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GOOD VIBES: Jas and Rodigan

MY OLYMPICS fortnight culminated at the Puma Yard in Brick Lane, East London where an unused space was transformed into a feel-good Caribbean style yard.

You could sit and feast on jerk chicken, curry goat and rice, or sip a Wray and Nephew cocktail. The vibe was very relaxed and friendly.

The line-up had, in previous days, included reggae stars Gyptian and Shaggy, but the night I was in attendance, I saw the legend that is British radio and sound system DJ David Rodigan MBE.

A man who has earned the respect of reggae artists around the world, Rodigan has clashed with established reggae crews like Bodyguard, Killamanjaro (selected by Ricky Trooper), Stone Love, Barry G and Bass Odyssey. He has serious dub plates and can mash-up any sound.

At the Yard, I took advantage of the food and drinks as I watched the closing ceremony on large screens. Rodigan laid down three hours of amazing tunes; it was enough to make me throw my handbag on the floor and dance about wildly, reminiscent of the days when I attended blues parties in Southall.

I’ve never actually seen Rodigan live and it was amazing. Watching him is fascinating as he jumps and bounces with animation and a constant smile on his face.

He practically went through a full-on aerobics routine behind the decks, to the delight of the hundreds of partying attendees.

Olympic fever lives on

Olympic athlete Tasha Danvers popped up to the BBC studios as a special guest presenter on the London 360 TV show. What a natural talent she is – this lady needs her own TV show.

TALENT: Tasha Danvers and Jas

Gorgeous looks, a body to die for and bucket loads of quick fire personality; why has no one snapped her up yet? Speaking about her experience at the Olympics she revealed: “As a professional athlete, I was able to compete in two Olympic Games; I was a finalist in Sydney in 2000 and I won a bronze medal four years ago in Beijing."

“I can honestly say it was an amazing experience. But having been on the other side of the finish line this time around, on camera in London, I have to say I probably enjoyed it even more than when I was competing.”

Speaking about the London 2012 legacy, Tasha enthused: “What the Olympics means to me is really encompassed in the Olympic values: inspiration, determination, excellence, equality, friendship, respect and courage. And for a few weeks, the athletic elite were showcased in the greatest show on earth, in the hope that their performances will inspire others, young and old, to their own personal greatness.”

Shakespeare for a cause

I was honored to be invited to the press night of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Julius Caesar, in association with the Afro Caribbean Leukemia Trust (ACLT).

ALL SMILES: (L-R) Tim Campbell and wife Jasmine, Beverley De-Gale, Orin Lewis and Jas

Attended by the ACLT founders Orin Lewis OBE and Beverley De-Gale OBE, this adaptation of the famed production is set in modern Africa and stars renowned actor and ACLT ambassador Ray Fearon.

As we approached the Noel Coward Theatre in St Martins Lane, London, it was clear this was a full on celebrity affair, as the paparazzi were snapping away at actors and literary folks all over the place.

A gorgeous young lady approached me and said in a sexy American accent, “I love your shirt, it’s so cool.” I thanked her and carried on chatting to actors Jocelyn Gee and Rudolph Walker, when my mate interrupted to inform me that the young lady was none other than Hollywood actress Rosario Dawson. “Well that’s cool,” I thought. “My Primark t-shirt has been given Hollywood approval!”

The theatre foyer was buzzing. I spoke to Tim Campbell and his wife Jasmine, Henry Bonsu, Trevor Phillips, Jimmy Akingbola, Lenora Crichlow, and Malorie Blackman amongst others.

The play itself was really powerful. I wasn’t the biggest Shakespeare fan at school and I’ll admit it was a bit of a struggle getting into the play at first. But a few minutes in, after becoming accustomed to the style and the character’s African accents, I was right into it.

A truly great adaptation of a classic; a must see if you fancy a bit of culture.

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