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December 08, 2006

Complicated melody

I’m listening to India Arie’s song ‘Complicated Melody’. It’s beautiful. It’s also a good title for the past three months; it’s been chaotic, structured by the cycle of each week, evolving, sometimes repeating in fugic cycles, ending, beginning afresh and et cetera. I haven’t been blogging any of it, though, and it’s about time I got this old clock ticking again. The christmas holidays have just begun so I’ll have time to really give it a shot…


It’s Christmas


June 15, 2006

Yet another year…

Two down…a life–time to follow…

Does time speed up as one grows older? Kris was trying to explain the physics behind the possibility of time travel: basically (and I'm sure there's a lot more to it than this) if we manage somehow to travel faster than the speed of light, we will begin doing backwards in time. Blows my mind.

Apparently, the faster we move, physically, the more time slows down – does this mean that time's going by so fast because I'm too stationary? Maybe I should try doing more? Yes. Do more. But what? Writing – DUH! And music too. Write faster, read faster, sing faster (higher?) and you'll have more time? I'm sure one of you Warwick physicists out there my want to correct me, I'm just using this as some extended metaphor for my sudden motivation to write write write sing sing sing and do as much of it as possible in the time that I have to myself this summer!

Time Travel - Alpha Andrews

This year's been manic in many ways. I'm not sure I even want to try and sum it up, I feel like I've already moved into the next phase of things. Grounded as a feather swept away in a fresh breeze. I'm sure there's a lot more in store. This summer is panning out to be interesting – Europe (if Vahid gets his visa), Ireland, London film festival and then wherever the wind blows me, maybe even new york. Watch this space.

April 15, 2006

I am 20

It's been two days since I left the teens behind. And yes, in answer to that inevitable question, I do feel a little different. For the past few years I have known that the day will come when I have to clean up my act a little; clean my car, clear out the junk that I insist upon hoarding, start doing my work, read more, feel responsible for my life. And, for the past few years I've said to myself…pah! For now I'll get away with what I can and deal with the rest when I'm 20. Well, the time has come. Ive hoovered my car, made an effort to do an essay more that two days in advance and, to change this aridly boring subject, seen my first Surrealist exhibition.

I've finally found an art movement that I really enjoyed. Don't get me wrong, I like art and I appreciate most art on some level, although to be fair I've not seen that uch compared to many people I know. But a few of the surrealist paintings (see below for favourites) touched me deeply, or made me genuinely laugh, or profoundly disturbed me. I think could be partly to do this the fact that the poetry and some of the prose I write is similar to Surrelist art in its dream-like and incoherent narrative (see Dream Poetry.

Anyways, it was a fun way to spend a birthday and here are some fvourite works that I managed to find online:

Man Ray Pisces

Jackson Pollock Naked Man With Knife

Picasso Three Dancers

Francis Picabia Hera N.B. The painting I actually saw was called Otaiti but couldn't find it online. Ths one is in the same style as Otaiti.

Dali Mountain Lake

I also went to RSC Stratford to see Romeo and Juliet. If you get a chance go see it – I enjoyed it immensely. There was a fantastic arrangement of subtle live singing and accordion that accompanied the play , and the stylised fight scenes involved some aggressive stomping/tap dancing with wooden staffs. It was better than I'm making it sound! It was, on the whole, well acted, conjouring a nice tension between light-hearted comedy and heartbreak (although Romeo's sobbing did get a little to much…I wanted to strangle him at one point, he was a bit of a pussy-Romeo). This is the first modern-dress Shakespeare that worked for me, on the whole a great night out.

March 12, 2006

It's been a while

Haven't blogged in a while…since sri lanka things have been hectic with trying to catch up and now, all of a sudden, term 2 is finished and as Persian new year approaches I find myself looking back over the past year.

It's passed so quickly, I can believe I'm over half-way through my degree, yet its happened so slowly – does that make sense to anyone? This time last year I had just landed my first acting role in Arthur Miller's The Crucible, I was somewhat obsessed with the moon and the haiku form, I'd just discovered Jeff Buckley and met Fred.

How things change…

I was feeling a little down recently, a little too absorbed in myself, worrying that I had not made the most of this year. Looking back it was a stupid worry to have fostered; I've done so much and learned a lot along the way…Since last new year I've toured Europe, choreographed belly dance for Lysistrata, been to Iran, performed in The Lover, worked for One World Week, been to Sri Lanka, started teaching bellydance, and somehow kept my degree afloat. Oh, and met so many more wonderful people and established some really strong friendships. Other things have gone on, not things I like to write about, not things that were fun or productive to have experienced, but they've happened and I've learned from them.

I find myself looking to the future more and more. What happens next? I've always been like this…I get bored easliy…maybe bored is the wrong word, I'm not bored with Warwick – I love it – I just have itchy feet, I keep wanting to move forward in leaps and jumps, not shuffling steps. I know a lot of people who prefer not to think about what comes next, and that's fine…but I can't help wanting a plan.

So, I think it's going to be business management. Call me crazy – and you will – but I think that's the way forward. I've applied to some summer internships and we'll see where they take me. Also applied for work experience at a London Publisher this easter…we'll see what happens.

On the other hand, I must do more dancing. I want to learn Tango and I can't keep dreaming of it forever. There is something about the passion of the dance that makes me want to weep every time I watch/think of it:

Recently watched some scenes from Carlos Suera's Tango, a film in which he devises a piece of theatre that re-enacts World War II through Tango dance. It is phenomenal choreography, wonderful music and some stunning dancers – watch it!

Anyway I either need to shut up about Tango, or put my words into action :) So, Tango, Salsa, bellydance, and maybe some tap and Yoga classes too…

I should be writing more now that it's the holidays. I have a portfolio to write for poetry and a non-fiction article. Hopefully they will be of a post-able standard and I'll put them up for your viewing, if I get them done that is :)

February 21, 2006

Sri Lanka

We leave for Sri Lanka at 10am on Sunday morning. I can't believe we are leaving so soon. I have spent the past week locked in a room with ten lovely people, to devise a piece of theatre related to Tsunami: The Politics of Aid. We have brainstormed ideas, emotions, snapped at each other's throats…

I mean't to post the above paragraph over a week ago. I get back from Sri Lanka just after 5am yesterday morning and collapsed into bed.

It felt strange coming home. It was as though we'd been away for months, but I simultaneously felt as though the travelling had been cut short. We did so much in 7 days, more than I imagined we could have done, and the trip was a wonderful balance of creativity and travel. We managed to drive through a quarter of Sri Lanka in under three days and somehow pulled off our play, which went down very well with the ISTA festival crowd.

One of the most moving moments of the week was driving along the south coast of Sri Lanka, along many of the beaches which had been utterly devistated by the Tsunami. There was still much to be rebuilt. We stopped at one particular beach to see a temple which had survived the impact of the tsunami and remained the only unscathed building along the shoreline for miles. It was a miracle of sorts, to be hit by a 15 metre wave and not shed a brick. We took a look inside the temple and saw how the painted celing was unmarked but for a few saltlines.

We had spent the past two weeks locked in Union North researching the Tsunami – survivor stories, press conferences, aid organisations, politics, poems, songs, pictures of the devistation, discussions between ourselves about how should depict all of this information – but I think being on the beach and seeing the temple was the first time that the reality of the Tsunami hit us.

Having researched how much aid, how many millions of pounds had been pumped into the country, it was sad to see that the rebuilt shacks were no better than what they'd been before. It was sad to still see wrecked buildings with messages scrawled on the side asking for assistance for people trying to rebuild their homes.

The rest of the trip look us along most of the south coast, Hikaduwa beach being one of the highlights. We did body boarding and poy on the beach. Some o the local guys also brought out some firesticks and to our surprise Karl turned out to be a genius with fire. From the beach we drove to Yala national park and then inland towards Nureliya, the tea county. Miles and miles of tea fields later, we found ourselves on white water rafts, heading down the river where 'Bridge over the River Kwai' was filmed. A picture gallery will be uploaded as soon as people get their snapshots to me.

Sri Lanka is a beautiful country. The scenery and landscape is one of exceptional vibrance and, strangely, even the shanty towns scattered amonth the trees had an aesthetic quality to them. I was secretly gutted that I hadn't taken a camera with me, however wrong it seems to take visual pleasure from another's life of poverty. The Sri Lankan people were friendly too, on the whole. They were intrigued by our white skin and loved to stare/smile/wave at us, very keen to have photos taken. They were eager to know what we though of Sri Lanka and we happy to hear that we were in love with their homeland. The only trouble we ran into was with a couple of trishaw (motorised rickshaw) drivers who tried to drastically overcharge us. Trishaws are a lot of fun, weaving through the traffic, honking at each other, and really up for racing :)

The festival was great too. Stressful – we were told that we had to do tech and rigging ourselves but we roped in some ISTA festival kids to help out. There was a wonderful moment for me in the dress rehearsal when, for the first time, I thought with confidence this show is actually going to work, and it did.

So, overall I'm glad that I did this. It was a trip that was productive and amazing fun. This blog entry is probably really jumbled, but hey, I'm jet lagged and a little fuzzy and thinking about how I'm going to catch up with the mountain of work I've built up for myself! Watch this space for pictures and more thoughts/memories as they come.

January 23, 2006

"and we all know about Iran

The other week I attended a debate on the Freedom of Speech in Britain, put forward by members of PEN, the international organisation of writers who stand for freedom of speech and campain, amongst other things, for the freedom of writers who have been imprisoned for holding view deemed politically dangerous in their countries of origin.

The debate was engaging and provoked much response and questioning from the audience. What the members of PEN seemed to be putting forward was relatively simple: there should be absolute free speech to the point that it is possible. Obviously there will always be restrictions, but their case was for allowing controvercial diologues to be had so that the public can see the extremism of dangerous group, such as the BNP, challenged and deduce their own moral judgements.

Anyway, the subject of this blog entry is not so much about the freedom of speech. It is to make an example of a quote from one of the speakers, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. This quote can be used to perfectly express why it is that I feel the need, or rather the deep want, to write about Iran. Yasmin was talking about art and how there is a conception of Muslims that they have no understanding or tolerance for art. To enlighten the audience on how artistic the Islamic culture is, she used an exmple from a recent bbc documentary on Islamic art which examined frescoes on the walls of Iranian mosques depicting beautiful unveiled girls dancing and drinking wine. It was not the fact that she pointed this out that struck me, because she was quite right to do so, but the way in which she introduced it: 'In Iran, and we all know about Iran…' I suddenly had a wave of defensiveness at the sarcasm of the comment because I knew that at that point everyone in the audience would be thinking of the veiled Isamicised Iran portrayed in our media, shocked at how such a place could host such controvercial art. This was Yasmin's point, but the fact that she was sarcastically suggesting that everyone in the audience knew all there is to know about Iran, when really they knew relatively nothing but the modern politics of the country, made me realise how important it is for me to write about Iran wholistically.


I want to write about Iran so that maybe, one day, Iran's name will be mentioned and people, even if it is only one person whose perception has changed, will think of it's diverse and intelligent people, it's phenomenal historical monuments and rich cultural heritage – not some idiot in an over-sized cleric's gown preaching that Israel should be wiped off the map.

March 19, 2005

Ah, such a Perfect Day…

I can say without doubt that yesterday was almost perfect as days go, I think it was a reincarnation of Lou Reed's perfect day. It was my first time back in London since Christmas and the sun was shining. I arrived in the morning and met my friend Nahid for a fatty but really delicious burger at some nice burger bar in Westbourne Grove. We then milled around, window shopping, laughing and making prats of ourselves until early afternoon when we headed down to Hyde Park to meet some more people.

Hyde Park in the summer is just…yummy. I spent my childhood playing there so going back always makes me nostalgic, frolicksome and free. We strolled down to the lake and spead ourselves out on the grass by the water, soon to be joined by some more friends, equipped with a tempo (drum) and Persian stringed instrument called a "Tar". Nahid's sister joined us soon after with a luciously creamy birthday cake to celebrate Nahid's birthday. We spent the afternoon stuffing ourselves with creamy luxury, playing music and singing songs at the top of our voices. Passers-by either loved us or found us amusing, byut none-the-less most of them couldn't help but bop along to our drum beats and happy clapping.

At one point we were joined randomly by a rather stoned-looking Swedish guy who just couldn't get enough of our raucous fun. After listening to us sing and joke around in Perisan for about ten minutes, he turned around and said "Is this what all English people are like?" …??!! I just burst out laughing and explained that we were Persian, not English. A lopsided smile broke across his face and all he could say was "OH…yeah." Hilarious.

We watched the sun set and, as dusk drew close around us, we packed up and made our way to see Lily Afshar, a classical guitarist, in concert. It was ok, some of the songs were a bit too modernist and didn't work in my opinion, but the songs she played well, were beautiful.

Later, we hit the town and I had my first night out in London. We went to China White and it was just oriental magic. The DJ was good, the people were hot and the decor was tres funky. We got lucky and found a space on the couches to lay about on piles of silky cushions with our cocktails like kings. It was just great.

Crawling into bed at 5 in the morning, I felt so satisfied. The Hyde Park fun in the sun, the music we made together, the concert highlights, the club…everything merged into a warm glow in the pit of my stomach and I slept like a baby.

A Perfect Day "I'm glad I spent it with you…" NAHID HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

March 13, 2005

Another term has passed…

…in a blink. Where have the passed ten weeks gone? I am back at home now, possessions spilling out of bursting boxes and strained plastic bags. The food is divine and I slept like a baby all of yesterday afternoon, it is just wonderful to be relaxed and happy knowing that there is nothing to do for the next few weeks.

Ten weeks really have passed in a flash: a sleepless, musically enriched ten weeks where once again I have learned so much about my much-loved subject, the people around me and (yes that old cliche) LIFE. I have still been meeting new people every week but one of the nicest things about this term was the security and development of some beautiful and very close friendships.

I'm not sure where to begin on summing this term up which is a clear indication that I just should't bother trying to condense a diverse and explosive ten weeks into a single sentence. I am filled with wonderful memories that creep into my awareness every now and then, making me smile. I don't even know where to start documenting it, the good times just merge into a train of visual clips from various occasions:

one world week niki and me going wild shisha graduate club arabian nights international crowd new people ty in the union and salsa meeting new people in rootes fred insence dark side of the moon green tea with joe haiku thoms birthday chlo-sho hugs jam at the graduate jamming with niki and silke lakeside magic hippy night cats stars joe's poetry peace stillness warp lionel happiness tears soundtrack singing first solos linton kwesi johnson african soul rebels dance like a lion quack secrect ducks metaphorphoses timo going nuts talk of religion alan watts meditation ravi shankar macmillan patience rapturous maidens stressed jerzy blue-lit jazz drama ball on the thames music ball going crazy with anant heat international night marks play romeo and juliet the pillowman inspiration… goes on and I am too lazy to go on with this stream of consciousness, it could go on for pages :)

Right now I am listening to Loreena McKennitt and it is the perfect soundtrack to my dream-like stream of memories – beatuiful and ghostly music.

Next term will be interesting, hardly any lectures or seminars, essays done and handed in by week three and only two exams. Its going to be great to do some private reading that I have wanted to do but haven't had time, write some non-course-related stuff and go on pleanty of picnics.

But anyway, enough looking too far forward, it is New Year next week and I have a magic trip to Ireland coming up. Its going to be a great holiday.

My mind keeps wandering to Fred and co. on the open road, hitching to Morocco as the rest of us are collapsed at home – it must be exhilerating.

My eyes are still tired so I think I'll sleep today as well. Good night friends, I shall write again soon…

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