Vote Beinazir Lasharie

The resignation of a Conservative councillor in Kensington and Chelsea (K&C) has led to a borough by-election in the Norland Ward to be held Thursday 6th October.

Kensington Labour Party’s selection of youth worker Beinazir Lasharie offers the opportunity for refreshing change to the council’s make up. First she must defeat the right wingers…

Beinazir is Youth Coordinator for NGO Third World Solidarity organising conferences, most recently following the student fees protests, at the House of Commons. Beinazir is also involved with another NGO, War Against Group Rape. Locally. she is a governor at Maxilla Nursery and has spent two years coordinating projects for disaffected young people at K&C Technical College.  Over a further four years she provided after-school Study Support at local libraries for children with poor language skills, linking students from her day job at a private Sixth Form college to work with primary school students and has also worked with disabled children.

A presenter on Asian tv channel Venus TV Beinazir hosts her own programme, ‘Chat with Beinazir’, discussing current issues with Asian and non-Asian young people.

Beinazir spoke to Urban Dandy about the upcoming by election, her view on cuts and what the  K&C council should look like…

UD. What is the current make-up of the council and who are you up against on 6th October?

BL: The current council has three Lib Dems, nine Labour and just under 50 Tories. I am up against Lib dem, a Tory and a UK Independence Party candidate…

UD. What damage has been done by the government’s cuts programme in K&C and what can be done to stop it?

BL: I have seen the cuts affect study support in Libraries, I worked for the service for three years, they have also cut other youth services, sure start centres and funding for community projects. I will campaign with my team of Labour Councillors to raise the issues and demand funding.

UD. You’ve described the current council as unrepresentative – why? What would a representative K&C council look like?

BL: A representative council would have Councillors under the age of 40, someone who lives on a council estate in social housing (me), more women, more people from ethnic minorities, more people who are not graduates and more people who do ‘real’ jobs i.e. not bankers, businessmen etc.

UD: What motivated you to stand and how can people help you win?

BL: I am motivated to help the community I live in to have a voice and be heard. I have already helped several families whose children I have assisted in getting advice and guidance for their housing issues and neighbourhood problems. I have helped young people with tips on how to find work, I even took one student who is studying at Goldsmiths campaigning with me. I am an inclusive person and like Labour I believe in values that include people into an ‘open society’. A ‘big society’ cannot exist where there are cuts crippling the very vulnerable.

For a dandier council…

Offer your campaigning help on 07800 575786 or

“Colours of Africa”: It takes an art auction…. 3.5*

An edited version of this review has appeared on
An inspiring and moving art collection sees the Tabernacle’s boutique gallery plastered floor to ceiling with colourful sketches and painting.  These disarming works are unique, refreshing and offer an uncontrived view of Ugandan village life. The images created by the children of Masindi are in London as part of an educational fundraising effort that ends 24 September 2011.

Red Sky as Sun sets behind acacia tree

Colourful painting by Vanny Aheebwais
An Aheebwais Original

Numbered pictures are accompanied by delightful business card mini profiles with pictures of each artist.  Bios include informative gems such as talented 12 year old Vanny Aheebwais does traditional dance and wants to visit London or self-taught 14 year old Peter Guma creative, experimental and hoping to study art at University.

Works are “sold” by silent auction and tagged as bids are received so you can see if there is competition.   The money (minimum bid 20£) contributes to a good cause and the winning bidder leaves with an original piece of African art.  A drinks evening will be hosted September 24thallowing for last minute offers and the announcement of the winning bids.

RedEarth Education provides teacher training: devising methods and strategies for the classroom with guidance manuals so that trained teachers can share their skills and cascade learning.  The current fundraising effort is for the construction of a “Teacher Training and Resource Centre” and the establishment of the first ever Ugandan Nursery Practitioner model facility.

Fruit outline on striped yellow and blue backgroundPick up an original at a snip or, for those with the means, dig deep to empower a worthwhile programme.

Additional works are available for immediate sale.

Until 24th September The Tabernacle
Powis Square, Notting Hill, London
W11 2AY

Heresy & Witticism – “Wittenberg” @ The Gate Theatre 4*

David Davalos’ Wittenberg centres around whether “to believe or not to believe” with undecided scholar Prince Hamlet in the crossfire of wits as Theology lecturer Martin Luther and Philosopher Dr Faustus go head to head arguing the case of religion against humanism.

Luther (Andrew Frame), Hamlet (Edward Franklin) and Dr. Faustus (Sean Campion) – Photo Tristram Kenton

The tug of war between colleagues on matters of faith versus philosophy is earnest and entertaining –Sean Campion’s Faustus declaring the Bible a source of answers for Theologians and questions for Philosophers.  The pub-crooning Faustus – twice a week at the Bunghole – mixes philosophy, medicine and women in his bon-vivant approach to life taking evident pleasure in the needling of the intensely devout and dour Luther (Andrew Frame).

Faustus Entertains – Photo Simon Kane

Davalos’ play sees Hamlet’s mental house thrown in to disarray not by scheming relatives but by an inability to reconcile Corpenicus’ theory of the sun at the centre of the solar system against religious teachings.  The tattered tennis playing undergrad (Edward Franklin) is unable to square hierarchical faith against scientific proof yet it is Luther’s own doubts about Rome that are at the true heart of the production.

Frame, Sophie Brittain as The Eternal Feminine” and Campion – photo Simon Kane

Rome grows wealthy through the sale of forgiveness leaving Luther struggling with his beliefs and loyalty to the papacy.  Staunch faith and argumentative intellect are crippled by the self -serving financial objectives of the Vatican opposition to which is sacrilege.  These weaknesses are seized upon by the mocking Faustus who accuses Luther of “abandoning the patient for the cancer” it is game on between the two worthy opponents.  The debate between Faustus and Luther is bawdy, inflammatory, the perfect storm of animosity and grudging respect as the actors deliver fiesty performances.  The production comes into its own during these sequence as Frame & Campion ignite a drolly feverish battle of wills and wit. Humours needling and hot tempers flare

The play, peppered with so many literary references, verges on coy yet Christopher Haydon stages a spirited UK premier that is never bogged down by its own cleverness. This Gate production is a thinking man’s affair wrapped in a cloak of hilarity.  Come for lascivious pub crooning, lap up the “brau” fuelled debates and prepare for the cold winds wrought by the choices of men.

Until 1 October 2011
Gate Theatre
11 Pembridge Road
London W11 3HQ

Angel Lewis’s Hip Hop Time Machine

These are the true adventures of one man’s travels in Hip Hop from location to location outside of the boundaries of time. Back an forth back an forth.



Captains log, September 2004.

I’ve landed at the Atlantic Center mall in Brooklyn, Atlantic and State Street. In the walkway between the DMV and MARSHALLS.  KC, a fellow traveler, gives a salute to a tall dark figure wearing a hat and shades. He looks up and replies in like manner, I recognise his pitch, all of a sudden I feel like I’m falling backward into that old movie Wild Style. It’s Fab Five Freddie!  About seven syllables were the extent of their short dialog as if they vaguely know each other, though when reserved KC talks there’s certainly some bond. KC is King of Chill if you can follow me back to MC Lyte’s album: Lyte as a rock, you can put a face to the name. KC’s from way, way, beyond back where I’m standing right now, only I’m in London and its 1986 Kurt AKA Mono Man is scratching sh sh sh Chang’e a beat. Yep, I repeat, scratching –London-1986. For those unaware, the European equivalent of that cultural energy that King of Chill and Fab 5 Freddie harnessed in the Apple was West Londons Laylow Ladbroke Grove, chiefly Powis Square the home of The Krew, Cash Crew, Break Jam, The Clash, Dizzy Heights and Flakey C to name but a few.

So why is it that at this time when most of the UK was listening to Jazz Funk and Steve Arrington’s Dancing in the key of life on Radio Horizon, the beats of Whizz kid, Herbie Hancock, Schooly D and Run DMC was blasting from speakers parallel to the early New York Hip Hop scene? Someone tripped forward in time and returned to Ladbroke Grove with what was to become the beat of the street, lino and all. I’D LIKE TO SAY IT WAS ME but it was already poppin when I embraced this culture. At this time an independent record shop called Rough trade on Talbot Road was selling Zulu Beat mixtapes featuring DJ Afrika Islam (The Son of Bambaataa) and Jazzy Jay. Listening to these tapes gave us the insight and the inspiration leaving us with two choices: Dream about being there or Create our own version. We did the latter. Within the next five years for the London Hip Hop scene, it was like JFK international straight to Powis Square. Queen Lateefa, the Jungle Brothers, Rocksteady Crew, Fab 5, Freddy, Brim, Futura 2000, Debbie Harry, Grand Master Flash and a host of others all blessed West London, in particular, teaching the novices a perfect collaboration of the combined arts that formed Hip Hop.

It’s 97 I’m still not over “The Infamous” album by Mobb Deep. I’m living and working in a salon in Brooklyn’s Fort Green: A direct parallel to Ladbroke Grove as a cultural hub. A local patron and writer Kevin Powell has invited the whole salon to his book launch party at a venue near the West Side Highway in Manhattan. After we get past security into this magnificent warehouse, reminiscent of the Dome – west London party paradise of the 80’s, only cleaner and better lit we mingle with the illuminated celebrities faces. DJ Stretch Armstrong and Bobitto are on the turntables and amongst others like actress Garcelle Beauvais, I recognise non-other than Crazy Legs from the Rocksteady Crew.

Such a scene had me regress back once again leaving ma boy Fab standing alone in this NY warehouse looking confused, with lots a questions. I arrived back in 1983 at London’s Covent Garden, another stop off for the new American Hip Hop stars of the 80’s where they discover there is a world and a scene outside of NY, and of course Ladbroke Grove…..

Unknown Hell – Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon

Pic at Bourj al Barajneh camp, Beirut, which inspired the title ‘Unknown Hell’. Graffiti in foreground is of the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

In February 2011 a group of British Labour MPs joined a Parliamentary delegation to Lebanon, home to 400,000 Palestinian refugees. They live in hell, but it is never mentioned in the mainstream media. Click here to read the findings of Gerald Kaufman, Michael Connarty and Jeremy Corbyn.

Unknown Hell