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February: Russian Cinema, Beer Tasting & Multilingual Poetry

February went by in a flash. We learnt a lot at our Brew By Numbers beer tasting, both about the beers we tasted and what foods to pair them with. We had lots of busy music nights, a special multi-lingual poetry night and the launch of our life drawing pop-up.

Film & book clubs

Russian cinema is dark bro. Every film treated very serious subjects, and most had absolutely no redeeming optimism. Despite the harrowing subject matter, one title was rumoured to be the Best Film MB Film Club has ever seen...! Which may summarise the nation's cultural output in general, perhaps: incredible, but heavy. Many people had reservations about my programming decision given the political situation in Russia today, but these films were far from flattering, and one had direct reference to the Crimean crisis of 2014. We unanimously doubted that it would go uncensored today.


Over to the book club pick, which got mixed reviews. No out-and-out dismissals, and many were glad that it was a nice easy read, but the general view was that the subject had promised a lot and it didn't quite deliver. More about this in co-host Joy's summary here.



Beer Tasting

Our first beer tasting evening this year was hosted by Brew By Numbers. On the menu we had:


Pilsner

Accompanied by Neils Yard Ashcombe, a rich yet subtle cheese with a mild and mushroomy rind giving way to a golden paste shot through with a line of wood ash. The flavours are milky and mild and the texture is bouncy, buttery and semi-firm. Sourced from our Bermondsey Street neighbours, The Giddy Grocers.


IPA (Mosaic hops)

Accompanied by fruity Halkidiki olives with garlic, pimento & jalapeño.


Damson Saison

Accompanied vegetarian rice paper summer rolls filled with vegetables, rice vermacelli, mint, beansprouts, iceberg, chives, perilla, and hoisin. Served with chilli sauce. From our other Bermondsey Street neighbours, Caphé House.


Summer fruits gose

Accompanied by avocado baby sushi rolls and soy sauce.


CBD Soda

Accompanied by fresh herb falafels with broad beans, chickpeas and mixed herbs and spices.


Multilingual poetry

Poet and researcher Jasmina Bolfek-Radovani celebrated the release of her groundbreaking poetry collection Knitting drum machines for exiled tongues at Morocco Bound. The collection is made up of 35 multilingual poems in English, French and Croatian structurally interwoven with 13 visual-textual fragments and 3 poems-tattoos or “tattooed” drawings through the narrative device of “enchâssement” (embedding).


She performed extracts from this latest, as well as older, poetry collections alongside Bridget Knapper, using rhythm, backing tracks and performance techniques to communicate far more than the words themselves. The performance was followed by a conversation with Prof Debra Kelly and opened out to the audience for questions.


Knitting drum machines for exiled tongues is available at Morocco Bound.


Music

We began the month with the classic gypsy jazz performer, Charles Blandin, who was on tour from France. We ended with a three-act folk/indie night: Zach Lambert, Ann Liu Cannon and Zoé Watson. In between were a range of acts: from Swedish folk (Benjin), to Sufi opera (Saira Peter).


There were so many wonderful artists we can't do them all justice. Instead, why not have a listen to our MB presents Spotify playlist here?!


Bring on the month of March! We are ready for more shenanigans :D

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