Monday, November 29, 2010

Give it a Thought

http://andrahilde.deviantart.com/
It's hard to utter any words anymore, specially what I feel inside .. Each day it becomes even harder for me to relate to the 'so called' normal people .. I find it very awkward .. In fact, I can't really feel comfortable around someone, unless he/she has a tragic issue going on .. It's pitiful, I know .. Yet, it's definitely undoable .. All my life I have reached for acceptance, for people to endure how I act, how I feel, how I speak, respond, interact .. But, I've never pretended to be something I'm not .. I've been proud of my painful experiences, my inner struggles, my overthinking, and my self-soothing manners ..

Believe it or not, I really don't know where it comes from .. The energy igniting my heart .. But, I sincerely thank God for it everyday .. It's what kept me alive all these years .. It makes a brand new day bearable .. Without this fire, I would certainly die .. Which is how I feel 75% of the time .. Yet, I always know there is more .. There has to be more .. Something will have to come up and save the day .. I've learnt that Nothing Stays The Same .. Or, am I losing it?!

I can't help but think, sometimes, of how my mom looks at me, all surprised .. I know she's thinking, "How could she live on her own like that? How does she manage to build her own bubble and live in it day and night? Why doesn't she need me like all kids do? Why doesn't she caress me like 'normal' girls? She must be cold-hearted bitch .. How is it possible for me to raise such a child?" .. I'm definitely a stranger to my surroundings, but a familiar to the ones who suffer as me .. You see, no one fully understands what I'm made of, why do I act this way, or how it's hard to mingle among them ..

I just wish I could relate to those who laugh their hearts out someday... To belong to something magical that lifts people's hearts and change them for the greater good .. I wish to conquer and to erase all the bad memories I had/have been having all these years .. But, it's maybe too late for me, still don't know about that .. I'll have to work it out .. That, I'm quite sure of ..

It wouldn't really matter if you relate to this post or not .. In fact, I would understand if you didn't .. Only those who have walked down my road, will be able to articulate my words .. At the end of the day, if no one did, then it wouldn't matter much either .. I'm doing this for me .. That was my aim in the first place .. I write 'cause I want to, not 'cause I have to!

This is me acting considerate, but not rude .. Give it a thought ..


.. N.O.H.A ..

Thursday, November 25, 2010

EAT PRAY LOVE

 I simply LOVE IT! .. All three together... The Book, The Movie, The Author!

A story never felt so real or as realistic as this one .. I know a lot may find it a depressing issue, but if anyone didn't benefit from such a book, he/she is definitely a hypocrite!
Then again, I don't want to be harsh .. Maybe, whoever doesn't relate to it, didn't have a real dilemma in his/her life, and we can only pray for that to be true ..

The fact that Elizabeth Gilbert tackles the issue of our "Passion" in life, personally means a great deal to me, and I think to everyone whose really in need of a real change in his/her life. She simply answered our only constant question, "Why do we exist?"


1- We EAT: Recalling the sense of TASTE, we have to search for the QUALITY, not the QUANTITY.

2- We PRAY: Realizing that FAITH is what really revives us, and not "The Secret." :D

3- We LOVE: Referring to the one and only feeling that manages to maintain our perseverance against all odds.


If you're open-minded enough to read through her lines, you'll definitely go somewhere magical ..

And, I can't help myself when I think that I could do this someday .. It's a huge gift to be perceptive, to make use and implement someone else's life lessons to make it happen as your own .. It takes a huge effort and whole amount of skills to be able to share what she presented to the world .. I can only hope that I would to have such focus and determination to pass what I have and positively transfer every beam of good energy inside my soul for whoever needs it .. God's willing :)

.. N.O.H.A ..

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'm a Dude!

Oh, Yeah!



I walk like a dude, I talk like a dude, I act like a dude!
I curse like a dude, I yell like a dude, I even drive like a dude!

Suddenly, I wake up. I find myself in a girl's body.
I check myself out like a dude, I dress like a dude, and I'm off to work like a dude.

No make up is allowed, no tight clothes are allowed, no fancy colors are allowed.

At the end of the day, I dream like a dude, my hair falls out like a dude, I even smell like a dude.

Part of me longs for the dudette, prays for the dudette, wishes to dress like a dudette.
Part of me has a hunger for being a dudette, barely acts like a dudette, has chills when uttering words like a dudette.

Hardly anyone understands how much I need to stop being a dude, embrace being a dudette, and get to be treated like one.


I love being a dude, don't get me wrong. But, I've had enough with the dude attitude. Let's give it up for the dudette in me for a while. Help me be me. Bring back the dudette in me <3 .

.. N.O.H.A ..

Monday, October 11, 2010

Venting

It's blurry every where I go .. It's dark .. it's empty and it's shallow ..The disorder is eating me alive .. I keep fighting, wresliing, gaining nothing but bitterness and sadness .. There's no way out .. It's very hard this time .. Everything feels so numb, so out of life .. Crawling is the word, fatigure is the act, my mind is the place ..
This upper box of mine needs some cracking, some banging, some breaking ..
These thoughts of mine needs some elimination, enervation, starvation ..
Lots of work to do, constant headaches and stomach aches ..
Deeply falling, hardly rising and eternally confusing ..


I don't have to make any sense, I know .. Just venting is my way to go ..
Pain eats me, death awaits me .. with no one 'knowing how' to save me ..
Sorry for myself is the word, constantly crying is the act, and my mental sanctuary is the place ..

.. N.O.H.A ..

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Finding Neverland


Laying in my bed with thoughts of shattered dreams and longing for the tenderness I've missed so much for too long, I deeply call for a prayer that would change my life for eternity. I keep asking myself this question every time I watch "Finding Neverland." Does it really exist? Will it be possible for me to live a magical life of adventures and mystical delights? What do I have to do to bring back the skill of imagination I've lost?

Peter Pan had to think of happy thoughts to make it through his childhood. He blocked away all the sorrows of lonliness and  poverty. He lived a much simpler life of good and evil. Everything was clear, daring, and exciting. He had friends, he helped others, and he managed to bring happiness to everyone who had ever heard of him. Isn't this what life is about? Aren't we supposed to be surrounded by people who care for us in every aspect of every day? Don't we enjoy the pleasure of giving and charity?

It seems to me that Neverland is a place of hope, a place of new chances, a place of enchanting possibilities. It occurs to me that the Arabian lands were once better than Neverland. I know for a fact that there were times when everyone enjoyed their lives. And yes, it was only earth, not heaven. Why did we stop having this dream? Why is it so hard to bare the thought of being great again? Why do we keep pulling ourselves down, thinking of nothing but hatred and sufferings?

Have we forgotten what it's like to dream? Hope had to leave us for a reason; we didn't deserve such gift for it to stay. Why is it, that we think of every passionate person to be gay nowadays? Is it because they're faking it? Or, is it because we simply envy them for the one thing we all long for, but do not wish to admit of missing?

Life has become so diverse, and so have people. Fear, anger, and anxiety have become a requirement for you to survive. If you still trust someone, then you'll definitely be known as being naive.

I dream of Neverland. I dream of the heaven on earth that I've never seen. Then again, no one had really visited it, except in their dreams. So, I'll start saving my soul. I'll start dreaming of the life I want for myself. I'll try to collect the bits and pieces of a healthy life. I'll think of my own "Happy Thoughts." I'm going to "Believe." Maybe... just maybe... I'll find my internal Neverland that will grant me the right of living, the right to love, the right to be whole again...

.. N.O.H.A ..

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lost & Found .. A Short Story


Once upon a time, in a far away Arabian land, there was a man called, Usama. He was widely known of his nobility and courage. His sword and his horse were his only best friends. Growing alone, he has been brought up by the local black smith, who taught him the arts of battle and showed him where dignity lies. Ever since Usama was a young boy, he had his eyes on Laila; she was the most beautiful princess anyone has ever seen. He knew he was not a man of wealth, nor he had the treasures for such royalty. However, he was determined to win her heart at any cost or under any circumstances, that life would ever bring him.

One day, the village messengers have crossed the entire village with one rewinding announcement, "Behold the King's most precious proposal, fellow citizens. If a man wishes to marry Princess Laila, he must pass this test. Whoever finds the lost necklace of the Princess will be announced as her Husband-to-be in a grand wedding ceremony, held under their honors.” The necklace belonged to Laila’s deceased mom. She received it as a gift, right after she turned 18.


Meanwhile, Usama was working in the workshop when he heard the message. He knew that this was his only chance to win. He looked everywhere; he spent days and nights searching for the necklace with no luck. One night, a young man visited Usama, and he was surprised of how he seemed to know him so well. The man asked for a custom-made sword with rhinestones and diamonds, requesting the name of Princess Laila to be carved on its hand. Somehow, Usama managed to get engaged, gathering the materials for the acquaintance.


A week passed by and Usama hasn’t done a thing about the necklace. He realized that it’s the last day for the challenge. Waking up, feeling sorry for the loss, and hoping for a miracle to be sent from above, Usama kept praying and praying and praying, but he didn’t realize that he had the necklace all along on his shelf. It’s Laila, who had visited him the week before, disguised as a man and asking him to shape his own sword for their wedding ceremony. As soon as he started working on the sword, the princess slipped into his room and placed the nechlace on his shelf for him to see… “Oh, I’m afraid of how blind he might be!” Laila thought to herself. “I pray to God for him to see, thine precious gift I brought to thee.


Usama kept repeating his prayers as he started to get ready for opening the workshop for a new day. And, just when he was headed for the keys, he found Laila’s necklace just lying there. He couldn’t believe himself at first, but suddenly he remembered that it was the same day of the wedding ceremony. He did not care how it was placed on his shelf for the time being; he just grabbed the sword, carved with her name, and ran to the courtyard of the King’s palace. Thanking God on his way, Usama could not help but think of the old man who came to him the other day.


By that time, the ceremony has begun. The King has called for the man who has found the necklace to declare his presence. Then, Usama stepped forward, presented the necklace, and so the lost treasure was retrieved. Princess Laila stood up to greet Usama with a loving smile on her face, while the King took both their hands and blessed their commitment. Usama slowly handed the sword to Laila as a token of affection, and as soon as she saw it, he recognized that she was the one who came for the sword. He could not be happier of not only his bride, but also of knowing that she had feelings for him all this entire time.

********


Life’s gifts are like this ‘necklace’ .. They’re least expected when you’re living a hardship, yet miraculously presented when you are in desperate need. Try not to give up on finding love; just look around you and appreciate what you already have. Be grateful for what you’ve been given and make sure you cherish the ones who love you as long as they do.


.. N.O.H.A ..

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stuck in Both Worlds



I miss my pen! .. I miss the old-feel of it ..When everything felt so genuine and so pure .. When I didn't care much about someone/something .. When all I had, was some boy-troubles and a mis-understanding with a friend .. When slam books/scrap books existed to open your heart to the world and teach you that your friends aren't all cute as they seem to be .. When all you dreamt of, is to grab the attention of your crush, hoping he/she would just notice you and maybe smiles at you for a bit .. When songs were really good .. When every feeling was intense and out of this world ..

I feel like I'm trapped in 2 worlds; the teenagers' phase & the adults' phase .. Never lived this, nor that .. I have this constant one-on-one conversation with myself of, "Why I can't live my life like any normal creature" .. In other words, "Why haven't I, still?" ..

Every once in a while, I wake up to find myself completely the same .. I haven't changed much I suppose .. I dress the same, I talk the same, I (maybe) think the same .. I even write the same!! .. I live in a constant looping phase that marks the exact timing of events .. I even freak out the same! .. I tend to have those couple of days each month or so, that sustains me in a hibernating mode for a week or so .. I can't talk, I can't sleep, I can't think, I can't eat..... I just live in a total "BLAH" phase .. Everything feels so numb .. The world may crash and burn outside, but you're still thinking of one thing; "I'm a Loser!" ..

I know I complain a lot and I know, obviously, no one loves to hear my complaints .. But, I just don't care .. I really do not .. It's what made me write in the first place, "My Complaints" .. It's the reason why I started a blog .. I just wanted to be heard .. I just wanted to state that life isn't that bubbly .. Life is a mess, at least mine is .. I have a messy mind and that's simple how it is .. I live in a disarray kind of mood 75 % of the time, and it's okay ..

For those who think I'm objecting by my complaints, I'd like to clear out one thing: "I do not complain for the sake of complaining.. I'm trying to beat the little voices in my head by talking about it" .. And, since human beings failed in the process of "listening," I decided to write it down for ME, not for YOU!

I'm sure you all wonder why am I so defensive, then .. Again, I'M NOT! .. I'm just clearing out this matter; call it "elaborating," or whatever .. Just try to accept me for who I am; I'm not an angel myself, you know .. It's my right too .. It's my right to scream and curse, and have nervous breakdowns .. It's my right to have doubts and get a grip on myself again .. It's my right to filter the decisions I've made in my life and has turned me into a useless piece of meat ..

Whether you like this post or not, I wish you the gift of acceptance, the bliss of kindness, and the blossom of broadness .. You may not handle me as a human, you may not agree with me most of the time, you may find it irritating that I shut myself up every now and then, you may not admire what I do with my life .. But, out of respect, please let me live .. If you feel like presenting a statement to me about my condition (and maybe advice me for the greater good), try to be honest about it .. It's really tiring to find that amount of indrect people, living around you ... Don't mock me, don't underestimate me, don't act like you know me, and most of all don't ever thing that you know better.. cuz you simply don't :)

And, one more thing.... Life is already complicated, don't throw your shit at others' faces and expect them to take it forever! .. Believe it or not, they'll come alive one day, then you'll taste some of it ..

Good day :)

.. N.O.H.A ..

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Project Yourself: Mariam Quessny

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=174003274887

Project Yourself
The story of Cairo’s Open Mic Nights with Mariam Quessny

It takes a lot to revive a soul, especially when all it blazes is negative energy and frustration. That’s why we’re honored to have a concierge, like “Project Yourself” in our country because it helps us make use of our signs of disapproval, changing them to live in a better life. It’s not only a cultural place that people love to showcase their talents in, but mainly it’s about having a voice, having a chance to influence others, and really enjoying your time in the process. Mariam Quessny has initiated the wave of Open Mics, in an attempt to be a part of every performers/artists’ lives. And even if you’re not an artist, you’re most welcome to share what you have to say, interact with new people, and attend a night to remember. We’re presenting to you a very intellectual interview with an artist, who truly believes in Underground and how it can genuinely affect Egyptians.


MM: First, we’d like to ask you, do we really have an Underground movement in Egypt?

Mariam: I think we have vibrations; it’s not really a movement because people are not connected. For now, everyone is vibrating on their own. If they’re really connected, they would light up, like stars or move, like sea waves.


MM: Do you think artists need a motive or a goal to reach?

Mariam: I think some people have passion since ever; not caring to be well-known. That’s what amazing about the Underground; you do it ‘cause you love it, not because you have to. You need to do it; you need to express yourself. Don’t know about the goal, but I think they need to know they’re not alone; there are people who are like them and need to share. By sharing, you exchange and you add to yourself and others, then you grow, which is great. That’s why, they really need is to be heard more. They need to release some of their talents. I think it would be selfish of them to keep it for themselves, when other people are influenced directly and indirectly by them.


MM: So, tell us more about yourself.

Mariam: I’m Mariam Quessny, I’m 23 years old. First, I studied 2 years in the AUC, studying Fine Arts, then transferred to PRATT Institute in New York, attended 3 years of Interior Design. I really enjoyed it and learned a lot; it’s very systematic, in an artistic point of view. I took what I learned from there and came to Egypt, looking at things in a different way. I know I’m Egyptian, but I don’t see the negative things other people see. If there’s a trash, for example, I’d instantly fall in love. You can’t imagine how people in New York would die for something random like this. It will become an art project for them; they would start drawing Graffiti about it or analyze it to death! They’d be like, “Wow, we have to carry it to the next Museum!” That’s why, I love Egypt; it’s so rich and organic. I think the difference between New York and Egypt is that Egyptian people rarely have hope, although they can be better in so many ways. While, New Yorkers are constantly competitive, although the city isn’t as rich as ours. If we bring like 10 New Yorkers to Egypt, it will certainly explode! Art, definitely, moves people.


MM: Then, what is Art from your own point of view?

Mariam: Something that questions, struggles, and designs souls. Like, I’ve been in this mood of writing because I’ve been between both worlds, where I don’t know which one I like; what to do and what I wanna be. Although, I just graduated and already working as a designer, still I don’t know what to choose. I guess we all go through this.


MM: Would you tell us your motive behind starting the Open Mic nights?

Mariam: I’ve been to something similar in Brooklyn and I was very moved by it; I was completely urged to know how people are struggling and thinking in a certain way, how their emotions work. It was really, really fascinating to me because you always think that everyone’s like you or different than you, but you never get to see how. So, I got excited about the idea, started a group on facebook and invited some friends, at a place in Maadi, with one condition that they should perform. And, it was awesome; around 40 people came. It had the best vibes ever; everyone kept asking for another one before they even leave. Then, we decided to rent “Makan” in West El Balad territory after a lot of search; it was the perfect place for us. It’s just one room, supporting cultural events.


MM: What’s your plans for “Project Yourself” in the future?

Mariam: We’d love to have our own space with better parking area, hosting shows 24/7. It’s all about connecting people and sharing, so a lot of vibes is gonna happen. It’s gonna bring all those juicy people of Cairo together, and maybe, then, it would become a movement.


MM: What difference have you noticed between performers in New York and Cairo?

Mariam: Not much. Maybe, New Yorkers are less-inhibited, less-shy; they usually pour their hearts out, and some people in Cairo do the same. Actually, I think performers are on the same level of openness and expression. It’s all about being passionate; that has no geographical, cultural, or racial condition.


MM: What about the level of talent?

Mariam: An Open Mic is not supposed to be about talent, it’s a chance to have a voice. Of course, we still need talented people to raise the bar, we need competition, but we need variations.


MM: What if the Underground is our real world?

Mariam: I love the idea of being on the Underground, my studio is Underground; I believe in living Underground. We would take less space on earth living underground, maybe we can have some reflective mirrors to bring down the sunlight. And then, the land would become so empty, so we’ll have fun living above ground and underground.


MM: How would people know they’re on the right track, being close to their real selves?

Mariam: I think you shouldn’t do it for anyone but yourself. At least, in the beginning; you’d play the guitar because you want to get better for yourself, you paint because you love to paint for yourself, not because you wanna be the next famous artist or anything.


MM: How come you never perform?

Mariam: I performed the first time; I read a short story that I wrote. Although I think it would be selfish of me to take 10 mins. for myself.


MM: So, other than painting and writing, what are your interests?

Mariam: I like reading, but I’m not into novels ‘cause I usually predict the ending. I’m more into philosophy and poetry.


MM: We know you encourage learning all the time, Don’t you think artists really need that? Will it make them lose their instincts?

Mariam: It’s all about how you learn. If someone is shoving information that I don’t want, then I won’t accept it for sure. Techniques and structures are important to feel certain things, for example. So, indeed, it is beneficial. I don’t think they would lose their instincts. It’s all about what you retain in your brain; if you really want it, you’ll keep it. You are influenced by the things you learn, but it’s your own fishing pool, even if it’s involuntary.


MM: What kind of projects you want to work on?

Mariam: I just wanna be true to my hands, I just wanna work with my hands a lot. I feel like giving them a chance to visualize what they have to say.


Major Magazine
September/October 2010


.. N.O.H.A ..

Shady Ahmed


A lot of you must know Shady Ahmed as an artist, that’s for sure. But, have you had a chance to really get to know him as a person? We guess not. Having a chit-chat with Shady was an absolute pleasure. It’s, indeed, very hard to find an artist as decent as he is. He’s not only passionate about his music, but also he manages to surprise you every time he performs. What’s really special about him is that he believes in what he does; he’s been everywhere in this country, experiencing all sorts of life-changing occurrences. That’s why, he simply sings from his heart. He has his own way of expressing feelings, growing up with a definite dream of being an international artist. We hope you enjoy this gracious interview, as much as we did. To check out his tracks, go to myspace.com/ShadyAhmed.


MM: When did you realize you have a talent?

Shady: I was always into music; I found it very interesting. Back at school, those were my times of discovery; I used to listen to all types of music. But, I knew I had it when I participated in a poetry competition, although I still wasn’t composing any music at the time. Afterwards, everything came at its time.


MM: So, did you know you’re gonna be a singer from the beginning?

Shady: I knew I had to do something with arts; if I weren’t singing, then I would’ve been directing. I used to draw as well. I bought my first guitar when I was 14, I had just gone back from Dubai, to focus more on music. I was just ready to go, I started writing songs; I wrote about five songs before I knew it’s even tuned.


MM: What have you been studying?

Shady: Marketing & Advertising in MIU, because I knew I wanted to get involved in the field. It helps me a lot with my music as well.


MM: Do you remember the first song you wrote?

Shady: Yeah, it’s called, “Tell Me What I Wanna Hear.” Actually, till now, it’s the song I get asked about so much. I recorded it 3 years after it was written.


MM: Which do you prefer, being a Solo artist or a member of Kravin?

Shady: I enjoy working with a group more than being on my own. I knew I would write songs, but I’ve always wanted to do so with a band. It was just easy to write songs with Kravin; I never struggled with putting words and melodies to something ‘cause I come from a very improvisational background. I used to memorize a lot of music, so I had like the song-writing dictionary in my head; what words can go together and so on.


MM: Don’t you think that corrupts your instinct a little bit?

Shady: No, you learn to trust your instinct about the subject of the song, and then the words take place. I follow my instinct 90% of the time and the song I’d rather write. Of course, the melody demands certain chords.


MM: So, what do you start with, first, to actually write a song?

Shady: I don’t have a process for it. Sometimes, I’d be talking to someone and I just pick up a certain idea, thinking there’s a song in there. Other times, I’d be driving and I get a melody out of nowhere. You have to depend on your memory most of the time.


MM: How long did it take you to transform and be more structured?

Shady: It took about a couple of years because I kinda put playing my guitar on hold for a long time, as I sang for Kravin.


MM: Why the name, Kravin?

Shady: It came from a bunch of places. I read it in an old book about Greek methodology, there was a character called, Kravin. And then, I heard it again from the movies, “Scream” and “Underworld.” I just loved how it sounded right.


MM: What kind of music you wanted to play?

Shady: I didn’t wanna play covers, I wanted to put a band together to play originals. And then, I met the guys, Mohamed Hany, Fady Hany, Nadim Nasr, and Tarek Reda to form the band and we all contributed to make it happen. We played Pop/Rock, but then Mohamed Hany introduced us to Rock n’ Roll, which we spent long sessions to practice. Finally, we agreed on doing 5 covers and 15 originals, but ended doing 16 covers and 4 originals; that was the first concert we played in Sakia (El Sawy Culturalwheel). After spending couple of years with Kravin, I joined the 19th band. I guess I had my share of experiences, almost, my entire life.


MM: What do you think of the Underground movement in Egypt? What’s Underground for you?

Shady: I’ll tell you what I think it should be because it’s a very vague definition, here in this country. At a point in time about 4 years ago, I would say there’s an Underground movement of bands who were really trying hard to play live and present all sorts of arts. And then, it kinda became a commercial concept in a way, if that makes sense. It became cool to be an Underground musician, and so a lot of people started doing it, which made it commercialized. And now, I watch a lot of shows of people who are truly talented and truly deserve, not just a record deal, but a career in music. They stay unsigned, though.


MM: How far are you now from where you wanna be in the future?

Shady: It’s still very far. I don’t consider anything that I’ve done a significant achievement at all.


MM: What is it that you wanna do?

Shady: I wanna make records, I wanna make world tours with bands, I wanna do a lot of live shows in ridiculous places, I play my music for as many people as I can, and so on.


MM: One song that you want to be known with.

Shady: I don’t really know which song will grab people’s attention more, but I’m gonna choose, “A Girl Not Listening.”


MM: When you play your music, what do you usually keep in mind?

Shady: That, people are gonna hear it. I keep thinking of the songs I wanna play live, and sometimes I feel some songs are not for everybody’s ears. Intimate shows, like the ones in bookstores, help me with that, I receive some feedback before going on stage.


MM: What’s with the comedy? Tell us more about it.

Shady: I never actually performed anything, it was a part of a writing exercise I was doing, plus I’ve been influenced by Stand-Up comedy, along with music and movies. So, it’s just something I enjoy doing.

Major Magazine
September/October 2010

.. N.O.H.A ..

RaShRadio


Rashad, who’s known as Rash Radio, is one of those guys you wish you can always stumble upon. He’s funny, he’s talented, he’s well-educated… he’s simply all what you fancy in a real artist. His music is genuinely coming from the heart, so as his performance. Winning the Nokia Music Festival Pop Solo award in 2008, has shown the world what he’s really made of. You’re definitely missing out a lot if you haven’t heard him sing before. Embrace yourselves with an ‘Irish Coffee’ and tune in to one of the finest artists Egypt has ever known. To check out his tracks, go to myspace.com/RaShRadio.


MM: Who is Rash Radio… in & out?

Rashad: I can only speak to what I do. As to "whom" that is something that every single person is trying to figure out. Whether through a method of self-expression or by simply asking questions; it's an ever changing, never ending journey.


MM: When did you realize that you’ve got it?

Rashad: I don't think I really felt like "I Got It" until I took a trip to New York to try and pass my demo around. Then, got a call back from a record label telling me, they loved my stuff. The same label produce records for artists, like Radiohead, John Butler, Lisa Hannigan, David Gray, and many others. So, even though it didn't get as far as getting a contract, the recognition was more than enough for me at that point.


MM: What is your music generally about?

Rashad: There's no generalization to what I write about, really. Some days, it's about life in general, other days it's about super heroes, video games, and pandas making love!


MM: Which genre do you prefer and why?

Rashad: Jam Band. Mostly ‘cause it combines all the genres; from Acoustic, Blues, Rock, Funk, Bluegrass, Jazz Fusion, to World Music. So, no matter what mood you're in, you'll find a song that goes with it.


MM: What inspires you to come up with your music?

Rashad: Anything and everything. It's kind of like how your brain processes dreams. It’s a mash up of stuff you see, feel, or experience. It's never expected, can't be planed, and rarely makes sense.


MM: Do you consider yourself as an Underground artist?

Rashad: Generally, Yes. In Egypt, No. I think for someone to be considered an Underground artist, there has to be someone else in the same genre, and the same country who's commercially signed, and actively touring. Unfortunately, we don't have that.


MM: What do you wish to accomplish career-wise?

Rashad: I don't know about career-wise accomplishments, but the dream is to get my music heard around the world.


MM: Who is your favorite artist?

Rashad: The Dave Matthews Band.


MM: Tell us about your participation in the Nokia Music Festival & TEDxNile.

Rashad: Winning the Nokia Music Festival came as a real surprise, actually. I almost didn't audition, since I didn't think that that's the kind of thing they were looking for. Goes to show, you can never tell where a real opportunity might present itself. Moreover, TEDxNile was a great experience. Being able to perform at the Opera House, and be part of an amazing international event like TED, was a great honor.


MM: How do people usually respond to your stuff? What’s the best comment you’ve received?

Rashad: People are often surprised, which is quite refreshing. It's always great to exceed expectations I guess. I think the best comment I've had was from someone who told me that listening to my song, ‘Irish Coffee,’ makes their day better no matter what they're going through.


MM: What’s your dream show?

Rashad: My dream show would be opening for The Dave Matthews Band in Central Park, then jamming with them in a tune or two.


MM: What do you feel like telling to wanna-be artists?

Rashad: Follow your dreams. Even Ke$ha & Paris Hilton have fans!


MM: When do you feel appreciated?

Rashad: Whenever I get any feedback, especially from other musicians, or get my songs played on the radio.


MM: Finally, tell us what you’ve always wanted to say, yet never had the chance.

Rashad: Don’t have much to say really, but allow me to share a quote from a Roman philosopher called, Seneca, "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."

Major Magazine
September/October 2010

.. N.O.H.A ..

Street Art… Or Is It?


Street Art… Or Is It?

According to Wikipedia.com, Graffiti “is any type of public markings that may appear in the forms of simple written words to elaborate wall paintings.” Meanwhile, for some Egyptians, it’s nothing but some useless scraps that are found under bridges or forgotten alleys. But for Graffiti artists, it’s a non-existing art that they struggle day-by-day to showcase. It’s their own way of expressing what they have to say to the world. We’ve interviewed one of those artists in an attempt to understand, whether street art really exists in Egypt or not.

MM: Tell us about yourself.

Mahmoud: I’m Mahmoud Aly, known as ‘Mahmoud Graffiti’ among my friends. I’m 17 years old, living in Alexandria. I have a habit of doing some Graffiti work in several places, like night clubs, billiard or play station centers… etc. Also, I do some drawings for Egyptian rappers.

MM: What does your work symbolize?

Mahmoud: My work usually represents our freedom of speech, as well as my point of view in many cases, like Khaled Sa’eed's murder. Graffiti art is originally born due to the sufferings of African American people, which I find it very much similar to what we’re facing nowadays. So, you can say, it’s my way of presenting how I see the world.

MM: What message do you want to present to the Egyptian society?

Mahmoud: My message is that there are better ways of expressing ourselves and our statements; one of those by using Graffiti. We can greatly benefit from it, presenting our opinions about many problems and national causes, because it surely attracts everyone's eyes.

MM: What kind of problems do you face when you attempt to draw?

Mahmoud: My biggest problem is the lack of any Graffiti tools in Egypt, so I have to use normal painting sprays, which are really bad. And, my other problem is that there isn't any help or support from the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. They still can’t seem to recognize street art artists.

MM: Would you please mention one of those situations?

Mahmoud: It’s very hard for me when I attended few free painting competitions as my work got refused many times. People usually don't know anything about Graffiti, considering it as "weird, ugly paintings."

MM: We know it's hard to be publicly recognized, but how hard is it?

Mahmoud: It's really, really hard because most of my work is done overnight. Also, you have to be quick as not to be caught by the police. My paintings ultimately end up being removed or unfinished. Accordingly, no one knows about me. But, I’m planning on participating in international contests later on. I hope, one day, I’ll be able to represent Egypt.

MM: Do you need to hide your real identity?

Mahmoud: Actually, right now, I don't have problems showing my real identity because I manage to work on a professional basis. Earlier, I had to, of course.

MM: How long have you been practicing Graffiti?

Mahmoud: For, almost, two years now.

MM: Does it require any courses? Is it something to be taught?

Mahmoud: Of course, you’ve got to have talent. However, if you’re serious about it, there are couple of courses available abroad. Unfortunately, there aren’t any in Egypt.

MM: Whom are your influences?

Mahmoud: I got influenced by famous Graffiti artists, like Seen and Cope2, and also by hearing Rap music.

MM: What's your life philosophy?

Mahmoud: I believe that everyone has to work as hard as he can to achieve his ultimate dream. Personally, I make sure I do by best in everything.

MM: Some people consider Graffiti as an illegal act, what do you have to say to them?

Mahmoud: I tell them, try to see what’s behind the picture. Graffiti isn't a crime, it’s a really cool art. Governments should stop banning it because it’s an artistic way of expressing one’s vision. They should find a way and give artists a chance to perform it legally, that would definitely help us grow even more.


Major Magazine
September/October2010

.. N.O.H.A ..

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bla .. Bla .. Bla

I'm trying to figure out what to say at the moment. My mind is still blank, but I'm fighting the urge of staying silent. I woke up too early today in an attempt of fixing my biological hour. It seems I'm starting to feel old; my body seems to function more at mornings nowadays. I've been a nighter my entire life, but I can't seem to continue the ritual for long. So, what should I write about today? Hmm, how about nothing at all? I don't have to make sense the entire time, you know. Sometimes, I feel like letting go... just spilling out whatever nonsense that occurs to my mind. I need to, that's for sure, to be able to write again. I need the flow back.


Anyways, I keep asking myself everyday... What's next? Did I achieve it all? and What's "It" that needs to be accomplished in the first place? It's true, then. Your needs/goals keep changing from time to time, and that's incredibly weird. I guess I have to constantly beat this inner battle that I have, every single day.


.. N.O.H.A ..

It’s Ramadan time, it’s Change time


It’s Ramadan time, it’s Change time

It’s in times like these, your heart yearns for what’s real, what’s profound. It’s when you feel you’re born again; you’re given a chance to live a life of harmony, a life of peace and tranquility. Yet, along the past years, we started to have mixed feelings. The holy month of Ramadan started losing its true essence. Some people think its spirituality is not here anymore. However, others maintain to preserve their annual rituals by focusing on what is beneficial.

Ramadan isn’t a festival of TV shows and Entertaining Tents, it’s about purifying your soul and seeking a better life. As the Almighty ALLAH says, "Ramadan is the month during which the Quran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. Allah wishes for you convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfill your obligations, and to glorify Allah for guiding you, and to express your appreciation." [Surat Al-Baqarah 2:185] We’re ordered to fast for a purpose, a goal; not only because we’re supposed to restrain food (which generally doesn’t happen nowadays). Ramadan helps us acquire patience, forgiveness, discipline… etc. Whoever maintains its rituals in a righteous manner, will definitely gain eternal, everlasting treasures that will facilitate him/her with authentic revenues.

According to Dictionary.com, the original definition of ‘Fasting’ is to ‘firmly hold back your selfish desires’ or to feel the sense of divine evolution through ‘a firm control of oneself.’ It’s the only month of the year that you have to give more than you take. It’s when you’re obliged to sit and eat with your family on one table once again. It’s when you realize how much you miss your relatives, how your time is very much consumed by materialistic pleasures and life’s responsibilities. Ramadan is your time to think, to meditate, to freshen up, and to regain the religious essence you seem to forget through out the whole year. It’s your guide to a healthier, happier life; that’s what it is!

Now, let’s review what we truly miss about Ramadan and what really makes it so special to all of us. Also, I’ll be stating the things we hate; not for the sake of demeaning anyone, but as a humble attempt to help you change. And if you’re not causing them, then you ought to spread the awareness for a greater benefit. These are just my own thoughts, whether you agree or disagree, it’s not the case. What’s real is that they exist and they ought to be shared for the benefit. Ramadan Mubarak!

WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT RAMADAN

•    Mosque Prayers: The true essence of the entire month. We choose to gather for prayers at mosques for a much greater benefit and more heavenly aims.

•    Reading Qura’an: Nothing is better that getting in touch those indescribable words of the All Mighty, ALLAH (swt).

•    Fawanees: My eternal pleasure and the first present I seek, however how old I’m becoming!

•    Discipline: Love it when people start taking things more seriously than they usually do. They put their hearts in everything they do, whether prayers, work, trading… etc.

•    Closer to God: What else can make you feel better about yourself than feeling the presence of God by your side, wherever, whenever?! It’s the ultimate feeling of happiness and self-worth.

•    Unity/Harmony: This is hardly found in any other month of the year. It's simply indescribable!

•    Kounafa: OMG, how I simply love it! Specially, when they cook it with whipped cream.. yummy!

•    El Mesahharaty: Our friendly neighbor next door… how can anyone forget him? Remember, when we used to call out our names for him to sing along? Those were the days my friends!

•    El Yameesh/Bala7 bel Laban/Atayef: Those deserts don’t declare their presence except for this month! I don’t know why, but no one seems to get enough of them. Let’s rejoice everyone!

•    El Madfa3: We all know how important it is, although we rarely listen to it anymore. Despite the clocks and TVs, we still can’t seem to know it’s Ramadan, unless we hear it on the radio every single day!

•    Charitable deeds: I have no comment on this matter, expect that I wish the whole year turns into Ramadan for it to stay.

•    Street Decorations: It’s everywhere and I LOVE IT! Love the colors, love the simplicity, and most of all love the paper cuts version more!

•    Time Management: Don’t you love how everything becomes punctual and alluring? There is time for everything; time for prayers, time for work, time for family gatherings, even time for sleep!

WHAT WE HATE ABOUT RAMADAN

•    Begging: Enough is enough people! We’ve said it hundreds of times, please do not support those beggars. They only keep coming because you give them what they do not deserve to earn. Please help to spread the awareness, there are those who are in desperate need for your support. Please use it wisely!

•    Night Tents: I really can’t figure out this factor. What’s really the deal behind it? I know some friends may wanna hang out a bit and have a good time, but why do some people have to make it very disrespectful… I really can’t seem to know the reason behind this.

•    Traffic Jams: If there’s a will, there’s a way! Luckily, this year, I believe it was one of the most successful experiences in a very long time. You actually get to reach home in time for Iftar! I can’t seem to know what’s different this year, but what’s important is that, this problem is 50% solved!

•    Lack of Determination: People seem to lose their energies; they seem to lose their drive and their sense of will. Some individuals choose to neglect Taraweeh Prayers for example, although they have time, forgetting the fact that Ramadan is all about giving, not vice versa.

•    Non-working Environment: At some workplaces, like governmental organizations for example, people tend to be lazy and more careless about appointments. Due to this matter, of course no one seems to get their jobs done!

•    TV Shows: Please give us a break, people! Remember, we still have the rest of the year to broadcast. For God’s sake, give people a chance to achieve their real goals from this holy month. After all, it a month for purification; not for entertainment adaptation.

•    Food Consumerism: We eat 24/7, we cook 24/7, and we think of what we’ll eat 24/7. This sense of false hunger, that we all have, has conquered us a year after a year, after a year… suffocating us till death do us part. I have nothing more to say than, WE HAVE GOT TO END IT! The aim is to control, not to give in to such illusion of starvation! Try to give away the rest of your food, you never know who’s in desperate need.

•    Being Nervous: If you choose to drive when Ramadan comes, then you have got to prepare yourself for an early Iftar! “EVERYONE is nervous,” or so they call themselves.

•    How women react at mosques: For the love of god women, behave yourselves and learn some true manners before you decide to go pray at a mosque. Do not raise your voices, do not act like you’re the greatest living creature on earth, try to wash up, and please, I beg you, dress what’s fit to this holy place. Do some homework before you go and try to actually listen to the Imam’s speech every once in a while.

Cairo Elite magazine
September 2010

.. N.O.H.A ..

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Is it really a Hoax?


Yesterday, I was watching some TV and I came across a weather forecast. It's pretty important nowadays to check it due to the constant changeable temperature that we're all facing, especially here in Egypt.

Anyways, I noticed something very strange; some may call it a glimpse of a conspiracy theory and some will assure it's totally normal. Now, everywhere in the world, there are floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, explosive volcanoes... etc. Mostly, people living in Europe, Asia, and Africa are the ones whose suffering really bad. While the only continent that's totally fine is the US.

Russia's forests are burning for the love of God! How can this be? Pakistan is really really drowning and no one is making any songs or raising any money like the Haiti disaster. But, how the hell the US is the same?

I guess I'll start considering the thought that Global Warming proclamations could be a HOAX! I don't know about you guys, I feel something weird is going on!!!!!

.. N.O.H.A ..

Saturday, September 4, 2010

S.O.S


I'm trapped inside my mind .. I keep thinking random thoughts all the time, yet I can't seem to come up with a specific idea to write about .. Most probably, no writer would admit this .. But, believe it or not, it does happen .. Yes, our minds become so blank that we start feeling helpless and restless ..

I have a dilemma .. I don't know whether I should start reading to get it back or just leave it till it comes back on it's own .. It's just that I really can't .. Will you believe me if I told you how much it suffocates me? Maybe, I need to change places, go somewhere, do something .. but, the fact is... I did all that .. Laziness has really grown into my senses .. I convinced myself that I'm just stressed and that it will pass ... I really thought it would eventually come on its own ..

I know I shouldn't freak out and I know I should try harder .. But, I also know that I'll freakin' lose my mind if I didn't come up with an idea soon .. In fact, I may have lost it already .. Don't mind my nonsense, just bear with me people .. I need to suck the words out of my brain and I don't know how ..

Maybe, it's just because I hardly find something exciting anymore? I don't know .. All I know is that I badly want it back ..

Would anyone help me with that? How can I actually breakdown the walls that prison my mind? How can I write again without feeling intimidated?

Please help me bring myself back again ...

.. N.O.H.A ..

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

To Write or Not To Write.. That is the Question!


Knock knock.

Who's there?
I'm your Blocked Mind.

Now, why the hell are you knocking on me?
Don't you realize you own one?

I sadly do! I just don't want to admit it.
But, why do you hate me so much? I wonder...

You're such an evil spirit that conquers my brain! I can't sleep, I can't eat, I can't act like a normal human being. Are these enough reasons for you?
On the contrary! I'm nothing but a new challenge, a new opportunity for innovation, a spectacular way of bringing out the best in you.

Are you kidding me? That's not how I feel at all!
How do you feel then?

I'm almost 24/7 depressed! I'm so hungry for new ideas that they have become my regular food. I live on creativity, I starve for an original goosebump!
So, how is this supposed to be sad?

Looks like you're not getting what I'm saying.
Well, you don't have to be aggressive about it either.

Enlighten me then, how am I supposed to feel?
First, you have got to remind yourself to calm down. Say it out loud, and let your own ears hear it. Then, ask yourself this question; "What am I really stressed about? And will it ever work out?"

I do ask myself everyday and every night, yet nothing changes.
Maybe, you don't want it to change.

How so?
Maybe, you enjoy feeling sad. Didn't you ever think about that?

I admit, letting go of my sadness can be out of control sometimes.
There you go!

No, wait. I didn't finish what I have to say!
I'm not stopping you either. Go ahead :)

Hmm, ok. You're right, I really need to chill. Let's start over. I let go of my sadness, it gets out of control, and I think I'm Bipolar. Do you see where I'm coming from?
I do, but I really do not think this is what's ACTUALLY wrong with you.

What is it then?
Your real problem is that you underestimate your abilities. You so deprived out of love for so long, you forgot how it feels like to be accepted as you are. You're bruised so much, you can't let anyone in, you push people away the entire time. You lost the ability to differentiate between good and bad people; you live by one rule, "TRUST NO ONE!" You can't seem to let go of your imagination. Frustration has grown in every inch of your heart, body, and soul. But, most of all, you're too lazy and fragile to admit that it's possible for you to be happy. What's really wrong is, YOU! This Blocked Mind of yours is nothing but a symptom, it's not permanent. You can change it, you've done it millions of time before. Just believe -- that's all what I'm trying to say.

I guess you're right. I know I can do it. I just get tired, you know. I need to wallow from time to time. I guess I do this to block away bad memories, but they keep coming.
You know the trigger, use it!

Yeah, I guess I will. I can't keep doing this to myself. I have got to think positively, get my act together, and enjoy the things I've been wishing for all my life to happen. And, they do. Maybe, not smoothly as everyone else, but they eventually do.
Remember, you have a voice now. Don't be afraid to use it, although you've worked so hard to make it vanish. Hang on in there, and spread what you have to say to the world as you always wanted. It's your brain which keeps you insane, it's the flowing words which make you feel alive once again. It's that itchy feeling of yours that tells you you've got something good to share. Just keep doing it for yourself like you always did. Let it come to you on its own. Pour out all the feelings you have. Writing has been you're ultimate best friend, don't lose that. You can not afford to kill it. It's your only way for salvation; it's how you breathe, and it's how you survive. Do your best -- it's okay to be you. Write, girl... WRITE! Never Stop!


Hashtags Magazine | June 2013

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Qualifications of a Happy Girl



Is it too late for her to feel safe? Is it that hard to be trapped in a world of a happy face? Why is it that hard for her to smile? Why can’t she be like any normal girl who walks the streets? She looks at her mirror and wonders. In her hands are bits of her hair, falling down like drops of rain, yet she can’t help but wonder, why do all those crazy things happen to her? She knows there’s a reason for everything, but she’s quite fed up. Not just totally yet, I suppose.

What is she going to do, that’s the real question. It’s always the paradox of choice that quivers her. She can’t seem to find a firm answer to all her decisions. For ages, she’s been much assertive, but lately nothing falls into place. Again, she feels her head itching and itching. It must be her hair falling down. Whenever she’s stressed, she collects a pound of hair in her hands. What a beautiful hair she had once. Most of her friends used to envy her for having such a rich and long classy hair. It’s the type of hair that turns all yellow in the sun, appears all brown in light, and brightens like a horse’s black skin at night. Indeed, hair is very important to a girl. People usually say, it’s her own crown of throne. A women loses a part of her with every grain of hair. Either she gains a new one or stays frozen and prays for the best to come.

After 15 mins of staring at the mirror in her room, she decided to write about it. That’s how she fights everything nowadays. If she’s every bothered with something, she writes about it. If her parents yell at her, she writes about abusive behavior. If she’s having her PMS, she explain the hormonal disorders. Even if she can’t bare to make breakfast, she will write about boredom. Then again, she’s not heard. She’s ultimately screaming and shouting from the bottom of her heart, but no one really listens to her. Most people think she’s an ignorant bitch who only listens to herself. No one knows how she suffers from old memories and how she hardly ever forgets an irritation.

All this, is not a big deal to her. She manages and survives. What really eats her heart out is not living the life she always wanted. She keeps waiting and waiting and waiting. She even thinks she’s the most pessimistic creature on earth. But, to tell you the truth, I don’t think she really is. I think she’s truly hoping for something to rock her world upside down and lifts her away from all the pain in the world. She suffered a lot and that’s too much for people to understand. All their demands and regulations feed on her. She can’t seem to know how to be happy anymore.

Everyone goes around telling her, it’s a life choice, it’s nothing but a state of mind. It’s not something you earn, it’s something you feel from the inside. But… no one tells her how or what. How is she supposed to feel when she’s happy? What does it feel like? What are the real qualifications of happy person? Is there still hope for her of ever becoming one? Will she start feeling fine after 60 years of suffering and laughter-departure? Did she really gain something in the end after all those years? Would that dream really come true?

Please… if someone knows the answer, tell me so I can deliver the message myself.

.. N.O.H.A ..

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Simply Mekky...


Simply Mekky…

It takes a lot of courage to be different in our country, but it takes real men to actually shine! Although all of us watch his movies, only few who really know much about Ahmed Mekky. He is not just an actor; he is a scriptwriter, a director, a producer, and a rapper as well. Having such a charisma that forces its presence among people gives you a definite assurance that he is not just a regular guy. It was a privilege to have an amazing chit chat with Mekky. He introduced us to his visionary plans and dreams, so let’s see what he had in stores for us.


MM: The first question we have got to ask you, Is ‘Ahmed Mekky’ your real name?
A.M: Indeed, let me tell you about my origin as well. My father is a descendant of a 4,000 years old Bedouin tribe called, “Bani Helal.” Some of them went to Upper Egypt, while others, including my father, traveled to Algeria. They were famous of speaking classical Arabic and glorifying poetry. Then, we went to Emirates in the 80’s when it was still a desert, and there were couple of Americans who started working there as well. I had the chance to be acquainted with them at their house parties and Hip/Hop was on the rise. Also, I used to sit with my father and his friends, reciting poetry in a manner that pretty much resembles the freestyle battles of Hip/Hop. Thus, I personally believe that the original Rap genre descends from an Arabic origin and the rhythmic beats come from Africa.



MM: So, you think that when Africans were brought to America, they introduced Hip/Hop.

A.M: Exactly! America took Africans as their slaves, so Afros started to express their agonies and anger through some beats that made them feel free. By then, the genre was presented and this is how I want to present my album. I am not going to blindly imitate Americans by wearing blings for example. No, I want to bring back the true spirit of Rap by showing our own Arabic identity. Even when I played the role of ‘H. Dabbour,’ I insisted that he wears a ‘Gallabeya’ when he began to blend in the Egyptian society for instance. There has to be an Egyptian icon in what I represent.


MM: Accordingly, what do you think of this saying: “You can take a guy out of Egypt, but you can’t take Egypt out of a guy?”
A.M: Well, I have my own opinion; be yourself and be local, then you’ll turn into an international artist. By the way, I won several awards from festivals held in Argentina and Italy in writing/directing short movies, like “El Hassa Al Saba’a” (the original 7 minutes short movie) and “Yabany Asly,” just because they were too local. Americans are not usually moved by action movies, but they are more into personal struggles or psychological dilemmas. Our local character is what drives them crazy and make them more interested in what we present.


MM: Then, what do you wish to do for this character to be exposed?
A.M: I need to show a clearer vision of this character because it is not observable enough. If I locally focused on any project, ultimately it will shine internationally. If I started to sound like R & B singers with their thick voices and rough attitude, then it would be totally off incompatible.


MM: Tell us more about your album; will it enclose the usual Egyptian music beats?
A.M: It will combine a bit of everything as long as it has a twisted flavor. I usually use four beats, like the song “Dawwar Be Nafsak” from the movie “Teer Enta.” It began with a hardcore start, heading to an Eminem-like chorus with an eastern touch, and so on. I have to have my own impact on the stuff I produce; that’s how I learned from my greatest influence “2 Pac.” I do write my own songs, but I do not mind working with others as well.


MM: When you first wanted to introduce this type of genre to Egyptians, weren’t you afraid they might not get it?
A.M: Of course, it was possible. However, I believe I understand the Egyptian people and the Egyptian culture to a good extent due to my numerous experiences. I started working at the age of 11 as a dove breeder, and also tried other fields, like boxing, caricature drawing, video editing… etc. All of these experiences helped me in understanding what people want and prefer. Not to mention, I have always been passionate about rapping and I’m very much determined to do something I love even if it didn’t succeed. This is what keeps me motivated.


MM: Previously, you mentioned how it is important to produce something with an Egyptian spirit, but in “Teer Enta” you used the theme of “Bedazzled.” Would you explain why you did that?
A.M: Well, it had a different concept, but the idea is the same and I have mentioned this in the movie. It is all about how you see an idea; we usually think of the same ideas, but with different angles and dimensions. If you are going to take an idea and apply it exactly as it is, then you are simply a robber and you should change your career. However, if you used the same idea, but applied a different point of view, then you deserve an applause. And by the way, the idea of “Bedazzled” was taken from the original production in 1967 and it had the same name. I love watching old school movies, where real drama was portrayed, before using excessive graphics and computerized programs. These movies teach you a lot because they have depth and sense of purpose, and this is exactly what I did in my movie. The ending was totally different and the characters were real Egyptian individuals.


MM: We agree that the characters were genuine. Would you tell us how do you develop them?
A.M: There is an acting school course called, Physical Action, which teaches you how to gather the tiny details of each character. I have gained some analytical skills myself along the years, which help me a lot. So, I observe people and add my own character lines as well.


MM: For those who do not know the real Ahmed Mekky, what would you like them to know?
A.M: I hate the era we are living in nowadays. I always dream of being in this age, but living during the 60’s or the 70’s. I really hate technology. I cannot seem to go around, carrying a mobile in my hands; I usually forget it even exists. Although I have a great social life, but you will find that most of my close friends are really old. I also enjoy camping and barbeques; I am in love with nature. I believe the greatest pleasure in life is women and the most obsessive interest for me is music. I am a music fanatic; I enjoy listening to all types of melodies. It is all about simplicity to me.


MM: What is your ideal portrait of a woman?
A.M: To me, a woman should be intellectual and feminine at the same time. If you recall women at the 60’s for example, you’ll notice how they were amazingly elegant and smart as well; it’s not all about the looks. You have to ask yourself; if she had the charms, Will be able to communicate with her or just neglect her existence later on? And this goes out to both genders; If you’re really into someone, you’ll enjoy their conversations.


MM: What is the biggest misconception you’ve heard about yourself?
A.M: Most people think I am a boogie man, who’s only into parties. But, what they do not know is that I’m a man of principles; that’s why I admire Mel Gibson’s personality for example. His movie “Braveheart” is what made me love this career. One day, I thought to myself, “I’ve got to make a movie like this one!” I would love to leave a legacy behind me. If I ever had kids, I’d want them to feel proud. In addition, I am not a hypocrite and I only work with the ideology I believe in and stand for.


MM: Finally, what do you think of feminists? Do you believe in equality between men and women?
A.M: Total crap! Nevertheless, this does not mean that men are better than women. Let me break it down for you. If we are exactly the same, then both of us should go swimming with one piece. Seriously though, if a women thinks she’s equal to a man, then she wouldn’t need him in the first place. In other words, both genders find strength in each other’s weaknesses. There would be no essence to life if we were both the same in everything. Also, women are passionate by nature. If they are really into someone, they would totally agree to do all the choirs they hate in an extremely sensual manner. Only those who are really in love would relish the scent of their men. I totally agree with a saying that mentions how, “Real women recognize real men, and vice versa.” I am the type of person who adores successful, independent women; it is such a thrill to be loved by them. It is a shame how men, nowadays, find this quality demeaning. Encouraging women to empower themselves is a huge cause. They don’t recognize a man by his physical appearance, nor his riches; women crave for men with real characters. At the end, this is what should really matter for both of them.


Major magazine
June/July 2010

.. N.O.H.A ..

Monday, June 28, 2010

NeoByrd: The Habit-Breaker



NeoByrd: The Habit-Breaker

In times like these, when industrial music conquers the world, artists like NeoByrd obviously shine amongst millions of singers and musical vagabonds. Starting off his first professional step in his musical career two years ago, Wael Alaa decided to show the world what he has got to offer. We had a chance to interview him, and that’s how it went.

“In Egypt, people are familiar with all types of music, especially Rock. However, the Electronica genre is the one genre that has grabbed my full attention since my childhood,” Wael explains to Major magazine. He is the type of musician who draws the attention of not only people who enjoy music through an emotional perception, but also the intellectual ones who appreciate an artistic phenomenon when it declares its presence. Wael Alaa is a self-taught keyboardist and producer, who formed an Electronica project called “NeoByrd” in 2009. Influenced by artists, like Depeche Mode and Michael Jackson, he is determined to present an innovative style of music that Egypt has not been familiar with, ever before.

MM: Let’s start off by asking, How old are you and what do you study?
Wael: I’m 23 years old and I’m still attending the Faculty of Mass Communication, MTI University.


MM: When did your interest in music develop?

Wael: I started playing the piano when I was 12 years old. And, like most guys my age, I enjoyed jamming with some friends of mind by forming Rock bands. Also, I started to produce some pieces of music on my own at the age of 14, and my first Techno track was featured on Pulse Radio in England. However, I did not take a professional step at that time; I was still trying to gain some experience first.


MM: So, did you keep working on your own?

Wael: Well, no. Around 2004, and through my way up to college, I signed off few tracks with a German label and another English one. Then, I stopped for a while.


MM: Why did you do that?
Wael: I wanted to form a band on my own. In 2005, I started thinking of creating this NeoByrd project, hoping to find someone as passionate about it as I am. I experienced some difficulties because most Egyptians are into Rock and that wasn’t the concept I had in mind at that time. However, I went on with my preparations and here I am.


MM: What do you mean by “NeoByrd”?
Wael: “Neo” means classic and “Byrd” is a symbol of fantasy, which explains the state of fantasia that I am trying to express through my music.


MM: And why did you choose the Electronic genre of music?
Wael: I find myself in this genre. I feel so comfortable, wearing my mask and performing live on stage. I wanted to be different and have my own identity. Electronica is what I love; it’s how I express myself.


MM: Now, tell us about that please. Why do you choose to appear with this persona and choosing not to remove it?
Wael: The point is that Egyptians still did not accept the Electronica genre due to the huge influence of the Rock era we have been living in for decades. So, I couldn’t present such a different element without a sense of entertainment. I just wanted to be an exceptional performer and grasp their attentions by any artistic means. I have a worldwide target, yet my Egyptian identity is very important for this project to spread.


MM: Who are your influences?
Wael: Michael Jackson is my main and ultimate influence of all time, then comes The Rolling Stones, Bee Gees, Donna Summer, Doors, The Beatles, Air, Daft Punk, Prodigy, and The Chemical Brothers.


MM: What about our Egyptian culture or music, did they have any influence on you?
Wael: They definitively did, but I was very much into the idea of producing music by a machine. I have grown to like electronic instruments more than any other musical devices. I personally think that the Electronica genre basically depends on your intellectual skills. It’s very hard to invent or create a different mood by utilizing it, when you are not relying on your emotional side, like other genres.


MM: We’ve noticed that the ones who listen to your music are not precisely into dancing, however they seem to enjoy it. Is this a part of your objective?
Wael: Indeed! My show is all about being artistic more than just playing music. I’m a performer and I use some enhancements, like my mask and my Vocoder, to present my own concept. What I perform is not industrial, that’s why I receive lots of adverse feedback. Some people may appreciate art and some may not; it is really unpredictable and I do not let any negative opinion pull me down. On the other hand, it really helps when people start questioning what I do; it gives them something to remember me with. Also, I’m inspired by a guy called Jeffrey Daniel, who used to choreograph Michael Jackson’s dance routines. I use some of his dancing tricks to boost my show.


MM: Would you tell us more about the Vocoder? Also, why did you choose to use it?
Wael: The Vocoder is an electronic instrument that analyses someone’s speech, generating it into specific musical sounds. It is hard to use, that’s why it’s not so popular among musicians. Michael Jackson used it couple of times in his music, though. I love using it as my vocal because it is very mind-provocative. It produces an e-sound, which completes the illustration I want to present.


MM: Why do you use the mask of Optimus Prime?
Wael: I was doing a basic research through the internet and came across this mask. I instantly loved his neutral facial expression; plus, I’m already a big fan of “Transformers.”


MM: We have noticed that most of your YouTube videos are full of animation, Could you explain why?

Wael: Well, I’m very much inspired by animation movies because it portraits the same state of fantasy I try to display. I believe that creation and creativity are obtained by living in an imaginative world. As being an artist, I should invent; I should not produce something recognizable to everyone.


MM: Finally, tell us about your upcoming album and its release date.

Wael: “Falling Away” will be released within two months. It will include 10 tracks, introducing a variety of genres; Electronica, Trip Hop, Break Beat, Disco House, Funk… etc. Also, I would like to mention that I’m the one who composes my entire tracks and write my own lyrics.


Major magazine
June/July 2010

.. N.O.H.A ..

Evolution of Kersh

Evolution of Kersh

Along the past decade, a new evolution has become an indefinite trend. A new rule has declared its presence and set our minds to a looping mode. Meanwhile, people tend to aimlessly walk around with no care in the world, accepting the fact that such occurrence has happened and it’s okay! But, let me break it down for you; ANY ‘Kersh’ of any size or shape is NOT – by any means – acceptable!


Oh yes, it’s the ugly truth, and indeed it’s a scientific fact that most guys manage to have a cheesy belly. But, allow me to present my indefinite obligation when I tell you this; I can NOT endure such trend, nor I will ALLOW myself to sympathize with your situation. I’m not the kind of girl who encourages judgmental perspectives, but for this one I really don’t care what anyone would present as an excuse. I truly believe that it is turning into some kind of a sociological movement, more than just a bad eating habit. It’s like everyone agreed to accept it, in other words forced it to others’ minds. Our nation have embraced the idea and used their own defense mechanism to justify what no one is accepting. They even started calling ‘El Kersh’ all sorts of nicknames, like ‘Kersho’ or ‘Abou Karim’ to express how wealthy and generous men may be. But, what they refuse to realize is that it’s the greatest turn OFF – anyone can encounter – of all time!

Girls have it too and that’s a fact! But, let us focus on the philosophy more than who has it and who doesn’t. Whenever I talk to anyone about this issue, I hear nothing but “It’s normal.” No, sir… I SINCERELY OBJECT! Enough with the lame excuses, already! I should not accept laziness, I should not give in to junk food, and most importantly I shouldn’t abandon the healthy lifestyle just because people may think of me as a ‘Farfoura or Akly Akl Khass!’ And by the way, I’m not a supporter of diets either. I honestly think they’re a waste of energy, money, and the vital vitamins of your body are totally drained out of you. No one is telling you not to eat, but be reasonable for God’s sake; pay a visit to your nearest gym every once in a while. If you do not have time to do this, try taking care of what you consume the ENTIRE time. Note that you are just pushing anger away by stuffing things that you do not need in your mouth. You will be surprised to know that your mental state is the main cause for such trauma, which – in such case – girls may need stabbing for the total catastrophe they put themselves into.

Take a moment to think about it and picture those youngsters who walk around in our country nowadays. Don’t mind the old ones, just focus on the ages of 20 to 30 years old. These are the ones who lost their phase of ‘Teen Fat’ and are not quite married yet either (so that you don’t give them the marriage excuse). Right on my friends, that’s exactly what I’m talking about! Girls wander around with their (not actually) skinny jeans and over-popping tops, while guys are proud to show their hippo hips, dressed up in purple and fuchsia t-shirts. I know some of you may sound like, “What’s wrong with fuchsia now?! It’s fashionable!” I’m not against the color for sure, in fact I love it! It’s just that, what most people do not know, those colors were specially chosen for those gay people living abroad; it was specifically designed to dress them up with unique trends. Then again, people blindly choose to act like a herd and refuse to live like a copycat. Anyways, that is not our issue here. What I’m trying to draw your attention to is that this age range is not supposed to look like this. It’s the most active, most reviving age range of your entire life. Let me give you an example. One of the defenses I’ve heard from boys, is that “El Kersh” has been there for ages; men has been freely walking around with it without any complaints. I think what he’s trying to say is that a man is not known of his manhood, but of the size of his belly! Now, that is the REAL defense he was unconsciously trying to hold back on me! And when I objected by telling him that a long time ago no one had this issue, he boldly rejected my opinion. Yet, what he could not encounter that I was talking about his age and not the elder ones.


Ladies and gentelemen… No, I will not apologize for my words, nor I’ll guide you to what should be done to conclude this piece. For the very first time, I will refuse to present a solution because simply I will not sit around and tell you what you can and can not do. You are perfectly aware of your situation and how your body does look like. You need neither me, nor anyone else, to appoint you to the path you are heading to. If you do not choose to stand up for yourself, if you keep inventing all sorts of excuses, and if you refuse to take my opinion into consideration, I really do not care. Shocking as it is, you know deep down inside of you that I AM right. Indeed, I may sound aggressive; then again, whenever someone points out some fitness tips, you choose to ignore them. Unless you want the change for the better yourself, no one is ever going to amend that!

Major magazine
June 2010

.. N.O.H.A ..

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Officially Bipolar!

Officially Bipolar!

Recently, many people have been feeling sad, hopeless, or depressed whether they have problems or not. I’m sure they’re all wondering why, but no one seems to know the answer. However, I do! *wickedly looking with an evil grin*

Some people may feel like crap, almost everyday, and are acquainted with an intense feeling of numbness. They sink into a state of unconsciousness, daydreaming and wondering how the hell they recently became so negative. Suddenly, they may realize that ‘Anathema’ has become their Godfathers and find it hard to breathe. You hear them uttering words, like ‘darkness, emptiness, helplessness, frustration…etc,’ while all they seek is the ‘THRILL.’ And, when any dire incident comes up, they can swear they’re about to set fire to anything they see. Yet, what’s weirder is that their happy occasions are the wildest ever! Lads and gals, we’d like to introduce you to… “The Bipolar Disorder.”

Wait a minute! I’m not saying that this is a serious illness at all. I’m just trying to draw your attention to the fact that sadness can sometimes occur and you do not have any business to do with it. Due to the total chaos in our lives, we could be having a Bipolar disorder without even knowing it. You see, psychologists identify this illness as a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function. It’s different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through. Even, some studies suggest that it is related to a hormonal deficiency. The symptoms of a Bipolar Disorder are severe. It’s mainly about the difficulty to concentrate, remember, or take decisions. Plus, thoughts of death or suicide attempts usually linger in one’s mind, while acting with a provocative and aggressive behavior most of the time. Moreover, a person will know it is getting serious when he starts experiencing common psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations, delusions, or thoughts of oppression, denying that anything is wrong. In a simpler way, people can call it, ‘Hearing Voices.’ Also, afflicting chronic insomnia, talking very fast, having rapidly racing thoughts, jumping from one idea to another, and having an excessively high euphoric mood are the most noticeable aspects of Bipolar disordered individuals.

But hold on, don’t freak out on me now! Whether you’re interested to recognize if you have such illness or not, there are good news. Bipolar Disorder can be treated and people who are truly diagnosed with this illness can lead full, dynamic lives. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to die if you have it; it’s just an element of knowing who you are. Self-awareness helps you to functionally process well and be productive, creating an interesting perspective to your life. In fact, several scientists relate being Bipolar to creativity. Actually, you’ll be surprised to know how many famous figures have such illness, yet they’re capable of leading an extraordinary life. Let’s review the list of the most common icons I managed to assemble for you here; Mel Gibson (Actor and Director), Kurt Cobain (Lead singer of Nirvana), Ozzy Osbourne (Singer), Axl Rose (Lead singer of Guns ‘N Roses), Ben Moody (former Guitarist of Evanescence), Robbie Williams (Singer and former member of Take That), Robert Downey Jr. (Actor), Winston Churchill (British Politician), Vincent Van Gogh (Artist), Johann Goethe (German Writer and Polymath), Edgar Allan Poe (Poet and Literary Critic), Tim Burton (Producer and Director), Theodore Roosevelt (American President), Jim Carey (Actor), Ben Stiller (Actor), Russell Brand (Actor)… and many more.

However, if you ever felt like the whole world is blacking out the entire time, go see a shrink; a therapist who would really help you out with steps and everything. And if you can’t afford one, then try analyzing your actions. At least you’ll be able to fully understand what’s wrong with you, switching off your devilish side for the time being. I’m not saying that all people, who are sad, typically have this illness, but I’m definitely sure that quite sum of us struggle with those feelings of excessive heartbeats and – especially for girls – a great deal of hair loss! To sum things up, Bipolar Disorder, mainly, causes dramatic mood swings, experiencing ruthless changes in energy and behavior. The periods of highs and lows are very normal and are defined in levels; whether in a depressive or a manic manner. And finally, feel free to pass this article on to your gothic fellas, only if you feel that it has any useful info of any kind! *Again, I’m showing off my evil grin*

*Most of the scientific data are extracted from the Bipolar Disorder reference of the National Institute of Mental Health in USA.

Major magazine
June 2010

.. N.O.H.A ..