The City of London Festival

26 05 2009

The box office for the City of London Festival is now open.

‘COLF’ is a diverse and interesting festival set in the heart of London’s financial district. Music, talks, walks, drama and dance all feature, but for me the best bit is the access the festival gives to some of the amazing buildings and places in the city.  

You can go on a Deutsche Bank Art tour, a tour of the Bank of England, see ballet on the steps of St. Pauls, … and a host of other events.

Last year I went to a concert in the Draper’s Hall. The Drapers are one of these ancient guilds, founded in 1364… the concert was good but it was visiting the incredibly opulent hall which has stuck in my mind, the place reeked of the mysterious masonic powers at work in the City of London, with portraits of kings and queens all around, marble pillars and incredible frescos on the ceilings. 

This year the mood is sure to be more sombre in the city, and the regional theme is Sweden rather than India, but don’t let that put you off, there are a lot of good events and many of them are free too.


Punchdrunk’s Tunnel 228

20 05 2009

Punchdrunk's Tunnel 228

Yesterday I went to the new Punchdrunk theatre project – this time a collaboration with the Old Vic under the command of Kevin Spacey. Punchdrunk specialise in ‘site specific theatre’ in London’s hidden derelict, underused and evocative urban spaces.

I saw their production of Faust in 2006 – a wild Edward Hopper inspired 1950’s americana nether world constructed in a five story warehouse in Wapping, where actors and audience followed one another in a raucous, confusing and intriguing performance through the beautifully created sets.

The new production, tunnel 288, is a post industrial Metropolis inspired dystopia, more of an art installation than a play. The website maquerades as a transport company, you enter the tunnel though a battered wooden door behind Waterloo station. Inside you are issued with a mask – swine flu style (in Faust audience members wore more theatrical masks). Then you are free to wander around the tunnels and explore Punchdrunk’s latest brilliant genre bending installment.

Guardian review

MP’s expenses

15 05 2009

scandal, shock, horror…

the MPs in parliament who a few months ago were berating the bankers for their fraudulence, opulence, bending and breaking of the rules have been found to have most of the same pecadillos… Even today the treasury select committee are demanding that ‘polished apologies are not enough’ from Bankers – you have to admire their cheek.

How David Cameron must regret his words (about bankers) from February now:

Justice is only effective when it is seen to be done — for the thug locked up for mugging people on the streets to the highest executive in the biggest firm who’s been swindling the books.

Doctors who behave irresponsibly get struck off. Bankers who behave irresponsibly should face professional consequences. And, for sure, if anyone is found to have behaved criminally they must be prosecuted. Of course, this requires clear evidence of wrongdoing. But that doesn’t mean we should sit on our hands and say it’s all a failure of regulation.

the blog ‘Ouseful’ has some very interesing visual representations of the moral vacuum at Westminster’s trough.

Baishaki Mela

8 05 2009

This Sunday is Brick Lane’s Bengali New Year Celebration – Baishaki Mela

There’s an article about the London Mela on Wikipedia, and an article about Pohela Boishakh – the first day of the Bengali calender.

There’ll be a procession, a line up of Bengali music in Weaver’s Fields just off Brick Lane and there’ll be loads of curry and probably complete mayhem.

Full programme

A year of Boris

4 05 2009

We’ve now had Boris Johnson (or BoJo as I like to call him) as our Mayor for a year.

here are a few reports on his first year in office:

A New Dick Whittington?

Six and a half out of ten?

Bored already?

A liar?

CRONEM conference

1 05 2009

Two of our members are presenting at the CRONEM – the Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multicultralism based at the University of Surrey.

Have you heard of CRONEM – the Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multicultralism based at the University of Surrey? They have done some really interesting research, including a lot in London, such as a project on religion and transnationalism. CRONEM also have an annual conference.

This year’s conference is a joint conferenct with the AHRC’s Diasporas Migration and Identity Programme (who fund my phd). The call for papers has ended and the papers have been selected – a list of abstracts has just gone on line – and many of the papers look fascinating… There are also some good keynote speakers:

Ien Ang, Professor of Cultural Studies, University of West Sydney, Australia

Robin Cohen, Professor of Development Sociology, University of Oxford  and Honorary Professor, University of Warwick, UK

Peggy Levitt, Associate Professor, Wellesley College and Co-Director, Transnational Studies Initiative, Harvard University, USA

Ato Quayson, Professor of English and Director of the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto, Canada