BERMONDSEY CARNIVAL: With a Latin American twist

London – VIJAY SHAH

If you like family days out and happen to be south of the river in London this Saturday, there is a cool dance festival just waiting to be visited, completely free of charge. The Bermondsey Carnival, being held at the Southwark Park this Saturday, 30th June 2018, is the perfect family fun in the sun session, with a summery mix of dance, music, events for adults and children and its own funfair.

South London is home to many vibrant Latin American communities, with Londoners from Brazil and Colombia forming the majority of them. This year, the Bermondsey Carnival will honour local South American communities by taking on a Latino/a theme, with performances from the Abba Gold Girls, the singer-songwriter Mancie Baker and a Salute to Sinatra from Louis Hoover, the original star of the Broadway show.

 

There will also be dance workshops (including a children’s dance tent for the little ones to practice their samba and Fortnite emote dances) and fun activities such as making masks, alongside food and drinks stalls. Look out for the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’, a massive jumble boot sale’ hosted by local residents, and the Plaza Latina with its South American music, food and dance, the Plaza is new for 2018.

The Create and Play Zone
An assortment of talented artists, performers and designers providing a multitude of engaging things to do

Nest Box and Mask Making Workshops with Café Gallery
Crafty Beasts Making Workshops with Time & Talents
Totally Wild Foraging Adventure walks running throughout the day (12.30pm – 1.30pm – 2.30pm – 3.30pm)
Jumping Bean Stories and Rhyme Tent (12.15pm – 1.15pm – 2.30pm – 3.30pm – 4.30pm)
Make Theatre with London Bubble Theatre. Turn yourself into a story gatherer, a story teller, a character creator or a history maker In the beautiful Bubble Yurt throughout the day from: 12pm to 4pm.

SE16 DANCE Tent hosted by the Movement Factory.
Come and take part in an exclusive range of free dance workshops running throughout the day. No previous dance experience necessary

SE16 Dance Tent Workshops Times
12.00 to 12.30: Musical Mayhem- Musical Theatre
12.30 to 13.15: The Movement Factory- Street Dance
13.15 to 13.40: Kinetika Bloco
Performances Times

13.40 to 14.00- Kinetika Bloco
14.00 to 14.25 – Musical Mayhem
14.25 to 14.30 – Ellz & Sharz
14.30 to 14.40 – Hazel
14.40 to 14.50 – The Mia Dancers
14.50 to 14.55 – Jerdy
14.55 to 15.00 -Ellie
15.00 to 15.05 – Gawz
15.05 to 15.10 – Double Twist Dance Co.
15.10 to 15.30 – Southwark Gymnastics
15.30 to 15.40 – DHK Shortman
16.00 to 16.45 – DHK Shortman / Dance Hall
16.45 to 17.30 – The Movement Factory

The festival is being organised by Southwark Council, along with Bermondsey Beat and The Friends of Southwark Park.

Sat 30th June, 12pm- 8pm: Bermondsey Carnival
Southwark Park, Gomm Rd, SE16 2TX

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

Super London, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/SuperLNDN

Skint London Mag, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/SkintLondon

“Top Skint picks for the Weekend!” – Skint London (29 June 2018) http://www.skintlondon.com/top-skint-picks-for-the-weekend-48/

“Bermondsey Carnival 2018” – WISE16.CO.UK https://www.wise16.co.uk/free-bermondsey-carnival-2018-at-southwark-park/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Samba procession @ Carnival De Cuba, London 2008” – jf 1234, Flickr (29 June 2008) https://www.flickr.com/photos/kde-head/2622435786

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VOTES FOR WOMEN WEEKEND: London museum marks key democratic milestone

London – VIJAY SHAH via sources

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of British women winning the right to vote in elections, the Museum of London is hosting the Votes for Women Weekend from today in honour of women’s suffrage, featuring various participatory activities for people of all ages, the magazine Skint London writes.

The event, which is being held over two days from 3-4 February, 2018 and is free entry, promises to be an immersive and fun experience celebrating this key milestone in universal suffrage, when women over the age of thirty finally won the right to help choose who governs us, after a long struggle.

 

Votes for Women Weekend will feature lots of performances, photography, workshops, poetry and other things to do. Visitors can take part in a re-enactment of a suffragette rally, which also has a trip through history to the present day, and a two-hour long ‘banner-thon’ where they can create their own digital banners in collaboration with the charity Digital Drama’s 100 Banners projects. The banners will be taken on a march to the UK parliament.

Herstory fans can also learn about how the early 20th-century police used photography to capture suffragette activities undercover, and even play suffragette-inspired games in an Edwardian living room, including one called ‘Pank-a-squith’, a board game said to be have conceived by the Suffragettes themselves.

There will also be a spoken poetry jam and a chance to discover stories about inspirational women and girls, as well as learning about significant participants in the struggle to gain women the vote, such as Millicent Fawcett and Sophia Duleep Singh.

British women received the right to vote on the 6th of February, 1918, after a long struggle by early women’s activists, known as the Suffragettes, who first planned their protests in the drawing rooms of Victorian Britain, before eventually taking to rallies, civil disobedience protests, and in some cases, even getting into trouble with the law.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

Super London, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/SuperLNDN

Skint London Mag, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/SkintLondon

“Top Skint picks for the Weekend!” – Skint London (2 February 2018) http://www.skintlondon.com/top-skint-picks-for-the-weekend-30/

“Votes for Women weekend” – Museum of London https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london/whats-on/votes-women-weekend?id=154608

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Suffragettes, England, 1908.JPG” – The New York Times photo archive via Mr. Gustafson, Wikimedia Commons (21 October 2007) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Suffragettes,_England,_1908.JPG

ALWAYS IN OUR HEARTS: Remembering Baa

Today’s post is in honour of a very special and unique member of my family, who sadly passed from this world on the 2nd of February, 2014. Although we were not related in blood, she was the closest I ever had to a grandmother. She was a shining light in my life and her kindness, hospitality and devotion to family, friends and God will always be a beacon of inspiration to me. As she and part of my immediate family are Gujarati, we called her by the Gujarati word ‘Baa’ which means ‘grandma’.

(c) A. Shah
(c) A. Shah

Baa was born in Bukoba, a small town in Tanganyika (now Tanzania) in 1934. She got married to our grandfather in India and they settled in both that country and east Africa before emigrating to the UK in 1967, purchasing a house in Forest Gate, east London where she lived for several decades before her untimely departure. Together they had five children, four sons and a daughter, whom Baa helped support through many jobs in local factories. She was very welcoming and highly social, always inviting people from far and wide into her home, regardless of space. She loved shopping and watching Indian TV serials and had an impeccable taste in sarees (Indian dress) and boasted an impressive collection of them, as well as bangles. Like her husband (our grandfather), she was very pious and we would often go with them to the temple and celebrate festivals together.

The first time I met her was around 1997-1998 when I was out food shopping with my Mum at the Tesco in Green Street, Upton Park, not far from where she used to live. I remember being a bit nervous at first, but her smile and kindness soon endeared me to her. Over the years, Baa would often invite us to her home for dinners and family get-togethers. I remember often going around hers and she would always let me take a Coke can from the kitchen cupboard and also offer snacks and rotis. She always asked about my wellbeing, school and day-to-day life and I would help her with housework and shopping.

Sadly, after a few years, I left home due to some problems and lost contact with her and our grandfather, whom we called ‘Dada’. In 2009, she sustained a fall outside a hospital while visiting Dada there and from then on her health began to decline.

The last time I saw her was two days before her passing. She was very ill, unable to speak and move much and it shattered my heart to see her in that state. I went straight into the kitchen, the same kitchen where I and Baa would sit down for a cup of masala tea and a chat, and broke down in front of my aunt and mother. She sought solace in devotional songs because perhaps she knew God was going to call her soon. The one she was listening to when I saw her I have added below. It is the Gayatri mantra, which brings one closer to God in their hour of need.

Her funeral was held the following Friday at a local crematorium. As befitting the great person that she was, Baa received a beautiful and poignant send-off, with 300 guests attending a special service where her grandchildren read special eulogies for her, admiring her tenacity in the face of ill health and difficulty, including a time when she bravely fought off a mugger who tried to steal her necklace. Twelve pure white doves were released in her memory and just like how our families were brought together on this day, the doves flew as one flock into the trees, carrying Baa’s spirit with them. The recent bad weather and snow failed to show up that day, and instead bright sunlight trickled into the service hall, so that even it seemed that God was shining down on Baa and receiving her in His divine grace.

It has been a very sad and difficult time, but I and my siblings consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have benefitted from her care and wisdom. She always made a home from home and loved and adored her grandchildren.

Baa, you will always be in our hearts. We miss you and love you, forever and always.

બા, તમે હંમેશા અમારા હૃદયમાં હશે. અમે કાયમ અને હંમેશા તમે ચૂકી છે અને તમને પ્રેમ.

Many thanks to sister Anjali for creating the photo montage for this memorial.

DIWALI 2014: Festive family photos

Yesterday, on Diwali day itself, I was able to spend time with my family at my mother’s house. It was a beautiful and magical occasion of enjoyment with some of the most special people in my life. There was lots of hugs and smiles as we greeted each other “Happy Diwali”. Mum treated me to a dish of her very delicious vegetarian chilli-con-carne and tasty Indian sweets. We had a quiz game on my brother’s PS4 (out of five players, I came top with a final score of 4,000 points) and later went around the house lighting diyas (lamps) in honour of the festival of lights.

Prompted by a blogging friend who saw my previous post on this year’s HEM selection of animated images on the theme of Diwali and suggested I post up pictures of the event, I here present a gallery of photos of Diwali in the Shah household. Many, many thanks to Anjali and Arjun for contributing pictures to this gallery, and to Suraj, who offered me a chance to take some pictures after he had lit some candles on the mantelpiece.

You can find full-resolution versions of the images in this gallery on the Half-Eaten Mind. Just look out for the square moving Flickr icon on the top of this page. Once you’re on the Flickr site, search for the “Diwali 2014/2070” album. Images refined and watermarked with piZap.

May thousands of lamps light up your life
with endless happiness, richness, health & wealth forever
wishing you and your family a very
“HAPPY DIWALI“

diwali64
ADDITIONAL SOURCE:
“[*Deepavali*] Happy Diwali Messages In English 2014 *[Msgs*]” – Happy Diwali/Happy Diwali 2014 Wishesms http://www.happydiwali2014wishesms.org/2014/09/deepavali-happy-diwali-messages-in-english-2014.html

BIRTHDAY SPECIAL: Vijay turns 30

Say R.I.P. to your amazing twenties

As you enter your boring thirties

Say goodbye to your crazy ways

Say hello to monotonous days

Bid adieu to irresponsibility

As you strive towards accountability

Don’t worry, I am just fooling around

Don’t let this rhyme bring you down

You will have the best time at thirty

So chill out, relax and take it easy

Happy 30th birthday

(c) MyNiceProfile.com

Yesterday, Saturday 4th October 2014, I officially kissed my eventful years of being a twenty-something goodbye and said “Oh hi…er…Hello” to my third decade and thirtieth year of milling around on this green, green planet. Needless to say, while you cannot have a cat in hell’s chance of stopping the advances of age, it still was a bit of shock to me. I am actually going to be 30. Thirty!!. That’s a big chunky number. Part of me was telling myself that now I’ve reached the big Three-Zero, maturity and reflection on life was the name of the game, then there was a part of me that felt almost geriatric. Fair enough that I already got my first few white hairs some years back and being tall brings some aches and pains, but this morning I woke up with some noticeable leg cramps. I’m surprised I wasn’t dreaming of dusty suitcases from trips to the hospital, long post office queues and those god-awful 50+ life insurance adverts that infest daytime TV. But thirty is hardly old-age pensioner. It is a decade that will hopefully bring big changes into my life. Marriage, settling down and starting a family, being hired into a better-paid position (hopefully in the media), moving into my first flat,…and many smaller milestones that will turn when and whether. Being thirty is a transition point, a halfway house between the carefree and carelessness of youth and the responsibility, organisation and enhanced maturity of older adulthood.

My thirtieth birthday was a small and private affair with family, with of course many well wishes from friends and acquaintances new and old, and special greetings messages from the extended family in Mauritius. On Friday night (the 3rd of October) I visited my mother, who is recovering from a recent leg operation, to see how she was doing and to have a special dinner with the family. We ordered the food from a local takeaway and I made sure to get my favourite. A lamb doner kebab. This one was tasty but did reek of onions. Sadly there was no cake but I got lots of dosh and a gift box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, and most importantly the love and best wishes of my family together. My 5-year-old niece even pulled out a little gift from her jacket pocket as she came to hug me and wish me a happy birthday in advance. The gift was a small blue toy car. She must have chosen it especially for me. Once I get a decent-sized place of my own to live in, her toy auto is going on the mantelpiece or shelf. I then went with my niece and my sister to her place, where I spent a short while with her and her husband, before heading off to my home.

Come the big day I was as happy as Larry. I don’t know who Larry is, but I was feeling great. On Facebook, I arranged with my brothers to go to the nearby Westfield Stratford City shopping centre to go bowling and then later, the cinema. It started off a bit crazy though. My brother didn’t have his phone with him as it was in a repair shop having its speaker fixed. He had been having no end of problems with that phone. While chatting to him on Facebook, I had also forgotten to say to him exactly where we were going to meet up as Stratford is  a big place. Cue me waiting like a bum at the area’s bus station for one and a half hours wondering where the hell my brother was. He had been dropped off by car and was also planning to get some clothes shopping in, with the money he received for his own birthday, which falls one week before mine. After frantically Whatsapp messaging my other siblings to try to get to the bottom of this missing persons inquiry, I decided to head up the short walk across the glass-sided bridge to the Westfield shopping district. I started hunting around the nearby clothes shops to see if I could spot the missing brother. No luck. I scanned the crowds, hoping for a glimpse of him. Nah, not happening. Then something told me to head to the Vue cinema that sits on the third floor of the shopping mall. I thought it unlikely he would be there, but I took a chance anyway. Long story short, once I arrived at the picture house, I saw my brother on the balcony of the cinema’s courtyard. He had borrowed another shopper’s phone and was calling home. At the same time as I saw him, one of my sisters messaged me to say where he was. A very strange and almost psychic experience I think. Thankfully we was reunited and went to the bowling alley. All Star Lanes, which is based a very short walk from the cinema, is basically a bowling alley for all ages. It also has an American diner-themed cocktail and milkshake bar with a restaurant serving typical diner food. We booked our lane for the two of us (my other brother was sorting out transport to arrive later to watch the movie). Unfortunately we were told by reception that there would be a twenty minute wait before the lane would be free to use and they armed with a buzzer that looked like an oversized car alarm key. Me and bro decided to kill time by going to the clothes shops. We visited adidas, Topman while my brother tried to find a hoodie he liked. We saw a lot of cool and ridiculous stuff. Ridiculous in both price and aesthetic appeal. Sadly brother could not find the hoodie he wanted. The buzzer apparently went off, but I felt and heard nothing, though I was holding it in my hand to the point my palms were sweaty and probably fusing with the plastic. 

(c) gifovea.tumblr.com via Giphy

We reported back to All Stars and because we had missed the buzz, we had to wait another ten minutes. Me and little brother went to the milkshake bar and ordered a shake each. He ordered vanilla, I got one flavoured with Oreos, in keeping with the American theme. Well mainly really because I have a primal weakness for Oreo-flavoured milky beverages. It was delicious. I was even scooping out the cookie dough like sludge from the bottom of the glass with my straw and eating it because, blimey, it was THAT good. Me and little bro had the third lane from the left and while he was a bowling veteran, this embarrassingly was my first time. I even had to figure out which fingers went into which holes in the ball. I had fortunately played enough bowling of the virtual variety that that experience helped me pick the real thing very quickly. Although little bro triumphed over me, beating my score of 74 points with his haul of 96, we both managed to do I think around three strikes combined, with myself demolishing all the pins on my third go on the lane. It was quite stuffy in the alley though and not even the ice-cold shake could cool me down, but it was a brilliant time.

We sauntered around some more outlets selling designer garments. This time we hit up the Nike Shop and admired their sportswear, their mind-boggling array of trainers, including a ‘trophy case’ display of them pinned to a wall. We saw lurid pink ones, technologically-advanced ones, stylish ones and even ones with holograms and ones that were fitted in material that looked like the metallic skins of bluebottle flies. I saw a few Nike brand basketballs lying around and was tempted to dribble like the great Shaquille and score a triple-pointer. But being booted kicking and screaming (haha, booted) out of Nike by security is not the best way to remember your 30th birthday.

Towards the end of the night, my other brother finally arrived after catching a train from further east and we had booked our tickets. The film we got into was “A Walk Among The Tombstones” starring Liam Neeson. Obviously as it’s a new film, I don’t want to give away any spoilers. I will say that he plays a washed-out former policeman. Divorced and trying to stay sober, he operates as a private detective. A drug trafficker calls on his services to help locate the kidnappers who took his wife. If you are planning to see this film, keep an eye for TJ. He’s hilarious.

My thirtieth birthday may not have been as monumental as other peoples’, but it was a tight family affair. It put a smile on my face and joy in my heart. Reading the many social media messages from my friends and family, plus the texts and calls was the real icing on my birthday cake. Thank you to everyone who made it special. You all made my thirties much, much sweeter.

P.S. For the Half-Eaten Mind’s regular readers on WordPress who were wondering what happened to my usual Saturday article, now you know why!!

Here is a small selection of pictures from my birthday:-

Photo 1: A birthday ‘e-card’ made by my cousin Vipul using some of my Facebook pictures. The theme he ran with was ‘shisha’. One of my hobbies, although it’s been a while since I made an acquantaince with a hookah (stupid snigger). If you’re wondering, my usual flavour is double apple, but I’ve done everything colour in the flavour rainbow, from chocolate to melon.
Photo 2: The toy sports car (Cadillac…Lambo?) gifted to me by my niece Shaniya.
Photo 3: An ‘old chap’ greeting card given by my sister and her family. She just loves to call me ‘grandpa’ now *rolls eyes* *laughs*. I really like the vintage look though, even if it makes me feel a smidgen dessicated.
Photo 4: Another greeting card from my Mum and siblings. Nice blue metallic finish that matches well with Shaniya’s car in Photo 2. I’m seeing stars!!
Photos 5 and 6: Some night time pictures I took of the buildings at Westfield Centre in Stratford City as we waited for my other brother to arrive. The shopping centre does look amazing at dusk.
ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
“30th Birthday Poems” – WishesMessages.com/Valuetivity http://wishesmessages.com/30th-birthday-poems/
IMAGE CREDITS:
“LOOP ANIMATED GIF” – gifovea.tumblr.com via Giphy http://giphy.com/gifs/5BKL0c6zQYWYg
“Happy Birthday 30th” – MyNiceProfile.com http://www.myniceprofile.com/happy-birthday-123299.html
piZap http://pizap.com/
The Half-Eaten Mind/Vijay Shah, Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/110818734@N02

PHOTO MOMENT: Stratford, Shoreditch Boxpark and Fady Elsayed

with Anjali Shah (photographer & contributor)

On the 26th May 2014, which was a Bank Holiday Monday, the Half-Eaten Mind along with a select crew of family visited the Shoreditch Boxpark, off Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, London E2, to attend the ‘Busk in the Box‘ music concert compered by DJ Hussain. The event is normally held at this venue about every weekend, but not withstanding the great music on offer, we came especially for my youngest sister Anjali, who wanted to meet her idol, the film actor Fady Elsayed, star of the epic inner-city film “My Brother the Devil” about two British Arab brothers and their struggles with drugs, poverty and sexuality.

The gig played host to a lineup of young and unknown songsters from as far away as Leicester and Brighton , who arrived at this intimate gig to perform at one of London’s more leftfield shopping centres, a collection of pop-up shops that are all the rage in hip alternative London – along with a DJ set playing a footstomping run of house music and dubstep during the breaks between musicians. We stayed from 1-3 pm soaking up the sounds of young undiscovered pop/R&B talents before visiting a local chicken shop serving its clientele the most generous portions of chips and wings this side of the Bow Flyover.

My two sisters particularly enjoyed speaking with Fady about his career and getting photos taken with him and the younger one was also exceptionally lucky to receive a special gift from the thespian, an actual script taken from the film, complete with pen marks and dog ears.

This Photo Moment consists of the work of two budding photographers in our family, myself and Anjali. In addition to the Busk in the Box event I also took some pictures of the Stratford Broadway area while waiting for a bus into Tower Hamlets and some locales near the venue. My sister did many locales there as well.

SHOREDITCH BOXPARK: www.boxpark.co.uk/

#BUSKTHEBOX: http://www.boxpark.co.uk/event/buskthebox5/

FADY ELSAYED @ TWITTER: https://twitter.com/iFadyElsayed

FADY ELSAYED @ INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/ifadyelsayed

 

The 44 Broadway building in Stratford, London. This was taken while I was waiting for my sister to arrive to go to Shoreditch.

The front entrance of the Stratford Shopping Centre with the Samuel Gurney memorial obelisk in Stratford Broadway, London. I took this picture while waiting for a bus into Tower Hamlets.

The sign of the Cafe in the Courtyard, a business near the Stratford town hall in London.

A trio of traditional red phoneboxes next to the town hall building in Stratford.

The entrance sign of the Shoreditch Boxpark, an alternative style shopping mall off Bethnal Green Road.

Niketown billboard – Magista

Modern tower block in Bethnal Green.

Eighties poster designed by Josh Stika. Seen on the first level of Boxpark near where we were attending the concert.

My family enjoying the music. We also got to see “My Brother the Devil” film actor Fady Elsayed.

Performance at Hussain’s Busk in the Box by singer James.

Performance at the Busk in the Box concert by singer Leanne.

Promo leaflet handed out by Leanne to me and my brother Suraj after her performance finished.

Hype on The End flyer for a nightclub event handed out by James.

The back of the Hype on The End leaflet featuring a crown logo belonging to Minikingz. This was probably the record label or company behind the rave.

The script sample given by actor Fady Elsayed to my sister Anjali as a gift. She is a very big fan of his.

‘ Create-Attack ‘ trainers and spiders display found outside Niketown store at Boxpark.

Levy Safes Co. Locksmiths street art.

Padlocks or in this case ‘love locks’ affixed to a mesh fence just outside the Boxpark. A tradition exported from continental Europe. I took this picture as we were leaving the concert to get some food to eat and collect my niece.

You dirty rat: Street art on archways along Sclater Street, Bethnal Green.

A motley crew of stickers, street art and regular graffiti leading towards Bethnal Green Road.

My mum and sister with Fady Elsayed for a photo opportunity. Photo by Anjali Shah.

Fady with Anjali. Photo by Anjali Shah.

A shipping crate with the BoxPark Busk in the Park logos and details. Photo by Anjali Shah.

The entrance to Niketown at Boxpark. By Anjali Shah.

‘Dare to Own the Street’ another of Nike’s legendary advertising at their Shoreditch outlet.

Hussain’s House DJ set with the obligatory hashtag for Twitterers. Much of the musical magic emanated from here. By Anjali Shah.

The Falafelicious café where my brother got some chips before we settled down for the concert.

Footwear display by Nike. Just keep photographing it. By Anjali Shah.

WHERE WE SNAPPED:

Next to the Town Hall, The Broadway, Stratford, E15, London, England, UK.

Shoreditch BOXPARK, Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E2, London, England, UK.

 

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FILM REVIEW: Warrior (2011)

Vijay Shah (editor/reviewer)

Suraj Shah (contributor)

Today the Half-Eaten Mind brings you a review of the film Warrior, written by Suraj Shah.

Warrior (2011 film)
Warrior (2011 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Warrior, released in 2011, is a sports drama movie set in the suburbs of the American city of Pittsburgh. It stars actors Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy (of Inception fame) and Nick Nolte, and was directed by Gavin O’Connor. It tells the story of two estranged brothers Tommy and Brendan, both of whom have a passion for MMA fighting (mixed martial arts). Tom returns to his hometown after a tour of duty in Iraq, where he meets his long-lost father, a womanising alcoholic who found God and made a turn for the straight path. Brendan has long turned his back on the brutal world of cage-fighting, opting to make a new life with his family, while diligently following his new career as a high school physics teacher. Both brothers soon return to the MMA circuit, where a tournament named Sparta and its prize of $5 million motivates them as much as their trainers do.

Tom still grapples with the aftermath of his time at war, witnessing the death of his brother-in-arms, Manny, in a friendly fire incident. Brendon, despite a happy home life, is struggling to pay his mortgage, and is only weeks away from losing his home. Two very different circumstances, two very different brothers. Seemingly unable to forgive their father for the pain his alcohol abuse caused them, and with memories of their mother’s pained death still fresh in the brothers’ minds, the brothers keep their father at a distance, despite his attempts to gain their forgiveness. Warrior shows successfully the delicacy and tension as a family is brought back together. The tension between the two brothers is palpable. Brendon is saddened that Tommy came to visit his father before seeing him, and Tommy dismisses his older sibling as a guy with just a girlfriend and a load of pictures of people Tommy does not care about. As the plot develops, the brothers are slowly reunited in the search for a common goal, but it is a goal that will see them face each other in a way that will truly test their new-found, if unstable, relationship.

Warrior is no progeny of the Rambo or Rocky vein . The fighting action does not kick in until the last forty or so minutes. The film is far more about family, estrangement and reconciliation. If you are expecting blood, cracking bones and chokeholds, you will not be getting plenty of that with this film. It’s more a film about personalities; Tom is humble yet constantly on the move, fuelled by bottles of liquor and pills. In Iraq he tore the door off a submerged tank and saved his fellow soldiers, yet walks away without asking for any credit, nor accepting a medal. He even shuns a photograph for the Sparta tournament programmes. Meanwhile Brendan is the textbook portrayal of an American family man, devoted to his wife and two daughters and popular with his high-school students. Both characters are realistic and deeply emotionally portrayed at times. I found this even more so with their father, Paddy. At first glance, he seems somewhat pathetic. With his rusty voice and wizened face, he seems overwhelmingly needing of pity. His first conversation with Tommy soon re-animates the demons of the past, of how Paddy turned his back on the boys’ terminally ill mother and his alcohol-fuelled rages. You soon find yourself hating him as much as his sons do, but such is the means that this movie takes you on an emotional rollercoaster, it feels as though you eventually forgive Paddy and feel for him as his sons finally do.  

Despite being a drama about one of the most physical forms of athletics known, Warrior is not over-the-top with either drama or violence. It handles the developing relationships between Paddy, Tommy and Brendon sympathetically and with compassion. The sports theme seems but a convenient sideline as O’Connor’s project refocuses you towards the human stories, and their attendant ups-and-downs behind the flexing muscles and swift kicks. Of a family broken apart, seemingly to never come back together again. That emotional sympathy and respect extends to the portrayal of MMA in the film, as a sport about people training and trying, rather than the glitz and bright lights commonplace in the sport’s promotional events. You cheer the brothers as they battle opponents in the cage, but feel a tense guilt as they oppose each other.

However no sports film is complete without its eccentricities. Warrior doesn’t fail to deliver on those. From the monstrous Koda, the Russian behemoth whose beatdown of Brendan at Sparta seemed so complete that the commentator wondered aloud how long he would stay alive for; to Brendan’s old friend Frank, who uses Beethoven’s classics to calm his fighters’ temperaments, to the strange dance that Brendan’s wife Tess performs as he defeats Koda ( a personal highlight of mine) – Warrior drip-feeds weird little gems to help take the edge of the what is otherwise a serious movie about serious issues. Refreshingly for this sub-genre, Warrior by-and-large steers clear of the obsession with toned muscular bodies and fast women that similar films of this type inevitably display as standard. The pop-gloss gimmicks are left behind. Fans of the ‘Rocky’ boxing films franchise will readily appreciate how Warrior emphasises family, career development and bitter-sweet victories, while keeping a believable ‘good guy wins over adversity’ theme running.

Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy (Photo credit: honeyfitz)

Overall the film works well for its human portrayal. There is no formal introduction to the characters. You are very much just dropped into the plot, as you find yourself riding in a car with an old gentleman playing an audio Bible on his walkman. It is that sudden, uneventful immersion that really shows the strength of Warrior’s character and plot development. The speed of things can be a bit slow and ‘everyday’ at times – dragging occasionally, which at times detracts from the viewer’s involvement with the film. Despite an occasional snail’s pace in the plot’s journey,  the building up of the characters keeps the attention span firmly switched on. It’s a likeable movie, whether or not you are a fan of mixed martial arts or sports at all. It certainly makes you think and impresses upon you emotionally, without pushing you over an emotive knife edge.

The bond of family, and especially of brotherhood, whether through blood or through war, is the most important message that Warrior will leave you with. The film, more or less in a nutshell, remembers the past, and especially its more bitter elements, but also has an underlying message of forgiveness, that blood is thicker than whiskey.

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ADDITIONAL SOURCE:
“Warrior (2011 film)” – Wikipedia/ Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. LINK

PHOTO MOMENT: My 29th birthday

You know you’re getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.
–  Bob Hope

Vijay Shah

So yesterday, the 4th of October, 2013, was my birthday. That day marked the 29th year of my arrival here on planet Earth. I usually don’t make such a big deal about my birthday, but this one was special, depending on which way you look at it. It is the last year I can consider myself a “twenty-something”. That final twelve months of my 20s where I can still be a bit cool and down with the youngers. Where I can get away with still being a bit childish, although really I am more mature than a lot of late twenty-somethings. That last year where I don’t feel so geriatric that I can start smelling mothballs and feeling the warm snugness of a pair of incontinence pants. Where I can feel contemporary and up-to-minute, and not start bleating about the ‘good old days’…actually scratch that…I’ve already started bleating like an old goat about them. I can look in the mirror and still not be overly concerned about the white hairs appearing on my barnet or those slowly deepening worry lines. I’m still young, I’m still fly. I’ve still got it.

Well, I am also only one year from waving goodbye to my twenties forever. It will be soon time to buckle up and prepare for the big Three-Oh. The decade of responsibilities, family, children, running a house, working a fast-paced and respectable job. No more lounging about. Yep I’m getting old. Already my sister, who is only slightly more than three years younger than me, has dubbed me ‘granddad’ – and I feel embarrassed to mention my age now to people. Very scary.

Anyways, today I bring forth a special edition Photo Moment to mark my 29th birthday. All these photos come courtesy of my Twitter feed.

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This is the greeting card I received from my colleagues and friends at the database research and integrity departments at my company offices at Maple House, on the Tottenham Court Road in Camden borough, London. Among my mates at work, I am notorious for my massive sweet tooth, so this card was very appropriate in a way. It’s made by a company called Fay’s Studio (www.faysstudio.com) and has probably the most gorgeous and physically attractive doughnut I have ever seen revisualised in print. By the way, Informa is the company I work for. It’s a conglomerate with major interests in publishing, conferences, training courses, MBAs and many other technical things.

Twitter - VShah1984 A bottle of legit French 2013-10-05 14-39-14

In addition I got delivered (courtesy of Luiz)a couple of edible gifts too. A Belgian white chocolate and cherry sponge cake which was very delicious and has the most yummy buttercream topping. I have still about four slices leftover for lunch today. The other gift was this 75 cl. bottle of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc from the Valle Central, bottled under the Isla Negra brand. Isla Negra is the name of the seaside village where the Sauvignon grapes for making this wine are harvested, and the wine bottle describes the product as having “aromas of grapefruit, lime and gooseberry” and is “perfect for drinking with seafood and salads”. I thought this was a beautiful and luxurious gift. 

I don’t drink that much in the way of alcohol nowadays, but I still like a tipple every now and then socially or when winding down. I’m not much of a wine connoisseur either. I got the wine’s nationality completely wrong on the picture above as well – although Sauvignon grapes are from France originally. Nevertheless I do appreciate a good vin blanc!

If getting the country wrong wasn’t bad enough, I also uploaded the photo to my Twitter account – from my phone’s image gallery – without bloody checking to see if the thing was upright first. As Homer Simpson,  that great rotund lover of doughnuts, would say “D’oh!!”. Still it’s a lovely enough photo, with good lighting that shows the body of the wine and contrasts it well with the metallic red fancy old gift bag. Very debonair. I will be looking forward to a few glasses of this Reserva with my chicken balti tonight. No seafood or salad in the fridge unfortunately.

Twitter - AnjiShah HAPPY BIRTHDAY 2 THE BEST BIG 2013-10-05 15-02-59

This really cool and snazzy picture was drummed up by one of my sisters, who has already contributed some fine examples of her piZap-inspired artwork to the Half-Eaten Mind. She made a couple for my birthday. With this one, she used an old picture of me from I think, 2007. Sorry about the West Side gangster pose, I was fresh out of university, a bit young and silly. Respect!!! Thanks so much to Anjali for this crazy birthday pic. I can imagine this being one helluva greeting cards. Donuts, rap poses…it’s all berry berry good. I like the photo’s strong use of birthday decorations too.

Vijay Shah { विजय } (VShah1984) on Twitter 2013-10-05 16-31-33

This one was made with a far more recent picture, which was taken just after I was brought to the ground and mercilessly tickled by my family. My mum, three brothers, two sisters and one brother-in-law all jumped in (or watched from the sidelines) while my niece broke down in tears because she thought I was being beaten up for real. In honour of an old family birthday tradition, I was dragged to the centre of the living room carpet, tickled, punched and even sat on (sleep with one eye open, Ameerkat!! 😉 ). By the time I was set free I literally couldn’t breathe. I had to run to get a glass of Coke to get my energy back!.  Despite having five people fully assault me, I don’t look remotely like I was even pinched. Not a single (white) hair out of place. I got off lucky though. The original plan was to dash eggs on me. I managed to weasel my way out of that escapade. I didn’t fancy smelling like a cooking class gone wrong and having to shower again when I got home.

My 29th wasn’t the most eventful, but I still had much to enjoy. Sadly my family presents were ordered a bit late. so no pictures are available. What mattered though, was the love expressed to me by my nearest and dearest. No amount of presents could ever match that love and caring.

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ADDITIONAL SOURCE:
“Birthday Quotes” – BrainyQuote, BookRags Media Network  LINK
IMAGE CREDITS:
Vijay Shah { विजय } on Twitter LINK
♥[Cm] Pu[N]k = BITW♥  on Twitter LINK

PHOTO MOMENT: Celebrating my niece’s fourth birthday

Vijay Shah

Today’s Photo Moment is in honour of my niece, Shaniya, who turns four years old on the 18th of September 2013 – three days from now. To celebrate this occasion I spent a good hour yesterday night on photo editing website piZap, creating two colourful masterpieces to give as ‘virtual gifts’ to her mother for her. I created these images as well as to show my love and happiness as an uncle to a darling adorable angel-princess. Shaniya has always guaranteed lots of smiles and giggles, and she has been a shining and cheerful addition to our family.

When creating these pictures, I aimed to use lots of bright colours and patterns as befitting a four-year-old-to-be. Pink is her favourite colour so I tried to keep that in mind. I used pictures I had taken over the years to show how much she has grown from a tiny newborn into a tall, mischievous young lady. I got these photos from two archives of family memories I keep with me, including a compact disc with over 930 images. It did take me a while to find the ones that were perfect for the job, and I’m glad I took the time. I also included for the first image, a cutely formal portrait of Shani in Asian costume taken at her mother’s wedding last June. The first creation is quite busy, partly because I was anxious to try out all the graphical features of the website. The second reason is that the busy feel suits my niece’s crazy, funny and highly energetic personality. She sprints around all day, climbs over everyone and everything, talks endlessly…and yet never seems to get tired!!!

I thought I’d create this article so that one day in the future, when Shaniya is much older, I can show this to her. So she can see how she has grown, and as an unforgettable memory for her to cherish forever.

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pizap.com13791994591791

Did you know?

  • Shaniya was born on the 18th of December 2009 at Newham General (now Newham University) Hospital in Plaistow, east London.
  • Her favourite TV programmes are Numbajacks, In the Night Garden, Teal and Abney and Scooby-Doo cartoon. Her favourite channels are CBeebies (a BBC-owned children’s channel) and CITV. She also likes Disney films once in a while.
  • She is a budding artist, with a particular flair for painting.
  • Her favourite food is sandwiches with Nutella or some other chocolate spread as filling – she calls that “chocolate bread”. She also like noodles (ramen) and Indian food. She doesn’t seem to like cheese though.
  • She is a blatant miniaturised version of her mother. In fact her mum calls Shaniya her “mini-me”.
  • She has acquired many nicknames from her parents and family over the years. Her parents call her Nye-Nye and Chucky (she goes nuts when she ingests sugar, and can be a handful, so she’s named Chucky after the killer doll). She has also been called, Cupcake, Shani, Shooby, Sha-parrot, Shannoying Shaniya,
  • She is terrified of monster or Hallowe’en masks and her mum and dad sometime enlist the help of such a mask to keep her well-behaved.
  • She has a best friend named Tanisha and a pet dog named Zeus.
  • She is very polite and respectful, but can scream so loud I have been made nearly deaf more than a few times.
  • Her favourite game is hide-and-seek. She also enjoys online games like Candy Crush, Bubble Blaster and Angry Birds and has even notched up a few top scores on her mum’s Facebook account.

From a tiny bundle till today
I see you grow each day….
From endless cries to endless laughs
I see you glow each day…..
From the innocent questions to the incredible mischievous
I see you learn each day…..
From the little walks we have to the small talks we do…
From the kisses you plant to the crushing hugs you give….
I save the memories each day…
For life will sure play the same game as it does every other day…..
But remember my dear, I will be there ever and forever for you as like today….(Nisha Sam)

SOURCES:
piZap LINK
“To My Little Angel, Niece Poem” – Nisha Sam, Family Friend Poems LINK