Monday, April 30, 2007

Heritage Festival a Flop!

Originally uploaded by *A*L*I*.
I must admit, this was probably the worst heritage festival I've seen yet. Every year, the Bahrain National Heritage Festival is held at the traditional village next to the National Musuem, and every year the organisers select a new theme for the event. This year the choose football, and with the motto "Heritage of Passion" , and me being a footy fanatic, I thought I was in for a reall treat.

What a disappointment it was. There wasn't must to do or see. There was a photo exhibition of Bahrain's football histroy from 1920 to 1970. Some memorabilia, which was neat. There was also a small dirt football pitch where some kids played.

Apart fromt that, it just seemed like a family fun day. Lots of foods, toys and cloths to buy. Some music. Some kiddie games.

It just felt as everything was just thrown in together in the last minute, as the whole thing was an afterthought that the organisers kind of forgot about and then realised that have to put something on.

Still, the kids seemed to enjoy it. Shrug.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Biggest & Better

5th Elham
Originally uploaded by *A*L*I*.
It was a blast. Thanks for all who turned up on the night for making this the best and biggest Elham yet! We had probably around 100 throughout the evening and some were still coming in well past 9!

The response both films got was good and both artists had interesting things to say about their work. It was all crazy to sort out in the last minute as there was alot of running around from our end to make it all happen. (hell, I even had to drill holes in the wall!). Nothing I wouldn't do for love and art!

It got me all excited about our next one. We've already got a pretty good looking line up.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Elham's 5th Monthly Evening

Sorry for the delay. I was meant to post this earlier in the week. Alas, I forgot! But here you go. I know it's a Thursday but we just hope that more people will join us this time. Instead of going to Seef to catch a movie, come to Al Riwaq for a screening... you'll even get to meet the filmmakers!

(click on the image to view the details)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3
Originally uploaded by *A*L*I*.
Am I the only one getting overly excited about the fact that Spider-Man 3 is going to open in Bahrain two days before it does in the States? How cool is that?!

The film - from what I've seen - looks to be a fantastic/awe-kickin/super-action/hyper-thrillin conclusion to what must be the best-ever superhero franchise and none other have managed to even come close to it, not even the X-Men. God knows we've had to suffer some deadful, horrible superhero films (Catwoman, Daredevil, Ghost-rider)

I saw this poster advertising the opening of the film at Al Dana Cinema (hurray!) on May 2nd. Can't wait.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Tiny Tales

As a writer I enjoy playing with words and the idea of telling a whole story in as few words as possible has always been appealing to me, and quite challenging. This is not flash fiction, nor is it poetry. It's minimalist stories, tiny bites of tales. You could look at these as just what they are, or you can look further. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes words have differen meanings.

Here are some of the "tiniest" stories (if one can call them that) I've ever written...


Once upon a time,
There was a storyteller
Who had no more stories to tell


He came
From inside the house
But not before
It burnt to the ground


Ouch, I said
But the hole was bigger
Than my bleeding heart


The Darkness came and went
But she never moved or breathed
She remained

Thursday, April 19, 2007

That Time of the Month

The past two months I haven't felt like a "writer" at all. Simply because I haven't written anything. When I said I haven't written anything, I mean I haven't written any new material on my works in progress/fiction/stories. All of my writing has been related to my contributions in Ohlala and my GDN coloumn and it kinda sucks.

Besides, April has turned out to be one of those months. Too much happening at the same time. The fact that I started a new part-time job (I'm now a copywriter with a major international advertising agency - yes, I sold my soul to the corporate whore, according to a friend!) means that my days are filled, spending most of the day out either at the office or in meetings and interviews and running errands related to my other work.

But lets look on the bright side. Lots of cool stuff coming up. This month's Elham will be held next Thursday. I will post all the details over the weekend so watch this space. I've also got a book event coming up in a couple of weeks' time. This is looking likely to be on May 4th in the afternoon at the new Seef Mall extension. Again, I will post the details very soon, when all is put in place.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Grand Prix Third Strike

Originally uploaded by *A*L*I*.
Yesterday I attended the Bahrain F1 GP for the third year in a row (and yes, I always go in for free!). I only missed the first one because I was abroad at the time. The 2007 GP was pretty good. A great race by all accounts. But it was the sheer size of the crowds that really surprised me this time around!

Never have I seen large flocks of people flooding the BIC for the GP in the past 2 or 3 years, certainly a progression from the debut race four years ago. I think people in general and Bahrainis in particular are now getting round the F1 and its become an event I think people look forward to, which I suppose is a very good sign. At least for the BIC guys. Because, lets face it, it won't last. by 2009 Abu Dhabi will have its own GP and so will Dubai eventually (they are building an F1 Theme Park after all!).

Nonetheless, it was another wonderful experinece and everybody seemed to be having a great time. And even at the end of the race, and as I and my sister made our way out, we saw more and more crowds coming in! What really annoyed me to the point of huffing and puffing and cussing, was the way the traffic was handeled. See, if you took a wrong turn and ended up NOT on the highway, you would've ended up going round the entire island to get home, just like me! It took us a little over an hour to reach home, which is in Isa Town, as all entries into the main highway were shut.

Anyway, you can see some pix from the race on my flickr and you can also watch this clip I took from the Victory stand.

Friday, April 13, 2007

She Dreams of Cake

Sophia Copolla is a very interesting director. I liked Suicide Girls, loved Lost in Translation and was overwhelmed by the beauty of her latest film Marie Antoinette, which I saw just recently. Her style is putting a film together is just wonderful, from the very first frame to the last; her use of natural light, rich colors and small, simple moments leaves a warm feeling inside you as you watch.

Marie Anoinette's story is told wonderfully here, but it still lacked a certain something at certain parts. I thought the first third of the film was simply outstanding, brilliant in every second, frame, line and shot. But the second third was somewhat repetitive and sterile, while the last third didn't have that ever-lasting impact her previous films did, which is truly a shame. In my opinion, the focus should've been kept on the awkward yet seemingly warm relationship between Marie and her king husband Luis.

Overall, a very pleasant film worth watching. I'd give it 3 out of 5.

Watch out for the Four Winds

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Another Makeover Round the Corner

I feel that it's about time to once again redesign my website so I began working on a new layout and I'm thinking of a total "tone-down" approach this time around. My current site has way too much content/pages.

So here is a sneak peak at the work in progress. I'll add a few bits here and there on this layout but generally, that's the look I'm going for. What'dya think?

By the way, some relatively good news. I managed to save some documents from my damaged hard drive. The most important ones at least! Here is what I was able to retrieve:
- Against (novel) work in progress
- Buried (novel) work in progress
- About 80% of my short stories and poems
- New book project (manuscript)
- Pillow (children's story) work in progress
- QuixotiQ rewrite manuscript (in progress)

I did lose 15 pages of new material of a feature-length screenplay I was working on and some other bits and pieces here and there, including the latest draft of script for a short film.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Clearing the Matter Once & for All

I wrote this for my Culturally Speaking colum in the GDN but then decided it wasn't good enough to be published, so I figured why not share it with my dear blog readers, perhaps they'll have a thing or two to say about it?


Here’s the thing about instant coffee: it is NOT coffee.

“Of course it is.” Someone would argue. And I would give up the argument, because I realize it’s more often than not, futile. You’re either pro instant coffee, or anti. You can predict which group I fall into.

For a reason I have been trying to understand for the past 12 years, people in Bahrain – and specifically in workplaces – have this perverse relationship with instant coffee. It is if they simply have to honor it by serving it in their offices. Have you never heard of coffee machines? Instant coffee might’ve been cool in the 80s, but people should know better now.

Wikipedia tells me that: “The lowest quality coffee beans are used in the production of instant coffee and (get this!) sometimes other unwanted residues from the harvest are used in the production process.” Eww… this reminds me of the time I found a chicken beak in the form of a nugget as part of my fast food meal.

Apparently, I should blame the Japanese. A little over a century ago, a Japanese scientist named Satori Kato invented instant coffee in Chicago. The Japanese are a great people, and their inventions have had a great impact in advancing technology and life in ways never thought possible before, but on god’s green Earth, why? All their good deeds is wiped out by this one big unforgivable crime against humanity.

Yes, I do have an issue with it. And so should you. You call something what it is, and instant coffee is, I stress, not real coffee. Doesn’t taste like it, smell like it, or even resemble it. It’s a consumable substitute created to give the illusion to the masses that they are drinking chemically manufactured substances in the form of powder. I just can’t trust anything that comes in powder from.

But when you go into a meeting, visit a friend at their office, or find yourself locked in a new workplace environment, and you’re offered a cup of coffee, you don’t want to sound rude and well, a coffee-snob. So you drink that vile stuff and you squirm through its bitter aftertaste and hold your breath every time you bring the cup closer to your mouth for another undesirable sip, and you tell yourself to either learn to say no next time, settle for tea, or simply stop visiting. For good.

At my first job as a receptionist, and throughout my years as a journalist, in every single workplace, that dreadful canister of instant coffee awaited me in the office kitchen, fat with that brown-bity substance that disguises itself as coffee. They’re the plague, you can run from them, but you can’t hide. They’ll get you. Always do. Unexpectedly sometimes, and you eventually find yourself giving up the fight.

I suppose what we need is a revolt. I take this dais to call in all employees around Bahrain to revolt against their employers and demand Proper Coffee, in place of the cheap stuff they get now. Today is the day we put instant coffee to bed. All Hail Proper Coffee!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

All That You Can See & Hear!

I am in a music video sharing mood right now. So here's another cool video for another AWE-KICKIN' hot-rockin' song from Ash, which are starting to sound a little bit like Music in this one!

Online Videos by

So many of my fave bands/artists (Travis, Thirteen Senses, Ash, Tom McRae, Manic Street Preachers, etc) are putting out new records over the coming weeks so I am trying to save up to go on a mad music shopping spree.

I am in love with the new Travis single "Closer" and can't get enough of it, and it comes with a sweet-wonderful video too! I bet your dollar it'll make you smile.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Who Cares Who The Bees Are?

I present you with what must be one of the coolest videos for one of the sweetest little tunes you're likely to hear all year long!

How can you not care!?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Like Barley in the Wind

She smiles
Like angels do
Beaming brighter than the moon
Those jewels for eyes, they
Gleam under the faint flicker of a candle

She laughs
Like children do
She sways,
Like barley in the wind
And I melt under that gaze
Like the butter on the side plate

She speaks
Like goddesses do
Full of verve and light and buoyancy
Each word a pearl to swallow

She moves
Like angels do
She's a season
Sitting right in front of me