Cake, Candles and Comedy

#The Laugh Society
Star rating: ****
Harrow Arts Centre
Uxbridge Road, Hatch End, Middlesex HA5
Saturday 1st October 2016

After a long 7 month break since their last show in March 2016 #The Laugh Society was back with the funnies in Harrow. Host Marlon Davis was  innovative and creative in his hosting duties. His laid back style belies a quick thinking mind and sharp wit and he uses that to great comedic effect e.g. joking with a punter called Jerry re the assumption he probably had jerry curls back in the day! Being from North West London enabled him to confidently banter with the audience regarding the various locations most hailed from, which went down well in a local show such as this. His style might be low energy but it’s high in impact.

With Harrow Arts Centre being just half-full though a boost of higher energy from the host would have been in order to warm up the room even quicker and get the audience fully engaged in the show. Considering the very strong line up this show had it was disappointing to not see the place a lot more packed.

Slim -


Njambi McGrath had a lot of good material which was well received. Too much of it though was quite old though – at least by 3 years. I get that she’s from Africa and that’s her USP, but does there not come a time when you have to move on and just deliver new or updated material? Her dry, somewhat deadpan delivery style could do with some work on if she wants to go a lot further in the comedy world as, whether deliberate or natural, she comes across on stage as quite cold.

A nice interlude from the comedy was provided by singer Carmy Love. Not sure why she was added to the bill – but with it being her birthday and her brother being host Marlon Davis that might have helped! Nevertheless, she fully deserved her spot and was superb. It was a real bonus to hear such a fabulous soulful voice. A personal bonus for her must have been her big brother Marlon bringing out a birthday cake and serenading her, or should I say trying to, with the Stevie Wonder ‘Happy Birthday’ song.

It was an unusual sight to see that, moreso when Marlon later revealed the reason for the postponement of the May and July shows. Unfortunately he’d been involved in a motorway crash in which his car veered off the road and straight into a tree.  Sadly and not suprisingly he came off a lot worse than the tree. He ended up in a coma in hospital for two months. You wouldn’t know to look at him and it was great to see him back on stage again.

P.S. For anyone interested, I’m happy to report the tree’s doing fine. Just a couple of scratches. Marlon will be relieved to hear Theresa the tree won’t be pressing charges!

Athena Kugblenu

Athena Kugblenu

Athena Kugblenu delivered a fine performance. There was some original material re her mixed racial origins – Ghanaian and Indian heritage. I loved the fact she also revealed having a twin brother. Another addition to the weird list of comedians who were born as one half of a mixed-twin sibling’s double act! This includes Dane Baptiste and Stephen K Amos …. No they’re not twins. Keep up! They both have twin sisters.

Curtis Walker and Slim were on terrific form and had the audience heartily laughing away. Whilst some of Slim’s material covered old ground it was delivered in a refreshing way that kept you hugely entertained. Curtis had a fair bit of new material and bantered wonderfully with DJ Skillit and members of the audience.

Curtis had a great line in a routine complaining about the same old faces appearing on all the TV comedy panel shows. This takes us back to the hall being half-full. There was much I’d heard before and perhaps comedy fans want to go to shows knowing they will hear new material and that’s not always the case with certain shows and comedians. Secondly, many of the stars appearing on all the panel shows tour solo shows regularly. The same applies to ‘Live at the Apollo’. If that’s a direction Curtis and others wish to go in, maybe that’s something they need to consider.

© Tiemo Talk of the Town

The Laugh Society returns to Harrow Arts Society on Saturday 3rd December with Kane Brown and Marlon Davis.

The hit movie Selma is on at the same venue on 20th October 2016.


Donate now to protect cultural services in Harrow and transform HAC into a Southbank Centre for North London.

Harrow Arts Centre

Harrow Arts Centre

Harrow Council have agreed that an independent not-for-profit charity, Cultural London, will run the Arts Centre from April 2016. The new charity can only do this by replacing £500k subsidy with revenue from new facilities.

What We’ll Do

  • Build an independent cinema which will provide the income to sustain HAC.
  • Build a new theatre of 600 seats with a properly equipped stage.
  • Restore the Elliott Hall to re-connect people with its heritage and improve it as a performance space.
  • A gallery space would remain to support both professional and community exhibitions.
  • Offer spaces for current hirers and new start-ups with workshop rooms, rehearsal spaces and offices.

We need your help, now, to build these facilities. To keep HAC alive. To create a vibrant cultural scene for you, your family, your friends. A donation no matter how small or large – could go a long way to achieving this. If you love the arts in Harrow, please help. The time is now!


  1. Comedy Crossing The Line with Toju and White Yardie – The Laugh Society – review – 17 March 2016
  2. Tiemo Awards 2016 – Round up of the best and worst shows of 2015  featuring Marlon Davis, Toju and many other performers across the cultural arts – 4th March 2016
  3. MC and Contestants Absoluntely Smash it at 60 Seconds T0 Shine Final – Organised by Rudi Lickwood – 12th February 2016
  4. No Laughing Matter for Black Stand up Comedy – by Michael Peters 23rd November 2015
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Naked Poet Spotted in Top London Hotel

The Naked Poet
Film Rating: ****
The Mayfair Hotel
London W1
Monday 3rd October 2016
Hosted by Kush Films

Writer/Director/Lead Actor/Financier/Producer/Promoter: Jason Barrett
Screenwriters: Jason Barrett and Ben Peters
Cast: Jason Barrett, Kyla Frye, Petra Letang. Aml Ameen, Kelle Bryan, Fabrizio Santino, Michelle Gayle, Mohammed George, MC Harvey, Ava Charles, Aron Fontaine, Emma Dennis-Edwards and Babatunde Aleshe.

UK 2016 (15) 117 minutes

Produced by Vision In Progress Films, The Naked Poet is the story of Lazarus, (Jason Barrett), a young poet exploring the difficulty with matters of the heart. He finds himself caught up in a love triangle and confronting a painful and confusing decision between his long term girlfriend Louise and new found love Simone.

Essentially it is quite a heartfelt drama about infidelity and sexual desire. Can he have his cake and eat it? Poet Lazurus fools himself into believing that he can maintain numerous relationships, whilst not being responsible for his only child from a past relationship.

The film gives you much to think about. Can a man be in love with two women? Can a heart be split in two? Are the sins of the father visited upon the children? These questions and many more are asked, argued and answered in this dramatic thought provoking real to life depiction of middle class urban life.


The narrative is made even more complex for Lazarus when conflicting answers to these questions are brought forward by his friends Richard, Martin, Femi and Carl.
The Naked Poet is a highly entertaining and thought provoking film reflecting on live, love and friendships between a group of Black male friends and the women in the life of Lazarus.

Although this is well trodden dramatic fare, it was considered, refreshing and often highly amusing. The fact it had a predominantly all Black cast and wasn’t focused on crime or negative stereotypes, well apart from the obvious one, made it stand out as something of a novelty for this genre. An authentic black comedy drama if you like! Whilst it was easy to not be too sympathetic towards Lazarus’s issues, the story at least gave some insight into why he perceived his situation and life choices to be a dilemma and you got a clear sense that it was not something he wanted to entertain forever. Flashbacks hint at why he may find this a dilemma – namely that when he was a a young boy, his father used to entertain different women whilst he was in the house!

Most characters were fairly well fleshed out and not one dimensional cardboard cut outs, none more so than the naked poet Lazarus himself who appeared to be going for full exposure quite regularly, especially in the early scenes of the film.

The poetry side of Lazarus didn’t really come out that much so the title remains something of a mystery although the early scenes leave you in no doubt why he was called the Naked Poet. He wasn’t the only one in the film, so if you like your men naked don’t be late for any screenings of this film! Don’t worry guys, there’s a fair amount of fleshed out female talent on screen too to balance things out!

Some things jar a little bit, for instance there’s a scene where he’s driving home after a night out and has clearly really upset his girlfriend. They stop outside her house. She storms out of the car and heads for home … yet it’s her car he’s driving!

At other times there are a few silences – loss of sound – where they shouldn’t be. The film’s also is a bit too long at just under two hours and a good thirty minutes could easily have been shaved off the running time, so a little more work in the editing suite would be in order.

There’s a nice cameo from triple Tiemo Black comedy award winning Comedian Slim and long time Eastenders fans will recognise a host of former Eastenders stars including Petra Letang as one of Lazarus’s main love interests, Mohammed George and Michelle Gayle. Fabrizio Santino puts in a fine performance too as the white cockney geezer! In fact there are many familiar faces in it giving it an ensemble feel, which greatly adds to the enjoyment of the film. All brought great energy and passion to the performance. MC Harvey put in a fine performance as Lazarus’s best friend, spar and sparring partner. Literally. There are plenty of gym and boxing scenes, so once again if you like your men naked (near) this is definitely a movie for you!

There’s a long backstory to this film, with it having been filmed in 2010, released in 2012. Put on hold, then re-released this year. You can tell there’s been a time delay by the prominence of a certain brand of mobile phone!

The entertaining post screening Q&A showed that there could be a whole new story about the making of this film turned into a film in its own right! The film was screened by Kush Films in one of London’s top hotels, the beautiful five star, Mayfair Hotel, which was befitting for this glamorous film premiere or should that be re-premiere! Whilst the film may not quite have achieved the Mayfair’s ***** rating, it  definitely had a lot of class.

© Tiemo Talk of the Town


  1. Althea: Story of a tennis champion – review – 25 September 2016
  2. Residential: The Only Way Out Is In review – 24 September 2016
  3. Looking for Love – review – 9 October 2015
  4. The Love Punch – review – 25 August 2014
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Tiemo Black History Month 31 Day Challenge

To mark the start of Black History Month Tiemo are setting a 31 Day Tiemo Black History Challenge to help people celebrate each and every day of Black History Month 2016.

This exciting, brand new concept involves highlighting an African-Caribbean figure, organisation or institution that we want people to learn about and remember. It would be great to focus on it from a Black British perspective but it can be as global as people like.

To remember the living will be important too, so we will not solely focus on historical figures.

We’ll start of with the Smithsonian Institution’s brand new exhibition:

A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond –  A People’s Journey – A Nation’s Story

@ The African American History and Culture Museum, Washington DC, USA

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture was opened just 1 week ago, 24th September 2016, by President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, along with former President George Bush. I firmly believe it will prove to be an immensely important contribution to the understanding of African-American history and be vital for raising not only the knowledge of but cultural self-esteem of African-Americans.

Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt

This exhibition illustrates the impact of African Americans on life in the United States—social, economic, political, and cultural—from the death of Martin Luther King Jr. to the second election of President Barack Obama. Subjects include the Black Arts Movement, hip-hop, the Black Panthers, the rise of the black middle class and, more recently, the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

This exhibition encompasses several sections focusing on the Black Power era of the 1960s and ’70s, Black Studies at universities, racial dynamics in cities and suburbs, and the changing role of the black middle class. The year 1968 is seen as a turning point in the modern struggle for freedom and equality with artifacts such as painted plywood panels from Resurrection City, a “Huey Newton, Minister of Defense” poster, and handmade banners from the 2008 presidential election.

Each day Tiemo will add a new contribution and if you are interested I encourage you to do the same as well as nominate one friend each day to take up this exciting and brand new challenge. This can be done via social media, email or any other method you choose. However you do it, simply getting involved is the main thing. The main purpose is to educate, learn and inspire other people as well as yourself.

This will be a lot of fun and we are sure you can learn so much yourself from taking part. 

Please spread the word. Feel free to post your daily contributions on the blog so others can learn about the people, organisations or institutions you choose to highlight. 

© Tiemo Talk of the Town



  1. A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond 
  2. Black History Walks – Films, Talks, Walks and various events
  3. Althea Gibson – Tennis champion – Tiemo review of Althea Gibson documentary – 24th September 2016


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Althea review

Althea Came First review
Documentary Rating: ***
Buff Film Festival 2016
Odeon Swiss Cottage
London NW3
Tuesday 20th September 2016

Rex Miller – Director/Producer/Cinematographer
Elizabeth Haviland James – Editor/Producer

Althea is the story of Althea Gibson, the first African-American champion tennis player. Life for her began as a truant from the rough streets of Harlem. However upon discovering and developing her talent for tennis the documentary shows how she improbably turned herself into the most unlikely queen of the highly segregated tennis world of the 1950’s.

Althea’s life and achievements transcend sports. The documentary depicts the struggles she had in playing and earning a living in a sport where there was no money to be earned from playing – not even at the highest levels. Furthermore it clearly shows the trials and tribulations of trying to make it in a white dominated sport and during a time when racism and segregation was everywhere in America. I admired the fact she didn’t let this overly bother her or rule her life and just got on with being the best player she could be.

“They hadn’t seen Black people before. They didn’t know they could play tennis.”

Althea Gibson

Althea Gibson

Althea’s is an amazing story and a fine documentary, meticulously put together by Rex Miller and Elisabeth Haviland James, that clearly shows the journey from up coming player to tennis star. At times it was a little too slow moving, but as it moves along the interest levels greatly increase. The latter sections of the film are somewhat of a surprise as you realise that, totally unlike the vast riches available to the best professional players today, in the 1950s and 1960s there were no such fortunes to be earned. Its quite tragic as we are used to, in fact expect the best players in the world, at whatever sport, to be well remunerated for their talents.

I loved the fact she was so multi-talented. Her skill set wasn’t just in tennis, but she became a pro-golfer and recorded jazz albums using her lovely singing voice. I guess she basically had to find other avenues to make a living. There was some fine humour in it too, particular from her British tennis playing friend Angela Buxton, who features quite prominently and told a particularly memorable story about one night in Althea’s love life that in no uncertain terms put to bed rumours she might have been gay!

Althea is an inspirational story that needed telling. As we approach Black History Month in Britain this documentary is a timely reminder of a great African-American sportswomen who is often overlooked.

Althea was hosted by the Buff Film Festival and Akua Gyamfi, Editor of British Black List, who expertly facilitated a post screening Q&A with Rex Williams. It was part of a closing night double-header of Buff Film Festival 2016 films which also included the drama, ‘Residential: The Only Way Out is In’ about the world of crime and consequences.

© Tiemo Talk of the Town


  • Althea won the French Open (1956), Wimbledon (1957, 1958), French Open doubles (1956, 1957, 1958), and the US Open (1957, 1958).
  • She was the first African –American to win these championships.
  • In her entire career, she won 11 major titles.
  • She won the Female Athlete Award in 1957, and again in 1958.She was also the 1st African- American to win this award.
  • She also received the NCAA’s highest honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Award in 1991.

Source: Tori from Peach Tree


  1. Seven Reasons Why Serena Williams Isn’t The Greatest of all Time – 13th July 2015
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Residential – The Only Way Out is In

World Exclusive: Residential film review
Film Rating: ***
The Only Way Out Is In
Buff Film Festival 2016
UK and World Premiere
Odeon Swiss Cottage
London NW3
Tuesday 20th September 2016

Writer/Producer/Director – Kenneth “Demus” Pascall
Executive Producers – Lawrence Coke and Chris Goldfinger
Production Designer – Chanelle Needham

Demus Pascall’s debut feature Residential, starring Aubrey Whyte, Juanita Ingram, Jevon Brown, Bola Oke, Louis Jordan and Lawrence Brown, received its UK and World Premiere at the closing night of the British Urban Film Festival 2016 in London.


Residential is a London based yardie drama that follows the journey into the deep and cold blooded mind of Bolo, (played by Aubrey Whyte) a paranoid sociopath with a vision to set up life back home in Jamaica with his family. Bolo’s days on the streets of South London as a prolific ‘Don’ have expired and he realises it’s time to step down but not before agreeing to do ‘one more’ drug transaction with Kingston Jamaica’s most wanted person of interest, ‘Fats’.

Bolo plans to fully legitimise himself with the profits never to look back but things take an ugly turn when his childhood friend ‘Freshers’ is mysteriously gunned down in a vicious set up, forcing him to return to the life that he’s been trying to escape from, not knowing that an unexpected fate awaits him that will shake the foundations of everything that he’s ever believed in.

Whilst I wasn’t thrilled about watching yet another gangster film, Residential proved to be a highly watchable, earthy, London centred drama about a group of Jamaicans and their world of crime and consequences. It was, as you would expect, very violent in parts, but also tugged at the emotions as you observed Bola seeking to get out of the gangster lifestyle and battle to ensure his son didn’t follow in his footsteps.

Residential is a very exciting film with lots of glamour and beautiful night time aerial shots over Brixton, Croydon and London and Kingston, Jamaica.  The unexpected twist in the film was something else. In a funny way, part of the appeal of the film for someone not a fan of such films, is that is doesn’t glamourise gangster life in a way that perhaps Legend (2015) did and producer Kenneth “Demus” Pascall was keen to emphasise that in the post screening Q&A.

There were plenty of fine, passionate performances from a wonderful cast, which comprised a combination of experience actors with up and coming actors. Residential was hosted by Comedian Travis Jay & Akua Gyamfi, Editor of British BlackList, who skillfully facilitated a post screening Q&A with the writer, director, producer and cast.

This UK and world premiere screening was part of a closing night double-header of Buff Film Festival 2016 films which also included a documentary about tennis superstar Althea Gibson.

Review and photos below @ Tiemo Talk of the Town


  1. Althea the documentary – 24th September 2016
  2. Legend: The Krays – movie review – 8th September 2015
  3. Ghettalife – 15th September 2012
Residential cast and Director during Q&A at Odeon Swiss Cottage

Residential cast and Director Kenneeth Pascall (3rd from right), Travis Jay (in red jacket) during Q&A at Odeon Swiss Cottage

Residential cast on stage during Q&A Odeon Swiss Cottage

Residential cast and Director on stage during Q&A at Odeon Swiss Cottage

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How Did Corbyn Get Away With Wearing the S Word?

A strange thing happened this week. Jeremy Corbyn went to a boxing gym (Caris Boxing Club, Finsbury Park, North London) on Sunday 18th September and did a little sparring. The press were out in full force and un-surprisingly photos of the 67 year old Labour Leader made the front page of many national newspapers the following day, including The Daily Mirror, Daily Telegraph and The Times.

Not only was it a shock to see Jeremy Corbyn sparring, even more shocking was the brand name of the gloves he was wearing. SAMBO. Incredibly, hardly anyone seems to have picked up on this and it’s extremely fortunate for Corbyn that no one did. Talk about poor judgement. Maybe it’s a cultural thing as it’s not a word you ever hear these days and perhaps peoples have forgotten, but growing up being called Sambo was right up there with the N word. It was every bit as blatantly, racistly insulting as being called the N word. It’s therefore somewhat surprising that Corbyn’s not been taken to task on this.

Jeremy Corbyn at Caris Boxing Gym

Jeremy Corbyn at Caris Boxing Club

Perhaps he has too many friends in the press and they decided to let this one slide and not allow something as trivial as wearing racist branded gloves get in the way of his “coronation” in the final week of the labour leadership contest.

Nonetheless for him to wear them shows a lack of judgement and insensitivity on his and his advisors part. I appreciate he might not be aware of the loaded meaning of the word, but surely someone in his circle (and at Caris Boxing Club for that matter) should have known and advised him against wearing those gloves. I don’t actually have reason to believe he is racist, but it does add credence to claims he turns a blind eye to various forms of discrimination including the virulent anti-Semitism which appears to be rife in the party and has been suffered by many Jewish MPs. If he and his advisors can do that it’s unsurprising he had no problem donning a pair of SAMBO boxing gloves.

Whatever you think of Corbyn he’s certainly a fighter and has absorbed a great number of heavy personal blows since the Brexit vote 3 months ago that would have felled many an opponent. It’s quite admirable that he’s stood up for his principles and that of the grass roots membership who appointed him as leader and has doggedly and determinedly fought for the right to continue as their Labour leader. I suspect he will win by a clear knock out against rival Owen Smith today. It would be even better going forward if he could show sounder judgement, leadership and stronger punching power to deal a decisive blow to the anti-Semitism and racism troubling Labour members, supporters and minorities outside the party looking for strong opposition to this and to her majesty’s government.

@ Tiemo Talk of the Town
Photograph @ SWNS

Caris boxing club presents an evening of boxers from different clubs getting together and sparring in aid of raising money for local charities and raising awareness on homelessness, addiction and troubled youth.

Many boxing legends are due to appear on the show such Frank Bruno and many more British boxing legends. Food and drink will be available on the night.

The Big Spar, a fundraising night of boxing is on Saturday, October 8, at Pooles Park, North London. It starts at 6pm and tickets are £10.


  1. Brexit Fallout – Who’s Laughing Now? – Post Brexit analysis – 29th June 2016
  2. Fury over Fury – Tyson Fury furore over christianity – 26th February 2016
  3. A Load of Old Maloney – Frank Malone on transgender issues – 31st August 2014



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Noble in the Bunker

Comedy Bunker
Star rating: **
Ruislip Golf Club
West Ruislip HA4
Sunday 18th September 2016

In what can best be described as Ross Noble’s weird hour, like a mad pilot he took his audience on numerous flights of fancy largely based on whatever grabbed his attention, be it  audience members who caught his eye or the golf club venue. You could say whimsical comedy is very much par for the course with Mr Noble, but having seen a lot better from him over the years, I found this performance to be distinctly sub-par.

There were flashes of brilliance when he riffed about a woman drinking both wine and water or the quality of the shoes and clothes she was wearing. Similarly the catchphrase he created out of nothing was impressive, but there were too many lulls and it just seemed to be a bit all over the place, as if he was making it up as he went along. Maybe, hopefully, he was saving his best for his forthcoming national tour and decided just to do a whole set based on audience improvisation and banter. Which can be fine if it works. It’s much less appealing if it doesn’t. On this occasion the route to the ultimate goal of laughter was less clear, moreso when even Noble is probably just as in the dark as the audience as to if and where the punch lines will arrive.

Ross Noble

Ross Noble

Some evidence of this was in the flagrant use of mobile phones by two audience members sitting not more than 3 rows from the front! One was checking up on his babysitter (which lead to some brilliant, innovative jokes) and another, even more weirdly was texting her flatmate about the laundry! I think the mundanity of this put his nose out of joint somewhat. To think that in just a one hour show people couldn’t forget about their ordinary home life and put away their phones. Maybe it was a reflection on their interest levels in the show, but still very rude and uncalled for all the same, especially in clear sight of the performer. Perhaps Dave Chappelle was onto something when he banned all mobile phones from his London shows two weeks ago.

@ Tiemo Talk of the Town

Ross Noble – Brain Dump tour starts on 27th September and  continues until 17th December 2016.

The brilliant Omid Djalli is next on the Comedy Bunker stage, Tuesday 20th September 2016.

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