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!
Adriano Adewale has a very naturalist approach towards sound and music. For him, “Sound is always in the air… We pass by it, we see it and sometimes we play with it. This is the world of sound, it is all part of that great music, the song within us, which makes us move and feel.”
Consequently, his music brings us right back to the inner resonances of our being, and the counterpoints of sound existing in our environment. His band is a gently bubbling, simmering pan of mellow, minimalist flute, finely tuned percussion, strummed and plucked, hypnotic, modal harmony and tribal dancing and song, which engages the audience in a heady call and response, and lifts the mind into the treetops of traditional African and Amazonian soundscapes.
Percussively, the soundtrack is permeated with ambient sounds at all levels - glass, metal, leather and wood - overlaid and interlaced, in a rich fabric that suggests the proximities of other sentient beings, musical lines crossing, lives intersecting and eventualities intertwining - every click, hit, pop and tap so intricately interwoven into the texture, and transmitted over a ‘forest’ of onlookers in the Clore Ballroom.
Towards the end of the set, his skidding, sliding and giddy grooves morph restlessly through a deeply spiritual song cycle of pulse and buzzing voices. A rich cocktail of cultural immersion and a sobering nod towards the fundamental roots of jazz.
I first saw Soweto Kinch ‘Tales of the Tower Block’ at Contact Theatre, performing his multisensory integration of jazz and improvised music across different mediums, and their synchronisation with electronics and fixed backings. Seven years later, Soweto Kinch has risen to become a status symbol in British Jazz, renowned for his streetwise, grimy, hip hop inflamed jazz, which combines influences as diverse as Coltrane, Mingus and Sun Ra, and intellectually exploring and portraying alternative aspects of society, ideologies and cultures through creative, abstract-meets-conceptual performance situations.
Sowero Kinch took us on a smoky, grungy journey through his curious little world of jazz and hip hop fusion. With a lovingly silky, defined saxophone tone, clear and bright, ringing through the echelons of this dark, domed venue, much of the harmonic interest is determined by him, especially in ‘The Healing’, where pivoting, schizophrenic improvisational licks skip and flicker restlessly over the beat.
‘Better Off Alone’ is written at a point where you’re looking around at your close friends, and you realise that they are not your close friends - “But maybe, that is not such a bad thing,” he reflects, with casual ease, “Sometimes you realise that it is what you need - to be around people who will not get you where you want to go, sad as it may seem”. Soweto Kinch oozes ethos and personality, equally at ease behind his saxophone as he is on the MC, the outputs simply being two arms to his creative outbrace. With a natural way with words, endearing to witness, the unfolding narrative unravels itself over a harmony that modulates and moves so sincerely over a melancholic, prophetic undertow of rhythm and soul.
‘Traffic Lights’ on the other hand is rough and ready, the tone of his saxophone blaring like a siren, over a brisk bebop emblazoned with harsh edges. Soweto Kinch has a very Coltrane sound, one that is very raw, yet intensely spiritual, and tripping with dissonant and whole-tone goodness. His builds clamour into wild, untamed scaly runs, losing their nerve and becoming all-encompassing in his identification and campaign towards a reformed world.
This project features a stellar Kit Downes (organ), Ruth Goller (bass), Tim Giles (drums), James Allsop (tenor saxophone) and Alex Bonny (trumpet, electronics). The focus is free, conceptual improvisation that intermerges humane and robotic influxes, the gentle pushing and pulling of opposing tensions and the creation of highly immersive sound ‘environments’ that bathe your ears in a pseudo-mechanical world of electrifying, ambient counterpoint.
The group have a real vibe about them that I can’t quite put my finger on. Their music has a true culture of its own, one that speaks directly to the heart and nurtures the soul, with its own moods and temperaments; at times longing and nostalgic, glowing with a fond reminiscence; at other times rich and folky with Latin and gypsy touches. The music took us through majestic peaks and surging tidal waves of emotional epic, spirited dances and wistful lullabies. The encore treated us to a steaming serving of hot, stonking swing, with each of the musicians playing over the rhythm changes at breathtaking pace, displaying an accomplished sense of virtuosity. I was stunned just watching this - these guys have really made their craft, and they can do anything that they want with it. By the end of it, the audience were completely enchanted, and there was a real sense of magic in the air. A gig that neither I nor the rest of the audience will forget!
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.