2018: A Year In Food
In 2018, my gym coach assigned me to keep a food blog so he could track my meals. Through developing healthy eating habits to satisfy all of my nutritional needs and a rigorous exercise programme, I lost the 21 kg between January-August 2018 I'd gained on anti-depressants.
I wanted it to be somewhere more private rather than being shoved down people's throats (literally) through Instagram/WhatsApp. Hence I've posted my culinary creations here.
Being vegetarian and/or vegan always presents a challenge in terms of hitting the protein target so this was particularly the most interesting challenge for me.
I made a conscious decision to stop food blogging in 2019 (due to time restraints), but it's useful to have a year's diet documented as a reference and a source of inspiration!
DPZ Quintet, fronted by saxophonist / MC Thomas de Pourquery and featuring trombonist Daniel Zimmermann hail from Paris, France, the land of ‘camembert, Moulin Rouge, Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysses’, he quips. His music moves from surrealistic, bittersweet fairy tales and coppices, into traumatic, terrifying ‘nightmares before Christmas’. The guitar-driven quintet plunders through deep, dark depths, rising up in mammoth walls of sound and plummeting through extraneous chordal caverns. Every now and then, they are accompanied with spoken French, narrating as if in a dream sequence the source of these morbid visions.
Pools of reverberant guitar and synthesised fields of ambient noise drown the crying, wailing saxophone, as the sedated drumbeat continues, underneath. Clouded archons of lead guitar permeate the sound world, amidst sombre muted trombone and falsetto vocal howls. At every twist and turn, the music senses impending threat and danger, with slowly carousing, building steady cacophonies, sailing soprano saxophone - sickeningly thrilling - smoking and smouldering amidst doom-ridden angst, and a divine turbulence that swallows your ears and devours your mind, body and senses.
Renu are a seven-piece band combining classical vocals, jazz vocals / harp / violin, violin, guitar, guitar / percussion, piano and bass. Their diverse influences everything from MF Doom and Django Bates to grand opera, flamenco and snatches of Kanye West. Their members are all multi-instrumentalists, and combine an interesting range of textures and timbres woven together with bold, outspoken ideas.
Quirky and eccentric, these London Revellers cross over performance practices from jazz, classical and music theatre respectively, freely mixing the abstract with the poetic and programmatic. Musically, they are creating something quite unique and a little bit ‘out there’ - without relying on extraneous free improvisation. Instead, the music is developed through highly poetic and structured occurrences, complete with liberal sprinkles of humour and slapstick surrealism. The beginning of their set is quite rock / pop-influenced, while the latter half experiments with Spanish / Iberian stylisations, flamboyant guitar, hand clapping and themes reminiscent of Maurice Ravel’s L’Heure Espagnole. An intriguing discovery reconciling the worlds of commercial indie and rock, with forbidden fantasy, and nauseatingly rich imagery.
Oded Kafri + Drumachine
Percussionist Oded Kafri, otherwise known to over a million YouTube viewers as ‘The Drumachine’ has a well-travelled background. Originating from Israel, growing up in France, and having lived in both North Africa and the UK, Oded Kafri learned his trade as a street performer, bringing together many different influences and working with many different types of people. Oded possesses an encyclopaedia of musical vocabulary. A natural multitasker, Oded makes imaginative use of different surfaces, not only the water dispenser bolted onto his drum kit, but sticks, monitors and even wine bottles, progressing outwards into the audience. But these percussive applications are not executed in a contrived or random manner; Oded verily prepares his ideas, and works them into his arrangements. For him, the rhythmic-spatial world is simply an extension of his personality, where his mind and sticks work as one.
Additionally, Oded mixes his skill and virtuosity with digital samples and loops, fusing World musics from Eastern Europe, Africa and the West Indies, cementing choral singing with raving ‘drum ‘n’ bass’ beats, substantiated tempos and Groove Armada-style horns. Over these he plays and improvises, yet they do not seem to control him; rather he appears to be controlling the samples - at least, it is a mutual flux of control that is happening here - exploring the boundaries between human and inhuman, man verses robot. The samples function as a departure point for his personified elaboration and discourse.
Visually, Oded Kafri is a showman, welding robotic movements, gestures, dances and circus gymnastics into his crazed, insane routines. Whether these were planned or incorporated by sheer luck and intuition is open to discussion, but it is soon easy enough to understand how he attained over a million hits on YouTube. As he explains, ‘Music is not a profession, it is just something that everyone does’. In this sense, he is testifying to the immanently social origins of music, as integrated into everyday life. The brain is a remarkably complex organ. Oded Kafri, in his music, pushes the capabilities of the human mind, combined with the products of human invention.
Highly renowned as a gifted jazz musician and teacher, and considered by many to be the founding father of jazz education in Britain (The Guardian), Eddie Harvey (trombonist) died one month ago at the age of eighty-six. Tonight, his life is celebrated with a special concert featuring many of the local talents from the Way Out West All Stars, paying him a fitting tribute with a night of jazz and swing.
Way Out West Collective features twenty musicians, all ages, based in and around South West London. Walking into the venue, I was immediately warmed and touched by the friendly, welcoming committee and community spirit. Chatting to one lady gave me an insight into his impact on their collective.
“He was a local legend, the most remarkable man. He had a wide circle of friends, and he never lost a friend. He was like a youth at heart, very jovial, and he lived life to the fullest - always ‘there’ until he died. Knowledgeable, well read and learned, he was genuinely interested in people. He was someone with whom you could talk if you had a problem. He was good at making constructive criticism, although he was also very honest. Everyone here knew him, and can recount stories about his life. There were three hundred people at his funeral, and the coffin was brought in to the tune of ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’, which was the most amazing thing - Can you imagine how anyone could have sung that at a funeral?”
She then pointed out several relatives and friends around the club, including his wife and daughter, who were also present. The music was easy swinging, enjoyable and accessible, bringing together musicians both young and old, and showcasing a thing or two of the local jazz scene. Highlights were the arrangements by Eddie Harvey, combining saxophone and clarinet quartets with rhythm section, with open, inclusive improvisation. The complex constructions blend sweet, harmonised woodwinds and tightly coordinated rhythmic breaks, angular melodies brought to like by dovetailing or angular horn passages, and perfectly synchronised vibratos. A glowing introduction to the life and work of this great jazz artist and nurturer.
Rory spent the first few years of his life in an ice cave, carving out his palace of wonder. He's a bit of a love doll, but he who melts the ice shall have their reward.