Sunday, November 21, 2010

Electric Peacock Festival MADNESS

Our logo courtesy of KumKum of Grants!

So Tasha and I (along with my mother and some awesome friends) are putting on Sri Lanka's first live music festival this December: Electric Peacock Festival, bringing down UK acts like The Duke Spirit (thank you Luke and Liela!), Trophy Wife, Covert Boom (thank you Sam!) and Funk Royale System along with the sooper dooper Nihal A from BBC Radio 1! It is just so exciting to think it is coming together after all this time, Tash is on a flight to Colombo as I write this and I am on my way out there after a ridiculous 11 month absence, next week!

Its going to be held on 18th December on Negombo Beach in aid of The Sunshine Charity and its going to be a 24 hour rocking party. Sri Lankans brace yourselves! So much to do!!!

Yipeee... I love it when a plan comes together.

Click for Twitter and Facebook links

The gorgeous Liela Moss of Duke Spirit

Google Earthing our location

I love Skype

This is part of awesome video call I had with my good friend Sami (now work partner yay!), initially about work, but then his family - mother, sister, wife and daughter - all joined the call. So incredible what we can do these days, when people had to wait weeks (sometimes months) to hear from their families through delayed postal letters...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I don't think I say it enough, but I love my parents, who they are and what they do... but mostly how their cup is just overflowing with love.

This is them, on their beach where I got married.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Team Toscana

The view from the pool

Mad Men, complete with theme tune courtesy of Tim


Ahhhhh yeeeeeeh. So another brilliant idea from the Mazzetti Higginson duo (now trio) to go to Tuscany for a week staying in a beautiful villa called Tizzano outside the tiny town of Barberino Val D'Elsa with 11 great friends... and that's exactly what we did.

Relaxation, plenty of local food and wine, a few excursions, some seriously competitive doggy paddle races and some incredible company. Not forgetting a beautiful 1 year old who charmed the pants off us all. Oh and the awesome Mad Men dress up night we had...

Lee and I flew to Pisa for one night before we met the rest and stayed in this awesome Medieval dated hotel (not rough at all) called The Royal Victoria Hotel, it reminded me of our Galle Face Hotel only this one knew how to capitalise on it's history. It was right on the river and Lee and I had a great time in the Piazza the night we arrived, getting drunk with the locals.

We just got back from the holiday and I wish I could go back in time, it was such a lush time, but moreso to be able to hang out with the wonderful Glyn and Ella - so sad to say goodbye...


Fforest Carnival

3-legged race with Tom and Guy either doing badly or really well.

The Jim and the Katharine.

So in the grandest celebrations possible we threw and had a MASSIVE carnival party over 3 days at Fforest, Wales (Lee's dad Bobby's place) to celebrate Helena's 30th, Bobby's 60th and Lee's 34th. My folks came, so did Ashvin and Alex and so many of our other bodacious dudes... it was hilarious with a Mad Hatter's Tea Party, Carnival and general merriment in the field. Pizza's, paella's, Prosecco...mmmm.

The been and gone summer

What a summer it has been, crazy to try and summarise it in a few lines but it really sped past me. I am in total denial that it is the middle of September though the grey clouds and slightly wintry air give it away somewhat.

This has been the summer of DIY - never before have I put these gentle hands to such labour (drama queen anyone?). We moved into our gorgeous little flat in Maida Hill but not before refurbing most of it, from new floors to painting the place and assembling furniture and buying antiques - every living free moment went on the flat but now as I sit here, it feels so worth it. Such a strange feeling to move into your 'home' before it really feels like yours... it's like 'that's not my toilet', 'that's not my bed'.

Still, what I love most, is that we built and designed almost everything ourselves - including this gorgeous book shelf which was Lee's idea, black baroque flower wallpaper with thick pine shelves we picked from the timber yard and most importantly, tiny aluminium roll bolts to support, each one made by Lee in his lunch hour.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lapse. Again.

I think life completely ran away with me these past few months, seems to be a pattern. Or just busy. So here's a summary of what I have been doing, this way I can expand on them later in no particular order or preference!

Finished massive project for Honda - launch of CR-Z at Amplify, The Dream Factory

Went for Jim's dress up party (amongst many others which photos shouldn't feature for a number of drunken reasons!)

On my own again, freelancing and pursuing my feature films and documentary projects (sorry, its still secret)

We bought a flat! Finally! It is gorgeous and has a small garden and we are still decorating - stressful but so heart warming

We went to Glastonbury, worked to build the Greenpeace field and heavily involved in concept, design and build of the Rainforest Showers before the fest started - Lee's idea from our experience in the Amazon, and wow what an incredible 10 days that was. The best Glasto ever: all the pics here with a taster below!

Dressing up for our mass wedding - we married 18 people, biggest ever!

Just hanging out by the campfire with the Greenpeace crew

Night before the crowds descend - we didn't want them to come!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Training home

We escaped to Wales this weekend to hang out with Bobby and get some much needed downtime. It was sunny, so hot and we bathed in the glorious weather all day with some playtime with the new baby donkey, which is just so adorable!

Had a lovely time eating, drinking, talking and hanging out with our wonderful (large) family.

On train back now and our reading time was rudely interrupted by the wail of U2's "Still Havent Found What I'm Looking" for. I look over to Helena was smiles her fantastically knowing grin and looks for her headphones to drown out this groan inducing tune. I look for the culprit and it's the dude sitting behind her- long hair, leather jacket, dressed in black with beer can in hand thrilled to bits with his U2 sesh. I really do rue the day damn product developers of mobile phones thought it would be a good thing to add in radio and speakers.

And I am sometimes reminded that there are stereotypes you can't ignore. Still got an hour to go!

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Insane ash

The Icelandic volcano has been spouting some seriously powerful ash into the atmosphere, already 6-10km high and has shut down British and many EU nation's aerospace, not a single flight in or out. It is just incredibly insane to imagine that a volcano deep beneath Icelandic glaciers has erupted to such a magnitude and caused such palava.

Mother nature is pissed off.


I wonder why no one has thought to make stamps taste nicer - spent half an hour at the post office and had to lick a few stamps, ugh. Not nice.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Raise your voice

So the incredible has happened (as it seems to do everyday in the world) but the Greenpeace and Climate Camp activists have won an epic court ruling to have the government go back to square one with the Heathrow 3rd runway plan and review their entire proposal.

Read the news here. Great news!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ceylon's mistakes

Fascinating article about how Singapore's former leader views conflict, mistakes and Sri Lanka.

Choosing English brought success to Singapore, says Lee Kwan Yew

The mistakes of Sri Lanka and other newly independent 'failed states' made Singapore go in a different direction, its founding prime minister told the International Herald Tribune (IHT) in an interview. Lee Kwan Yew, now minister mentor, said when Singapore broke off from the Malayan Federation it had a hostile neighbour and population made of Chinese, Malays and immigrants from the Indian subcontinent."The basis of a nation just was not there. But the advantage we had was that we became independent late," Lee recalled in a wide ranging interview with the IHT published last week."

In 1965, we had 20 years of examples of failed states. So, we knew what to avoid - racial conflict, linguistic strife, religious conflict. We saw Ceylon."

"Thereafter, we knew that if we embarked on any of these romantic ideas, to revive a mythical past of greatness and culture, we'd be damned."

Lee was prime minister from 1959 to 1990 when he stepped down. Sri Lanka gained independence from Britain in 1948.Lee said the team that ran Singapore made a deliberate decision to use English as a working language and not focus on Chinese. At the time Singapore had Chinese, Malay and India schools in separate language mediums.

The British has also set up English schools to produce clerks, storekeepers and teachers. "Had we chosen Chinese, which was our majority language, we would have perished, economically and politically," Lee told the IHT.

"Riots - we've seen Sri Lanka, when they switched from English to Sinhalese and disenfranchised the Tamils and so strife ever after. "We chose - we didn't say it was our national language - we said it was our working language, that everybody learns English whatever language medium school you go to. Which means nobody needs interpretation to read English."

The country's foreign and defence policy was shaped on the realization that it could perhaps only hold out for two weeks against a foreign invasion. While Sri Lanka is still grappling with issues such as exchange rates, inflation and fuel subsidies, and political ideology Singapore is thinking far ahead, even to issues such as the effect of global warning on a low elevation island nation. Earlier this month a retired Thai diplomat, Sompong Sucharitkul, said Singapore opposed the entry of Sri Lanka to Asean when it was founded in 1967 because the country was viewed as unstable. In 1967 Sri Lanka was ruled by Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake in a shaky coalition with the Federal Party. His attempts to solve the ethnic question failed when proposals to devolve power was withdrawn amidst opposition.

Sompong said a discussion was held on August 06 and two ministers from Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) were in an adjacent room. "I remember one was an economics minister. He waited there anxiously for a signal to join the discussion; but it never came," Sompong told Thailand's The Nation newspaper.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Very interesting photographic project by a German photojournalist, trying to capture and understand the different types of breakfast we consume (the one above is France):

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cola Life

An initiative by someone who thinks that the Coca Cola world distribution network (which is so massive and robust) should be used to transport and deliver essential goods and items to those in poor countries. So ironic but in deep dark African nations, you find lack of shelter, medicine, schools etc but there is always a Coke sign and a shop selling it. Just such a damn good idea.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Beautiful home

NASA Earth images - the most true colour images of the earth released to date. So unbelievably humbling.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Amazing website of sketchers around the world contributing their work.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Russell's Rust Bucket

My good friend Russell is the Executive Creative Director at Grants in Colombo and has a great eye - this is taken in Gampola. Russ - just giving you some publicity!

Spacey Days

It's the anniversary of the NASA Space Programme and Space Suit - I love the idea of space travel and the fact that the universe out there is so immense, unimaginably vast and full of planets and peoples/beings we don't know yet.

Anyway, I thought this picture really captured the excitement, energy and innocence of space travel. Great shot with rich background.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Neela on the BBC

My mother was interviewed by the BBC on Sri Lanka and the hopes for private sector involvement to develop aspects of society to help the North and East move forward. It is about sports and how that can be a big contributor - interesting thought.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Picture taking

I have been thinking a lot about taking photos - portraits mainly, framing people and trying to capture their expressions (cliched yes but true) and its been something I have thought about for a few years but never had the courage to do much of. Sure I have taken tonnes but never with a serious art in mind but I suppose part of the art is in the understanding of the technology you use to bring your vision to life.
Lee takes photos and he is so good at it, he has a fantastic eye for perspective - seeing things I don't.

I have come across this photographer in my web trails ( and he is very good, celebrity taker too though not always:

His name is Joao Canziani, hopefully I can achieve a smidgen of his level one day after all it's in my blood.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Alexander McQueen

A tragic story of a talented individual wasting his life too soon. His work was genuinely home grown fantastic, his Paris line was finished before his death so there is now a scramble of curiosity as to who will take over the Gucci Group owned company.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tax this mo-fo's!!!!

Now this is a damn good idea: take from the sickeningly rich bankers and put it back into the people who saved their greedy asses in the first place. The organisation only has a small support base but I think we need to grow it - after all the bankers are only going to contribute 0.05% of their earnings but that's still almost £10 billion!

The Mazzetti Higginsons

So we made our way down to the Prince Arthur on Forest Road in Dalston to meet Glyn, Ella, Ro (Ella's mum) and baby Harper - she has grown into such a person! It was super fun seeing them and feasting on some delicious cuisine. Click here for more photos.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

New genre? Oh yes.


Advertising is in my blood thanks to 2 generations before me entrenched in it and photography, art, journalism and creativity. I subscribe to a number of incredibly good blogs on the subject - and I think I'm going to start contributing more to it too - after all how else can we start to evoke change? Only from within.

And there you have it

So the result - what a result. I had a fair idea that was going to be the case, at the end of the day Rajapakse is a preferable option to a more unstable Army General. There is a lot of unhappiness in Colombo but that is amongst the more middle upper class, businessmen and women - the most vociferous of the lot.

At the same time, many Tamils in the North (Vanni) voted for Fonseka but equally many Tamils further north (Jaffna) and in the East (Trinco, Pudu, Ampara) voted for Rajapakse. Ironically the usually angry Tamil diaspora sided with the Fonseka crew not realising that they were aligning themselves with what they call the 'Colombo elite' who they hate and continually condemn as being manipulative and ignorant of the needs of the people on grassroot level.

At the end of the day, if there is anything I have learnt from this election is that anyone will side with anybody as long as they are set to benefit as individuals - not as a community or race. So we're a selfish race but what a place to start - at least its only up from here. And this election has been the most comedic mish mash of people coming together taking sides with others I never would have imagined - its like Cilla Black's Blind Date on crack cocaine.

The point is, we just need to commit ourselves as individuals and as a nation to putting pressure on people we know who have influence in high places to start the reconciliation process. And more importantly to start making sure that we address the needs of the Tamil people because they have been silenced and ignored for too long.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sri Lanka's Big Day

Tomorrow is the big day. It just doesn't stop with our country, each corner we turn is more and more tense, filled with uncertainty and instability. When the war ended, with all the trauma there was still hope to look forward with a hope to try to rebuild and start with a cleaner slate - not making the same mistakes we have made so many times before.

And now, I feel that we're just twisting up in yet another difficult mess. The fact of the matter is, we're in between a rock and a hard place. We are facing a military leader who could come into the most powerful position in the country (and who will no doubt, like so many of his predecessors, lie and not give it up as promised) or we face the same unpredictable ruling party. The thing is, I feel more inclined to want what we already know, because with the other option - it is impossible to tell just how out of hand it could get. The truth is, Fonseka is more aggressive and racist - with no fear of showing what he really feels. He is rumoured to bring in Sarath Silva, the most corrupt Chief Justice in our recent history, as his Prime Minister with Ranil being left in the dust, as usual.

With the Rajapakse's, yes it is oppressive but at least we know our leaders - we know the entity that sits in office. It is one that we can contend with. Change and corruption are words being used with such fervour that I can only see it with a cynical eye - why? Because its nothing new. The UNP were always corrupt (more economically) just much more clever about hiding it - they are power hungry and play the cards just like the rest of the politicians that have danced on our country's historical stage. Politics comes hand in hand with corruption and to gasp at it in horror is naive; every government in our independent history has been corrupt on many levels and it is no surprise to me that this is an accusation hurled about. However I am surprised that the UNP/Swan Party are so confident to go in on that platform - pot, kettle, black anyone?

Yes the Rajapakse's are impossible to understand and deal with, they ended the war on unbelievably questionable terms - but how is this voting for the other side? They BOTH stood on the same platform before all this. I almost spat out my tea laughing when I saw Fonseka's "Change" campaign, so obviously ripped off Obama's and yet so far from that same standpoint I felt the utter ridiculousness of it.

I can't vote because I am away. And in a way I am glad that choice has been taken away from me, because for once I wouldn't know what to do with it.

All I can do is pray and hope that whatever situation we put ourselves into tomorrow, we all have the gumption to accept responsibility if it goes wrong and stop pointing fingers and just start making the country work. We can make the change we want to see by starting with ourselves and how we live - how we treat our fellow man. And take to the streets if what is done in our name doesn't feel right.

Lanka vs. London

It has definitely dropped a few degrees in the past 2 days and dear Lord its cold. Just thought I'd do a quick comparison of the weather forecasts and ask myself the question again: why am I here in the darkest of winters?

Germ strike!

I've been struck down by a crappy cold + cough and I've completely lost my sense of smell for the past 5 days which has been so bizarre. It has also affected my sense of taste so when I eat I can barely tell what it is I am eating... The smell thing has been odd though because from when we were in Wales on a beautiful walk by the waterfalls I couldn't smell the pinewood and when I spray myself with perfume I can't tell if I have any on or not. And could be embarrassing if I forget deoderant, which thankfully for all of you, I haven't.

It just makes me appreciate it because I have a good friend who is a photographer and she lost her sense of smell completely after developing film for most of her teenage and early 20's. Yikes.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lankan Branding Genius

An orange juice drink that was launched in Colombo when I was about 12-14 years old, this is hand painted advert on the side of a building in Maradana - photo credit my buddy Deshan Koon Senior.


We went to see Avatar last night in 3D and it is the most incredible film in terms of revolutionary technology and imagination - James Cameron has a magnificent ambition. The plant and animal life of Pandora boggles the mind with its luminous landscape and intriguing species not to mention the Na'avi race and their language and body movement. The plot was predictable and many of the roles were stereotyped but for once, everything else overshadowed these let downs. Avatar's indigenous race had such great undertones of African tribal character - the language and dialect invented by a Harvard professor for Cameron.

The scenes with digital creations and real human actors/scenery were so seamlessly brought together its only after you make a point of reflecting on that do you realise how amazing it is.

The film is partly a profound reflection on what countless countries/govts and commercial corporations have done to indigenous nations in the pursuit of money, wealth and power. Native American Indians, Amazonian tribes, Chinese rural villages or even the Tamil people in the NE in some respects. Because it is not politics, legislature or constitution one thinks of as they run screaming from bombs blowing up their village centres, trying to save their families and what little they have.

Anyway, bravo Cameron - though as Lee said, I wish people would realise that we don't need to escape to an alternative universe to see this happening for real.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gaga Polaroids

Thanks to the Impossible Project (website not working at the mo but check later), Polaroid will resume production of it's film towards the end of this year. Late last year I was searching London for Polaroid film for a gig I was doing and it was a ridiculous hunt: in the end I found a place in Elephant and Castle called Silverprint which deal in speciality photography and it was going to cost £68 for 30 prints!! So all of you with the original Polaroid cameras can breathe easy, we're back!

More interestingly though, Lady Gaga has been made Creative Director at Polaroid for their special imaging products, it is such an incredible move considering the institution that is Polaroid and the culture/fashion icon that Gaga has become. Can't wait to see what they come out with, though am hoping its not going to be a leather studded camera cover.

I remember 10 years ago, going on a 3 hour car drive with my Uncle Tom around the Nebraskan suburbs looking for the house of a guy that my uncle had contacted to buy a rare Polaroid camera from. We left in the afternoon and it was dusk as we journeyed in his cool pick up truck and playing Alison Krauss on the tape player, and we finally found the place and bought the camera. It had a gorgeous leather cover. I must ask him whether he still has it?!


And so another year, hello 2010 - I’ve been expecting you. New Resolution 1: write more on my blog.

There are other resolutions but I think I'll keep them to the journal. Its a big year, I felt the significance of it a great deal more at midnight on New Years Eve than I have for a long time. Maybe because we entered a new decade, or maybe its because I turned 30 – yikes! As much as I thought there might be, there was no Leah-shaped hole in the wall - I was calm, intoxicated and surrounded by my family and friends which was just dandy.

I got some lovely thoughtful gifts and Tasha made me this awesome video of some of things I've done in my life so far - was hilarious and rather embarrassing! From TV commercials to bad dance routines!

This year is going to be a big year for me, for us, one with change and being much more committed to what I believe in. Starting with my life, my work and my country.

It may not be a fresh start or a clean slate but the situation in Sri Lanka has a lot more potential than it ever did. I just got back from a 3 week visit there and it was exhilarating. Most of my friends who live there had some very fascinating things to say – some I agreed with, others I didn’t, but people are much more alive than I remember.

I can’t say I feel buoyed by the impending elections, and the options we are faced with are frustrating after all this time – laced with opportunity but tied to an anvil.

Still, I have faith that we will work it out somehow. One thing I did feel when I was home was how much was happening on the ground - unknown to all the foreign media and big talkers outside, really you have to be there and be talking to the right people to see what is happening. How the locals from around the country are making their own advances to connect with each other and dispel all the bullshit that existed before.

We have to help support that, so there is no room for people to be wrongly influenced.