Back on Radio In London…..

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It has been a long time since I left London…but part of me still lives above Trehantiri Music (RiP) on Green Lanes, that street I knew and loved so well. Radio has been part of my life since around 1979, when I signed up as a volunteer on University Radio Essex (URE). It was nothing like enlisting for the army, although there were some close on air shaves. URE gave me 5 years on air when my first radio and my last sounded entirely different. From there I tried to get into community stations in London, they were pirates at that time but most of the people running them, former hairdressers, blokes who were may be in the rag trade and loved bouzouki music were more obsessed by the finite correctness of speaking the Greek language on air than actually doing radio that was enjoyable and reflective of the diversity in the Cypriot community which I had grown up in. So for a while I did my DJ thing, well for quiet a while and then started releasing 12″ singles around 1990 on my own Kebab Kulture label. That kind of got me back into radio, more so as a guest when various people like Andy Kershaw and the legend himself John Peel featured my music on the Beeb. Community radio  at that time tended to shun what I was doing initially, despite airplay on other stations with a wider reach such as BBC, Radio 5 Live, Radio London, KISSFM and WNK. The main community stations back then were LGR and Spectrum. Alot of things changed with 2 songs, ‘Stravroulla’ and ‘Vrakaman’ produced by my mighty mentor Zacharias ‘Sugar’ Hadjishacalli of Spartacus fame. These took off in Cyprus in 1993/4 and the rest is history. With extensive radio play in Cyprus and lots of trips to my homeland, 12 in all that year, I came back and have lived here ever since.

Radio always remained. I worked on Radio Broto, CyBC 2, Astra Radio and Radio Napa, as well as around the world IrieFM (Bermuda), BigupRadio (USA) and InspirationFM (UK) I also made the first music podcasts from Cyprus and more recently got into net based radio from my home based studio with Versionist and OuttaMiYard Radio, where I play every Wednesday 8-10 CY Time.

So when my Chakko DJ friend Marios Avraam, who together with Aggie from InsiprationFM’s GreekShow (the only folks who carried on playing all my songs in terms of Greek/Cypriot based radio from the UK between 1993-present) linked me up with Paul Funksy from Greekbeat Radio I thought why not London, it has been a long time….So my  show starts tonight and I am really excited about playing every thing from ‘Pyjames’ by Katsaros from the USA in the 1930’s to the latest Dubophonic out of Cyprus with a touch of I-mitri thrown in, plus a tribute mix to George Michael and some  Med exclusives from Kingdom Signal and me …every Friday  it is the 5-7pm UK on GreekBeat Radio…Drive time with Haji Mike live from Nicosia to London on BeatzCY…Big thanks to Paul Funksy for the warm welcome…log on here www.greekbeatradio.com

Image result for greekbeat radio

Live Radio Art from Corsica

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Being here in Corsica is a mystical experience. Waking up to the stunning views, making music and radio for most of the day, and sitting down chatting to Gibsy Rhodes on his own turf, Kingdom Signal Studios is one of the most inspiring musical adventures I have been on to date. Tonight we do our new release ‘One Summer…’ live on radio for the first time. Its a live gig in Gibsy’s modest home studio, surrounded by keyboards, a few mixers, some vintage radio gear and a friendly cat called Topaz who purrs like a combine harvester and has a liking for chewing wires – mind the cat kids!

The live session is powered as I said by modest equipment. Gibsy is no geek. He does not walk around with a calculator working out delay alogrithms. There is no music production software as such, no digital workstations on heavy duty computers and no endless discussions on what does what better or worse. His musical philosophy is simple “it does it for me, thats the sound I like, thats the art I make”.

Gibsy is a joy to work with live. He just labours on the keyboards mixing and blending those notes and ideas and the live shows on radio in this sanctuary up on a mountainside in a small village called Corbara will be magic.

Tune in tonight for some live radio art

5-9pm (France) 4-8pm (UK) 6-10pm (Cyprus)

@ www.omyradio.net


‘One Summer…’ New Haji Mike & Kingdom Signal launched live on Radio out of Corsica, Cyprus and London

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dl coverRadio brings people together, it always and always will. Haji Mike in Cyprus linked up with Gibsy Rhodes aka Kingdom Signal in the summer of 2014 via Versionist Radio. Gibsy wanted to do a Haji Mike Special so he requested a few tunes. This led to an invite to Haji Mike to join the station, which happened shortly afterwards. Versionist was also known as the ‘Village Radio’ and would later transmute into ‘OuttaMiYard Radio’ where people from different locations around the world switch studios every couple of hours like as one Reggae/Dub Radio Marathon. Radio also brings people together through music and is a vital media for musicians as a platform to showcase their creations. Haji Mike realized this when he started releasing independent music in 1990 via London. ‘The first time I did a radio session for Andy Kershaw I was over the moon. In fact Kershaw was the first person to play ‘Stavroulla’ one of my early releases in Cyprus’ says Haji Mike ‘ and that concept of the live session, where musicians jam on air was crucial for many artists like myself back in the day as a way of getting exposure.’ Fast forward, 27 years and the live radio session is just as important but something fundamental has changed in the meantime. The Internet gives everyone the opportunity to play live on air from any place and any time as long as the technology works. So Haji Mike & Kingdom Signal, follow in the that fine live radio session tradition this month with a couple of special exclusive shows to launch their new release ‘One Summer’ (Power of Love Records) which came out on May 1st. Dates as follows for the sessions and interviews:


Weds 10th May 17:00–21:00 UTC+02 (4-8pm, UK – 6-10pm, CY) OuttaMiYardRadio Live Session Episode 1 – Live and direct from Kingdom Signal Studios, Corsica Haji Mike & Kingdom Signal play ‘One Summer…’ in full plus dubplates, selections and tunes galore as the two Kings of The Mediterranean Underground meet for the first time on Air.

Tune in here——> outta-mi-yard-hm-main

Thurs 11th May Live interview with Jahmon Selector (Belgium) on OuttaMiYardRadio 18:00 – 18.30  Tune in here——>    outta-mi-yard-hm-main

Thurs 11th May Live interview with DJ Debbie Golt on The Outerglobe (UK) on Resonance FM 7.40-8.15 pm  Tune in here——>  resonancefm_logo


Fri  12th May 5-7pm UK (7-9pm CY) GreekBeat Radio (UK)  Live Session Episode 2 live and direct from Kingdom Signal Studios, Corsica Haji Mike & Kingdom Signal perform ‘One Summer…’ in full plus dubplates and selections. Tune in here ——————>greekbeat

What people have been saying about ‘One Summer…’   

‘Lush New Dub Sound’ – Sarah Fenwick – Cyprus News Report

‘Meditative’ Sista Skanka – OMYRadio

‘Hypnotic’ Dub Thomas – Dubophonic/OMYRadio/RastFM

‘Fabulous!’ Dj Mario Greekbeat Radio

‘A contemplative call to action, earthed in the cosmos, rootical, soaring, essential!’ Debbie Golt Outerglobe/Resonance 104.4FM

‘Many things…an awakening, fresh, exciting, earthy, witty, poetic, summerness, takes you on journeys, bittersweet and ambitious’ Stelios Keryniotis, Astra Radio Cyprus


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The New release ‘One Summer…’ is available through  Google ,24/7 ,7 Digital, Amazon MP3, BounDEE, Emusic, iFeel Music, iMusica, iTunes,Juno, MediaNet Mobile Partners: AMI Entertainment & Gracenote – Streaming – Napster/Rhapsody/YouTube Art Tracks and many more….




Also check the video for ‘Stargazing’ by Haji Mike & Kingdom Signal


Web Links:

Power of Love Records on Facebook

Haji Mike & Kingdom Signal Bandcamp

Kingdom Signal Soundcloud 

Haji Mike

For more information contact  POLRecords@protonmail.com

 The ‘Haji Mike & Kingdom Signal Live Corsica Sessions’ are supported by

politistikes logo final 0317 - EN - brown  pol logo  outta-mi-yard-hm-main  greekbeat

A note from Nicosia

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A very big shout to our dub-wise gardening friend Haji Mike in Cyprus for this piece which we received the other day after enquiring about what gives gardening-wise over there at the moment, intere…

Source: A note from Nicosia

George Michael and being Cypriot – 12 things you might like to know….



Before you start reading the blog…click on image below to hear The George Michael Street Mix on Mixcloud as you read…words and music go hand in hand…Also bear in mind this blog is a work in progress, just like the campaign to have a street named after George in Cyprus, so changes, adaptations will be made regularly…..


Every one who is a Cypriot in the UK will have had or have claim to have had a link to the late George Michael in some way of another. Most of these ‘links’ are caught somewhere between adoring fandom and lameness. Just rewind to the early 80’s and how many Cypriot teenage girls screamed and scrambled their way to the front of Wham gigs – plus how many young guys copied the peroxide hair style with the flick. On the mundane there are always people wanting to sell a story to a popular rag like The Sun proclaiming something rather dull about George or his dad. Like, ‘I lived and worked in North London and so did his dad’ – what a ridiculous link to make – millions of people lived there, doesn’t mean much really.  It is the price of fame, everybody knows you but hardly any one really does.

My only link, aside from the great tunes he made as a solo artist (not really a big Wham fan) was a chance encounter with his father Jack a couple of years ago in a friend’s tea house in Cockfosters. He was a such a humble man and we chatted for about an hour. I didn’t blog about it at the time or post photos all over cyber space, nor will I now, out of respect for the family’s privacy in a time of mourning.

What has always fascinated me about George is his Cypriot link and what he meant to a whole generation of people of  Cypriot origin as a role model. He kind of set the sound for singers to follow but what many sound a-likes never realised was he had the soul to be himself. How many people xeroxed that voice or tried to at least – often Greek wedding singers or youth just wanting a pop career as an easy way to become rich. But none of that success and fame came easy.

What George Michael reflected more than anything is that pattern of migration, and achievement through hard work.  Coming from a Cypriot father from the small  village of Patriki in Karpasia and working class English mother who was a dancer, George literally leapt in terms of social mobility over 2 generations. That is in some ways the dominant British Cypriot work ethic, emigrate, work hard, and move on. It makes a lot of sense. Even in one generation our fathers and mothers came from villages with no electricity in the 50’s and 60’s, often working from the age of 14 to a radically different life in the UK say 30 years later doing everything for the future of the next generation. So here are a few things/thoughts/insights on George Michael and being Cypriot:

  1. George would say often say in interviews ‘the only Greek thing about me is my hairy chest’ and that was so easy to misconstrue. But he would also follow it up with what he got from his father, that determination to work hard and succeed, and that he considered himself a 2nd generation son of an immigrant. That word ‘immigrant’ has become almost a dirty word nowadays, but George always used it proudly. Watch video here on MEGA TV Greece around 5.31. So he was proud of his roots, his parents, and where he came from. This theme is also explored in one of his songs ‘Round Here’ where he talks about his upbringing and how his dad ‘ got here on the gravy train’

2. George Michael’s first interview in Cyprus was with John Vickers in 1984, in his Wham days, for CyBC 2 Radio, the state broadcaster. John is a rare kind of journalist in Cyprus and he will admit it himself, interviewing George Michael  topless was an honour!!!


3. Charity and George Michael go hand in hand. He was one of those people who did not like to broadcast his name all over everything but the people who knew, the people who benefitted from his charitable donations always held him in high esteem. He was the main benefactor for The UK Thalassemeia Society, which has been in existence for more than 30 years and has amassed a wealth of experience on Thalassaemia, that most dreaded of ancient  Cypriot diseases. I can recall performing with DJ Peter Lewis and Soul Singer Irini at The Community Centre in Wood Green for this charity in the early 90’s and  the leather jacket George wore on the worldwide ‘Faith’ tour was auctioned for many thousands of pounds. And to any ‘doubters’, the picture below gives clear evidence of George’s philanthropy towards the community. Thanks to my twitter friend Dino, the youth pictured bottom front right, who was there to witness this at Haringey Civic Centre in the 1980’s.


4.Urban legend has it that George Michael has a house Cyprus. There is some confusion on this however. While a photo does exist online (Google it and see) it’s not clearly stated by the architect  who designed the property if it’s George Michael the famous singer’s house  – which is misleading. Also consider there are probably thousands of people called George Michael (and I know at least 5 of them) and this one is clearly not accurate. Whatever the case George came to Cyprus but pop stars, in such a small place, always move in silence.

5.Yusuf Islam frequents Cyprus often as well and when George Michael passed away he tweeted: ‘So sad to hear my Cypriot brother @GeorgeMichael has passed away.Will miss him & pray God will have mercy on him. Condolences to his family’

6.On Twitter George would often sign himself off as ‘The Singing Greek’ and his nickname was also ‘Yog’ short for Giorgos. Its possible some one cottoned  onto the ‘Singing Greek’ tag by creating a twitter account, making things a bit confusing. In the end George Michael got the  name officially removed.

7.Club Tropicana, despite urban myth was not filmed as a video clip in Limassol Cyprus, it was made in Ibiza. However many people have used the name in Cyprus for their clubs and even my nephew had a chippy in Liverpool with the name in bright blue silver neon lights. “Its pure class” he declared at the chippy’s opening 🙂

8.George Michael, like many of us who had to endure, went to Greek school as a kid in northwest London. Greek school was an additional educational chore, often on a Saturday morning. To some it was  a pain, a routine where they learnt nothing and to others it was key to learning the Greek language. I would have preferred Saturday morning pictures.

9. A very reliable source, Costas Yennaris (who through marriage has a link)  stated on Facebook recently that George Michael also did the vragga-dagga thing as a youth with  traditional dances and the vraka – the national traditional male attire of Cyprus back in the day. Going through the same things, I am sure our paths may have even crossed on a dancefloor in a church hall off Turnpike Lane…at some stage or other.


10. GM The Original Vrakaman was also a theme  explored in The Cyprus Weekly in 1996 when George first started donning a goatee in public. They published a headshot pic of the the both of us side by side saying GM was looking more and more like HM and we were one and the same person!  Far fetched for sure  and I am not in the same league but as the original Cypriot goatee-ist it did make me feel very humbled at the time.

11. George was a star for all people, ethnicities, races and creeds. He appeals and is just as important to Greek Cypriots as he is to Turkish Cypriots, and Armenians, Latins and Maronites. He is what Cyprus could have been, tolerant, daring and forward thinking and that was always clearly manifested through his music.

12. May be this  is not so important to some but  I will throw it in for some clarification. Still trying to figure out what side of North London George Michael was in terms of football, blue or red. It would be devastating if he was a Gooner – it hit me hard when I found out the late Bob Marley supported Arsenal a couple of years ago – but news so far from trawling the net seems to indicate GM was with Man United. Also possible growing up in Hertfordshire he could have even been Watford.

Last but by no means least…a couple of days ago we started a petition to have a street named after George Michael in Cyprus. Its going really well with over 1,743 people signing so far. Considering he is the most famous person worldwide with a Cyprus link, we see this as imperative out of respect for a person who gave so much to so many people. And it would be good if there were many streets named after George Michael worldwide…So please sign the petition here…..

RiP Yog, Αναπαύσου εν ειρήνη you will always be remembered…

Common Senseness & Sell Outs!!!

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It was around 1988, Conway Hall London, and the newly elected President of The Republic of Cyprus, George Vassiliou was going to make his maiden speech to the London Cypriot community. As a then student activist I found myself in venue putting out the chairs. As soon as they had been laid out a group of around 5 people had littered each chair with a vitriolic leaflet denouncing a ‘Federal Solution’ and opposing the peace talks. It did feel banal, and still to this day, many people that oppose a federal solution seldom have an alternative approach which will be acceptable to all the communities of Cyprus.  There are slogans of course, and everyone has slogans. ‘Unitary state’ and ‘European’ political parties who once demanded a ‘European Solution’. A few fanatics, who may have increased lately use the most cowardly one ‘draw a line and build a wall’. But no one has yet to come up with a feasible alternative to a Federal Solution to the Cyprus Problem which would be acceptable to all the communities in the negotiating process. Although the ‘Unitary State’ advocates think they have an alternative, reality is they do not and they know it because it takes two to tango. The ‘European Solution’ supporters, now a bit of a cliché/passing fad, realized that and even changed the name of their political parties.

All of this is all well and good up until a Greek academic finally gave us the answer, the alternative to a Federal Solution. Angelos Syrigos is an Associate Professor of International Law & Foreign Policy at Panteion University Athens. He recently spoke at the memorial to honour Tassos Papadopoulos, the man who partly/allegedly negotiated The Annan Plan and then buried it in the referendum of 2004. Syrigos is also an expert on the said Plan, having written a book on it.  So the alternative posed would be to accept Turkey annexing northern occupied Cyprus as opposed to negotiating a Federal Solution. In other words, to spell it out, the assimilation of the north is actually one step further than Partition. This was said at the 8th memorial of Tassos Papadopoulos, a former President of Cyprus, elected to solve the Cyprus Problem on the basis of a Federal Solution. It is good to see the masks finally come off. And the furor from the little party of the centre, the empty-space-between-party-lot, DIKO, following critique on this stance by President Nicos Anastasiades, the reaction. Remarkable echoes of those dark times when they were in power and that post-2004 ambience of constraining any form towards critical thinking. They were in power then, and thankfully now, they are not. What we have yet to realize about DIKO is they want to hold on to power for the sake of it. They want to always be the party of power, in power. Whether they do this alone or with others is immaterial. They will oppose a solution ad infinitum because their power will be eroded and they will have nothing else to talk about.

There is also a common senseness, that everyday allure of DIKO’s position on Cyprus which appeals to people like nicotine to a chain smoker. As an allegedly ‘in-between’ party (whatever that means nowadays) they have naturalised an anti-federal solution through just being obstinate. It’s that everydayness, that routine of their arguments that is disturbing. You switch on the TV and some news presenter probes with a naive question like ‘aren’t we better off, them over there and us over here’. It does sound sweet to some ears, this unofficial DIKO like position which you can probably hear in some coffee shops where usually old men gather to reason on the days events. But whatever way that common senseness is phrased, whether it’s from a coffee shop or from a tie wearing Greek Academic (in a more convoluted way) the bottom line is partition, which is where all these years of deadlocks and dead-end blame games in The Cyprus Talks will eventually take all of us if we pursue the path of pessimism.

So I ask myself, as a refugee without refugee status, as someone born in Marathovouno, who is this Greek academic to tell me and anyone else in Cyprus that the annexation of the north is better than a Federal solution. For over 42 years successive politicians have told us we will ‘go home’. For 42 years you have been lying to the voting public, hiding behind empty slogans, posing you want progress. For 42 years you have hidden your pathetic agenda, herding voters like sheep so you can give part of Cyprus to Turkey so we can be what, ‘united with a Greek motherland’? Is that your next move, stalwarts of DIKO, to proclaim Cyprus is actually Greek and we should just be done with it, side by side with a 150 mile border with Turkey, one side Greek one side Turkish – no more negotiations – a new cold war era?  And no doubt, you will all go on, singing the same negative tunes, bellowing the same rejectionist bile, when all people want, at the end of the day is simple, a solution based on what was agreed all those years ago, a Federal State of Cyprus. We cannot carry on fooling ourselves, each other and the world, we agreed on a Federal Solution as far back as 1977 and 1979, either we do it now, or face the realities that Syrigos so poisonously advocates. If the north is assimilated with Turkey, a new chapter begins, but we certainly will not be as relieved as the Greek academic that fears a solution, because sitting in his office from Athens, he will be a lot more comfortable than us.

Africa – Cyprus – intolerance and everyday racist ignorance



I have for a number of years been actively engaged, in terms of research, art, music and just opinions on ‘everyday’ representations of people by themselves, of others and through others, like the media and various esteemed authors.   It’s the ‘everydayness’ of certain ideas which create stereotypes that contain misrepresentations through  ‘common-sense’ ‘facts’ which always calls me to object.  Such inaccuracies are usually backed up with the illogical claim of ‘that’s how it is’. Hardly anyone can actually explain logically exactly what ‘that’s how it is’ really means. In other words likes become naturalized and unacceptable. Many politicians do this for a living. Donald Trump is the most loud and reactionary example of this. His views on Muslims and his dangerous claim that he could even kill some one and still be a leading candidate are the lowest levels of intellect (if we can call it that) which a politician has slumped to. At the same time there are ‘everyday’ stereotypes which we often partake in, consume, accept perhaps without even blinking an eyelid. There are also companies and organizations who use stereotypes every day to justify their existence and ultimately sell products and make money. I want to question this in terms of a number of 3 everyday products and brands in Cyprus which depict Africa/Africans/Africaness in clearly derogatory and racist ways. Interesting that all  of these ironically come from places which aspire to be alternative/different making their impact  more disturbing and questionable because when racism becomes so every day, so subconscious even, it is more harmful as it’s just accepted as the way things are .

.laikolaiko packet

The oldest one that comes to mind, and I have been complaining about this since the early 1990’s is the logo of Laiko Kafekopteio, an allegedly progressive organization whose name translates into English as ‘The People’s Coffee Grinding Company’ – which is linked to AKEL – The Communist party of Cyprus. Since 1948 the company logo contains a depiction of an African looking ‘bell-boy’ serving different packets of the company’s coffee on a tray. The expression on his face looks  shocked, motionless and uncomfortably placed historically. As offensive as the ‘golliwogs’ that used to be on Robertson’s jam jars and very ‘sambo’ looking . One can only assume that despite its allegedly progressive image as a company Laiko’s main shareholder’s must be pretty conservative, insensitive and ‘red-neck’ in their unwillingness to change their logo. Furthermore this stance leaves them frozen in time, trapped somewhere before the  pre-civil rights era of the 1940’s when racism was far more entrenched and exclusivist. With a logo likes this, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Steve Biko, Maya Angelou, Public Enemy and Nelson Mandela, never apparently happened.


Then we come to ‘Afrika’ newspaper, which reflects an oppositional view to the establishment and status quo in northern occupied Cyprus. Its owner Sener Levent is outspoken for his criticism of nationalism, occupation and the division of Cyprus.  It is baffling, again, how someone so oppositional and allegedly ‘progressive’ can call their newspaper ‘Afrika’ – ‘Africa’. Had the paper been published in Africa or if its content was Afrocentric, fair enough but take one look at  the above logo , where the ‘I’ in the word is represented by a sketch of what looks to be a yellow (symbolizing cowardice) faced ape, sitting sideways submissively with its face looking down.  Levent made the ‘transitition’ (SIC) in name when ‘Avrupa’ meaning Europe become ‘Afrika’ apparently as a political protest over 10 years ago after he had spent time in detention for expressing views against the former self-declared leader of Turkish Cypriots, the late Rauf Denktash, who lets face it was seldom tolerant to differences of opinion. The newspapers name reflects a wider ‘everyday’ societal stereotype in Cyprus sowed  time and time again by people (often politicians) who claim snobbishly that ‘Cyprus is not Africa’ or ‘Cyprus is not like a small country in Africa’ which assumes Cyprus is perfect, a better place than anywhere in Africa . Well folks like you all got it wrong, according to this newspaper ‘Cyprus’ is ‘Afrika’. Whereas in reality Africa is a radically different  from such demeaning and degrading imagery and text, and again, the racism of this perverse idea reflects a bygone era of Apartheid and systematic oppression of Africa and people of  African origin worldwide.

stinj hora ton zoulou.jpg

The final example is the most offensive. It comes from ‘Politis’ newspaper, again allegedly a newspaper that is supposed to be independent politically –  a difficult thing in Cyprus – the divided ‘Carob Republic’ which has never been  totally free nor independent. Every Sunday ‘Politis’ has a cartoon by Thanasis Papaspyropoulou entitled ‘Sti Hora Ton Zoulou’ which translates in English  as ‘In The Country’ or ‘land of the Zulus’ . The image has a caricature of the cartoonist on the left looking a bit smarmy gripping his pencil and pointing his finger rather nonchalantly. Some very poorly designed graphics carry the title with the word ‘Zulu’ done in a self-styled ‘Savanah filled’ font. The word ‘Hora’ is pieced together in a ramshackle way like badly constructed fencing. On the Y (Ypsilon in Greek) of the last letter in Zulu a caricature of a monkey smiles cheekily, with all white teeth shining while holding a rather small banana. We can assume the monkey is about the eat the banana as its half peeled and its size relatively speaking indicates its local produce – Cyprus bananas are tiny compared to the same fruit from anywhere else where the fruit is naturally grown. The content of the cartoon is irrelevant as no matter what is being conveyed this headline logo alone would never be acceptable to Zulu people, who are proud of their culture, identity, roots and traditions. So this one would not wash at well in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and if by chance the cartoonist does find himself some day on a flight to King Shaka Airport Durban I would suggest he thinks twice about stepping off onto the tarmac – just in case someone has seen this ridiculously racist caricature.

What’s disappointing about these three examples is they all come from so-called ‘alternative’ sources.  What we expect from overtly racist people and their organizations is to be expected, challenged and rejected accordingly. So I say ‘Laiko’ Coffee, ‘Afrika’ and ‘Politis’ newspapers change your mindsets. Stop pandering to racism through these depictions and be more respectful to Africa, Africans and the richness and diversity of Africaness, and while you are at it maybe read a book by Franz Fanon called ‘The Wretched of the Earth’ 

Radio Streaming – here to stay

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Internet based radio stations have existed since 1990’s and streaming, the technology of online radio was rapidly assimilated in mainstream radio stations as an extension of their existing broadcasting platforms (i.e. BBC). Stations continued to exist online often with the intention to meet musical needs that were marginalized by existing broadcasters. Such stations are often more niche/specialized. This is known as narrowcasting, reaching more limited audiences by meeting specialized musical tastes, which are marginalized by the mainstream. This sounds great, anyone can literally stream audio, even from a laptop, selecting specific kinds of music. Of course on of the problems with this is there is streaming and there is streaming. Two of the main current stream providers (there are many more of coruse), Icecast and Simplecast are home to over 50,000 audio streams. Most of these have relatively low numbers in terms of audience size, anything from 2-50 people.

Radio streaming can also operate from different places at different times and this is something that has radically altered the traditional notion of what a radio station is. Simultaneous to this in many countries throughout the world there is a shift from land based stations to online radio and music streaming resulting in   changes in audience participation and usage. For instance in the USA  8 out of 10 people between the ages of 18-34 listen to radio online as opposed to a traditional land based radio station via a transmitter.[i]  According to Scarborough data, 46.76 million Americans used streaming services monthly in 2012, on average tuning in for 9 hours 46 minutes every week. Nearly 54 percent of the entire U.S. population and as much as 67.4 percent of U.S. internet users will have become online radio users by 2016.[ii]

In the UK the share of radio listeners online or via an app has almost doubled from 3.6% in 2011 to 6.4% in 2014.[iii] Further studies in the area of media, particularly Gauntlett in ‘Making Is Connecting’ (Polity Press, 2012) indicate people are more ‘creative’ and ‘connected’ in the current online social media environment. A radio stream is not just an audio source. It can be made more live through a video chat room and text based communication, giving people listening (and watching) more access and power to participate. The ‘global village’ – a concept  McLuhan predicted many decades ago  is here and….it is here to stay.

[i] “eight in ten millenials listen to internet radio” Edison Research  http://www.edisonresearch.com/eight-in-ten-millennials-listen-to-internet-radio/

[ii] Source http://www.statista.com/topics/1348/online-radio/

[iii] Source http://www.statista.com/statistics/288452/online-and-apps-radio-share-of-listening-time-uk/

From Fukushima to Cyprus – Reggae Music brings us together

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From Fukushima to Cyprus – Reggae Music brings us together.

O Axabaros – The Ignoramus – The One Who Did Not Know…



Axabaros (pronounced ‘Ahabaros’) is such an interesting vernacular word. It’s one you hear more or less every day in conversations throughout the island of Cyprus. It could mean many things to many different people such as ignoramus, uncaring, insensitive. It’s  the person we all know in the world who works on this lazy kind of auto-pilot, makes a coffee does not wash the cup, leaves his/her dirty laundry at different parts in the house for someone else to pick up and clean, and/or flings their empty drinks can and crisp packet out the window on the highway without a care in the world. There are many of these people, in the plural we call them ‘axabarous’. My sociologist friend, Christina Loizou, who I consulted on the meaning of the word also pointed  the word “Habari” in Turkish (the root of the word) means “news” or “inform”, so in this case putting the ‘a’ before the word means a “total lack of information, or unaware”. So for instance what does the lazy man who throws his dirty laundry round the house say when his partner says she is sick of him doing it – ‘did I do that? I didn’t know!’ . This word also has a special relationship with Dimitris Christofias, the ex-President who on a number of occasions claims not to have known or been aware of what was happening with/at Mari or the economy. In fact, Christina also pointed out to me that Christofias used the the phrase ‘I did not know’ 19 times during the Mari hearing, including a very lame reference to not even knowing where Mari was. This kind of ‘axabarthkion’ (the systematic habit of consistently not knowing) stuck with Christofias afterwards, and many people, who disagreed with the ex-President’s handling of the Mari disaster,  in daily conversations started to use the epithet to describe him as ‘axabaros’.

So it came as a bit of a surprise when the former President of Cyprus announced recently that he was filing a libel suit against TV news anchor person, Yiannis Kareklas and the station he is employed by, CyBC, the state broadcaster. The story runs like this…Some months ago, then Presidential candidate, now President, Nicos Anastasiades, was on Kareklas TV show and he described the former President Christofias as ‘axabaros’. He did it in a vernacular way, reflecting/exploiting the populist wave of thought against his political opponent. Anastasiades appeared to be uncomfortable using the term. It was one of those rewind moments when politicians are on TV as in did he just say that!!!  Any way a short time after, Anastasiades, a legal personage by profession decided to retract the statement, perhaps wary that Christofias might sue him. Then Kareklas, in the same program,  used the term to describe Christofias through a journalistic trick implying people say ‘Christofias is Axabaros’. In journalism I guess Kareklas was just seizing the opportunity and playing devil’s advocate.

Time passed, many people, myself included, just got on with their lives and thought nothing of it, mainly because Christofias has been called a variety of far worse things by different people, but more of that later. And suddenly the former President, being well known political nobility decides to sue CyBC, an organization which is verging on bankruptcy on many levels. He also decides to sue Kareklas, for up to 500,000 Euros. Now the last part is strange because the way I see it Kareklas was not actually saying he thought the ex-President is an ignoramus, he was just reflecting what had been said earlier. Don’t get me wrong here, I am neither a fan of Anastasiades nor Kareklas, nor a consenting disciple of Christofias, but it does all seem a bit trivial if not peculiar, that a former President decides to sue on such feeble grounds. And Christofias had as we said before, admitted in his own words that he was not informed, therefore, in doing this he was ‘a-xabaros’. May be he will sue me for saying that as well?

In these times of severe austerity, hardship and pain, when people have little hope for the future, this kind of court case reflects how pusillanimous many of our politicians actually are. They can in fact call you as a simple citizen of the Republic of Cyprus anything from ‘axabaros’ to ‘traitor’  and you, as a simple citizen cannot do a thing about it because they have immunity. The same applies to any wrong decisions they make, and they have all made many in our recent history, without exception.

Additionally, as I said before Dimitris Christofias has been called far worse things by many people and at no time in the past did he ever pursue legal action. This is the same man who sat in front of bereaving families of victims of the Mari disaster in a televised exchange with said people holding placards up in court, for all the cameras and people to see which basically said he was the person, through is wrongly calculated decisions,  who ‘murdered’ their relatives. Did Christofias pursue legal action then? This is also the same person who made history, as President in his first term, by not standing for re-election. The only reason for this was his diminished popularity, largely because of Mari, his mishandling of economic issues, and complete failure to solve the Cyprus issue. Go to any coffee shop right now in Cyprus and record few conversations. You will hear much worse epithets and characterizations about politicians.

Last but one, someone once called me an ‘idiot’ in a newspaper. Had they used their journalistic brains and said in their opinion my music is ‘idiotic’ I would have thought their interpretation was idiotic but as everyone is entitled to an opinion fair enough. But being called an idiot, just for being who I am, just for existing, breathing,  made me take them to court for libel. The case was never mentioned on TV, radio and I think the only newspaper to cover it was ‘The Cyprus Mail’. I won the case a couple of years later with what I consider to be a paltry sum of just over 4,000 euros in damages plus legal expenses. The irony is had I been The President of Cyprus, another two zeros would have been on the settlement fee. Libel law in Cyprus sucks basically if you are not a famous politician.

Finally, Dimitris Christofias would do us all a favour by dropping this petty, ridiculous and bizarre court case. Far worse things have been said of him and his counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades. In times when people cannot afford to buy bread and milk, a former President should rise to the occasion, shrug it off and be content with some gardening or reading history books.

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