Hassan Hajjaj

The Importance of Being Hassan

Sweet and sour, but never a dull moment: the colourful career of Hassan … err, Sir Hassan Hajjaj

If you ever happen to be sauntering about Mister Hajjaj’s neighbourhood looking for a good time, do pay the man a visit – if he’s in, of course (and, if it isn’t pissing down like there’s no tomorrow. Don’t ask me why, but whenever I get out of the tube in Shoreditch, there’s hell to pay.). At Larache, the little shop of wonders named after his hometown in Morocco, there will be sights and sounds to delight your eyes and ears. You will sip on freshly brewed mint tea, recline on technicolour poufs, chat with someone you feel you’ve known for twenty-odd years, and tap your feet to hip-hop straight outta the ‘Kesh, while passersby pop in and out shouting, ‘Ey, ‘Assan!’ Well, maybe I’m exaggerating, but that’s what comes to mind at the moment.

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Filed under: Art
Persian Windmills

Wild is the Wind

In search of the world’s oldest windmills, Jippe Kreuning – the son of a Dutch miller – embarks on a journey to Khorasan in northeastern Iran, along with a Persian phrasebook

Asli Dogan

Dancing in the Street

Ezgi Üstündağ talks to Aslı Doğan and Richard Laniepce of the Turkish group Kolektif Istanbul about their infectious blend of göbek atmak and making it big in the city

Sabahattin Ali

Madonna in a Fur Coat

What relevance does a novel written over 70 years ago by a mysteriously murdered author have to contemporary Turkey? Lydia Beardmore takes a look at Sabahattin Ali’s Madonna in a Fur Coat.

Qais Essar

Raag and Roll

Joobin Bekhrad chats with Afghan musician Qais Essar about his latest album, Tavern of Ruin, and how he’s been giving the music of the robab a contemporary kick

Qajar wine

Ramblings of an Iranian Wino

From the days of prophecy and empire to boozy verse and full-blown bacchanalia, Joobin Bekhrad reflects on the rich and colourful tradition of wine guzzling in Iran