As the draw for the World Cup 2018 has just finished, throwing up a favourable draw for England, I couldn’t help but reflect on the run-up to Euro 2012 – the main reason I moved to Ukraine in the first place, sensing an exciting time to be in a country in the build-up to a major football tournament, with opportunities in journalism to be found.
Looking back over them, and not only, I can hold my hands up and say that ‘pre-war’, I perhaps did write a bit too much about the ladies. But, it was a different time, and far from just that, I’m actually proud of a lot of the work I did back then, although in the context of things now, they are rather like ‘notes from a lost country‘…
So here’s a ‘top 10’ of my work from Ukraine, pre-war:
My first article for What’s On magazine, January 2012, and it was about defending Ukraine from the attacks and prophecies of doom in the western media –
9. Remembering River Palace
February of 2012, and I went looking for Tymoshenko in Kharkov, with some interesting results –
My weekly column from What’s On, in which I tried to cover all aspects of life in Ukraine. From all of them, I pick this one to represent how it was to live in Ukraine, at that time, the spirit –
6. Ok, it was a bit light-hearted, but you could hardly be in Ukraine pre-war, and not write about the sexual side of things. This piece, a cover-story for What’s On, was about the men who came to Ukraine expressly to pick-up women, and how that was working out for them – I liked how it came out, and felt it made a point –
4. Dnepropetrovsk – Always Parus
2. November 2012, for Pravda and I wrote about the post Euro-2012, post 2012 election malaise which had befallen Ukraine, and the state of the country at that time –
1. In October of 2012, I wrote what I believe to be my most significant pre-war piece from Ukraine, about the case of Oksana Makar, her tragic murder, and the implications for Ukraine (a case I continued investigating, going to her hometown of Nikolaev), here for the New Statesman
And there we have it, some of my essays from a different time, a different world.