" Madam Miaow Says: July 2008

Friday, 25 July 2008

How to spend a perfect day in London: Madam Miaow and LJ Rich on the Thames

The first few days of what feels like a proper hot summer at last. On Thursday Madam Miaow and LJ Rich skive on the South Bank and then head off to Greenwich for more fun.

We begin our pleasure with selecting a sushi picnic from Wasabi in Villiers Street, followed by a leisurely stroll across Hungerford Bridge to the South Bank, stopping only to look at the skateboard graveyard, the support pier where the skateboarders chuck their dead boards. Oh, and check out some of the best views of one of the finest capitals in the world. London can be a hellhole but it always looks beautiful from Hungerford Bridge.

Then on to the National Film Theatre cafe for a cuppa tea and a place to sit in the sun while we chow down. (You can also do this on the terraces of the National Theatre and the benches along the South Bank.)

LJ sorts the sushi at Wasabi in Villiers Street

The magnificent Hungerford Bridge

The skateboard graveyard

Anna by the skateboard graveyard at Hungerford Bridge

Anna communes with her sushi at the NFT Cafe, South Bank

On to Westminster Pier and a boat downriver to Greenwich where we find the Wheel — a mini London Eye — at the riverside until 28th September.

Anna and LJ on a Thames cruiser just passing Hungerford Bridge

Greenwich and the Wheel (until 28th Sept)

LJ on the wheel above the Greenwich Old Royal Naval College

Anna and LJ get over-friendly with a Smurf

LJ and the blue Slush Puppy

A stroll through the Old Royal Naval College spotting where The Golden Compass was filmed, up to the Greenwich Observatory where I straddle the meridian line like a very small colossus. LJ perches on top of it, rendering her in No Place for a few moments, threatening to open a rift in the space-time continuum.

LJ on the Greenwich meridian line

Anna straddles the meridian across two time zones

Greenwich Old Royal Naval College from the Observatory

How to spend a perfect day in London: Madam Miaow and LJ Rich on the Thames

The first few days of what feels like a proper hot summer at last. On Thursday Madam Miaow and LJ Rich skive on the South Bank and then head off to Greenwich for more fun.

We begin our pleasure with selecting a sushi picnic from Wasabi in Villiers Street, followed by a leisurely stroll across Hungerford Bridge to the South Bank, stopping only to look at the skateboard graveyard, the support pier where the skateboarders chuck their dead boards. Oh, and check out some of the best views of one of the finest capitals in the world. London can be a hellhole but it always looks beautiful from Hungerford Bridge.

Then on to the National Film Theatre cafe for a cuppa tea and a place to sit in the sun while we chow down. (You can also do this on the terraces of the National Theatre and the benches along the South Bank.)

LJ sorts the sushi at Wasabi in Villiers Street

The magnificent Hungerford Bridge

The skateboard graveyard

Anna by the skateboard graveyard at Hungerford Bridge

Anna communes with her sushi at the NFT Cafe, South Bank

On to Westminster Pier and a boat downriver to Greenwich where we find the Wheel — a mini London Eye — at the riverside until 28th September.

Anna and LJ on a Thames cruiser just passing Hungerford Bridge

Greenwich and the Wheel (until 28th Sept)

LJ on the wheel above the Greenwich Old Royal Naval College

Anna and LJ get over-friendly with a Smurf

LJ and the blue Slush Puppy

A stroll through the Old Royal Naval College spotting where The Golden Compass was filmed, up to the Greenwich Observatory where I straddle the meridian line like a very small colossus. LJ perches on top of it, rendering her in No Place for a few moments, threatening to open a rift in the space-time continuum.

LJ on the Greenwich meridian line

Anna straddles the meridian across two time zones

Greenwich Old Royal Naval College from the Observatory

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Israeli army shoots unarmed blindfolded prisoner

This video is very distressing. I'm still shaking from watching it.

The prisoner is shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet at close range while his arm is held by a lieutenant colonel.

Israeli army shoots unarmed blindfolded prisoner

This video is very distressing. I'm still shaking from watching it.

The prisoner is shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet at close range while his arm is held by a lieutenant colonel.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Footprints of the Dragon: Dad's archive launched

Samuel Chinque in 1951 — handsome dude!

Chloe Chinque introduces our father's archive, donated by his widow, Kin Yung (seated)

David Yip and Anna Chen, a chip off the old block

David Yip, Anna and Dr John Seed

Anna, Chloe and Kin Yung

Today saw the launch of my father's archives at the London Metropolitan Archives as part of the Footprints of the Dragon project which documents the Chinese community in the capital. His is the "largest and richest" collection, including poems, political writing and diaries spanning 30 years of active political life, the earliest dating from 1936.

Samuel Chinque — Chen Tian Sheng — came over here as a seaman in the 1920s. His direct experience of the miserable conditions of his fellow Chinese sailors led to his radicalisation during a time of political upheaval and renewal. In 1936, when Japanese imperialism was devastating China, he formed the Anti-Japan Salvation Front in the UK, an organisation gathering overseas support for the Chinese in struggle against fascism, and which is now the Kung Ho Mutual Aid Association. He also helped form the Chinese Seamen's Union, studied Marx and became a communist.

In 1947 the Chinese CP asked him to set up the first overseas branch of the Xinhua News Agency which he ran until his retirement in 1981. He died in 2004 aged 96.

Samuel Chinque's Guardian obituary

Later, actor David "Chinese Detective" Yip gave a talk on his life in film and TV, and Dr John Seed took us through the history of Limehouse, the earliest Chinese community in London.

The food was fab.

Footprints of the Dragon: Dad's archive launched

Samuel Chinque in 1951 — handsome dude!

Chloe Chinque introduces our father's archive, donated by his widow, Kin Yung (seated)

David Yip and Anna Chen, a chip off the old block

David Yip, Anna and Dr John Seed

Anna, Chloe and Kin Yung

Today saw the launch of my father's archives at the London Metropolitan Archives as part of the Footprints of the Dragon project which documents the Chinese community in the capital. His is the "largest and richest" collection, including poems, political writing and diaries spanning 30 years of active political life, the earliest dating from 1936.

Samuel Chinque — Chen Tian Sheng — came over here as a seaman in the 1920s. His direct experience of the miserable conditions of his fellow Chinese sailors led to his radicalisation during a time of political upheaval and renewal. In 1936, when Japanese imperialism was devastating China, he formed the Anti-Japan Salvation Front in the UK, an organisation gathering overseas support for the Chinese in struggle against fascism, and which is now the Kung Ho Mutual Aid Association. He also helped form the Chinese Seamen's Union, studied Marx and became a communist.

In 1947 the Chinese CP asked him to set up the first overseas branch of the Xinhua News Agency which he ran until his retirement in 1981. He died in 2004 aged 96.

Samuel Chinque's Guardian obituary

Later, actor David "Chinese Detective" Yip gave a talk on his life in film and TV, and Dr John Seed took us through the history of Limehouse, the earliest Chinese community in London.

The food was fab.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Madam Miaow on BBC Radio London: Chinese in Britain

Chinese sailors, early 20th century

Late notice for this one. I'm on today's BBC Radio London Drivetime programme giving an overview of the history of the Chinese in Britain as part of their Chinese week.

17:20, Monday 14th July, BBC Radio London 94.9FM

Listen for seven days on BBC Radio London, Kath & Eddie
At the Radio London index click on BBC London "Listen Again" (box on right of window). BBC Player appears in a window. Click on "Mon" underneath the listing, "Drivetime with Eddie and Kath". I was on around 17:10, so near the beginning of the programme (5-7pm).

STOP PRESS: OK, that was short and sweet. Kicked off a bit early but gave five minutes on Shen Fou-tsong, the first documented Chinese in Britain in 1686. He was the Jesuit convert who helped the Bodleian Library understand its own collection of Chinese books acquired in the 17th century, and whose portrait hangs in the Queen's collection.

Also covered the myth of Chinatown and the early Chinese communities that sprung up around Cardiff, Liverpool and London docks. Mentioned how the British labour movement in the early 20th century was openly racist and excluded the Chinese, leading to the Chinese Seaman's Union being formed with the help of, among others, my late father. Integrity, guts and honour. I'm proud of you, Dad!

Madam Miaow on BBC Radio London: Chinese in Britain

Chinese sailors, early 20th century

Late notice for this one. I'm on today's BBC Radio London Drivetime programme giving an overview of the history of the Chinese in Britain as part of their Chinese week.

17:20, Monday 14th July, BBC Radio London 94.9FM

Listen for seven days on BBC Radio London, Kath & Eddie
At the Radio London index click on BBC London "Listen Again" (box on right of window). BBC Player appears in a window. Click on "Mon" underneath the listing, "Drivetime with Eddie and Kath". I was on around 17:10, so near the beginning of the programme (5-7pm).

STOP PRESS: OK, that was short and sweet. Kicked off a bit early but gave five minutes on Shen Fou-tsong, the first documented Chinese in Britain in 1686. He was the Jesuit convert who helped the Bodleian Library understand its own collection of Chinese books acquired in the 17th century, and whose portrait hangs in the Queen's collection.

Also covered the myth of Chinatown and the early Chinese communities that sprung up around Cardiff, Liverpool and London docks. Mentioned how the British labour movement in the early 20th century was openly racist and excluded the Chinese, leading to the Chinese Seaman's Union being formed with the help of, among others, my late father. Integrity, guts and honour. I'm proud of you, Dad!

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Non-Iron Lady: Madam Miaow in New Internationalist magazine


Anna Chen explores the battle of the non-iron lady vs the planet-hating peacock with an ode to crinkles for good measure.

May I say that I hate ironing? I don’t own an ironing board and, while others may sneer at polyester, I offer prayers and sacrifice small mammals to the scientific genius who invented it. Forget silk and wool: some of my favourite fabrics are by-products of the petrochemical industry. I’d have shares in the stuff if I could afford it. And if it wasn’t a total capitulation to capitalism, comrade.

What’s wrong with crinkles, anyhow? Characterful, and proof of a life lived in the tricycle lane. Or sleeping on the sofa in front of telly bingo which, I understand, is the preferred cultural activity for the modern student, according to respected pundits such as Richard Littlejohn – and we know how much his opinion counts.

No, I like to launder and wait for the creases to yield to the warm glow of perspiration during wear. I may be a sweatbucket by the end of the day, dampness being part and parcel of the synthetics experience, but I look perfect. It’s a marvel – the stuff practically maintains itself.

I bought an iron once. A super-duper mega-expensive one the price of the GNP of a small African nation done over by the World Bank and IMF, in the hope that such profligacy would encourage me to damn well use it. It was so fancy with its water-softening cartridge and turbo-charge whatnot that it soon became obsolete as the next generation of technology swiftly replaced it, and the cartridges disappeared from the shops. The last few times I tried to use it, I left a fossilized snail-trail of calcification across my (exclusively) black wardrobe. Not attractive. I looked like a health hazard and tasted of limescale.

So I don’t iron. I cook instead, a skill worth having in the dystopian post-apocalyptic nightmare staring us in the face. If I am to compete with the cockroaches then I’d rather be a sated slummock than a starving clotheshorse. Speaking of which, just how pretty do you think skinny supermodels are going to look in a world where there may be occasion to eat your Loved One the way polar explorers get maximum mileage out of their huskies?

Not owning a tumble dryer either, I can pride myself that my domestic slovenliness contributes to the well-being of the planet. So, next time you see an immaculately ironed frock, graffiti the planet-hating peacock for wrecking the environment. Only don’t use an aerosol.

New Internationalist magazine
Anna's latest NI column June 2008

Non-Iron Lady: Madam Miaow in New Internationalist magazine


Anna Chen explores the battle of the non-iron lady vs the planet-hating peacock with an ode to crinkles for good measure.

May I say that I hate ironing? I don’t own an ironing board and, while others may sneer at polyester, I offer prayers and sacrifice small mammals to the scientific genius who invented it. Forget silk and wool: some of my favourite fabrics are by-products of the petrochemical industry. I’d have shares in the stuff if I could afford it. And if it wasn’t a total capitulation to capitalism, comrade.

What’s wrong with crinkles, anyhow? Characterful, and proof of a life lived in the tricycle lane. Or sleeping on the sofa in front of telly bingo which, I understand, is the preferred cultural activity for the modern student, according to respected pundits such as Richard Littlejohn – and we know how much his opinion counts.

No, I like to launder and wait for the creases to yield to the warm glow of perspiration during wear. I may be a sweatbucket by the end of the day, dampness being part and parcel of the synthetics experience, but I look perfect. It’s a marvel – the stuff practically maintains itself.

I bought an iron once. A super-duper mega-expensive one the price of the GNP of a small African nation done over by the World Bank and IMF, in the hope that such profligacy would encourage me to damn well use it. It was so fancy with its water-softening cartridge and turbo-charge whatnot that it soon became obsolete as the next generation of technology swiftly replaced it, and the cartridges disappeared from the shops. The last few times I tried to use it, I left a fossilized snail-trail of calcification across my (exclusively) black wardrobe. Not attractive. I looked like a health hazard and tasted of limescale.

So I don’t iron. I cook instead, a skill worth having in the dystopian post-apocalyptic nightmare staring us in the face. If I am to compete with the cockroaches then I’d rather be a sated slummock than a starving clotheshorse. Speaking of which, just how pretty do you think skinny supermodels are going to look in a world where there may be occasion to eat your Loved One the way polar explorers get maximum mileage out of their huskies?

Not owning a tumble dryer either, I can pride myself that my domestic slovenliness contributes to the well-being of the planet. So, next time you see an immaculately ironed frock, graffiti the planet-hating peacock for wrecking the environment. Only don’t use an aerosol.

New Internationalist magazine
Anna's latest NI column June 2008

Friday, 4 July 2008

St Ives Comedy Club pictures, Wednesday 2nd June

Demitris Deech St Ives Comedy Club

Matt Price St Ives Comedy Club




Anna Chen St Ives Comedy Club

A few photos of Anna's stand-up gig on Wednesday.

STOP PRESS: Anna's booked again for Wednesday September 10th during the St Ives Arts Festival.

St Ives Comedy Club pictures, Wednesday 2nd June

Demitris Deech St Ives Comedy Club

Matt Price St Ives Comedy Club




Anna Chen St Ives Comedy Club

A few photos of Anna's stand-up gig on Wednesday.

STOP PRESS: Anna's booked again for Wednesday September 10th during the St Ives Arts Festival.

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