Journalist. Radio girl (BBC, DW). Writer (first book on Bristol's music/art scene), I also work on film projects. Born in Paris, I have been based in Prague, Miami, London, Nairobi (covering Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia), and Bristol, UK. I travelled from Italy to Haiti, via Tunisia, Liberia, South Africa, India, Mexico, Niger, Turkey, Iraq... My passions: Africa, Europe, literature, music, arts. This blog is to share my work and cultural discoveries from around the world.
Help Bristol's Homeless is a social enterprise created by Jasper Thompson, providing temporary housing for Bristol's homeless community.
The project recycles shipping containers, transforming them into temporary secure self contained homes.
The project hopes to attract business and members of the community to sponsor the containers and become involved with the project.
This social enterprise not only provides temporary homes for vulnerable people, but also offers them the opportunity to work on the project itself, providing a fixed address and the chance to learn new skills and integration back into the community.
And a more recent one on Vimeo, posted today by 3D / Massive Attack, with this message:
Bristol entrepreneur Jasper Thompson has created a social enterprise that provides emergency shelter and job opportunities by turning shipping containers into temporary houses for the homeless. Here is a film by Anthony Tombling Jnr and 3D about the project. The container being converted in the film will be on site at the Downs festival this weekend. Jasper and the team will also be present with more information about the project and it’s objectives. This container is sponsored by 3D.
It's nobody's fault, but every day in Bristol there is someone who becomes homeless. There are many contributing factors; bills, rent, unemployment and relationship breakdowns are just some of them. We aim to help, and to make a positive difference for these people. Please support us today, and together we can Help Bristol's Homeless.
Tricky releases new single ‘Running Wild (feat. Mina Rose)’. A song about the confusing uncertainty of youth, 'Running Wild' features South London-based newcomer Mina Rosa who writes that the lyrics “came from the lost child within me."
ununiform, Tricky's 13th album, is out 22nd September on False Idols / !K7.
A delicate, storming, intricate album, it sees Tricky take perhaps his most radical step yet - a journey into happiness and contentment. It's a record that shows the legendary British producer confront his legacy, history, family - even death itself.
So, so, so, so proud to have contributed to this!!! I was only a young researcher back then but this taught me so much and gave me the amazing opportunity to continuously work with one of the greatest filmmakers of our time! Certainly the most distinctive and rare voice of our days, mixing political reflection, cultural studies, intelligence and emotion.
I'll be watching the definitive version tomorrow.
And the film will be out in France on September 27th.
Our world is changing, whether European and American leaders want to acknowledge it or not and, as I tried to show in my first book, artists, musicians, writers, thinkers are among the ones making things move...
Here is a beautiful example! From "a proud Nigerian" in one of the most interesting art exhibitions displayed in Paris this year.
Just the simple truth... Facts. But never acknowledged by those in power:
The west’s wealth
is based on slavery. Reparations should be paid | Kehinde Andrews
If the countries and
companies that became rich by exploiting human flesh paid their debts, the
world would be a radically different and fairer place
Monday 28 August 2017 - The Guardian
The west is built on racism; and not in some
abstract or merely historical way. Genocide of over 80% of the natives of the
Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries paved the way for the enslavement of
millions of African people and the conquest of the world by European powers. At
one point Britain’s empire was so vast that it covered two-thirds of the globe,
so large that the sun never set on the dominion. The scientific, political and
industrial revolutions the British school system is so proud to proclaim, were
only possible because of the blood, toil and bounty exploited from the “darker
nations” from across the globe.
Colonialism left Africa, Asia and
the Caribbean underdeveloped, as the regions were used to develop the west
while holding back progress in what we now call the global south.
Any discussion of
progress in racial equality in Britain or the rest of the world has to
acknowledge the damage that the west has inflicted on the former colonies and
their descendants. Malcolm X explained that “if you stick a knife
in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, that’s not progress. If you
pull it all the way out, that’s not progress. The progress comes from healing
the wound that the blow made”. Instead of attempting to fix the damage, we are
completely unable to progress on issues of equality because countries such as
Britain “won’t even admit the knife is there”.
It is the height of
delusion to think that the impact of slavery ended with emancipation, or that empire
was absolved by the charade of independence being bestowed on the former
colonies. Descendants of enslaved Africans in the west find themselves subject
to steep racial inequalities in every area of social life and
are more likely to be killed by the state, as evidenced by the eruption of Black Lives Matter movements across the globe.
This year marks 70 years since the partition of India and the region is
still dealing with the consequences of British rule. The underdevelopment of
the African continent continues with corrupt trade policies and the domination
of the economy from the outside. One in 12 children dies in sub-Saharan Africa
before their fifth birthday, in large part because the continent continues to
be crippled by western “development”.
Make no mistake, the
knife is still planted firmly in our backs and it is time we not only removed
it, but healed the wound. The only way to do this is for reparations to be paid
to wipe out the unmistakable debt the west owes.
Reparations have been
routinely dismissed by British leaders, including David Cameron who told
Jamaica that it was best to “move on” rather than expect so much as an
apology. But as dismissive as Cameron was, there are plenty of precedents for
the repayment of historical and economic debts.
Reparations were paid out
by the British government after the abolition of slavery – albeit to the slave
owners. So great was the loss of wealth from the exploitation of human flesh
that the equivalent of £2bn was paid, which has now been tracked by researchers at UCL. In 1804,
Haitians had the audacity to carry out the only ever successful slave rebellion
and declared independence from France. One of their rewards was being forced to
pay 90m French francs, from 1825, with the final payment only being made in
1947. Slavery was clearly a lucrative endeavour and one for which those who
produced the wealth have never received any compensation.
It is not just
governments that owe a debt; some of the biggest institutions and corporations
built their wealth on slavery. Lloyds of London is one of Britain’s most
successful companies and its roots lie in insuring the merchant trade in the
17th century. The fact that this was the slave trade has already led to civil
action being taken by African Americans in New York. The church,
many of the biggest banks, much of the ironworks industry and port cities
gorged themselves on the profits from human flesh.
It is clear that it would
be just to pay reparations, and it is also possible to calculate the amount
that Britain and other nations owe. A lot of work has been done in the United
States to determine the damages owed to African Americans. The figure owed
comes to far more than the “forty acres and a mule” that were promised to
some African Americans who fought in the civil war. The latest calculations
from researchers estimates that for unpaid labour, taking into account interest
and inflation, African Americans are owed anywhere between $5.9tn and $14.2tn.
In many ways the calls
for reparatory justice do not take go far enough. Caricom includes a demand to
cancel third world debt, and the Movement for Black Lives for free tuition for
African Americans. Both of these are examples of removing the knife from our
backs, rather than healing the wound. Third world debt was an unjust mechanism
for maintaining colonial economic control and; allowing free access to a deeply
problematic school system will not eradicate the impacts of centuries of
oppression. In order to have racial justice we need to hit the reset button and
have the west account for the wealth stolen and devastation caused. Nothing
short of a massive transfer of wealth from the developed to the underdeveloped
world, and to the descendants of slavery and colonialism in the west, can heal
the deep wounds inflicted.
"Real reparatory justice
would allow the developing world to build strong economies that could eradicate
We would need to perfect
the mechanism for delivering this wealth transfer. Many governments in the
developing world have as little interest in their native populations as the
colonial administrations did, and sharing the money between individuals is the
surest way to ensure that none of the issues are solved. But real reparatory
justice would allow the developing world to build strong, sustainable economies
that could eradicate global poverty. No one would need to live on less than a
dollar a day and children would not die by the second. Racial equality at home
would heal divisions between communities and absolve politicians from more
There’s even something in
it for the “little Englanders”. People are not risking their family’s lives
crossing deserts and the Mediterranean on makeshift boats because they crave
the British way of life. Migration to this bleary island would turn to a
trickle if people could make a decent life in their homelands.
Of course there would be
stark economic consequences for repaying this mountain of debt and no longer
exploiting the developing world. But it is time we admitted that society
currently works to benefit the few, and a rethink of how wealth is distributed
more generally is long overdue. A factory reset of the political and economic
consensus, in the form of reparations, would lead to a radically different and
potentially fairer world for all.
• Kehinde Andrews is
associate professor in sociology at Birmingham City University. His research
specialism is race and racism and is author of ‘Resisting Racism: Race,
Inequality and the Black Supplementary School Movement’ (2013) and co-editor of
‘Blackness in Britain’ (2016)
Le meilleur moment d'août 2017...
Le sud, du soleil, des sourires, discussions et partages, voyages en trains, collines, livres et lectures :)
Grâce à Franck-Olivier Laferrère et son festival littéraire baptisé Les Transversales, nous avons parlé de Bristol et surtout de Massive Attack à Faugères, dans l'Hérault, près de Béziers et Montpellier, une région très prisée... par les Anglais!
Un public franco- et anglo-phone, donc, pour nous écouter retracer le parcours contre-culturel de ces petits génies.
Résumé en vidéo :
Entretien avec Mélissa Chemam, autour de Massive Attack, Banksy, et la ville de Bristol...
Published on 29 Aug 2017
Entretien avec Mélissa Chemam autour de son essai "En dehors de la zone de confort", paru chez Anne Carrière: Massive Attack, Banksy, et l'histoire de la ville de Bristol !
Qu’ont en commun le Pont suspendu d’Isambart Brunel, l’acteur Cary Grant, le groupe Massive Attack et l’artiste de rue Banksy ? Ils sont tous originaires de Bristol, une ville moyenne de l’ouest de l’Angleterre. Une ville marquée par une histoire riche et complexe, mais encore jamais racontée !
Marquée par une fortune précoce liée à l’ouverture de l’Angleterre vers l’Amérique, elle devient aussi un des points névralgiques du commerce triangulaire. C’est justement cette histoire qui va nourrir, de manière inédite et radicale, la génération d’artistes éclose à Bristol à partir de la fin des années 1970.
Tout prend forme lorsque qu’un jeune graffeur anglo-italien du nom de Robert Del Naja signe du pseudonyme « 3D » sa première œuvre de rue sur un mur de la ville en 1983. Avant de fonder le groupe Massive Attack en 1988 avec les DJs noirs Grantley Marshall et Andrew Vowles, il rencontrera les pionniers du post-punk de Londres et Bristol, les passionnées de reggae antillais du quartier de Saint Pauls, puis la chanteuse Neneh Cherry et le rappeur Tricky. Creuset inattendu mêlant hip-pop, reggae, soul et guitares rebelles, le premier album de Massive Attack, Blue Lines, sort en 1991 et provoque une révolution dans la culture populaire britannique. Massive Attack devient l’incarnation du succès d’un métissage à la britannique, et parviendra à toujours se renouveler, tenter de nouvelles révolutions et durer au-delà de nombreux mouvements musicaux des années 1990 et 2000, telles la Brit Pop, l’electronica et le drum and bass.
Dans le sillage de cette créativité débridée mêlant musique, art et implication sociale profonde, naissent aussi les groupes Portishead et Roni Size, les mouvements nommés trip-hop et dubstep, et le génial Banksy, inspiré dès son plus jeune âge par les graffitis de Robert Del Naja. Depuis, la profondeur artistique de ces artistes et leur engagement n’ont fait que se renforcer, tout comme leur lien avec leur ville. Ce lien va devenir le tremplin qui les porte jusqu’à l’autre bout du monde, de l’Amérique à Gaza. Il pousse aussi très tôt Robert Del Naja à se mobiliser – contre la guerre d’Irak, pour les droits des Palestiniens ou, plus récemment, pour l’accueil des réfugiés jetés sur les routes européennes.
Rébellion, art, musique, engagement, Bristol synthétise ainsi une autre histoire du Royaume-Uni. Une histoire qui amène au sommet des charts et sur le devant de la scène de parfaits autodidactes, et la part plurielle et afro-antillaise de la culture britannique.
Pour commander le livre, quelques références de libraires :
Hey August, sorry to say that, but I'm so ready for September... Let's get out of this surviving mode.
Busy. Lots of work. Newsroom, the weekly magazine, that news agency. But that's not enough to change anything. So much in the pipeline and still no way out just yet. Started writing again, finished proofreading my book's second version, have this film to make come to reality after months trying, and these new jobs lining in. But it is not enough. Never enough to make things turn around.
For now, just music.
The National - 'Day I Die'
Sound of the moment, dwelling in nostalgia... and realising I'm not free here...
'Possibly Maybe' - Björk
"Possibly Maybe" Lyrics
your flirt finds me out teases the crack in me smittens me with hope
possibly maybe probably love
as much as i definitely enjoy solitude i wouldn't mind perhaps spending little time with you sometimes sometimes
possibly maybe probably love
uncertainly excites me baby who knows what's going to happen? lottery or car crash or you'll join a cult
possibly maybe probably love
mon petit vulcan you're eruptions and disasters i keep calm admiring your lava i keep calm
possibly maybe probably love
since we broke up i'm using lipstick again i'll suck my tongue as a remembrance of you
"At least 17 organisations and groups in Bristol have pledged their support for the rally which will take place on College Green at 12pm on Saturday, September 9."
‘Rally for Bristol and hand the Government a mandate
Ellie Pipe, August 25, 2017
“We have to recognise the nature of the challenge we face and we have to face it together,” says Marvin Rees, of his bid to mobilise Bristol people to fight against austerity.
The mayor heads to Westminster on September 12, along with core city leaders, to lobby the Government for a re-balancing of sovereignty and an end to the crippling budget cuts that are bringing regions to breaking point.
Just two weeks prior to the rally day on September 9, Rees speaks to Bristol24/7 about what he hopes to achieve in Westminster and responds to criticism of the string of cuts his own council is proposing.
“We want to make sure that the work of cities is top of the agenda for Westminster politicians,” says Rees.
“This came about at a Core Cities gathering when I suggested that we do not wait for national politicians to fill the space, but that we go and tell them what the agenda needs to be. It needs to be cities’ speaking.
“For some time, we have been talking about the re-balancing of sovereignty between Westminster and cities so that we have the power, not only to control what goes on, but also so that we can operate within the boundaries of those cities and their influence in the wider world.
“Austerity has come to its end, people from all political persuasions feel that.
“Our job is to go up and make the case and to be there with force and that’s why we want MPs and shadow ministers to make the case too. We will have the leaders of the ten biggest cities outside London standing there and saying this cannot go on.”
At least 17 organisations and groups in Bristol have pledged their support for the rally
But will the Tory Government take heed?
“The Government cannot deliver on housing, or air quality, or education without cities thriving,” argues Rees. “This is about giving cities tools to deliver.”
Corbyn pledged to stand by Bristol and other core cities on a recent visit
But, against a backdrop of cuts proposed by the council which will hit public services across the city, including libraries, parks, school crossing patrols and adult social care, many are questioning how the mayor can condemn cuts on one hand and then implement them on the other.
“I get people coming up to me all the time and saying what they want me to spend money on and all these things are important,” says Rees. “We want to spend money on all of them, but we live within the framework we do and our Government are not giving us the options.
“Investing in cities – that’s what we need and are trying to turn around.”
Rees says it is also up to people to take ownership of their public spaces
Taking the example of parks, that stand to have all council funding withdrawn by 2019, Rees says it is down to people to mobilise and take ownership of their public spaces.
But, he adds: “Clearly I think Government has a role to play in maintaining things like parks and we would not choose this situation.
“To stop ourselves being taken over by civil servants, we have to balance the budget. But, we also have to look after the interests of the poorest people.
“We have to deal with the immediate challenge of trying to balance our budget while lobbying national government to mend our cities.”
Rees makes a final point that Bristol City Council is only one of a large number of organisations that shape life in the city, making his point that it is up to individuals and groups to act.
Rally against austerity could be Bristol’s biggest
Ellie Pipe, August 15, 2017
An uprising against the Government-imposed austerity that is bringing Bristol to breaking point will take place next month.
Mayor Marvin Rees has now issued an official rallying call for people across the city to unite on September 9 and march in protest at the vicious public sector cuts that are taking their toll across the country.
“Across the UK, there are adult and children’s social care departments struggling to keep up with the costs of rising demand on their services,” said Rees.
“Council services are being reduced and stopped to find the money to keep the essential life and limb services from falling over. This isn’t right and it isn’t a reflection of the driving force that cities have become in the modern economy.”
“There is the potential for a huge Bristol demonstration in opposition to cuts imposed on this city, and many others, by the Conservative government – one with a national impact,” said a spokesperson for Bristol People’s Assembly when they announced plans for a public rally last month.
Marvin Rees says he is concerned about the cost of public sector cuts
This, he says, reflects that cities are the drivers of the modern economy and are magnets for culture, talent and investment. Yet, according to estimates from the Local Government Association, by 2020, councils will have lost 75 per cent of the funding they had in 2015.
Thousands marched through the streets of Bristol in May to protest against cuts to school budgets
“Cities are at breaking point when it comes to council provided services,” continued Rees.
“What I’m concerned about as a city leader is the cost of the cuts. These short-term savings will undermine our communities and population health and will ultimately cost us more in the medium to long-term. It’s crucial we take this case to government.
“It’s important that along with making the case to government ministers, we get support from as many MPs in Westminster as possible. My message is simple, if you believe that there is an alternative to austerity then join with me, the Trade Unions, the People’s Assembly and the people of Bristol on September 9 to show the government and other UK cities that we want change and we’re prepared to take that ask to Westminster.”
Members of Bristol People’s Assembly protest against austerity and local government cuts
At least 17 organisations and groups in Bristol have pledged their support for the rally which will take place on College Green at 12pm on Saturday, September 9.
The singer once explained to the BBC this song is about a young woman being from the forest and arriving in a big city, unable to adapt completely. So she feels so isolated, hence the name "Isobel", Björk said...
So she hides back in nature and trains these moths to send emotional spirits towards urban people...
The video is an illustration of that feeling:
Björk - 'Isobel'
One of the songs of the moment...
'Isobel' Directed by Michel Gondry. Written by Björk/Nellee Hooper/ Marius De Vries/ Sigurjón Birgir Sigurdsson (aka Sjón).
Published by Universal Music Publishing Ltd/Warner Chappell Music Ltd/19 Music/BMG Music Publishing Ltd. ® 1995 BjörkOverseas Ltd/One Little Indian Records Ltd.
- My post in response: Someone in the UK tells me they can read this and not feel ashamed. If I read that in France, I'll be so alarmed. Here we have to courage, no plan to host refugees, it is an every day heartbreak to witness. I've been to Calais, to the Italian border, I live near La Chapelle but now there are people, entire families, sleeping in my street and the two streets around. Giving food, money, clothes, as a single person is hardly helping. Promoting organisations helping isn't even enough... But there, on the other side of the Channel, when there is no high unemployment rate and jobs in services are at such a high level taken care of by European workers, they want to get rid of legal, educated workers because they are not "ethnically" British...? Can someone tell me this is worth "taking back control"? This referendum has exposed hatred and selfishness that have beeb there, of course, for years, but in a brutal, disastrous and dangerous way. I hope some voices will make themselves heard soon enough to publicly denounce this trend in this country I used to love so much... - Read the whole article here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/eu-migration-uk-brexit-referendum-latest-net-fall-figures-why-racism-hate-crime-brexodus-government-a7911196.html
“I don’t feel welcome here anymore,” says Lukasz, a Polish man who has lived in the UK since he was eight years old.
“It’s like staying at someone’s house and you definitely outstayed your welcome – that’s how I feel.”
The 28-year-old is one of thousands of European citizens considering leaving Britain because of last year’s vote for Brexit.
Business groups have raised mounting concerns over “brain drain” from vital industries, while organisations representing EU migrants have urged the Government to offer solid guarantees over their status following Brexit.
Lukasz, who did not want his second name published, moved to London as a young child when his mother was offered a better job in the capital.
Educated in Acton and Greenwich, he now drives London buses and said he sees the UK as “home” and feels like more of a “tourist” in Poland.
“I enjoy the diversity of people and culture here – nothing and no one is the same, I have made many friends from all over the world,” Lukasz told The Independent. “I love the UK.”
“Someone sprayed ‘GO HOME’ on a Polish shop near me,” Lukasz said.
“Racism has shot up, I started noticing at work … I had few passengers arguing between each other.
“My mum had an incident where she was on a bus with my two-year-old sister, where a guy said ‘f**k off, go back to your country you b****, if not I will stab you’.
“Maybe this guy was not mentally stable, and it was reported to the police, but in 20 years of living in the UK I never heard anyone be racist to me or my family. Since the referendum it has all come out. “
Lukasz now feels his 20 years of effort to fit into Britain’s way of life is “wasted” and is saving up to leave the country shortly before the deadline for Brexit.
He said he will miss his life-long friends, the food and the diversity of London, but fears that the UK is “isolating itself”, adding: “It’s like the world is going backwards now and everyone wants to shut its doors.”
Matteo Mencarelli, a 30-year-old Italian man, has moved from the UK to Bulgaria in the wake of Brexit.
He arrived in London for a master’s degree at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in 2010 and has since been working at the UK office of the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Mr Mencarelli described his years in the British capital as “priceless” and a “completely different world” from his previous homes in Rome and Toronto.
Like many Europeans living in largely Remain-voting London, he was shocked by the referendum result.
“Perhaps my friends, colleagues and I were too naive and didn’t think it would actually happen but once it did, it had a huge impact on us,” he said. “For the first time we felt unwelcome here.”
Mr Mencarelli said the vote to leave the EU acted as a “catalyst” for him to pursue a career working for international organisations in the Middle East and is planning his future while living with his partner in Sofia.
“I miss living in London and I am extremely concerned for its future,” he added.
“I am hopeful that once the dust settles and a reasonable deal is struck with the EU, freedom of movement will be preserved and us Europeans will still be able to freely work and live in the United Kingdom. I do hope to be able to move back in a few years.”
Eva Scheffer, a Dutch aid worker, has already left the UK because of the potential impact of Brexit and now fears for her friends.
“I was offered a job in my field in the Middle East, and the uncertainty of whether or not I would be able to build a life in the UK after Brexit was definitely part of the decision to accept,” the 29-year-old said.
“I am very worried for my friends who are still there, both EU citizens and UK citizens.
“The EU citizens are in a very insecure position at the moment, as most of them haven’t been there for five years, so might be told to leave after Brexit – the same situation I faced when I was there.
“For UK citizens, especially many very international oriented ones, Brexit will cost them opportunities to work and study abroad.”
ONS figures show the vote to leave the EU is having a dramatic effect on migration even before any new laws are introduced.
Net migration has fallen by a quarter to 246,000, while EU net migration was down 51,000.
The ONS said the change was mostly caused by plummeting arrivals from the EU, as the number of European citizens leaving Britain rose by 33,000.
“These results indicate that the EU referendum result may be influencing people’s decision to migrate into and out of the UK, particularly EU and EU8 citizens,” said Nicola White, the head of international migration statistics.
“It is too early to tell if this is an indication of a long-term trend.”
Seamus Nevin, the head of employment and skills policy at the Institute of Directors, said the exodus could cause an “acute labour shortage” in vital industries.
“There is still more work to do to bring net migration down further to sustainable levels,” said immigration minister Brandon Lewis.
“People who come to our country to work bring significant benefits to the UK, but there is no consent for uncontrolled immigration.”
Ian Murray, the Labour MP for Edinburgh South, said the UK was facing a “Brexodus” that would damage the economy, universities and public services.
“When EU nationals with every right to be here are being sent letters telling them they will be deported, it is small wonder that increasing numbers of them are choosing to move away from Britain,” he added, referring to a Home Office blunder that saw 100 Europeans sent deportation notices “in error”.
Campaign group the3million, which represents EU citizens in the UK, said it was “little wonder” that so many were fleeing Britain.
“All we want is the assurance that we can continue our lives here as normal after Brexit,” added co-chair Nicolas Hatton.
“The UK Government must strike a deal with the EU which guarantees EU citizens’ current rights in full, permanently under the ECJ, and independently of the main Brexit agreement.
“Only then can we have the certainty we need that our future is in the UK, a country we love and which we want to continue to call home.”
Are you considering leaving the UK because of Brexit? Contact us by emailing email@example.com