Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Borough Market in London...lets take a bite!

The return to street market shopping
has been an on-going trend
in the last few years.
All around the globe,
there has been clear signs,
apparently shifting
gears from shopping off 
chain store shelves 
small vendors on stands.
The Borough Market
is a fine example
of both
 wholesale & retail
of all manner of 
fresh & preserved food.
In the British capital, 
the journey is just as 
exciting as the destination.
To get to the market,
I planned a route that took me to the
Tower of London
then a short walk by the 
The Shard
finally at Southwark Street.
There was a chilly nip in the air
 the sky looked as if 
it was painted
upon a Van Gogh canvas.
Swirls of fluffy white clouds,
played hide-and-seek
with the sun.
Our double-decker bus,
navigated through traffic 
the odd pedestrian perilously.
This city is easy on the legs.
Pavements carefully 
planned & executed,
allowed quick access to the market.
Open only from 
Wednesday to Saturdays,
this market apparently has been
around since 1014!
The present location right beside the
Southwark Cathedral,
is totally charming & full of buzz.
The success of the place
is evident in the size
of the crowd,
resembling a 
United Nations
Tourists & locals
shop, wander & taste 
their way through this
gastronomic marvel.
The setting itself is unique...
a rail viaduct runs right above while a
graceful Cathedral sits peacefully on one side
as if guarding the site.
The range of
 products & produce 
available are mostly from the 
British Isles,
while some imports from the continent
could be found.
Quality & provenance
are two selling features of this 
exceptional market.
There are well over 
a 100 stalls
to suit every 
taste & fancy.
You get a feeling that the 
traders have great pride
in what they do,
there is a strong sense of community.
After all,
in life,
you can only fool people
half the time!
As I walked around,
words like
"fresh, delicious, & hmmm...that looks good!"
spring to mind!
The language here is universal...
it speaks to the core of many of us
who respect
quality & passion!
True to form,
everything is 
beautifully laid 
When you've got it flaunt it,
seems to be mantra around here!
Just take a look at all these gorgeous pies!
Mesmerizing indeed!
 "this & that"
in all 
shapes & form
are everywhere.
Without  missing a beat,
these small scale producers 
are not only preserving an
age old craft.
they are bringing it yards forward,
improving & refining 
along the way!
I have a confession.
The day I visited,
I already had an early lunch in
But the moment I laid eyes on these
roast pork-filled buns,
I succumbed!
( ..and was not disappointed !)
Did you know that this market is
owned by a 
charitable trust?
And run by a board of
volunteer Trustees?
Simply amazing...ain't it?
You definitely cannot solve
worlds problems
but putting good food on the plate
of the less privilege
is perhaps 
the best place to start.
An international beauty pageant has a
motto that goes...
"Beauty With A Purpose".
Ever since I was a young kid,
I've been pondering on this.
And guess what?
I'm still pondering!
What do you think about
"Food With A Purpose"
hungry & destitute 
don't care if this gorgeous
person appears in his or her village.
A loaf of bread is a loaf of bread
regardless of who's 
dishing it out!!!
Somewhere along the years,
we've forgotten to eat well.
The importance of good nutrition
is second
to being
seen in the right place.
Many cannot regonise
well prepared food from bad.
Thank goodness change is in the air.
The Borough Market
is a wonderful place to start.
If this could ignite an idea
stimulate the imagination
with culinary lust,
then we're good.
Mass produced 
food & fashion
are indeed for the masses.
For those that need to be told what to do,
has to be fed as well.
By comparison,
there is quite a distance
good & mediocre 
the lines may be blurred to many.
For those in the know,
they thread carefully on.
Seeking out
different & the special.
Rejecting the mundane
They say we are what we eat...
now, isn't that food for thought?
After all, 
not the new 

Monday, 2 September 2013

Astrup Fearnley...A Beauty By The Sea.

The Renzo Piano
new premises of the
Astrup Fearnley
Museum of Modern Art
is truly stunning.
Resembling the sails of a massive
it sits on the edge of what appears
to be reclaimed land
jutting out to the fjord,
as if ready to depart on an ocean voyage.
This is part of a huge
urban renewal project
that encompasses housing,
retail, hotels,
food & beverage
This striking architecture 
will perhaps begin a new trend in the 
Nordic capital,
paving way for stunning
buildings that are visually
Eye catching, bold 
the new venue is timely.
Opened in September 2012,
this private museum
was constructed on what used to be
With a balanced combination 
wood, glass, metal & concrete,
the building
leans towards a very
look & feel.
As if breaking out into 

the vast open space,
Astrup Fearnley's 
architectural uniqueness 
may kick start a new movement
 for this city by the fjord.
Founded in 1993

still privately owned,
works from 
major to minor
adorn the walls 
of this stylish structure,
contemporary art.
The new art space comes under
the city council's
urban planning project
whereby most of the museums
will eventually be relocated to an 

area nearby called
Onward & upwards,
the premise of this gallery was founded on 
two large shipping fortunes,
Heddy & Nils Astrup Foundation
Thomas Fearnley Foundation.

The walk out
to the new space takes you past
Aker Brygge,
a popular 
shopping & dining venue.
High end apartments 
with breathtaking
views of the water ways
sit above this complex,
ferries come & go to the outlying
islands beyond.

As you approach this
world class edifice,
the graceful lines of the building
draw a clear comparison
to all the 
elements of nature.
This modern architectural idea of 
the link between
"inside & outside"
is indeed well proven.
Wide windows create the 
illusion of infinity.
Natural light,
on a sunny day,
shines bright like shafts of cut glass,
streams in.
As you wander among the rooms,
each scaled differently,
you begin to relax and
the dialogue between
art & viewer 

"The purpose of art is
washing the dust of daily life 
off our souls."

Pablo Picasso
Museums provide an opportunity
for the people to
access, learn, enjoy
be inspired by art.
The quirky & the ridiculous
are meant to trigger thought...
...and pave the escape from the ordinary.
Museums are also
safe guarding
precious history
for the future.
The life cycle of such establishments
are infinite.
Art lives on.
Modern life
with all the complexities of daily living

is indeed challenging.
Any visit to view art

a reward
that transports us to a 
quiet place.
" Without art, the crudeness of reality would make
the world unbearable."

George Bernard Shaw

As I move from 
room to room,
I feel fortunate to have had this 
opportunity to be presented
with this colossal range of ideas.
After all, 
all art starts with an idea.
Modern art
is thought provoking.
Initially, the message is not always
crystal clear...
...and the mission of the artist at best,
The open space allows 
our thoughts to be free of constraint.
Our imagination floats idle, 
like a lotus flower on a deserted pond...

...while our eyes take in the creative genius of mankind.

The sound of my shoes sliding
against the polished concrete floor,
makes me conscious 
of my surroundings.
Museums make us behave,
consider our moment...
slow down 
shift gears.
On top of it all,
you are 
up close & personal 
with works
worth millions.

"Drawing is like making an
expressive gesture
the advantage of permanence."

Henri Matisse  

Every now & then,
something different comes along.
The inquisitive nature of human beings
makes this a reality.

Our growing appetite
demands more...
...from everyone.
The impressions leave with
linger on.
We each walk away with
a different mental inventory
from the visit.
The Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art
is a refreshing experience.
The new premises has
all the promise 
of a young artist full of energy,
while being fearless in her 
quest to remain
This aspiration
may be key to what 
the Nordic capital needs.
In trying there may be a 
possibility of success...
 talk against talk
is simply a waste of time.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Erlend Kjellstad...Here's looking at you!

A little over 23 years ago,
Erlend Kjellstad
walked into my life.
He literally walked in.
I had just started our first store
in the 
Dayabumi Complex
Kuala Lumpur
 on one quiet afternoon,
this tall chap with a friendly
smile came in 
with an equally
friendly hello...
instantly we bonded.
That was then
this is now.
Over the years 
we kept in touch.
If I were to say  
we were writing every month,
I would be lying.
Somehow, we kept
the lines open.
on a flying visit to 
we caught up for dinner.
It was one of those clear 
 evenings where
the West End lights 
appeared enticingly
 bright & inviting.
And in this city
with a gazillion things to do,
one always seem to be running late!
The most convenient place to meet
was at
Piccadilly Circus.
It was 5 pm.
The after office crowd was full on.
Some rushing home while
others onto the pub for a relaxing
 drink or two.
Eager tourists jostled here & there,
heading towards a busy
evening from all that 
was on offer
in the
For us, we were aiming for
South Bank.
Along the way & during dinner,
here's our conversation...
What makes you laugh?
Humanity & the extraordinary
situations people sometimes
put themselves in.
Erlend Kjellstad,
Arly in short.
Norwegian by birth.
Man about town
international traveller.

Favourite cuisine?
French for breakfast,
Japanese for lunch
Italian for supper.

Describe your job?
I help companies & entrepreneurs 
navigate & thrive 
in the new digital landscape.
What are you reading right now?
I like to read many books simultaneously ...on my kindle.
Right now:
Nemesis by Peter Evans
Old Filth by Jane Gardam
number9dream by David Mitchell

How many countries have you lived in?
Do you have a theme song?
"We Have All The Time In The World"
Louis Armstrong
How do you relax?
TV Box Sets!
Currently watching "Dexter"
last seasons
"Breaking Bad".
Followed by a fantastic BBC
costume drama...
"The White Queen".
What can you make with your hands?
Yummy food.
Colourful Art
Decent Prose.
What were your first thoughts this morning?
Grateful I am on holiday 
for the first time
I don't have an 8.30 am skype business call.
Red or white wine?
Though a great
can hold their own against
any fabulous reds...
they are rare!
Your life philosophy?
To learn,
To Know
To Do.
One thing that motivates you?
Every day is a new
Whom do you most respect?
My friends.
People who are 
strong, determined & devoted 
to improving themselves.
Define style?
Using one's will to create a certain look.
Style is deliberate
is a reflection of personality.
Any hobbies?
Dabbling with painting.
Food - both fine dining & home cooking.
Travel - both to explore new things & deepen the
understanding of favourite places.
Skiing, running, scuba diving
TV Box Sets!

What is your most prized possession?
I love my crystals.
A wonderful topaz pendant
also a fabulous pair of
 black & pink tourmaline,
a cherry citrine as well as a soothing honey calcite sphere.
How many languages do you speak?
6 or 8.
Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, 
French, Japanese, Spanish
Favourite movie of all time?
Fifth Element
Luc Besson.
Beach or mountain vacation?
Being a little cancer crab,
it'll have to be the beach.
I love the ocean!

Most memorable journey?
My first backpacking trip -
Southern China 
Hong Kong.
Then a flight to Katmandu
onto India...
Darjeeling, Sikkim, Calcutta,Jaipur,Agra
up to Leh, Ladakh to Kashmir
then to Amritsar
before crossing into Pakistan.
Did the beautiful Hunza Valley
crossed the Khunjerab pass
into western China.
After that,a flight to Beijing 
the one week long
TransSiberian train ride to Moscow.
Ending in Leningrad
before heading home to
Helsinki !!!
Erlend Kjellstad
has been there,
seen that
tasted the good life.
is a man who has accomplished much.
Widely travel 
terribly articulate
while possessing
a curious
has brought him thus far.
And his journey,
I gather,
is only half begun.
You can't reinvent the wheel
 seeing it from a different
angle is what sets us
apart from the herd.
has this capacity.
His viewpoints,
in our many conversations,
are loaded heavy
with extraordinary
As we parted
I strolled back to the hotel in the
West End
on this rather balmy night,
I felt energized.
And refreshed.
Being around positive people

"The Four Characteristics Of Humanism
Curiosity, A Free Mind, Belief In Good Taste
Belief In The Human Race".

E. M. Forster