November 30, 2012 · 12:01 am
What’s the connection between Charles Dickens and this: Should have died in infancy. Didn’t. At the age of four had meningitis and went into a coma. Recovered. Had a stroke with complications that lasted a year. Survived. Major blood transfusions. Long term organ damage. Hours of chelation therapy five times a week to reduce iron overload from blood transfusions. Bruising, discoloration, pain, pain, pain…
Dickens is renowned for cataloging the suffering of the poor and downtrodden, but this is not the torment visited by his imagination on some poor character. It’s real suffering. It’s what happens when a young girl is born with sickle cell anaemia.
A young girl like Chantelle Msumbuga. She’s now a young woman – almost 16 years old. Last weekend she told me and some others about the succession of pain and setbacks she’s undergone in her short life. And she was so cheerful and beautiful as she told it. Her blog is here. She educated us about the condition and the very invasive and intensive treatment she received at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for Children.
Liliane’s lovely buns – you have to bite through the head of Charles Dickens to taste them.
Now do you get it?
After JM Barrie and Peter Pan, Charles Dickens is the famous figure most associated with this London hospital for children. Shortly after it opened, he helped save it from bankrupcy and to double in size.
That’s why Charles Dickens fan Christopher West (who also lectures under the nom de plume Charles Dickens London) arranged a special Dickens Day to raise funds for GOSH – to mark the connection between writer and hospital during this year, the 200th anniversary of Dickens’s birth.
Liliane the beautiful cake maker from the Cote d’Ivoire
Oh – there’s another reason too. It’s not just Chantelle who medical staff at GOSH are helping. They also saved the life of Christopher’s granddaughter not so long ago. So, like Chantelle he’s also saying thank you for personal reasons.
Chantelle and Christopher were helped and supported by lots of other people too. People like the Kings College Chorus, schools, experts and Liliane. She’s from the Cote d’Ivoire, has beautfully accented French, beautiful buns (no not that! I do actually mean the buns in the picture) and is just beautiful.
There was a lot of beauty around that day – and that includes Continue reading →
Filed under art, D - Loose Bloggers Consortium, friends
Tagged as africa, anaemia, art, beauty, blackwater, blackwatertown, bravery, buns, cakes, chantelle msumbuga, charles dickens, charles dickens london, christopher west, Cote d'Ivoire, cupcakes, doom, doom and gloom, gloom, GOSH, Great Ormond Street, hospital, Ivory Coast, JM Barrie, Liliane, Lilianne, loose bloggers consortium, Peter Pan, sick, sickle cell
September 12, 2012 · 10:42 pm
The Africa Express
Some nights are magical. Saturday was one of those nights.
The Africa Express completed its British journey in London, disgorging a unique and wonderful band of African and British musical stars at the back of Kings Cross station.
Then they began to play Continue reading →
Filed under Music
Tagged as africa, Africa Express, Afrika, afrikan boy, Baaba Maal, Baloji, blackwater, blackwatertown, Damon Albarn, ELIZA DOOLITTLE, Fatoumata Diawara, Granary Yard, john-paul jones, London, Marques Toliver, martina Topley-bird, Music, music I like, Noisettes, Paul, paul mccartney, Rokia Traore, Seye, Sir Paul, Spoek mathambo, Thandiswa, Tony Allen, train
June 17, 2011 · 2:22 am
Sodcasters... But they look so lovely. They're probably listening to Price Tag by Jessie J or Ave Maria.
Are you a sodcaster? Or have you been the victim of sodcasting? (Or even the beneficiary?)
Whaddaya mean – What is sodcasting? You’ll almost certainly have experienced it. Unless perhaps you’re American. Because it’s a public transport phenomenon. (So this post particularly goes out to the newly resurrected Exile Imaging, who works in city transit for Austin, Texas.)
So what is it? Sodcasting is the playing of tinny tuneless repetitive beats on your phone loud speaker, or more likely that the sound leaks from your earbuds – thus giving other passengers on the bus or train the joy of sharing your musical tastes.
The music will be bad. Because it has to compete with the rumble of the vehicle. It’ll be distorted because it’s turned up so loud. And it’ll probably be rubbish, because it has been specially made to suit the medium – lots of treble, little or no bass.
I have to admit, though I’m familiar with the phenomenon, I hadn’t heard the term until this week. It is derived from podcasting – combined with a “Sod You” attitude.
And this is the important thing. I heard it on a wonderful radio programme on BBC Radio 4 which Continue reading →
Filed under art, life
Tagged as 219, africa, africa funk, altan, art, audio burkha, aural, ave maria, BBC, blackwater, blackwatertown, born to run, bruce springsteen, buds, bus, car, clash, competition, dan hancox, dancing in the streets, david bowie, ear, empire, faithless, franz ferdinand, giggs, headphones, hypocrite, i fought the law, ian mcmillian. joshua, ipod, janissary, janissary band, Jaqee, jericho, jessie j, manu chao, manuel, mick jagger, mp3 player, Music, music I like, music police, noriega, nutter, ottoman, panama, Pogues, price tag, psyops, public transport, radio 4, rapper, ska, sod you, sodcast, sodcaster, sodcasting, soundscape, tinny, train, tram, tube, turkey, two tone
April 22, 2011 · 1:34 pm
So I was wandering through Harlem (New York) when I saw this sign. I did a double take. Checked my surroundings. Re-checked. Yup, still in Harlem.
No – the letters on the sign haven’t been mischievously rearranged Continue reading →
Filed under art, politics
Tagged as africa, african methodist episcopal, airport, all the land annointed holy, ame, America, appiration, art, atlah, atlah world missionary, bar, Barack Obama, basket, beer, bigot, birth certificate, birther, birthers, blackwater, blackwatertown, Charlestown, dubya, election, episcopal, evangelist, George Bush, George W Bush, greater bethel ame church, Harlem, Hussein, illegal, james david manning, James Horan, Joseph, judean peoples front, Kabul, Kandahar, Kiltimagh, Knock, life of brian, malcolm x, methodist, miracle, monty python, museum, Muslim, new york, obama, peoples front of judea, politics, president, red rooster, religion, saints. John, sculpture, senegal, Stephen Burks, studio museum, Taleban, Taliban, tourism, unamerican, USA, Virgin Mary, vision, Washington, Washington DC, weaver, weaving, west africa, White House
February 27, 2011 · 4:49 pm
I’m all for innovation. Finding ways round problems. Flexibility. Work rounds. Not being defeated by seemingly insurmountable problems. So I should approve of what they’ve done on the island of Fuerteventura. Continue reading →
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Tagged as a portrait of the artist as a young man, africa, alsatian, blackwater, blackwatertown, book, books, books I like, cabra, cabras, canary, canary islands, cnaries, cow, cute, dancing goat, deer, dog, flexibility, fuerteventura, goastish, goat, goats, honest politician, hornybrowed, innovation, Ireland, James Joyce, morocco, puerto de cabras, puerto del rosario, road sign, road signs, spain, stephen dedalus, wind
January 15, 2011 · 8:03 pm
Filed under art, life, Music
Tagged as africa, and features the late Wendo Kolosoys backing band. Apparently it's a new take on the African independence anthem written in 1960 by Joseph "Grand Kallé" Kabasele and Nicolas Kassanda, art, artea, Birmingham, blackwater, blackwatertown, Bob Marley, books, coffee, coffee shop, communities and local government, congo, D'espresso, dezeen, dr congo, Dr Nico, drc, fussin' and fighting, fussing and fighting, gradn central station, Grand Kallé, Guardian, handsworth, hybrid, Indépendance cha-cha - Le jour d'après", independence cha cha, inhabit, Joseph Kabasele, kinshasa, Music, music I like, new york, Nicolas Kassanda, Papa Wendo, pauline black, reggae, samina zahir, sarfraz mansoor, sarfraz manzoor, selector, ska, tea, tea room, tea shop, the selector, too much pressure, two tone, vacant space, vibrant place, wee cup of tea, Wendo Kolosoys
June 9, 2010 · 2:21 am
In need of a happiness boost? Is life’s hourglass aggravating you? Don’t call computer/life support – they’ll only tell you to switch it off and on again. Three happy things await below the hourglass. As usual the joke is at the bottom…
Continue reading →
Filed under life, Music
Tagged as africa, albinism, albino, art, blackwater, blackwatertown, curiosity killed the girl, curious girl, curiousgirl, ebony bones, exciting, fishmox, golden voice of africa, la defference, life, mali, Music, music I like, new, preacher, rai, salif keita, smile in your face, upload, will he hurt us, world music