When the current success singer and dancer PSY and his South Korean fellow citizen UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, appear in front of an unusal high number of journalists at UN headquarters in NYC this is likely intended to benefit both parties. The UN Secretary-General and his organisation aspiring to attain greater recognition amongst ‘Gangnam Stylish’ youth and dancers around the world (close to 600 million clicks for the video so far). Just like seemingly much impressed PSY in his newly acquired role as a representative of his country and his pursuit of the Billboard throne.

The shared nationality of both Ban and PSY may have been an incentive to arrange for the meeting. Incentives for such decisions are very often straight forward. Ban had also repeatedly stated his strong belief in music as a vehicle for tolerance, reconciliation and change in the world before the encounter. Change maybe from Steve Urkel or the Prince of Belair to PSY as the world’s dancing inspiration. Who could possibly have omitted inviting them to UN back then? Just make sure to be inspired by Ban’s, PSY’s and Ai Weiwei’s dancing attempts. For whatever reason. Too much inspiration from Ban’s next guest that day is not recommended: Felix Baumgartner.

An attempt by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to reach an improbable audience with PSY’s help: Gangnam Style.

Mediterranean Fusion

Essential things can sometimes fall through the cracks: we all like to enjoy a good meal. Why not make use of this very universal desire – and the very basic guarantee of it in the human right to ‘adequate’ food – and bring together some improbable nations and regions of the world. In their eastern Mediterranean cook book ‘Jerusalem‘, the two Israeli chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi have undertaken exactly this endeavour. Both of them being chefs living in London – with their signature restaurant NOPI and other outlets – grew up in Jerusalem. The fusion they are presenting is a culinary one mainly. But they also ‘decorate’ the presented dishes with political notes, when ingredients from East and West Jerusalem, the Palestinian territories, Syria, Turkey and others are merged into a modern eastern Mediterranean cuisine that transcends borders. Not to forget, and maybe even more importantly, it thereby also transcends religions. Hummus and its universality in use throughout both Arab and Jewish just like Christian communities is one straight forward example of this. And when ‘typically German’ kohlrabi comes in, it certainly does not simplify the equation.

The trace of political relevance which has been added to the menu to spice things up a little is not to distract from the culinary pleasures. But it can possibly serve as an incentive to enjoy the food particularly consciously. There is admittedly quite some conciousness demanded of the regular eating person already. Maybe the products of an hour of kitchen work or so can simply generate a drip of hope. Hope that there may be good acceptance and understanding beyond the menu in the Middle East at some point. In staging a presentation of the book by the authors together with author Jonathan Safran Foer, at least one thing has certainly been achieved: Everything Is Illuminated! Somehow. Maybe you all can illuminate even more and contribute with some additional flavours.

Kohlrabi Potato Fusion from ‘Jerusalem’

…a city that never sleeps!

Roaming the streets of New York in times of the 2012 presidential pre-election phase is a particular pleasure. Not only because watching a debate where Mitt Romney presents his by now infamous ‘binders full of women‘ in a New York City bar can be quite an intense experience in a heated and, well, very partial atmosphere. It is also a time to reflect on the four years that have been since Barack Obama / BO / Potus (President of the United States) was elected and to consider the next three weeks still leading up to 2012 election day. Yesterday’s debate did carry some incentives to provide a good link to the music so closely intertwined with NYC: Potus went for a little rhyme at some point and with this carried some rhythm just outside the New York city limits to Hamstead on Long Island.

But the real spirit is in NYC: walking in ‘the streets of’ New York with a nice tune up in the back of the head has its very particular appeal. And what beauty of songs is out there that is always ready to be hummed crisscrossing the roads and avenues and waking ‘up in a city that never sleeps‘. From there it is only a short ways to ‘New York City – such a beautiful disease‘ which can wonderfully be detected in the often empty subway stares. So much to be explored out there. For example the Brooklyn Nets NBA squad in their newly built and Jay Z driven arena: ‘Is Brooklyn in da house?‘. From there it is only a short ways and a ‘quick call’ to a modern hip hop starlet: Azelia Banks with her ‘212‘ – the NYC local area code. And most is somewhat wrapped up in ‘Empire State of Mind‘ and Jay Z’s second contribution to this little NYC sound journey.This time with Alicia Keys. So much and lots more that can be hummed and whistled in this ‘Automn In New York‘, so many great voices and so many outspoken contributions.

Maybe you all feel like adding to this ‘concert’ with other tracks and United Thought…

Automn in New York