Just another day...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A tiny debacle @ LSE

A little story for you:

I felt like in the middle of a Shakespeare play: the setting was the Old Theater of the London School of Economics (LSE), the time was about 7pm and it is the year 2006. The great director was this evening’s chair Howard Davies.

South Africa’s foreign minister, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, had been asked to lecture on the role of the UN in the 21st century, giving a perspective of a developing country that has just been elected for a rotating seat in the Security Council starting in January 2007.

Dr. Zuma, though, was interrupted before she even could delve into the complexities of UN reform. Like a bolt from the sky there appeared this one young, obviously Zimbabwean fellow crying out his despair about the miserable situation of his compatriots. Another young mate at the other corner of the balcony joined him, accusing Dr. Zuma and with her the official South African “silent diplomacy” towards Mugabe’s regime. All of a sudden, people began to stand up just about everywhere. Could that have been a quite cleverly planned attempt of sabotage?!
Right in front of the stage, where in the meantime Dr. Zuma had retreated from the podium, a mid-aged Briton enthusiastically tried to jump onto the stage. He was pulled back by security personnel, that suddenly was all over the place. TBH, I presumed that he would get rid of his clothes - I thought that’s the way British protests attract the utmost of attention. Prematurely - it didn’t happen!

Confirming that there would be time to ask questions after the lecture, Chair Howard Davies, calmly sitting -while there were people yelling and shouting across the room-, was certainly the man of the entire evening. He handled the situation with an incredible amount of ease and aplomb - in a truly British manner.

At this point, I would like to thank everybody for the extremely critical questions. Admittedly, Dr. Zuma was not in the most pleasant situation last night; it just wasn't about political correctness, which made the entire evening so worthwhile.

Alas, I didn’t have my camera, so no pictures of that little debacle we had at LSE tonight.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New Student Job

Hey y’all,

let me tell you that this goddamn British pound is killing almost all students in London. It makes life just so much harder.
But instead of moaning I have found myself a new and pretty well paying job. As you might have come across VD’s front-page article in last Monday’s Guardian on how British “special branch” urges higher educational institutions (HEI) to spy on Muslims on campus, you may correctly assume that I found my calling.
I met VD just recently at one of London’s typical house parties and it seems as if Tony Blair’s official spokesman and a cabinet minister have immediately denounced the article.
Clearly, that would be too bad because I really consider myself to be an excellent candidate –Middle Eastern looking (don't you think I have the most suitable spy glance on that pic?)- for that kind of a job. What’s wrong with spying on my fellow Muslim students at SOAS?!

Truly, “special branch” should recruit me. What do you think? No, I don’t want to hear anything about this being close to McCarthyism –that’s no fun.

Anyhow, much else is on…as for instance Jeffrey Sachs at St. Paul’s Cathedral tomorrow.
If I find his arguments on how to make development sustainable and just for everyone convincing, I will let you know –same place, same time, so watch out!


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

New York's UES

Aircraft hits New York building

My dear friend Bazarov is seeing the smoke coming out of the building through his window as we email. This is indeed quite surreal!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Tanghetto interlude

Dear all,

the last week, including the weekend (which is by nature always too short) have been tough, to say the least.
My current life as a responsible postgraduate student constantly confronts me to a dilemma, in which I continuously seesaw the pros and cons of starring at the books or leaving the apt to explore what more London has to offer. I am a bad liar, so I should say that the latter option prevailed so far (Do you think that should make me nervous?). But I just couldn’t resist a friend’s invitation to an electronical Tango concert in Notting Hill. Recalling almost faded memories of dancing Tango in the streets of Buenos Aires in 2003, I felt somewhat obliged to enjoy the ardent melody of Tanghetto on a nostalgic Monday night.

Anyhow, I feel I have found a way, if not the way to get on all relevant guestlists. Let me tell you that London’s bars are just amazing in terms of style, design and ardor. And I haven’t even really started yet…but why the rush? Reading week is just a few steps away :) (I am joking!)

But one of the highlights of last week was certainly seeing my dear friend Frà again. About to do some serious business at the Ecuadorian-Colombian border, he introduced to me popular Japanese cuisine à la London-style. Delicious! -Gracias, hombre y mucha suerte!!


PS. FYI, Frà, intellectual property rights in all materials that are available on this site belong to me –including this very nice picture of the two of us :)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

We got the Funk (1)

Greetings to all of you,

before anything else, let me tell you this: London is the bomb!
Trying to catch as much of the flow and vibe of this city as possible I feel like I have to pilgrimage to every borough just to taste the very special flavor of each. Living in the young neighborhood of Islington every other borough that matters is within walking distance –meaning almost all!

And since I will somehow need to say goodbye to sweet, (oh) sweet life as of tomorrow (classes are already knocking on my door and the pile of reading material is getting insuperably high…) I must be quick in finding all the spots I will take those of you who are going to come over. Having said that, today was a decisive day in that sense because France, Italy, Israel and I have jointly been pounding the streets of London Town. When planning your trip, please make sure you will have a Sunday here for all the great markets that are taking place then. It is definitely a must-do!!
And don’t you even start thinking these are markets where people try selling apples and peaches…No, no…not at all! These are places, which I might rather compare to exhibitions of clothes, music (Gosh…I found my musical Mecca in just one of them), food, and any other fancy, stylish items you can think of. Really – it was quite breathtaking.
And all of this is accompanied by the original sound of funky soul-music, remember the beat of the 70s (being a kid of the 80s, I don’t…but why should that matter, once you feel the vibe?!)?! Didn’t we all think we lost the authentic funky soul-music of that time? Well, I am proud to tell you that your fears have become groundless – anyhow, hang onto me and I will take you there!

Of course I was also busy composing a program for the night and let me assure you that there is way too much to choose from - I truly need some sort of guidance- , but Guanabara is certainly a wonderful place if you like funky Samba beats accompanied by live Drum & Base tunes. The live flute, saxophone, percussions and vocals added a special, spicy flavor that one night. I didn’t see anybody standing still…

What else? Well, no one less than THE ROOTS are on in early December!!! YES!!! Can’t wait for that one. Anybody cares for De La Soul, Floetry, and all the others that will be playing in the famous Jazz Café in Camden Town?! If so, let me know or just meet me there.

I felt blessed when finding out that my entire apartment, but particularly my French buddy next-door has an exquisite taste for music –perfectly compatible with mine.

OK, got to run: France is making Lasagna – sorry, I meant I MUST get back to the books!! Honestly!