Guest Post: Boutique Run in Battersea Park

Claire Watson got in touch last week to offer us (well, the female half of us, anyway – sorry guys!) a discount on a great event coming up in July. It involves running in the park, massage, goodie bags and champagne to keep the spirit up at an after-party. Plus, it’s for a good cause, so I asked her to share the details here….

 

Any London ladies who love running will know that the Sunday morning runs can be a bit of a bind on your Saturday night social life, but there’s a new run that’s happening this summer which will let you lovely ladies enjoy your running whilst spending quality time with your girlfriends.

Boutique Run is a unique night out for the girls: a scenic 5km or 10km followed by entertainment and pampering.  We’re talking free champagne, hot showers, massage, a fabulous after-party and most importantly a special ‘Bouti’ bag full of goodies.

The evening’s festivities will be taking place in Battersea Park, 6pm on 10th July 2010.

And if you fancy an even more guilt free night out why not do something good for charity? Boutique Run is supporting Breakthrough Breast Cancer, a pioneering charity saving lives and changing futures, through research campaigning and education – removing the fear of breast cancer for good.

What’s more, we have secured a 25% discount off the entry fee for you all.  To claim the discount register online and enter code: OBS2.

Boutique Run will be best enjoyed with your girlfriends and you can sign them up for 25% off too, so why not guarantee them a place as well and enjoy this great night out together.

Sign up here; www.boutiquerun.com

Guest Post: Ngugi – The Afternoon Sun in London

Written by Efemena Agadama who has come to London from Nigeria to study. He often contributes articles on human rights issues to his Amnesty International blog and is interested in writing for theatre production.

Also, today is Efemena’s birthday.
Happy birthday!
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Writers are like the early morning sun that must be seen no matter how little up there in the sky, while great writers are like the afternoon sun that is not only seen but strongly felt.  And it was the afternoon sun that Ngugi Wa Thiong’o threw on the stage of The 20th Century Theatre in London at the just rolling off month of March.

It was an evening that was eaten up by the night yet the 20th Century Theatre hall was the exact inside of a floodlight, glowing with the rare fragrance of the professor of letters.  Do you still remember the sweet and never fading fragrance of “Weep Not, Child?”  If you do, what about the flowery sight of “The River Between;” the enjoyable themes of “A Grain of Wheat;” and the fountanous “I will Marry When I Want.”  In fact, there are countless works of this great writer that you ought to read.

As I said, the evening was eaten up by the night with everywhere full of diverse people from different gardens of literature. Are you thinking of poets, playwrights, novelists, philosophers, tourists?  Ha! There were more from other disciplines.
Ngugi flowed in his rosy conversation about his new book: “Dreams in a Time of War: A Childhood Memoir.” He also discussed themes and stories behind some of his previous works.  It was the best of evenings and of nights in London for some time now. Questions were asked, questions were shot, questions were fired and questions were streamed to him like the gentle flow of water after a soft rainfall and the white-haired Ngugi smiled as he answered them, not just as a writer but as a white-haired professor of letters. I saw on that stage the sixty-six unwritten theories of how a white-haired professor should be in his old age.
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He later did book signings before the sweet curtain was drawned and everyone was glad that the fertile garden of letters who has received many awards shone beyond writers’ expectations.  Let me whisper to you some of his numerous laurels: Distinguished Africanist Award from the New York African Studies Association (1996), the Fonlon-Nichols prize (1996), the Zora Neale Hurston-Paul Robeson Award (1993), the Lotus prize for Afro-Asian literature (1973), UNESCO first prize…… (1963), East Africa Novel Prize (1962). 1965 Dakar Festival of Negro Arts and the East African Literature Bureau, both for his “Weep Not, Child”.
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Although, the event has just rolled up, the sunlight still lights the stage of that reverred 20th Century Theatre to this hour.

Guest Post: London is Silent in Tears

Written by Efemena Agadama who has come to London from Nigeria to study. He often contributes articles on human rights issues to his Amnesty International blog and is interested in writing for theatre production.

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With a plastic empty plate in hand
Blue in colour as the sky
Flat as a tiny plank
With pointed Hills as bones protruding
From scaly skin
Pants torn by the kindless fire
Eyes falling inside daily
Saliva lost from mouth
And whitish tongue
Whitish tongue
Tongue searching for food
His soul sinks in despair
Without food for four days
He limps
With fly infested injury
To an only market
Now infested with corpses
collapsed homes
Full of corpses of the young and the old
He searches vaguely
From market to market
Home to home
Mosque to mosque
Church to church
Shrine to shrine
Through floods
Bush paths
In sun
In rain
Yet plate still empty
EMPTY!
Searching for someone
A loving arm
Not sympathy
But a loving arm.

That furious earthquake, man-eater shark, the earthquake that ran through Haiti with its army of vampires, each one with a million swords drawn, slaughtering innocent children, United Nations peacekeepers, pregnant women, brave and coward men, destitute, the blind, lame, deaf and even imbeciles has left in its trail sorrow, tears and corpses. Haiti, a poor country,  is now a home of uncertainty, a garden of withered flowers, a town of dining ghosts, a farm of famine and a party of confusion. You furious earthquake, why did you chose the poor Haiti to unleash your weapon of mass destruction?  Why did you let your calabash of hot coals to fall there – revealing your bloody secrets? Why?  Didn’t you see the welcoming mountains where nobody lives?

Now London is silent in tears. London weeps. London is showing that it is human and has blood in its veins. Just in a twinkling of an eye, it has led the raising of millions of pounds for the survival of those who are waiting to die of hunger, sickness and your monstrous shockwave. The media war between the Labour Party and the Tories has been weakened, the tears of fallen soldiers from Afghanistan have been quieted to the lowest level and all attention geared towards the horror, the horror of your devastation. London is silent in tears. London weeps, but not all tears do come to the eyes. It is much easier to wipe tears that come to the eyes than to wipe tears that lay in our hearts.
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Guest Post: Turning the Tables

A while ago, I wrote a post on a man campaigning for animal rights in Portobello Market. He happened upon my blog and offered us a photo of himself for another entry. I asked him then if he would like to write a guest post on some of his interesting experiences while campaigning in London. He wrote the following post for today’s entry.

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Many of Stephanie’s blogs are about tourists finding interesting things in London. How about “the other way round”?  

Turning the tables: A London resident meets an interesting tourist.             
By: The Portobello Road Man.
 
One day in the Summer of 2008, I was cycling along the road which runs along the border between Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. I turned the corner onto the Serpentine bridge and there, in front of me but stationary on the pavement was a man on a bike and he had a young lad (about 10 or 11 years old) next to him on another bike.

Just as I got nearer, the man on the bike came off the pavement without looking back. I had to swerve to miss him, but fortunately there is quite a wide cycle lane at the side of the road there, so there was little danger of collision with any oncoming vehicles.

At first,I just carried on cycling, but after about 10 or 20 yards, I thought That fella looks like Bill Gates, so I stopped at the side of the road and thought I would have a talk to him as he passed. As he overtook me, I commenced cycling next to him and said;
“Have you ever considered working for a lookalike agency?”
“Oh no, I dont think I’ll give up my day job,” he replied.
“Do other people say you look like someone famous?” I asked.
“Yes” he replied.

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Guest Post: Oh! The Regent Theatre

Written by Efemena Agadama who has come to London from Nigeria to study. He often contributes articles on human rights issues to his Amnesty International blog and is interested in writing for theatre production.

People were coming from the Christmas service in Ipswich, bright weather, calm wind, no snow and no ice. They were full of smiles, a culture in London that makes it distinctive. I got to a traffic light stand in midst of some other people, waited until the green light sign showed, and crossed over to the front of the Regent Theatre. I walked in and approached some of the staff. Fortunately, one of the guys, very friendly and full of the bubble of life, welcomed me with the true love of his spirit and treated me as a brother.  I quickly embraced the friendship and pleaded to have a glimpse of the theatre, which he accepted. 

As we walked towards the entrance, my mind flashed back to the theatres of the University of Benin and the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. There were unanswered questions in my heart. Will they have the same facilities? What about the sitting capacity?

And when we got into the Regent Theatre I saw the beauty of a theatre stage for the first time in my life: very colourful. Or was it the handiwork of Michelangelo the great Italian artist and painter? Michelangelo whose works are unique, historical and evergreen that our future generations have honoured him before their birth? While I still gazed at the stage of the Regent Theatre, my mind would transit into the beauty of the “Pieta” work by this famous Michelangelo. The Regent Theatre seems like a vanished love garden dreamt of by lovers, a rolling sea wave infested by large blue dolphins playing to the rhythm of their hearts, the joy of an immigrant seeing snow for the first time. It was like I should just mount the stage with the best of African drumming, costumes and poetry.

But there seems to be a difference here between the stage and that of the University of Ibadan – hence we have the “African Theatre” and the “English Theatre.”  The University of Ibadan theatre and the Regent Theatre are two great and aged theatres that stand on their own.  That of UI was built based on the traditional culture of the yorubas in particular and Africa in general. But the Regent Theatre is tailored after the culture and tradition of the English people; therefore, they have different stage sets, designs, props and effects. Nevertheless, a good theatre director can still achieve an optimal performance in either of the two cultures and in either of the two theatres.

African plays have been staged in English theatres and English plays have been staged in the University of Ibadan, including those of Shakespeare and Bernard Shaw. Despite my great love for African poetic theatre flowered with drumming and heroic deeds, the Regent Theatre was able to capture and maintain my attention and respect. I visited it on New Year’s day to have another glimpse and watch a theatre performance to increase my understanding of the art and styles of the English theatre as seen from the eyes and blue-soul of the Regent Theatre.

I madly desire to see its blue stage again; a blue stage whose artistic honour must have been the insight of a crazy artist whose dreams were always of the mysterious world. The artist’s mysterious world where dreams are not dreams but spiritual lecture theatres where great works are spied and brought to this human world. I madly desire to see its sitting arena and imagine the aura of a smoky performance. I madly desire to stand at its entrance and imagine a blast performance with lightings and smoky effects evaporating all around the stage. Life is a joyful theatre and a joyful theatre the joy of life of an artist seen in the artistic realm of a theatrical life.

The Regent Theatre is located at 3 St Helens Street, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 1DH
See a list of upcoming events here.