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Monday, 27 October 2008

Islam Expo 2008

While on the subject of things Islamic, I ought to mention Islam Expo 2008 at Olympia, which I covered a little while back.

This was a very friendly, colourful and well supported event, with a variety of stands in one hall and conferences during the day with rock concerts in the evening in the other hall. Yusuf Islam was even there for the opening.

The conference part was painfully dull, although if you are interested in speakers such as Tony Benn, George Galloway, Ken Livingstone and Norman Kimber, perhaps it would have you trembling with excitement - each to their own. The rest of it and the evening entertainment were actually very good and informative though.

Some of the music in the evenings was fantastic (although there were also a couple of rap acts as well - sorry, but I really don't get it) and it was great fun shooting from the stage.


I would certainly recommend that people go and see the next one, it is well worth a few hours of your time to see something a bit different and not once did anyone try to convert me.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Amira and Adam's Wedding at The Regent, London

I had a strange experience last night. I was quite happily watching a programme about the origins of the solar system and nodded off some time before the end. I awoke at 3 in the morning with the television still on and was confronted by Conway Twitty gazing into my eyes and singing about how much he loved me. It really was quite surreal for a few seconds.

More interestingly it did remind me to finish off the Christmas season, with Amira and Adam's Wedding at The Regent, London.

Amira and Adam are friends of Asmaa, Yusuf Islam's (formerly Cat Stevens) daughter. My wife Nina planned Asmaa and Francesco's wedding last year and I did the photography , so a very nice referral, thank you. Hopefully you now understand why Conway Twitty reminded me to mention Adam and Amira's wedding - a sort of bizarre musical connection!


Although the Regent Banqueting Suite is incredibly ornate, the storage room that Amira was given to get ready in was pretty difficult to work with, still, it forces you to get creative. I have this photo up in the hall at home:


This was the first time that I'd seen henna tatoo's up close, they are incredibly intricate and must take hours to do.


Adam does the funniest impersonations of Tony Blair and George Bush you could imagine. He was persuaded to take the stage for a while and had me laughing so much that it was almost impossible to shoot properly. 

I hope that one day I wake at 3am and there will be Adam with his own comedy show. Far preferable to Conway Twitty promising me undying love!

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Mr Twitty, you can learn more about him and his music here.
I have always been a fan of Yusuf Islam and his excellent website is well worth a visit.
Finally don't forget to visit Nina's website to learn about her celebrity wedding planning services.
01323 639404

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Simons Birthday Party

Last month saw Simon Bell's 40th birthday party at Westbeach Restaurant, Bournemouth.

I covered Simon and Neal's civil partnership a couple of years ago, so it was great to be invited back to do the party as well. It was even nicer to be remembered by so many people!

As always, the food and service at Westbeach were outstanding.

Musical entertainment for the first half of the evening was provided by the Stromenti String Quartet.

The high-point was Simon joining them on the piano for Shubert's Trout Quintet. If I'd known about this beforehand I'd have brought my didgeridoo along.

Just when we thought that the evening had reached the peak of elegance, events were taken over (pretty much literally) by Cassidy Kane, who has the most amazing voice and is one of the funniest acts I've seen.

Eventually Simon grabbed the microphone and and said it was 12.30 and time to move on to a club. I thought it was about 9.30, so I haven't a clue where the time went.

You can find out more about Westbeach Restaurant on their website and for further information on the Stromenti String Quartet please visit their website.