Posted in Blogging, Conversations

Inviting you to a call

A couple of days ago I wrote a post on our blogging community about moving beyond the words on a screen.
So now I’ll be setting up a series of dates and times for a call and you’re invited to join in if you like; here are the specifics for the first one.
Note: I will try and use a host of communication tools

Date & Time?

Sunday 7th June
4pm UK Time

What tool are we using?

It’s free to download

Voice or Video?

For those familiar with Zoom you’ll know if offers both voice and video. For our call this weekend, I’m opting for Voice and we can see where it takes us from there.

How do I join?

If you are interested then drop me a message via my contact page and I will share the details. No worries if you can’t.

What’s the topic?

You. Us. Anything. Community. + a virtual cup of tea! See you there

[Header image: monzo.com]

Posted in Blogging, Work

Lost and Found – a Forgotten Blog

A Semi-Intro

When I was growing up there was a TV programme in the UK, in the 80’s, about finding long lost relatives (I didn’t watch the recent series hosted by Davina). A member of the public, who would have written in to come on the show, would re-tell a sad story of how they got separated from a family member.  As the viewer you knew what was coming, my eyes would always begin to well up.  Then the screen would part, with the long lost family member walking through.  Tears flowed all round – happy ending.

And so the link to this post?

Last week I embarked on a mission to clean up my categories for this blog.  Meticulously, I clicked each category and assessed each post, making any necessary changes.  500 clicks later my eyes welled up Continue reading “Lost and Found – a Forgotten Blog”

Posted in First Novel

6 Tips to keep your book on track

Over the past few months I’ve started experiencing a strange feeling. It’s the type that makes you hot under the collar, and it’s all to do with my writing.

At a coffee shop last week I hurriedly washed down a hot chocolate just so I could get home and carry on writing. Sometimes the feeling is so overwhelming that it frustrates me. But all is not lost, I’ve been learning to manage it better. Hope this works for you.

(1) Visualise the finished book

 

While you may not know what the book cover looks like right now, visualise. Visualise it sitting on the shelf of a book shop or part of someone’s personal collection. I’ve been known to pop into local bookstores just to see where it would sit snuggly.  It’s the end result that drives us on

(2) Don’t sit in silence

Some say it’s best to stay quiet about your work until it’s finished. Here I mean your nearest and dearest. By way of general conversation I’ll keep my family, friends and work colleagues up to date.  Talking about my writing, my progress spurs me on. It keeps the fire inside me burning. By talking I feel in touch with my work and this excites rather then frustrates.

(3) Get fresh air, get me time

I find time out is key and that’s not time away doing chores. Taking walks, any distance or in any weather opens up the lungs and refreshes the body. The stimulation results in fresh ideas flowing through your mind. Ideas that can come from the sounds of the outdoor.

(4) Change your scenery

 

Try not working from the same fixed location. I don’t use a laptop much for writing and we have one of those all-in-one computers. I variate the locations for when I want to write. To compensate for not using a laptop I often hand write sections and chapters. To really mix things up I have a collection of notebooks. Some are yellow paper, some grids and I’ve even used a dot notepad. But the most important thing is to work in different places, indoors and out.

(5) Writing blocks don’t need to last hours

My holiday for the festive period started on 23rd December. From this date to when I go back (2nd Jan) I identified the days that I would dedicate to editing my draft novel. What I find is writing in shorter blocks help. I could sit for a couple of hours at a time but in the past found it has a negative effect; but one size doesn’t fit all. My preference is 45 minutes at a time or maybe a set number of chapters. After which I’ll take a break, play a few games of table tennis if the kids are home. Making writing enjoyable and in manageable chunks.

(6) Never think why it’s taking so long

I started writing my current (and first) novel in December 2015. As I type these words I have finished the final draft which has gone through many iterations. I am hoping 2020 is publish year. But over the past few years I’ve often heard the words book finished yet? Why is it taking so long? While this can often deflate you, don’t be deflated. Don’t say to yourself it’s taking me too long but say look how long I’ve been committed to something, I’m proud of myself!

Every person has a story in them, you just need to put pen to paler and let it out. #happywriting

Posted in British Asian

My Review: Cracking Up – The Evolution of British Asian Humour!

 

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Away from the hustle and bustle of Regent’s Street, where rush hour reminded me of a normal day on the roads of Delhi, a left turn brought me to the tranquil entrance of Asia House.    As I gathered pace up the winding stairs I encountered the subtle noise of this evening’s audience attending “Cracking Up – The Evolution of British Asian Humour“.

Explaining humour is a lot like dissecting a frog; you learn a lot in the process but in the end you kill it.

Re-iterating the wise words of Mark Twain from the host for the evening, Sathnam Sanghera, kicking things off and introducing members of the panel.apict2014-05-10_06-34-30-PM_jpg

Those members of the panel included writer/producer Anil Gupta (Goodness Gracious Me, Kumars at No. 42 and Citizen Khan); Saurabh Kakkar (Head of Development at BBC Comedy) and Shazia Mirza (renowned stand up comedian).

First came the humour!

What better way to kick off an evening of humour then to have a little stand up comedy, performed by Shazia. Birmingham (the posh part) born Shazia tried her might to rally up a rather subdued audience, and I would like to think she almost got there….“tough crowd” was her choice of words. The theme of Shazia’s jokes centered upon the Asian stereotypes we have all come to associate ourselves with. Yes those jokes still make us chuckle but the audience would later gain an interesting insight from the panel about their honest thoughts.

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The Panel of Experts Voice their thoughts!

So some snippets of what was discussed…

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At what point did you decide to go into comedy, given it’s not the most traditional Asian profession?

….”well I’m not the most traditional Asian“…responded Anil Gupta, drawing laughter from the evening’s audience.

Saurabh Kakkar worked at a chemical plant so had a total change of career, taking a job to produce LIVE comedy.His family knew his career in engineering wasn’t going to last so it didn’t come as a major shock when they found out about his desire for a change.

Shazia started life as teacher in Tower Hamlets but always had a passion to write comedy, so decided to attend a writing course at City & Guilds.

“…at the end of the course the teacher asked us to write about something you really hate and be really truthful. So I wrote about how I had so much facial hair and how it was ruining my life. How I tried bleaching it, shaving it, plucking it, lasering it”.

..”when I stood up in front of all the people, everybody started laughing”…This inspired Shazia to join the circuit and start performing at comedy clubs… “I really love that feeling of people laughing”..

 How do you guys feel about Goodness Gracious Me?

Saurabh Kakkar: “My Jewish and Indian friends could relate to this..”

Sathnam Sanghera: “I think it changed the way Britain saw Ethnic minorities”

Anil Gupta: “We set out to make a funny show. When I was growing up it certainly wasn’t very cool being Asian.When I was working at the BBC, there was a rumour going around that they were developing an Asian sitcom. I was outraged they didn’t ask me as I was Asian. I went to see my boss, said it should be a sketch show and he said go away and do something. We put on a one off live show, called in close family”. <we know the rest>

Is there something intrinsically funny about British Asian Culture?

Shazia: “No, the Jews are hilarious. They have a history of being able to laugh at themselves, whereas as the Asians don’t. On the comedy circuit there are only 5 or 6 Asian comedians. There is no Asian Comedy, just comedy and Asian people doing comedy”.

Will British Asian comedy just disappear as Asians integrate and people like stop having these debates?

Anil Gupta: “I hope so. Hopefully as time passes and people evolve it will become a redundant phrase.

We would have evolved as a society when people don’t question a brown person’s right to do a joke an Englishman”.

 

My Closing Thoughts

The venue and ambiance really set the scene for the evening and the panel on show offered vast experience on the comedy front. Many of the audience like myself may have been expecting a conversation focused on the emerging future British Asian Comedy, however what Shazia said really summed it up for me – that she would rather do jokes about general observations as opposed to Asians in particular. So many more interesting things to talk about then just being Asian.

I have watched the likes of Paul Chowdhry and Russell Peters over the past few years, laughed at the stereotypes from shows like Goodness Gracious Me and Citizen Khan, but what stereotypes will exist in 20years time? Personally I would like to see more Asians involved in comedy, on a general level, whether it be in the mainstream or stand up. But for now, I will continue to laugh at the suitcases on top of the cupboards and TV remotes wrapped in cling film.

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Posted in Poetry

It’s [break] time

 

I’m taking a BreaK

After everything,

I’ve 48.5mins thinking time each evening,

I am writing, checking, commenting again,

Beginning of June 2012