Jazz freestyling, Chinese art, urban greenhouse and The Artist: In praise of the Barbican Centre

Where can you get live improvisation from Soweto Kinch, a Chinese art installation, a tropical garden and The Artist all under one roof? In the Barbican of course.

I’ve been going to The Barbican Centre since before I could walk – literally. On rainy days my parents used to take us to the sprawling concrete complex to let off steam. I’ve seen everything there from Tony Allen to Matthew Herbert and a full choir making percussion with copies of the Daily Mail to interpretive dance. I even performed with school in the foyer once (electric guitar and cello since you ask).

What better place to seek some culture and hide from the pouring rain and howling wind then? Soweto Kinch was first in the foyer – an amazing saxophonist as well as MC and producer. He asked the audience to write words they associate with London onto cards and drop them Continue reading

Advertisements

Driving Lesson number 2 went well.

Kiss My L Plates

“10mph… SECOND GEAR!”

So screamed my driving instructor numerous times over our lesson. Actually screamed is unfair. He was very patient. Everything was fine when changing gear after starting, but ask me to indicate, turn at a junction then speed up and I would forget the speedometer, whizzing off at 20mph while the engine rattled around like teaspoons in a biscuit tin.

Also what is with the clutch? Sometimes you bring it up slowly, sometimes fast. What’s up with that? As far as I can remember you bring it up slowly for first gear but can bring it up faster in second. It’s so confusing!

At least I can remember how to change into first before stopping behind another car at the lights*:

“Break slightly… DON’T STOP THE CAR!

Clutch all the way down

Into first

Brake again DON’T STOP THE CAR UNLESS YOU NEED TO!

Bring the clutch up…

View original post 37 more words

My Big Fat love of Gypsy music

In just over 3 months, the most popular post on the blog so far is clementine cake. I’m thrilled – re-discovering baking to complete the 30×30 list has been a joy, especially as others seem to like it. But sometimes even something that’s fun is really procrastination, taking away energy from one of the things I love the most: music.

If you live in the UK you’ve probably read and heard some of the debate around the Channel 4 show My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. A lot of it centres around whether the show represents the Traveller community in a poor light by focusing on big wedding dresses and over-sized cakes.

There’s an interesting piece in the Guardian here as well as a discussion between a Traveller and one of the series producers.

Whilst I can’t claim to have a particularly in-depth knowledge of the issues faced by Travellers and Gypsies, I do have a longstanding love of gypsy music, particularly Balkan, which has led to Continue reading

Previous Post

Kiss My L Plates

What do zoo animals, bumper cars and pound coins have in common?

 

 

 

They all formed part of my first driving lesson.

Everyone else, apparently, just sat in a quiet side road. Not me. Terrifyingly, I actually drove round the block, which was very exciting. My first thought was “this is nothing like the bumper cars at fairgrounds!”

Ridiculous, sure, but it’s surprising how easily the pedals respond, particularly the accelerator.

Steering, however, is another matter and I found myself turning the wheel endlessly to make a right turn.

Here are my favourite insights from lesson 1.

1. The accelerator should be put down ‘the thickness of a pound coin’ at a time.

2. Gears are like animals in the zoo:

First gear = elephant (can carry the most dead weight but can only go 10mph)
Second gear = donkey (not as strong as the elephant, but faster)

View original post 27 more words

#2: Clementine cake

Ever put 5 whole clementines in a blender?

It sounds insane. But it tastes delicious.

Clementine cake with vanilla ice cream

Here’s my attempt at clementine cake, which does indeed call for whole clementines. I think it’s originally a Nigella Lawson recipe, but I used a simplified version of this one from Celebrity Masterchef. Takes a while but totally worth it, as it’s light, zesty and flour- and (almost) butter-free so a second slice is totally acceptable! Continue reading

#13: 2 videos to put you off learning to drive forever

2 videos to put you off learning to drive forever.

1. Happy Go Lucky

With his own obscure jargon of En Ra Ha, Scott from Mike Leigh’s Happy Go Lucky is a frustrated, lonely control freak and hardly the ideal person to spend an hour alone with in a confined space.

Continue reading

One step closer to brandy (and driving)

Who says drinking and driving don’t go together?

Spurred on by my brother’s offer of vintage brandy, driving lesson number 1 is booked for next Tuesday at noon though the (hopefully) nice people at Affinity Driving

All I need to do now is find myself some snazzy driving gloves and I’ll be all set.

I won't be driving this but it's a nice picture isn't it?

2011: A summary in numbers

Since my last post (not including the one today) I actually managed to make some headway into some of the things on my 30×30 list:

#2: Make or taste 30 new things.
I’ve made Candied Citrus Peel and Panforte from the excellent Gifts From The Kitchen book (here is my rather posh-looking wrapped panforte).

Continue reading

A new year’s eve: throwing down the gauntlet

Apologies for the pause in posts. I’d like to say it’s because I was out doing things on the blog but (although that’s true) it was more about procrastination and avoidance. If I’m not writing the blog I can’t be failing at it, right?

New Years Eve is always depressing. Not least because of the infuriating non-committal conversations I have with all of my friends that starts about a week before and ends at about 7pm on New Years Eve itself:

– what are you doing on New Years’ Eve?
– I don’t know… what are you doing?
– I might just see what everyone else is doing
– Who’s everyone else? Where are they all going? Continue reading

#3: creative writing… a source of inspiration

Yesterday I came across the amazing Made Me Think, via this post on the excellent Marc and Angel blog, where I spent many happy hours procrastinating instead of writing.

MMT has some amazing stories, not just because they’re true but they’re also because they’re so concise, leaving lots to the imagination. Here are 3 of my favourites:

Today, as a young ‘up and coming’ lawyer, everyone in the firm was congratulating me for winning my first big case this morning.  And all day long all I could think about is how I used a technicality in the law to help a murderer walk away a free man. MMT Continue reading