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The Small Picture Podcasts
A series of chats with authors, performers and artists from around the world.
Category: Arts
Location: Tianjin
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I'm just an average no one, who happens to have a recording device, and an interest in interviewing. I live and work in Tian...

by Stuart Beaton
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December 11, 2015 08:31 PM PST

Arthur Jones has been living and working in China for a fair while now, and he produces great films - not least of which are "The Poseidon Project" and "A Farewell Song", both now available on demand on Vimeo.

"The Poseidon Project" looks at a six-year search for a sunken submarine, that started as a private obsession, but went on to challenge official accounts of the escape, and bring together the lost pieces of a story that touches on the history of Britain and China in the 1930s, the 1970s and the present day.

"A Farewell Song" chronicles the lives of a group of Chinese men who have played traditional instruments for 40 years or more and are about to take a leap into the unknown. They all retired last year, which means no more state-backed concerts and no more classes at the Shanghai Music Conservatory.

Arthur's New Project, "The Six", examines the story of six Chinese survivors of the Titanic, what happened to them, and where they ended up. It's a story that has, until now, never been told, nor really even thought about.

LostPensivos Films has been producing high-quality documentaries and commercial films since 2002. Their award-winning documentaries include "A Farewell Song", "The Poseidon Project" and The Making of the Special Olympics.

It is always great to catch up with Arthur, and see where his work has taken him - or where he has taken his work! The sound quality in this interview is a bit patchy, for reasons we couldn't quite work out, but it's a great listen anyway.

You can find out more about Arthur and LostPensivos Films at:


and watch "A Farewell Song" and "The Poseidon Project" at:


November 08, 2015 03:08 AM PST

Founded in 1938 by Otto Hertz, Scabal was originally a cloth merchant and supplier of fabrics. His successor was JP Thissen, who was assisted by his son Gregor Thissen, the third generation of the family owned business. Through the aquisition of fabric brand Wainshiell, Scabal traces a history back to the 18th century.

Today Scabal employs almost 600 staff worldwide. Over the years Scabal has evolved into a producer of top quality fabrics to the most prestigious tailors and textile businesses around the world and as a manufacturor of the finest suits, jackets and shirts for the most demanding men

Giovanni Bordone is Scabal's Brand Ambassador, and I caught up with at Flair Bar at The Ritz-Carlton Tianjin. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to Giovanni, and finding out more about what it is that makes a bespoke suit so appealing. It was also interesting to find out that Scabal has supplied suits to some of my favourite movies, including "The Godfather"!

If you want to find out more about Scabal, head to http://www.scabal.com/

June 03, 2015 07:00 PM PDT

Cambodia, 1996, the long-running Khmer Rouge insurgency is fragmenting, competing factions of the unstable government scrambling to gain the upper hand. Missing in the chaos is businessmen Charles Avery.

Hired to find him is Vietnamese Australian ex-cop Max Quinlan. But Avery has made dangerous enemies and Quinlan is not the only one looking. Teaming up a Cambodian journalist, Quinlan's search takes him from the freewheeling capital Phnom Penh to the battle scarred western borderlands.

As the political temperature soars, he is slowly drawn into a mystery that plunges him into the heart of Cambodia's bloody past.

Ghost Money is a crime novel, but it's also about Cambodia in the mid-nineties, a broken country, what happens to those trapped between two periods of history, the choices they make, what they do to survive.

Andrew Nette is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia. He lived in Southeast Asia for six years in the nineties, based in Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. During that time he worked as a journalist, and as a communications consultant for the United Nations and a number of non- government organisations. He has since travelled frequently in Asia and lived in Phnom Penh with his family for a year in 2008, where he worked as journalist. His short fiction has appeared in a number of print and on-line publications. Andrew is one of the founders of Crime Factory Publications, a Melbourne-based small press specialising in crime fiction, and helps edit Crime Factory, its on-line magazine. He helped edit Crime Factory Publication’s Crime Factory: Hard Labour, an anthology of short Australian crime fiction, and LEE, an anthology of fiction inspired by Lee Marvin.

It was great to get the chance to talk to Andrew, and this interview ranges over why he writes, his life as a journalist in Cambodia, through the ideas of the pulp fiction genre, and on into why crime fiction is a great platform from which to look at social change. He's a fascinating guy, and this is a great listen!

You can find out more at www.pulpcurry.com or follow him on Twitter @Pulpcurry

The book's available from http://crimewavepress.com and Amazon.

May 26, 2015 04:34 AM PDT

"It will stay with you for life boy. Either way you'll pay for it in your soul, but it's up to you if you want to pay for it with your time too."

1977, a scorching summer day in England. Teenage misfits Richard and Ali throw their cruel gang leader Blakes into a canal. Scared of the repercussions, they go on the run, pursued by the police as well as a dangerous ex-cop with unsound motives.

The road less traveled throws up both obstacles and solutions. As Rich and Ali discover what it means to carry the guilt of a killing around their necks, they are helped by an alcoholic cowboy, an anarchist band of travelers and a long lost father. This classic coming of age murder mystery is about growing up and staying young.

John B Bliss grew up in Oxford in the 70s and 80s. He was drawn to unusual characters and counter culture. The perverse thing about the evil of Thatcherism, he says, was that it made people rebel; there was actually loads of creativity that came out of the anger and ennui generated by the marginalisation of society. John worked in a few dead end jobs before studying media at the University of Sussex; he has worked extensively in television and scripted a number of short films and full length screenplays. Turning to prose fiction has brought some awards for his short stories and now the publication of his first novel, The Murder Boys. John lives in Brighton and is married with two children.

It was great talking to John because he is so passionate about his book, and rightly proud of it too. I really enjoyed this interview because he was willing to share not only parts of the story, but parts of his story as well, and that's a good thing!

You can find out more about John on his Facebook page, and at:


April 24, 2015 05:12 AM PDT

A vibrant new chapter in the spirit of the avant-garde Spanish cuisine movement, the constant intellectual search for new flavors that takes place not only in gardens and landscapes around the world but in the laboratory of a group of innovative Spanish chefs, has just begun. This time, spreading a platform of high impact and more energy than ever before, and marrying traditional flavors with special techniques is Chef Alain Devahive Tolosa, who is just finishing up his Asian tour of Ritz-Carlton Hotels, and showcasing the pinnacle of his culinary talent at the top of the world.

No stranger to his fans in Asia with his recent role in Catalunya, and creating waves on Hong Kong and Singapore’s culinary scenes, Chef Alain has fascinated gastronomic connoisseurs around the world with his unique approach to gastronomy. The Barcelona-born chef spent a decade at the world-famous three-star Michelin elBulli, arguably the best restaurant in the world, before going a step further to elBullitaller, the restaurant’s food research laboratory. His culinary style and Asian experiences will change the way we understand today’s Spanish food. This has been an eye-opener into the world of sophisticated flavors and experimental cuisine different from anything seen before.

We caught up with Alain in Tianjin, where he was spending a week as Guest Chef at Zest at The Ritz-Carlton Tianjin. I'd spent the night before sampling the delights of his food, which is just truly amazing, and this interview was almost as tasty!

Special thanks must go to Monica Mu for her help with the interview, and Ornato Antunes, Executive Chef at The Ritz-Carlton Tianjin for setting it up!

April 12, 2015 06:19 AM PDT

Chef Aitor Olabegoya was the First prize winner at The International Competition for Young Chefs in Spain in 1999. He is also the most awarded Spanish Chef in Beijing. He leads the Migas kitchen team with his vast experience of having worked with many renown professionals in the industry, building a long career, despite his young age. He is constantly in search of new recipes and ways of cooking and creating fusions of different products from different cultures, and blending them with a special Mediterranean touch.

April will see Aitor at Zest at The Ritz-Carlton Tianjin as a guest of Executive Chef Ornato Antunes, where the two of them will create a culinary delight for everyone.

It was great chatting with Aitor, as he's so passionate about food - which really comes through in this interview. We ranged over ingredients, freshness and supplies, through Basque country cooking, and on to what lies ahead for him.

March 26, 2015 07:52 PM PDT

After responding to a richly scented plea for help Chicago PI Scanner Grant teams up with the charismatic Max Zwoelstra to travel to Hong Kong in search of Max’s adoptive father who has disappeared while selling cheese to the Chinese.

Closer to home, a slew of abductions and the gruesome murder of a young Tibetan girl severely rattle Scanner’s old friend and guardian, the esoteric taxi driver Lobsang.

As both seemingly unrelated cases edge closer to an explosive finale, Scanner & Max need all the help they can muster while they confront a Nazi scientist, a battle scarred Vietnamese pimp, an over the hill Aussie punter and a morbid Japanese priest.

The long hidden secrets they unravel along the way are bound to change their lives forever.

Jonathan Kemp is the author alter ego of award winning photographer Hans Kemp.

Hans' photography books, documenting culture and life in both known and remote parts of Asia have sold well over 100,000 copies worldwide.
His first crime novel, A Nose for Trouble, is the answer to a question long occupying his mind: How difficult can writing a book be?

Certainly not a walk in the park, Jonathan compares the writing process to the hard work of being on the road. When you set off you may have a sense of direction but the logistics will seem daunting. Along the way you will meet an array of extraordinary characters whose very existence was unheard of only moments earlier. Even the final destination remains obscured until you actually turn that last corner.

A Nose for Trouble is the first book in the Scanner & Max Mystery Series. New adventures loom, the empty screen begs, just as the road not yet traveled.

It was great to finally catch up with Hans, the other half of the duo behind Crimewave Press, and find out how the publishing company came into being. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with him about how this novel came into shape, his travels and life throughout Asia, and what's next not only for him, but for Crimewave Press!

You can find out more about Hans and Crimewave Press at:


March 13, 2015 04:35 AM PDT

Born in Malaysia, Patrick Chew has had nearly two decades of experience working with pastry.

Starting as instructor's aid at culinary school, he has gone on to work in hotels around the world, first as a baker, and then later specializing in chocolate and pastry work.

Patrick currently works at The Ritz-Carlton Tianjin, where he is the Executive Pastry Chef.

I caught up with Patrick during a break in his busy schedule to talk to him about how he first started cooking, what drew him to working with pastry, and how he managed his pastry team. We also discussed the changes in pastry across Asia, why chocolate is so important to him, and what might be next for him!

It's always a pleasure to chat with Patrick - it's nearly as good as eating some of his excellent desserts!

January 26, 2015 11:47 PM PST

Welcome to London - where the ferryman always has to be paid and the price is two shiny pennies over your cold dead eyes.

When the son of the city’s leading barrister asks ex-con turned private eye Charlie “Bars” Constantinou to look for a missing call-girl, Charlie thinks he might finally have found a way to do some good. But Charlie soon finds himself embroiled with a serial killer who believes that the soul of the city demands human sacrifices if it is to reward its inhabitants with spoils and riches. There’s not been a murderer so calculating, bizarre and elusive on the loose in the British capital since Jack the Ripper.

Three time loser Charlie Bars, unlikely hero of Skewered and other London Cruelties, Ben Jones’s first Crime Wave Press release, is the only man to put the city right and make sure the ferryman gets his due.

Benedict J. Jones is an author of crime, horror and western fiction from South-East London. His work has been published in various anthologies and magazines. Since 2008, he has published almost thirty short stories.

To me, Benedict sounds like Charlie Bars. I'm sorry, I've said it before, I'll say it again - it's that Vinnie Jones, West End, gravel in the throat rasp that they both share! It's always great to talk to Ben, and find out how his work is put together - be it by going places and looking at them, or researching Greek myths. Pennies For Charon is a great book, and I think this is easily one of my all time favourite interviews!

Check out his website for more information:


You can find out more about Benedict and Pennies For Charon at:


January 15, 2015 10:20 PM PST

Luo Shoucheng, Tu Weigang and Weng Zhenfa are celebrated musicians in China. They have played traditional instruments for 40 years or more and are about to take a leap into the unknown.They all retired last year, which means no more state-backed concerts and no more classes at the Shanghai Music Conservatory.

They should be fading quietly into Shanghai’s cultural backwaters.

However these three men, with their ready smiles and wit, have decided to take a gamble.

As they begin to prepare a series of private concerts outside the control of the state, memories of the last 50 years of hardships and joy begin to flood back.

LostPensivos Films has been producing high-quality documentaries and commercial films since 2002. Their award-winning documentaries include A Farewell Song, The Poseidon Project and The Making of the Special Olympics.

It's always great to chat with Arthur about his projects, and "A Farewell Song" is a special favourite of mine. This interview also looks at how much China has changed since the film was made, the rise of on-demand video services, and just how much fun film making can be!

You can find out more about Arthur and LostPensivos Films at:


and watch "A Farewell Song" at:


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