Who is afraid of comics?

by Karolina Przeklas

Violent protests erupted last September when Charlie Hebdo’s French cartoon was published which “ridiculed” the prophet Mohammed. A talk this week investigated why comics and cartoons have been targeted by censorship and why they create moral panics worldwide.

London’s freelance journalist, Paul Gravett, curator and lecturer has been involved in comics publishing and promotion since 1981. His talk explained the unsurprising journey through the history of comics and the reasons why for these amazing works of art have been subjected to prosecution and in many cases destroyed.

Paul Gravett - Who is afraid of comics?

Who is afraid of comics?

“Who is Afraid of Comics”, held at the Central Library in Islington as part of a Word2013 Festival.

It’s not who is afraid

“It’s who uses that fear of comics, rather purposely because it’s a very good way to distant attention from other, probably much more serious things that are going on in the society, like unemployment or god knows what to have a focus on something like comics.” – said Gravett.

Check out children’s and young persons harmful publications act from 1955 – still in use today

Mohammed Cartoon

In September, French cartoon caused outrage in the Muslim community worldwide after Hebdo’s controversial intake on the life of the prophet Mohammed. Hebdo newspaper was calling itself a “defender of free speech and a denouncer of religious backwardness”.

 French magazine editor threatened over Mohammad cartoon


— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) September 22, 2012

1001 comics you must

read before you die

Check out Paul Gravett’s 1001 comics you must read before you die collection of comics from around the world.

1001 comics you must read before you die
Word2013 Festival takes place across the Islington borough for the whole month of May. With over 50 events to choose from you get a chance to celebrate reading, writing and freedom of expression. A range of events, exhibitions  and performances showcasing some of Islington writers, artists and organisation.

Word2013 Festival

The project has been developed in partnership with Islington Library and Heritage Service; Islington Arts Service; All Change and Free Word.

Islington Community Theatre – Word Festival – Flash Mob 2012 from Roman Sheppard Dawson on Vimeo.


Top 10 things to do in London with toddlers

by Karolina Przeklas

Parents are always on the lookout for a cheap day out, not only because keeping babies entertained  has a huge impact on their development, but also because boredom makes children naughty. Here are Roam’s top 10 cheap things to do with toddlers in London.

1. Go swimming

Babies spend the first nine months of their lives in water, so it’s a no-brainer that most toddlers love swimming. Many local pools run family sessions, which cost very little compared to special swimming classes. If you don’t want to spend a fortune, pack your costumes and head to your family fun sessions. With the “summer” upon us why not check out open-air swimming pools like London Fields Lido? It will be money well spent.


2. Visit animal farms

Local animal farms are a great chance to introduce your little one to some “moos” and “baas”. Check out Freightliners Farm in central Islington – a wonderful place for the whole family.

3. Grab a bite to eat

Watching how kids experiment with flavours and textures can be mesmerizing. As one of the most multicultural capitals of the world, London offers different cuisines practically on every street corner.  Ignore the generic fast food joints that offer nothing apart from bad fats and high sugar content. There are plenty of other options like That place on the corner or Giraffe. Kids are very unforgiving when they don’t like something, so let your baby discover which places serve good food and which don’t.

4. Check out museums and galleries

Museums and galleries are a great source of entertainment and knowledge for everyone. For example, the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green provides a backpack designed by Montessori full of books and toys. It allows children to  lead their play, encouraging them to learn independently.

Virtual  tour of Childhood Museum 

Check out MUMSNET for honest and up-to-date reviews of events in your local museums.

5. Pop in to London Zoo

Zoos are so much fun for everyone. At London Zoo in Regent’s Park, check out what the penguins have been up to or simply hang out with the gorillas.

kumbuka, gorilla

6. Visit adventure playgrounds

From sandpits to hanging bridges, curled slides and pirate ships, playgrounds offer hours of joy – and most of them are free. We recommend the Princess Diana Memorial Playground,  with a Peter Pan-inspired design.


If you want to get more involved, why not join Londonplay and be part of a scheme design to make London streets safer for children?

7. Take part in special classes

Local libraries run special toddler classes. Islington’s Baby Bounce helps babies learn rhythm and rhyme through songs and stories. A great way to encourage children to socialise with others.

“I love coming here for an hour of singing with all the local mums” – say Kelly Davids, mum of David who offten takes part in the Baby Bounce Classes

8. Go to the park

London gets a lot of rain, but rain can be lots of fun. So if you don’t mind getting a bit grubby and wet, grab your wellies and head off to the your local park, or choose one of many dotted around London.

“Go to Westow Park in SE19, Crystal Palace. A Bug Hunt started again in March. Expect wonderful nature lovers teaching about seeds, planting trees, and story telling. All ages welcome, it’s free and quite wonderful. We had mulled apple juice to warm us up last time we went. The Park has excellent children play areas, and Crystal Palace is full of gorgeous cafes and restaurants which are all child friendly. There are Antique shops with kids toys, and independent trading shops of all varieties, and Crystal Palace Park is a five minute walk away. You have the leisure centre and pool, the petting zoo, a maze, and of course the giant stone life size dinosaurs” – says Roxana Aman, mum of Zayan and Dalia 

9. Visit an aquarium

Just like the zoo, this trip is worth every penny. The best time to visit this underwater world is during feeding times. London Aquarium has the world’s biggest collection of Caw Nosed Rays.


10. Join street parties and festivals

London’s best festivals are happening in the summer so have a look around. On the 25th of August Londoners will be dancing to the rhytms of calypso, Nothing Hill Carnival one of the world’s biggest street parties, with a special kids day opening the weekend of fun.

We also like the look of  the Lollibop Festival.

Lollibop Festival 2013

A bash for little people

And there are always smaller events that run though out the year, like Southbank’s Imagine Children Festival.

And if you want to travel further afield, take a trip outside London and visit the Butterfly World Project in Hertfordshire, the biggest butterfly experience in the world.


A Summer of Music Madness

Wireless 2012

Wireless 2012

By Soraya Downie

The weather in summer is questionable, but the festivals are not and there’s plenty to go to.

There is lots of music madness occurring this year in the capital, no need to look further when wanting to see your favourite musicians and here’s just a few for you to know.

Bobbing in the bushes at Bushstock Festival

Think about the Woodstock that delighted the hippie revolution in US 1970s.

This is similar, but is the UK alternative and is happening in venues surrounding the Shepherds Bush area, hence the name.

Bushstock is the type of festival that aims to those who are not into mainstream music.

This year’s line up includes:

The festival will take place on Saturday 1st June, less than a month to go and fans are more than happy to see the event make a return.

Grahame Stephens, 33, a music producer from Chiswick, said, “I attended last year and it was really amazing. A breathe of fresh air than the typical young, big, in your face ones.”

“I enjoyed music by Fionn Regan, Alessi’s Ark and Jamie N Commons, they were my favourite.”

It’s rawer, edgier and is a tad bit like folk music, so if that ticks all your boxes, then get on down there this year.

For more info, visit http://www.bushstock.co.uk/

Yahoo’s Wireless Festival

Wireless Festival (presented by Yahoo) usually takes place in London’s Hyde Park. But this year’s acts will be performing at the Queen Elizabeth Park in Stratford.

This year’s line-up includes:

 Tickets for Friday 12th and Saturday 13th July are sold out, but tickets for Sunday 14th are still available, go get yours here: http://www.wirelessfestival.co.uk/

Alicia Martin, 20, an office worker from West London, enjoyed the three day event last summer and thinks it will be even better this year.

She said, “They’ve done so much better with the line-up this year. So many more US acts and then Jay Z and Justine are headlining together on Sunday is going to be epic.”

“I think it will be so much different compared to last year because of the bigger stage. The location may be a bit further a field, but I recommend anyone to get tickets for Sunday’s show.”

A lesson in love at LoveBox

Between Friday 19th to Sunday 21st July, the yearly LoveBox festival will take place at Victoria Park, within the Tower Hamlets area, East London.

Various musicians will be gracing the stages over the three day event, including:

Stephanie Coleman, 26, beautician from Harrow, said, “I’ve been going LoveBox for the past three years and I refuse to miss this year.”

“The line-up is immense, there really is something for everyone and even if you don’t know a few of the acts, you get to know them and enjoy their music. I’m going to go to all three dates.”

Southbank Cheese and Wine Festival 2013

by Karolina Przeklas
For all the cheese and wine lovers looking to broaden their horizons and sample some of the best products from around the world, why not check the Southbank Cheese and Wine Festival? Based on Southbank Square, the event runs over three days at the end of April. Roam spoke to some of the exhibitors and here are our best recommendations.

Vintage Roots – Advertised as “organic wine people”, they offer a great selection of not only wines like Argentinian Malbec but also English ales and ciders.Well done for promoting English homemade brews.

Wines of Uruguay – Delicious dessert wines from small vineyards in Uruguay, those you are not able to find in any supermarkets.

La Fromagerie – Offers a huge selection of amazing cheeses, mainly French, but also British Cheddar. Originally set up in the founder’s garage, the company now has a shop in Highbury. “We were becoming bigger and bigger so we finally got our own shop,” says salesperson xxx xxxx. So go get some cheese in your life!

La Fromagerie

Teifi Cheese – Sells raw milk cheese made with unusual and interesting ingredients.

Flour Station – Serving amazing artisan breads and pastries. We tried the potato sourdough – well worth a recommendation.

tasty sourdough breads

tasty sourdough breads

Grays & Feather – Offers award-winning bubbly from around the world. Check out the smallest bubbly bottles.

Grays & feather     Grays & feather

LIVE BLOG – Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950


This year the V&A Museum hosted an event/exhibition of the best of British ballgowns since 1950 in South Kensington, London. Glamorous dresses and designers took a place in this extraordinary exhibition from Alexander McQueen to Bellville Sassoon, from Christopher Kane to Catherine Walker, Vivienne Westwood.  All the best British designers and their unforgettable dresses had illustrated the atmosphere of vintage and the beauty of 1950s. This is a live blog from the exhibition;

10:00 am

Victoria and Albert Museum opened its doors for a spectacular exhibition by the best British designers. Bill Gibb’s is one of the main designers which exhibited his six dresses at V&A. The moiré taffeta silk, tulle and breading dress was made by Gibb’s in 1974 and given to British Fashion Council by Sandi Lucy in 1995.

10:30 am

During the exhibition, Catherine Walker’s dresses brilliantly shined at the event. Walker’s especially highlighted Princess Diana’s ‘Elvis’ dress with saying “She shone in the dress”. The dress was worn by Princess Diana for the British Fashion Awards in October 1989.


The dress is strapless and combined with half-sleeved jacket. One of the exhibition visitor Melek Gokce said; ‘I loved the exhibition, I have been to Diana’s wedding day and her funeral. I love her deeply and she is shining like an angel in this dress and we misses her as nation.”


11:00 am

The purple-yellow dress made by British-Turkish designer Erdem Moralioglu at the V&A. Erdem is a designer recently noticed by Princess Katherine Middleton during her Royal Canada Tour. The Royal College of Art graduate designer had a huge impact by his yellow & purple dress in the British Glamour Ballgowns exhibition. Sumeyye Can is a Turkish visitor of the Ballgowns exhibition and she said; ” I am here as a tourist in London and heard about this exhibition from my friend. When I entered the exhibition I was amazed and feel honored by Erdem dresses as a Turkish citizen”.

V&A Ballgowns

Erdem dresses are recognized by Britons after the Duchess of Cambridge special interest to his designs. Erdem titled his purple-yellow dress as ‘Rumina’. The dress lent by Erdem and made for an Autumn/Winter 2008 collection.


Vivienne Westwood’s bridal collection and her brilliant ballgowns were one of the most eye-catching dresses at the exhibition. Her terrific creativity illustrated the sense of fashion in the Great Britain.


A tour of Ballgowns: British Glamour since 1950 at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK


Bellville Sassoon created her yellow dress in 1968 which many visitors dream to wear it. It is mustard yellow silk with half sleeved bottom contrasted with milled silk top.

At the end of the my visit I could say I have become a fan of Bellville Sassoon.




What’s on Twitter:

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The London Book Fair 2013


The London Book Fair is a trade event and global market place for negotiations with an advertising of books, videos, movies and digital productions. The London Book Fair opened its doors to public at Earls Court from 15-17 April 2013. Turkey is designated as Market Focus Country for this year’s London Book Fair festival.

London Book Fair welcomed Turkey to the one of the world’s biggest publishing events of the year in the United Kingdom. Turkey, as the Market Focus country had the spotlight on publishing trade links with international and the UK professionals. The event also showed various publishing industry opportunities from all around the world.

Festival guest writer Zahira Hussain, from SOAS university, said that “it is great to welcome different Market focus countries every year in the city of London. In 2012, the Market focus country was China and this year is Turkey as a rapidly growing country in the region. I  love Turkish literature and it is absolutely amazing to meet with our favorite authors from Turkey in our hometown.”

Market Focus 2013 Introduction to Turkey:


Turkey Market Focus of 2013 

London Book Fair brought nearly 20 different writers from Turkey to participate in this astonishing organization.

Turkish authors have had several discussions on Turkey, feminism, women’s right, Kurdish problem and all the other social conflicts in the country. Readers had given a chance to ask many questions to publishers, academics, writers and designers.

35% of Turkish books are translated to foreign languages and the aim of this year’s event was to exhibit Turkish literature to the UK readers from historical narratives to contemporary  literature.

LBF 2013 visitor London School of Economics graduate James McCain told us; “this is an absolutely fantastic opportunity to see Turkish traditional literatures in London. I read several Turkish books, so that I have a bit of taste of Turkish literature beforehand. I also finished reading Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence  and  would like to visit Istanbul to see his special museum on this book.”

London Book Fair festival promoted Turkey’s literature with many inspirational writers, such as Orhan Pamuk, winner of the 2006 Nobel prize winner of literature and Elif Shafak, is an award-winning novelist of The Forty Rules of Love.

#visiting #london #bookfair #festival #via #instagram

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As London Book Fair Author of the Day on Tuesday 4th of April 2013, Elif Shafak:

London Book Fair – Earls Court

Local Map & Guide

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David Nash at Kew – A Natural Gallery 2013


David Nash, one of the UK’s most successful sculptor began to exhibit his work at Kew Gardens in April. He created the art of sculpture as a response to nature and the extraordinary exhibition includes sculptures, flowers, art drawings and film preview all over the Gardens.

From April to September 2012, David Nash created his sculptures with new pieces from ‘wood quarry’ – using trees from the Gardens that had showed the natural atmosphere of Kew Gardens to visitors.

Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, the Wood Quarry and stunning piece of work by the Nash Conservatory was the three main galleries which displayed on the exhibition.

British artist Nash’s historical sculptures invite you to understand the relation with nature in the astonishing place of Kew Gardens. “Some of his works fit better into the gallery, while others worked better in nature,” said one of the visitors at Kew.

The Guardian newspaper claimed his work of art as ‘dramatic artworks’, as he has generally been trying to create sculptures from fallen trees, which gives Nash an inspiration to re-create a dead wood to a magnificent piece of art.

27-years-old, London-based industrial designer Yasmin Celik said that; “Nash’s pieces are great example of re-creation of the nature by woods. As a designer, I am very glad to see how fallen dead trees can become a piece of art by an artist like him.”

Tickets to the Gardens and the exhibition – adults £14.50, concessions £12.50, children 16 and under FREE

Exhibition closed last week on Sunday 14 April 2013.

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David Nash – A Natural Gallery: Seeds of Inspiration, you can find out more here;

Tweets about David Nash’s exhibition;

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David Nash on Pinterest;

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The Crepprotect Launch Party

The lights were shining, champagne glasses were laid out and the excitement was growing as Stefan Maingot launched his new eagerly awaited Product Crepprotect. Crepprotect is an invisible spray, that once applied to a clean pair of trainers will dramatically reduce liquid stains. Co-founder of the product, Stefan Maingot believes that this could revolutionize the footwear industry. “One day people will wonder how they ever lived without Crepprotect”. The Movement is gathering pace at lightning speed with celebrities such as Reggie Yates championing the product.

Roam Magazine was granted exclusive access to the official launch Party held in London’s Soho.


Stefan Maingot: Entrepreneurial spirit

Hey dude, sorry I’m late I’ve just come from a rooftop business meeting in the city” say Stefan as he comes through the door at the restaurant we planned to conduct our interview in. Visibly excited he gives me a firm handshake and orders a Latte. My first question is “What inspires you?” he takes a second and says, “ I just try to see where my imagination can take me”.

“I absorb everything” he says “my spare time is usually spent on a laptop doing research on something or the other, I literally don’t switch off, which can be a problem for some, my ex girlfriend for one” he says unapologetically. He explains that with new technology coming in daily and the growth of social media on several platforms you cant afford not to be on the pulse of things or you will miss the trick.

He uses the current collapse of Blockbuster video as testament to this, “ Blockbuster lacked foresight, I would have closed half the stores ten years ago and made it a mainly online business. You have to watch the trends and not be afraid to make big decisions when necessary”, “We are living in a age where less is more I’m afraid, your presents online is more important than your presence on the high-street”


When I ask about his plans for the future, I don’t get the answer I was expecting. “I like not knowing” he say’s. Who knows what tomorrow may bring. Stefan picks up the salt shaker on the table, looks at it for five seconds, brings his head up and says, “I wonder if I can market black salt” I study him curiously, gazing at the salt shaker, seeing where his imagination can take him….

The Color Purple Comes to London

Copyright Wikipedia

Copyright Wikipedia

By Soraya Downie

A stage production of the 1982 novel The Color Purple by Alice Walker is set for a show at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory on July 5.

What is The Color Purple

The African American drama sets around the life and times of Celie, as she journeys from childhood to adulthood, along the way she experiences joy, tragedy, hope, love and anguish.


Film adaption

In the Steven Spielberg film adaption in 1985, Celie was played by US actress Whoopi Goldberg, Akosua Busia played her sister Nettie and US actress and TV talk host, Oprah Winfrey starred as their friend Sofia.

Proving to be a huge commercial success, the film was awarded 11 Academy Awards nominations and four Golden Globes, with Goldberg winning Best Actress (Drama).


Divided opinion

The novel is still considered to be one of the best novels of the 1980s and in American history.

Marie Kolawole, 30, a dental nurse from Camberwell, said, “The Color Purple is an exceptional story and I really enjoyed the film when I was growing up. I am slightly dubious in whether the British cast can capture the American nature of it.”

“As it looks at the hard times of African Americans, I’m hoping they really try to imitate the essence of film and really show Celie’s journey and everything she had gone through.”

Who’s who

This will be the first time that a theatre production of The Color Purple will take place in the UK, as it had been previously on Broadway in the new York in 2005.

The Color Purple’s first European premiere will showcase British talent, with stars from other big productions starring in the big lead roles.

Cynthia Erivo, who stars in Sister Act: The Musical, will take on the role of Celie and Abiona Omonua, stars in both Legally Blonde and Hairspray, will play the role of Nettie.

A worthy winner

Walker’s novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, making her the first African American woman to achieve this.

Fanatic theatre fan, Callum Moore, 27, from Camden, said “I think the show will be amazing. I’ve been waiting a long time to see a stage production of it here and it’d be interesting to see how it turns out.”

The Primary school teacher also said, “The book itself was fascinating, I’m just praying that all the British cast do a good job and bring the story to life on stage.”

Look out for…

The UK show will be directed and designed by Tony Award winner, John Doyle and adapted for the stage by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Marsha Norman.

The London Menier Chocolate Factory is located on Southwark Street, South London.

Tickets are on sale now and are priced between £29.50 and £37.50.

David Bowie Exhibition at the V&A

By Zanib Asghar

The Victoria and Albert Museum is hosting the David Bowie exhibition from 23rd March till 11th August, where over 300 of Bowie’s personal belongings are being featured.

Copyright Adam Bielawski

Copyright Adam Bielawski

On top of the much talked about exhibition, Bowie also released his rare 7″ vinyl “Drive in Saturday” for Record Store Day on April 20th.

The Victoria and Albert Museum have been given the honour of being able to present the entire archive of David Bowie’s belongings to the public as one of the most influential musicians and performers there is.

The exhibition, David Bowie is, will explore his creative process through a timeline of his most valuable possessions, from costumes to lyrics to instruments. The exhibition will be exploring his ever changing style across five decades of the musical career.

Anthony Turner spent a day at the Bowie exhibition, “I’ve been here for over 2 hours now and I think the entire set-up is great. The big room is the best part of the whole exhibition and I think that alone would have been worth the ticket price.”

The museum’s Theatre and Performance curators, Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh have personally selected over 300 original objects belong to Bowie himself, which will all be displayed together for the first time ever.

The exhibition features objects including hand written lyrics, original costumes worn by Bowie, Bowie’s original fashion style, photography, film, music, videos, set designs from music videos and live events and Bowie’s very own musical instruments, which will also be showcased.

Listen to one of Bowie’s biggest hits “Ziggy Stardust” here:

Of the 300 original costumes on show, the famous Ziggy Stardust bodysuits designed by Freddie Burretti in 1972 will be on show.

Other original pieces will include video footage from films and live performances by Bowie including The Man Who Fell to Earth, Boys Keep Swinging and set designs created specifically for the Diamond Dogs Tour in 1974.

Photography of Bowie by Brian Duffy will be available for all to see and album artwork illustrated by Guy Peellaert will be on show.

The exhibition will also include never before seen personal items like storyboards, handwritten set lists and lyrics and most exciting of all, Bowie’s very own sketches and diary entries, giving us an insight into his creative process as a musician.

The V&A will also be holding an exciting competition where you can win a Bowie inspired weekend to Berlin.For more information and to enter the competition, click here.

To book tickets for the David Bowie exhibition, visit the Official V&A Website.

Follow Zanib Asghar on Twitter.