The battle to save Mutonia

Mutoid must stay. The poster was in the window of a small bookshop in my husband’s hometown Santarcangelo di Romagna, in Italy. Wandering around the pedestrianised centre, we saw the same poster in a bar, another shop, then another. It was clear something was afoot. The Mutoids have been part of Santarcangelo life for years, but never before have they been so visible. Asking around, we discovered that the Mutoids’ way of life was under threat and the people of Santarcangelo had mobilised to support them.

A scrap sculpture in the Mutoids' outdoor workshop in Northern Italy

Not every town would accept a counterculture community on its doorstep, but then Santarcangelo is not just any town. It might be a small place many kilometres from Rome or Milan, but it’s by no means a backwater. It’s home to an astonishing number of artists and writers, and frequently organises cultural events: storytelling workshops, art displays, wine tasting. Romagna hospitality is famous throughout Italy, and ‘strangers’ are readily accepted into the community. In recent years the area has attracted immigrants from China, Senegal, North Africa, Albania. In the cafe where I’m writing, a young Moroccan woman at the next table is discussing Italy’s debt situation with a young man from Senegal. They’re speaking fluent Italian. Kruder and Dorfmeister on the stereo mingles with sounds of band practice filtering out from the school across the piazza.


September 19, 2013 Comments disabled

The influence of body image in our society

In many societies, people associate the perfect body image with success. Their perception of what a person should look like in order to be successful is heavily influenced by the media. Some of our contributors share how important body image is perceived to be in their countries and what that perception is influenced by.


August 20, 2013 Comments disabled

Picture Postcards: Sky over England

Today’s sky photo comes to us from our Managing Editor, Lucy, who has captured this scene in northern England.

More about Lucy
Guy Fawkes
Stephen:From London to Beijing

August 12, 2013 Comments disabled

It’s all gone pear shaped: British terms used in US English

You can read a lot of writing lamenting the influx of Americanisms into UK English. “Can I get a…” (instead of “could I have,” or “may I have,”), “sure” (instead of “of course”), “movie” (instead of “film”). American media is consumed globally, and is probably exported more than any other country’s media that I can think of, so you can expect the adoption of some of these “Americanisms”.

However, culture and language works both ways. The Harry Potter books and movies have certainly played a part in introducing a number of words into American English, that while they may have been understood before, are becoming more and more commonplace. The most notable is probably “ginger”, which is “redhead” in American English. Though I have seen an internet post or two claiming there’s a difference between “redhead” and “ginger”, the two are used interchangeably in the US. Now even though it’s understood in the US, it’s still a little “funny” sounding, and you probably wouldn’t use it with a straight face as a descriptive term, and it’s not overly-positive sounding to our American ears.


June 19, 2013 1 comment

Books from around the world, recommended by our contributors

In a recent online chat between PocketCultures contributors from around the world, we talked about books which reflect our countries and cultures. Here are our recommendations.

Art installation at ArteBA 2012. Photo by Ana O'Reilly


May 22, 2013 1 comment

100 websites to learn about the UK

A group of the UK’s most prestigious libraries have put their heads together to select a list of 100 websites which will be essential reading for future generations trying to understand the UK in 2013. That means they are probably good reading for those in other countries trying to learn more about the UK.

Camberwell, London has a lively online community


April 30, 2013 Comments disabled