Saturday, July 28, 2007

My Travelogue

courtesy of

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Superman in Rome

Superman, Rome, Italy ©Tauseef Mehrali 2007


Palazzo Barberini, Rome, Italy ©Tauseef Mehrali 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Leonine Facies

Palazzo Barberini, Rome, Italy ©Tauseef Mehrali 2007

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Blair at War

BBC's News at Ten tonight ran a fascinating piece on an exhibition currently running at the National Portrait Gallery entitled Blair at War: Photographs by Nick Danziger. (A quick Google search revealed this is the same Nick Danziger behind Danziger's Travels!)

In March 2003, as Tony Blair took the final steps towards leading the nation to war with Iraq, award-winning photojournalist Nick Danziger and Times Literary Supplement editor Peter Stothard were given thirty days of unprecedented access to the Prime Minister and his closest aides.

On display to the public for the first time, Danziger's portraits tell the candid story of a decisive time in Britain's political history. Revealing the inner circle of the political players in Downing Street, at Camp David and in the power corridors of Europe, these portraits provide a poignant insight into Blair's hopes and fears as he took on a sceptical electorate, the Labour Party, Jacques Chirac and ultimately Saddam Hussein.
The collection comprises some exceptional black and white photographs of which a couple particularly stand out: 1) A shot capturing Blair reclining in an office chair mid-telephone conversation with Alastair Campbell's ghostly presence revealed via a reflection in a mirror and 2) a wonderfully captured portrait of Blair in eclipse with a shadow eliminating half his face seemigly staring into a mirror, only to reveal that the supposed reflection is George Bush in person!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Onions in the Souq

Onions in the Souq, Fez, Morocco ©Tauseef Mehrali 2006

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Mauritania's 'wife-fattening' farm

Reading this recent BBC story reminded me of the observations of my old Arabic teacher during his sojourn in Mauritania, learning classical Arabic. He was amazed at what constituted beauty in Mauritanian culture as compared to well-established Western norms - an aesthetic relativity of sorts.
Obesity is so revered among Mauritania's white Moor Arab population that the young girls are sometimes force-fed to obtain a weight the government has described as "life-threatening".

A generation ago, over a third of women in the country were force-fed as children - Mauritania is one of the few African countries where, on average, girls receive more food than boys.

"Iraq is a wonderland for apocalytpicism"

Juan Cole's perspective on recent events in Iraq.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Top 21 International Films. Discuss.

A list put together by a friend of a friend. Pan's Labyrinth and Cache are very worthy inclusions.

  1. Fateless (Hungary/Poland)
  2. The Clay Bird (Bangladesh)
  3. Paradise Now (Occupied Palestinian Territories)
  4. Tsotsi (South Africa)
  5. Osama (Afghanistan)
  6. City of god (Brazil)
  7. Spirited Away (Japan)
  8. Children of heaven (Iran)
  9. Moolade (Senegal)
  10. Pan’s Labyrinth (Mexico)
  11. Etre Et Avoir (France)
  12. The Edukators (Germany)
  13. Life Is Beautiful (Italy)
  14. Almost Brothers (Brazil)
  15. The Colour Of Paradise (Iran)
  16. Whale rider (New Zealand)
  17. Cache (France)
  18. Au revoir, les enfants (France)
  19. Central Station (Brazil)
  20. The motorcycle diaries (Argentina)
  21. Abandoned (Hungary)

9 days to go!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Iran's Giant Shoe Box of Faded Photographs, Full of the Unexpected

A fascinating article from the New York Times on the evolution of photography in Iran, especially under Qajar auspices.

"The photographs also reveal the king's taste in women: his wives were plump and often had black, bushy eyebrows and dark, thick mustaches."

Friday, June 15, 2007

Proving a point

Just to completely eradicate any hint of idleness on my part: Pay to see me cry.

Leo gets published

The travel feature from this month's emel magazine proves I'm not completely idle.

Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5.

Sponsor my other half...or else!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Hitchens on Falwell

Christopher Hitchens ideological vacillations have tarnished his image and his demolition at the hands of George Galloway pretty much dealt him a death blow. It's good to a see a touch of the old magic in his scathing critique of the late Reverend Jerry Falwell.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Free time?

Destroy any remaining free time you have under the guise of productivity with goodreads.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mr & Mrs Africanus

Yet another protracted spell away from the Blogosphere comes to an end and all is right with the world. Whatever could be the reason this time? Holidaying? (again!) Focusing on work? (a first!) Illness? (do doctors become unwell?) No, no and no.

The answer to my cyber-sabbatical lies somewhat cryptically in the accompanying image. Those are indeed Leo's very own hooves sporting a bit of pedal bling a la Sinbad. The fancy dress accessorised a transformative moment in my life; I had my nikah recited and have pledged myself to my soulmate, The Digressive Mind.

In doing so, I'm now leading intergalactic contender for the coveted title of happiest man in existence.

The rukhsati and walimah are lined up for Autumn of this year. I've never been so finely attuned to the changing of seasons; A man for all seasons.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Mind the Gap!

Brought to you courtesy of the Digressive Mind.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Saturday, March 31, 2007

I'm 27 today!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Dreaming (or lack thereof)

Am I the only person in the world who has stopped dreaming? I've gone months, if not years, without so much as a faded memory of a dream on waking. I'm not totally regretful, as my uninterrupted, dream-less, corpse-like sleep is wonderfully refreshing but it'd be nice to quote Martin Luther King and mean it.


I'm convinced my night shifts are coming around quicker and quicker. As my second night of seven draws to an end, the minuscule portion of my brain that remains functional finds itself wholly diverted to dreaming up breakfasting possibilities. I subsist on two meals a day during nights - ascetic in principle but truly gluttonous in practice.

Breakfast takes on a whole new guise post-nights. Rather than a meagre means of preventing a potentially embarrassing ward round collapse, or worse still, a mid-ward round tummy rumble and filling the gap before a far more substantial lunch, breakfast in fact becomes lunch. My standard Sunday breakfast becomes a daily phenomenon for seven days. The resultant slumber is blissful.

However, with breakfast usurping lunch and sleep denying brunch an opportunity, my otherwise religious devotion to Philpotts is put to one side during a week of nights. Philpotts is not merely a lunch venue, it's a lifestyle choice. I simply cannot resist the opulent deli surroundings, the granary baguettes smeared in olive oil but most of all the bespoke smoothies. It is said you know you're in trouble when your local chip-shop owner knows your order before you've opened your mouth. My smoothie technician has me sussed out.

Having succumbed to different (admittedly delicious) smoothies for several consecutive days, at a certain point last week I decided to exercise some more will power. I marched to the sandwich counter avoiding eye contact with the predatory smoothie man with the gold capped front teeth.

Smoothie Man: Good afternoon sir!
Me: (Already resigned to yet another experimental beverage) Hello!
Smoothie Man: Not enjoying a smoothie today sir?
Me: (Talking as though possessed) What's today's special?
Smoothie Man: A lovely combination of kiwi, pineapple, honey and bio-yoghurt...try some.
Me: (Knocking back the taster). Give me a regular. You've really got me worked out haven't you?
Smoothie Man: Hahaha. Sir, if you don't mind me asking, do you buy smoothies for the taste or for the health benefits?
Me: If I'm brutally honest, it's for the taste and I retrospectively claim the health benefits.
Smoothie Man: Oh, I see. (Pouring in some honey). I can't actually partake of this drink you know sir.
Me: Why's that?
Smoothie Man: (Leaning forward and glancing side to side in a conspiratorial manner) I was diagnosed with diabetes last week.
Me: You can still have honey as part of a balanced diet.
Smoothie Man: Really?
Me: Yes. In fact if you crank up your exercising you can actually get rid of your diabetes.
Smoothie Man: No way! You see that lady across at the other counter? The one with the sad face. She has diabetes. I aint gonna let that happen. I'm gonna grab diabetes by the neck and overcome it. (Flashing a golden grin).

I picked up the smoothie, fleetingly cursed my lack of resilience and protractedly pacified my ravenous tastebuds.

Monday, March 12, 2007

March in March

Join the medical workforce on March 17th and protest against the massive employment and training crisis that we are now facing as a result of failed Department of Health policy.

The Telegraph's take on Modernising Medical Careers

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Father and Son

Batu Caves Temple, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ©Tauseef Mehrali 2005

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Tannery

The Tannery, Fez, Morocco ©Tauseef Mehrali 2006

Karbala in Verse

A pretty self-explanatory link that does what it says on the tin.

Decisions, decisions

My task yesterday was to convince a precocious 6 year old lad recovering from leukaemia to have an injection. Not usually too taxing a requirement as these kids have been subjected to more pin pricks than even the most elderly of tailors. This particular injection was different though. It had to be given intramuscularly i.e. in an arm or bum. In a bid to empower him I offered him the choice. He eventually opted for his posterior. Next we had to decide on a side.

Me: Which bum do you want it in? Left or right?
Kid: Ermmm...ermmm...which bum?
Me: That's right.
Kid: mum's bum!

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Photographic proof of my alleged trips to Fez and Bosnia is now available in 'My Travels'.

Travels with a Tangerine

Tim Mackintosh-Smith's entertaining travelogue subtitled 'A journey in the footsteps of Ibn Battutah' has made its way onto television with the first part being aired on BBC 4 tonight at 21:00.
Tim Mackintosh-Smith sets off in the footsteps of the Moroccan scholar Ibn Battutah who, in 1325, embarked on a thirty-year pilgrimage across forty countries and three continents.

This first episode, retracing Ibn Battutah's journey across North Africa, tells the story of an unprecedented age of wanderlust in the Islamic world.

Heading first for Battutah's birthplace, Tangier in Morocco, Tim stumbles on a performance of medieval trance music, devours a sheep's head in the souq and meets children being taught about the Hajj pilgrimage, the original reason Battutah left home.

Following Battutah's trail to Egypt, Tim ventures into the countryside by tuk-tuk and donkey to a remote village where Battutah had an astonishing prophetic dream. In Cairo, Tim visits Al Azhar, the world's oldest university, and explores how the search for knowledge and understanding is integral to Islam.

After sailing down the Nile, Tim finds a camel herder who is prepared to take him across the desert, and they set out into the wilderness.

Time to stand up to the extremists

Thanks to tc of Heliotype fame for bringing this to my attention.

Time to stand up to the extremists

Today's news of a third letter bomb attack - this time sent to the DVLA - should be a wake up call for everyone in this country. For too long we have allowed an extremist minority of Radical Motorists to grow like a cancer in our midst.

And the few brave souls who have stood up to the stifling politically correct "multivehicular" consensus and warned of the threat posed by Extremist Motorism have been shouted down with wild accusations of "Motorphobia" for their pains.

Let us be clear. The vast majority of British Motorists are law-abiding moderates. But they have allowed their community to be hijacked by a radical fringe with no respect for our common values.

These extremists have infiltrated so-called "driving schools" and taken over the most prominent Motorist organisations, such as the RAC and AA. And they have a hidden fanatic agenda of replacing our British rule of law with their Highway Code.

It's time for moderate mainstream Motorists to acknowledge the problem in their community and, errm, drive out the extremists. They need to be clear and unequivocal in their condemnation of the latest Motorist outrages. They should start cooperating with the transport police rather than complaining about how they're being "victimised".

And the government needs to take off the kid gloves and crack down hard on hate-filled extremists such as Jeremy Clarkson who hog the airwaves and give all Motorists a bad name.

Oh, and one more thing. How are we supposed to communicate properly if some of them insist on covering up their faces?

The Medina

The Medina, Fez, Morocco ©Tauseef Mehrali 2006

The Medina (2), Fez, Morocco ©Tauseef Mehrali 2006

Guess who's back?

In the end, this comment proved sufficient incentive to overcome the ineptitude of the cretins behind who decided to fix something that wasn't broken and in doing so cripple by ability to blog. It was galling to discover that a mere '/' lay between me cluttering cyberspace with my random thoughts and remaining effectively mute for the last couple of months.

Any way, let the good times begin (again).