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Ken's Many Musings PaR Events 2019 Contact

Yuvraj Sehmi

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I have just finished my A-Levels (as much as that's possible) and am looking forward to a gap year of travel, sport, and reapplying to university. Outside of school, I am an avid rugby and cricket player, play the drums and listen to jazz and Radio 4 in the hope I'll become cultured one day.

This blog will serve as a place for me to present my opinions on odd topics I've had in my mind. Hopefully, people enjoy reading as much as I do writing them!

Yuvraj Sehmi



KS Learning

KS Learning provides tuition for all ages inluding GCSE and A Level for a wide range of subjects such as Mathematics, Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English, History, French, German, Spanish, and more, in the Boroughs of Richmond-Upon-Thames, Hounslow, Kingston-Upon-Thames, and surrounding areas.

Tuition for A level and GCSE for students at school or home schooled in subjects like maths and english



Porridge and Rice

Porridge and Rice combats poverty in the Nairobi slums, home to some of the poorest people in the world, by enabling pupils at partner schools to obtain a sound education.

Porridge and Rice is fighting poverty through education for the extreme poor of the Nairobi slums




Contact

If you have thoughts that you would like to share with the world, please submit them by email.

Note that the editor will decide whether to publish and/or edit emails before publication. No discussion will be entered into.


KS Learning

KS Learning provides tuition for all ages inluding GCSE and A Level for a wide range of subjects such as Mathematics, Science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, English, History, French, German, Spanish, and more, in the Boroughs of Richmond-Upon-Thames, Hounslow, Kingston-Upon-Thames, and surrounding areas.

Tuition for A level and GCSE for students at school or home schooled in subjects like maths and english



Porridge and Rice

Porridge and Rice combats poverty in the Nairobi slums, home to some of the poorest people in the world, by enabling pupils at partner schools to obtain a sound education.

Porridge and Rice is working to combat poverty through education for the extreme poor of the Nairobi slums




Contact

If you have thoughts that you would like to share with the world, please submit them by email.

Note that the editor will decide whether to publish and/or edit emails before publication. No discussion will be entered into.


Contact

If you have any thoughts that you would like to share, please feel free to email

Interests

Books Climbing Walking Cats Charity Kenya Nursing French Puzzles Craft Reading Craft Child Development French Nursing Hygiene Charity Cats Walking Climbing Books


Yuvraj's Blog

Yuvraj is an A Level student with an avid interest in life, politics and sport. He writes from the heart about these topics sharing personal observations and insights.

Dunning Kruger, and Mount Trump

8 May 2020

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Laurie Lee and my gap year

1 May 2020

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J Cole, and his triumph over Beethoven

24 April 2020

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Why I watch Whiplash every month, and will continue to do so

17 April 2020

In Whiplash, the drumming is exceptional, and the constant references to musical Greats (Charlie Parker and Jo Jones) provides a historical link to the Jazz boom of the 50s.

But for me, this film was never about the jazz.

I see its true value in the perfectly crafted power dynamic between conductor Fletcher (J.K Simmons) and drummer Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller). What initially was presented as a total musical and verbal domination that Fletcher has over Neiman shifts during the films. Much like good jazz, it ebbs and flows.

At the start of the film, Fletcher barges into Neiman's practice room, and intimidates him into playing drum patterns for him. And Fletcher is ruthless, offering no acknowledgement of Neiman as a person, merely 'drumming like a fucking wind up monkey'. Upset at Fletcher's disapproval, Neiman wanders back home through glum streets of New York, where he'll sit on his bedroom floor, and listen to Buddy Rich playing. This is the first of many battles between the two characters.

Neiman finally gets a role in Fletcher's band, but he is immediately ridiculed by Fletcher in the infamous 'Not my tempo' scene. Here, a one bar phrase is drilled in on by Fletcher, who unflinchingly throws every insult under the Sun at Neiman (as well as a chair!) in the hope that he might just get it right. I loved every second of this scene. Fletcher has Neiman in the palm of his hand, and would love to throw him around, just to hope that Neiman can play a one-bar phrase right. It's certainly immoral, but Fletcher has no idea what morals are. Instead, his violent pursuit of perfect music is the real driver in the film, and is a marvel to watch for the first time in cinema (and every consecutive month afterwards, for 2 years).

The last scene of the film is the most incredible mix of all the mind games, anger, relentless practice and physical outrage I have ever seen. Fletcher surprises Neiman with a song that he hadn't rehearsed for, and is left on the stage, fumbling through the piece. Mortified, Neiman walks off at the end of the song, refusing to play anymore.

Just as you'd think he'd cave in and quit, Neiman walks back on stage, and while Fletcher announces the next song, Neiman powers through 4 minutes of his own drumming, bringing in the rest of the band to play Caravan. His double time swing (for which Fletcher had one called Neiman 'a wind up monkey') is tight and powerful; smashing cymbals in Fletcher's astonished face. When the song ends, the lights go off. Neiman keeps playing.

What follows is a spectacular drum solo . Fletcher can only stand back and marvel at the drummer in front of him. Neiman controls everything and everyone in the scene, in the same way that Fletcher had done for the previous part of the film.

The flip in dominance is exceptional and what I enjoyed most about Whiplash. It's more than just "standing up to your enemy", in that Neiman had his potential realised through constant disapproval. There was no hope for him, yet he went to rehearsals with Fletcher every day, knowing he'd never hear any praise. He was driven to excessive practice and broke off all relationships he had, yet , at the end, Neiman has musical authority over everyone. His father, who didn't approve of his son's music career, was in awe. Fletcher had his entire set ruined in a competition, yet couldn't stop Neiman from drumming to perfection.

Andrew Neiman learnt how to flip the power, and earn respect through hard work. Too often film portrays the noble pursuit of justice. That is the ideal method, but Whiplash touches on darker methods of finding yourself, and deserves immense credit.

I'm sure my £5.99 purchase on Blu-Ray went some way to achieving this credit.

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An April in Kenya, with Charlie Parker

10 April 2020

I woke up earlier this week, due to my mother storming into the room and launching a verbal assault on the 'state of my room' and 'that mess which hasn't moved for a week' (I quickly assumed she was referring to me; she didn't laugh). So, in a bid to rediscover the feeling of approval from my parents, I decided to clean. In amongst the half of a dartboard and old books under the bed, there was an old mp3 player I received for Christmas in 2013. Excited to find this, I located the charger and left it for an hour while I organised the rest of the room.

Loading it up, it became clear that I spent no money on music, and only had the pre-loaded album on it: "April in Paris", by Charlie Parker. None of the songs seemed familiar, that is, until I listened to them. Parker's music had a prevailing quality for me, transporting me to the most visceral holiday I have ever had: Nairobia and Mombasa, April 2015. Through three particular songs on the album, I formed a deep connection to the country of my dad and his family, encountering emotions across the spectrum.

They Can't Take That Away From Me

There were 6 of us on holiday, and we had hired a tattered Suzuki minivan to travel in. With my headphones in, we drove up to the house my dad grew up in, on the curve of a little cul-de-sac on Uchumi Road. With Parker's soothing yet sombre song playing in my ears (They Can't Take That Away From Me) I walked around the house. Despite being sold on, the old rally stickers my dad and his siblings' put up still remained, and the little shed at the back, still with the same dirty white paint remained, flaked away by the sun beating down on it over the 30 years since they left. Visiting a house that was built during colonial Britain's rule, and stood the test of independence and ethnic tensions in Nairobi, the historical power of the house made it a memory to treasure, and the Parker song playing heightened the romanticism of a home I'll always treasure.

Everything Happens To Me

Much like the song, my trip to Mombasa started in jovial spirits, excited for a week of sun, sands, and launching my brother Rishi into the pool just for shits and giggles. But, my aunt insisted we visit a place they went to when on their coastal holidays, away from the intense hustle and bustle that was (and is) Nairobi. Mombasa's lighthouse served as their final rest point. At the waterfront stood a large tree that has 007 etched in by my oldest uncle, from the 1950s. Just as I found the little carving, Parker's slow sax melody whispered through my ears, bringing the high tempo of the holiday before to a slow stop, giving me a chance to reflect on the power of time, in a place like Mombasa. Turning back, I was met with a painting of sorrow and suffering, with homeless children running up to me, asking for money. The song crescendos, and I walk back to the car, feeling upset at the situation of all those children, clouding the happiness I felt at seeing an old family destination. Everything Happens To Me eloquently captured these emotions, and listening back to it inspires a sense of desperation to go and repair the poverty in these areas: the Lighthouse, once a beacon of sanctuary to my family, had become a gathering of confused misfortune and neglect.

East Of The Sun (West Of The Moon)

On my last morning, my brother and I took a walk to the beach to watch our final sunrise - an unforgettable sight of beauty, and an offering of hope. We were only 10 miles away from the lighthouse, yet all those memories disappeared from my mind. Instead, with East Of The Sun offering four minutes of compositional bliss, I was in a state of peace, and knew that whatever I could be faced with, in the near and distant future, there would always be a place of hope and solace, a lesson that rings even more true now. The sun fully risen, we returned to our rooms, to shower and get ready to leave.

Flying back to London, the album playing, it became clear to me that I had entered a country I was just historically connected to, to one where my heart now belongs. Through Parker's music, I came to understand the intense intrinsic value in everything I had seen, the places I had been. As such, April in Paris became the medium for storing these places in my heart.

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