9/11 I WILL NEVER FORGET

911

8:45am we took off from the City

Bright skies with the sun looking so pretty

I was headed to Heathrow with  precious cargo in tow

My young niece and nephew 

Their first trip with uncle far far from home

They could not wait to begin the planned journey 

For months that’s all they spoke

London here we come

To explore another world full of different folks

 

Relaxing, enjoying the 5 hour gap 

With friends eagerly waiting full of smiles and great  plans

We arrived in London only to be told

What a gruesome tragedy in New York had unfold

Rushed to see the evidence on TV

My eyes filled with tears not able to see

My mother and sister frantic in despair

They could not reach me or my friends 

To give sweet words of love, concern or care 

We realised we were the only ones that left that day

The world’s airspace was now closed to everyone

Without question and out of fear

Who could have done this so close to home

I wondered if my family had a problem of their own

With prayers and gratitude my family was ok

So too were a million other people I cared for and prayed 

I will never  forget the  souls of those falling 

Choosing the death they had no choice in asking

9/11 the World was never the same

One event changed the way we see and love and cared

Maybe it was meant to be

That a tragedy so deep would change us all so unconsciously 

But one thing I know that will never change

It takes tragedy, hate and despair

For us to see how much we are the same.

© Paul Tomlinson 2014

TINE TEMPAH-FRESH ARTISTE AMIDST DESPERATE STANDARDS

TINE TEMPAH-FRESH ARTISTE AMIDST DESPERATE STANDARDS

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Tine Tampah the UK’s newest export is a fresh artiste that is sadly emerging in a desperately sad and flat music standards. His debut album Demonstration is a sweet mix of urban rhythms with some interesting collaborative and powerful lyrics. Yes there are some that can be considered NSFW but it is the exception and not the rule so the expletives gives the lyrics power.

He speaks what he sees and feels and so his lyrics are relatable. Mixed with the eclectic music arrangements the album devours your mind while listening to it on your favorite MP# player. The music moves you. It gets you tapping and nodding. Its powerful.

If you are into pop/rap and eclectic music with surreal musical arrangement then download and listen to Tine. He’s now on my most played playlist.

 

 

KEHINDE WILEY ‘THE WORLD STAGE: JAMAICA

“‘The World Stage: Jamaica’ is the seventh platform within a series of projects that explore portrait painting in the context of the broader evolution of global pop culture. I chose models through a street casting process in the neighborhood of Trench Town in Kingston, Jamaica, as well as the dance halls and clubs throughout the city. The works investigate the rhetorical strengths of 18th- and 19th-century British portraiture and draw a distinct line of cultural and economic lineage between the United Kingdom and Jamaica. ‘The World Stage: Jamaica’ seeks to provoke the viewer to reassess the visual vocabulary of the portrait and the depiction of black and brown people globally.” Kehinde Wiley, ‘Modern Painters’, September 2013

Kehinde Wiley is an American artiste that has a series of painting called World Stage where he visits different parts of the world to produce works of art drawing the connection of history , in this case colonial power to present  day life. His inspiration comes from his interest in colonialism , their wealth and power acquired from their life in the islands and the countries he visits, and in turn uses that period of history and display it using present day people in the same glorious effigies of their past masters. The work is interesting and fascinating as the results are what he calls’ BIG painting. This type of painting is dramatic, over powering, it draws on your sense of scale, it is as he calls it chest pumping painting. And he succeeds. They are Big!

The artist’s work inspires you the viewer as it puts his subjects , and they are what you will call insignificant people, into the spotlight and makes their life as big as the picture they pose in. The art uplifts them to the point where they would never have the opportunity to be seen much less be heard.  Is is art imitating life? Its much more than imitation. It is empowerment. It is reversing the roles. It is reminding you the viewer that our past is still connected to our present. It is Art in its simplest and most controversial and political form. Thank you ACUBIEN for bringing this wonderful work to the front.

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Kehinde Wiley (b. 1977 in Los Angeles, USA) lives and works in New York, USA and Beijing, China. He will be the subject of a major solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, USA in 2015.  Wiley’s work features in the permanent collections of numerous prominent institutions including The Jewish Museum, New York; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn; Studio Museum, Harlem; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

ALL Copyright the artist. Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.  Our kind thanks to Stephen Friedman Gallery and CCH Pounder on her visit to London for bringing this exhibition ACU|BIENs attention.

Is Bolt a Legend?

The London 2012  games are officially over. Its been 17 days and the world has been drawn to athletics. 17 days when those who are highly favored got the  chance to actually see the games in person and for those who were not so fortunate sat glued to their television sets , myself included . For 17 days we did not move except to take a shower and do the obligatory thing of eating something before we sit and  die before the TV.

The Olympics brings one thing to the viewer- a spectacle of human strength. We sit in awe and watch fellow humans stretch the limits of human boundaries to accomplish feats the the average Joe Blow can only dream of doing. The furthest he will go is pressing the button on the remote. Thats his version of human accomplishment. We sit in awe and we cheer our hearts out when the athletes go higher, faster and stronger than their competitors. We are in love with the TV and with our human self.

Growing up we always heard our parents speak of great stories of human accomplishment. A a Jamaican I never knew who Jessie Owens was but my parents told me what he did in the face of adversity. The story they told me fascinated me at a young age and they spoke of this man having paved the way for black athletes to compete. I was also told of Herb McKinley and Arthur Wint the 2 Jamaican athletes who themselves went to London and did the impossible. From a small island they won the 100 yards and 440 yards at the time. Those were fascinating stories for a young man at the time. Growing up Donald Quarrie, another sporting personality set his mark by wining the 200m in the Olympics the only athlete from Jamaica them to do so. These men from an early age inspired me to take up track and developed a love for it to this day . the stories were inspiring, uplifting and proved that it was possible to accomplish the impossible. They were our local legends that every young man wanted to be like.

We grow up in many places, in our homes , our churches, our extended families and in our schools and in every sector of the society we come across some legendary feats that remain with you forever. In my college years the stories were too vast and too many legends were born out of my College years. My headmaster affectionately called Jango, his vice principal who we were all in awe with his flawless circle drawn by hand in our maths class. Mr Dibbs is a legend. Not to mention the beating our school managed to give other schools in teack and filed and football. Those days were legendary. They actually happened and we can tell our children  of those feats.

Jump to 2012 and there are questions and debates on  Usain Bolt. Is he a legend? That question is like asking if the sun shines in jamaica? People like to complicate simple things. We tend to forget everything that ever happened in the past . To document Usain Bolt’s life is like rewriting history. That is already documented and can be read by anyone who chooses to do so. But the question of him being a legend simple stops me in my track.

Bolt appeared on the scene from he was 17 years old and very few people took notice. Not until 2008 when the world saw this tall athlete smashed the world records in all sprint disciplines and took notice. 4 years later amidst lots of adversity he came back to the world’s largest stage and repeated the feat he set 4 years earlier. He ended with a world record.

Bolt was the first man to do 9.5 in 100m sprinting, a feat most people thought impossible. He went further and set a new 200m mark stunning everyone who witnessed it. He then anchored his team in the 4x100m relay to a world record. 80,000 people stood in awe to watch this man run. The entire world stopped and watch him race. He is the only man in jamaica that stopped production for 10 seconds. He single handedly took on the powerful USA and turned their track programme to dust. He was so fast that no one on the planet could beat him when he puts his mind to it. And he proved it twice. Yes son Bolt did these things in 2008 and 2012 and he had the world as his oyster and the world had him as their fantasy. Thankfully he is alive. Go on line and see his races.

That was me talking to my son telling him of the legendary tales of Usain Bolt.  He inspired me then and he inspired my son now. His stories actually happened. so the question being asked is quite simply dumb founded and one cannot help but think that he is a victim of his own fame. A man does not have to die to be a legend. There are many persons writing their legacy now and who are already legends. Barack Obama, Portia Simpson, Nelson Mandela, Tiger Woods to name a few. They are legends thankfully living inspiring others to take their lead.

People are talking now about Bolt both his enemies and his friends. The unfortunate thing is words of thanks from his fellow men  may not be a free giving as it should be. He has given himself to humanity and there are those who still question him. That is the sign of true greatness and human weakness. Bolt name is written in the pages of the history books as the first of all men to do the impossible. His name will go down in history as being the tallest fastest man in his time and from the look of things it could be a while before another legend comes of age. One thing is certain, BOLT IS A LEGEND. We hope we see many more of him to satisfy our lust for greatness. Greatness is starting something that lives after you. Bolt has started a revolution in track and field that will outlast him. Frankly  it does not seem it will be rewritten for a long , long time. Ask yourself this question, will you be talking about him now or anytime soon? If the answer is yes then he is already a legend, you just don’t want to admit it!

All this broo Ha Ha about drugs

The 2012 London games ended on a spectacular high designed with great planning and dexterity. The London organizers planned the last day with 2 aims in minds- firstly continue the momentum of audience attendance from day 1 and 2 reap the profits on the possible clash of the 2 giants in sprints the USA and Jamaica with the added attraction of Usain Bolt. It all translates to maximizing the profits.

Make no mistake, the organizers knew that their  big ticket draw was Usain Bolt. It was evident and  their assumption worked. From day one the 80,000 seat stadium was packed, one of the first in Olympic history. They also changed the start of the mens 100m, from day 1 to day 2. Meticulous planning was done and from all indications they made a profit from the  track and field programme. There were no controversial empty seats. All seats were taken unlike the aquatic center where they were giving away seats to fill that arena. So much  for who the real star of the games were.  But regardless of who the star was the finger pointing was only directed to one team only- Bolt and his Jamaican compatriots. Ex track star Carl Lewis headed the barrage of accusations of possible  performance enhancing drugs. This is from an athlete who himself tested positive 3 times for drugs and was  covered up by the USOC. So much for his impartiality.

The USA ladies team had a terrific performance on the penultimate day of the games by establishing a world record in the 4x100m  lowering the mark to an astounding 40.82 seconds. A great run one would say especially when you have one of the athletes implicated with a drug baron of athletics. No word, no alarm was made. Everyone turned their eyes the other way pretending that it is not happening and whatever the connection it is only a clean relationship.

Similarly Michael Phelps , the swimming sensation of the games walked away with 19 medals. That is no big news especially in swimming as athletes can enter up to 6, 7 or 8 races and can possibly win them all as is the case of Michael Phelps. But again no word from the powers that be about any possibility of  drugs on Phelps part or his team members.   No outright accusations  made by Lewis, none from Dick Pound. The Bahamas did the unthinkable – they beat the USA in the mens 4 x 400m relay,  an event they have won for the past  20 years. That was the beginning of the falling out of grace for the Caribbean Islands. Before this they had to deal with the USA loss of the blue ribbon events of the games – the Women and Mens 100m and the 200m. Things were not going as planned.  Now on the final day the USA lost the A list of events – the 4 x 100m relay Mens to a world setting record by Usain Bolt and his team members. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back and so the hounds came out barking.

Dick Pound, the Ex head of the WADA was the first semi official person to come out and cast aspersions on the Jamaican team. Complaint number 1 – WADA cannot get access to the Jamaican athletes in their own country. Hogwash. The Jamaican athletes are all star athletes. Everyone knows where they train and can find them in Jamaica or when they travel. WADA has unrestricted access to these athletes and failure to comply for a test can result in suspension. Mr Pound is milking a cow.

Complaint number 2. Jamaica does not have random drug test. Well does the  USAAA do random drug testing and if they do are all athletes free from drugs? These AAA all suffer from the same thing – complacency and nepotism. These organizations are no better than the other so if you complain about one you have to complain about all. Further WADA as an organization have the power to put pressure on these organizations but does it happen and most times it is who pays out the most money to keep the hounds quiet.

All sports are subject to performance enhancing drugs. Performance equals big money. The Jamaican athletes have undergone more testing than most. With the multi million lab they have in London detecting a masking drug should not be a problem and so far none has been found for Bolt or his team mates. So what is all this talk especially after the Jamaican win in the 4 x 100m today?

Pound has his reasons. Is he on the US payroll , only time will tell. What about Carl Lewis? what can possibly be his vice? His legacy is being destroyed by this new upstart.  Bolt is also reaping in millions of dollars from sponsorship , something he was not able to do. There is the broader picture as well. The Caribbean’s take over  from the US is troubling. The power shift means loss of money. Money shifting to the Caribbean athletes means  less marketability for the US athletes. The US is still the biggest consumer market so it is important that it remains at home in the US. So the real problem is not really with Jamaica but with the Caribbean and their so called failure to implement an effective drug policy. Attacking Jamaica is only because it is more high profile.

Sports is big money business and the USA is determined to be on top of the sports world. They will do everything and employ all the necessary means to cast doubts on the successes of the athletes of the Caribbean. All the broo-ha-ha is nothing but sour grapes The US like all the other AAA are all guilty of possible performance enhancing drugs. Its just a matter of the big dog having the bigger bark. No one is moving however so bark all they want. The dog is already out of the pen.

Athletes are mere humans…

 

Another great story of the Olympics. Felix Sanchez was the world leading 400m hurdles runner in 2003/4. At the Beijing olympics his grandmother died and he did hot perform to his standard. Since then he was left for dead , like a wayward homeless person on the sidelines. He kept a photo of his grand mother in his chest and promised her that he would win the 400m at the London olympics. Guess what -he did. That was why he was so emotional.

It is human nature to hold athletes above the norm, hold them to higher ideals, we cuss them when they fail. It is stories like these that remind us that athletes are human , like you and me. they go through the same emotions, the same bull shit , they do the same thing in the morning like you and me. So before we crucify, me included, we must remember they are only human, subject to failures, triumphs, tragedies, regrets, love, laughter, hate just like you and me.

 

THINGS I LIKE ABOUT THE OLYMPICS SO FAR

 

The London 2012 Olympics although no Beijing in terms of scale, scope and budget is steeping up to setting a few first in the hosting of the games. To mount such a spectacle is no mean feat. That in itself deserves an Olympic medal. And as usual nothing could ever be possible without those persons that are simply called The Volunteers. In every Olympics the Volunteers are the stars of the event . The thousands of them that do it all for self and country is a true testament to the Olympic spirit. Well done London like every country before them that has hosted the games. Now lets turn to the nice things so far in the Olympics after some 5 days.

The FIRE CAULDRON. The Barcelona games is by far the BEST ever produced lighting of an Olympic  flame  period. No one can forget the dramatic crescendo of the single archer and his lighted bow and with one stretch of the arrow lit the torch. it was dramatic. But London went a step further.  If you noticed during the parade of teams  there was an added volunteer with a brass holder in the parade . I was wondering what was their role, maybe it was to place the flag pole in the vessel. No, not so. They were the actual cauldrons for each country that would eventually make up the Olympic cauldron. THAT was special ,unique and different and deserves A+for the organizers. My only comment is that the flame should be high above the stadium so that the entire Olympic park and city can see the effects of the flame. Where the London flame is placed it does not afford that.

The BEACH VOLLEYBALL venue is probably the best location for the sport ever staged in the Olympics and Brazil has to come hard to top that. That was a stroke of genius and a pity it cannot remain permanent. Located on the Prime Minister’s doorstep in central London, Horse Guards Parade provides an iconic location for the London 2012 Beach Volleyball competition Coupled with the music and presenter the venue comes alive and is the perfect spectator sporting venue. The entire venue was built from stalls to sand.

SHOOTING  the Olympic games is a big task. Its the biggest audience in the world and every country has a team of reporters there to relay the results back to their country. Additionally the BBC as the host nation has to provide feeds to numerous networks to bring the coverage live. The London games has succeeded with giving the best close up shots of the games that makes you feel like you are actually there at the games. The amazing under water and over head shots of the swimming and diving competition , the close ups of the canoeing are all unprecedented in Olympic coverage. HD and 3D are the standard here. London 2012 will be the first Olympics to feature live 3D television broadcasts, and 33 “true 3D” cameras will be used to capture more than 230 hours of 3D coverage. So far this aspect of the games has been excellent and  first class. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for the viewers when the games move to the Olympic stadium.

 

 

The MEDAL Tally after 5 days has been exciting and is a true reflection that the world of sports is a global phenomenon that is for all countries not just the richest or biggest. From the  largest nation China to one of the more obscure ones Uzbekistan some 40 countries have medalled so far after only 5 days . It means the playing field is leveling. Its not just about money, its about heart. The 2008 Olympics had 86 countries that medaled. This 2012   games looks like it will top that.

Every Olympics has its fair share of drama and surprises. London so far has had a few. From the number of athletes sent home for doping to those gone for racial twittering these games are positioned to write its own chapter in the history books. One thing so far is true – no nation will have a gold medal wrapped in a bag waiting to be collected. You have to earn it. The world has suddenly gotten better.  China had to perform to win the diving sweep in medals. If they didn’t a country like Mexico would be right there to take it away from them. So the games has been fair and balanced . Now all attention moves to the Olympic stadium. The games in the  80,000 seat mammoth will be for the purist the real start of the Olympic games. Yes there will be drama, there will  be upsets and tears of laughter and the agony of defeat. From the opening ceremonies London 2012 has shown the world it will be a different Olympics. True to form it has been so far. What lies in the cauldron of the track and field? Let us all sit back and watch as the drama unfolds.