February 23, 2012

Hunting for an Egg Hog

Posted in Art & Culture tagged , , , , , , at 5:41 pm by potofcallaloo

Artist Vicky Scott and her Egg Hog

Don’t be surprised if you’re skipping through London one of these days and you notice a most curious sight.

Everywhere you turn, the most striking giant eggs are sitting about in the most arbitrary of places, staring right back at you.

Right up until April 3, you could find yourself in the middle of The Big Egg Hunt ! (dum da dum dum…)

200 eggs specially crafted by leading artists, designers, jewellers and architects have been hidden across Central London as part of a massive charity egg hunt.

You’ll likely encounter some very intriguing eggs, standing two and a half feet tall, including ones painted as the classical Humpty Dumpty, the iconic red British letterbox, and even a tea sipping Egg Hog !

The artist and illustrator Vicky Scott is involved in the project, and is behind the gorgeous Egg Hog which has already been hidden somewhere in the capital.

Find Vicky’s Egg Hog

Vicky spent several weeks working tirelessly on this super cool Egg Hog which reflects her many moods as an artist.

Take a glimpse of her portfolio and you’ll find haunting art fusing the eclectic styles of 1920s art deco with the funk of 60s psychedelia and Art Noveau.

Vicky Scott Illustration

Vicky’s art dabbles in a bit of this and that, and in the same vein you’ll find that her images are produced with paper collages, paints and Photoshop, juxtaposing the old with the new, the past with the present. Her Egg Hog is just another addition to her unique and impressive artistic expressions.

If you’re interested in seeing Vicky’s Egg Hog, enlist your family and friends and join in on this huge egg hunt adventure.

A public challenge has been issued, and it’s not going to be as easy as you might think finding these eggnormous prizes. So if you fancy yourself as having Sherlock genes, then whip out your detective hat and eggsplore every nook and cranny of London to find these gems.

The event is organised by the charities Elephant Family and Action for Children, and at the end of the hunt, the eggs will go on auction.





February 12, 2012

A Legend Gone

Posted in Art & Culture, Lifestyle tagged , , , , at 3:09 am by potofcallaloo

Whitney Houston is dead.

Photo by Alisha Nurse

No matter how many times I read it, or see these words plastered across international news websites, this harsh reality is hard to come to terms with.

The world is mourning the loss of this celebrated songstress whose soulful, powerful voice once bellowed distinctively incomparable notes that could move even the coldest of us to tears.

CBS describes her as being born into “greatness.” And who could dispute that?  She was the daughter of gospel singer Cissy Houston, cousin of pop diva Dionne Warwick and goddaughter of Aretha Franklin.

She gave us many award winning hits which I know I don’t have to name, because whichever generation you’re from you know them, and you’re probably listening to them right now, as you reminisce with me and the rest of the world.

Whitney performing at Good Morning America promotional concert in New York


Her influence was great, is great I should say.

But her successful career was eclipsed by drug abuse and a turbulent marriage to Bobby Brown.

No one forgot about her though.

When it was announced she’d be making a comeback in 2009, fans went ballistic.

My two friends and I queued for hours outside New York’s Central Park in 2009 to see her perform.

The press gave her bad reviews, as the toll of drug abuse on her once strong vocals became obvious.

Love for Whitney

But the fans at Central Park didn’t care.

Overcome by emotion during her performance of I Look to You

We were happy to see Whitney rebounding. As we sung along to I Look to You, I came close to tears.

And I wasn’t the only one.

Whitney couldn’t hit the notes as she did in the past, but this was her testimony. She was openly sincere, and vulnerable before us thousands, lifting her hands to the heavens in gratitude, as her emotions overtook her.

Our world is all the poorer for having lost Whitney. But she still graced us with her presence for 48 years. During that time she’s inspired us, taught us many life lessons, and left us a great legacy that will never be forgotten.

RIP Whitney Houston.

Whitney shares the stage with her daughter Bobbi Kristina

December 22, 2011

The Hobbit Trailer Released

Posted in Art & Culture tagged , , , , at 12:59 am by potofcallaloo

The trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is out!!

Part one to Peter Jackson’s prequel to the award winning The Lord of the Rings will be released in cinemas on December 14, 2012 and fans are already eagerly counting down the months.

Martin Freeman appears as a young Bilbo Baggins, while many of our favourites from TLOTR have reprised their roles.

Sir Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf, Andy Serkis as Gollum, and Cate Blanchett as elf queen Galadriel. Other cast members include Orlando Bloom, Ian Holm (as older Bilbo Baggins), Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Evangeline Lilly and Richard Armitage).

Whoopsi do! 12 more months to go!

Now Tolkien-ites! stop re playing the trailer! 🙂

May 31, 2011

The Hobbit Movies get official names

Posted in Art & Culture tagged at 2:16 pm by potofcallaloo

Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit has been given official names.

The highly anticipated prequel to The Lord of the Rings will be made into two films, the first of which will be called The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, while the sequel will be The Hobbit: There and Back Again.

The first movie is set for release next December while the second part will follow a year later.

The movies are based on the highly acclaimed works of J.RR Tolkien. In the story, the unassuming hobbit Bilbo Baggins is thrusted into an epic journey to help a family of Dwarves retrieve a great treasure and Kingdom stolen from their ancestors by the fearsome dragon Smaug.

Filming for the two movies is currently underway in New Zealand with a top notch cast that features Martin Freeman as the protagonist Bilbo Baggins. Ian Mc Kellan, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Hugh Weaving, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom and Andy Serkis have all reprised their roles.

Critics had questioned whether the films producers were digressing from the real story after it was announced that Elijah Wood would reprise his role as Frodo, the hero of the LOTR, though he does not appear in the book.

Peter Jackson is producing the films along with Fran Walsh and Carolynne Cunningham. He also did the screenplay with Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro.

April 27, 2011

Peter Jackson’s video blog on The Hobbit

Posted in Art & Culture tagged at 2:59 pm by potofcallaloo

Peter Jackson has released his first video blog from the set of The Hobbit.

In the ten minute video he gives a walkthrough of different aspects of the sets that were used in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy but doesn’t reveal any new scenes as he wishes to keep us sitting on the edges of our seats.

Filming for the movie which precludes the LOTR Trilogy has begun after several setbacks and part one is to be released in December.

The movie is based on the classic written by J.R.R Tolkien in 1937 and chronicles the adventures of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins and a team of dwarves as they set out to recover a stolen treasure guarded by feared dragon Smaug.

If you’re into fantasy and haven’t yet read the book, I strongly suggest that you do. Tolkien has built a prodigious world easily imagined with his highly descriptive writing style.

Reading the book has only made me more anxious to see how it will be represented on the big screen. It’s going to be BIG!

December 4, 2010

Trini Christmas Must-Haves

Posted in Art & Culture, Lifestyle tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:04 am by potofcallaloo

Following the continuing popularity of last year’s Christmas blogAh Trini Christmas in London? You Reckon? I decided to satiate the appetites of all you Trinis living abroad or those of you who are just curious about Christmas in the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Over the next weeks leading up the holiday I’ll blog on some of the essentials of ah Trini Christmas, letting you in on our wonderful parang music and culture, foods, customs and traditions.

Today however, I’m starting light with a list of Trini must-haves when celebrating the festive season.

Whether you’re lucky enough to be on the island’s soil or away in the wintery cold, this list highlights some fundamentals for making it ah true Trini Christmas in London, Queens, Sydney, Delhi, Marrakech… well you get the point. Feel free to add anything I’ve forgotten or any of your favourite must-haves to the list.

1. Sorrel or ginger beer (we prefer making fresh sorrel- a delightful juice made from the extracts of the red sepals of the Roselle plant (Hibiscus sabdariffa). It has a kind of kiwi-ish taste and when you add sugar, spice, some cloves and water yummmz the end result is fantastic! I haven’t seen any imported sorrel at shops in London but maybe we can get it in a tin somewhere? If not there’s always Shandy Carib Sorrel.

2. Pastelles – derived from the island’s Hispanic heritage, pastelles are a sort of steamed cornmeal pie filled with a seasoned meat of choice with added raisins, olives, peppers and seasonings, and wrapped in banana leaves. These aren’t too hard to make and they’ll leave your mouth watering for more!

3. Trinidadian black (fruit) cake –This favourite fruit cake has rum in it and a variety of fruits. Traditionally, many Trinis love soaking the fruits in cherry brandy for weeks before baking. Not my favourite but I haven’t met a Trini who can survive Christmas without it.

4. Parang music – This genre of folk music is also derived from the island’s Spanish heritage and also forms part of a social custom of merry making. Songs are sung in Spanish traditionally to the sounds of music made by the cautro, mandolin, base box and shac shac.

5. Paranging (the custom) – Go to your neighbor’s or friend’s house preferably stringing  a cautro singing an old parang tune. In the days of yore you’d be invited in to eat lots of tasty Christmas delights. Nowadays alot has changed but you can still go paranging to your circle of family and friends wherever in the world you are.

6. Trini Cassava pone – Ohh gawd! (a Trini exclamation) This is a serious taste bud charmer. Made from grated cassava, mixed with grated coconut, essence, spice, condensed milk, raisins if you like and in my family we use grated pumpkin and sweet potato… this sweet bread-like treat is bound to leave you in a dreamy state. Please take caution! J

7. Trinidad Punch de Creme – a kind of egg nog punch made with rum, eggs, lime, milk, spices and flavouring.Mmmmmmmmm…. is all I can say!

Ok… time for you to add your favourite Trini Christmas must haves to the list, whether it’s food or some other bit that will get your Christmas holiday kicking wherever in the world you are.

October 9, 2010

The Underdog takes lead

Posted in Art & Culture tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:54 pm by potofcallaloo

Treyc Cohen was probably perceived an underdog on the first live show of the X Factor, having been turned away on last year’s show and again at Judges’ House this year.

She was brought back on the show as Cheryl Cole’s wildcard and proved “by a clear mile to be best vocal performance of the night” as complimented by Simon Cowell.

Cohen’s pitch perfect rendition of U2’s One Love earned her nods from all four judges and Cowell said he was amazed she has been overlooked for the competition.

One performance earlier Aiden Grimshaw wowed the audience with his heart rending take on Tears for Fears’ fantastic Mad World.

Simon remarked that it was the second time a performance of that song had blown him away, referring to Adam Lambert’s 2009 killer rendition on American Idol.

Louis described Grimshaw as “something special in the sky” while judges Cheryl and Dannii Minogue gave him special thumbs up.

Most memorable performance

But perhaps one of the most memorable performances of the night was that of Dublin’s Mary Byrne, who had laryngitis but wowed the crowd from her very first note of James Brown’s Man’s World.

Mary sent chills up my spine with every word of the song, delivering it with soul and emotion that reached the audience.

Her fiery performance earned her a lengthy, rousing applause with Dannii voting her one of the night’s best vocal performances.

Controversial finalist Cher Lloyd proved her worth in the competition when she made a stunning comeback with S.O.S’ Just Be Good to Me after messing up her performance at Judges’ House thanks to a sore throat.

Cheryl again defended her decision to choose Cher for the finals after a week of death threats and castigation for not selecting Zimbabwean Gamu Nhgengu.

Simon said Cher was the “new little star” they were looking for, Dannii found her “watchable, fantastic and a star” and Louis thought for a “little girl” she has alot of “stage presence.”

Other competitors

Matt Cardle, the handsome painter who sung his lungs out during his rendition of When Love Takes Over is super versatile and I reckon he’s going to improve drastically as the weeks pass and his confidence increases.

His voice is just amazing! Louis remarked that if he were home he’d download that version of the song and that’s exactly what I’m doing now!

I’m not sure the lovely Rebecca Ferguson was given the right song in up tempo Teardrops from Womack and Womack but she smashed it anyway with her Norah Jones-like-voice.

She’s a top competitor and the judges are anticipating her future offerings.

Paije Richardson, another wildcard personalised and did justice to Killing Me Softly.Good choice Dannii.

FYD and John Adeleye failed to capture my attention and didn’t compete to the standard set by other contestants.

Simon described Wagner’s performance as the most “bonkers performance” he’d ever seen even after Diva Fever’s version of Sunny. No comments on that performance.

Katie Waissel is rumoured to be among those at risk of being knocked out when two leave the contest tomorrow after she failed to sing her song at Judges’ House. Other finalists who performed were Storm Lee, Nicolo Festa and groups Bell Amie and One Direction.

October 4, 2010

What’s the X Factor anyway?

Posted in Art & Culture tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:49 pm by potofcallaloo

Does Gamu Nhengu have the X Factor? Does Cher Lloyd have it? What about Katie Waissel?

Well with all the quibbling going on about who the judges committed grave injustices against, I’d like to briefly explore what this ‘x factor’ is and look a bit closely at what I think transpired last weekend.

Wisegeek defines the x factor as “a certain undefinable quality which may promote one candidate over another in the eyes of his or her critics or examiners…candidates who possess it are more likely to survive early cuts during the culling process.”

So we perceive the X Factor to be merely a singing competition. In fact, who said it was anyway?

As the name suggests, The X Factor seems to be deviating very little from the above definition.

Undefinable quality?

We could safely assume the so called “undefinable quality” that gives a contestant the upper edge on the show in question, is a superb singing ability. Or can we?

I doubt it highly.

Last year, we all witnessed Jedward ease through all stages right up till the finals. What was their “undefinable quality”? I think it was the ability to entertain and trigger laughter.

After all, they didn’t win, but they’re still on our TV screens aren’t they?

That said, based on a number of factors including previous judgements, I’m going to highlight what I think are some of the qualities the judges are looking for in contestants in contrast to what has been offered thus far.

You must have…

● At least a basic ability to sing. This ability need not be superb, the judges will settle for average, although they welcome extraordinary talent like that of Leona Lewis’s.

● An ability to sing the genres that dominate the current market. Even better if you can dance while you sing.

● An image and physical appearance that appeals somewhat to a mass audience. Don’t take my word for it, take a look at the music videos showing on your tv screen daily.

● A personality (with particular traits) that attracts people, leaves them mesmerised or evokes strong emotions. Think about eccentricity, humility, vulnerability or simply being over the top.

● Something different from everyone else. This could range from an unusual life story (with emotional appeal of course) to an unexplained likeability that puts you in everyone’s good books though you can’t sing to save your life.

Final Verdict?

All that said, does Gamu have the X Factor? You tell me! She can obviously sing and performed well during all stages of the competition. So why didn’t Cheryl put her through?

Don’t be too shocked by these seemingly illogical decisions made by the judges. This isn’t just a singing competition. It’s reality TV and the producers want high drama!

High drama means eccentric personalities, unreasonable judgements and contestants whose singing abilities you question.

So the betting shops are counting on Gamu to return next week when the judges announce a wild card for the first time. She’ll probably return, but you’re still musing on how Katie and Cher got through, when Katie didn’t sing and Cher made a mess of things.

Katie/Madonna want-to-be is a chance for high drama. Cher has an x factor, but got unlucky with a sore throat though she did declare it long before her performance. Not to mention, I think Cheryl sees a bit of herself in Cher. Either way, Cher has something, the fact that she took a song like Turn My Swag On and made it sound good, speaks volumes.

What say you?

August 7, 2010

Hidden Caribbeans

Posted in Art & Culture, Lifestyle tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 10:07 pm by potofcallaloo

*Nominated for the ‘Rights in Motion’ Award Screening at the Bang! Short Film Festival Nottingham, 2010*

Among the United Kingdom’s numerous ethnic groups, there is relatively unknown community of about 30,000.

To much of the UK, Indo-Caribbeans are invisible.

This documentary explores how the Indo-Caribbean Diaspora in London is using Chutney music and other Indo- Caribbean cultural forms as an expression of their identity, with the hope of establishing a stronger cultural presence and distinct identity here.

Produced by Alisha Nurse as final project for a Master of Arts Degree in International Journalism -Broadcast with Merit at the University of Westminster 2010.

May 20, 2010

Preserving Peking Opera

Posted in Art & Culture, Lifestyle tagged , , , , , , at 9:16 pm by potofcallaloo

For centuries the Peking Opera has been a national treasure of China-  A prestigious artform combining recitals, dance, singing and acrobatics. Today, this colourful artform faces declining popularity among young Chinese people everywhere, but has found a new home in the most unlikely of places – London.

Produced by Alisha Nurse and Zhang Tongfei

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