The Muppet Show Versus Swedish House Mafia


As Susan readied her school backpack Sunday night, she mentioned feeling anxious about their Monday morning concert.

“What are you talking about it?” I asked.

“Tomorrow our guitar ensemble performs at the Music Festival.”


Although all the technology exists, there are so many calendars, schedules and websites to consult, things still manage to creep up on me.

Mojo and I wanted to see whether our guitar lesson investments have paid off.  We reorganized our morning and made it over to the Senior School in time to see the eleven Senior Ensembles play.


The ensembles ranged from classical flute and strings to rock and roll and were equally divided between St Christopher’s School and the British School of Bahrain.  St Chris students are known for their success completing the British ABRMs’ programs.  While BSB’s music program recently gained momentum on the international stage.

James Arthur, the 2012 British X Factor winner, began his musical career at the British School of Bahrain.  During the X Factor, he talked about his four, golden years of living in Bahrain.  After his mother and step-father divorced, he and his mother moved back to the UK.  Like many Third Culture Kids, their return to “regular life” was a shock, and he became difficult.  His mother kicked him out of the house.  He credits music to turning his life around and getting him off London’s streets.

bsb deema and saiyf

BSB is mentoring more, potential X Factor stars including Gershom, the young man with over-sized Ray Bans, who sang and accompanied every group on either the guitar or the piano.  Under Lydia Martin’s musical leadership, BSB played songs by White Stripes, Swedish House Mafia, FM Static and Luminate.  Each ensemble also had a catchy name: Against the Tide, 50/50, Noise Pollution, Ehsan and the Rest, and The Getaway.


On the other hand, St Chris’ ensemble entrants performed as Senior Flutes, String Trio and Saxophone Ensemble covering a range from Haydn, Gershwin, as well as traditional English and Arabic pieces.  The closest thing to a rock band was the guitar ensemble who played Coldplay’s Paradise.


Our whole clan was part of the Paradise performance.  Mark happily surprised us playing a lead part.  Although, we got a kick out of the St Chris’ brass ensemble’s rendition of the 1976 Muppet Show theme song, admittedly, BSB’s pop and rock numbers were crowd pleasers and had the audience clapping and snapping photos.

After the eleven groups played, the two adjudicators put their heads together.  I wondered how they would view the different song choices.

Coming up, they said, “As always, the variety of music makes it hard to judge.”

They said, “We looked at little things like ‘communications between the group’ and ‘looking at the audience’.

So the Winner was?


Gershom, Yannis, Daniel, Paul and Saiyf, also known as BSB’s Noise Pollution, for their original song, Ocean Wave.


Second place was a tie between St Christopher’s Arabic Drummers and Arnold Brass.

Third place was BSB’s Getaway who played My Heart Says Go

The four ensemble finalists along with the finalists from the other twelve categories will be playing Wednesday at 2:30 at St Christopher’s Junior School.  Come and see the new generation of X-Factor contestants.

About St Christopher’s Music Festival 2013

Each year St Christopher’s School hosts three music festivals plus several musical productions.  The Music Festival open to schools in Bahrain has started and leads into next month’s Young Musicians of the Gulf which is an international competition.

This year’s participants include the British School of Bahrain under Lydia Martin, Nadeen School, Sacred Heart, Al Hekma, the Japanese School, New Millennium School, AMA International School, Amna Bint Wahab School, Ibn Khuldoon and Hidd Secondary Girls’ School are all participating.  There are 233 entries grouped by Junior and Senior Ensembles, Instrumental, Vocal and Piano.

At the conclusion of each category’s performances, the winners are named.  The Grand Finale takes place this Wednesday at 2:30pm at St Christopher’s Junior School in Sar.


From Clay She Molded an Image of Herself

This was actually after the second session. I forgot to take a photo of the first session.

The past four weeks I have been taking a sculpturing class from Michelle Karam.  For twenty years Michelle has been operating a ceramics studio.  This is the first time I got the opportunity to take her class.

She is teaching head sculpting.  Using her technique, in 8 sessions, we have gone from a figure that resembled a grey alien to a completed project.  She taught an amazing method to make the eyes.

Session 3 - adding ears and a base.

Session 4 - Fixing shoulder proportions and adding hair.

Session 5 -

Session five, I had to give her a lobotomy. I cut off the back of the head, scraped out the interior clay and reattached the cranium. I gained a new respect for brain surgeons.

Session 6-7.

For sessions 6-7, I spent most of the time hollowing out the stand and entire head, before stuffing it with newspaper.  I began attaching a hairpiece.  It was too heavy.  Her neck split open and her head fell backwards, nearly rolling off the table into my neighbor’s lap.

With help, I repositioned the head so she leaned forward and patched her severed neck.  Then added clay to the stand to support it.  Once everything was stable, again, I attached a head scarf.

The headscarf

It took four tries to get the headscarf correct.

Then I practiced making flowers until I came up with a strange lily and hibiscus arrangement.  It was time to be done – for now.  The class has been a fantastic experience.

The final outcome.

The amusing aspect of sculpting is that many of the heads looked quite a bit like their creator despite the attempts to create an Other.  I do not think mine looks like me.  It was only as I stared at Mojo over dinner did I realize she resembled him – with bigger lips.

I have no idea what will happen when she dries and is placed in the kiln.  I don’t know if she will live through her trial by fire.

Perhaps like the Divine I will have to create billions and billions in the hope that one day my creation will be perfect.

The Sweeter the Juice

Thursdays I read with Mark’s classmates at school.  As I waited, I perused the healthy eating posters someone created.  Pineapple was this week’s chosen fruit.

Pineapple is full of vitamin C, vitamin B and magnesium for helping our immune system.  Bromelain aids digestion.  And the poster said pineapple sweetens and improves the taste of seminal and vaginal fluids.


I called Mark’s teacher over and asked her whether or not she knew this much about pineapples.

“OH my GOD!” was her response.

She poked her head into Ace’s teacher’s room and called him out.  We watched him mouth the words and his eyes widen.

“Someone must have copied and pasted without reading this,” he said.

They scooped up the poster to put in its proper place – in the teacher’s lounge.

I wondered how an adult making a poster for children could have made such a mistake and Googled pineapple.  Generally none of the sites touted those benefits.  Only when I added vaginal fluid to pineapple did I find articles extolling that particular virtue.

Perhaps the mysterious poster creator did not understand English.

Or perhaps some 10-year old student knew exactly what he/she was doing and wanted to see whether the teachers were paying attention.


Tales by Chapter

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