ABC (Action For Brazil's Children's Trust) Exhibition - Ctrl.Alt.Shift

I'v been playing guitar since I was 13 - it's a hobby I thrive on, jamming along like an emo with my mates. Life doesn't get better than being a Hendrix wannabe... So it was quite the treat for me and Ctrl.Alt.Shift to be invited to this charity exhibition/auction in Shoreditch, London, set up by ABC (Action For Brazil's Children's Trust) to raise funds for the underprivileged children on the streets of Brazil. The main attraction was 12 customised guitars, each created by marvellous and eccentric artists from here, and Brazil. I'm ashamed to say, the temptation to snatch and run was ridiculous:

Ctrl.Alt.Shift @ A Forca De Gua Exhibition
Upon walking into London's theprintspace, my eyes lit up as I saw an array of spectacular customised guitars; each one graffed-up, funked-up, gleaming with sheer genius graffsmanship. As a guitar player, I felt to snatch and vanish ninja-style, until I remembered - these were up for auction, and all proceeds were going to the poorest children in Brazil. Bugger.

A Força da Rua (Force of the Street) exhibition, which opens to the public this week, had the slickest UK graffiti alongside the very best kept graffing secrets repping from the developing cities of Brazil - all set up and brought together by ABC (Action For Brazil's Children's Trust). The organisation, who support the AA Çianca children-aid project in the Sé region of Sao Paulo, created the event to raise funds and awareness of Brazil’s most vulnerable youngsters - of which there are over 12,000 (in Sao Paulo alone) roaming the streets without a home or family. Lucky for them the limited edition prints, special commissions and especially the 12 exclusive guitars on show (six by Brazilian graffers and six by Brits) had large packs of people hovering around, itching for their chequebooks. Unfortunately I don't own a chequebook and have just enough money in my wallet for a bus ride home...

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'Another Israel' Exhibition - Ctrl.Alt.Shift

For any sceptics who believe there will never be peace between Israel and Palestine - tell me why so many collaborative groups defy such a notion...? There are constant reminders from Israel/Palestine coalitions that a ground for peace and unity, compromise, neutral respect an end to the conflict can be found. My pity (and anger) is targeted at the powers that be refusing to budge and bring positive change. We should all open our minds to such possibilities - food for thought comes with exhibitions such as the 'Another Israel' showcase I visited for Ctrl.Alt.Shift. Be inspired:

Ctrl.Alt.Shift @ 'Another Israel' Exhibition
It isn’t so much the array of at times disturbing, at other times inspiring photos that will engage and educate at this week’s ‘Another Israel’ exhibition at St.Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace in London. It’s the walls of testimonies, statements, campaigns, reports, pledges and pleas by 30 Israeli peace groups who defiantly stand up as true coalitions who want to stop the war crimes, regardless of what side of the green line their volunteers are standing on.

The display is a good starting point for those of you who wish to digest the complex history of Israel and Palestine – those of you yet to have a taste of the trials and traumas since the occupation, the Wall and the siege of Gaza. But don’t get it twisted, as it’s certainly not all about the doom and gloom of war and injustice; on the contrary – these peace organisations promote positive Palestinian and Israeli collaborations to better the state of those on the Gaza strip. Like the mood at a Cowboy Tactics 101 peace forum, this showroom is a public think-tank that gives you revolutionary peace-seekers in this mad world that rumbles in the ruins of Gaza.

There are young pioneers on show such as 17-year-old Shir Shodzik of the Gush Shalom group (which campaigns through the Israeli press against the occupation to form a peaceful regional union between the Israeli and Palestinian people). Shodzik opposes the blockade saying: “There is no need for violence or force to solve this situation” even though her aunt and cousin have been injured by qassam rockets. More can be found about her story and the organisation at www.gush-shalom.org...

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Visteon Workers Protest Mass Redundancies - Ctrl.Alt.Shift

It's harsh to lose your colleagues, your work buddies, companions throughout years of the 9-5 grind. I know, witnessing the recession first-hand take out foot soldiers at Ctrl.Alt.Shift HQ in the past year. And I doubt things will get easier any time soon. But despite the fact that business is business, and a crisis is a crisis - there's certain things dedicated workers expect when 'getting the chop'; like a fair deal, sufficient notice and a deserved redudancy package. And that's apparently what over 500 (now former) workers at Visteon did NOT get - so the moaners came out to RIGHTLY moan. Here's the review:

Young Blood: Put People First Visteon
The G20 protests may be over, but those aggravated by injustice aren't planning on shutting up and bowing out any time soon - as proven by the wave of worker protests across the nation at car parts firm Visteon. I remember the Put People First march on March 28th, the first of many G20 demonstrations to come - with speakers Mark Thomas and Susan George rallying the masses in Hype Park to chant "Put People First!" as a screen above displayed to the public the hundreds of companies contributing to the millions of redundancies in the UK - in hindsight, Visteon should've been high up on that list.

With more than 560 workers set to be axed, it's little wonder why passionately angry staff are demonstrating at Visteon factories from Belfast to Basildon, Essex, Enfield and North London, as employed and unemployed unite to demand jobs saved and/or better redundancy packages.

However, despite the irony of Visteon's decision to shut down UK operations in the wake of the G20 economy talks, it's not even the financial crisis that seems to be grinding the gears of the factory workers. It's a matter of false promises and as Unite union Irish regional secretary Jimmy Kelly told ITV, the fact that long-standing Visteon employees are getting rewarded with an abrupt kick out the backdoor "at a stroke of an administrator's pen."

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