Barnaby Rogerson (in the white shirt) with Nigel Barley (author of The Innocent Anthropologist). The photograph was taken at the Eland Open Day in early December 2017.
The day is sunny, the bus ride easy, and the grey door is exactly where it should be. There are no signs … just a button to press, and then a set of narrow grey stairs to follow in a spiral to the top.
I climb the smooth steps and at the top a door is open. Just inside a tall, elegant, eager dog waits to say hello. Beside the dog is a slightly less-leggy man. He is, as I presume, Barnaby Rogerson, author of In Search of Ancient North Africa – a History in Six Lives, and one of the directors of Eland Publishing.
A look back (first published 11 January 2016): I have to declare an interest here … if it wasn’t for Bonnie Alberts and the power of Napoli Unplugged I know my writing about Naples would have fizzled into nothing. Somehow she, and Penny Ewles-Bergeron, found The Phraser and their encouragement keeps coming. So … how did I begin to find my way around Naples? One of my first ways in was with the website Napoli Unplugged and later with the book – the Napoli Unplugged Guide to Naples. Of course there were others but none of them had Bonnie Alberts based in the centro storico, keen to communicate (in English!), and passionate about the city. A top tip (and it’s not because of the debt owed) is that if you want to explore Naples, either in person or from your sofa, their guidebook is like a richly carved doorway into the hidden, and the un-hidden. It talks to you … so, you will find, does the city.
Michael Aspinall photographed in Christ Church, Naples Italy in 2016
The trouble with being the king of a niche is that however impeccable your talents your kingdom may not be big enough for those outside the niche to notice your crown … which, if the king is a modest man, leaves the rest of us none the wiser … as it were.
I met such a king recently and it took two years to discover who he was.
Another year gone – another year of life disappearing over the horizon with all it hazards and chances.
A thousand thanks to everyone who looked in on The Phraser over the year. Your company and your feedback make The Phraser.
I would also like to mention especially, those who have allowed me over the past year to interview them or feature their work. It is such a privilege to have the chance to profile the parts of life that have caught my eye.
Here are a few links to some of the 2014 Phraser ‘portraits’: