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Archive for April, 2011

Emerging Artists:The Tristram Trio

April 28, 2011 2 comments

TrioIan Mikyska , Tomáš Mika and Pharoah S. Russell

In the early 1990s I often visited a friend of mine, an artist  in Brixton, south London. Very often, arriving at her home, I would hear the sound of her eldest son beating his drums upstairs. He had a wealth of enthusiasm, drive and ambition. I’m glad to see Pharoah S Russell has matured his skill and is now a talented musician embarking on a music career with friends under the name of  the Tristram Trio. The band will be performing next week at the Ritzy Brixton.

On the eve of their gig I managed to ask a few questions regarding their plans and progress to date:

Q: So who is the band and how was it formed?

Ian: The band is Ian Mikyska on acoustic guitar, Tomáš Mika on electric guitar and melodica and Pharoah S. Russell on drums. Tristram was something I was looking to do for nearly a year before it actually started – I had the tunes written and an approximate idea of what I wanted it to sound like, it was just a matter of waiting for the right musicians, which obviously happened with Tomáš and Pharoah.

Q: Your style of music has been described as Christian Rap. Is this a suitable description and why?

Tomas: It’s probably not very accurate to describe us as a Christian Rap band since we are not Christians nor do we rap. It came about as a joke, because we actually couldn’t work out what it is that we’re playing.

Q: Which artists have been most influential on your career to date?

Ian: In terms of the sound of a band, Esbjörn Svensson and Brad Mehldau were big influences. As far as guitar’s go, it was mostly both my teachers, Petr Zelenka and David Dorůžka, and compositionally I am more interested in classical music – Bartók, Stravinsky and Shostakovich are the most important in terms of actual compositional influence.

Pharoah: I think what makes the band sound interesting is the different influences we all have. My biggest ones are Radiohead, Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, Keith Jarrett among others.

Q: There are numerous bands out there, all aspiring to be commercially successful whilst retaining a grass foots following. How hard do you think this will be for a new band with your genre of music?

Ian: The only difficult part of this question is that I don’t even know what our genre of music is. It seems to be nice and poppy at times, but then I get people coming up to me after a gig saying it wasn’t melodic enough for them, so I’m never really sure to how many people we’re actually reaching out. It’s strange in how diverse it is, there are tunes that have a rock beat all the way through, pretty straight-ahead, and then there are dodecaphonic melodies in 7/8, so I guess that is our style. But regardless, becoming successful and/or having a following will be only as easy or hard as we are good or not so good, respectively.

Pharoah: To be honest with the jazz (which I would put our music in) category, It’s a little different from say the Pop world, mainly if you play great music, you will be known for it, but to be very big in jazz is very hard, as not only the music has to be to a high level, but the individual playing has to be more so in some cases. Image counts less compared to Pop like genres too. If we can create a healthy following and start to play jazz festivals around the world I will be content for now.

Q: Pharoah, you’ve now moved to Prague where the band is based. Is the Czech music scene very different to the UK and the rest of Europe?

Well I actually feel that I’m only just getting on the music scene here even though it’s been one year. I toured the Czech Republic last year with a Pop/Electro band and wasn’t doing much else in Prague music wise. But since meeting Ian and co, I feel I have mixed in more with the scene here. What I would say is that Czech is small, therefore there is not as many musicians and venues alike, so much harder to make a living here, there are some great musicians and some good music, but overall for music I must say London is a much better place, just the multi-cultural side makes it so. Different places in Europe have different scenes, Berlin has a good music scene and Paris amazing but I don’t know too much more other than that. But all in all I love Prague (smile)

Q: Could you tell me a little more about your immediate plans and where you aim to be in years time?

Ian: Because of the size of the Prague jazz scene (about the size of Hammersmith’s jazz scene), there is not many places for us to play, or at least not with the level of attention we would like (which really just means not talking too loud), so it was always our intention to tour around. By the time this interview comes out we’ll be in London, busking on the Southbank which will be an interesting experience for us, and then we hope to set out to Italy and Germany over the summer. Ideally, in a few years, touring Italy, Germany, and any other place that will have us will be what we do most of the year.

The band plays on May 4th at the Ritzy Brixton, south London from 7.30pm.
http://www.picturehouses.co.uk/cinema/Ritzy_Picturehouse/film/Jazz_Hands_Feat_Tristam_Trio/

The Black Experience in Latin America

April 20, 2011 1 comment

Professor Henry Louis Gates,Jr

The following PBS interview with American Professor Henry Louis Gates,Jr. makes very interesting reading and helps not only register the demographics of south America but the level of racism faced by blacks on the continent. This PBS interview was originaly posted via Repeated Islands.

First, could you talk a little bit about this project?

I conceived of this as a trilogy of documentary series that would mimic the patterns of the triangle trade. There would be a series on Africa which was called Wonders of the African World in 1999. And then there would be a series on black America called America Behind the Color Line in 2004. And then the third part of the triangle trade was, of course, South America and the Caribbean. The triangle trade was Africa, South America, and the continental United States and Europe. That’s how I conceived of it. I’ve been thinking about it since before 1999. But the first two were easier to get funding for. Everyone knows about black people from Africa, everyone knows about the black American community. But surprisingly, and this is why the series is so important, not many people realize how “black” South America is. So of all the things I’ve done it was the most difficult to get funded and it is one of the most rewarding because it is so counter-intuitive, it’s so full of surprises. And I’m very excited about it.

And why do you think there is a lack of knowledge about the black populations in Latin America?

Well, incredibly, there were 11.2 million Africans that we can count who survived the Middle Passage and landed in the New World, and of that 11.2 million, only 450,000 came to the United States. That’s amazing. All the rest went south of Miami as it were. Brazil got almost 5 million Africans. In part, this reflects our ignorance as Americans who don’t know that much about the rest of the world. But also, it is in part the responsibility of the countries in South America themselves — each of which underwent a period of whitening. In the hundred year period between 1872 and 1975, Brazil received 5,435,735 immigrants from Europe and the Middle East and this was a conscious policy after 1850 to “whiten” Brazil which was such a black country. Brazil is the second blackest nation in the world. Brazil has the second largest black population — black being defined by people of African descent in the way that we would define them in this country. It’s second only to Nigeria. But no one knows this. So it’s those two reasons, that the countries themselves went through long periods of being embarrassed about how black they were and secondly, our own ignorance. That’s why this series is so important. It’s meant to educate Americans, and people in Europe and the rest of the world, but it’s also meant to educate people in South America, too. And in each of these countries there is a political campaign against racism, for affirmative action, and for their right to exist where they don’t as census categories. For example, in Mexico and Peru, they are fighting for the right to be identified as black. As in France, many people in these countries thought that if you put that social identity in the census that it reinforces racism. But doing that also prevents people from organizing around race when they are discriminated by race. It’s a paradox. And it’s fascinating to see what is similar and dissimilar in each of these countries.

For Black in Latin America you visited Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru. How did you choose to focus on these particular six countries?

Well, we had to pick a country that reflected quite dramatically the history of the slave trade. So the largest countries with the biggest black populations are Brazil and Venezuela. So that was one category. We divided all the countries into categories. We only had four hours. We couldn’t do all the Caribbean and all of South America. We had to come up with criteria. So category one is size. Brazil’s the largest country in South America and it’s Portuguese-speaking, so that was interesting. Second, we wanted to do something representative from the Caribbean.

Haiti just had the earthquake, it was very much in the news. Every night for months I would watch Anderson Cooper talking about the earthquake. But never did Anderson Cooper or anyone else talk about the history of Haiti. They’d talk about voodoo as if it was lunatic superstitions rather than one of the world’s old religions. Most journalists didn’t write anything sophisticated about the history of the revolution. And no one talked about the fact that it was at the western end of an island with another country, the Dominican Republic, and that the two of them had created their identities together and in opposition to each other. So it’s like Jacob and Esau, Yin and Yang. They’re both there on that island, separated by a river, and they’re very different countries. One is Spanish, Catholic and white, as it’s fond of saying. The other is African, black and voodoon. So we’re going to lead off the airing of the series with the Haiti & Dominican Republic program.

Cuba is a slam dunk. Everybody wants to know what’s going on in Cuba. And Fidel Castro, two years after he had his revolution in 1959, he announced that racism had been eliminated in Cuba. And Cuba got almost 800,000 slaves — far more than the United States. So there’s a fascination with Cuba: Our nearest neighbor. Miami’s twin city. How black is Cuba? Is there racism? Did the revolution, which brought health benefits and education to poor people, eliminate racism? That’s the question we ask. You can get the answer because the name of the episode is The Next Cuban Revolution.

And then finally Mexico and Peru. If Havana is the twin city of Miami, Mexico is our twin country. No one thinks of Mexico and Peru as black. But Mexico and Peru together got 700,000 Africans in the slave trade. The coast of Acapulco was a black city in the 1870s. And the Veracruz Coast on the gulf of Mexico and the Costa Chica, south of Acapulco are traditional black lands. Here’s the punchline, Barack Obama the first black president in the New World? No way. Vicente Guerrero in 1829. Mulatto, just like Barack Obama. First President of Mexico.

All these countries have curious things for this hidden history. The Dominican Republic says “We’re black behind the ears.” And in Mexico, “there’s a black grandma in the closet.” They know, they’ve just been intermarrying for a long time. But if we did the DNA of everyone in Mexico a whole lot of people would have a whole lot of black in them.

The series reveals how huge a role history can play in forming a nation’s concept of race. Although each of the countries you visited has its own distinct history, did you find any commonalities between the six countries with regard to race?

Yes, each country except for Haiti went through a period of whitening, when they wanted to obliterate or bury or blend in their black roots. Each then, had a period when they celebrated their cultural heritage but as part of a multi-cultural mix and in that multi-cultural mix, somehow the blackness got diluted, blended. So, Mexico, Brazil, they wanted their national culture to be “blackish” — really brown, a beautiful brown blend. And finally, I discovered that in each of these societies the people at the bottom are the darkest skinned with the most African features. In other words, the poverty in each of these countries has been socially constructed as black. The upper class in Brazil is virtually all white, a tiny group of black people in the upper-middle class. And that’s true in Peru, that’s true in the Dominican Republic. Haiti’s obviously an exception because it’s a country of mulatto and black people but there’s been a long tension between mulatto and black people in Haiti. So even Haiti has its racial problems.

In your opinion, if you visited other countries in Latin America you would see those commonalities coming out as well?

Yes. Again, these are representative. Typical. And I think that they typify the larger experience. I would hope we could get funding to do another series.

How do you feel the race experience differs between Latin American nations and the United States?

Whereas we have black and white or perhaps black, white, and mulatto as the three categories of race traditionally in America, Brazil has 136 kinds of blackness. Mexico, 16. Haiti, 98. Color categories are on steroids in Latin America. I find that fascinating. It’s very difficult for Americans, particularly African-Americans to understand or sympathize with. But these are very real categories. In America one drop of black ancestry makes you black. In Brazil, it’s almost as if one drop of white ancestry makes you white. Color and race are defined in strikingly different ways in each of these countries, more akin to each other than in the United States. We’re the only country to have the one-drop rule. The only one. And that’s because of the percentage of rape and sexual harassment of black women by white males during slavery and the white owners wanted to guarantee that the children of these liaisons were maintained as property.

And what’s amazing is that they can keep track. I’m thinking of the scene in Brazil where the group of men listed the different racial classifications that describe their skin color.

It’s like they had a color meter. “Oh this person is Caboclo.” I cracked up. That was a brilliant scene. I set that up, I told the crew just to follow me. And we walked through the market with me asking people what color I was and we had a lot of responses and then we picked the best one. But the best one was those guys when we put the hands in the circle. And then they all said “I’m Negro, I’m Negro” and then I said “No really, what are you?” And they go “I’m Cabocla, He’s Moreno.” It was great.

Could you discuss a few events during the making of the series that you found particularly powerful?

Well, there were many. Discovering that people in Latin America had been worshiping two black saints since the 1600s. That was astonishing. Discovering that the first Barack Obama in the New World was a Mexican, Vicente Guerrero. Learning that the Cuban Army of Independence was over 50 percent black and that two of its leaders were black generals including Antonio Maceo. But I think the most moving person I met was a Catholic Priest named Father Glyn Jemmott who works in the Costa Chica South of Acapulco on the Pacific in the blackest area of Mexico. He’s a Trinidadian. He’s been a parish priest there for 25 years. And he’s a black man. And his goal is to get people into Heaven. And to help them understand that they’re black and that’s a good thing. And he’s a humble man. He does it for the love of God and humanity. I found interacting with him a deeply spiritual experience.

Which of the countries do you most want to go back to visit and why?

I love them all. It’s like a mother and her children. I want to go back to each of them. But I was particularly fascinated by Cuba. Cuba is like going to a whole other planet. It’s so different but it’s so similar to the United States, to Miami. It’s like a doppelgänger. It’s the mirror image. And I have no doubt, that once Cuba becomes democratic, that it will be the favorite tourist destination for Americans. The people are all waiting for democracy and capitalism to come and I hope that that happens very soon. I mean I wish that Fidel Castro would wake up one day and decide he wants to be the George Washington of his country and institute one person one vote and open the country up.

For the original report go to http://www.pbs.org/wnet/black-in-latin-america/featured/qa-with-professor-henry-louis-gates-jr/164/

Be a Creative Explorer!

April 18, 2011 1 comment

Woman Gardening- David Emmanuel Noel

Without inspiration the best powers of the mind remain dormant. Today, I take time out to acknowledge the inspiration, encouragement and support I get from artists and those able to move out of other’s shadows to leave their mark on this world. Whilst I’m healthy, the sun’s out, spring is in the air and I can look forward to being  creative, I’m happy. I guess happiness does not consist purely of pastimes and amusements but in virtuous activities! With regards to activities, I’m ever so tempted to broadcast my next project. However, patiently I ‘ll wait to announce it sensibly when everything is confirmed and people, venues and opportunities fall into place! This will be in the next week one hopes!! Whatever the outcome, life is all about discovery. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said ‘ We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.’ Let’s keep that mindset, exploring further, being not afraid of growing slowly but afraid of standing still. Have a good week exploring!

Categories: Uncategorized

There’s Art in Fashion: In discussion with Fashion Designer Titi Ademola

Actress Nicole Ari Parker wearing KIKI Clothing at a Golden Globe event

Inspiration to be creative comes in so many different ways. It is particularly powerful and motivating to find it through conversations with confident, ambitious and inventive individuals making their own unique mark on this world. I had the pleasure of talking to Titi Ademola ,a designer who illustrates that fashion is an art form just as colourful, vibrant and expressive as any other. I was inquisitive to know her views on the fashion industry and her objectives for the future.

How did you arrive at running your company and has fashion always been your calling?

I’ve always wanted to do fashion for as long as I can remember; it has definitely been a calling. I wasn’t quite sure if I would be taken seriously by my family to study a Bachelors degree in Fashion Design, but I thank God they were all very supportive. After my univesity studies and work experience for two years predominately in Atlanta, Georgia, I decided to move to Ghana and start my own business. Through the grace and favor of God, the commendable loyalty of clients and friends and hardwork and determination, KIKI Clothing has become a household name in Ghana.

Where do you see KIKI Clothing in five ten years time?

I visualize KIKI Clothing taking advantage of selling our products to a credible and diverse market within Africa. Additionally, I would love to see KIKI Clothing have a successful presence in other parts of the world, including America, Asia and Europe. We hope to achieve this through an online store that will be launching in the coming months as well as by exporting and establishing retail outlets too.

I commend you for your support for worthwhile causes, most notably raising much needed funds for the earthquake victims of Haiti. Could you talk about this further?

Well, KIKI Clothing is a big believer in giving back and we feel privileged to be assoicated with events and shows that raise awareness, funds and support to charities. We mainly support young children related charities within Ghana.

I’ve always seen fashion designers as artists in their own right. As a designer, do you see fashion fundamentally as art?

Yes it is art. It really is. The colours, shapes, designs and textures of fabrics used in addition to sihouettes made, are all really works of art. Sometimes this appears more evident in Afro centric designs.

You have exhibited at international fashion shows and as a consequence your Afro centric and cultural style has been successfully represented. How wide is the demand outside West Africa for your style of clothing?

That’s the beauty of this age of technology. Through the internet, blogs and social networking sites, entrepenuers can reach out to potential clients more and have an easier time marketing brands to a wide range of people from all over the world. Through our website we receive mail from people all over, who are attracted to our designs and interested in buying and promoting our products. The demand for KIKI Clothing items, outside West Africa, is growing. And we would like to meet the demand and act while the interest is still there. We are hopeful the introduction of our online store will be a step in the right direction.

Your clothing range is colourful and vibrant but appears limited to women and children. Is male clothing a completely different market and if so why?

 KIKI Clothing started out as KIKI for Kids. I wanted to tap into a market I felt exsisted in Ghana but was not being addressed. I thought designing Afrocentric children’s clothes would be a good way to start my business. Shortly after, the mothers buying clothes for their children, kept asking for clothes for themselves. It wasn’t long before KIKI for Kids was changed to KIKI Clothing. As a small scale business, I didn’t want to spread myself to thin, where I comprised quality for quantity. I hope to eventually design a unique menswear range. But for now we cater to men through our footwear collection and T-shirts.

Balloon dress by KIKI clothing

The leading British photographer Nick Knight was quoted as saying the fashion industry and advertising industries are steeped in racism. Do you think that’s true?

Well, I completed a First Fashion Award and an HND course at the London College of Fashion. I then started my BA degree there and after a term transferred to the American Intercontinental University in Atlanta, Georgia. My experiences in both countries were similar. Whether it was interning in New York City or working part time as a sales assistant for a fashion label, I felt there wasn’t much room for black models, black photographers, black designers or black magazine editors. It’s a very exclusive industry in both London and New York. That’s not to say one should give up on their dream or settle for less. I think it should motivate myself and others to strive to be the first or to be amongst the few. I don’t believe the industry has changed much in the past twenty thirty years regarding the issue of racism.

KIKI Clothing

I recall the controversy over Vogue Italia’s decision to ‘counterattack’ racism by publishing a ‘black model only’ addition. What’s your experience of the fashion world in the Africa; is it just a controversial?

No it is not as controversial in Africa.

On a completely separate note, I know you’re a Chelsea football supporter. Can I ask why????

Yes i’ve been a Chelsea supporter for 13/ 14 years. The reason being that when I moved to London for university I worked part time at French Connection on the Kings Road. It was located pretty close to Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea football club. My very good friend at the time also worked part time at the Chelsea sports center and was a staunch Chelsea supporter. Besides this I wasn’t really a fan till I went for France 98 (the World Cup in 1998) Watching live football turned me into a fanatical fan! I went back to London with a new appreciation of the game and gave my heart and loyalty to Chelsea FC. I’ve never looked back and will be a “true blue for life” 🙂

Oh well, despite not being a Spurs fan like myself, I wish you well with your endeavours! For further information please visit.

www.kikiclothing.com,

Categories: Society & Politics

Bob Marley’s Death: Could this have been prevented?

April 15, 2011 4 comments

The following article posted on Repeating Islands explores the controversy surrounding the untimely death of Bob Marley and raises some serious questions about the medical advice given to the music icon before his death.

Dr Cleland Gooding MD., F.A.A.D., a physician with a specialty in Skin Diseases employed by the Bahamas Government, has penned this intriguing article about Bob Marley’s failed treatment for skin cancer, which eventually progressed to the brain cancer responsible for his death at 36. Here are excerpts, with a link to the original article below.

Bob Marley the charismatic beloved Jamaican singer, who introduced reggae infused with Rastafarian themes died from a cancerous brain Tumour on May 11, 1981 in Miami. Florida. He was only 36 years old.

It’s been 30 years since his death; and there have many rumours and speculation about the cause of death. Did he really die from a brain tumour? Or other nefarious causes? Like the CIA? Poison in his boots etc? Bob Marley’s medical records were never made public. However from several sources I managed to piece together the story of his illness and death from Metastatic Skin Cancer (Melanoma). This account I hope is fair, balanced and enlightening.

Bob Marley remains the most widely known and revered performer of reggae music and is credited with spreading Jamaican and the Rastafarian movement worldwide.

. . .

When was the first indication that something was amiss with Bob Marley’s health? According to sources this first happened in the summer of 1977. He injured his right great toe during a Soccer game on tour in Paris, France. The toe nail became partially detached and painful. He admitted to his manager that the toe had been injured before and a wound was “on and off” for years! If that was true, could a malignant melanoma (skin cancer) been growing there earlier? A wound or sore that refuses to heal is a classic sign of skin cancer.

The hotel doctor was consulted and the right great toe nail was removed and the toe bandaged. No biopsy was done. The European tour continued and the Right great toe appeared to heal. However, later that summer he hurt the toe again playing soccer. It was painful and a new wound opened up and refused to heal. As Bob Marley went to London for a meeting, late that summer (1977), his manager advised him to see a doctor. According to reports the appearance of his toe shocked the Doctor. It was said to be “eating away”. A skin biopsy was done (removal of skin tissue for examination under the microscope).

The shocking diagnosis of a malignant melanoma (Skin Cancer) was given to Bob Marley. He was advised that treatment would be to amputate the toe, to stop the cancer from spreading.

In Miami still in the summer 1977, the British diagnosis of malignant melanoma was confirmed to Bob Marley again. He was advised to get the toe amputated and possibly the right foot. Again he refused.

Why didn’t Bob Marley have the amputation? He cited religious beliefs about “not cutting the flesh”. However he allowed the famous orthopaedic surgeon Dr William Bacon to do a surgical excision to “cut away” cancerous tissue on the toe and do a skin graft at Cedar’s of Lebanon Hospital (now University of Miami Hospital). He remained in Hospital one week and spent about three months recuperating in Miami. The procedure was deemed “a success”. But sadly it was not. The cancer in it virulent form began to spread through his body (metastasized).

This brings the question, why would Bob Marley get skin cancer on his toe? First we must remember that Bob was diagnosed with an Acral Melanoma. This type accounts for 70 per cent of melanoma in darkly pigmented individual or Asians. It typically occurs on non-sun exposed areas as the palm, the sole and mucosa and under the nails. It is characterised by a dark mole or spot that can turn cancerous.

This can happen by repeated trauma to the area or for no reason at all. Studies have shown that darker skin people are more likely to present with advanced disease stage III -IV than whites who typically appear with stage I. This is exactly what happened in Mr Marley’s case. He presented with a skin cancer stage 3-4 on his toe.

He also was fair-skinned of a white father. Being fair-skinned is a risk factor for skin cancer. Melanoma can take years to spread. Most likely he had a pigmented dark mole under his right great toe nail, the continued playing of soccer traumatized the dark mole, which turned cancerous then into a sore. When his cancer was discovered (summer of 1977) the recommendation to amputate his toe would most certainly have saved his life. The surgical excision done and the skin graft (July 1977) was ineffective or simply too late.

As the years went by, his health was deteriorating. He continued to be immersed in his music. In 1976 there was an attempt on his life in Jamaica, Mr Marley narrowly escaped death, He, his wife and manager Don Taylor were shot.

Among the Doctors attending, them was a prominent Bahamian doctor Dr Philip Thompson who was attending U.W.I. at the time.

In 1979, Bob Marley visited Nassau, The trip was opposed by some religious ministers.

It does not appear that he followed up on his doctor’s visits.

All appeared well until 1980. He released his last album “Uprising” and the band, the Wailers were planning an American tour with Stevie Wonder for the winter of 1980. However by the summer of 1980 the cancer was metastasizing through his body. According to sources, he did not feel well and saw a doctor who give him clearance to go on tour!

The tour started in Boston followed by New York in September 1980. During the show in New York in Madison Square Gardens Bob looked sick and almost fainted. The very next morning September 21 while jogging through Central Park Bob Marley collapsed and was brought to a hospital. Tests showed a brain tumour, which most likely had spread from the primary cancer on his right great toe. The cancer was now spreading to his vital organs.

How does a malignant melanoma spread? It is generally agreed that melanoma cells spread via the lymphatic, the blood stream or both. Then it can affect the liver, the lungs, the brain or the bones.

A neurologist gave him one month to live. Rita Marley is said to have wanted the remaining tour cancelled, but Bob wanted to continue. He played his last show in Pittsburgh, but was too ill to continue and the tour was finally cancelled. That show proved to be his last.

Convinced at last to seek medical treatment, Bob was admitted to Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in Manhattan NY. This centre is one of the world’s leading cancer treatment centre. Tests then revealed the malignant melanoma cancer had spread to his lungs and liver. He received a few radiation treatments, but checked out when some New York papers let on that he was seriously ill. He went to Miami, then back to Sloan-Kettering, then Jamaica. Why the back and forth? Some said he hadn’t much faith in “Western Medicine”.

He was advised to seek further help in Germany. Bob and his entourage then travelled to Germany to the Bavarian Clinic of Dr Josef Issels. He was a specialist in Holistics, or Toxic cancer

treatment. Why leave a world renowned cancer treatment centre like Sloan-Kettering to go to a holistic centre? That is a mystery to me.

While in Germany Bob Marley celebrated his 36th, and final birthday. While at the centre in Germany Bob received such treatments as exercise, ozone injections, vitamins and trace elements. However, as the months went by, he realised that these treatments were not working and his cancer was terminal.

TREATMENT

What is the treatment for Advanced Malignant Melanoma ?

According to the American Academy of Dermatology 2010 “No effective therapy exists at this time for metastatic disease to the internal organs”. Until effective therapy is developed the focus must remain on early detection and removal of the primary tumour or mole.

As his metastatic disease progressed, Bob Marley decided to die at home in Jamaica. The group chartered a flight for the trip home. While flying home to Jamaica his vital functions worsened, and the plane was directed to Florida. He was immediately admitted to Cedars of Lebanon Hospital and died May 11, 1981. His wife and mother were by his side. He was said to weigh a shocking 82lbs on the day he died.

He received a state funeral in Jamaica May 21 1981, which combined Ethiopian Orthodoxy and Rastafarian tradition. He was buried with his guitar, a soccer ball, a marijuana bud, a ring and a Bible.

. . .

Some questions still remain about the Bob Marley story.

Why was he given clearance to go “on tour” with an advance malignant melanoma? Did the Doctor really know his condition? Were any medical tests done? Blood, x-rays etc? Was he was a medical specialist?

Also how did he manage to survive so long with an advanced cancer? Was it his marijuana use? This is highly unlikely. According to studies it is difficult to predict outcomes for individual patients with melanoma. We know he was a man of incredible stamina and drive.

Would the FDA approved drug Interferon have helped him? This is the only one approved for Adjuvant treatment of malignant melanoma. Definitely, the amputation would have prolonged his life.

The article appeared originally at

http://www.tribune242.com/Print/04122011_Bob-Marley_features_pg9.

Categories: Uncategorized

Brixton-30 years After April 1981

Brixton Tube

Much of my enthusiasm and drive for art is down to sharing invaluable time with artists, poets and musicians in Brixton during the early 1990’s. I was fortunate to spend a lot of time working closely with others at the Brixton Art Gallery, south London. Visual art, poetry and music were raw and unashamedly powerful mediums of expression. As the anniversary of the Brixton riot approaches, one can only acknowledge the significance it played in changing the social and political aspirations of so many African Caribbeans in the UK. The following BBC article provides one account of the disturbances and what has resulted . http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4854556.stm

Categories: Society & Politics

The James Review: Is the door closing on Educational Opportunities?

Are we going in the right direction?

The long awaited review of capital investment into UK schools represents a major landmark in developing a new approach to investing  in young people’s education. The government-commissioned independent review into procurement in the education sector has concluded that school buildings should be managed by a centralised organisation, designed to achieve real value for money. The ‘Review of Education Capital’ has found the previous government’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme wasteful, bureaucratic and misdirected. I agree that it was wasteful ( partly due to the procurement method and lack of stakeholder engagement) but the jury is still out on the suggestion that bespoke designs for schools aren’t necessary or a more ‘flat pack’ approach would make more economic sense.  The challenge is clear: how do we maintain the infrastructure, an adequate level of investment in suitable facilities and innovation within a tight budget ? A number of local authorities applied for a Judicial Review of Michael Gove’s decision to cut Building Schools for the Future (BSF) but for a majority of schools, up and down the country the predicament remains. I have taught, been a primary school Governor and worked in the construction sector for several years during which time I’ve visited many schools and found a significant proportion are beyond their design life. Key enabling factors such as quality of air, light, acoustics, temperature, comfort and design quality do matter and can influence educational outcomes. It’s worth noting the significant impact a well designed, fit for purpose school has on serving the community as a hub for local activity and amenities. If we are serious about the future wellbeing of  not only the privileged , surely our schools need to be fit for purpose? It is nonsense to believe one size will fit all and that individuals, irrespective of their socio-demographic standing should learn in any old concrete box?!

Michael Gove- Secretary of State for Education

How far can we standardise disabled access or special education provision without being sensitive to local demographics and local needs?  We know we are in a climate of ‘more for less’ and that school investment must compete with other investment priorities but if we can find budgets to fight wars and unrests overseas surely we can ring fence some funds for the what is in effect the nations education? It is an interim report for further discussion and debate but I fear the attitude of not investing appropriately in the physical environment we call ‘schools’ will have a disastrous effect on the standards of teaching, the learning experience of our children and on society as a whole. Let’s watch carefully!