Africa, America, Countries, Culture, Europe

Putting these statues on a pedestal

All joking aside about Zlatan ‘The Ego’ Ibramovich being cut down to size.

But is it right that the Sweden soccer superstar should befall the same fate as Edward Colston in Bristol, Lord Nelson in Dublin and Saddam Hussein in Baghdad?

The fallen Zlatan.

Now I’m all for sportspeople, celebrities, actors and even, and particularly, animals to be put on a pedestal.

Because haven’t the aristocracy and the war leaders had their day in our affection and deference?

So here are is my unscientific list of my favourite statues.

And please let me know who I’ve missed out.

Greyfriars Bobby, Edinburgh

Bobby job: Ma wee pal

Well, if Bobby’s tale was good enough for Walt Disney then it’s good enough for me.

Bobby is buried not far from here in Greyfriars Kirk next to his master John Gray on whose grave he slept every night.

And he was then awarded the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh.

You’re advised though not to kiss his nose for luck as many started doing… it’s not lucky for Bobby as it’s wearing away.

For more on Edinburgh and Scotland visit and

And, of course, I always like to flag up ma wee hame country. And here’s a wee sample of what we eat and drink…

With and

Fannie Lou Hamer, Ruleville, Mississippi

A little big woman: Fannie Lou Hamer in Mississippi

Sometimes it’s the design that catches you and stops you in your tracks.

And so it is with this remarkable little woman,

The President of the USA, Lydon Baines, Johnson took extraordinary measures in stopping her saying her piece at the Democratic Convention by having television change its schedule.

Fannie Lou Hamer’s life was extraordinary, born into a sharecropping family and picking cotton from the age of six, she was later forced out of her home, threatened with her very life and beaten.

All because she wanted to sign on on the voting register.

She summed up her struggle in the Civil Rights Movement thus, and of course nobody could say it better: ‘I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.’


And why not read my American Trilogy…, and

Anne Frank, Amsterdam

The flower of youth: Anne Frank in Amsterdam

Us journalists like to think of ourselves as hard-bitten but I had to choke back the tears walking through the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam….

The audio narrative dwelt on a passage in her diary where she mentions that she wants to become a journalist when she’s older.

And what a journalist she would have been… ethical (yes, some of us are), prying and fearless.

Amsterdam is one of the world’s great cities and Anne one of history’s greatest figures…

And here is proof of that… and

Piss, Prague

Give Pees A Chance: Prague

Statues should be provocative and the Czechs have this one down to a T.

‘Piss’ is the good people of Prague’s commentary on the politicians who have urinated all over their country.

You’ll not see it here but once the water gets flowing they pee all over the map of the country.

The Czechs as well as being the world’s biggest lager drinkers, per population, with some of the world’s best beers, are wonderfully anti-establishmentarian.

Visit and here’s some other musings on the Czech Republic

Phil Lynott, Dublin

Strumthing else: With Marc in Dublin

There are statues to musical giants all over the world but while former Thin Lizzy lead singer Phil Lynott isn’t the best or most famous singer of them all, try telling that to Dubliners.

It is a tradition now for visitors to Dublin to have their photo taken outside Philo’s statue off the main Grafton Street shopping thoroughfare.

That other statue, the Tart with the Cart, Molly Malone? Well you can leave that to the uninitiated.

And seeing you’ll be in town here is where you want to stay…

And this site will point you in the direction of other goodies…

Martin Luther, Dresden

Martin’s mound: Dresden

Some statues can withstand anything.

Martin Luther stood as a defiant symbol of Dresdeners refusal to see their city disappear after the Allies’ firebombing at the end of the Second World War.

Dresden was known as the Florence of the Elbe and it is one of the great architectural stories of our age, or any age, to see how the Dresdeners have rebuilt their city to the same grandeur of its renaissance days.

For more information on Dresden and also take a trip through the ages with me with

Hans Christian Andersen, Copenhagen

With Tom and My Little Princess in Copenhagen

Yes, the Little Mermaid is more visited, but personally I prefer the top-hatted Hans in the heart of Copenhagen.

Hans was an eccentric all right and once decamped on Charles Dickens, walked around the house in the starkers, and made it difficult for Charlie to show him the door.

Very Scandinavian and it just makes me want to revisit Denmark… and digging out my Scandinavian wanderings

Nelson Mandela Voting Line, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

March to Freedom: In Port Elizabeth

Statues shouldn’t just stand there. No, really. And this is a moving symbolic Voting Line which sums up South African democracy.

This is our host Sisseko and beside him a kid as he would have been back in 1995 when South Africa had its historic vote.

It is also immersive and you don’t have to climb up a plinth to get next to it as they do in Glasgow when they put police cones on the Duke of Wellington.

It is the way I should imagine that Nelson, a native of the Eastern Cape, would have wanted it.

And for more on South Africa’s Eastern Cape visit and And this is how I tries to do it justice…

Martin Luther King, Washington DC

Unfinished business: Martin Luther King in Washington DC

We’ll never stop building statues, of course, and I expect a Bandanaman up in my name when my Travelling days are done.

This statue of Dr Martin Luther King is never meant to be finished though.

Until the Civil Rights struggle has been finally met which, of course, it never will be, alas.

But what genius and how moving. For more on my favourite capital city visit http://Easy DC and


Dog days… It’s International Dog Day

Right, just to address a false impression, particularly on this International Dogs Day. I don’t dislike dogs.

I probably prefer cats but there are some doggies I have fallen in love with.

The first was Dinky, the Welsh corgi at Shovlin’s guesthouse in Narin-Portnoo, Co. Donegal.

A real prince of dogs, his is the breed so beloved by the Queen.

We would regularly sit on the craggs and I would throw balls to him so he could run on the wide golden sands.

Yes, that beach is all mine: Dinky

My Dear Old Dad, not the biggest animal lover, even took to him.

Narin-Portnoo was a favourite family holiday, my Mum’s parents and sister Nora lived just up the road in Brockagh, near Ballybofey.

And, of course, it was the first place I took the Scary One, when she was merely a little daunting, and the Son and Heir.

Visit and

Like people, I suppose we all have our types, and I venture for the loyal, sparky types. It helps if they’re cute too.

The best friend a man ever had was Greyfriars Bobby who I make no apologies in bringing up again and whom Disney made a film about.

Bobby slept on the grave of his maister (that’s Scottish for master) in Edinburgh’s Greyfriars Kirk (a graveyard). And their graves lie next to each other now.

That’s my pub too: Greyfriars Bobby

There is a statue outside the kirk, and a pub, in his honour too.

Every time I’m back in Edinburgh I make a pilgrimage up to see him, and just for research have a dram (a whisky) in the pub.

Ever work with pets

They say never work with pets or children… but television and the movies always fall back on doggies and kids. They are a sure-fire earning winner.

The best dog on TV because he is, and because he’s on the best television show ever made is Eddie, Martin’s best pal, on Frasier.

Sahara bumpety: With Sahara in Algoa Bay, off Port Elizabeth, South Africa

And because of that I always have a soft spot for Jack Russells.

Sahara. the South African Jack Russell is the mascot of Raggy Charters whale and dolphin-watching boat firm in Port Elizabeth.

Heck, I don’t think owner Lloyd would object to me saying it’s Sahara who runs things around there.

Here he is pointing out the bottlenose blue dolphins to us in Algoa Bay… it’s the bottlenose dolphin capital of the world. And, of course, check out all that PE and South Africa has to offer and

I know there is a certain irony in begging up dogs as my South African article What’s new pussycat? was in praise of cats

But all God’s creatures have a place in the choir… and this blog.