Tag Archives: london

UpRise 2011 – London’s Anti-Racism Festival

UpRise is a multicultural festival in London celebrating anti-racism through poetry, debates, storytelling, art, talks and walks. The theme this year was about taking a look at “our community and our planet as Home”. As a grassroots one day event, UpRise was a colorful event spanning over 14 venues in the heart of the Dalston district in Hackney, Greater London. Here’s a glimpse of the festival…

The Garden Venue

With a map of the festival in my hands, I begin my journey by following a trail exploring various venues of the festival. My first stop brings me here at the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden and I'm welcomed by a colorful painted wall that fits with the spirit of the event.

The map in my hands tells me I shall find music and poetry performances on the top of this building.

In this green environment of Dalston's Garden, a disco shed plays host to music while kids and adults alike take part in face painting, soap carving and other joyful activities.

On one side of the roof, visitors of the festival enjoy drinks and converse.

On the other side of the roof, poetry and music delight the ears.

Beyonder performs a poetic act on the Lyrix Organix stage.

The London Jazz Orchestra played at The Patio, in the cultural center of Hackney in Greater London.

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An exhibit about the tragic fate of tribal people in India

It’s not always a good news when your land contains a large reserve of mineral wealth, at least not in India. In “A Disappearing World”, Photographer Robert Wallis reveals how India’s most ancestral tribe struggles against both the state and big corporations to stay alive.

I lived in India for 6 months and traveled around the country quite a lot. I’ve lived within Indian families enough that they have considered me one of their own. In fact, I’ve immersed myself in the culture in a way few Europeans dare to.

As a journalist, I have also followed Indian news attentively. After all, they affect my friends, some of the people I’m closest to. Yet I’ve missed out on what constitutes the fate of 26 million people in a province I was never really told about: Jarkhand.

Work based on image:India Jharkhand locator map.svg. Made by User:Haros based on map created by w:user:Nichalp & w:user:Planemad.

Jarkhand – A rich Indian state not to be proud about

Jarkhand is rich yet filled with misery. It isn’t a state the usual Indian would proudly boast about. I discovered why in a photography exhibit at SOAS in London. As usual, I like to write to share what I’ve learned.

The source of Jarkhand’s wealth and misery lies in its soil. According to the Department of Forest and Environment of Jarkhand, “40% of the total minerals of the country are available in the state. The state is the sole producer of cooking coal, Uranium and Pyrite. It also ranks first in the production of coal, mica, Kyanite and copper in India.”

Hence, with the well-known unprecedented economic boost India is experiencing, mining corporations are taking over Jarkhand’s lands to extract its raw materials at an ever-increasing rate. But at what cost?

See the consequences of Jarkhand’s wealth at Brunei Gallery

Through his exhibit, Robert Wallis shows that Jarkhand is also home to “non-Hindu tribal groups, known as Adivasi, [who] have traditionally worshiped nature and maintained spiritual connections to ancestral territory where they have lived for thousands of years.”

Residing in the state’s dense forests, they draw all their basic necessities from a nature that is now disappearing. Wallis titled his series of photographs “A Disappearing World” justifiably. In fact, the Adivasis’ lifestyle and traditions are disappearing along with them.

Wallis’ powerful photographs show how today’s reality in Jarkhand contrasts with the tribes’ ancestral lifestyle. Jarkhand’s prolific natural resources is now the object of our modern capitalistic world’s needs. Exploitation of the country’s natural resources is condemning the fate of a culture that has lived in harmony with their land for centuries.

When: April 15th – June 25th 2011

Where: Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London.

Start challenging perceptions

To find out more about this issue and what you can do to help, I recommend visiting:




For more photos from Robert Wallis, please take a look at:

Robert Wallis – Panos Pictures – Dark Side of the Boom

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In the most recent weeks, me and my team have been working in the making of an online magazine offering a chance to explore the quirkiest sides of London.

After much hard work, OFFBEATLONDON.CO.UK has finally launched. And a few weeks after its release, it’s now getting ready to launch its third (but maybe last?) issue today.

CHECK IT OUT and tell us what you think.

Click away and explore:

The Pub in a Public Toilet

The Aviary Art at the Barbican

– Upcoming: Tyburn Convent: Execution and peace of mind.

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Missing the old days’ Drive-In movie experience?

A drive-in near London opens with world’s largest screen.

Drive-ins always bring back in my mind the scene in Grease when Sandy leaves Danny. In the 1950’s, drive-ins were the place to go for a good night out. Going to watch a movie came close to meaning going to the drive-in. They became a symbol for the 1950’s and 1960’s America.

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Today, people tend to think that drive-ins belong to the past. Yet they didn’t vanish from the face of earth. Drive-ins have indeed disapeared in most of european coutries. However, dozens of them remain open. There are quite a few in the US and some in countries such as Australia, China, and Canada. You can find a whole list of them here.

This month a new drive-in opens at Pinewood Studios, 20 miles away from London. For the occasion, they built the world’s largest screen. Their programmation is quite interesting. The Shining, The Fifth Element, Gladiator, and Batman Begins are among the films that are on the schedule.

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So if you are in the mood to relive or get taste of the experience, Pinewood Studios is the place to check out. By the way, these were also the studio where part of Casino Royal was shot and they also contributed to all the films they’re showing.

The first screening will be on October 31st.

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HOCKEY’s Debut Album is Finally Out Worldwide!

Success hit these guys like a car hit my bike. Thank god I am still here to hear them.

HOCKEY is an alternative New Wave band from Portland, Oregon. They formed only a couple of years back and were spotted by DJs in the US last year. With their new album just coming out, the world discovers the phenomenon as they begin their first world tour.

Mind Chaos their first EP came out this month and it is rocking. Got to love their catchy Song Away and their country-style tune Learn To Lose.

If you like Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, The Strokes and Talking Heads; you will love HOCKEY. Mind Chaos is mind blowing.

In between New York,  Tokyo, and Amsterdam, HOCKEY will be playing in London and Paris in November.

You can check out their music on MySpace or on this Blog.

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Londoners rage against tube fare increase

Londoners are furious at their Mayor after he announced a significant increase of the city transport fares.

In January 2010, London tube fares are going to rise significantly. With this new addition to his programme, Boris Johnson is losing his popularity among the population.

In February 2002, three Public Private Partnerships had taken over the rehabilitation of the London Underground infrastructures. According to a Department of Transport report, this plan was set to “deliver the stable funding the Tube needs”.

But last Thursday Boris Johnson announced Transport For London would be “trying to pay for this, while coping with the deepest recession for 30 years”. Some Londoners are extremely angry at that decision but there is no place for them to be heard.

Long-time Londoner Bill believes “Boris has no idea about what real Londoners want or need”. Dave also does not hesitate to rant on the decision: “Rich boy Boris has no idea how people are struggling to stay afloat”. The increase is directly going to affect people’s expenses in a time where the crisis is still felt by the majority.

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Both the public and the unions struggle to get their voices heard by Mayor Johnson. Londoner Karl says “price increases will discourage more people and lead to lower revenues.” Just like Karl, the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) workers’ union “firmly believes that any increase in fares above inflation will be damaging and will drive passengers away from the system deepening the financial crisis at TFL”.

Val Shawcross, Labour’s party Transport spokesman, said he opposed Johnson’s decision but he could understand the reasons of the government for allowing such an increase in the fares. No alternatives were suggested from the opposition.

The question remains as to whether Boris Johnston will be open for discussion among the various opinions in the coming months, which is very unlikely.

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