Waiting for Erik Gustafson of EPIC to talk about elephant songs for his Iraq Matters podcast over more than decent espresso at the Rand Gallery, Suleymaniyah. It’s the second day of Eid and the place is swarming with fifteen-year olds, grouped along gender lines and looking their best: skinny jeans, bow ties, pink polyester dresses, and, for the boys, the incomprehensible middle-eastern haircut – clipped close down the sides and back and a big mop on top, often asymmetrically shaped for heightened effect. The girls taller than the boys, who try to compensate with shadowy upper lips and studied-casual smoking around the bathrooms.
I’ve escaped my room – edit central, these days. How does one turn 20 hours of film into a 20-minute documentary? I’ve done a lot of short clips, but this is new. And exciting, obviously, but I need a break.
Although I must admit it’s not the first escapist move today – after cataloguing and reviewing all my material over the last few days, I felt like doing something concrete, and threw together a quick-and-dirty edit of the song Hewraman from our show at Caffe11 last Thursday, based on an idea by Ari Ali. The static camera was operated by Rebin Jaza, the moving images were shot by film maker and bear saviour San Saravan.
After a good chat with Erik, during which we discussed topics ranging from intercultural collaboration to the economic side effects of donor money (to be broadcast in the nearish future), I walked down Salim Street. The Saholaka area (street corner, really) was busy as always, teeming with groups of men and women of all ages and of course lots of families. Happily munching on a portion of paqla, I once again congratulated myself on that moment of clarity, many decades ago, when I figured I should probably be a musician, because that would surely show me a lot of the world.