In Kumar de Silva’s words, his capturing of France
on the ‘lens’ is a ‘triple celebration of the
Francophone and Francophile’ in him - 25 years since
he joined the Embassy of France, 25 years since he
began hosting much acclaimed Bonsoir in ITN and 25
years since he first set foot in Paris.
The celebration is indeed mutual for Kumar and
Alliance Francaise de Kotte - latter which launched
its cultural season for 2011 with Nostalgie - a
refreshing experience of black and white photographs
by Kumar, encapsulating France in its historical and
cultural grandeur, spiced up with scenic beauty.
“I never thought of myself as a photographer, but
then it dawned on me that January, 2011 is a
significant month, a triple celebration for me,”
Nostalgie has indeed done justice to its title,
30 black and white photographs taken over a decade
(2000 to 2010) transporting the viewer through
myriad vistas of Paris, Britanny and Montpellier.
The Bohemian in the photographer seems to come alive
in ‘The feel and crackle of hay’, Bridge over Canal
St Martin, Paris , Sheep grazing on ‘slated grass’
on the shores of Brittany, Chilled wine on a hot
summer’s day , The lady by the fireplace- landscape,
cuisine, history and human emotion offered in a rich
From Alfresco lunch on the banks of Canal St Martin
to Countryside off Montpellier is quite a leap, the
contrast of scene and mood captured in the fine
photographic textures. The ‘impulsiveness’ of
Kumar’s efforts is apparent, pure unconsciousness of
the moment frozen delightfully on the lens.
Conceirge takes an afternoon break- portrayal of
an ordinary woman immersed in a book in a park,
Sleeping champagne in the cellars of the House of
Dom Perignon- bottles of champagne stacked in rows,
hardly ‘photographic’ in mundane existence are
connoted novel interpretations.
Whether it’s Chapel turned boutique Hotel Brittany,
Joan of Arc charges towards Louvre or Sunbathing in
Strasbourg, the art of effortless photography is
evident in Kumar’s work, making the viewer feel at
home with them, even those completely alien to the
The black and white memoirs are a perfect blend of
diversity, simplicity, grandeur, in tune with the
photographer’s natural flare in capturing them.
Nostalgia is in abundance in every captured scene,
stemming from a deeply rooted sense of sensitivity
towards the backdrop in which they are found.
An intimate artistic expression, Nostalgie
entices the viewer to share the same.
“France has been my spiritual home in a sense, ever
since the day I set foot there 25 years ago. I do
speak the language and, along the years, that
enabled me to plunge first-hand into its culture
without the help of translators and translations. It
must be some remote karmic force that made this bond
really happen. I love the French verb flaner. It
literally means ‘to stroll, wander around’ and
that’s what I love doing in Paris particularly,
exploring little known churches and chapels,
cobblestone streets, wayside inns, reveling off the
beaten track ,” reminisces Kumar with unmistakable
For Kumar, the medium of black and white is a
more exhilarating and exciting experience than the
‘coloured’ with the minutely different and
contrasting layers of gray juxtaposed in between the
black and the white.
“I love the texture and the feel of grays,” he adds.
Being the media icon Kumar is, photography seems to
be an added complement to his versatile persona, the
maiden effort claiming finesse.
Talking about his future photographic endeavours,
Kumar said, “I intend to showcase an exhibition
annually and have already started working on a Sri
Lankan them for 2012 and a French theme for 2013”.
Nostalgie is open to the public till February 6.
(Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm and Saturday and
Sunday from 10am to 4pm)
|A work in
Readings from some of
Roger McGough’s work
Pic and text by
I never imagined I’d be able to sit down and listen
to a reading by UK’s renowned and most celebrated
poet but it happened; thanks to the British Council
and also the organisers of the Galle Literary
Festival. Roger McGough is one of UK’s most loved
poets for both adults and children alike and is also
well known as a performance poet.
He was regarded as the ‘patron saint of poetry’ by
Carol Ann Duffy and ‘a true original’ by The Times.
I’m told he is reputed for his humour as much as his
After a few readings and ‘performances’ from a
selection of new and unpublished work, I’d also like
to add that his comic timing is impeccable too.
You came to watch me play cricket once
Quite few of the fathers did
..... Fielding deep near the boundary I saw you
through the railing
You were embarrassed when I waved
And moved out of sight down the road
When it was my turn to bowl though
I knew you’d still be watching
Third ball a wicket and three more followed
When we came in at the end of the innings
The other dads applauded and joined us for tea
Of course you had gone by then
Later you said you found yourself there by accident
Spotted me, through the railing
Pitch days, prize giving, school play
The 21st, the wedding, the christening
You’d find yourself there
Spotted me through the railing
As he begins to speak and perform a poem titled ‘In
Case of Fire’, one can simply let go of pretentions
and worries and listen to the man who is known to be
down to earth, witty, ironic and sceptical. There is
mischievous word play, and he carries on without
looking at a paper like as if he’s reading from his
own mind. Its catchy phrases and sentences; the
audience laughs as sentence after sentence rolls out
of his tongue. His expression and mannerisms are
simultaneously humorous and very insightful. It adds
both colour and life into the words he speaks aloud.
He began speaking of the mobile free compartment on
the subway. “A lady got in, got out her mobile and
started calling all her friends. I tried to point to
all the signs that said ‘no mobile phones’ but she
didn’t seem to bother. So I thought I’d write her a
The Quiet Zone
With respect this is a quiet zone
And although when travelling on your own
It’s nice to have a good ol’ chat with someone on
This is the quiet zone
Shhhhhh.....quiet says the signs
On every table, window and door
And obviously nothing to do with mobiles
......shhhhhh quiet with respect
Can’t you read the sign?
“It took my about an hour to write the poem and by
this time she had stopped talking on the phone; she
was instead looking out the window of the
compartment. But I thought anyways I will give her
the poem. Do you know what she immediately did? She
took out her mobile phone and run out her friends!”
he added and had the audience in a fit of laughter.
His poems range from how he learnt to read living in
Liverpool during the war, about sacrifices,
relationships between his father and himself (how he
wanted him to become a championship boxer!), about
growing old, seizing life’s moments, dealing with
diseases, his family, about death, poetry for
children (quite humorous) and much more.
A Fine Romance
Excuse me darling in advance
For this slow macabre dance
I may one day lead you into
Holding you to tight for comfort
....... If I should call you
By another’s name
A lover’s perhaps
From many years ago
Don’t’ be startled
It’ just a slip of the moonlight
.....should I fail to recognise you
Curse, complain or step on your toes
Forgive me I didn’t mean to
For this is a fine romance
Despite the slow macabre dance
I may one day lead you into
Whilst doing some research on some of his work, I
came across multiple reviews of his collections that
spoke of how his use of humour has evolved
throughout his career, and his deceptively simple,
quirky and witty style incorporates all manner of
serious issues and perceptive insights. He seems to
avoid anger and bitterness and takes a whole new
approach to life; life as to how he sees it. The
most apt, one that he read aloud:
The Way Things Are
No, the candle is not crying, it cannot feel pain
even telescopes, like the rest of us, grow bored
Bubblegum will not make the hair soft and shiny
the duller the imagination, the faster the car
I am your father and this is the way things are...
Although it might seem as if McGough is cynical and
‘kills’ a child’s imagination, there is a sense of
compassion hidden between the lines. ‘Everyday
Eclipses’ was another poem that addressed daily life
and people’s perspectives. It speaks of not just the
total eclipse itself but also various other sorts of
‘eclipses’ in everyday life; of how everyday
eclipses another day and one death eclipses another
death, one birth eclipses another birth.
“What is exciting about writing a poem is not
knowing what’s going to happen at the end” McGough
expressed, “sometimes when you’re reading a poem it
doesn’t seem quite right. I go back and look at it.
So when it feels like it’s not right, it’s not
finished. Generally I use a pen and paper cause I
find that typing on a computer makes it looks too
finished, like it’s already published. Whereas on
paper, it comprises of all the mistakes and lines
cut off and it’s nice to be able to come back to
them a year later and see how they’ve changed or
About Roger McGough
McGough is a Fellow of Liverpool John Moores
University and is a Vice President of the Poetry
Society. He was recently honoured with the Freedom
of the City of Liverpool. His poetry has been
translated much indeed and has gained increasing
popularity, especially from its widespread use in
schools. McGough is also twice winner of the Signal
Award for best children’s poetry book and recipient
of the Cholmondeley Award.
His autobiography Said And Done (Century) explores
overnight fame with Lily The Pink, The Scaffold and
Yellow Submarine which he helped write for the
Beatles. He encounters Bob Dylan, John Lennon,
Marlon Brando, Allen Ginsberg, Pete McCarthy and
Salman Rushdie amongst others.
with Dr Sarath Amunugama
servant, media specialist, scholar and politician
par excellence, senior minister
Dr Sarath Amunugama makes a very relaxed appearance
on Prime TV’s ‘Celeb Chat’ at 9.30pm tomorrow (31).
In a very candid, one-on-one chat, Dr Amunugama
recalls his early education at Girls’ High School
Kandy (!), and then Trinity College where he
excelled in studies. Listen to him wax eloquent
about the radical in him at the University of
Peradeniya where he even led a strike which
compelled Iron Chancellor Sir. Nicholas Attygalle to
“renegotiate student rights”.
His work with the rural peasantry of Sri Lanka as a
Government Agent of the Ceylon Civil Service under
Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake ... his passion for
social anthropology ... his love for literature,
music, cinema and poetry ... his fluency in the
French language … all this and more come under the
spotlight as celebrity guest Dr Sarath Amunugama
chats to host Kumar de Silva on Prime TV’s ‘Celeb
|Bandaranaike website launched
A website was launched recently to keep alive the
memories of the fourth Prime Minister of independent
Ceylon, S W R D Bandaranaike.
The website can be accessed at
It contains biographical information of the late
Prime Minister including photographs and information
about the other members of the Bandaranaike family.
Speeches and interviews given by the Prime Minister
and books written about him are presented to the
viewers. A detailed illustration of his political
life is also given in the website.
It also gives out contact details and directions to
the Bandaranaike Museum at the BMICH premises.
|The Song Dance Sensation@
His career began in 1972
while in school he formed the band ‘Deep Radiance’
along with his brother Mahes Abeyswickrame, under
the management of Malcolm Andrea.
An old boy of Prince of Wales Collage Moratuwa,
Kirthie started displaying is knack for music at a
very early age.
Building on his musical career, he moved to play
with veterans in the local music scene from Golden
Chimes, Sand Pipers, Joey and Friends, to Masquerade
In 1978, he went on to join ‘Desmond and the Clan’
where he toured Kathmandu, Nepal, and performed in
Norway and Denmark as well.
Three years from then ‘Desmond and the Clan’ was
renewed to “CHASE” and the band started travelling
actively around Europe performing in Norway,
Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, Austria and Germany
doing what they did best.
Growing in popularity and demand, Kirthie and his
men won the hearts of many a number of fans with
their celebrated acts of mimicking the all time
favourites of the international music scene from
Elvis, to MJ to even Tina Turner.
Deciding to settle down in Germany, Kirthie then
moved on to form his own band “KinÂŽn Chain” in
which he played a duel role as lead vocalist and
manager, and continued to tour the world winning the
hearts of many.
After a lapse of 12 years since performing with
“KinÂŽn Chain” he went on to form “KitÂŽn Sunrise”
along with his friends Susantha Perera, Anura Herat,
and Musha Yehiya.
Kirthie personally believes on having a lot of fun
on stage and loosing himself completely in the spur
of the moment. His great ability lies in imitating
idols in the international music arena from Elvis to
Michael Jackson to Tina Turner. Yes you read it
right, Tina Turner! Going all out of his way to
bring out the total experience of these icons, his
act comes complete with the ankle length pants,
white socks doing the moonwalk or imitating Elvis in
his white jumpsuit, cape and ton of rhinestones to
Tina Turner complete with her tight fitting mini
dress, high heeled shoes and big hair. The Michael
Jackson/ Tina Turner act is said to be a massive
crowed puller, especially in the nightclub scene in
As Kirthie himself puts it “Since 1981 i am crazy of
doing these acts on stage, and most of my audience
have never seen the ugly side of them.. So here I am
doing what I do” Well “HERE HE IS INDEED”! Kirthie
Abeywickrama, the song, dance sensation will be
performing at the Margarita Blue along with Mirage
from February 2 to 5.
If you are looking to loosen up and let that bottled
up craziness out, over a few drinks and absolutely
great music, then the Margarita Blue is the place to
Come one come all and catch the action as he mimics
those legendary personalities with his own touch of