1/25/2010

'Shank' Private Screening Feat. Bashy & Adam Deacon - Ctrl.Alt.Shift



I haven't done a movie review in aaages. And that's probably a good thing, considering the majority of flicks I (depressingly) paid for in 2009 left me moaning, yawning, and concentrating on the nachos and popcorn to keep me entertained. I didn't even really get the hype of Avatar, which left me mesmerised by the animation, but wondering why ‘Pocahontas In Space’ cost so much damn money to produce, and why FernGully: The Last Rainforest isn’t down as one of the best cartoons EVER! (same message as Avatar, slightly different budget).



Nevertheless, ‘Shank’ was a rather different film experience altogether. For starters, it was nice to see an old interviewee of mine, UK rap artist Bashy, making moves on the big screen. The Hospital venue in Covent Garden was plush, with the bean-bag chairs to savour. And the film itself... kinda threw me. Throughout it, I had to laugh at some of the unconvincing acting, and unfinished sub-plots - but then my runaway scepticism was given a reality kick up the backside by my friend/colleague Sian Ce-Ce Anderson, who reminded me this was no blockbuster intended for the big red carpet; d├ębuting Bashy, Deacon and co. were in form for a Kidulthood to Adulthood type audience.



And no doubt, on that basis, this actually wasn’t that bad at all. Call it an easy watch, as Shank is Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels meets the ghetto streets of London town in the year 2015. Make up your own minds when it is released in a cinema near you on March 26, 2009. And he’s a gentle reminder to my fellow journalists – if you’re going to review anything, never overlook how invaluable a simple chit-chat debate with a mate over a pint can be (thanks for the alternate perspective and the Stella Ce-Ce). Here’s the Ctrl.Alt.Shift review:

Ctrl.Alt.Shift @ Shank Screening
Last summer, rapper Ashley 'Bashy' Thomas headlined the United Underground art and music showcase on London's Southbank (set up by Ctrl.Alt.Shift, Riz MC Ahmed and British Underground). Since then, the man has continued to hustle, and the result will be blasted onto the UK's big screens on March 26, as Bashy kickstarts his acting career with 'Shank'. Last week I was invited to the swanky Hospital Club in Covent Garden to slouch onto a bean-bag chair and catch the private preview screening of the flick dubbed "an action movie for the next generation."



There was certainly no time to yawn. The film was littered with hectic chase and fight scenes, as we follow the story of 14 year old Junior (Kedar Williams-Stirling) and older brother Rager (Bashy) as they try and survive London's ganglands at a mad time in 2015; a period where the barrier between the rich and poor is immense, and food aka 'munchies' are replaced by drugs and guns as priceless commodities.

But Junior and Rager are not alone in their quest for munchies, joined by their own, relatively docile, violent-dodging gang The Paper Chaserz - consisting of Sweet Boy (Jan Uddin), Craze (Michael Socha) and Kickz (Adam Deacon of Adulthood and Kidulthood). However, there's a dark twist flung upon the story, as a conflict with a rival gang (the Tugz) leads to the 'shanking' and death of one of the Paper Chaserz... What follows is a crazy obstacle-ridden journey (including a cameo by Channel 4 'Skins' beaute Kaya Scodelario) for the group who trek across the city streets in search of justice, and revenge...

Read the full article here

1/22/2010

What Is 'Resistance'? By Artist Tom Pritchard

As I'm using my blog as an archive/catalogue of my personal journalism escapades, I don't usually use it to promote other work - but this is a grand and lethal exception that deserves a breaking of the rules.



My close friend, artist Tom Pritchard, was asked as part of a uni project - to illustrate a set of posters that captured the spirit of 'resistance' politically and socially for Don't Panic. The awesome results are shown above. The word 'resistance' is layered behind the injustice addressed in each poster.

To gain some inspiration, he interviewed me about my experiences resisting racial abuse from the clutches of the British National Party (following a stunt I took part in last year to try and infiltrate a BNP meeting on behalf of Don't Panic and Ctrl.Alt.Shift). The Q&A which took part in the house where Tom and I used to (and still do) crack open a few beers, have a cheeky smoke (being the underage kool kids and all) and waffle on about nothing for ages - was definitely a laugh, but conjured tangent after inspirational tangent about how we view 'resistance', how important it is when facing injustice, and why if you want positive change, you must do everyone you can, without fear of standing out - because if you see no problems in the world and remain unwilling to challenge, then you are unable to fully comprehend, create, and be part of a solution.

Putting an end to THIS glorious waffle, I particularly love the image by Tom below - and it currently stands as my profile pic on my Facebook:



Can you tell why? The photo below was taken of me last year during a Ctrl.Alt.Shift women's rights in India campaign. It's one of my favourite pics of me doing what I do best for the youth initiative - being weird, provocative, whilst subtly trying to change the world...

1/21/2010

Haiti Fundraiser/Club Night @ The Den - Ctrl.Alt.Shift



If you haven't heard about what's been going down in Haiti, you must live in a hole, or simply be out of touch with the world. Two earthquakes in two weeks have devastated the country, leaving thousands dead and over a million homeless... That is why it was a privilege to be part of Ctrl.Alt.Shift's Haiti fundraiser club night at an old fav venue of mine, The End in Holborn, London, now known as The Den. Here's the mad set list of artists below, along with my review for the Ctrl.Alt.Shift website:



Editor's Blog: No Short Change For Haiti

What an immense week. To think, it was only last weekend when my senior/lady with the plan, Chantelle Fiddy rang me up and said, "We're highjacking The Den club to put on a fundraiser night for Haiti." Initially I thought it just had to be done, so let's get it on... until she told me if was going down on Wednesday January 20 (just four days later).

Was she mental? Not in the slightest, for what has happened since that phone call and now (as I sit in my bed, groggy with a pint of water and my laptop), was nothing short of a legendary night and an amazing response by the next generation to our brothers in Haiti.



The place was absolutely rammed! And at a certain point before midnight, the line (going around the block) had to be cut; when you have to start turning people away from your event - you know it's a success, despite the aggro from those who didn't get in (though it wasn't the worse thing to see so many people persistent to pay their £5 donation, get in and rave it up to our second to none set list).



I didn't actually get to see many of the acts and DJs - most of my time was spent wondering around with a bucket (alongside 20 other bopping volunteers) demanding more than shrapnel from the pockets of the lucky 1000+ who did manage to fit through the doors for the festival-esque line-up. As I swivelled my way through the jumping masses to catch snippets of my favourites (Ms Dynamite, The Thirst, Tinie Tempah, Heartless Crew and Shy FX), it was the sheer vibe that got me on a hype; reminiscent of my days as a cheeky 15 year old blagging my way into this beloved venue (formerly renowned as The End).



I'm a loyal fan, and I was devastated to hear The End had come to an end last year, but it was manic to see that we and The Den were able to revive the spirit of the schoolnight/after midnight clubber - and all in the knowledge and name of a very, very necessary cause.

This was so much more than a Red Stripe and sambucca session in a UV-lit room. No one has been able to dodge the news of Haiti in the past fortnight; 200,000 (approx) dead in the 7.0 earthquake on January 12, 1.5 million made homeless - 'ruins' and 'mass graves' are your buzzwords here. Then on the very morning of our club fundraiser, an aftershock (a 6.1 tremor) rocked the country once more, leaving the global community wondering just how much more the people of Haiti could take... Our team simply rallied together following the news of the second quake, given yet another kick up the backend to assure we got the very most out of our event; and the notes (i.e. sacrificing of booze) floating into our buckets, together with the ticket sales, proportion of the bar sales, and artist contributions (who paid/donated to perform!) - promised we had achieved our goal.



Of course it may come as short change in a massive equation to rehabilitate Haiti - there is no possible substantial expectancy of when the nation will be able to function and continue to live as 'normal'. But judging from the different kind of rumble last night, we are listening, and we will support the struggle.



This article can be sourced from here

1/14/2010

The Ugandan 'Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009' - Ctrl.Alt.Shift

I still can't quite come to terms with the fact that it may soon be illegal for gays to have sex in Uganda... George Michael, Graham Norton, Paul O'Grady and the rest would be throwing a fit had an 'Anti-Homosexuality Bill' been proposed in the UK. But over in the African nation, one too many are supportive of the bill, which promises to legally put to death any man on man, woman on woman etc action. Discrimination of the sort is just intolerable in my books - the punishment of a death sentence is merely unbelievable.



This stigma surrounding homosexuals is no more aided by the ridiculous myth that having sex with babies can cure HIV... I spoke to my colleague from South Africa who claimed this was believed in the past by some supersticious persons, but has since become MYTH (i.e. NOT FACT) today. However, this is grasped upon as a reason to explain a so-called (without statistical backing) spike of child defilement by gay men - and so comes the Ugandan government's answer - alas, save the children, lock up the fags, and throw away their handbags (apologies, I'm only trying to stress their ignorance). Oh, and last time I checked, child rape was not only committed by homosexuals; so now what - remove all sexual bits and bobs of the bod? National genital mutilation? Your move Uganda. Here's my response to this madness in a feature for Ctrl.Alt.Shift:

Feature: Child Rape Was Not Invented By Gays
Someone please tell me what rape (of any kind) and paedophilia has to do with homosexuality? It’s great, no doubt, that the sectors of the Ugandan press are raising more and more awareness of rape crimes (it’s a serious subject of course). But if you’re going to enforce an “Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009” to counteract sexual abuse being perpetrated by homosexuals, you might as well put in an “Anti-Heterosexuality Bill” to put a chastity belt on all the straight people in the country looking to take advantage of their opposite sex. Make Uganda a “No-Sex” zone, and be done with sexual abuse altogether, because trust me, it happens, no matter what side of the field your people are playing on.



Provide better education, encourage a ‘nuclear’ family household, counselling, an NSPCC type vehicle – all pieces of a grand puzzle which sets out that difficult, but vital purpose of protecting all children from any sort of abuse. But why blame it all on the gays!? I just can’t comprehend how that is supposed to prevent the thousands of child defilement cases occurring in Uganda every year. I’m not saying wave the rainbow flag, but burning it won’t change much.

Okay, there is a myth, the biggest bulls**t myth I’ve ever heard, but a powerful one nonetheless – that having sex with a young child can “cleanse” one of HIV. But it is just as greater MYTH that this has lead to a rise in child rape by HIV-positive men. Where are the stats to support this? And what exactly are the origins of this baby HIV-cleansing myth? I don’t know what village idiot came up with it, but gay person or not, if 16 children were sexually abused daily in the first six months of 2009 (according to the African Network for Prevention against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) Uganda Chapter) - the fault does not lie with homosexuals – the fault lies with the Ugandan government, media, and education system; who all fail to make clear that sex with a baby is the HIV miracle cure...

Read the full article here

1/12/2010

The NEW Ctrl.Alt.Shift Magazine! - CORRUPTION Edition



It took weeks... scrap that - MONTHS of research, interviews, hustling, late nights, amendment after amendment after legal check after amendment - but it's here; check up your local WHSmiths for Ctrl.Alt.Shift 4 - The CORRUPTION Issue. Someone give my teamates an Irish cup of coffee 'cos core blimey, this was manic!





I watched on (getting my hands dirrrty too of course) as the Ctrl.Alt.Shift foot soldiers set out on a mission to create a politically/socially engaging commercial mag, comprised with a "double shot of tequila." What does that mean? For a bargain bucket price of £3.95, open the pages to: the best A-Z of current affairs you'll ever read, mad illustrations, original artwork by Sarah Maple, columns by Riz MC Ahmed, Ben White and V V Brown, interviews with rapper Giggs, Mr Tim Westwood and The 50th Law author Robert Greene, a crack-me-up feature by my 'Unethical Girl' pal Sian CeCe Anderson, plus further info on the magnificent Ctrl.Alt.Shift comic book (on sale here) and the United Underground art/music/activism Southbank event of the year 2009, not forgetting music sounds and fashion statements from across the developing world, AND!, our masterpiece - the Guantanamo Bay Photoshoot (watch below)... all that, and yes, loads more.



...And as I'm shamelessly promoting on my own blog, I will say to my own followers - you can catch my contributions on pages 16, 27, 56, 74, 77 and 78 - PLUS a photo of my corpse at the bottom of page 7...

Read the full preview of the mag here, OR, get wrapped up, get your derrieres out the door, and see what this 84-page thriller is saying. The Answer: A LOT.