Posts tagged ‘london’

May 18, 2016

All Hail Mayor Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan The Chatterjis Blog

What an amazing city London is. Not only a world capital, a fashion capital, an art and architectural capital, but can it now claim to to be the most tolerant and integrated capital city?

After what everyone agrees was a racist, vicious campaign by the Tories and their candidate, Zac Goldsmith, the majority election of

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January 25, 2016

The World Goes Pop!

The World Goes Pop Tate Modern

Proving that pop art is more than Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, The World Goes Pop at the Tate Modern is an exhibition that tracks pop art through the ages and the world. We couldn’t recommend it enough. Rarely has such an amazing

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October 5, 2015

Invisible Threads

Invisible Threads

Former investment banker turned psychiatrist, Lucy Beresford will be at Asia House on 6th October (evening) discussing her book, Invisible Threads a fictional book drawing on the author’s experiences in India.

Although a fictional book, Lucy did a sabbatical at a clinic in Delhi and was introduced to women coming from desperate, violent

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August 18, 2015

The Empress Story by Manish Malhotra

Manish Malhotra 7

Manish Malhotra, AICW 2015. Photography: FDCI

With this collection, Manish Malhotra celebrated 10 years of his couture house and 25 years as a costume designer for the Indian film industry. His Bollywood fan club was out in full support on the night, generations of stars and super stars sitting in front row, the paparazzi going wild.

Manish Malhotra 4

Manish Malhotra, AICW 2015. Photography: FDCI

As if these two fantastic milestones weren’t enough to celebrate, demonstrating that good things come in three’s, Manish Malhotra announced that two new flagship boutiques would open in 2016, one in London and the other in Dubai. Both world class shopping

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May 5, 2015

The Ninth Asia House Lit Festival

UK writer Hanif Kureishi in conversation with Razia Iqbal about new book 'The Last Word'Razia Iqbal is BBC Special Correspondent and presenter of Talking Books. Headline event for opening night of Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival @ Asia Ho

Hanif Kureishi in conversation with Razia Iqbal from last year’s festival.

London’s incredible Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival begins this week – don’t worry, you still have time to get a ticket as it runs from 7 – 18 May.

The line up is as impressive and diverse as ever and launches on 7 May with the acclaimed author Xue Xinran who will be celebrating the release of her new book, Buy Me the Sky. Xinran will be discussing the new generation of China which is such a fascinating topic, we can’t wait to attend.

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November 14, 2014

More or Less Asian?

more or less asian event

Earlier this week, Bunty and I had the pleasure of going along to a wonderful and lively discussion at Asia House about stereotypes in Asian literature.

The panel was formed of leading figures in the creative arts: Yasmeen Khan (writer and broadcaster and shoe-horned to unofficial BBC Representative for the evening!), Daniel York (actor, director and writer),  Anna Chen (first British Chinese comic to take a show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Niven Govinden (author) and Bidisha (author, journalist, broadcaster and Booker Prize Foundation trustee) who was the delightful chair for the evening’s enthralling discussion.

A capacity audience listened intently to the questions, answers and anecdotal experiences giving an insight into a world that many of us

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September 15, 2014

Veggie Heaven in Primrose Hill

manna

Ok, so I am a veggie but I don’t like vegetarian restaurants, certainly not vegan ones. Lettuce munchers, allergic to good taste. It’s just something about the atmosphere in them that turns me off. A room full of veggies, a crazy night does not make.

Ah, Manna. Primrose Hill. Beautiful people. Warm evening. Ice cold prosecco.

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August 27, 2014

Cafe Below

cafe below london

God, I love living in London.

Where else can you eat lunch in a crypt made by Sir Christopher Wren? Cafe Below is an exquisite cafe under St Mary-Le-Bow Church on Cheapside. A hop and a skip away from Bank tube station.

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August 18, 2014

Disobedient Objects

disobedient objects

One thing I have in common with my 2 year old nephew is a need to be constantly entertained. One thing I should learn from him is that I can do this by myself.

London is awash with free and cheap “things to do” and I am guilty of losing sight of this.

On a boring Sunday, a day I have recently resigned to a tube-free day, I broke that habit and headed to the V&A Museum in South Kensington. 

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July 31, 2014

Cubania

cubania carlos acota

It feels special when you see a living legend in real life.

I was front row for a Michael Jackson concert, went to two Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan concerts, saw Mo Farah win gold in London and I have even chatted to Pele.

Last night I saw Carlos Acosta at the Royal Opera House and was blown away. Cubania is his show, he curates and dances in it. Modern ballet and dance set to some live Cuban music.

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June 13, 2014

Little Brazil in London

guanabara london
Have you noticed the World Cup started yesterday?
If you didn’t, then wow!
The magic of the World Cup has been lost for me. I haven’t been excited about it since when that crazy Cameroon goalie would run up the pitch and score a goaaaaaaaaaaaal!!!!!!!
Try this: my friends and I went to Guanabara last night for the opening night. It’s a Brazilian bar off Holborn/Covent Garden. Usually a bit studenty, we usually avoid it as it doesn’t stock one’s champagne, what what! But occasionally it is rather fun to hang out with 20-somethings during happy hour.

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June 12, 2014

MF Husain, A Great Master at The V & A

MF Husain ganesha

Maqbool Fida Husain, known as M.F. Husain (1915-2011), was one of India’s most eminent and prolific artists.  Often described as India’s Picasso, MF Husain is one of my favourite Indian artists.  He is one of a group of Indian artists known as the Great Masters and they are indeed great, possessing a quality and perspective yet unmatched by generations of painters since.

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May 18, 2014

Cracking Up: The Evolution of British Asian Humour

British Asian Comedians,Anil Gupta,Sathnam Sanghera, Shazia Mirza, Saurabh Kakkar

From L-R: Saurabh Kakkar, Shazia Mirza, Anil Gupta, Sathnam Sanghera at Asia House

It’s the second time British Asian humour has been the subject of debate and discussion as part of Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival and this year’s event was wonderful.  Everyone in attendance was mostly in good spirits (some wine helped of course!), eager to hear and participate in the discussion. Despite the lightness of the topic, Bunty and I left feeling we had learnt new things and subjects to ponder. The evening event focused on British Asian humour, its development as mark of cultural identity and how it has evolved since Goodness Gracious Me.

Goodness-Gracious-Me

Asia House invited Anil Gupta, Saurabh Kakkar (both writers and producers) and Shazia Mirza the stand up comedian. Anil Gupta is well known for the revolutionary and groundbreaking series Goodness Gracious Me, The Office and The Kumars at No 42. The evening started with a few

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May 14, 2014

Tibits: Veggie Heaven

tibits

I am a veggie (sort of, I can eat fish if it isn’t looking at me) but I avoid veggie restaurants. I know that’s bonkers but I find that good restaurants always have good options and let’s face it, the atmosphere will be better as veggie restaurants aren’t usually filled with roaring drunken laughter.

Not so Tibits! Tucked away on Heddon Street just off Regent St, this gem of a restaurant is wonderful. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a restaurant because it

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May 13, 2014

Pakistan: Literary Treasure Trove

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Kamila Shamsie at Asia House

Last week Bunty and I spent the evening at Asia House for the continuing literature festival sponsored by the Bagri Foundation. The festival is on until 21st May and there are still many wonderful events to attend! www.asiahouse.org and follow on twitter @asiahouseuk @festofasianlit

Multi award winning writer, Kamila Shamsie was the star of the evening and new writer, Omar Shahid Hamid was introduced and interviewed in Extra Words, a new segment created by Asia House to focus on new talent at the festival.

Kamila was asked all about her new book, A God in Every Stone (I’m reading my signed copy, review to follow asap!). Breathtaking in scope from

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May 10, 2014

Life And Laughter With A Diplomatic Wife

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Author Brigid Keenan is a charming, witty writer who knows exactly how to recall a lifetime of wonderful and disastrous events as the trailing wife of a diplomat.  I read her book Diplomatic Baggage after meeting Brigid at a dinner party one evening in London. We created instant warmth as we exchanged stories of India.

Packing Up – Further Adventures of A Trailing Spouse is Brigid Keenan’s latest book about her life in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Palestine.

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May 9, 2014

The Last Word: Hanif Kureishi

UK writer Hanif Kureishi in conversation with Razia Iqbal about new book 'The Last Word'Razia Iqbal is BBC Special Correspondent and presenter of Talking Books. Headline event for opening night of Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival @ Asia Ho

Hanif Kureishi with Razia Iqbal Photography by Nick Cunard http://www.nickcunard.co.uk

A superstar author never shy of sharing his opinion, Hanif Kureishi opened the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival with an evening full of laughter and delight.  The writer was interviewed by BBC special correspondent Razia Iqbal who effortlessly kept her own presence on stage and steered the discussion that gave interesting insights into the way Hanif writes, his life and opinions.

The evening began with Hanif Kureishi reading an excerpt from The Last word, his latest novel about a young English

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March 25, 2014

At the BVLGARI, Darling

bulgarirestaurant
Hello plebs, is that you having brunch at Cafe Rouge? With a voucher? Oh how the other side live.
Me? I brunch at the Bulgari in Knightsbrige, London. It comes with unlimited prosecco, did I mention that? I am guided to my chair and as I await my friend, I sip my drink and enjoy the view which is decidely Arab/Russian. My friend arrives and we hit the buffet. This is not the Pizza Hut salad bar, you know, so we don’t load mountains of food on our plates. We start with cheese, meats, breads. We order eggs benedict and eggs florentine. We go back to the buffet for desserts. We go back for croissants and pain au chocolats. We go back for…. you get the idea.

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March 24, 2014

Candlelight Club London

Anniversary-Ball candlelight club london

Ever since Downton Abbey, we have all been lining up to party like the roaring 20s. The Great Gatsby encouraged us even more. So slender, so sexy, so love your fringe, darling.

The Candlelight Club is ace, organised at various venues announced late on and set in the 20s, it is a fabulous night out. I went to the New Orleans Mardi Gras night (phew, what a mouthful). I wore a beautiful long emerald green dress with a gold belt and slits up the front. My hair was a chic up do in a bob and I had a gorgeous clip to hold it in place. I felt so glamorous and as I walked into the club a lovely guy told me I looked amazing! (ok, he was probably one of the evening’s character actors but hey, I’m still going to appreciate it).

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March 23, 2014

Asia House Literature Festival 2014

asia house litfest

The Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival is back in May and what a programme they have in store! The Chatterjis Blog will cover the event as official bloggers for the festival which includes writers from over 17 different Asian countries.  In addition to a regular festival format a new series, Extra Words will introduce debut authors from Pakistan, Nepal and Thailand.

the last word

The festival officially opens on 6th May with high profile writer, Hanif Kureishi who will talk about his new book The Last Word.  There are a few pre-festival events in April that sound fabulous too.  On 10th April there is an event called Separations discussing what happens when a country suffers from political divisions.  Featuring Korean writers Kyung-sook Shin (2011 Man Asia Prize winner) and Krys Lee and Pakistani writer Qaisra Shahraz whose work focuses on women and partition it should be a lively evening.  Why Do Indians Vote? Democracy in India is another pre-festival

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March 18, 2014

Red Velvet At The Tricycle Theatre

red velvet the tricycle

Every now and then I come across a gem of a find and this time it is Red Velvet, a play by Lolita Chakrabarti and starring her handsome husband, Adrian Lester!

Lester plays Aldridge a mid-19th century black actor who played at Covent Garden. He is outstanding, in fact he is almost too outstanding as he overshadows his co-stars

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January 26, 2014

2014: Year of the Wooden Horse

2014-Year-of-horse-Chinese new year

It is Chinese New Year on 31 January 2014 and this year it is the year of the wood or green horse.  I have personal interest in this as I am a horse in the Chinese horoscope, much to the amusement of my sister who claims to be a much cooler dragon. I counteract her claim of superior coolness with the fact that dragons don’t exist and at least neither of us are rats!

Besides remembering to wish your friends

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November 29, 2013

Orchard

orchard holborn

Because you can get lovely veggie food everywhere it is easy to forget how different it is to actually go to an exclusively veggie restaurant/cafe.

If you find yourself around Holborn, you must skip along to Orchard on Sicilian Avenue. The Ave is cute enough but a fab lunch time stop is offered by Orchard. They don’t take bookings

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November 13, 2013

Party Like It’s 1930s Shanghai

1930s shanghai indiana jones
Oh dear lord, if there was ever a party that I simply must attend it is a 1930s Shanghai party in London.
The events are organised by the Nudge and UFF Tea Merchants. The theme is as described and my friends and I have added a sub line of “Go Large or Go Home” .. we shall be glittering in crystals, jewelled turbans, elbow gloves, velvet, red lipstick – more is more, as they say!

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November 13, 2013

Hakkasan

hakkasan-slider
Are we cool? We go to Hakkasan, Mayfair for dinner and cocktails. Or are we stuck in the noughties? We used to go there when we were young and crazy, we would drink cosmos, giggle with strangers and go on to a club.
We went on Saturday – do people still go to Hakkasan? Apparently, yes.

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September 16, 2013

The Voice From Heaven

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

Madonna, Kylie, Pink Floyd, New Kids, Daft Punk, Metallica, Asha Bhosle and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan  are all happily lying in my ipod’s music library albeit in different playlists!  Who is is this last chap, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan aka RFAK aka The Voice From Heaven?

Having recently performed to a capacity crowd of 12,000 at London’s O2 Centre, Ustad (Maestro) Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is a Sufi qawaali singer

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September 8, 2013

London From The Shard

the shard london
So! I went up The Shard and what a fab view (surprise surprise). It was my friend’s birthday and she wanted to do something special/touristy and so 8 of us trekked over to London Bridge tube to see The Shard.
I have always wanted to go ever since

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August 3, 2013

100 Out Of 100!

Prince-of-Wales-Book-of-Mormon-Marquee-Front-Night-800

Believe the hype! The Book of Mormon is amazing, the most funniest musical of all time. I didn’t know anything much about it in advance and I am certain that added to the enjoyment. The cast, set, lighting but most of all the script and lyrics are just so much fun!

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August 3, 2013

Swan Lake Reloaded

swan-lake-reloaded

Swan Lake… I loved it as a child and I’ve seen it so many times I lost count.  It’s my macaroni of entertainment…comforting pleasure.  I even saw Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall and Princess Di was there a few boxes away.  (Yes, I’m kinda old and yes she was stunning and yes so were her bodyguards!).  This coming week a new darker street dance version of Swan Lake is in town

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July 31, 2013

Fifty Shades of Red

red handcuffs

Not the dresses from Delhi couture week but a message from the London Fire Brigade…. It seems that couples exploring bondage sex by using handcuffs are getting themselves into a mess when the keys go missing and they have to call the fire brigade to rescue them.

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July 11, 2013

Little Kitty on the Underground

Kitten found on underground train

1,2,3, awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww I want one!!!!!!!

This adorable little kitten was found in a box at Victoria tube station

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July 9, 2013

Waterloo Bar & Kitchen

waterloo bar kitchen london

It’s sunny in London and that means the evenings really do begin at 5!

If you are catching a play south of the river, heading to the BFI or find yourself generally milling around Waterloo then please may I recommend this slightly pricey but fabulous restaurant: the Waterloo Bar & Kitchen, it’s next to the Old Vic and is divine.

The menu

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July 7, 2013

Murray Mania!

Andy Murray conquers foe to glimpse Wimbledon summit once again

77 years since a Brit won Wimbledon men’s and it’s 7/7 today, 7 July!

I have two tickets (eek!) and am blogging from Wimbledon – champagne, elderflower, picnic from Fortnum & Mason.

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June 20, 2013

Sweet Bird of Youth

sweet bird of youth

“Oh god” my friend gasped “what a tacky poster for a classic play, you can see his nipples for God’s sake”. He was referring to Sweet Bird of Youth by Tennessee Williams currently showing at the Old Vic.

The poster that so disgusted my well-heeled friend was of Kim Cattrall all glammed up in a 1950s feverish pose over a lovely naked man half her age.

Sold!

I went to see the play this week with three girlfriends and all of us, yes ALL of us, couldn’t think of a better combination of seeing our favourite SATC gal and Ripped Torso Man getting it on in our favourite theatre.

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May 29, 2013

The Case Against God

the_god_argument a c grayling

I have only been starstruck twice. Once was when I walked alongside David Beckham and my wonderful friend Darren pushed me slightly into him. The second was last night at the Southbank Centre when I went to see the eminent philosopher Prof AC Grayling discuss his new book, The God Argument.  I would happily marry them both (although Becks mate, you will have to promise not to open your mouth).

What an incredible person Grayling is – to harbour such a brain that tackles the greatest metaphysical problems of our time, he has the impossibly rare talent of being able to speak to us, his audience, in such terms that has us laughing from beginning to end.

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May 8, 2013

Asia House Festival of Asian Literature

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Freedom is the theme of this year’s Asia House Festival of Asian Literature, the seventh annual event. From 7-22nd May, some of Asia’s greatest literary exports will join some of the best British Asian writers and thinkers to discuss freedom in all its forms: freedom of expression, education, travel, justice, freedom to read the truth and to live in our chosen ways.

Taking place in a few venues in Central London the programme and events for adults and children is varied and wonderfully diverse.  Want to know how to get your work published in Asia or the UK? Want to see a curry demonstration from Michelin-starred chef, Atul Kochhar?

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May 8, 2013

Opening Night With Michael Palin

Michael Palin John Swannell

The Asia House Festival of Asian Literature got off to a roaring start by hosting an audience with the wonderfully charming Michael Palin at the Commonwealth Club, London.

Palin was launching a new book, The Truth, excitingly his first foray into fiction. The audience, however, were keen to grill him about his travels. He handled everyone’s question with the same wit and eloquence that we are used to seeing on screen, even though surely he must have been asked some of these questions thousands of times.  Palin had us all captivated

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May 6, 2013

Fashion Victims and Villains

Soho neon pocket tank top 2

Top by new ethical fashion brand, sketch london.

Left-leaning newspapers have been running a series of articles ever since the Bangladesh garment factory collapsed.  The death toll has now sadly passed 500, mostly women, but why are consumers and fashion brands being made to bear the majority of the guilty burden? That fingers have been pointed at some brands was inevitable and fashion is regularly targeted for being a poison of the world: the very sick and visible face of capitalism and greed.  In Bangladesh and India the tragedy is being reported as a corrupt failure of building regulations not a story about Evil Fashion Brands.

The usual suspects of British ethical fashion have been carted out with the usual snippets of condemnation and hissing at the likes of Primark, GAP and so on.  Will consumers care they ask? Can they afford to I ask?  This could be a long article so please get a cuppa or a glass of wine.  I promise you will learn a thing or two.

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May 4, 2013

Guest Post: Asia House Literature Festival

The Bastard of Istanbul Elif Shafak

Women, Freedom and the Islamic World

The diversity and eloquence of this all-female panel gave a fascinating insight into what female freedom means in Muslim states today

By Hannah Thompson

Asia House is no stranger to distinguished figures discussing complex issues, and this, the second event in this year’s Festival of Asian Literature, was no exception.

Although technically a pre-event (the festival proper begins on May 7th, with guest Michael Palin, no less) the guests were just as renowned and the topic just as wide as if a central element of the festival itself. Women, freedom and the Islamic world – one could hardly have chosen a more expansive, nebulous discussion, and yet the writers on the panel addressed the idea with characteristic thoughtfulness and poise.

asia_house_logo

Chaired and led by journalist and presenter Samira Ahmed, the panel included Turkish author Elif Shafak (The Bastard of Istanbul; Honour), Iraqi political activist and author Haifa Zangana (Dreaming of Baghdad) and Iranian journalist and self-professed “memoirist” Kamin Mohammadi (The Cypress Tree).

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April 27, 2013

The Winslow Boy

The winslow boy old vic

I feel bad recommending a play that’s coming to the end of its season but there is still a chance to get a ticket to The Winslow Boy by Terence Rattigan at The Old Vic, London.  Believe the hype and Daily Telegraph reviews, it is so much fun to watch.

Set in Edwardian England, Winslow’s son is accused of stealing and expelled from school.

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