Teztify & Alchemy — Southbank, London
What a glorious bank holiday we’ve had here in England! On Monday (last day of Alchemy) I went to see Tez Ilyas do his stand up comedy gig, Teztify at the Southbank Centre as part of the Alchemy festival. If you don’t know about Alchemy (nothing to do with chemistry in the literal sense) it’s an annual event bringing together cultures of the Sub-continent with Britain, a fusion of the two. Every year all kinds of performances take place such as music, comedy, drama, art, debate and a lot more. The main attraction for me is the food market set up by Kerb. More on that later!
You may know Tez from Man Like Mobeen (BB3) or Radio 4, and if you haven’t heard of him he is a breath of fresh air! He describes himself as a working class lad from Blackburn, a British national Pakistani (BNP!!) and talks a lot about race, religion, class, identity, politics and a lot more. What I love about Tez is that he keeps it real, is honest and passionate about everything he talks about. Most importantly he is very, very funny on stage.
I love the fact he addresses real issues and also explains a bit about being a Muslim in a unique and humorous way. Although his target audience is more non-Muslim, I could see most of the Asians in the crowd enjoyed it as much as I did. One of my favourite jokes was when Tez describes himself going to a posh party in London where the food was fresh bread (which you have to cut yourself), olives, olive oil and cheeseboard and how he felt so out of his depth. The show is cleverly written, and is entertaining throughout.
My jaw was aching by the end of the night from laughing so much! Here is a clip of him doing some standup.
I think Tez is definitely one to watch, and would totally recommend everyone going to see him. Currently he is touring around the country. You will not be disappointed!
Kerb Does Alchemy
Before we watched the show, my friend and I went to Kerb street market which is the area below the Southbank Centre. The place was buzzing, people eating and drinking and there was a DJ playing all sorts of Bollywood, Brit Asian songs and pop music. There was a whole heap of food stalls mainly selling Indian/Pakistani street food such as kebab rolls, chaat, samosas, bun kebabs, Pakistani noodles and pizza, burgers, fried chicken and many more delights. With so many stalls it’s really hard to decide what to eat. A lot of stalls had queues but 5 mins was the most we waited, it could have been worse. The atmosphere was really nice though, it’s just nice to see so many happy people chilling out in London!
My favourite was the Kati roll by Kolkati, which was a hot paratha with egg, chicken, chillies, onions and yummy sauces. Other things I ate was the Babaji Naga burger, Bun Kabab and fried chicken from Daja Chicken. These were all nice but all lacked a bit of oomph. The fried chicken looked so appealing but lacked seasoning, chilli and the batter was too crunchy for me. The kati roll nailed it.
The food market is on most of the year but during the alchemy festival it’s got a twist from the Subcontinent and therefore most of the vendors had halal meat. Sadly the ice cream stalls had sold out when we got there. All the things we bought were over £7 each so it does add up. It’s such a unique event at a great location that I think it’s worth the spend.
Alchemy is a celebration of multiculturalism and showcases what a brilliant city London is. If the weather is like this next year then we will be in for another treat.
Nearest Station: Waterloo
Nearest Prayer Room: Multifaith room – Royal Festival Hall, Level 2
Cost: Alchemy has lots of free and paid events & free entrance to Kerb.
Teztify tickets: http://tezilyas.com/