like all sorts, so I make fish pie
(in a hurry, mind) with all my favourites from the market. I’m
a single mum so by the time I get home from work, I’m
knackered and this takes about half an hour from start to
finish and it’s all fresh fish. I’ll write down the recipe but
forgive my spelling – I can’t spell. I make mine with salmon,
cod, smoked haddock and king prawn. I put my potatoes on
to boil and salt the water and I put a bed of wilted spinach
on the bottom. I always get my kids a fresh loaf of tiger
bread to have with it because then they can dip it in the
sauce and soak it all up. I honestly don’t get those people
that have it with ketchup – I think it’s disgusting.”

Scott David Hammerstone, 35
Loremipsum Doloramit
Fishing history: “This is all I know, been doing it since
I was at school. My brother’s a fisherman as well. It
runs in the family.”
Caught today: “Scallops”
What’s your perfect catch? “My favourite is Mackerel
on the barbecue – on the side of my sausages and
burgers. I do like sea bass and a squeeze of lemon with
fresh veg. The key is to never over-cook your broccoli.
I like it crunchy. I’m not a fan of soggy veggies.”

6

7

A N A STA S I A M I A R I

Tom Spencer, 63
Loremipsum Doloramit
Fishing history: “I’ve been coming here to fish
since I was a lad.”
Caught today: “Just live bait - little nippers to
attract the big ones later.”
What’s your perfect catch? “Sole. I pan fry it on a
high heat – give it a season with salt and pepper –
and always make sure the pan’s really hot before I
drop it in. Then I fry it on either side for five minutes
and I dish it up with new potatoes and peas and eat
it. I always fish for my own fish but you can’t always
catch them – we should be getting lots of mackerel
this time of year but it’s just luck of the draw.”

Frank Conway, 60
Loremipsum Doloramit
Fishing history: “All my life nearly. I’ve been coming down here
since I was seven.”
Caught today: “I just caught one for bait but it’s a bit big. I’ll be
heading to a different spot later for the proper fish on my boat.”
What’s your perfect catch? “I like sea bass in the oven with
lemon and a bit of ginger. I like my fish spicy, like my women. I
don’t faff with any sides - I’m a single man - I don’t have time to
be having it with anything else. I’ve had five wives and none of
them stayed. Not one of them liked cooking fish. I must be
hard work ‘cause none of them stuck around to make me sides
to go with my bass. I think the issue might have been I went to
the shop one morning for milk and I never came back…

8

9


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