last night i had treat of the best variety.

it included smoking rooms, gin and tonic, 4 course vegan food and lots of happy smiling faces.

It may sounds like i had a fantastic night at a fabulous top notch yuppie eaterie.
well in many ways i did- except minus the 'yuppie' and including a 'squat'.

cloak and dinner put on a completely astounding night in the style of a renegade restaurant.

a location was sought, picked, people were moved in, kitchen prepared, food collected from whereever possible, chairs borrowed, curtains draped, candles lit and to top it all off a host of the most excellent on floor waiting service i have ever experienced.

i want to give them the respect and congratulations this little crew of creatives deserves by saying a great big thank you.

i wallowed in superior treatment and the decadence of the whole night.. followed by cigarettes, gin and tonic and dancing in candlelight.

the lovely people in their own words:

"We are a Bristol-based collective of amateur and professional chefs, waiter/esses, bartenders, artists, actors and creatives, inspired by food and disappointed by the pretense and price-tag necessary for a great eating-out experience in Bristol."

dressed to impress they did a smashing smashing job. encore encore.

photo 'borrowed'



I am sure many of you have already come across this group of word loving political activists from our very own London town who go by the name of ctrl.alt.shift. They are well on it with the current issues and noble causes, whilst embracing the creativity of all us little people in all their doings and goings on. They produce a quarterly magazine, have a vast array of bloggers heading up the team on all sorts of ecofriendlypoliticalissues which have never even crossed your mind- yet.

the magazine is particularly well put together, well written, and very good looking.

Previous titles include:
Issue 1: The awareness issue
Issue 2: The stigma issue

Issue 3: The gender issue

Issue 4: The corruption issue

and you can download the first 3 here : the magazines

They have an
events calendar for art and protests and gigs and dancethenightaways.

And the best thing of all- for all of you fast lane life livers.. there is a page for actions.
Actions that will take you
a few seconds / a few minutes / a few hours....
It s all set up, just find some causes you believe in, or cannot believe are happening in the world today, click some buttons, write some words and get your voice heard in amongst the crowds of discontent.

They have made of £10,000 for Haiti victims already.

as an annoying drunk middle aged woman once told me in Thailand- get involved.



If you missed last night's Panorama on BBC 1 watch it here:

Panorama - A walk in the park...

and read about it here:

Staking claim underneath East Jerusalem

It is strange how tv programmes- unless whole heartedly sensationalist, don't seem to highlight the importance and urgency of situations like the Palestinian families documented in this episode of Panorama. There are constant and consistent references to the past; Some of Jerusalem becoming Jewish land 200 years ago; displacement of Palestinians since 1948; settlement building since the 1980's... Yet the quiet rapidity at which the Palestinian houses in East Jerusalem (and with in the occupied territories) are being demolished resulting in generations of Palestinian families becoming evicted from their homes and from the cities in which they have always lived, makes it seem as though the conflict has always been fought in this way. Soldiers coming to houses in the middle of the night, escorted by a further team of armed guards, denying any paperwork as counterfeit.. it is all part of a mechanism of extending the past into the present, and removing the focus from the current phenomenon which is entirely new and fresh and a tool for the Israeli government that is in power today. This is not a battle that has been going on for centuries. It is a demographic plan which has come into fruition faster than the blink of an eye.

In 1901 a group by the name of the Jewish National Fund was formed as a precursor to the establishment of the Israeli state. The JNF were created specifically to put together a vast archive of information of Palestinian land quality and water sources in order to sell it to Jews, create Kibbutz's, and 'stamp out' some of the more hostile areas toward the Jewish people. Even though the Jewish people were given 56% of the land upon which to construct a Jewish state, they proceeded to ignore the Palestinians right to return after being expelled from the land in 1948. Further to this, the 1967 war saw Israel claim an extra 22% of the land; whilst still refusing the right of return to the Palestinians. Demographically Israel was starting to have a massive influence. The Israeli peace group 'peace now' hold a map of the settlements in the west bank which can be seen above, including those surrounding East Jerusalem. It also shows the plans for building a new city around the walls of East Jerusalem.

This area or new city of settlements will be called E-1. for now.
And it will cut Jerusalem off from the rest of Palestine.
Thus negating it as a viable capital for a Palestinian State.

Settlements have been off the international agenda for so long...
Is it not time we took note? whilst there is still some land left?



The arabic alphabet.
something i am trying to learn at the moment.
Writing each letter is hard enough.. but saying them?


thats a completely new kettle of fish.



Ever since I came across Joe Sacco's 'Palestine', a graphic novel I borrowed from my friend Hannah, I have been in awe of the ability of Sacco to translate in pictures the struggle of Palestine.

I took my time to read the novel, dipping in and out of its pages when I felt I had the time and energy to confront the situation in Palestine. As a medium I find the graphic novel impressive, as it not only has words (and quotes of real life people due to 'Palestines' nature as a documentation of experiences), but it shows faces and families and street scenes, bringing it all to the present because its not only engaging us through text, but also by the intense pictures allowing each page to come to life.

I finished reading Palestine a week before my trip to the West Bank. And I am so glad of this timing, for i can honestly say, hand on heart, that Sacco's representation of Palestine is completely accurate, even today. He argues himself in footnotes that the struggle is timeless, as it has no conclusion, no outcome. It is continuous. The way in which he describes his experience of being a journalist within the daily naturalization of violence and suffering, until you realise every family has a story, every son has a brother in prison, every mother has lost a son or nephew to the struggle, the nature of every story and the changing reaction of the listener is documented so perfectly in Sacco's book. It becomes 'normal' to hear of martyrs and settler attacks and imprisonment without reason.

For Christmas this year I received Sacco's most recent work 'Footnotes from Gaza'. Ironically I also gave this graphic novel as a present to the very same friend... And again, I find myself taking my time to work my way through the chapters, as each page deserves attention to the detailed drawings and experiences being discussed scene by scene.

but read it for yourself.

and if you need more persuasion, here is an article on Al-Jazeera with Sacco himself.

Interview: Joe Sacco by Laila El-Haddad


the teens speech

I have been working for barnardo's for almost a year now and still i am impressed by the level at which the projects work for the young people and families involved. They released an amazing set of posters that entailed portraits of difficult young people sneering or glaring, with a statement below commenting on how barnardo's works with the young people that families and societies have given up on. (in many cases)

and this teens speech puts together all of these elements, told by young people, about young people in their own words and voices, just why its so important that we listen to what they have to say

The Teens' Speech from Barnardo's on Vimeo.


robert the: book works

lovely books by robert...

Another lovely wordsmith using books and pages and words for magic.



her morning elegance

just as i was thinking about this beautiful piece of stop frame, i noticed bex has beat me to putting it up here.. so the appreciation is seconded.