A minority on the outskirts

As an ethnic minority I’ve always found it intriguing to have a little glance around me at concerts to see where I stand within the crowd. With my choice of music including that of indie/rock – a genre traditionally saturated by white men – I always find myself as even more of a minority as I’m both Asian and female.

I’ve been attending concerts for years with my gig-going history including the likes of Biffy Clyro, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Arctic Monkeys, and Glass Animals. Every time I go I find myself even more aware of the lack of diversity within the crowd, and more conscious that myself and the people I’m with (usually my aunt and/or my brother) are one of extremely few non-whites.

A couple of days ago I was with my brother, uncle and his mate (also Indian) seeing Bloc Party at The Roundhouse, which is one of my favourite venues in London. I found myself on the outskirts of the main centre of the audience, fully conscious of the fact that I was surrounded by predominantly white men. Any women I saw (also white) seemed to be attached to their significant other. This doesn’t tend to make me hugely uncomfortable, but recently it has made me question why there is still such a lack of culturally diverse people attending live concerts.

16731646_10210702638355872_959403359_o

On a slightly lighter, less political note, I also found myself as a minority with regards to my knowledge of Bloc Party’s discography, only familiar with the band’s latest album, HYMNS. Hard-core fans of theirs who stuck by them since day one are not keen on this record at all. It presents a shift in the band’s sound that some people are not willing to accept. I’m all for a band adapting their sound, whether it be to suit the current times or whether it be a natural step in a group’s progression and evolution. (Other examples include Arctic Monkeys with AM, Two Door Cinema Club with Gameshow, and Kings of Leon with WALLS.)

So not only was I a minority fan on the outskirts of the venue singing along to the likes of ‘Different Drugs’ and ‘Only He Can Heal Me’ while “true” fans bitched about Bloc Party’s new musical direction, but I was also one of very few women, and one of very few non-whites.

I’ll just add that lead singer, Kele Okereke, was born to Nigerian parents and does not fit heteronormative ideals. The band also has a female drummer.

Málaga: meeting the family, walkways and country houses

Málaga was a pretty important little trip for me. Seeing where my boyfriend had spent his childhood and meeting his family and friends was an absolute delight despite my initial nerves and anxieties about something I’ve never really had the chance to do: be introduced to the most important people in a partner’s life.

Álora is his hometown, which was at first described to me as kinda naff. This it definitely is not. (Fran, wait until you wander the lovely streets of Norbury…) Its beautiful little white houses that sit on the hills of the town are shaded by some of the rocky mountains of Málaga lending picturesque views to any visitor. Walk up the hilly roads to the castle for views of the town and its lush green landscapes.

img_5569

Between delicious home-cooked meals with his mum and gran, and drinks with his friends, we wandered the lovely town and made it to El Caminito del Rey, a walkway between the reservoirs of El Chorro. Before it was reopened in 2015 after extensive restoration, it was named “the world’s most dangerous walkway”. Pop a helmet on and stick to the new path and you’ll be fine, and maybe don’t look down when crossing over the bridge…

img_5544

Our penultimate night in Málaga was spent in the family’s country house, around a 10-minute drive from the centre of Álora. Surrounded by green fields, with its own outdoor pool, an orchard boasting avocados, lemons and orange, and sitting under a blanket of the brightest and largest stars I’ve ever seen in my life, this place was a lovely little retreat for the two of us. It would’ve been far more idyllic and peaceful if it weren’t for a disgusting cold I’d been blessed with at such an inappropriate time.

The final couple of days in Málaga were spent walking around the centre and up to the castle, Gibralfaro, to gaze down on the bullring, the sea stretching out into the distance, and the city’s beautiful cathedral to the right. Walking by the Alcazaba, which sits in the same area as the castle, took me back to the days in Granada when I fell in love with the Moorish architecture that is so characteristic of Andalucía.

With Fran’s roots back in Málaga, I now have another reason to keep revisiting the sunny south of Spain.

img_5616

Lessons learnt: meeting the family and friends isn’t as scary as it may seem, the Andalusian accent is so much harder to understand than the Mexican, Málaga isn’t just a boozy British lads holiday.