Monday, 30 April 2012

Megumi - Rockfort Rock ~ From Reggae In Da City, April 2012

Reggae In Da City is rolling round again ... this Thursday, 3rd May... so here's a little something to whet your appetite & entice you along to COTTONS, AKA THE RHUM JUNGLE, 70, Exmouth Market, Islington, EC1R 4QP.

RIDC is guaranteed to be a great night out filled with THE best live music from the RIDC Allstar band & definitely great fun! Reggae Legend Peter Hunnigale is the perfect host and had a real challenge last month trying to spot the performers amongst the crowd ... a real ram jam you could say! Another exciting aspect of  this event is the element of surprise... word has spread around the urban jungle so you never know who might pop up & grab the mic! Keep your ear to the ground for the hottest sounds around ~RIDC THE ONLY PLACE TO BE~ says who? says me... and everyone else who has sampled the RIDC raw musical live vibes and hot talent. Be Braap~Be a part of RIDC!

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like your event featured send details to

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Emptying the Recycle Bin! Live Life~Love Life WK 18

Do you ever have thoughts that go round and round inside your head? Sometimes you are battling to create something out of a mental collage, for instance you may have partial ideas floating around that need some form of consolidation. Quite often one idea really takes root and grows naturally whilst you leave the others on the back burner or simply forget about them altogether. These types of ideas deserve a place in your mind and tend to be productive or at the very least, do not occupy much of your time. They may cause you to become excited once they start taking shape or maybe a little disappointed if you cannot find a way to use them. Either way, they are legitimate and a positive aspect of your mental well being. Always embrace even the smallest creative idea because you do not know its potential!

Our minds are home to many different types of information which our brains are busy processing. There is the idea that we never lose anything that has been ‘input,’ if pushed you would eventually be able to name every bone in the body ... probably under hypnosis... because once upon a time you knew it! This is quite possibly true when we consider the amazing detailed memories of the older generation whilst they recite childhood recollections, all those long forgotten incidents that suddenly come to mind. Education and knowledge are another form of good, positive mental input and the more we can retain the better, replacing the old ways with the new as mankind is on a constant learning curve employing new methods, knowledge and technology.

Amongst all of the good mental content we have the bombs. These are the facts contained in bubbles of emotion that will explode every so often and we have very little control over them. When we face injustice in life we create new bombs and the trouble with emotional bombs is that, being inside your head, the primary person who will become damaged is yourself. When furious, you are likely to hurt those around you often going out or your way to ensure that they feel your pain, your anger, your mistrust and your hatred of a particular situation. However, in doing so we often do more damage to ourselves especially when we keep repeating the same things. Repetition embeds the facts more deeply in our minds and prevents healing. These are the items that we need to deal with and not only send to the recycle bin, but press empty and offload.

There are many situations where people hold on to the pain and hurt of life. I am a #1 culprit, finding it hard to come to terms with reality at times and this only stops you progressing in life. How can a wound heal if you keep ripping off the bandages? It doesn’t, it will become re-infected and possibly fester into a more serious illness. The same is true of our minds. Where wounds are concerned we will clean them, often with an antiseptic and on occasion have a course of antibiotics to make sure the wound heals properly. What of our minds? How do we cleanse our minds of the memories that cause us pain.
• First step is to acknowledge the hurt/anger/pain
• Secondly, talk it through but not in anger and try to fully understand the other person’s point of view. If it is anger at the loss of a person close to you through any form of separation counselling may be appropriate.
• Thirdly, accept the situation for what it is
• Fourth,Plan the way forwards
• Fifth, at all times maintain a positive attitude
• Finally, Put it to rest

Constantly revisiting situations prevents you from moving forwards and you might miss out on other opportunities life has to offer. So many brilliant things are born as a result of our pains and struggles, just look at the best songwriters, film makers and so on. We all have to go through it, so when we experience these elements try to learn from them. Hold onto the lessons and toss the rest away.

Is there anything tormenting you now? Time to deal with it and once done, empty the recycle bin; after all you will need space to deal with the next thing and too much clutter can only lead to a mental confusion or worse, a breakdown. Be strong, be clear about your intentions and move forwards. Life is full of challenges and challenges bring rewards.

Jaz McKenzie

If you would like to write an article to encourage or inspire others contact

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Rock To Art - Songs of Joy [MUSIC VIDEO]

Joy & Happiness... 2 great gifts for the weekend brought to you by ~IB~ as we feature the original style of Rock To Art... always want to say R2A!! The guys have recently been produced by Carl Lamb and have caught the eye of DJ Sly who has full appreciation of their style and given them 100% support.
We are pleased to say that Songs of joy has been very well received, particularly by audiences at their live shows and having seen Rock to Art perform I can definitely relate to this response!
On a more personal level, Rock to Art are grounded in their faith and believe in sharing the positive vibes, so jump on board and get a copy of their EP 'Songs Of Joy.' You will hear the track, 'Love me take everything' and discover a variety of sounds as Rock to Art are focused on bringing us fresh music. If you haven't joined their facebook page follow the link and show love.

Jaz McKenzie

Friday, 27 April 2012


ABOVE: Jenny Fox~ 'Thetis' with Glyn Williams~ 'Pelius' Picture by Avril Jones Photography

This has been an exciting week for the cast of Olympus, with 30 members attending their first public ‘run through’ performance at The Questors Theatre Ealing. This was obviously a show and tell moment- revealing the cast’s overall determination to put on a good first performance!

Ted Robinson, aged 14, coped extremely well playing Zeus who was actually the narrator and he popped up onto the stage via a trap door. ~They say life in the theatre is never boring! Ted basically was in the position of telling the story which was no mean feat as he had several monologues to recite and did an excellent job by all accounts. Christopher Backway, another young actor, also lived up to expectation playing the part of young Homer.

The show went well despite a few challenges... Ian Rae playing his keyboard from a walkway at the back of the theatre instead of on or around the stage, which could have had serious effects on the timing of the songs. In addition the actors give an acoustic performance due to the absence of mic’s! Around 100 people attended the show and Chris is pleased to announce that progress is very good and they are looking forward to the next challenge, stepping up the technicalities for the Ashcroft Theatre, Fairfied Halls. Attention to detail is clearly the order of the day. Finally, as Chris pointed out, with performances commencing 9th May at the Ashcroft Theatre it is definitely a race against time!

For details of Olympus and Another Way Theatre Company productions check this link:

Jaz McKenzie

If you are involved in an exciting or original project, not necessarily in the theatrical genre, contact us:

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Yuanfan Yang: Schumann, Abegg Variations, Op. 1.flv

A couple of weeks ago I 'caught' Yuanyfan Yang's performance in The Young Musician of the Year 2012. He performed outstandingly, which will not surprise you as this clip is now 2 years old! Yang has incredible musicality and sadly the pieces he played for the competition this year are not available on Youtube. In addition to the classics, Yang performed a work that he had written called, ' The Haunted Bell' during which you heard the bell chime 13 times. Yang went on to win Young Pianist of the year and goes through to the final which will be held shortly.

If you would like to read more about this traditional classical musical competition which has been running for 34 years, follow the link!

Do any of our Braappers who play classical music wish to be featured on Its Braap~Its Life~ Or any other musical genre?  Contact

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Piranha In The Goldfish Bowl!

Piranha in the goldfish bowl!
What? You never noticed?
Red belly down swimming around
Betwixed and between
Every variety of goldfish known to man
Piranha moving UNSEEN
You weren’t suspecting? Weren’t prepared?
Glancing nonchantly over your shoulder
Consumating the scene with a face value stare
Immersed in your quilt-like comfort zone
Familiarity unlocking nature’s defences
And while you luxuriate in friendship
Intentionally prescribed to fit idolized clone
Piranha sharpens his teeth and prepares
To bite ... deeply... into your dream

Leaving nothing more than a skeleton
In your cupboard while Old Mother Hubbard
Cries tears of joy and feeds her dog a bone...

Jaz McKenzie 2012 ©

If you would like to join our increasing number of ~IB~ poets, please send your poem with a photo and tell us a little about yourself.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Funny Animals: Hamster cheeks?... An ~IB~ light hearted moment!!

A little amusing interlude where we take a look at the remarkable 'hoarding' abilities of a hamster! Basically the hamster is a walking shopping trolley able to store an incredible amount of food in his pouches, quite literally transporting enough to feed the whole family.  Obviously this would have been an essential requirement out in the wild for all little mammals that forage.

Nature is fascinating and before discovering this video I had no idea that they could tuck away so much, but then again, they say there are snakes who can dislocate their jaws to such an extent that they can swallow a cow, so it's a needs must for the survival of the fittest! You can definitely say ~Its Braap~

Have  a beautiful day and be inspired!!

Monday, 23 April 2012


~IB~ are pleased to announce that we will shortly be 'Bringing you the Braap' on Patrick Boothe!!! From Old School to the Here & Now ~ Patrick gives us some food for thought having spent 4 decades in the industry and mixed with the likes of Phil Bailey, to give you just one name!

Patrick is Braap ~ He is PC.. Persistent & Consistent... check our catchphrase at the top of the blog!!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Right On Time... God’s timing delivers! Live Life~Love Life WK 17

God delivers right on time however it might not be when we are ready. Very often we set the scene imposing our own time limits, often as milestones in life. Yes we need to have a good idea of what we would like to achieve and when however it is imperative that we remain open to unexpected opportunities and be prepared to be flexible.

If something is meant to be it will happen and not necessarily in the way we expect! The latest example that comes to mind is the planned interview I conducted this week with Heaven Africa, well know due to her recent appearance on Big Brother. Heaven is extremely busy and managed to fit a slot in for the interview last Friday. Heaven was delayed and I used the time to write a poem inspired by my surroundings... a bonus! Time passed, my phone battery drained and I texted Heaven to see what was happening. As the reply came from ‘Patrick’ I was thoroughly confused and took the bus to make another brief appointment, during which time Heaven called with a new location and mentioned that Patrick was the camera man.. OH HELP... I was expecting to record this! Luckily I was able to use the office phone, at my interim destination, to check the address & had just enough battery left to inform Heaven of my arrival ... looking like a drowned rat, hair maaad frizzy, trouser legs soaked by the rain but what the heck! Heaven had a sore eye so we ‘sisters in distress’ sat down and discussed a million things amongst which we lit on the fact that it would have been easy to re-schedule the interview however we both felt compelled to complete it. As Heaven was prepared to do the interview looking less than perfect, I just remained thankful for this brilliant opportunity! Important point, I nearly forgot in my temporary anxiety to thank God for arranging to have the interview filmed because I had commented mentally that it would be so much better, creating greater impact by revealing Heaven’s lively character to engage the audience! Secondly we covered topics that have not previously been discussed in Heaven’s interviews and she treated us to a rendition of one of her poems, a great piece of work. Heaven also turned the tables slightly and involved me in the interview by asking about Its Braap, so extra blessings there. Finally, when I analysed the day a brand new idea for ~IB~ sprang to mind.

I believe that the timing was right and the crazy circumstances wrought extra benefits. The timing was perfect, the availability of the extra phone ... perfect, transportation fast... my battery life... perfect... the harmony... perfect & the filming... perfect, thereby completing the interview freed up time at a later date. The timing was clockwork, even down to the time I arrived home with transport linking simultaneously... 30 mins to eat and get ready to go out!! There was enough time to include Heaven’s poem and it taught me a good lesson, God knows exactly how much time we need to complete a task!

We have so much to learn in this world during our lifetimes and an appreciation of timing is vital. There are times we are receptive to other people’s input and times we are not therefore we may not be ready to experience the experiences that we believe we need. There are times we would not be able to perform effectively as we lack skills and on other occasions our personal agenda is too packed for us to develop empathy towards others so we cannot progress.

Very often life is preparing us for the unknown however we are totally unaware of this. Think about your life. What lessons have you learnt that have added true value to your life? Now look at the timing. The probability is that everything worked beautifully and you have become aware of this with hindsight. Now look at the present and project into the future. What are you concerned about or impatient for right now? Consider the things that you regard as holding you back. It could be that next week or next year you will meet the right person for the job or encounter situations which inspire a change of attitude. Maybe you wish to get married or have children; possibly you have a great project to oversee and need specific input. Sometimes we just have to be patient. Where timing is concerned we understand that we have no control over it and time itself just keeps ticking away. You might be impatient and this is the reason people often go ahead with things against their better judgement. The best thing that you can do to prepare is improve yourself as a person and learn the skills and attitudes that will help you in the future, when the timing is right. Your time will come so do your best to stay positive and count your blessings along the way!

Jaz McKenzie

Contact us with your inspirational stories

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Jimmy Cliff - You Can Get It If You Really Want ~ REGGAE'S ALIVE in da UK!!

Many of us love reggae and listen to it daily, so it is good to see the BBC continuing their practice of dedicating an entire night to reggae on BBC4. Those of you who tuned in last night will have learnt a little about the history of reggae and some interesting facts. Personally, I was astonished to discover that Desmond Dekker was living locally in Thornton Heath when he died from a heart attack. More importantly we were made aware of Desmond's contribution to reggae, which is that Desmond's popularity and chart success arose early on thereby paving the way for Bob Marley, Aswad and other significant performers... did you know Aswad is the Arabic for black?

Sadly, during recent years we have lost many top reggae artists yet their legacy is phenomenal and their music will play for ever. At the same time it is good to know that many of the stars who appeared in the show are still performing, such as Janet Kay and as those of you who follow ~IB~ are aware, Dennis Bovell performed at 'Reggae in da City' earlier this month with other well known artists; in fact the show is hosted by Peter Hunningale. I would encourage you to come along next month and if you're a good singer and can sing reggae style you might be able to take the stage! Another good recent event was Reggae Showcase, an annual television series hosted by Savana which attracts world reggae stars, both legendary and current, often fresh from Jamaica! ~IB~

There are more reggae award ceremonies and festivals springing up in the UK including our own ~IB~ Baby the Heritage of Ska, currently being planned and hosting regular events... check search for details...
The good news~ Reggae is mixing and merging but above all reggae is moving towards a brighter future!

Jaz McKenzie


Firstly, an interesting development> I am playing the part of Asclepios as actor Michael Hall can't make the Sunday - so the cast had to work me in to the mix but we all got through it!.

Ran through the abridged version of Olympus on Wednesday for our RSC Openstages Workshop performance on Sunday 22nd at Questors Theatre in Ealing. This abridged version is narrated by 14 year old lad Ted Robinson - who does a fantastic job (on two rehearsals!)

Carole's foot is getting better.

Last week had a tea party to fundraise for Olympus and raised £400 singing songs from the show. Maurice Reeves of Reeves Sofas was there and commented on how positive the whole Olympus experience was for Croydon.

The Croydon College students are pulling their weight now and building towards performance.

The cast are starting to get their heads round the musical and it is coming off the page nicely.

All very exciting!

Always feels that you'll never get there at this stage, but have to hold onto that "Olympic" Spirit and battle on.

Chris Chambers

NB: Maurice Reeves is owner of 'REEVES', the store that was burnt to the ground in the Croydon riots and who is now privvy to occasional press coverage.

~IB~ woud like to thank Chris for Bringing us the Braap on Olympus.

If you are running an interesting event that you would like featured on ~IB~, join Chris by contacting us!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Be Braap~Be Inspired!!! Real quotes from Real People!! #8

“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” - Albert Einstein

I think this quote is not actually that straight forward! Change the facts?? Now suppose it's raining, then there's no denying that it is raining. I think Einstein was encouraging us to alter our perspective on life and practice taking new approaches. Yes the rain is a fact but maybe you need new markers to achieve the same ends rendering the weather of no importance to your theory and effectively discounting rain as a relevant fact.

I think Einstein is telling us not to throw away our beliefs until they have been thoroughly tested and if you look long enough you will probably find a new set of facts to support your theory. look at the number of psychological theories that have been 'proved' and then revoked. How about diet? What to eat and what to avoid? There are constantly new facts coming to light because the researches want their theories to stand. Organic products are a case in point being the best foods for you... until recent research presented a case to over ride the previous thinking! Organic or non-organic? Nature or nurture? The big bang or a divine gift? As long as we have active minds and there are people inhabiting this earth, there will always be room for conjecture!

What we need to learn from Einstein is the determination to keep looking for answers to our own questions and following every path to reinforce our beliefs!

Jaz McKenzie

BE BRAAP! Send us your favourite quotes or sayings with a few words... you can include a photo of yourself (optional) to: These can be your own quotes or famous sayings and we will include them in this section: 'Be Braap~ Be Inspired.' NOTE: you do not have to be a great writer, simply send YOUR quote with YOUR thoughts in 10 or more words as the aim is to inspire others!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Bringing you the Braap on CHRIS CHAMBERS, writer and producer of new musical, 'OLYMPUS.'

~IB~ thought you might appreciate discovering a little about the background of Chris Chambers who is keeping us updated with the progression of Olympus. What kind of a character is Chris and how did he come to enter the world of musicals? Read all about it!

Would you like to give us an introduction to yourself and how you got into musicals?
I started at school really singing in small Cantata’s like Joseph and Jericho Jazz. I was usually playing the lady (laugh.) Then I did a lot of amateur dramatics at the Miller Centre, Caterham and the Thorndike Theatre in Leatherhead. I used to go for a week to summer school where we would pick a theme, spend the week rehearsing and put a show on at the end of it. We did, ‘That’s Entertainment,’ featuring Noel Coward songs. I remember at 13, jumping up on a couch and singing, ’Josephine,’ which I really enjoyed and the other song I enjoyed was ‘Play Orchestra, Play,’ a fantastic song which opened the show. I got a real sense of the stage in those early days. At Caterham School they gave me the opportunity to write and direct ‘Gunpowder, Treason and Plot,’ which went down very well. Then I went to university at Cambridge and repeated the Gunpowder experience. There I met a guy who took my musical and said, ‘actually we are going to have to cut this off, shave this and change that. I had a strange sense of despair throughout the process but I went through it and he actually did shape the thing into something that wasn’t a children’s musical; it was now an adult musical.

So was that your first major learning curve?
Yes it was a major learning curve and quite a painful one for a creative 19/20 year old who thought he knew how his musical should look! For a slightly older guy to come in and say, ‘actually you haven’t addressed this point and the shape of the show isn’t quite right... you need to get more of a love triangle development there ...etc,’ was hard to accept. He spent a weekend with me but from that weekend I shaped the next version, which was good.

How did you react at the time?
After that weekend I spent a whole summer writing out the musical score of,’ Gunpowder, Treason and Plot. In the end I sent it to Richard Stilgoe and he was very helpful. He invited me round to his house and we spent an afternoon playing each other’s songs. For me that was a moment of, ‘I can do this. I can write musical theatre.’ I have maintained some communication with Richard and even he will tell you how hard it is to get your work on stage in the world of musical theatre.

What else do you do relating to music and theatre, for instance do you play any instruments?
I am an actor when I’m not directing or writing musicals myself. I compose music and also write lyrics. I have written a couple of songs for Olympus which Ian Rae has arranged, but mainly the music is Ian’s. It was similar with Gulliver’s Travels. I pretty much wrote the ‘book’ and the lyrics while Andy Rapps wrote most of the music. Andy is a West End Musical Director, currently Associate Musical Director for Sweeney Todd. I play the violin and accordion however acting is my main line of work. Last summer I was at the Polka Theatre in Wimbledon doing, ‘All Join In’ and we actually ended up taking part in ‘West End Live,’ at Trafalgar Square, where every show in London has a 10 minute slot. It was great fun doing the 10 minutes and then bumping into the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz and thinking, ‘Oh this is fun... ‘ - and then spotting Danielle with her red shoes in the wings! That’s kind of the fun side of acting but obviously the challenging side of acting is that it’s very difficult to make a living out of it. You get maybe 2-3 jobs a year and you are constantly fighting for work. I think the figure is around 90% of actors who are out of work at any one time. It’s like gold dust to get a job that pays you some money. My last one was with the Birmingham Stage Company over Christmas this year doing, ‘The Firework Maker’s Daughter.’ Previous to that I was with the Birmingham Stage in ‘Skellig,’ which went to Broadway for 3 weeks, so that was an amazing experience. As an actor you really need to work at developing a link with various companies and try to do a good job... Hopefully they’ll call you back!

What were the most challenging aspects of Gulliver’s Travels?
I showed a DVD of it to a guy called Chris Grady who’s done a lot to help new musical theatre in this country and he sent me an email that said, ‘Wow that shows what you can do if you have a lot of passion.’ I think that’s the word I felt for it, passion. The story reflected what I felt about life, about a man’s journey through life. I saw it rather like Leonardo Da Vinci’s man and to me Jonathan Swift was dissecting human nature. He was saying that Lilliput was the physical part of man, Brobdingnag was the emotional part of man, Laputa was the mental part of man and the Houyhnhnmland was the spiritual part of man. Scholars have a different take on this altogether, usually thinking that Houyhnhnmland actually represents some form of ethnic cleansing but I don’t take it as that at all. I take it as a man reaching for something spiritual while recognizing that his physical nature will always be a separate thing and somehow he’s got to combine the two. To me Gulliver’s Travels was about a man trying to find his soul and a better way to live, using his spiritual energy to do that. That was what powered me through the writing of that musical,along with Andy Rapps. Andy’s a great composer. We talked for a year before we wrote a single note so we were in line with how we were going to approach the project. Then I wrote the draft copy and away Andy went for 3 months and wrote the score. The Mitre players, an amateur company took it on board and worked with Julia Ascott, a fantastic local director who further developed it with her ideas. It changed once again when we started to rehearse… it’s a fantastic process, a passion.

How many people were in the cast of Gulliver?
It has a cast of 40 and Olympus is even bigger with over 60!

Why is Olympus so huge?
We are trying to make it epic to suit the Olympics. Although it’s not specifically an Olympic musical it takes its setting from the Olympic year and goes back in time to ancient Greece, where we have this Romeo and Juliet love story unfolding.

Tell us more about the original version of Olympus
The original Olympus concert version has never been staged as such. It was basically the Romeo and Juliet story set in Ancient Greece. There is some utterly beautiful music in that. It also has a different approach to the gods. The gods were portrayed in the usual manner of Greek mythology as interfering beings who came down and ruined everything for mankind. Following the Gulliver trail of a man finding himself, when Ian approached me to do it, I felt that that approach towards the gods didn’t interest me; so we looked towards shaping the show and put the emphasis on man having the responsibility to make choices in life which alter the play and the destiny. It shows that we shape our souls, evolving our soul’s journey. It is probably the most important thing you can learn. As Christ says, ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ and that is what embues my work really. That is the message I think that comes out of Olympus and out of Gulliver. Healthy competition is wonderful but when it becomes obsessive and starts destroying your life and other peoples lives, that’s when you have to look at aspects of winning and say,’ are you really winning anything here? What are you actually gaining from it?’

Could you introduce the storyline of the musical ‘Olympus’ to us?
RIGHT: Chris with Ian Rae
The story is about a very arrogant, driven Olympic athlete who is losing all the important things that surround him, including his wife, because of his intense obsession with winning. Although they all try to help him he has become a rather nasty person, in some ways an island - yet he is incredibly famous and the media love him. He is an untouchable figure who is becoming more and more emotionally detached from what is really important to his journey. At the opening rehearsal for the Olympic games he gets struck by lightening and goes into a coma, sending him back in his mind to 780BC to the first Greek Olympic games where he is mistaken for the God Hermes. The rest of the story is about him trying to get back to the future. The only way he can do this is by showing a selfless act of love which is what happens at the end of the show, where he gets given the choice to do the selfless thing or go for the win. That’s the story and you have to see it to find out what happens!

Finally, can you tell us about your theatre company?
We set up ‘Another Way Theatre’ in Oct /Nov 2010 and did Twelfth night at the Middle Temple Hall in the centre of London: where Shakespeare first produced Twelfth Night in 1602. That was a fantastic opportunity and we had a cast of actor musicians who did a fantastic job. We are going to be producing Shakespeare again at the Queens Park Road Swings in Caterham, on 21/22/23rd of June this year and that should be fun. It’s an outdoor production on Midsummer Night’s eve and we are going to do Midsummer Nights Dream. The company was set up by me and my wife, Nicky Chambers. We are looking to do Shakespeare, new musicals and small plays in the local area. We are just building our theatre company at the moment so it’s just beginning.

The other plug I’ve got to do is : I work there as a marketing manager. We are trying to get new musical theatre into the theatrical cannon for both amateur and professional companies all over the country. We are trying to get amateur companies in particular to be more challenging in the choice of musical they present to their audience. Much as we all love ‘Guys & Dolls,’ ‘Kiss Me Kate’ and all the standards, it is time now to embrace new work and there are writers out there creating new shows. Recently Mercury Musical Development, Perfect Pitch and Musical Theatres Matters got a big grant from the government to help that process, so at last new musical theatre is starting to get some backing.

We hope you are well informed and eager to book your tickets for the show if that is possible! Don't forget to enter Olympus in the search box opposite for previously posted information and check the page ~IB~ Babies at the top of the blog. Big thanks to Chris for allowing us to enter his world and we look forward to continued updates.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

'LOST' ~ A poem by Yendis

~IB~ are pleased to share this very deep and thought provoking poem written many years ago by Yendis. It is more likely that you are familiar with Yendis's presence on 'REGGAESPACE'
where he has interviewed many of the singers reggae fans love. Yendis is clearly a talented poet and I hope we will hear more from him.


Once I belonged. Once I had pride.
Head of my family. My life was my tribe.
We had a great chief. He had my respect.
He guided us through harsh wars and conflict.

Then forced emigration. I joined a new tribe.
We sailed ‘cross a river as broad as ‘twas wide.
With no common tongue, ‘twas rare did we speak.
Tight packed. Long journey. It damn near killed me.

Detribalisation. They made me forget.
My tongue, my tribe. I had nothing left.
I’m lost now I know not from whence I came.
I’m stripped and never will know my real name.

Yendis 1989

To check out Yendis tune into

If you write poetry and wish to be featured on Its Braap ~Its Life we would love to hear from you!! contact

Monday, 16 April 2012

Charlie Chaplin Great Dictator "Look up Hannah" Speech Anti Fascist

This is the speech to accompany the preceeding article on Charlie Chaplin and is said to be one of the greatest speeches on the silver screen.

From 'The Tramp to Sir Charlie Chaplin'.. born on this day in1889.. Brief introduction!

Wow, that sounds like forever ago and yet photographer Frazer Ashford told us recently that he had taken a photograph of Charlie Chaplin back in the day, so maybe time is a master of disguise! We are just taking a brief look at Charlie because there is a wealth of information available about his life.

Charlie, 'Charles Spencer Chaplin' was Charlie's real name and definitely well suited to his role in life as it suggests a certain playfulness combined with comedy & intrigue. Like many of the worlds most gifted people, Charlie did not have an easy life having half brothers and a chronically alcoholic father and mentally ill mother which ultimately resulted in Charlie and his brother being brought up in an workhouses and charity institutions. I remember reading somewhere that the boys enjoyed dancing and put it to good use, busking at a very young age on the streets of London where a hat made its first appearance as a receptacle for pennies!

Life turned around a little when Charlie and his brother Sydney were taken on by a children's dance troupe and aged 17 Charlie began to excel, being trained in the art of comedy by Fred Karno's company with whom he toured the States on more than one occasion.

When it comes to branding, Charlie Chaplin created the perfect image for himself which is recognized world wide and there have been several statues erected in the UK and even Hollywood! Charlie The Tramp appeared whilst he was working for the Keystone company and was the gateway to his career, enabling him to move on to different companies where he commanded a considerable fee for his services and made many films.

Charlie was a master of the art of silent films with his incredible talent which incorporated all the most loved styles of comedy including visual, mime and slapstick. Charlie entered the era of soundtracks and gave one of the greatest 'silver screen' speeches of all time in his film 'The Great Dictator' According to Wikipedia... “In his 1964 autobiography, Chaplin stated that he would not have been able to make such jokes about the Nazi regime had the extent of the Nazi horrors been known, particularly the death camps and the Holocaust. While Ernst Lubitsch’s 1942 To Be or Not To Be dealt with similar themes (even including another mistaken-identity Hitler figure), after the scope of Nazi atrocities became apparent it took nearly twenty years before any other films dared to satirize the era.”... I will see if I can post this speech for you!

Charlie was also very smart being a co-founder of United Artists which gave him the freedom to be independent. He was also a film maker and director. Charlie was an extremely interesting person and you would be well advised to research further and dig a little deeper into this complex character we have come to love!

Jaz McKenzie

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Trusting Your Gut Instinct... Live Life~Love Life WK 16

The ‘Gut Instinct’ is something that every one of us is familiar with, so today’s question is: ‘How much do you trust your gut instinct?’ Do you run on instinct or do you prefer to think everything through in order to make a decision?

There are so many little moments when the gut instinct is of paramount importance resulting in instant decisions, yet on other occasions we switch it off. Think how many times you go to do something and then hesitate. EG; you notice that your glass is a little near the edge of the table. Instinct says, get up and move it to the centre. The mind says, it’s OK where it is nothing’s going to happen. Next second the dog rushes into the room and swipes the glass on the floor with its tail, leaving you saying,' daaaaam, why didn’t I do what my mind told me? Now I have to clean all this glass up!' The reverse side of the coin is when we listen to our ‘gut,’ often resulting in good decisions. Consider the number of times people have decided not to take a certain route to their destination at the last minute and later found out that there was a major accident on the motorway they were originally going to use that resulted in fatalities?

This gut feeling or sixth sense is a part of our being as much as active thought and physical movement however it is something that most of us do not truly understand. We do not know how instinct works, so we just acknowledge it from time to time. When you do stop to think about it, we have been given gut instincts for a reason. The most usual and acceptable way of referring to gut instinct is when we speak of intuition. If we make a good decision we will often say something along the lines, ‘intuition told me that this was the right person for the job.’ What if they prove not to be? Then we are more likely to say, ‘my gut instinct was telling me that this person was likely to be trouble however I wanted to give him a chance!’

In some ways society tends to promote the importance of making informed decisions, which infiltrates our way of thinking, inadvertently leading us away from our instincts. We are supposed to go out there, gather the facts, weigh the evidence and evaluate all aspects before reaching a decision. This is where internal conflict arises and a simple no may become a yes or visa versa. Your position in life and past experiences may also cloud your judgement and interfere with natural reactions. Your gut instinct may tell you to steer clear of someone yet your mind is saying that the person is fun, intelligent and popular. Sometimes your gut instinct has homed straight in on the truth. However popular someone is and however strong their public image, they may be very different behind closed doors. Look at the people we hold in great esteem prior to the outbreak of a scandal.

Gut instinct can be hampered by fear. We want to do something, maybe free fall from an aeroplane, yet fear prevents us from trying out a new experience that would enrich our life. Underneath we are saying yes, I really want to try this whilst at the same time the mind ‘out reasons’ and votes with a resounding NO. We do not know what we are capable of yet we know we are capable of a great deal more than we have accomplished. Many great people have learnt to tune into their gut instincts and this may well be a factor that contributes to their ‘greatness.’

We all know about mind over matter, but how often do we think about gut instinct over mind? I will round off with an example from ‘The Voice,’ a new UK TV programme. Each judge picks 10 singers for their team and it reached the point where was the only judge left having one space and the option of listening to the remaining singers, making an instant decision whether to accept or dismiss them. The first was a girl who sang extremely well. The other 3 judges encouraged Will to buzz but he held out and told her she was great but his gut told him to hang on because something better was coming and he always listened to his gut. The next singer was even better. Once again Will said the same thing and re-iterated that he felt there was something really special to come that was worth waiting for. Finally the next singer came on and within the first couple of notes Will buzzed. This singer was truly remarkable and the other judges were almost green with envy and could not believe that Will’s strategy had paid off. Jaz, as the singer was called, went on to sing another song at the judges request, ‘Everyday People,’ a song that had already been sung extremely well that night and of course, a song that Will had written with John Legend. Will said something along the lines that not only was he a remarkable singer but he had an incredible name, not an everyday name but Jaz!! Will finished off by saying that he wanted everybody watching the programme to understand the importance of trusting their gut instinct and how essential it actually is.

I am going to rise to Will’s challenge and start placing more importance on gut instinct with the expectation that life will start to flow more easily and hope you will consider doing the same! I think it will take a lot of mind over matter and especially the art of learning to place trust in yourself without evaluation, but let’s keep focused on the potential rewards that come from staying tuned into oneself!

Jaz McKenzie

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Saturday, 14 April 2012

Obi Rudo - Strong Heart [Official Video]

Brilliant track 'Strong Heart' from Obi Rudo, shared on our Facebook page... link opposite. These are some of the most compelling lyrics I have heard recently and are designed to encourage us in difficult times. The music is strong & the message clear. 'Sometimes lost in a place of impatience'... how often do we find ourselves there, especially when we put all our energies into something and progress is slow... whether speaking about relationships, work or other aspects of life. This song is very deep and focuses on the fact that we are stronger than we think. Check Obi Out, great new young talent from Birmingham, UK.

Obi will be following this up with the new 'Test My Faith' video.

OBI is an interesting artist, listen to how he describes his name, (taken from his website,) 'LOVE - My name represents this word but I've realised how much my music keeps on walking away from the meaning of that name, It's a process, LOVE is Afraid to get close to me because I reject when I know that deep inside I need it...'

Yet, Obi uses aspects of love in his music. love having many faces and the encouragement he gives is basically a lesson for life which interprets as an act of love! You could say that his public face does live up to his name.

Don't forget to check out Obi's links ... Youtube page via the video, 
website & Facebook


Friday, 13 April 2012

~IB~ BABY ~OLYMPUS UPDATE> + where did she go (from Olympus the Musical)

Rehearsals are fraught but good. Troubles with attendance which is the usual state of affairs!

Carole Lane, playing the doctor broke her foot! It is not in plaster so she should be ok for the show hopefully.

We have Croydon TV coming on April 15th.

22nd at Questors, in Ealing for a workshop performance - performance at 4pm ish.

A roller coaster ride to the premiere on May 9th

19th May we are singing on steps of Penzance Town Hall as flame goes past

All is good so far and the show is getting a good shape. Being relocated in The Great Hall of Royal Russell due to decorations was a bonus - a bigger space for 60 people to rehearse in! We have a very busy rehearsal schedule with 3 rehearsals a week, some aimed at specific groups leading up to whole cast performances.

Information supplied by Chris Chambers

Check the schedule on to see what is going on.


22nd April~ Royal Shakespeare Company Open Stages Showcase Questors Theatre, London

9-12 May 2012 ~ Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon

17-19 May~ Minack Theatre, Cornwall (to coincide with the lighting of the Olympic Flame in Lands End)

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Be Braap~Be Inspired!!! Real quotes from Real People!! #7

“Just Do IT!”

This statement encourages us to Just Do IT! We can apply this statement to anything positive we want to achieve; remember, when doubt holds you back... Just Do IT!

Jessica Lea

BE BRAAP! Send us your favourite quotes or sayings with a few words... you can include a photo of yourself (optional) to: These can be your own quotes or famous sayings and we will include them in this section: 'Be Braap~ Be Inspired.' NOTE: you do not have to be a great writer, simply send YOUR quote with YOUR thoughts in 10 or more words as the aim is to inspire others!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Not a Flash in The Pan! Interview with Stage & Landscape photographer Frazer Ashford

Frazer Ashford has been clicking away photographing famous people for decades. Much of his work has been carried out in association with the Fairfield Halls who are currently exhibiting some of his finest shots as part of their special , ‘Fairfield at 50’ celebration. Besides covering shows and events, Frazer is an accomplished landscape photographer, often focusing his talents during his regular retreats to Ireland.

How did you become involved with photography?
That’s difficult. I got involved with photography although I wasn’t interested in photography, because I was interested in making films! As a schoolboy I made 8mil films with no sound. Aged 15, I wrote a script which won an award for ITV and I was allowed to direct it so this was it: ‘Hollywood here I come!’ When I left school I didn’t go to university, I just tucked a film cam under my arm and went around saying, ’this is what you’re all waiting for. I’m here,’ and no one was interested, obviously! So I gave up and went on holiday to try to work out what I was going to do. My parents were very much against the film business being keen on the establishment, back in the 50’s. While I was away my father phoned up and told me he had got me an interview for a job. I said, ‘what’s that?’ and he told me it was for an assistant photographer working for the government; the ministry of public building and works. I was pleased because photography was almost filming, being media and my father was happy because it was a civil service job. It was the best of both worlds. I had a proper job and was doing what I wanted to do.

When did you actually start out properly in the business?
In ’69, the era of the big celebrity photographers who were like rock stars; Bailey and all that, so I associated that in my mind and was happy, even though I was a 19 year old school boy!

Did you have any official training or did you pick it up as you went along?
I remember the very first day I reported to the boss of the department. He sat and chatted to me across the table and said, ’you don’t know what you’re doing do you?’ I said, ’No.’ He asked, ‘Have you ever taken any still pictures?’ and I said, ‘No.’ He had been on the interview panel and said, ‘I knew that but I thought it was worth taking the risk. I think we can do something with you. Have you got any money on you?’ I said, ‘No.’ ‘Well look, here’s a fiver (taking £5 out of his pocket.) Get a taxi and go over now to Regent Street Poly (polytechnic, which is now the University of Westminster) because I know they’re enrolling for the institutes 3 year course. Go and sign up now and use this money to get you there.’ - Which I did. I did a sandwich course, one day a week and finished up 3 years later with the equivalent of a degree in photography. I don’t know how relevant that was. I can photograph an egg and I can photograph a Hoover from 50 different positions but I’ve never done that in real life. These courses aren’t real life!

RIGHT: Frazer Ashford

In that case, is it a question of having ‘the eye?’

I know people say they can’t take pictures. I don’t know why because to me it’s natural. Some people say they can’t sing, but a singing teacher says everyone can, so it’s a question of having the nerve to do it. If you had a bit of training you could sing but you would never be Pavarotti, so I guess it’s the same with photography. People just don’t try.

How come you started photographing events at the Fairfield Halls?
Strangely, it was due to a bit of a design flaw and that’s not a criticism; it’s a fact. The Ashcroft Theatre adjoins the auditorium with a concrete wall and in the 70’s you had the David Bowie tours, the Elton John tours and they were loud! I remember my wife used to come with me and she wore ear plugs even in those days. I used to have whistling in my ears for years afterwards and you could feel the sound. Unfortunately that belted through into the Ashcroft, so if you had a play and were doing a Shakespearian piece, when Macbeth got up to say his main speech you would get Elton John’s bass wafting through and it was a disaster. So the only time they could have the really big concerts, luckily for me, was on Sundays when there was no theatre. At that time the Advertiser’s photographers didn’t want to work on a Sunday night for whatever reason. I was great friends with them all but they said, ’we don’t want to work on a Sunday so you do it.’ So every Sunday I was employed as a freelancer to photograph the concerts. That went on year after year.

You were invited to work specifically with the Ashcroft Theatre weren’t you?
Yes, the Ashcroft said one day, ‘we’re doing our own production of Aladdin this year for Christmas, would you like to do it?’ For me, taking pictures of Aladdin was the same as a rock thing so that’s how I got into theatre. My Theatre work developed from there so I got a reputation for that.

How do you feel about being asked to cover this special 50th anniversary year for the Fairfield?
The bottom line is I absolutely love it. I decided a few years ago that I wanted to pack up, I won’t say retire, but pack up and do what I wanted to do which involved working on my negs (negatives.) When I was much younger I kept saying they were my pension, these negs, because archives are worth a lot of money. But there was no way to actually realise that at the time. So luckily I buried them away thinking ‘one day.’ Of course, no one knew that digital was going to appear. So I took these pictures out and I got myself an agent. I had about 130,000 pictures to digitize and after 3 years I have digitized 1000 (laugh,) so I’ve got a long way to go but I’m working on it. One day my agent said, ‘we love your old pictures but how about getting some new ones?’
ABOVE: Jeff Davis County, Texas
How did you come to follow it through?
I had been doing a few landscapes and messing around but I hadn’t really owned a camera for years. At that point I was asked to cover an event by someone in the council because they knew I used to take Motown pictures. Martha Reeves and the Vandellas were appearing in Lloyd Park at the summer festival. I thought, ‘I’ll try that out and see what it’s like, because I’d quite like to see Martha after all these years ‘and they were one of the top female Motown groups and I had never photographed them. I really loved it but the problem was I was about 4 times older than all the other people taking pictures and you have to jostle for position. That was the only mass concert I did. After that the Ashcroft talked about covering this year so I am back doing concerts. The difference is, I kind of have sole rights as I am the only person taking pictures of these events. I am here 3 times a week and photographed ‘The Osmonds,’ a few weeks ago. I absolutely loved it, I’ve gone right back and have reverted to my youth. The only difficulty with all this will be choosing the pictures for the exhibition!

What kind of camera did you use in the old days and what are you using now?
I have always been a Nikon person and when people say,’ what do you think of Cannon?’ I say, ‘what are they?’ To me there’s only one camera and that’s a Nikon. When I was about 20 I bought my first Nikon, an F1, which at that point was the first single lens reflex camera that Nikon had ever produced and it suddenly took the professional world by storm. Before that it was rolls of film and plate cameras but suddenly it became acceptable to use 35ml film. I bought a succession of Nikons after that. I have never thrown away a camera or a lens. I have still got films and when it went digital I started to buy Nikon digital. The latest one I am using is a Digital, Nikon D300 which copes with the poor light; my big worry. Shooting with film was bad enough, but would digital be able to cope with the concept of staging? As you can see the results are excellent, technically therefore I have got no worries about that. That’s why I have always been a Nikon person.

I know you have touched on Landscape photography which is quite a contrast to stage shots. Do you have a preferred style or do they just inspire you in different ways?
When you are taking pictures in the pit you are battling for position. When I started this project I liked doing it because there is no competition. With landscapes I can go to an Irish lake and be on my own there and I can wait all day for the light to be right. It is totally the opposite of stage photography. There’s no one telling you what to do; no publicity man instructing you and no one complaining. I can just sit there. When you go into a dressing room sometimes you’ve got 5 minutes max to get what is supposed to be an exhibition quality picture, whereas if you’re doing a landscape you can see something and think, ‘that’s terrific but unfortunately it’s a bit cloudy.
The weather forecast says it’s going to be good this afternoon, so I can sit here and wait for the sun and the clouds to be right.’ Landscape is luck unless you live in a house by beautiful scenery and can photograph it in all weathers. You turn up at a place and one day it might be raining or the sun is shining and no one day is better than another. You can get a stormy day that is brilliant. My best selling picture of all time (RIGHT) is a picture called, ‘Teelin Pier,’ which is a really stormy picture I took on the northwest coast of Ireland and that is a top selling poster in America. On the other hand you can take a picture of a lake on a bright day so my style, I don’t know what it is really so maybe the ‘easy life.’ I’m not going to climb a mountain with a back pack. When you see my mountain pictures and imagine me back packing for a week to get to that spot you couldn’t be further from the truth. If the camera turned round there’s the car with the boot up and the engine running! Laugh. I stop, take a click click... get back in the car and drive off! The pictures are never taken more than about 10 feet from the car, especially in Texas, America where it’s 120°. I snap, get back in the car and have another glass of coke and drive off. I’m one for an easy life. I won’t climb Mount Everest for a picture but if they have MacDonalds up there I’ll eat it while I take a pic out of the window!

How did you go about selecting the pictures to use for this exhibition?
ABOVE: David Bowie
First of all I had digitized 1000/130,000 so that made it quite easy and I used pictures I knew would work. Secondly, pictures of named people however with Elton John I have probably got 50 pictures so it was just a question of really looking at them. I could choose what I liked and chose people who were influential then. Actually, I have just given an interview to the Advertiser and she was amazed at the David Bowie pictures. She said, ‘what was it like being at the birth of new music when David Bowie came along? It was a new era starting and an iconic moment in history.’ But it wasn’t. It was a Sunday afternoon where I came up and took pictures, so you don’t think of it like that. I have been trying to look back and think of iconic moments, Arthur Davison obviously, being very connected here. There’s a bust of him on the wall but at the time he was Arthur and he used to pop over to my house, collect his pictures and have a cup of tea. That was Arthur, but here in these circles there’s a kind of reverence towards him. He started a series of concerts right back at the beginning I think, called, ‘The Arthur Davison Family Concerts,’ which were mainly for children and whole families rather than high brow concerts. That’s still going today and I took pictures of the latest one a few weeks ago because his son now runs them, Darrell Davison. It’s been going for 22 years or something so that’s iconic.

Which pictures are your favourites?
There’s a picture of Doctor Hook that’s a favourite of mine. If I’m being honest and commercial I would say the ones that have sold the most! Rory Gallagher, he’s always been my top seller, or Alex Harvey: they’ve sold more than any others. They’re not exactly household names like David Essex or Elton John. It’s the latest one I have discovered that I like the best because I keep on discovering pictures I haven’t seen before!
ABOVE: Bowie Fans
Is there anyone you would love to photograph if you had the opportunity?
No. Quite a few people ask me who’s the most famous person I have photographed, especially looking round this exhibition. It’s difficult but I would think Charlie Chaplin. Two or three years before he died he made a secret visit to the UK and I took some pictures of him. I have always maintained that the brand of Charlie Chaplin, especially the Silhouette of the tramp, is up there with Coca Cola, Nike and MacDonalds. Kids all over the world recognize that image; everybody recognizes that image. I have photographed the Queen, but do people in Russia know the Queen? They know Charlie Chaplin. Some of these people are big stars, take Sir Cliff Richard for instance, but he’s not known in America. The Osmonds are big and Elvis... but worldwide? I would say Charlie Chaplin and of course his films will go on forever.

A huge thank you to Frazer for his time & sharing his pictures... wonderful!

If you are into art, photography, modelling, fashion or anything that would make for a great interview contact:

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned: an introduction

Very educational video about women back in the day, specifically the 'Strumpets' attached to the Royal Courts. This video has been made to advertise a portrait exhibition at Hampton Court this year. When you think of portraits you tend to think of artists just painting the image in front of them. I was surprised to discover that these women told the artists exactly how they wished to be portrayed and some of them associated themselves with religious icons!! I find that fascinating... Sooo, if you could be portrayed in a specific way what comes to mind?

If you are an artist and would like your work featured on Its Braap~Its Life please contact us:

Monday, 9 April 2012

Tonnero - Don't Envy Me~ Hot track from Braapper 'Tony Tonnero'... Read what he has to say!


Nuff Respek ... And Thank you for the Love and Support to push an upcoming Artist like me forward... I am A Nigerian Doing Music in Ghana and I have some tracks I am promoting!! I am versatile and so I found it even difficult to put myself in any Category of music and I am still giving it a thought!

The track 'Don't Envy' is just an Inspirational track of what is going on in society and my environment. As you know a lot of bad mind people are everywhere. They just wish you to go down even when you don't think of them and whenever they see you making progress in what you do. For me, most people didn't believe that I can do this because they are too familiar with me ha haha.... You got to believe in yourself. I have a video to my credit now and its on You tube. I have Shared it on Its Braaps new page.

I am doing everything in my career by myself and I am in search of a good management team to help me build my career to the next level.

If you would like your music featured on our blog, post to our new page> link to the right> We will give a brief review & select tunes to present to our audience. For more info go to our pages (top of blog) and read, 'Your Music~Our Idea!' Move ahead with Its Braap!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Beauty Of The Earth. Live Life~Love Life WK 15

Today is Easter Sunday, a good opportunity to count our blessings and give thanks & praise for all the gifts we have received. This morning we visited Richmond Park, a beautiful place where the deer roam free. Families were out enjoying the weather, walking and cycling through the park which includes the Isabella Plantation and other special areas. It is an amazing place and features a grassy dome which used to be an old burial site but is now equipped with a telescope enabling people to see Saint Pauls Cathedral which is miles away!!

It was truly glorious and I found myself thinking about all the beautiful things in the world that we are able to enjoy for free. This hymn written by John Rutter jumped to mind and actually says everything there is to say!. In all those years of singing this hymn I have never truly appreciated the skilful way in which it captures the joy of life until now. I have put the refrain at the end instead of attaching it to every verse! It is good to read through it and spend a second appreciating the joy of life. Live Life~Love Life!!

For The Beauty Of The Earth

For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light,

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
Pleasures pure and undefiled,

For each perfect gift of thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of heaven,

For thy Church which evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love,

Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise

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Saturday, 7 April 2012

~IB~ BABY!! Fairfield at 50> LOOK what's going on!!

2012 JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER! In addition to the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics, London’s Fairfield Halls are celebrating their 50th year in existence, the building officially opened by the late Queen Mother 2nd November 1962.

The celebrations have been skilfully planned and not only mark the success of this venue, they will also take it to a new level with an amazing project designed to fully involve the public.

Let’s go retro a sec! Why Fairfield Halls? The building was developed on a piece of high profile land i.e: a field used for fairs, creating a focal point within the area. Interestingly, the Fairfield Halls holds charity status and remains of great importance to the community, providing an exceptional and unrivalled range of services from wedding receptions to first class shows: check out the website for details.

What’s on right now? The first celebratory event is a photographic exhibition in the Sun Lounge entitled , ‘FACES OF FAIRFIELD.’ This exhibition will be in 3 parts. Part 1 is called ‘THE ROCK YEARS,’ focusing on the 70’s and 80’s. It was opened officially 29th March with a champagne reception and will run until 2nd June. The photo’s were all taken at the Fairfield Halls by local photographer Frazer Ashford. They primarily depict popular singing stars of the era such as Dana, Elton John and The Four Tops. It has been extended to encompass other famous faces of the day including violinist Yehudi Menuhin, model Twiggy and Arthur Davison who held regular family concerts at the Fairfield Halls on Saturday mornings. Part 2 of the exhibition will present Frazer’s theatre coverage featuring well loved artists such as Dad’s Army’s own Arthur Lowe and Part 3 will bring us right up to date with some current photo's!

Frazer was commissioned by local newspapers and magazines in the pre-digital days when pictures were hand developed and rushed to various offices to meet publication deadlines. He was later commissioned to cover events in the Ashcroft Theatre. Recently the Fairfield Halls have asked Frazer to photograph this special year, reuniting the long standing bond between Frazer and the History of Fairfield Halls! The current project is due to finish in 2013.

FAIRFIELDAT50.COM... ( link to the right of the page & well worth checking out) is a new and exciting on-line initiative providing the public with access to a wealth of material depicting the life and times of Fairfield Halls. It is an amazing archive charting the last 5 decades, loaded with images that have been ‘painfully’ hand scanned by volunteers. Included are images from the first ever programme when the Late Queen Mother opened the Fairfield, a scan of the first ticket, posters and programmes right through to the current day.

The first ever Ashcroft theatre event
was attended by Dame Peggy Ashcroft who graced the stage to read a poem. You can find diary covers, information about the history of Fairfield and use a special facility to search by date, artist, event, name or genre. A very useful resource for those requiring specific information. To encourage interaction and greater coverage an additional exciting facility has been incorporated to involve those who love the Fairfield. 'Add your memories' enables people to load up their pictures with captions, or simply record their memories. Staff at the, ‘ Croydon Local Studies Library and Archives Service ‘ were extremely helpful finding and uploading information to the site. Fairfield staff are also very thankful and appreciative of all the help given by numerous volunteers, graduates and interns.

The Fairfield Hall has a history of celebrating special events with musical concerts. The inaugural concert featured the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Malcolm Sergeant, including a solo given by world famous violinist Yehudi Menhuin. Following tradition, the 50th Birthday Celebration on 2nd November will be presented by the Fairfield’s resident orchestra, The London Mozart Players, featuring a special composition: more information to follow. We look forward to bringing you further coverage of this special occasion!

A big thank you to Laura Roberts, Press Officer for supplying this information.

Interview with Photographer Frazer Ashford coming SOON!

Contact us with your events

Friday, 6 April 2012

REVIEW: Reggae in Da City ~ April 2012~ We love it!

This is the second time I have been along to Reggae in Da City and exactly a year since my first visit.

This show was very different from the previous occasion and has grown massively, to the point where I had to exhale in order to let people pass! RIDC has clearly become extremely popular, reaching the point where a larger venue would be preferable however Cottons is a good venue and was doing a busy trade in freshly cooked Caribbean cuisine; great accompaniment to the music... tropical nights... sigh!

All of the performances were well received, with RIDC showcasing a variety of talent from big names in the reggae industry such as Andrew Sloley, Paul Dawkins and Dennis Bovell who wrote, ‘Silly Games,’all reminding us of the reasons for their success to relative newcomers. We enjoyed listening to the fresh talents of 18 year old Makeisha (apologies if this is spelt incorrectly,) the youngest performer. Makeisha sang, ‘Rolling In The Deep,’ by Adele> reggae style... pull up, pull up... giving a very powerful performance!

I very much liked Chardel, who looked great being dressed for the occasion. Chardel has a versatile and almost ‘husky’ voice that not only suits reggae but has a definite dancehall lilt. During her performance, Chardel managed to stir up the crowd and have us singing along to her song, ‘Heart On Fire.’

The RICD band was on fire once again and magically performed everything that was requested with ease. We were treated to additional guest musicians and listened to some energizing guitar music. Peter Hunnigale, regular host, explained that the key to RIDC’s success is its originality... everything is authentic and unprepared being an open mic’ event!! The upside of this is the relaxed vibe that ensues, to the point where a lady, namely Lexi sang with a bad throat... fantastic. If that’s bad what’s good going to be like? Think I best go along next month & find out!!

Unfortunately I was unable to stay to the conclusion of this event, a great pity as there were some dynamic performances from Kofi and Omar by all accounts... next time with any luck! This is definitely an event worth attending and the added bonus?? It’s free entry. The energy all night was tremendous, in fact I feel a poetic review coming on>>

Right: Brina in full flow!


Reggae in da city coming at you live
Cotton club in da midst of da red hot vibe
First Thursday of the month
Bus, train, walk or better- drive
It’s the place to be
Keeping reggae alive!
Lover’s rock, dancehall, Roots reggae groove
Coming straight at you, coz you know we make da move.

Reggae Reggae in da city
Hot sweet vibes, dunno
Grab the mic’ Mr Honeyvibes
It’s time to start da show
Nuff guest stars appearing
They come from far and low
Grab a glass, pull up your chair
Eyes to the front... Let’s go!!

Boom boom, da band’s in tune
Maad artists hitting the flow
1 track, 2 track, 3 track, more?
No, no it’s the next guy’s go!
Audience raving, anticipating
Going mad enjoying da show
Gotta confess, it’s a major success
Coz I was there ... I know!

Jaz McKenzie 2012 ©

Thursday, 5 April 2012


Mid-Morning coffee break
To the smell of the coffee grounds
And the sounds... milk foaming
Children wandering endlessly around
While Mothers natter their endless chatter
Of the baby- go- round
No possibility of mindful creativity
Starbucks has been invaded
Nappy Valley occupants have made it
Their personal public creche
So the decision not to invest
My hard earned cash in such a place
No longer a chillaxing environment
Just a noisy ill-mannered child centred space!

Jaz McKenzie 2011

If you would like to feature your poetry here contact Our first ever top blog award winner was poet Chaynnell Rue!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Be Braap~Be Inspired!!! Real quotes from Real People!! #6

“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friendship Images, Pics, Comments, Graphics
Friendship Quotes Pictures - Photobucket

Friends are precious. Following on from Sunday's Live Life~Love Life's theme, once again we are reminded of the need to give generously of ourselves. Friendship is always a two way affair with good friendships being based on mutual love, understanding and trust. To be a good friend you need to know when to speak and when to keep your lips sealed! Friends are 'in it together,' sharing both sorrow and joy. How wonderful to retain good friends for a lifetime!

Real friends will be there regardless and overcome personal feelings in order to support one another. For example, if you absolutely hate hospitals, you will go out of your way to visit a sick friend. Friendship is about going the extra mile to please or help someone close to you, adding a little something to make them feel special.

Let's spend the rest of the week focusing on our friendships and letting our friends know how much we appreciate them. Friendship is a blessing so treasure it!

Jaz McKenzie

BE BRAAP! Send us your favourite quotes or sayings with a few words... you can include a photo of yourself (optional) to: These can be your own quotes or famous sayings and we will include them in this section: 'Be Braap~ Be Inspired.' NOTE: you do not have to be a great writer, simply send YOUR quote with YOUR thoughts in 10 or more words as the aim is to inspire others!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

~IB~ BABY!! We're excited to introduce the new musical OLYMPUS... check this out!

Twenty years ago, composer Ian Rae wrote a sung through piece of musical theatre called OLYMPUS, drawing on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and retelling that story in the context of Ancient Greece. Weaving Athenians, Spartans, gods and myth through the piece, he created a work that was twice presented as a concert version.

In the years that followed the two concert performances, there were a few occasions when Ian and his wife, Morven (Producer of Good Company) considered resurrecting it, but time passed and nothing happened. However, in 2010 with The London Olympics on the horizon, they felt the time was right to develop the piece further.

Having seen my adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels (which was produced at The Minack Theatre in 2008 by The Mitre Players) Ian approached me about working on a book for Olympus.

I listened to the music and was overwhelmed with its beauty – particularly “You Are The Air I Breathe” and “How Many Dreams.” (Listen at

Hearing these songs inspired me to take the project on, but I was a little wary, as it was clear to me from the start that reshaping the piece into something more contemporary was going to involve some big changes in structure and plot.

The transformation of the original concert piece has been a fascinating process – not always easy for Ian or myself, but has proved to me that there is no set formula for working on a musical. Ideally it would be easier, I think, to start with nothing and shape the plot, music and lyrics moment to moment. In the case of Olympus, existing material has had to be shuffled, switched, cut, pasted and totally rewritten. It may sound like a crossword, but actually it is quite a similar process to adapting a novel or existing story for the stage.

New songs have been composed for Olympus and new characters introduced. There is a comedy mystic by the name of Asclepios, and Homer himself, of Iliad fame, makes an appearance as a ridiculously talented twelve year old boy.

Instead of the action taking place in Ancient Greece alone, it now takes place in two time zones – 2012 AD and 780 BC. We have introduced a modern story and weaved it through the material that existed previously. Bizarrely, much of Ian’s music and lyrics have remained unchanged, as the original story has become the dream that our Olympic Athlete (Dimitry Raphael) experiences when he is struck by lightning and sent back in time.

The process is on-going and we are all looking forward to getting into the rehearsal room to bring the play off the page. Only then can you really see what works and what doesn’t. Someone said that musicals aren’t finished – they are abandoned – and I would go along with that! We must have been through twenty drafts in the last two years – each one an improvement. You just have to keep open to change.

And now we have cast over 60 people in the show and it has a fantastic community feel about it, drawing on talent from many local amateur societies, a number of professional actors and singers, local children and students from Croydon College.

Composer Ian Rae will MD and s et designer extra-ordinaire and self confessed “Minack bore” (how can she call herself that!) Jill “Wiggy” Wilson will be designing the show. She has recently been part of the team restoring and creating the artwork on the Minack stone after the reconstruction of the dressing rooms. Peggy Mayes will work on Costume, Niall Monaghan on creating atmospheric lighting and Penny Parks, who for 35 years has run a successful Dance Academy in Purley will choreograph the show. (It should be noted that her charity – The Penny Parks Charitable Trust - has agreed to donate a sum to help fund Croydon College students whilst in Cornwall, giving them the chance of a lifetime.)

We are indebted to Phil Jackson for thinking outside the box and giving OLYMPUS a slot to co-incide with the arrival of the real Olympic Flame at Land’s End on May 19th.

So all very exciting to get to this point and we are also very pleased to have had OLYMPUS approved by the RSC as part of their Open Stages Project. We have attended workshops given by the RSC and picked up some great tips for bringing a new musical to production - all part of developing the links between professional and amateur theatre and audiences.

To watch our progress follow Ian’s Blog at or mine at

So do book your tickets for this epic new piece of musical theatre. We can’t think of a better venue in England to produce Olympus. We might just as well be producing it at Cape Sounion or on the slopes of Olympus themselves.

Chris Chambers
Writer & Director

Monday, 2 April 2012

Ice Tre - Treat You Right ~ Introducing our first ever Braapper!

Ice Tre was the first person to join Its Braap on Facebook at the time of our initial launch. It has been a great experience watching his progress and enthusiasm. We entered the world of Ice Tre with song #2, Green Goblin, which had been pre-ceeded by his version of Airplane and have been privileged to watch him grow as an artist. Ice Tre lives in Canada and is only young, 17, with 17 tracks to his name!  It is a joy to watch someone so young dedicating himself to his chosen career and producing good quality music. This is a great song showing off Ice Tre's distinctive style of rapping and also proves that he definitely knows how to work a tune. We look forward to watching his progress & wish him every success. ~IB~

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Pennies From Heaven. Why we should give. Live Life~Love Life

Why is it good to give?

A great question arising from the old saying, ‘It’s better to give than to receive.’ But why? Surely if we just keep on receiving we will eventually be satisfied as our needs are being met?
Not so, being at the mercy of others is a very poor position to be in. Sitting back and just taking from life, from others weakens you on every level. It would be a little like being a hoover. You go along hoovering up everything and sooner or later your bag will burst! Life is a question of balance and we should strive to achieve a balance in all areas of life, yet life itself is inconsistent. There are times when we need help, support and love; equally there are times when we give help, support and love. Life is a bit of a Yo- Yo but hopefully we get it right overall!

Let’s consider a fact that is so easily overlooked. To be in a position to give means that you are already in receipt of a gift! In order to give we need to have. It’s simple. If you have money you can give money but if you don’t you can’t! One of the things people love to give is advice... if I were you...This can be very valuable or highly insensitive, however if it is given freely with good intention the onus is on the recipient to attribute value and merit, to use or to ignore is the question. When the advice is genuine and the sole purpose is to help you move forwards, even if you reject the advice it is good to thank the person and let them know you took time to consider their suggestion.

Giving time is an interesting concept. People often resent others who make demands on their time, yet time can be the greatest gift we are able to give. Look at our families. Sometimes we are so wrapped up with deadlines that we spend our lives saying, ‘tomorrow.’ Tomorrow I’ll find time to visit my parents. Tomorrow I’ll help the kids with their homework. Tomorrow I’ll spend a few minutes with Mark in accounts to help him understand that spreadsheet he’s struggling with. Time is precious so think how much more people will appreciate you giving up a little of your time for them.

Sharing knowledge can be quite a challenge. Knowledge is power and there are people who like to hold onto knowledge like gold nuggets! This will not increase their power as much as it would if they shared. If you hold onto the knowledge someone else seeks, the probability is they will just continue seeking elsewhere. Once they find the answer, besides having the knowledge they sought they have they added benefit of knowing that you are less confident of your position than would appear. When you share knowledge you empower others and that makes you more attractive rather than less attractive. In turn, people will talk with you more and may well bring new ideas to your table. Sharing creates potential for growth and once you open up as a person, your generosity will be noticed.

The more we give the more we receive. Quite simply life seems to work that way. You won’t necessarily receive in kind because we all need different things, but the probability is that your needs will be met with help often coming from unexpected sources. Most of us feel really good when we give willingly because it is a natural act. There is an inner satisfaction in helping others in whatever way we can, some people basing their entire lives around helping others. For most of us, giving is something we already do but just need to pay a little more attention to. Sometimes it’s just a question of stopping to listen rather than having a blinkered focus.

Here’s a little idea to encourage us! Next time you are counting your blessings, remember that by giving we can enrich and bless others.

Jaz McKenzie

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