Author Archives: lordzubairmasood

London Craft Week: Brixton

Whilst we can’t hop onto a plane to ancient Greece or some lost civilisation and explore the scenery, this week Squire & Partners are hosting a free showcase of 25 works of bronze gold.

The Original models are encased in bronze, not just to provide that fresh, clean finish but also to preserve the original pieces, which themselves, don’t tend to last much longer than a month.

One mask that particularly caught our eye was James Green’s called the Elephant King. The sculpture incorporates a series of elaborate decorative shapes that combine to form a mask that looks Mayan or Aztec at first glance.


This sculpture had a Mayan influence and made by James King

The Elephant King itself was made from cardboard, and the whole thing was cut with an electrically powered jigsaw tool. The mask has been polished but also given darker recesses to highlight the depth of the carvings which decorate the mask itself.

In Tom Winstanley (our guide) expert opinion “the pattern the work that’s drawn on top is quite playful, it’s joyful, it’s something that’s been inherently ‘round for a long time and its decorative language that’s been applied to this, the whole artwork has a quite a decorative feel to it. But it holds its own because it has its own weight to it, which is referencing an ancient history of casting”.


Winstanley said this sculptures meaning was what viewers perceived of it and open to interpretation.

But don’t assume that every piece started as a fine sculpture. Tom explained the process and intention behind a Bolangian piece which started as a painting. The sculpture itself was digitally made and then some computer programs later we have our sculpture. Manikin hands gripping a rope with emphasised fingernails.

The funny look is thanks to the sculpture being left in its natural state for a bit then sandblasted, before being welded together in certain sections creating iridescent colouring on areas of the art. He technique also left us with a glittering finish that shows off bronze in an entirely new and unique way. “There’s a point where you being to stop making the sculpture and that’s the finished article, and it feels right that it’s been stopped within the process”.

– Jamal Davis

– Photos by Zubair Karmalkar

“Students cannot speak over the phone” – BJTC Conference

The Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC) held a conference yesterday after major concerns that current journalism students can “no longer use a phone” at London Southbank University.

Of the 54 courses which collaborate with the BJTC, the Chief Executive of the BJTC, Jon Godel, claimed that many of them approached him about their concerns.

“I visit all our courses, all our 54 credited courses that we credit, and most, of course, leaders and lecturers were saying “look, its a real problem at the moment to get people to speak on the phone.’”


The conference was recorded and transmitted live.

In a major shift from traditional methods such as cold-calling and “foot-in-the-door” approach, many journalism students are relying on interactive methods to contact interviewees such as email and social media, avoiding first-person contact. 

This has raised concerns in the industry, with fears that accurate stories may not be told without face to face contact between journalists and contacts, with fear this may lead to an increase in unreliable stories or even fake news.

Georgina Prodromou from Bauer Media Radio even went to demonstrate the simplicity of journalism, pulling a tripod, portable charger, lighting equipment and microphone from her handbag to illustrate the simple tools a journalist needs to be ready for a story at any time.


Some of the members in attendance at the conference. In the background, the panel members can be seen.

“Sometimes things will happen and you won’t have your camera on you. Phones are great, I wouldn’t say you needed a really nice camera to do your job.”

Prodromou drew from her own experience, recalling the London Bridge attacks of May 2017. Prodromou arrived on the scene to speak with witnesses minutes after the attack with merely her phone and expertise. She reiterated the importance to have confidence as a journalist and the need to approach strangers to find key stories.

Panel members also discussed various exercises which young journalists overlook or seem to daunted from participating such as neighbourhood journalism and simply talking to strangers. 

Other activities discussed to prompt young journalists were visits to unfamiliar cities to discover stories, networking with local businesses and holding meetings at civic facilities such as libraries and community halls, all described as “dying art” by some attendees. 


Jon Godel speaking to a panel member. Press Gazette interviewed Godel about the subject, which he described as the “gradual erosion of real-life social skills”.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) was another topic discussed at the conference, in addition to talks of fewer journalists using phones. 

Staff from the BBC and GrayMeta were in attendance to discuss how AI could be used further by journalists as a time-saving device to allow journalists to dedicate resources to more stories. 

The next BJTC conference shall be held at City University on 3rd July 2019. 

– Zubair Karmalkar

Uber drivers strike over alleged corruption

Uber goes public on the New York Stock Exchange two days after protests on Wednesday between drivers amid claims of corruption and a minimum wage. 

Today, BBC reports that the transportation company has been criticised for listing its company at $82 billion (£63 billion).

Uber is justifying the $45-a-share price as a way to finance its plan to “revolutionise and then dominate global transportation.” 

Their flotation follows protests in the UK which saw drivers gathering outside 10 Whitechapel High Street to stage a protest. On the agenda of the protest was driver safety, union representation and stringent regulations.

One Uber driver said, “There is no other place to go. Sadiq Khan and TFL are the problem.”

The protest reached its peak at 2pm and saw drivers sporting flags, red flares and large speakers which blasted Bob Marley songs, including One Love and Could You Be Loved.

Drivers chanted, “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now.” Many people stopped to film the events and talk with the drivers.

Protests were not contained to London, with a total 8 cities across Britain being effected including, Cardiff, Nottingham and Glasgow.

Tensions between Uber drivers and London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, have been mounting since June 2018 when Khan announced he would refuse Uber’s licence to be renewed.

City workers passing the protest had little idea that the protest would be taking place, with one office worker saying, “They’re entitled to protest, but it doesn’t really effect me.”

Another office worker said, “I would usually use Uber but today I didn’t need to. I don’t know too much about it (the protest) to be honest.”

Police officers were in attendance of the protest, occasionally intervening to keep disruption to a minimum, asking drivers to reduce the volume of music and extinguish flares.

In addition to their main claims, some Uber drivers went on to say that senior officials in the company were not paying taxes and were “getting away with this.”

Uber was not the only mode of transport to be effected on Wednesday. Black cab drivers also took to the streets in a separate protest.

London Underground also suffered major problems with the Circle, District, Hanmmersmith & City, and Piccadilly Lines due to signal failures and a customer incident, causing severe delays throughout the day.


An ongoing protest outside Westminster Abbey received a mixed reception as members of the royal house attended a service at the Abbey.

The already high police presence was increased prior to demonstrations and a “die-in” which commenced at 12pm. 

Tourists and City workers stopped to take photographs, with one construction worker blazing “We want more nukes.” 

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Two separate demonstrations were organised. One demonstration condemned a service supposedly thanking the peace nuclear weapons had created. It consisted of vicars and clergymen and other supporters of the Anglican Church.

The second, which did not have affiliations to the church, encouraged disarmament and slated the government for their development of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). The die-in condemned the collateral damage caused to human life and the environment by previous governments. 

Opponents of the protest returned with pro-nuclear weapon comments “Big up nuclear war, it’s exactly what we want.” 

People from all walks of life attended the protest, with students, pensioners and young families, and even a few pets in attendance. 

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One protestor said “I want my children, and grandchildren and their children to have a world to grow up in.” She was physically and emotionally moved by the events unfolding. 

Pointing to the Abbey, the pensioner said “I’m here because Weapons of Mass Destruction are absolutely immoral. “I don’t think they’ve (WMDs) ever been a deterrent.”

The protest had slowly been gaining momentum in the early afternoon with protesters aiming to maintain the “die-in” for as long as possible. 

Photos and text by Zubair Karmalkar

London Spotter: Raj Stevenson

Blogger London Spotter, also known as Raj Stevenson, is a full-time student who in his spare time blogs about the latest aviation events and describes himself as: “an airlines for nightmare”.

“My dream and what I’m working towards, is making London Spotter my full-time job.” Raj’s humble days of plane spotting from the perimeter fence of London Gatwick Airport has led to him attending aircraft deliveries with Qatar Airways, events held by Airbus and the opportunity to meet industry wide names such as Sam Chui and Brian Kelly.

This teen critic of the aircraft industry accidentally stumbled across the path of writing about aviation claiming that he only started plane spotting when his best friend was on holiday, and was interested to see his flight’s progress. First by tracking his friend’s flight on a website called FlightRadar24, and then by visiting Gatwick Airport which was near his home.

“When I was 15 years old, I actually didn’t know much about aviation”. Stevenson used a website called Flight Radar 24, a free website which shows the responders of all commercial flights, to track the progress of his friend’s flight. From there on, Stevenson’s career in aviation “took off”.

Stevenson’s Instagram following has grown exponentially in the last year, and he now has a following of over 40,000 followers. His YouTube following too is substantial, with a following of almost 3,000 subscribers (Videos from Raj Stevenson’s channel is his sole property, all credits belong to Raj Stevenson and his channel London Spotter).

Stevenson provides advice concerning top tips when flying, how to find the best flight and hotel deals, and loopholes behind avoiding nuisance costs in the industry.

In light of infamous and recent incidents in aviation I asked Raj what he thought of aircraft safety in 2019. “It always will be a very safe way to travel, I’ve never been scared to fly, and if you look at the statistics it is safe.”

Raj seemed unfettered by the crash of identical aircraft, the Boeing 737 Max 8, one which crashed of the coast of Sumatra and the second shortly after take from Addis Ababa.

“You could say flying became safe when those to aircraft crashed.”

Raj’s Instagram page is a prime example of the work and all the achievements he has experienced. Though as a full-time student, he found providing the time and expenses of managing invitations to further aviation events and releases difficult to accept.

During of 2018, Raj extensively travelled much of Asia and the Middle East, and hopes to enjoy further travels this year. A perfect place to keep on track with Raj’s ventures is on Instagram: londonspotter.

Heathrow: International Travel Hub or Local Tourist Attraction?

Heathrow Airport handles millions of passengers each year, but of the 78 million passengers using Heathrow as part of their journey, how many stopped to consider that Heathrow itself was a tourist attraction.

Upon arrival at Heathrow, leaflets and brochures for West End shows and London Tour Buses can be seen in almost every corridor. But for some, the very buildings that these passengers walk through are the sight to to see.

Its not clear when plane spotting became a hobby comparable to collecting stamps or a quick game of squash. In the UK at least, the aviation industry has always been marvelled and celebrated, with names such as Spitfire, Concorde and Farnborough being the very pinnacle of British aviation.

The UK loves its planes, and there are whole airfields and museums, packed with hangars of the world’s first hang gliders, bi-planes, and jet aircraft. So what sets out Heathrow, a fully functioning airport, to be a tourist attraction.

All credits to this footage belongs to Casey Planespotting.

Location, Location, Location:

Heathrow’s proximity to major towns and cities makes it ideally suited for travellers to choose Heathrow as their airport of choice. Connected by a coach station, London Underground, Heathrow Express and two motorways, its certainly accessible.

Thomas Mercer, former British Airways Cabin Crew, still occasionally visits the airport and the surrounding area. “I’m actually meeting a friend at Terminal 5” – following our interview.

He’s not alone. Buses that connect Heathrow to local boroughs and suburbs such as Feltham, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Staines and Uxbridge provide access to local residents. One bus driver on Heathrow route said “Not a day goes by when there isn’t a local wanting to see the planes. Day or night, rain or fog, they’re always onboard”.

The Facilities:

With shops, cafes, restaurants, transport links and access to medical facilities, Heathrow Airport may as well be London’s 34th Borough. But most of all Heathrow has several observation decks. These observation decks allow for panoramic views of aircraft taxiing the airfield, and views of the surrounding area.

Terminal 2 was once the focal point of tourists, with notable events such as the eclipse of 1999 and last flight of Concorde drawing in crowds onto the 1960s promenade.

Since the demolition of the old Terminal 2 building, a replacement observation deck has not yielded the same number of visitors, but nevertheless visitors still turn up.

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Passers by:

Going to official observation deck made of glass and still among photographers with telescopic lenses can be daunting, and on top of that there’s the roar of engines once every minutes as a plane takes-off or lands once a minutes. So some visitors join local residents and passers by to take in the majestic view of these aircraft from the airport perimeter.

Sites such as Myrtle Road – (close to Great South West Road and Hatton Cross Station) and Harlington Corner – (on Bath Road, near Northern Perimeter Road) have become a beehive of activity for aircraft enthusiasts and passers by.

If travelling on a bus near Heathrow, its impossible to ignore the tourist or flurry of school children who board the bus either to complete the latest stage in their journey or purely for leisure.

Former BA Cabin Crew Thomas Mercer “I do see the appeal of it. when I am near the Heathrow vicinity, I do check my flight radar app, to find out where the plane where the planes are going and what time and watch them take off.”

So it seems even local residents and former aviation employees look towards the sky occasionally to bask at metal birds which have made a home for themselves on their doorstep.

With the expansion of Heathrow imminent and a third runway granted for construction, will the residents of West London be further captivated by the expansion of its neighbour?

Abandoned Aerodromes in London

Heston Aerodrome:

Heston Aerodrome was closed in 1947, but saw to regularly international and domestic flights during the 1920s and 1930s.

Heston Aerodrome also played much political and strategic importance. As RAF Northolt was the airport of choice for Prime Ministers such as David Cameron and Theresa May on emergency trips to Brussels and other destinations, Heston Aerodrome was the RAF Northolt of its day.

Former Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain flew from Heston Airport to Berlin for negotiations with Adolf Title in 1938, famously making his “Peace something time” Speech from Heston Aerodrome.

Heston Aerodromes use was overshadowed by the larger, Great West Aerodrome, and RAF Northolt which had infrastructure in place to accommodate military aircraft during World War Two. Its importance was reduced further when in 1946, Great West Aerodrome was officially declared as London Airport.

The current site of Heston Aerodrome was occupied by the town of Heston, with industrial buildings, schools, the M4 Motorway, Heston Service Station and even a golf course occupying the site. The only remanent of an aerodrome is a concrete hangar constructed before World War Two, which is now Grade II listed.

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The Garde II listed hangar is used for commercial and industrial use. 


The driveway leading to the Heston Aerodrome still exists, and is called Aerodrome Way. But this is not the only indication that the land where Heston Aerodrome once lay hosted an airfield. These photographs also suggest the lands aviation connections. See the end of the article to see what these names all have in common.

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Great West Aerodrome:

Okay, so technically this aerodrome is still functional. It is of course Heathrow Airport. But compared to other aerodromes in the run-up to World War Two, Heathrow was a relatively new site.

Known as Great West Aerodrome (due to its proximity to the Great West Road), the site was surrounded by orchards and allotments, with much of the produce being sold at the Covent Garden Market.

The terminal buildings were very primitive, with examples such as the American Airlines terminal existing as merely a tent. 

Great West Aerodrome was commandeered to help with the war effort shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939, and was an RAF base until 1946. Heathrow’s infrastructure was distinctive as it resembled a conceited of six runways in a Star of David formation. Two of these runways remain in operational use.

Heathrow Airport now has six terminals (the sixth terminal is solely for cargo operations), and ranks as one of the world’s largest airports.

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Hendon Aerodrome:

Hendon Aerodrome was one of the first airfields in the UK. Hendon Aerodrome hosted names such as French aviator Louis Bleriot and the Royal Flying Corps, which developed into the Royal Air Force.

Like Great West Aerodrome, it became an RAF base but during World War One instead, and oversaw the creation of the RAF, as we know if it, today. In the Edwardian era, when commercial aviation first arrived in the UK, learning to fly cost more than the average person’s annual salary.

But aerodromes would provide free flying lessons to those who already owned an aircraft.

Hendon Aerodrome has now become hemmed in by dozens of new-build apartment blocks to help alleviate the housing crisis which plagues Londoners today.

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Croydon Airport:

Croydon Airport was the regional airport of the south-east, and the UK’s very first airport to operate international flights from the British mainland to France and the Netherlands, as well as destinations in the British Empire.

The likes of Imperial Airways, KLM, and Air France all operated from the Art Deco terminal building from south London, which in the 1920s and 1930s, during its height of operation, was less surrounded buildings and residential neighbourhoods.

However, due to damage caused by the Blitz and the V-Bombers by the Luftwaffe during World War Two, London’s population was “rehoused” in locations less central to the The City, in an effort to alleviate the housing crisis which existed and improve the quality of housing.

Semi-detached and social housing came with the latest mod-cons at the time, including in-door bathrooms, central heating, as well as gardens and public playgrounds. As a result of post-war urbanisation, a vast majority of the land that comprised of Croydon Airport has been used for commercial buildings and housing. 

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Bonus Answers:

The road names of the nearby “Brabazon” Estate are all named after famous aircraft manufacturers and aviation pioneers. Louis Bleriot, the Wright Brothers, … Sopwith, … Cobham. Brabazon, and new addiction to the estate Avro Drive, commemorate the aircraft manufacturers which played a fundamental role during World War Two.