What are you listening to? Our contributors share their favourite music from around the world

Last summer it seemed like Gangnam Style was everywhere. Here in Turkey the crazy dancer from Korea was on the tv, the radio, playing in the shopping mall. On Facebook I saw a Gangnam flash mob in Bishkek. My niece and nephew spent the summer holidays watching a Dutch remake which their dad decided was more child friendly.

Since music crosses borders so easily these days, it’s no surprise that many PocketCultures contributors are listening to something from another country. Others are listening to music from their own country. Read on to learn who is listening to what, and then tell us what you’re listening to.

Simona Morachioli (Italy / Germany)

Here is my obsession at the moment: Lana del Rey with “Young and Beautiful”. It is part of the Great Gatsby soundtrack (which was stunning, more stunning than the movie itself in my opinion).

Lana is American and I went to listen to her live a month ago here in Germany. She is even greater live than on radio.


June 21, 2013 2 comments

12.12.12 – Twelve photographers picturing one year in Portugal*

On March 27, in the Bookstore Sá da Costa in Lisbon, I had the pleasure to assist to a conversation about photography, which guests were members of the collective 12.12.12. Failing the presence of all elements, the conversation developed with José Carlos Carvalho, Adriana Morais, Vasco Célio, Nuno Fox, Rodrigo Cabrita and José Manuel Ribeiro.


José Carlos Carvalho, José Manuel Ribeiro, Adriana Morais, Vasco Célio, Nuno Fox.

The themes that dominated the dialogue between the guests, the host and the audience were the nature of the project, its development and its outcome. It seems an objective perspective and a closed one, but it was not the case. As, indeed, it is not the project as developed by the collective, despite the widespread and pervasive design by ‘media’: in any research, article title or reference to a term 12.12.12 raises an inevitable term: the crisis. In fact, the group does not deny the importance of such reality for the start of the project. It was with a certain willingness to portray the year (2012) they believed to be the most acute of the Portuguese current economic, financial and social situation that the group formed up and the work of each other began to gain form. But they also quickly realized that that was not the perspective and they wanted to imprint.

Stepping back a little to the roots of the collective, the idea arose from the will of José Carlos Carvalho and Nuno Fox, to gather material for the contest “Picture Station | Mora” in late 2011.

Unable to select images already made they decided to create new ones and to subvert the original purpose. Now what interested them was to bring together people from different generations and backgrounds and with diverse experiences documenting the crisis for 12 months in 12 districts of Portugal. But, as José Carvalho stated several times, “Who are we to tell what the crisis is?”. They preferred, then, to register the images of the realities they were finding and discovering throughout the country.


April 10, 2013 Comments disabled

The times are they a-changin’?

Portugal is living a time of austerity. Portuguese people are leaving the country, mostly the young and qualified adults, due to the difficulties and sense of no hope for a future felt since the arrival of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) in the country.

©Miguel Von Driburg All Rights Reserved

Portuguese people are known for their ‘mild manners’ (‘brandos costumes’), for the acceptance of the difficulties without a public active positioning. It was this way during the dictatorship (1933-1974), which ended with a peaceful military coup d’etat on 25 April 1974 in Lisbon, known as the Carnation Revolution, since this flower became the symbol of change and freedom when soldiers placed carnations, distributed by a local florist, on the barrels of their rifles. (more…)

March 13, 2013 6 comments

LX Factory in Lisbon

Lisbon, the sunny city overshadowed by the current financial crisis, is reinventing itself with the emergence of a varied number of ‘start-up’ companies, creative projects, new and fresh businesses categorised by entrepreneur vigor. It still is an embryonic reality but creative minds and eager developers are designing the path.

Ler Devagar Bookshop

One of the first and more compelling achievements in this business revitalization was the retrieval of an old factory located in the Alcântara neighborhood. Formerly a mill and printing-house, it now lodges several design, photography, marketing and architecture offices and a coworking space. It is an authentic incubating hub which allies labour with leisure, as it also is the home for trendy cafes, restaurants, and bookshops such as “Ler Devagar” (“Read Slow”) considered one of the 20 most beautiful bookstores of the world.

On Sundays, a street market (LX Market) is organized in the main street of the complex: artworks, craftworks, old memorabilia are at display for a morning stroll. It is a program much loved by young families, where many also enjoy the new “brunch” trend that is beginning to take roots in the Portuguese capital, and which have presence in LX Factory in “Café na Fábrica”, for example.

Ler Devagar Bookshop

Once in a while the “Openday” is organized. All the LX Factory community open their doors until late night for all the curious lisboetas. Not only the office’s, shop’s and cafe’s schedules are extended, but a great variety of cultural, artistic and entertainment activities are offered. Music showcases, performances, readings and workshops take place from morning to night, in and outside doors.

In addition to all this activity, LX Factory is being elected as a privileged site for important urban interventions and great street art installations. Important names as Mário Belém and the anonymous collective ± maismenos ± made the walls of the nineteenth century factory one of their canvases.

Ler Devagar Bookshop

With a familiar but innovative and modern atmosphere, this is a vibrant place which has still much to offer and to get. Whenever in Lisbon don´t miss this factory of ideas!

Photo credits: Miguel von Driburg

Written by Sandra Bettencourt

Sandra Bettencourt holds a research fellowship in project CILM – City and (In)security in Literature and the Media at the  University of Lisbon. She holds a degree in Art Studies (specialization in Film Studies), as well as an MA in Literary and Cultural Studies. She obtained formation on Digital Journalism, at CENJOR (Center of Professional Formation for Journalism). She’s addicted to movies, passionate about literature, and music lover.


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February 6, 2013 Comments disabled

Easter around the world

Our contributors describe Easter celebrations in their countries, how traditions have changed over the years and the history and significance of those celebrations. They share their family traditions as well. Learn more about Easter in Australia, Costa Rica, France, Portugal and the United States.

Easter bilby

Photo: Australian Bilby Appreciation Society

Australia – Liz

Easter in Australia can be summed up in one, sweet and very commercially oriented word – chocolate! For at least a month leading up to Easter chocolate eggs and bunnies can be spied creeping their way all over the supermarket shelves. While the religious meaning of Easter is pertinent for some, most Australians enjoy the four day weekend and chocolate fest that ensues.

Popular options include the Lindt gold bunny, Cadbury crème eggs and the uniquely Australian chocolate bilby, a chocolate incarnation of a near extinct native animal, similar to a bandicoot. People also love to scoff hot cross buns which appear in bakeries during the month leading up to Easter.

The Easter bunny traditionally leaves chocolate eggs for kids overnight in the vein of Santa Claus, while some families have adopted the Easter egg hunt, though this isn’t something that has always been typical of the Australian Easter (when I was a kid no-one did this – I think we’ve adopted this from Europe and the US in recent years). However the chocolate arrives, as long as it does I say!

Costa Rica – Nuria

Nuria shared that “in Costa Rica it does have a very religious meaning, and we actually celebrate the whole week, so for us it’s “Holy Week” instead of just “Easter”. Read more about Costa Rican Easter celebrations here. (more…)

April 4, 2012 2 comments

From our contributors: week of March 19

Here’s some interesting reads to brighten up your week brought to you by our team of contributors from around the world.


March 20, 2012 Comments disabled