Archive for August, 2008

Theft at T2F (UPDATED)

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

The Theft

Our trusty Macintosh iBook was stolen from T2F on Sunday 3rd August 2008, during a music performance. This is the Mac that used to sit in the niche amongst all the books and was used by scores of people to check mail, update Facebook, and find guitar tabs. Now she’s gone 🙁

The laptop was a 12″ white iBook with a G4 processor, 2 hard disk partitions – one of which was called “The Song Spinner”, and a slightly messed up video display. Please keep your eyes and ears open and alert us if you come across it.


I am hideously finicky about my music. A snob even. I cringe when people say they like all kinds of music and will listen to “any and everything”. UGH. I despise country music and Michael Bolton. Well, apart from that one song on my iPod. How else would the term “guilty pleasure” mean anything if all I had on my iPod was Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd and Eric Clapton and The Gutter Brothers and the HAIR soundtrack, and Blood, Sweat and Tears, and The Beatles and Liza Minelli and Dizzy Gillespie and …

So, ever since T2F opened its doors to the people, on May 15th 2007, we’ve had over 110 events. All of them, apart from the music gigs, have been carefully orchestrated by PeaceNiche board members and if any of them were boring, tedious, or not so well done … we take full responsibility. The music events, however, are an altogether different story. We’ve arranged a couple, or maybe 4, and they kicked ass. The rest have been mediocre at best and utterly dreadful at worst. No, I am not naming names!

After every crappy performance, one PeaceNiche board member or another challenges my decision to allow bands to perform without first checking them out. 

Here are my reasons:

1. Music is subjective. Not everyone likes what we like.

2. T2F is a platform for creative expression. “Kids wanna rock” and they need places to jam. T2F is an ideal venue for them to do so and who are we to get in the way?

3. Some of the world’s finest musicians were discovered at cafés. I live in eternal hope.

A few Fridays ago, I got a phone call from some fellow who said he wanted to do a performance at T2F on a Sunday evening. 5 bands. The warning signs were there but I was pre-occupied … shifting house, planning the next set of events at T2F, accounts, fund-raising, design projects, etc.

I thought to myself, T2F is a community space that was set up for the people. We’ve done so many events, surely one can happen without my explicit involvement. I can’t micro-manage forever. The kid sounds enthusiastic. They need places to play. Blah, blah, blah. Terms and conditions were discussed and the show was scheduled. Not as a T2F event, but a music gig that took place at T2F.

I didn’t go – because I couldn’t – for a number of logistical reasons.

Sunday Night – 10:00 pm: I was informed by a staff member that a fight had broken out amongst the bands, that they were way over schedule, and had not been able to muster up the requisite funds to pay for the space. 

Sunday night – 11:30 pm: I was informed by a volunteer that our Mac laptop had been stolen whilst our staff was trying to get the abusive, bratty, quarreling kids from Lyceum out of T2F. 

Losing the Mac has been a bitter experience. That computer sat in its little niche for over a year, serving up Facebook, e-mail, Google searches, and countless websites to many a customer. Now there’s nothing there and it makes me mad when I look at that shelf. 

Lessons learned:

1. Micro-manage
2. Be selective
3. Interview and audition

The actions of a few idiots will not ruin T2F’s vibe, culture, and philosophy. We will just be more careful. 

While “screening” will take place from now on as far as bands are concerned, the issue of “quality” still remains. If I, or other board members, have to “like” everything, no one will get through and there will be hardly any music performances at T2F. Because, quite honestly, most bands suck. All they sing are covers of Vital Signs and Junoon and doofus newbie gora bands. Their original compositions are even scarier. 

One line of thinking, like I mentioned above, is that we have to let emerging bands perform in public. An alternative view, and one that I am leaning towards, especially after having been pushed against a wall, is that if we don’t demand that the bar be raised, it never will be.

We don’t want to be remembered for having inflicted baysura, mundane rubbish on unsuspecting listeners. Anyway, like most other stuff, this is a process. It’ll get figured out.  For now, I think we’ll steer clear of music performances for a while until we arrive at some reasonable conclusions.

Moving On

Part 2 of this post, i.e. Lament, was also posted on Facebook. A young man named Ali Waqar commented “Let’s all contribute and buy a new Mac”. Yahya Hussain, a T2F volunteer, immediately took responsibility and started a fund. We have now raised Rs. 17,300. A few more thousands and we’ll reach our target. A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed. You guys rock.

A couple of people have come with an interesting idea for future jam sessions at T2F. Hopefully, they will follow up and make it real!

Movies That Make You Think: Network

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Prepare yourself for a perfectly outrageous motion picture!
Thursday, 28th Aug 2008 | 7:00 pm

network.gifNetwork (1976) is director Sidney Lumet’s brilliant criticism of the hollow, lurid wasteland of television journalism where entertainment value and short-term ratings are more crucial than quality. Paddy Chayefsky’s black, prophetic, satirical commentary/criticism of corporate evil (in the tabloid-tainted television industry) is an insightful indictment of the rabid desire for ratings. Indignation toward the network executives by an unbalanced news-anchorman is manipulated by a ruthless VP programming boss for further ratings. One of the film’s posters correctly proclaimed: “Television will never be the same.”

We especially recommend this film to all our friends who work in television media!

The film had a total of 10 Academy Award nominations with four wins. 5 cast members were nominated for Oscars and three won – Best Actor, posthumously awarded to Peter Finch, Best Actress awarded to Faye Dunaway, and Best Supporting Actress awarded to Beatrice Straight. Only A Streetcar Named Desire had as many Academy Awards for acting. The fourth win was for Chayefsky’s Best Screenplay.

Running Time: 121 minutes

Date: Thursday 28th August, 2008
Time: 7:00 pm
Minimum Donation: Rs. 50 (free popcorn included)
Venue: The Second Floor (T2F)
Address | Map

Seats are limited and will be available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. No reservations.

SoulBox – A Graphic Design Exhibition

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

Join us at T2F for the opening of SoulBox
Tuesday, 26th Aug 2008 | 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Nida Zarar Meyer harks back to the days when we used to store our precious “stuff” in shoeboxes – our very own time capsules. Nida, a graphic designer who is part of the 5 person Designers Collective, explores the significance of hanging on to “junk” that has sentimental value.

Watch out for the SoulBoxes of Shoaib Akhtar, Begum Nawazish Ali, and Meera!


Date: Tuesday 26th August, 2008
Time: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Venue: The Second Floor (T2F)
Address | Map

The Green Dream

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

Karachi: 17th August 2008

leaf.jpgOn 17th August 2008, the Saneeya Hussain Foundation, T2F and Shehri presented The Green Dream, Environmental Journalism in Pakistan: A Tribute to Saneeya Hussain, Ameneh Azam Ali and Zulekha Ali at The Second Floor (T2F). This commemorative meeting and roundtable discussion on environmental issues concluded the Saneeya Hussain Week, August 11-17, 2008. Friends and colleagues of three pioneering environmental journalists gathered to talk about their work and experiences in this field, where environmental journalism in Pakistan stands today and ‘the way ahead’.

Read the Full Report by Beena Sarwar

Overcome the Silence

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

An Awareness and Activism Session on HIV/AIDS
Tuesday, 19th Aug 2008 | 7:00 pm

aidsactivism.gifOver the last few years, HIV has spread rapidly in Pakistan. Reported cases of HIV infected people jumped from 8 in 2001 to 75,000 in 2008. The risk of HIV infection and its impact feeds on violations of human rights, including discrimination against women and marginalized groups such as sex workers and people who inject drugs. Over the past decade, the critical need for strengthening human rights to effectively respond to the epidemic and deal with its effects has become startlingly clear.

Let’s break the conspiracy of silence.

Pascal Hubatka, AIESEC – HIV/AIDS Awareness Programme, will deliver a presentation on misconceptions surrounding HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Salman Safdar, Provincial Programme Officer, Sindh – UNAIDS Pakistan, will talk about the current scenario in Pakistan and the role of UNAIDS in Karachi.

After the presentations, we will have an open discussion on perceptions about HIV/AIDS, non-discrimination, the right to privacy, the right to information, and the right to health care.

We will end with a live, unplugged cover of Bruce Springsteen’s hit single, The Streets of Philadelphia.

Date: Tuesday 19th August, 2008
Time: 7:00 pm
Venue: The Second Floor (T2F)
Address | Map

Seats are limited and will be available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. No reservations.

The Green Dream

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

A Tribute to Three Pioneering Environmental Journalists
Sunday, 17th Aug 2008 | 7:00 pm

leaf.gifThis commemorative session on environmental issues concludes the Saneeya Hussain Week, August 11-17, 2008. Please join friends and colleagues of three pioneering environmental journalists to talk about their work and experiences, where environmental journalism in Pakistan stands today, and ‘the way ahead’.


  • Celebrating Saneeya: A Short Film
  • Reminiscences
  • Zulekha Ali: A Passion for Environment – Presented by Owais Tohid
    Ameneh Azam Ali: Communities and Forests – Presented by Talat Aslam
    Saneeya Hussain: The NCS Bulletin / The Way Ahead – Presented by Sahar Ali

  • Activism and Results
  • Unplugged Music featuring Flam, an emerging band
  • Speakers and panelists include Beena Sarwar, Dhunmai Cowasjee, Bhagwandas, Isa Daudpota (via Skype), Arif Belgaumi, Faisal Siddiqi, and Roland deSouza.

This event has been organized by The Saneeya Hussain Trust, Shehri, and PeaceNiche/T2F.

Date: Sunday 17th August, 2008
Time: 7:00 pm
Venue: The Second Floor (T2F)
Address | Map

Seats are limited and will be available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. No reservations.