Impromptu barbecue and concert for Ayyub Malik’s 75th birthday


Having experienced house concerts and art exhibitions in private spaces, I wanted to organise an art exhibition and a concert in my London home. I wanted to do a lot during a short period of time in which too much had to be done.

A successful barbecue depends on the weather. An art exhibition doesn’t. Neither does a solo guitar concert.

I reserved Friday the 13th of August just to tempt fate. I didn’t invite anybody in case I had no time to prepare for this event.

When it came close to the 13th, I checked with the London Ealing-based artist Yousif Naser if he was still game to participate. I checked with Dutch guitarist Robert Bekkers if he wanted to give a short concert. I checked the weather forecast.

We moved the date to Saturday 14th August for more barbecue-friendly weather. I then invited my friends by phone, e-mail, skype, and facebook.

It rained all morning and what-looked-like all afternoon. Jetlagged travelers from outside of London would surely be dissuaded from venturing into town.

Set-up in back garden of Victorian cottage London for barbecue

Set-up in back garden of Victorian cottage London for barbecue

First to arrive were Ian and Julie who landed from New York and Boston the same morning. Next were my Colombian friends who were still recovering from their trip to China. By the time my German professor friend showed up, complaining of jet lag from Montreal, the diversity index had soared: Scots, American, Colombian, German, English, French, Iraqi, Dutch, and me. Total 13 people.

I invited everyone to walk to the back garden to give a toast. This was how I remembered Ayyub’s birthday parties: highly diverse group of interesting people from all walks of life. He was the leader and the centre of attention. “I would like to give a toast to Ayyub Malik, who would have been 75 today.”

Painting by Ayyub Malik, 2005

Painting by Ayyub Malik, 2005

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