Given that the culinary scene in Serbia not only expanded, but changed sufficiently to attract the interest of Michelin guides, a few friends and I lamented the receding prominence of good Serbian kafanas on the culinary landscape. Yes, this is probably overly nostalgic and curmudgeonly, however once one hits a certain age, has had the chance to taste enough varied dishes and has been overcharged … Continue reading Karafindl: The Nutshell Times Good Kafana Guide
As a keen long distance runner preparing for the Athens Marathon, I had to venture outside of my favoured easy routes and up my game. Belgrade’s hilly profile in addition to flat runs by its rivers is great for training, although our very hot and humid summers are not exactly helping the aspiring athletes. Anyhow here are some of the nicer runs I did in … Continue reading Best Belgrade Runs 2: Do you even run, bro?
Despite the reductive and strangely common view in the West that Yugoslavia was yet another Soviet Communist country, the relationship between SFRY and the USSR was a complex one, especially after 1948, when Tito was thrown out of the Comintern by Stalin. The USSR was undeniably key in the WWII liberation of Yugoslavia and victory of the Partisans, however Yugoslavia, since 1948, very much saw … Continue reading Rusploitation in Yugoslav Pop
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a place where the world was (allegedly) created and where it will (allegedly) end, Jerusalem is a vibrant city throughout and a joy to wander around. It is also a showcase of some of the most inspired architecture in the world in terms of its spiritual ambitions. The Temple Mount and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre have a completely otherworldly feel, … Continue reading Jerusalem / New York / Art Deco
One of my favourite stories about my grandad was that he was a big fan of “La Traviata.” A son of a relatively successful merchant in Nikšić, at some point between the two world wars, he accompanied his mother to Karlovy Vary spa, where he met a Czech girl and fell in love. Unfortunately, his paramour contracted tuberculosis and passed away, which set him off … Continue reading Anna Netrebko, Warwick and the globalism of the early 2000s
When I lived in the UK, like any foreigner, especially as a member of a not quite prominent (nor popular) nation, every once in a while, I sought places that reminded me of home. At first it was just the places that had the vibe that reminded me of Serbia. I immediately fell in love with the Barbican and the Southbank as they reminded me … Continue reading Traces of Serbia in London
There is a theory that a person’s musical taste ossifies in their teens and is pretty much set as they enter their 20s. Going by my own experience and that of many of my friends, that may not exactly be the case, but that may be because two formative films for me in understating the adulthood (or middle age) are Jason Reitman’s “Up in the … Continue reading „Young Adult“, middle age
Jedan od najupečatljivijih događaja kojima sam prisustvovao je bilo uklanjanjenadgrobnog spomenika.Spomenik, koje je za mene od detinjstva bio čvrsti simbol podele između živih imrtvih je par grobara bez po muke rastavilo za oko minut, tokom kojih sam ja bioprinuđen da shvatim da granica između mene koji stojim i onih ispod nije čvrsta,čista i neporozna kao tamni granit, već da je prljava, haotična, i prilično poroznapoput … Continue reading Beg od smrti
It has been a while since I did this type of list. Firstly, COVID threw a spanner into a lot of great businesses which did not survive the pandemic or have changed how they work entirely (lots of them, like Proleće and most of Skadarlija becoming basically crap overpriced tourist haunts) . Secondly, when I started writing this blog, Belgrade’s food scene was significantly less … Continue reading Best of Belgrade Food Scene 2023: A value for money guide
My Grandmother was an amazing person, without whose love and support my life would have been much worse. I owe a lot to her: love of Belgrade’s history, a certain sense of humour, as well as the tendency towards obesity and comforting myself with food. She was kind, funny and strong, and a rare person whose affection towards me I could physically feel whenever … Continue reading No, things will never be okay / “Tennessee waltz”
Leži u svom malom stanu na Dorćolu, iznad nečega što su još davno zaboravili da je bio Supermarket, odnosno, Alonso, i čeka 2073. Odnosno čeka smrt. Ovi klinci u kraju se ne lože više na prave vrednosti: samo neka crkva, neka glupa muzika, neka sranja. “Kad smo mi bili u njihom godinama tada se živelo: koncerti u ‘demiji, vutra, gudre uopšte”. Dosta ih je overilo, … Continue reading Poslednji ekser
I arrived to Porto Montenegro’s swanky Regent hotel on the night of the first round of Montenegrin presidential elections which may, finally, end the decades-long reign of Milo Đukanović in the country. The life of this luxury residential-commercial development made for super-yacht set, which replaced an old Austro-Hungarian, then Yugoslav naval yard, in a lot of ways captured Đukanović’s appeal, despite his party’s and personal … Continue reading Porto Montenegro: the discrete charm of the Fully Automated Luxury Oligarchy
„What is there to like? It is just rich people talking about their lives.“The guy I was speaking to did not like La Grande Bellezza and could not understand why I was so obsessed with it. I am not sure how I answered, and if I did at all, but in the coming years, since that night in 2015, the global film industry moved more … Continue reading The new humanism of Ostlund, White and Sorrentino
How a trad Christian pop folk singer became the most controversial person in ex-Yugoslavia When you listen to Danica Crnogorčević’s music, you will be instantly amazed by her voice. Wonderfully colourful and powerful, she comes across as a Montenegrin Enya, and in a lot of ways the two share a lot in common. Like Enya, she cuts an almost impossibly wholesome figure: a church-going (her … Continue reading Danica Crnogorčević: the trad villainess of the Balkan Arts scene
Last year I finally got back into my travelling mode. Here are the twelve places that I visited that really stand out in my memory, and to which I come back often in these grey winter days in Belgrade. Thankfully this year I also discovered how easy it is to edit and post videos on TikTok so I can revisit them often :p Sils Maria … Continue reading Nietzsche, villas and suspicious art benefactors: top twelve places I visited in 2022
In the library of my grandmother’s salon in Avalska, between the many Marxist and Yugoslav communist tomes, stood a hard bound copy of „Civilisation“ by Kenneth Clark, published by Mladost from Zagreb in 1972. The fact that this book, a seductive (and often derided) statmeet of Western cultural supremacy, was translated into Serbo-Croatian and published in a socialist only three years after it appeared in … Continue reading The fall of Yugoslav civilisation: Doomers at the gates
St Nicholas is the most popular saint in Serbia, at least in terms of the number of families celebrating his feast day (19 Dec/6 Dec Julian calendar) as a slava (family patron saint’s day). He is also revered as a gift bringer and it was on St Nicholas’ that kids were given presents before WWII in Serbia. Since WWII, that role is taken over by … Continue reading More than Santa Claus: Why St Nicholas is a huge deal in Serbia?
It rarely happens that I am transfixed by art, however almost two decades ago, I could not stop staring at very haunting painting of Santa Clause on a morgue table, and portraits of children, blankly looking at me while sitting uncomfortably, scantily clad, in a slaughterhouse-like setting. I was in one of the public art galleries in Central Belgrade, which, as galleries around the world … Continue reading Pedo-Satanist elites and all that: How to make it as an Eastern European creative?
While Belgrade is very cosy in Autumn and Winter (and can actually have amazing weather), the crowds and pollution can be a tad overwhelming, and make you wish to leave at least for a day. Below are a few suggestions for day-escapes if you enjoy hiking in the autumn and winter. In addition to these, do check out my older article on best day trips … Continue reading Best autumn/winter hikes from Belgrade
Serbia’s and Yugoslavia’s embrace of modernist architecture after WWII has been so thorough that any thought of reviving architectural styles before 1920s is seen as automatically kitschy and a no-no amongst our architects. While some structures were restored (the building housing the National museum, Central Belgrade palace complex) after extensive aerial bombings during WWII many were replaced with new modernist buildings, but there was also … Continue reading Lost Belgrade: Structures that should RETVRN to Belgrade’s street
Some time ago, overcome by a listicle-making urge, I considered putting together a playlist of highly orientalist Yugoslav songs with entries such as Bebi Dol’s Mustafa and Brekvica’s “Loša”. While trawling though YouTube I realised the absurdity at the heart of the endeavour: much of our pop music is “oriental” in the sense that it was influenced by Turkish (or wider Silk road) rhythms and … Continue reading Non-Western Balkans: an identity struggle