Diwali on the Square

1:30 pm : Monday, 16 October 2006  | 

Yesterday I paid a visit to Diwali on the Square - the Hindu "Festival of Lights" which is held every year on Trafalgar Square. The celebration symbolises the victory of good over evil, and lamps are lit as a sign of celebration and hope for mankind.

It was a very well attended event, with the square rather jam-packed. The fountains were switched off, and some wonderful lotus flower lamps were floating there. Though the majority of folk were of Asian origin (naturally), it was touching to see I wasn't the only white person there! There were others, including a heavily pierced and tattooed fellow!

Many people came onto the stage to give their well-wishes, including a spokesperson of the Hare Krishna sect. He had us all with our hands in the air, chanting the Hare Krishna mantra for Tony Blair! When one woman stepped up to the mike and wished us "Om Shanti", I just cried out "Om Shanti!" in answer, and did not care what people around me thought! We were in this together!

My only disappointment was the lack of any art and craft stalls. It would have been a lovely addition to the experience. But then, Diwali is an important event in the Hindu calendar, so I can't imagine anyone wishing to work on such a day!

Tooty flutey

8:36 pm : Tuesday, 3 October 2006  | 

About a month or two ago, I enrolled on a flute course at City Lit in central London. It cost me £222 for 30 classes between September and June, which seems a lot to lay out, but at £7.40 a class, you just cannot beat it.

Last Friday was the first lesson. Very enjoyable. There are fifteen of us, of many ages and various levels of competence. Many of the folk are complete beginners, though there's two or three of us who have some playing history.

I chose to go in at level one - the beginner's level. Bear in mind, that although I have been playing flute for over two years, I am self-taught, so there will probably be some bad habits to unlearn. Though it never did Ian Anderson any harm, I guess I would like to gain some kind of 'orthodoxy' in my playing, whatever that may be. It is nice to be able to assist the others in their learning, and the tutor seems to appreciate my assistance!

It will be great to be able to play along with others. And there will be a performance given at the end of each term, so all the better to learn.

So there's my Friday evenings - tooting da flute.