Peace, one and all…
Given the recent spate of tagging, I thought I’d contribute with a bit of self-tagging (hopefully, not the sort that can send you blind)! At any rate, here are 5 things about me that are not widely known.
1. I’m a genuine, 100% authentic, born in the sound of Bow Bells (well, ahem … nearly) East End Cockney. Although I’ve now lost the accent (after living away from London for the best part of a decade), I’m from the East End of London (Hackney to be exact). I grew up on the Clapton Park Estate (here’s some history), which is in the urban heart of Hackney.
That means I can ‘eff and jeff with the best of ’em, and I know my Cockney Rhyming Slang: Cor Blimey Guv’nor! Strike a light! Apples ‘n Pears! Dog ‘n Bone! (That’s quite enough of that)!
2. I come from a very large extended family. My mother was 1 of 12 children! This means that I have almost one hundred closely related maternal relatives. My father’s family is much smaller, but still reasonably large. Our summer holiday last year was spent amidst some 40-odd relatives! My father’s family are all native Hackney-ites, whilst my mother’s family come from North London, Tottenham to be exact. I’m putting a family history together (very, very lazily) and my family’s size make it a herculean task.
Football was a large part of my family ‘culture’ growing up. My extended maternal family are all supporters of Tottenham Hotspurs FC (a Premier League team, for those unfamiliar). As I was growing up, I wasn’t allowed to wear red and white (the colours of our local arch rivals, Arsenal) to my nan’s house, as my uncles would have a go at me. Nowadays though, this has faded to a kind of armchair support for Spurs.
3. I’m a big music lover. Though I play no musical instruments, in a previous incarnation I was a DJ. I still own several thousand records (most of which need to go to the local charity shop, it’s true). I used to play a lot of parties, etc all over East London and Essex in the early to mid-90s. My musical tastes are mostly soul, jazz, rap, funk, reggae, rock, etc. Music was actually a big influence in my Islam, through listening to hip hop groups like Public Enemy, Brand Nubians, etc.
4. When I’m not reading, writing, working, looking after my 2 (soon to be 3) children, my favourite pastime is cooking. I love cooking (mostly because I love eating)! My favourites include Indian (given that my wife is Asian, this is our staple food; dal chawal anyone?), Italian, Chinese, African (I particularly enjoy Nigerian food) and just about anything else.
5. I was married in a Nigerian masjid in South London (the Nigerian Muslim Community masjid on the Old Kent Road) by Professer Shaykh Dawud Noibi (may God preserve him). This has to be one of the liveliest and friendliest masajid I’ve ever had the good fortune to enter. When they say amin, they literally raise the roof! As it’s now (unfortunately) too far off the beaten track for me, I rarely get to visit. I still remember it with fondness though (hence my love of Jolof rice).
Well that’s all folks…
I suppose I should tag someone, so how about our worthy brother Sadiq Ibn Ziad, of Qisas fame? Here’s another link to his blog.