If you’re looking for a Remedy

17 06 2010

Right, I’ve come out of blog-hibernation because there’s a big ol’ event going down tonight that I should’ve written about time ago. (Sorry Ash!) And I can’t possibly let it go by without shouting a little bit about it.

So, if you’re free tonight and happen to be eastish – actually, if you happen to be ANYWHERE – get yourself to the Rhythm Factory in Whitechapel.

Remedy Live is happening.

It’s run by the Music is Remedy team. The line up looks like this:

Ed Sheeran
XO Man
Kanna Ellie
Dean Atta
Sharika Medla

All supported by the Remedies.

Now I’ve already witnessed some of these artists at previous Writer’s Block events (yeah, you know I like to shout about them a bit too). And if you’d ever given up hope on the artistic talents of our fair Lost Generation, this is the place for it to be restored and rejuvenated. London is providing the goods. No joke.

And if you need real proof, take a look at the live rehearsal sessions over on Pinboard Blog. Candid and exclusive.

It’s a fiver.

Oh, and a bit-a twitter for you too:
Music is Remedy
Writer’s Block
Pinboard Blog


Arti’s Tiffinbox: an introduction

18 05 2010

Everybody say hello to Arti Goyate a.k.a Mum.

I’ve decided, as a small dedication to her, and a bigger tribute to her cooking, to start a series called Arti’s Tiffinbox.

Because I love my mum’s cooking. No exaggeration. And there’s no other way to put it. Every time I eat a meal cooked by her, I feel my soul warm up. It might be a to do with having lived away while studying. It might be something about just having an adult appreciation for things I took for granted as a kid.

What I know for sure is it’s a legacy I hope I can carry forth into my jumbled world of Anglo-Indian linguistic confusion and other cultural meltingpotesque manifestations. My mum’s cooking is a culmination of her mixed and unique experiences. She wasn’t taught it by her mother. She picked it up living the life of an unwitting renegade. Her food is her memories, her lessons, her experimentation and curiosity that compelled her to inch towards to the edge to see what’s on the other side. It’s her creative use of limited resources, her way of coping with unfamiliar territories and hostility. It’s oh so soulful. And every bite always makes me feel so damned good.

So, I’ll be carefully extracting these recipes from grains of her being to bring them to you.

But before I start it, I just need to clarify a few things for you:

  1. Tiffin is a word for lunch. It’s normally a kind of lunch that’s packed into a sectioned carrier, so the foods don’t get mixed. It makes me think of a good wholesome meal on the go. And it’s a food-related word that works well for the title.
  2. My mum never measures her ingredients. It means that some of the measurements I give in recipes will be guesstimates. Good guesstimates, I promise. But that gives you the freedom to improvise. (And now I’ve warned you, you can’t blame me if it turns out rubbish!)
  3. Sometimes, I won’t know the English names of ingredients. It’s not cos I’m ignorant. It’s just how it is. And for some things there just aren’t English names. Like doodhi! I’ll try to define anything I think needs extra explanation.
  4. Mum’s a vegetarian. That means strictly vegetarian recipes. It also means lots and lots of veggie choices.
  5. I don’t claim any recipes to be ‘authentic’ Indian recipes. My mum’s Gujarati, but there are influences from all over India and the world in her food. They’re authentic in that they’re my mum’s.
  6. These dishes are the result of over thirty-odd years of discovery, experimentation, refinement and fine-tuning. So don’t be too distressed if yours doesn’t have the magic. It’ll get there with time and dedication.
  7. The actual task of sitting my mum down and getting her to tell me these recipes is near enough impossible. In fact, this is the first time I’ve EVER succeeded. (And I’m not gonna lie, it was a little bit painful.) What you’re witnessing, my friends, is history in the making. So you’d better appreciate it!

I’ll be starting with a simple and easy daal (lentil) recipe. I had it for dinner tonight with some rice. It was so freakin’ good. It’s what inspired me to start this whole series in the first place.

See you on the other side then.

Tiffin image provided by bandita

The Insulting Cabaret. Nuff said mate.

15 04 2010

There’s a festival of world literature going on in town. Oh yes.

It’s called Free the Word! and this is its 3rd year in London.

International PEN are in charge of it all. They believe words make the world go round. And ya damn right, too! Read about them here.

If you only make it to one of the Free the Word! events, you should go and see the Insulting Cabaret at the Southwark Playhouse tomorrow night (Friday 16th April 2010).

Why? Cos it’s gonna be an effin’ trip.

And also cos I haven’t seen it promoted anywhere. And I work in the Southwark/London Bridge area. I was lucky enough to be told about it by the Thayil half of Sridhar/Thayil*. So of course I’m gonna share this valuable information and implore you to get out there and do something different.

Sridhar/Thayil will be on that stage doing their thang with a bunch of other musical, wordy performers. This year’s theme is love and hate. Those universally elusive concepts.

You should also go cos it’s bloody well called the Insulting Cabaret. And if that doesn’t spark even a little curiosity in you, then your brain cells have obviously been numbed by the inane Leader’s Debate that was on TV earlier. So I suppose you can be forgiven.

I haven’t given you a potpourri parcel in a while, have I?

Here you go:

The Insulting Cabaret: Love Vs. Hate
Venue: Southwark Playhouse
Date: 16th April 2010
Time: 9.30pm
Price: 8 quid.

*if the name Thayil sounds familiar, it’s cos back in January I blogged about the anthology he edited (and contributed to). The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poetry. Remember?

(photo provided by whatmegsaid)

Back in a sweet minute

12 04 2010

I know, I know, I’ve been rubbish at posting.

I started a new job recently (yay!), and between that and shopping for bathroomy stuff for a loft conversion and other eastery family stuff, and a laptop with crappy internet, I’m surprisingly knackered. That ain’t right. I’m only 23.

Anyway, I promise to be back up on this soon as I get my act together.

In the meantime, you should join me at the Writer’s Block 2nd Birthday Party happening THIS Wednesday 14th April at Cargo in Shoreditch, London. If the name Writer’s Block sounds familiar, it’s cos you read about them here.

Jesse Boykins III will be performing specially for me.

Oh. I mean us. The audience. I guess.

And there’s a phenomenal line-up of other outta-this-world spoken-word artists, poets, musicians and general pioneers of creative beauty. I’ve seen them all before on the humble Writer’s Block stage at their usual Juno headquarters, and I can’t wait to see them tear it up again at Cargo.

You can buy your tickets in advance here.

Join in the celebrations. Bring everyone. It’s gonna be big.

I’m on Uplift again folks

30 03 2010

Check out my latest piece at Uplift Magazine about b.supreme, the UK’s only hip-hop festival for women.

Don’t forget to follow Uplift on twitter here

And b.supreme here

Thanks for your support y’all!

Wasted Spaces. Happy faces.

25 03 2010

As the most ethnically diverse borough in London, Brent does a pretty good job of bringing people together.

In the past they’ve paired up with Wasted Spaces, an artists’  organisation that uses unused and decaying spaces to promote artists’ work and to give local communities a little something to smile about too.

From The Smile Project by Wasted Spaces

Now I reckon Brent is one of the few London boroughs who sometimes actually get it right.

Some may disagree, but I think they’re good at creating a unified and equal community that celebrates the many many diverse backgrounds that make up its colourful (if not quirky) identity.

The latest project in partnership with Wasted Spaces is a photography competition called Impressions of Brent. It’s a fairly simple idea: local residents just have to take pictures from their mobile phones that capture the spirit of their local community.

The best photos will be picked and displayed as part of an exhibition at the Ealing Road Library. Oh, and the very best photographer could win a digital camera worth £200. But to be immortalised at Ealing Road Library is surely priceless!

I think this is a excellent way for residents to really take a look at their local space and see something special in the every-day. Despite my lighthearted grumbles (not to mention my amusement at the recent launch of the only Paan-spitting campaign in the country),  I’m often quite intrigued by the constantly changing face of my local community. It’s interesting how not only people (or peoples?) change and readjust, but how the landscape, the streets, the shopfronts, all evolve with that.

I’ll be bringing out my phone and taking a few snaps to send in, and if you’re a Brent local, maybe you’d like to do the same!

To enter the competition, you just have to send the picture in a message with the word SPACES to 07843500911. The deadline is Saturday 10 April.  The exhibition at Ealing Road Library will be on display until 24 April.

Keep in mind, it’ll cost 25p on top of your standard network MMS charge.

All my fellow Brent locals might like to follow them on Twitter here.
Wasted Spaces are on twitter too. Tweet ’em here and say hello!

(A big thank you to my sister Bhavini for coming up with the lovely title of this post!)

Ctrl.Alt.Short film: No Way Through

18 03 2010

I first saw this short film as part of the London Short Film Festival back in January. It was part of the New Shorts 12: London Lives series, which was compiled to showcase “the glory and diversity of our fair city”.

There were some mindblowing pieces during this series, but No Way Through, winner of the Ctrl.Alt.Shift film competition, really stood out for me.

There’s always a degree of detachment when watching the news or reading the paper, no matter how well-reported the story is.

This film, as explained on the Ctrl.Alt.Shift website “highlights mobility restrictions imposed by the Israeli government that are limiting Palestinians’ access to health care, thus violating their right to health”.

By bringing the harsh realities of Palestinians to the backdrop of our own city and its citizens, we’re given a whole new perspective. The element of detachment almost disappears. It’s haunting. It’s powerful.

Please watch it to the end.