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!

March 30, 2011

‘Ethnic imbalance’ in Trinidadian Police Service?

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 9:40 pm by potofcallaloo

The ongoing controversy on the so called ‘ethnic imbalance’ in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service is continuing to show the gross shallowness of some people in our country.

It is well known that certain groups in our diverse society are more inclined to enter certain professions than others, and thus, if any of us were to take a look at various professions locally, we would see them dominated by one race or another.

Perhaps the fewer numbers of our Indo-Trinidadian brothers and sisters in the police service (as opposed to their Afro-Trinidadian counterparts) reflects their preferred career choices in the fields of medical sciences or entrepreneurship for instance, from pre independence onwards.

This is a true reflection of today’s Trinbagonian society. The medical fraternity is dominated by Indo Trinidadians, whereas the protective services are dominated by Afro-Trinidadians.

To suggest that this perceived ‘imbalance’ in the police service is due to anything more than various career choices among the races is undeniably racially inflammatory and would serve only to divide a sensitive nation that refuses to maturely discuss the many racial issues lying beneath the surface of everyday life.

Furthermore, to suggest that the cosmopolitan society could only trust or relate to the police service if it were 50-50 Indian-African Trini is illogical to say the least.

The respectable attorney Dana Seetahal SC fittingly posited that if this were true, it would mean the only one who would feel comfortable with our Caucasian Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs, was his deputy commission Jack Ewatski.

Sectors should hire people who are competent to do the job regardless of race, rather than try to find equal numbers of races to appease some people’s underlying racial intolerances and sensitivities.

If for a moment we adhered to (chairman of the Police Service Commission) Nizam Mohammed’s irrational idea of employing equal numbers of the two major races, where then would the representation of the minority races and growing mixed population be?

In a multi racial society as ours this isn’t feasible – just hire the people who are well able to the job and we will be happy with that, because at the end of the day, regardless of race, we’re all Trini!

The government has rightly condemned Mohammed’s statement as “divisive,” adding that it is intent on creating “a meritocracy based on people’s ability to do their jobs, race must not and will never be a consideration.”

February 28, 2011

History in the Making

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:53 am by potofcallaloo

Mohamed Bouazizi sparked protests in Tunisia when he lit himself afire

It is a dynamic thing to experience ‘history in the making’; to live in the moment when something meaningful is happening to catapult a lasting change.

Most of us have ancestors who have lived through or felt the impact of some of the most poignant history lessons taught in classrooms today – the Transatlantic Slavery, the East Indian Indentureship, the World Wars, the Holocaust, Apartheid, the Stolen Generations of Aborigines…the list is extensive.

Today our generation witnesses a powerful history lesson in the making – The People’s Revolution – the fight for freedom, equality, opportunity, for the chance to be heard, for fair rule… in the Middle East and Africa.

What began as a one man protest after Tunisian fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi self immolated has spiralled into a wildfire spreading rapidly across neighbouring nations fed up of despotic rule.

Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya and Yemen have exhibited a defiant stance of willingness to die for a better cause. The former two successfully forced their infamous political leaders out, taking their future into their own hands.

The lesson tells us we are the makers of our own destiny. There is power in numbers and where people will come together to fight for a cause, change is bound to happen. It is very possible.

Consequently, in the Middle East nations are rising up and in South Korea the army has been dropping leaflets on Tunisia and Egypt into tightly controlled North Korea. Who’s next? What’s next?
Any powerful lesson will transcend culture, race, language, creed… and this is what it is.

The Middle East is at a crossroads and the world is watching, watching closely as history writes itself.

Hopefully we will learn.

(What other lessons do you suppose the world can learn from these powerful People’s Revolutions?)

January 2, 2011

2010 in review

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 pm by potofcallaloo

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 11 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 24 posts. There were 5 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 2mb.

The busiest day of the year was January 4th with 40 views. The most popular post that day was Deck the Halls with Boughs of Folly.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, amandavanwest.wordpress.com, en.wordpress.com, imphotopress.wordpress.com, and mail.live.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for alisha nurse, christmas in trinidad and tobago, trini christmas, trinidad christmas food, and christmas in trinidad.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Folly December 2009
1 comment

2

Ah Trini Christmas in London? You Reckon? December 2009
20 comments

3

Hidden Caribbeans August 2010
5 comments

4

The New Mephedrone June 2010

5

The Curse of Stereotyping February 2010
5 comments

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 11, 2010

Columbus: hero or villain?

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 10:04 pm by potofcallaloo

In my native twin island country, the Karina community is dwindling in numbers.

They are descendents of the indigenous peoples who first inhabited Trinidad and Tobago.

They struggle to maintain whatever little history or culture they have left, afterall it’s so few of them around.

In the 15th Century their island was raped and pillaged; their people taken as slaves, beaten, held captive and murdered by a man praised the world over and hailed as a “discoverer” during the  European colonisation of our part of the world.

On October 12th, many countries around the world, including the United States of America and Spain will observe Columbus Day – A day in honor of the famous or infamous (depending on how you look at it) Christopher Columbus.

A Celebration of what?

Columbus Day. Just imagine that.

Many who attended primary school in my time or eras before were taught that Columbus “discovered” Trinidad or La Trinity as he called it.

Now I’m older and some of the brainwashing tactics have lost effect, I cringe at any mention of this explorer who “discovered” my island and so many others with people already living there.

People who had families like you and me. People with a culture and religion they celebrated. People with a sense of humanity and respect for nature.

But to Columbus, these were people who he felt needed to learn the western way. He had no respect for their families, culture, or beliefs. To him, they were pagans who lacked civility and needed to be converted to his Queen’s religion.To him they were people who needed to be colonised by Europe.

And this is what is being celebrated? What of all the entire generations of indigenous peoples lost? Gone, never to return?? This is how we show remorse for celebrating a tyrant.

Salute the indigenous

Kudos to nations like Venezuela who stopped the madness and instead commemorate the Day of Indigenous Resistance.

It’s time for all other nations who celebrate such madness to come to their senses and show some respect for the people who really deserve it.

These heinous crimes were committed centuries ago, yet today the indigenous peoples of the so called New World remain insulted.

Before turning a blind eye again or remaining mum, don’t let another ‘Columbus Day’ pass without knowing the real history behind this Columbus. The real hero in this story isn’t Columbus, it’s the people he stole from.

It’s time to set history right.

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.

Previous page · Next page