Marrakech- short clips I took

spot the monkey, the snake, the baby, the guy doing up his flies and more....


walking through the souk-

A few pictures here.


Posted on Sat, May 5, 2007 at 05:19PM by Registered Commenterparadise in | Comments3 Comments


This keyboqrd is all over the place- if u see ,isspelings itùs becquse of thqt1


It is a French and Arabic combination. Writing about Mqrrakech will hqve to waitr until I get bqck:

C est impossible1

Lots of photos and videos when I return inshallah. So far so fantastic. People are grqcious qnd well-mqnnered qnd I cqnt spell for jqck aith this keyboqrd:

Give up: see u ahen I get bqck: LoL:

Bon nuit/

Posted on Mon, April 23, 2007 at 10:43PM by Registered Commenterparadise in | Comments5 Comments

Youth Aspiration Day – Saturday 28th April 2007

I'm happy to pass this info on; the organisers say:

On Saturday 28th April, Oxbridge Muslim Alumni (OMA), in association with the Schools Link Project and London Muslim Centre, will be holding a “Youth Aspiration Day” at the London Muslim Centre , Whitechapel Rd, East London

The Aspiration Day is open to all Year 11, 12 & 13 students and is designed to give them a feel for university life and the graduate recruitment/milkround process as well as generating an awareness of the importance of higher education and the variety of different career and lifestyle paths available to them. The day will include motivational talks on time management, revision techniques and applying to university as well as a careers fair and a panel discussion, all held by current and past Muslim students from Oxford and Cambridge University. We hope that the day’s events will help to debunk stereotypes of people with successful or educated backgrounds by demonstrating what people with similar backgrounds to their own have achieved. Above all, we believe participation at the Youth Aspiration Day will leave students with confidence and a positive feeling about their future prospects, with the inspiration to set high goals for themselves. Please advertise the event on any lists you may be on or to those who you may think will be interested in attending. To register or for further information please email


Please spread the word and let the young benefit from it. Thanks!

Posted on Thu, April 19, 2007 at 10:59PM by Registered Commenterparadise | CommentsPost a Comment

the twilight zone

I left work just after 5. I had an appointment with a pamperer.  I booked a pedicure and a facial last week on a day when I thought the sleeplessness would drive me to ogre-like behaviour.  What either would do to cure the mood or the insomnia I didn't know but it mattered not. I deserved it.

Later, after nearly two hours of being cleansed, washed, massaged and filed I was out on the streets again. I erm and err over which route to take home and in the end laziness decides to go the way which involves the least walking. I read a book and now and then look up to see where we are arriving. At one such stop, a group enter and I notice a tall striking Albino girl stepping into the train.  While my eyes take in the vision that she is, dressed in a shalwar khameez, hair wrapped backward in a black hijab, stark against her skin, another vision steps into view behind her. A copy it seemed of the first girl.  One follows the other into the carriage. Then there follows a boy, also Albino, cap over his head accompanied by a couple of small children and last but not least a mother figure, also an Albino. I probably watch them longer than I normally watch people.

My mind races. Was it hereditary? I couldn't remember what I knew of Albinos but it can't have been much as my brain returns nothing useful. They release something into the carriage for some of the passengers start to shift in their seats  and I wonder what it must be like for the family.

The children talk and I hear Urdu intermingled with the English. The boy, tall, robust, silver-haired comes my way and the little girl follows him. The train is stationary now, in the middle of nowhere as they often like to do, stop, take a leak, something, I don't know what, leaving you wondering for the longest while and then a driver's voice apologising for the delay, we will be on our way shortly, seconds before moving again. What's the point I always wonder, why say we'll move and move momentarily.

The little girl gets on the tips of her toes and reaches for the train door at one endof the carriage that leads to the other carriage- if you make it to the other carriage. A warning of possible death looms high above her on the door. Na, na, na no, I say, it's not safe.  She abandons it, shoulders slumped down.

London Underground ought to pay me for all the work I'm doing for their passengers.

Suddenly the boys says, excuse me have we reached Euston yet?

I stop reading. Euston? We've gone past Euston. The girl next to me says, go back.

The boy leaps up and I hear him say, Dad we've passed Euston. The family rustles into action, they stand up and get ready to leave the train as we pull into a station. Dad, I then notice, is also an Albino.

I blink. I imagine a village in Pakistan 17 years ago, the two village Albinos married to one another.

Maybe the woman wasn't the mother but the sister of the father.

I shake the confusion out of my head, how interesting.

The girl next to me says Crazy people.

I wonder why she thinks that and want to ask- how her thinking was so far from mine and we had witnessed the same thing- but think leave it, London Undergroung safety scout, referree and shrink?

When I get off the train, I wait for a bus. Two drunk Polish men sit at the bus stop. I look away quickly before one collapses and I have to administer CPR. On the bus I happily settly down with my book, relaxed. A couple of stops later as the bus is about to move away, I hear shouting and see through the window a man running to stop the bus, shouting loudly and waving. The driver stops and the man jumps, and I mean jumps on the bus with a drama befitting a moon landing and says something very loudly to the driver.

Oh no, I think, please not a weirdo on the bus sitch.

The man turns away from the driver and starts to strut down the bus aisle. I see the face. Somali.

Oh no, I think, not a Somali weirdo on the bus sitch.

The man talks loudly as he walks but I don't understand him. The accent is Somali. I wonder if he is drunk or mentally ill or some tragic combo.

He finds a seat two rows or so behind me and continues to blab nothingness.   A woman is talking on the phone about someone in hospital. She has been talking for at least 10 minutes for all the bus stop people to hear and now the passengers to hear. The guy in hospital has a kidney problem, is on dialysis, a breathing problem, is wearing a mask, has a low sugar level, is on gluclose(her spelling) is an amputee and what not. She's so loud we all know the sick man's medical history. The Somali man now mimicks her. She says hospital, he says osbitaal. He interspers the odd intelligible word he says with a lot of nonsense. I quit reading my book.

He goes quiet.

And then in Somali and very clearly he says something so vulgar, so out of place, so vulgar, so loud, hot air slaps me in the neck and floats upwards toawards my freshly cleansed face.

God, he did not intend that for me. Please God, let this not be one of those nights. I just want to go home.

I wait.

The man returns to mimicking the woman on the phone. How she continues to talk I don't know. The bus passengers shift uneasily. He starts to sing Somlai songs. The woman says nurse and he says, naaris, naaris, dhiiga igu shub(nurse give me blood except funnier in Somali).  Aduuunyooo, blah blah hees Somaaali oo qaraami ah.

I bite my lip.

He then starts to sing Reggae.

With a Somali accent.

I breathe to control a guffaw.

10 minutes later, it isn't funny anymore. He's singing, Sugzi laydee, whachu doin. Sugsi laydee whachu doin and stomping his feet to the beat. Sugzi laydee! Baadhi! Shaba! Laba dheh!

He thinks he's Hassan Aden Samatar and Shagi rolled into one.

I wonder if he's ill and feel bad for him. I wonder if he's drunk and want to tell him to shut the hell up. In Somali. My mind flits back and forth between the two possibilties. When he's going to get off? becomes my mantra.

Finally I see him stand from the corner of my eye but I daren't look. I've lasted this long without being addressed and want to keep it that way. As he walks down I notice a cigarette between his fingers and a mineral water bottle in his hand. Somali men don't do rehydration through the carrying of a 500ml water bottle. The fluid in the bottle doesn't look like water; it looks like piss.

He's still singing loudly like he's on stage and stands before the doors and laughs. As he stands there I want to give him a helping foot. The doors whoosh open and he jumps out singing in a Reggae rhythm and ending dramatically with, wa alaykum asalaam!

Posted on Thu, April 12, 2007 at 10:19PM by Registered Commenterparadise | Comments9 Comments

refereeing on the underground

I thought I'd go to work earlier than usual today. Well, the insomnia thought that up for me, woke me up before schedule and left me there to find something useful to do with the extra time.

The trains on the Central Line were so jammed I watched 4 trains go by while the mass of bodies ahead of me disappeared painfully into each stopping train. I inched forward each time. The man in front of me was carrying a case that could have carried me. I peered into its emptiness and longed to hop in.

At long last I get close enough to a stationary tarin's door and I step in in trepidation. The mass of bodies were rippling with irritation and early morning stress.  I turned to face the soon to close doors so as not to get hit in the head when they did close- been there, bumped that- when I start to get jiggled about.  Disorientated I wonder what the hell is going on but try as I may I can't find my footing. I wobble and the bodies don't cushion me but bash me back with thuds. What the. I get my bearings enough to notice that the case man- tall and wide- and another man- tall and narrow- were actually shoving one another and exchanging elbows.  I- short and narrow and behind them- was getting the brunt of their bouncing bodies and they were none the wiser.

Having 4 brothers I know what testosterone is like and when testosterone wants to come out to play, testosterone will come out to play, female hormones skipping about beware, stand back, this is man's work, this is how it's sorted out.

When I have one bounce too many, boom, boom, boom, I raise my voice like a school headmistress, one hand raised, palm outward and command, 'Will you two just calm down?!'

The scuffling stops.

It's not just about the two of you, you know!

People get killed for lesser comments.

Case man, says, 'I KNOW it's not just about the two of us' imploringly.

I face away from them toward the doors and find that we are still standing at the station platform, the crowd waiting to board not particularly interested in joining the case man, the mad man and the headmistress. I catch one man's eyes and he looks away gravely.

The silence breaks.

Case man has a case to make.  He says, looking at the taller man, '..where do I put my case?'

Tall man, says, 'Up your ******* ar*e for all I ******* care you ******* tw*t!'

Tall mad man does not need stage school. His voice and venom whoosh through the case man's face and out the back of his head. I feel the impact and close my eyes to regroup.

Case man then says to mad man, 'No need to get agitated..' and looks my way. Aha, I get it, mad man is the aggressor, I get it. I also want to get out of this sardine can unbruised.

I raise both hands, palms down, motioning downwards and whisper, 'Please, just leave him be.'

The doors close. It is only one stop to my destination.  

When I get off, mad man gets off too, I look him up and down in his City suit and imagine him telling the tale of the Case man and the midget headmistress over morning coffee, lunch, fag breaks and at the pub tonight.

Bottoms up, kid. I memorised your face and next time I see you I'll accidently disintegrate your little left toe.  

Posted on Wed, April 11, 2007 at 10:01PM by Registered Commenterparadise | Comments4 Comments