A best forgotten sin, a different kind of classic, or a little of both?

Tintin in trouble, p. 39 [fair use]

Often dismissed and derided, Tintin’s first outing, Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, was described by author Hergé himself as “a transgression of my youth”. He tended to lump it together with the problematic Tintin in the Congo but went even farther with Soviets and prevented its republication for years. Critics say that the plot is thin, the drawings crude, and that it is nothing but right-wing propaganda. That Soviets is, in all, not a worthwhile Tintin adventure.

Great snakes! This one really seems to be a dud for our brave hero.

Album number: 1 Serialised: 1929–1930 Collected: 1930…

Not a bad year reading-wise

What a year 2020 was. What can be said about it, others have said more eloquently than I can. And the less said about it, the better. Let us all just rejoice that it is behind us and hope that 2021 brings better days. Before moving on, however, I am looking back on the books read during these twelve (only twelve?) strange months.

Heavy on light reading (20ish), there were also plenty of biographies (9), history (8), and popular science (8). The year saw only one work of literary fiction (Amor Towles’ excellent A Gentleman in Moscow, see below), furthering…

Valparaíso, on Chile’s Pacific Coast, is one of South America’s most charming cities. With its barrios stretching up the hills from the coast and port area, it is renowned for the street art and graffiti all over the walls of its steep streets and alleys, serpentine and maze-like. Somewhat faded and dilapidated in places it has a suave vibe, it is spunky and has an edgy, cooler-than-thou feel. Plenty of pisco, ceviche to die for.

Valparaíso [Skuli Sigurdsson]

With an adopted family of fellow travellers, I spent Christmas in this bohemian wonderland a few years ago. As luck would have it, there was…

Let’s be real. After Ian Fleming passed away in 1964, there hasn’t been much in the way of worthy Bond stories. Some, myself included, might even say that not all the master’s work was up to snuff. That blasphemy is another article for another day. Today it’s about the best non-Fleming Bond novels — or some of the few that are worth your time.

Seven authors have tried their hand at bringing our favourite double-O to life, writing a total of 26 novels, more than doubling Fleming’s output. And that leaves out John Pearson’s fictional biography, the novelisations, Raymond Benson’s…

What if there is one more Dark Tower story waiting to be told? One that ka demands be written?

“…not strictly necessary when reading the series.” [fair use]

For the first time since finishing his magnum opus, Stephen King revisited gunslinger Roland Deschain in 2012’s The Wind Through the Keyhole. While a decent story which added a bit of background and enriched the lore of Mid-World, the novel has little bearing on the quest for the Dark Tower. Much like the 1998 novella The Little Sisters of Eluria, set shortly before The Gunslinger, it is not strictly necessary when reading the series.

Indeed, it seemed to me that the…

We called the song Waltz in C-minor because it was in 3/4 time. And in the key of C-minor. It was our power-ballad, brooding and melancholy. The lyrics — written and sung by a twice heartbroken, rum-soaked 22-year-old version of myself — were the only ones that came remotely close to slightly resembling poetry. If you squinted and tilted your head a certain way.

The (alleged) poet with The Orange Affair (Ragnar Trausti Ragnarsson)

The room is cold without you,
the wind is blowing in the trees
and I can see my breath
in the twilight of the room you’ve left me in
and I can smell you on my…

Today marks 195 years of independence for Uruguay. It was on this day, 25 August, in 1825 that the country declared its independence from the Empire of Brazil. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing but Uruguay is doing pretty well for itself these days.

The lighthouse of Colonia del Sacramento [Skuli Sigurdsson]

The most peaceful country in South America in 2020 and second only to Costa Rica in Latin America, Uruguay is described as an egalitarian society with low levels of poverty and nearly no extreme poverty. It scored the second highest in all of Latin America, after Chile, in the 2019 Human Freedom Index. …

Strange, is it not? How one becomes blind to ones habitual surroundings. Even when their beauty is mesmerising to the unjaded eye, one is so steeped in them that they hardly registers.

So it is with myself and Iceland’s natural wonders.

Lóndrangar by Snæfellsnes, West Iceland [Skuli Sigurdsson]

Well, sort of. I am not entirely immune, fortunately. In the right frame of mind, under the right circumstances, I can be more or less as awestruck as any newcomer. Almost. Sort of. I think.

With a new album by the mighty Deep Purple coming out in a little over a week, it seems appropriate to take stock of the music the band has produced since its rebirth in 1994, when guitarist Steve Morse joined the band and replaced the irreplaceable Ritchie Blackmore.

Everything changed when the Man in Black walked out and, for better or worse, Purple has not been the same band since.

For an immersive read, listen to the Spotify playlist below, comprised of the standout songs singled out in the article. …

Whoosh!, Deep Purple’s upcoming album, is now around the corner. 23 days but who’s counting? Well, actually I am.

In addition to Throw My Bones and Man Alive, two more songs have now been released: The Power of the Moon, exclusively as a physical EP on 20 June, and Nothing at All, on 10 July.

The Power of the Moon — the space song

Being in Iceland, that little speck of volcanic rock smack in the middle of nowhere, I have sadly not been able to obtain a copy of The Power of the Moon EP. …

Skuli Sigurdsson

Notes and musings from a misspent life. Travel. Music. Books. Films. And other good things too.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store