fumbally flyer 5We are very excited to be heading to Ireland in May with the express. Stopping in Dublin first for a film night at the Fumbally Stables, a workshop and taking the trolly to the Sunday Fusion market then heading south west to  Mahon Point Farmers Market and the Ballymalloe Food and Literature  Festival via the beaches and bars of County Cork.

The first time I went to Ireland with the trolly was to for Avril’s Body and Soul area in the Electric Picnic. A festival within a festival and a living fairy tale than ran on a different candy. From London on a Friday morning I left with my trolly, supplies, a tent, a blanket and took rides on a tube, a train, a ferry and in the back of a van. I knew it would be fun but I never expected the enthusiasm, openness or interest in a food unfamiliar to most. I left on the Monday with empty tins, no voice and aching ribs from laughing.

electric picnic

The next time is was the year England were under performing in the South African world cup. It was for the first stand alone Body and Soul festival on the edge of a lake and overlooked by a castle. It ran over the summer solstice and the sky held no clouds for 5 straight days. On the way out of London I stopped off in Harrow at Mr Kishors small factory to pick up the dry ingredients. While waiting for the order he took me to his office were the air was hot and still and he talked of Indian gods and divine intervention. I left feeling strangely fortified but without my order which was bad for business but good for leisure.

body and soul

I returned later that year to the Electric Picnic with an overly ambitious set up that was the result of ideas scribbled on a napkin in a Brixton coffee shop. With unrealistic ideas if you don’t nip them in the bud they grow on their own and into the quick sand you can slide and by the time the van was packed beyond the gills and we headed out of London my body was shot, my mind splintered and had the strange feeling of drowning before you even put a toe in the water. There was an 8 hour drive to the ferry that left at 2 in the morning and a drive through Dublin morning rush hour and on an hour or two to the site were you attach a 50′ by 30′ tarpaulin to the van and hold it up with huge bamboos and insufficient pegs. There were 7 dishes, 7 crew, wandering minstrels, a cinema area, a bootleg bar and a relentless schedule. Late on the Sunday night with the structure full of happily oiled people keeping out the rain the wind picked up and blew it all down. It was a long night and long drive home but nothing compared to the time never again echoed in my ear.



Good things can come from most things and a while later Aisling got in touch saying she saw the set up at the picnic and would I like to come over and so something in her newly opened cafe The Fumbally- and on May 8th this is going to happen. Actually its gong to be in the newly converted Fumbally Stables, which is a really good space and we shall be dressing up 2 floors into what promises the best by a long way of the Kolkata Street Food Experience evening so far.




We have more garlands,  beer can structures, new look stalls, new signs, better chai, better phuchas, proper ghugni and even more time than usual. The menu I shall put up in a few days but it’s the usual format of people turn up, eat and drink from the stalls before, during and after the film, which last about an hour and then hopefully fully nourished leave. So if you looking to get a ticket you can follow the link just HERE

fumbally flyer 2





spring coolers spring coolers2spring coolers4 spring coolers3 spring coolers5 spring coolers6spring coolers spring coolers8 spring coolers9 spring coolers10



litte 1

So we left as the silhouettes turned to shapes in the blossom of a Varanasi dawn. A holi man at the helm,Sunil, a policeman and a couple of others. A sadu hopped on board just before we left as did a stray dog and off we rowed onto the sacred waters of the Ganges to make litti.

Litti is strong food- sadu food, holi food. When you eat they say, you eat the earth, the air and the in between and joined you become again with all that is.

From Bihar it comes, the wild untamed State next to Bengal that makes its own rules. Also the birth place of Buddha and of many who have to work the land hard to survive for Bihar does not share the lush bounty of its neighbour.

litte 2The black gram, a chickpea relation, is the staple that keeps the engines of Bihar running and the flour from the roasted black gram, the sattoo is the foundation of the litre. On the packs of the sattoo you will see strong men with strong arms, for the sattoo is power food that see you longtime. Food that make your mind to work. A full protein thats easy to absorb into the system and to keep the muscles lifting and lugging, pushing and pulling.

Litti are shapes of dough made from the attar- the whole wheat flour used for chapati and filled with seasoned sattoo.

Traditionally, roasted on the embers of a fire made from the dried cow or buffalow dung and eaten with smashed potato, tomato and aubergine also cooked in the embers, along with chutni or a pickle. A simple trinity.

litte 6

The sadu got down shortly after he had blessed the boat and the dog jumped ship and swam ashore after he ate the chutni. After the shouting and cursing had stopped and calm regained biscuits of cow dung were broken in half and lit and a blue smoke curled out of the metal bowl in the middle of the boat as the washing begun. Potato, tomato, aubergines with hands and river water bringing back to life the foods.

Once the smoke from the biscuits had been replaced by heat the vegetables are juggled around the hot spots to steam inside the vacuum of their blackening skins.

litte 3

Meantime, with the sounds of devotion calling across the river form the the ghats the littes are prepared and the gentle kneading of water and flour is rocking the boat into a trance. A primal thing the pummeling of the dough – just water and flour and hands with intentions and the turning of the sticky mass into a smooth elastic cushion.

Basically its a chapati dough used for the casing- the crust. Sometimes sour yoghurt will be used in place of the water giving a crisper skin but here a cup was just dipped over board and the holi water used.

litte 7

While the dough rested and settled the sattoo was mixed with chopped chilli, ginger, salt and a masala mix the policeman would not disclose.

To assemble the litte’s chunks of dough were pulled off, rolled in the palm and shaped into balls the size of a monkeys fists, then flattened and filled with the seasoned sattoo and reshaped into a ball again and placed around the hot embers and roasting vegetables. And now its just a turning and waiting game as the round parcels slowly turn color as they are turned themselves.

Vegetables that are cooked then smashed are called bahti, coming from the word for rice- bhat as often vegetables to be smashed are cooked in the same pot as the rice.

In the fire though its the tomato that cook first then the aubergine then the potato and in turn their charred skins are removed and then mashed altogether with mustard oil and roughly chopped onion, green chilli, ginger, salt and coriander leaf. Its like mashed potato that went to art school and opens ones eyes to the enormous potential of were the smashed spud can go and with the vegetables still warm their pores are open and available to absorb the oils and the aromatics and the flavours all bleed into each other.

litte 4

The lost chutni had been made the night before. A version of the classic hari chutni -hari /green- you find all over India- The simple and perfect combination of coriander leaf, green chilli, lime, garlic and a little salt pounded together with the smallest of water. It brings freshness and high hats and cuts into the carbohydrates and pulls them altogether.Lime or mango pickle similar effect with a different bite.

As the sun got higher so did the boat.

The operation is a process and in the process there is space and by the time the process had drawn to a close and the litti’s skin were speckled brown and roasted lying on a tray and looking up at you the hair on your head is starting to roast to and your vision has been tilted after the holi man had brought out a bottle of local liquor and the police man had started packing chilums.

Local liquor is clear in color and clear in direction. I was reluctant but at least it came in a bottle. I been in some situations were it comes in plastic bags like the goldfish you won at the fair ground for doing things with ping pong balls. Thats filthy dangerous stuff that takes you to a toy town were the toys kick back and you are the one left broken and discarded in a dark corner.

But in the heat of the river the holi man seemed sure and it came in bottles after all so, i conceded but concerned for my tummy I asked for mine watered down thinking that of course he had a bottle of clean water at hand, of course while on a boat floating on the sacred water of the ganges. But in the heat of the river the holi man seemed sure and it came in bottles after all so, i conceded but concerned for my tummy I asked for mine watered down thinking that of course he had a bottle of clean water at hand, of course while on a boat floating on the sacred water of the ganges.

litte 5

So by the time littes were shared the appetite had been had been flipped up and slapped down and part of me was thinking of following the dogs lead and diving into the cool water and heading to shore to curl up in a shady corner to sleep of the excitement but i stayed and we ate and all agreed you need the chutni or the pickle. Its holi food and often holi things come in threes and the mind is not the same without the body and soul. The combination of the three though is simple and perfect and without glamorous high end ingredients it works and nourishes on a deep and fundamental level.

When you cook on the cow dung it gives an effect that to some would seem so far from how it should be done in the same way the I view a microwave as cooking medium- I guess at the end of the day it depends how many heads you like your children to have.

 litte 8

Posted in INDIAN TALES | Leave a comment


kindling coverfilm

KOLKATA- amazing place- nowhere like it and against the odds, in a land of miracles a cooking situation like no other- from the people for the people- blessed by hand and human touch.

THE DVD …the mighty city seen from dawn to dusk through the constant kitchens of the pavements that provide fuel for millions on the move.Without presenter or voice over the story is told by the people that cook and the people that eat and a beautiful soundtrack. Runs for an hour 13 with all the extras.

THE BOOK…your guide to some of the best and cheapest you find anywhere. 50 pages full colour- last few of an unique run.

All beautifully triple wrapped and delivered to your chosen letter box for £15.00- last day 20/12/12.



book#2whirled jan 14Tickets for the return of the  KOLKATA STREET FOOD EXPERIENCE on the 13 and 14 JANUARY were the fantastic WHIRLED CINEMA will be converted into a multi sensory experience based around a Kolkatan street corner with sounds and smells and string of stalls serving authentic and original snacks and showing the film in top definition.

WE shall have an all new phulch counter, the first showing of the wandering star tonic bar, the jhal muri express, a dhokla station, rose royal lassi’s and sweets.

Its  £20 for the whole experience and a personal invitation will be sent to whoever you wish.  contact me to make it happen- #3chaat acadamy

A night of preparing, eating and learning about the world of the CHAATS- the snacks keeps the fires burning in the gaps. A very small informal, group at the CHAAT ACADAMY in glamorous Streatham– were we shall go through the chutni’s, masala’s and textures that make the chaats another great thing to come out of India

£30.00 @ SW24QS, Streatham Hill. 7..30 till 10.30 7th and 8th january.  A personal invitation sent. Contact to book or for info.


KOLKATA LIME PRESS and chopping block with knife. Without these the express would not be express. Beautiful bits of kit that wear into your hand. The knife is light and elastic and so easy to sharpen you almost can do on your chin.

£15 the pair to the address of choice –
#5LITTLE INDIAGet yourself down to Little India along the Upper Tooting  Road were you can wrap all the shopping in one place, eat some delicious food and return home baskets full with more money in your pocket that you would believe because there it is cheap and good. And of Tooting is off your map find an established Indian community- Ealing Road in Wembley, Southall and North Croydon along the London road to name a few and find the stores that have the kitchen kit, the decorations and the stuff for the spirit.

And while you are there be sure to pop into the wonderful Bhavins next door to buy all your spices, tamarind, palm sugar, pulse and grains and strange shaped vegetables at prices that show up the supermarkets for what they are. Why pay more because every little helps. AND not for getting to get a cup of gujarati dal at pooja sweets, along with one of their flat breads to see you right for anything the day may throw at you.


Wishing you all a very happy time of it with peace on earth and good will, respect and love to all.



P1080617The morning after the cinema shows on the pavement directly opposite  my flat were two bundles of Vogue magazines held by string. Maybe a gift from the god of catering that rewards those that get dug out the whole they dug. The day before the start of spring in Bhravins the first mango’s arrived from Indian and the day after the madalin wind blew from the east and the next day the snow- oh and Imogen got the lead role in a musical.P1080510

And funny it should be Vogue that turned up as it was the gig in a window of a fashion shop down Walton Street that almost broke the fragile organisation that day but as the sun broke loose and lowered its rays divinely between the posts of  battersea bridge  we drove on time into the rich and vaccant bubble of the monied London were the decimal point hops two steps two the right, legs are thin and perfect frames look cold and sexless. The shops no doubt are beautiful though and I left two trollies in the window  0f a resort ware shop showing Saloni’s latest line in beautiful flowing gowns and guilted bikini’s. I wan’t dressed for lingering.P1080584

Across the river the lights were dimmer and thanks to those that made it out of their winter boxes to the fantastic whirled cinema then. Often to much time spent on the production and not on the reason for the production and definately the case with the food at the whirled do but with the help of some direct Dakha input we are aiming to sharpen up the loose edges.P1080603

Just off to a holi party for some jewellery outfit in a bermondsy space that you said yes too because it sounded like fun and you going in with 2 trollies and 300 potential people in 4 hours. Its a challenge that could go either way. Dipu on one trolly doing trad Dakar style jhal muri, cool and upright, the other Kolkata/ Streatham and looser. Its Holi festival. Holi- all the colours of love.P1080485

You can never hold back spring so we go to find it driving Friday straight north to Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Berwick and all new territory and very excited. Leave Londons bubble a whole world of carts, trollies and trailors outthere and  lots of interesting events and gathering shooting up- lively too- lots of support I hear. Things on the move.

On Friday we be at Digbeth Dining Club in Birmingham, a weekly gathering around some dis used railway arches  just by some famous brick biscuit factory I believe. Classic  factory stuff, a string of food stalls music refreshments and the good vibe. Then its Screen shot 2013-03-27 at 00.01.14

Guerrilla Eats  on Saturday in Manchester. These apes are a collective of street food vendors that put on events and as luck would have it they have an Eat this saturday and Aarti  who runs Chaat Cart asked me along and we are going to run a stall together- she will do the dosa and I do the muri. Some great sounding traders there. Never been to Manchester before either- I know its going to be good.Screen shot 2013-03-27 at 00.22.19 Screen shot 2013-03-27 at 00.21.45

I then go around Cheviot and the east coast till Friday 5th saturday 6th when its Newcastle for the Boiler Shop Steamer– the first of a monthly happening in Robert Louis Stevenson’s boiler shop – thats right, just there. Theres’s live music and local foods and local drinks and boutiques to. Friday night will be just that and Saturday and little less so. Its set up by Adam of Rileys fish shack and the first ones are always the interesting ones.

All happenings converting city center spaces and putting food, music and drink heavily in the equation – but not just any old shit. Can’t wait. Thanks for the invites- how things have changed and its good.Screen shot 2013-03-27 at 00.17.29

If you anywhere near Leeds on 5th and 6th check out  Amazing Graze – a week end of goodness around the left bank set up by Manjit’s Kitchen– a doer who not affraid of doing what needs to be done.

Happy holi




whrled poster 3Well we are neither ready nor steady and as always it will got to the wire and I am sure that there are ways to arrive at events you organise with an ironed shirt and brushed hair but I have never smelt that perfume.IMG_1861

But chutni’s and sauces are being made and spices ground and the smell of cumin roasting reminds you why i do it all. And for a while now I have been doing it and having for the first few years relied on ignorance, instinct and outside intervention, lately I have tried thinking a bit about the mixtures and the levels and the times. It is then you realise how little you know and really with dealing with the way with the foods its is not really about knowing because somethings are in the blood and the bones and no matter how much you look and try to learn it will never be the same as the effortless ease of hands that have a certainty passed through generations.IMG_1804

So if you come and eat from my stands you will be disappointed if you are looking for the real Bengali tastes as that is not were I am from or what I am  but so much I have learned from the ways there and filtered through an angular loose canon of an imagination you get what you get and if it doesn’t work it is not through a lack of respect from what I do.IMG_1786_2

Like all things it is all about timing and volume control.  Some things can be done in advance, some things should be done in advance and somethings should not be done at all. The chutni’s like a day or two to settle and that good for me as these are very simple things that make what I do taste less simple and give you more time to stare into space and think how much there is to do.IMG_1794So there is always the chaat masala- just roasted cumin powder, amchoor- the dried green mango powdered for the sour, black salt and chilli dust. I  do just the simple version as they go on dishes with much other stuff going on but you can add easily black pepper, ajhwoan, pomegranate seed too.IMG_1795

Then the gram masala- the other all around mix that everyone have there own take on. Today we make with the coriander, cardamon, clove, black pepper, bay leaf, cinnamon. The spices that warm the body from the inside out.IMG_1824
Tamarind is the calling card of most of the chaats. Lately, without knowing my tamarind sauces have been getting sourer and when you taste one and your left cheek starts to twitch so much your eye ball almost fall out that you realise that more palm sugar is needed. So in future they will be sweeter and welcomer- accessible to anyone who knocks.IMG_1857

Hari chutni is a wonder sauce no doubt. The corinander pounded with chilli, lime, cumin, salt, garlic of you wish, sometimes ginger and even peanuts too. It is thinned with just water to the thickness you like. In the fridge it will see you to the future and out of it will keep you and your sandwiches, rices, snacks and late night eating investigations well covered.IMG_1784_2

We been doing a date raison and ginger chutni for a while and it can turn up pretty much anywhere. Adapted from Manjula’s Kitchen site and she is a beautiful constant of wisdom gained from experience. A kind of Indian Delia Smith in that her recipes work and are easy to follow. Best to learn from the masters and for me they the one that do it everyday- the mothers.IMG_1799

And there be spuds too- as the Bengali’s have a love for the potato like only the Irish and seeing it’s st paddy’s day and to celebrate the beautiful similarities to the two ways of looking at the world  I shall nip out from a sharpener and hope the gods shine on my will power and self control. So here’s to Curtis Mayfield, Christi Moore, Donald Lunny and the radio dj’s on 6 music that soften the Sundays in the kitchen.





whrled poster 3

So we are going full steam ahead for the cinema shows and trying to keep the imagination in a nearby orbit.chai pot and spice

We will be premiering a new cart for the cinema show at the whirled- were there is a blurring as at the THE CHAI, CURD AND SHAKER CORNER it is possible to eat your drinks and drink what you eat.IMG_1756

Its basically what it says in the box- there will be chai, rose royal lassi’s and the big new draw- the mango lassi shaker.  The chai is more a potion as there is no tea involved just orange skins and its juices, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, ginger and palm sugar. Served in small tea glasses for small stimulation.lassi


The lassi is beaten curds and beaten ice with palm sugar and rose water all whisked to a froth. Plain and simple and practical. The shaker though is more of an event.IMG_1765

There are these gujarati buttermilk donuts called balushahi but they are altogether more nut and less dough than what we associate with donuts being all crisp and uneven and not too sweet.


These get broken into a  vessel and you mix with the vivid orange puree of the the alphose mango. A squeeze of lime and some fresh ginger and coconut slivers. Put another vessel on top and shake like a cocktail- hence the shaker.


To finish whisk the lassi to give it life and pour into the cup over the biscuits.

You drink it and you eat it- eat it and drink it. One and the other and a bit of both. That is the way with the mango lassi shaker.

For the design of the cart we are looking at sinks and pallets and skip accessories. Thats how she goes.

For information on the event click this

And for tickets click this









film poster whirled 2013The KOLKATA STREET FOOD EXPERIENCE returns to the Whirled Cinema on the 18 & 19 March with the sounds, sights, smells and tastes of Kolkata in a unique sensory experience featuring the award winning film ” STREET FOOD KOLKATA – WHY NOT…” and the amazing snacks featured in the film- falling off the screen and fresh into your mouth.

kolkata chat mash new trimThere will be the everybody lovelove jhal muri express, vip ghugni dal, a phuchka counter and dhokla station, rose royal lassi’s, sweets, coolers and bhaul chai.

Authentic and original- tastes of the mighty city.

For a TRAILER for the film click this


The cost is £20 and tickets are only available here for the all the foods, the film and the experience. Come hungry leave nourished.

ALLWAYS WELCOMEThe Whirled Cinema is one of London’s hidden gems and perfect to spend an evening grazing on Bengali chaats and  refreshments, cushioned form the outside goings on with beautiful sounds and visions and the good vibe.

We open at 7.30 and the film starts at 8.45 and lasts an hour. You can eat before, during after the film. It is casual and relaxed.

There is a bar, sofas and a smoking deck. Everything.

Any information needed call me 07772028212


DIRECTS– The Whirled Cinema is just near Loughborough Junction station- Capital First Direct line and also just a skip and a hop on a bus from Brixton.


CHAAT COUNTERChaat literally means lick and is used to describe the eatings that are inbetween the main meals. They are all about the textures and all the tastes and all the pleasures. They are fresh, alive and nourishing to the core.

This is some of what you can expect.

jhal muri 2012The omnipresent chaat of Bengal, everywhere you will find in as many variations as there are people. All the same and all different.

vip ghugni trim 2Adapted from the Kolkata version were the dried pea or chick pea is used, here masor dal- the split red dal-is cooked with light spice and topped with tamarind chutni,  bombay onions, ginger, coriander, lime, chaat masala, lime and sev- the crisp noodle made form the chick pea flour.

phuchkas 2A phuchka is called a phuchka because when you puncture the crisp hollow puri it goes phuchk. A puri is a hollow crisp bread the size of a golf and it is filled with smashed potato flavoured with mustard oil, tamarind and mint water. You eat all in one and all becomes one.

DHOKLA STATIONDhokla actually is a dish from the western state of Gujarat but like many of the chaats has found its way to the east. It is a steamed savoury sponge made from the chick pea flour and we serve it with  thinned yogurt, hari chutni, ( coriander, lime and chilli) date

raisin and ginger chutni and tamarind sauce- all topped with coconut and other nice bits. It works.

royal lassi trim

The yoghurt beaten into a voluptuous arangement flavoured with rose water, palm sugar and the vivid orange of the alphonso mango.

All dishes served from carts and trollies decorated with all the flowers of the rainbow, made from bent metal and held together with copper wire and inner tubes. Thats how we go.

teljme trim

Posted in THE KOLKATA STREET FOOD EXPREIENCE | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment


A bit of unashamed self promotion here with the duel intention of helping you out with an easy to administer ready wrapped and unique christmas present as well as helping me get to Ghana in Febuary to make another film.

The award wining film and the strictly limited edition book on the incredible street food of Kolkata all lovingly wrapped and parcelled up and delivered to whose ever front door step you wish to see it land on- I can even put on a gift tag and a copy of your signature.

Just £15.00 all in, with no post office cues, selotape or shinny paper to deal with. Orders need to be places by the Tuesday 20th December to ensure delivery by the happy day.


So there we have it. If this is of interest to you you can either contact me on – or go through the website –press here that has paypal facilities. This will be running from Wednesday 14th december.

If these suggestions do not quite satisfy your need for the Indian take on glitter and sparkle then the Londoners could do worse to zip to Little Indian in Tooting, Bopal’s down the Ealing road, Wembley or to Sanskruti  just by Alperton tube stop. And when you all done find yourself a chat counter and eat some of the best and cheapest food in London. Ballo.



The mighty city of Kolkata seen from dawn to dusk through the constant kitchens of the pavements that provide fuel for millions on the move. An extreme and intense situation that spawns some of the most delicious, nutritious and cheapest food anywhere. Undiluted by voice over or presenter the story is told by street characters, the bewildering visuals and the original sound track.At times inspiring at times confusing, as is in the city but ultimately beautiful, uplifting and a moving meditation to making the most of not very much.This is not a short cut, it’s the real thing.



A very limited edition with 50 pages and 200 colour photos, written in the cosmopolitan English for all to understand- this little beauty tells you about all of the street foods found in Kolkata, the ingredients the make it have the style and how it makes the difference to the well-being.





SO you licking your wounds in a safe house in Totnes, soaking away in warm waters a week of mud out of your system and wondering how to righten the listing ship when a phone call and they are all ” its a bit last minute but are you free and would a fat figure edging towards the magic 3 zero’s be ok” and all of  sudden you seeing blue skies again.

In-between the bringing of the Kolkata Street Food Experience to a beautiful barn in a hidden valley in South Devon with the showing of the film and eating of the snacks- jhal muri, ghungi chaat, chai and phulchas. Yes they like. A sunny evening and sunny compliments and you leave nourished again off to the last minute gig -back to the Cotswolds and the most beautiful priory only recently relinquished by the monks but who prayers still permeate around the walled gardens were the muri cart is positioned. Its privileged to bring along a snack that has such humble origins to such beautiful places especially if when, as here you are treated with respect. Isn’t that the most important thing to given


In London you get up to a bit of general summer hawking at office spaces, cinema cues, commuter routes and the following ethereal sounds that lead a rose garden in bloom in Brockwell park were, on an evening were the light held other qualities a besuited frame sang and twisted and turned to every note of Mr Bogangles as the world stopped and filled with a moment never to be replaced nor removed. There was a day filming for a series riding on the back of all the present hype about street food- “Street Feasts” for the foodnet work channel, which as one of the only food channels in the uk is a prime example of the shocking way food is represented in the film base media. Endless repeats of dulge ain’t going to make them get better, trust me. Anyhow maybe this one will break the mould. We go shopping around Tooting in the very understanding Bhavins and do a bit of muri action on the street and much excitements there is what with a camera crew and free chat. Give a bit -get a lot. I like.


The next day its back to school to introduce the wonders of the jhal muri to a class rooms of 8 or 9 years olds decked out in saris, bindi’s, turbans and kuta’s. They wide eyed and very sweet and give you a honey moon period of 10 minutes before the roasted rice starts flying. I leave the carnage  to the cleaners and head east to Norfolk to a private festival do- a home gig really- the first festival I did the muri and they let me do what i want and i do i just that- be wrong not to. A friendly dressy, safe affair were people trust and talk. Sleep is an option not taken by many but it ain’t edgy or nervous- just a bubble that is all about the pleasures and stepping out of the box. There was a fair amount of rain that came from all angles but come monday those still not ready to return headed down to the river were there was a sauna in the river, a beach , a bar and a dancette record player and a trunk of old 45’s. Perfect- and I served up warm dal boxes and phulchas cannonballs to remind the revellers what food tasted like again.


Back to the city, there were also a couple of large parties for the muri and the ghugni- flat fees unaffected by weather patterns or pitch placements and good to have a wedge to sit on as you drive towards Wales in the Malvern Hills for the Big Chill festival.

You leave at dawn as the sun breaks and shadows form as you’re filling up with boxed of coconuts, green lime, bombay onions, coriander and the like from the wholesale market by Southall- a cosmopolitan affair that feels like you could be many hundreds of miles away and fills you with the excitement of new faces, new places and adventures untold that make travel so addictive. “Set the sails I feel the winds a-stiring” – and its the M4 west- back to the hills of Stroud and on a bit to fill with holy water and then settle for for five days with old friends, butterflies and magical stones under the watch of Eastnor castle.


The big chill started 10 years or so ago as an alternative to the nut nut and since has become a large brand and the festival side has really run its course and its time has been. Numbers were 2 thirds down but up in the enchanted garden were the express opened its doors no one noticed- a festival within a festival. We had a tight nit team that ran as smooth as ice rolling down warm skin come sunday we had sold pretty much all we had to offer. In-between there was the fantastic Mama Toukous in the bid cage,  Norman Jay in the sunshine, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, the mighty Femi Kuti and an endless sunday night that went up, down, to the left and to the right.


As the cities of England burned the Express took the back roads up the spine of country, Edinburgh bound. The peak district, the moors, the dales. All river swimming, easy rolling and beautiful beyond belief. Stopping off in Bradford to stock on Indian supplies and with a heart warming welcome from the Bengali’s there;- and these are the people seen by some as the threat.

In Birmingham Tariq Jahan, whose son had been killed for standing his ground, spoke chilling words of pure humanity and dignity that belie the sadness and anger he must have felt. Words that echo the true beauty of his faith and so much we need voices as his to be heard.

As we closed in on Edinburgh the clouds thickened and in time it started to rain and then it rained some more and some more and some more again. Proper rain this, not just a shower but rain thats wets you to the bone and beyond. After three days it stopped and you open up the van for business and a girl looks in and asks if you are a hippy and you ask what’s a hippy and she states a cunt like you. Like it or not you know were you stand.


Muri and rain is not a winning combination but there were windows without to take the trolly along the Meadow down the streets of the beautiful city. Down south though you can hear the rumble of the fat bass bins calling and you roll through the night to carnival.

There has been a little history with the bureaucrats there so i leave the trolly behind and avoid the cat and mouse games dodging inspectors and go for myself and get me head stuck into a four hour rastafarian meditation at Abi Shanti’s sound system. Tune after conscious tune rumbling you inside and out as he bounces about like a ping pong ball twisting the dials, spinning the sevens and mixing and making the magic happen- the man is a marvel. holi holi holi and you walk away a rearranged being into the mashed up soul shake down of Gaz’s rocking blues arrangement which is heading for orbit and dissolving into uncontrolled mayhem and guilt free bliss. If there is a better place in the world to be on the last week end of the English summer i am not sure i want to know.

As the dust settles you take your mind, body and the  trolly down to the coast for sunset sessions on the Brighton sea front by the angel and the insect like skeleton of the west pier. At the week end its to Lewes for the Phoenix fayre in front of Zu studios, the incredible art and general good vibe space of Martin and Samira. Martin is one of the great manifestors  and can pull a party out of his pocket and have it fully installed and rocking before most people have boiled the kettle. The fayre is opened by the mayer at midday and twelve hours later you still mixing cones and swaying to the african rhythms.


The Britsish Street Food Awards were set up by Richard Johnson, who also wrote Street Food Revolution published in June. This year the awards have joined onto Jimmy’s Harvest festival up near Ipswich and we head up with the plan to explain to the judges that the express is not some hobby of a flaky freewheeling odd ball but opens ones eyes to the great potential of the snack, which at present is a lucrative way for a few to pollute many with substances our bodies cannot handle. It was not to be though as bodies cannot also handle being driven too hard without proper attention and on Friday night, with the set up all installed and ready to go mine said no I ain’t having it no more and you find yourself in Ipswich hospital with a lot of wires coming out of a lot of places. You know that the maker has a sense of humour when the doctor finally comes he is from Kolkata and when you discharge yourself knowing that a week end of staring at a white ceiling and being fed hospital food would finish you off the taxi driver is from San Tome in Cape Verde- the place mentioned in Cesaria Evora’s lament to the the longing, Sodade– “who will show you…this distant way? This way… to San Tome” Back at the site its heaving and i open up performing like a beheaded chicken but that can only go on so long and in the dark you drive away feeling dark.

A couple of days later you are in another hospital with more wires being wheeled somewhere and the nurse is talking about Johnny Cash and Walk the Line– ” i keep a close watch on this heart of mine” and you know you haven’t but you vow you will. Hours later when you released there is a t-junction in the corridor. Mortuary to the left, no sign to the right- i take the right and see what happens and feel lucky to have the choice.

So you step it right down and start to eat and not to drink, to breath in the clean air and not the green air. Its not rocket science. A days filming for the US show “Eat Street” were you running on the electric autumn sunlight more than anything then down to Wimborne, Dorset for the Feast of Dorset which is a gentle 10- 6 food festival in the very beautiful grounds of Deans court and then to land for some days in a tree house in my favourite valley and make happy and make healthy again.