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CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate Don Davies running in Vancouver Kingsway
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Friday, September 26, 2008

On October 14, 2008, Canadians will be heading to the polls for the federal election. New Democratic Party candidate Don Davies is standing for election in the riding of Vancouver Kingsway.

A lawyer, he has spent the last 25 years fighting for human rights. A two-time student government representative, Davies was involved in the anti-apartheid, third world and peace movements. Admitted to the Alberta Bar in 1989, Davies and family moved to Vancouver in 1991, where he became the Director of Legal Resources for Teamsters Canada (Local 31), the next year. He is a long-time volunteer for children’s charity Variety, is Chair of the Parent Advisory Council at Mount Pleasant school, and a Director of the Meridian Cultural Society, among other things.

Wikinews contacted Don Davies, to talk about the issues facing Canadians, and what they and their party would do to address them. Wikinews is in the process of contacting every candidate, in every riding across the country, no matter their political stripe. All interviews are conducted over e-mail, and interviews are published unedited, allowing candidates to impart their full message to our readers, uninterrupted.

The riding is vacant, after Conservative Minister of International Trade David Emerson’s resignation. Emerson was elected in 2004 as a Liberal, serving as the Minister of Industry. Two weeks after re-election in 2006, he crossed the floor to join then-new Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who had won a minority government. Emerson was the first MP in Canadian history to cross the floor before a new government was sworn in. He has stepped down, after pressure from other parties.

Besides Davies, major party candidates include Liberal Wendy Yuan, Conservative Salomon Rayek, and Green Doug Warkentin. Also putting their hat in the ring are Matt Kadioglu (Libertarian), Kimball Cariou (Communist), and Donna Peterson (Marxist-Leninist).

For more information, visit the campaign’s official website, listed below.

This Saturday at 11 am, Davies will host NDP leader Jack Layton in the Commodore Ballroom at “rally4change”.

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Australia: Victorian government to trial driverless vehicles on public roads
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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Yesterday, the state government of Victoria, Australia announced their decision to trial self-driving vehicles on two of the state’s major connecting motorways, the CityLink and Tullamarine Freeway. The trial is to use autonomous vehicles from automobile companies including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Tesla. The two-year trial is to have three phases.

The cars are to drive alongside commuters, but in public testing a driver is always to be present, as Victorian law requires drivers always keep a hand on the steering wheel. However, in occasional closures of the Burnley Tunnel, with no other drivers to endanger, the cars are to be tested with nobody in the vehicle.

Lane assist, cruise control, and recognition of traffic signs are in the trial’s first phase, expected to complete before the end of the year. This includes monitoring how the driver-less cars respond to road conditions, including lane markings and electronic speed signs.

“Victoria is at the forefront of automated vehicle technology — we’re investing in this trial to explore ways that this technology can be used to reduce crashes and keep people safe on our roads”, said Luke Donnellan, the Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety. He noted, “Ninety per cent of the fault of accidents is human error […] so we know that if we can take out human error we will have less accidents”.

Tim Hansen, Victoria Police’s Acting Assistant Commissioner, said that police had founded a project team to investigate how self-driving vehicles would change policing on roads. “Can we intercept vehicles more safely to avoid pursuits and ramming?”, he asked.

The trial is a partnership between the state government, Victoria’s road management authority VicRoads, owner of the CityLink toll road Transurban, and insurance company RACV.

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NHL: Penguins to remain in Pittsburgh
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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell announced Tuesday morning that a deal had been struck between state and local officials and the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey franchise. The Penguins organization will formally announce the deal tonight, prior to the Penguins game against the Buffalo Sabres at the Mellon Arena. The deal will ensure that the Penguins will remain in the city with a 30 year lease on a new arena to be built in downtown Pittsburgh. The framework of the deal was constructed in an emergency meeting last Thursday in Philadelphia, when both government and franchise officials indicated that progress had been made, with the details laid out over the weekend. With the new deal, the Penguins organization would be expected to pay $3.8 million per year, as well as $7.5 million per year from both Don Barden, owner of Majestic Star Casino, and the state economic development fund. The Penguins organization has also been given the option of building a parking garage on property of the Pittsburgh Sports Authority between Centre and Fifth avenues, by contributing $500,000 per year.

The new arena is expected to cost approximately $290 million, and should be completed and ready to host hockey games by 2009. The Penguins will sign a temporary lease to keep the team at Mellon Arena until the new building is finished.

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Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Freedom Party candidate David McGruer, Ottawa-Orleans
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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

David McGruer is running for the Freedom Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the Ottawa-Orleans riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

Pakistani parliament passes bill for transgender rights

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Pakistani parliament passes bill for transgender rights
Published in July 15th, 2018
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Friday, May 11, 2018

On Tuesday, Pakistan’s parliament passed a bill at Islamabad’s National Assembly which granted transgender people various civil rights. The bill, “Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act”, which was presented by Pakistan Peoples Party’s lawmaker Naveed Qamar, was approved by the senate in March, and now awaits signature of the president Mamnoon Hussain.

The bill ensures people have the right to identify themselves as male, female or as “third gender”, also known as khawaja sira in Pakistan. This identity choice is to be reflected in the National Database and Registration Authority, as well as other official documents like passports and driving licence.

Per the bill, transgender people can now cast votes, run for election, have the right to assemble, and can obtain loans for business startups. They are also eligible to inherit property per their identified gender. Transgender people are to be no longer discriminated at school, working place, for medical services, public transportation facilities, by their employers, or at private business. Separate confinement areas, jails and prisons are to be established for transgenders. Anyone found guilty of forcing transgenders to beg is to face a six-month prison term as well as 50 thousand rupees fine.

The legislation was sent to and later approved by the Council of Islamic Ideology, a government advisory body. Lahore-based activist Mehlab Jameel, who was involved in writing the bill, said the Council of Islamic Ideology “appreciated that the bill included directions on inheritance in accordance with Shari’a” law.

Last year, transgenders were included for the census count for the first time. Mehlab Jameel said, “the definition of ‘transgender’ […] was basically based on genitals” in the initial draft of the bill, written last year.

Speaking to National Public Radio, Jameel said, “This kind of development is not only unprecedented in Pakistani history, but it’s one of the most progressive laws in the whole world.” Human Rights Watch has reported at least four deaths of transgenders in the country since the beginning of 2018, and at least 57 transgenders were killed in Pakistan since 2015. Pakistan’s —reportedly— first transgender news anchor and activist Marvia Malik told Images the transgenders “are forced to dance and beg because they have no other means to make ends meet.” “My trans friends who have masters degrees don’t have jobs which is why they end up on streets or become sex workers”, Malik added.

The draft for the policy to implement this bill is not yet prepared. From the date the bill was approved, President Hussain has ten days to sign the bill or reject it.

Interior Decorating Ideas Kitchen And Bathroom Themes}

Published in July 15th, 2018
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Interior Decorating Ideas – Kitchen and Bathroom Themes

by

Angela Sullivan

Often people think of decorating themes as cheesy or dated, but you can really create a themed bathroom or kitchen without going over the top. Here are some great ways to create a themed room. The first thing you will need to do is determine what theme the room will have. It should be something that you are familiar with or are very interested in. Pick a subject matter that you know a lot about. You will be able to come up with more creative ideas and variations when you really know the subject at hand. Make sure that the theme you choose goes with the color scheme you are looking for. This will make for a unified design that works well with all the elements in the room. Also, choose a theme that is readily available in stores, unless you plan on preparing your own artwork and original creations. Here are some great suggestions for themes you can use for your bathroom or kitchen:

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1. Food themes are great for kitchens. Some popular kitchen themes include apples, chili peppers, fruit, citrus fruit, italian food, spanish food, cafe and coffee drinks, pasta, vegetables (carrots, celery, tomatoes), wine and grapes, tropical fruit like bananas and coconuts, and water themes.2. Themes relating to a particular era, such as 50’s diner, retro 1960’s kitchen, and sleek modernist themes.3. Themes relating to a certain geographical location are great. Some ideas include the Caribbean, Hawaii, Southwestern themes, Italian Provence themes, and Asian Themes.4. Some great bathroom themes can be inspired by particular objects that remind us of freshness, such as shells, or palm trees. Ocean themes, colorful fish, tropical birds, and sun and moon themes are all great. You can also choose things like flowers (or perhaps a particular type of flower like roses, daisies, hibiscus or even violets). Perhaps a child’s bathroom could have a theme relating to something that the child enjoys. Horses, trucks, sports, or even a particular sports team are all great kids bathroom themes.5. A theme can be based around a particular color pallette or feeling that you want to evoke. Perhaps the sunset inspires you, or the colors of the beach. Maybe you enjoy the colors found in the rainforest or in a summer flower garden. Inspiration can even come from a piece of furniture or a particular painting you love.Finding a great theme for a kichen or bathroom (or for any room of the home for that matter) can be challenging, but there are many great products on the market as well as themes to choose from. Be sure to have fun creating whatever room you love!

Find more decorating information, articles and resources at

houseinteriordecorating.com

as well as the e-book designing on a budget at

designingonabudget.com

. You can also find resources and decorating help at

mydesignhelper.com

This article may be reproduced only if above links remain intact

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Interior Decorating Ideas – Kitchen and Bathroom Themes}

Yahoo! snaps up Flickr

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Yahoo! snaps up Flickr
Published in July 13th, 2018
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Monday, March 21, 2005

Portal and search company Yahoo! has purchased Ludicorp Research and Development Ltd., the private corporation which owns the photo sharing site Flickr.The news was officially disclosed in a Sunday posting to the corporation’s staff blog and is credited to Caterina Fake, Flickr’s vice president of marketing and community. The posting announced the sale, but did not disclose details of the deal. In a report by Silicon.Com, Yahoo! spokeswoman Joanna Stevens confirmed the deal on Sunday but also did not disclose the terms.

Both Fake and Stevens said Flickr will remain independent. Stevens added that Flickr’s employees will relocate to the Yahoo! headquarters in Sunnyvale, California later this year.

Rumors of the sale have been circulating amongst bloggers for some time, though neither company would confirm or deny the rumored sale. Other rumors had Google or AOL as Flickr’s probable suitor.

Flickr allows users to upload pictures from their computers, digital cameras, or camera phones to a personal website where they can display them, engage in photo blogging and create photo albums. The graphics may be licensed under a variety copyright license schemes including public domain, and photo owners can be easily contacted through the website.

Yahoo! had earlier announced Yahoo! 360°, a blogging service with sharing privileges and integration with other Yahoo! services such as internet broadcasting and instant messaging.

City Planning Board postpones decision on Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal

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City Planning Board postpones decision on Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal
Published in July 13th, 2018
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Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Buffalo, New York —In an unanimous vote, the City of Buffalo‘s Planning Board voted to table the Elmwood Village hotel Proposal, postponing voting on legislation for up to 30 days.

The Board said its decision was due to the lack of public involvement, saying that there have not been enough meetings.

The Elmwood Village Hotel is a proposed project by Savarino Construction Services Corporation and was designed by Karl Frizlen of The Frizlen Group. The hotel would be placed on Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo, New York. In order for the hotel to be built, at least five buildings, that include both businesses and residents, must be demolished.

The Forever Elmwood Corp. is a Buffalo-based non-profit organization founded in 1994. Justin Azzarella, the Executive Director for the organization voiced support for the proposal, stating: “I am here today to lend Forever Elmwood’s support the hotel project. Particularly, Forever Elmwood is encouraged by the fact that this building follows the more stringent Elmwood Village Design Guidelines. We have been speaking with Savarino Construction, and they have promised us [Forever Elmwood] that they will engage the community further, including the surrounding Block Clubs and businesses. For that reason, while Forever Elmwood is in support of this project and the type of project that it is, we are asking also that the project be tabled so that the community can be further engaged. Specifically the surrounding Block clubs which include the Granger, Claremont, Asland and The Lincoln Parkway Block Clubs.”

“Because of the excellent work that Karl does and the game plan that they have, I think its an ideal use of this particular location. I think that this particular type of development needs to be encouraged and promoted as opposed to roadblocked,” said a man who owns five properties near the proposal site.

However, Evelyn Bencinich, a resident of Granger Place and whose house would be located directly behind the hotel said, “My property value will be depreciated or non-existent because no one is going to want to live behind a multi-story hotel. We are facing up to a year of noisy and dangerous demolition and construction. Children, pets and even drunk rebellers could wander on site and get hurt. Traffic tie-ups caused by large machinery and garbage bins is inevitable. Where will pedestrians walk? We could experience increased unsanitary flooding in our yards and basements due to the digging and cementing for the underground parking garage. Rats will be displaced into the immediate neighborhoods and be in great abundance. Once we get past the year of nightmare construction, what if you build it and they don’t come? We could ultimately have a seven million dollar rooming house on our corner.”

Patty Morris, co-owner of Don Apparel with Nancy Pollina at 1119 Elmwood also asked that the project be tabled saying, “this has only been public knowledge for less than two weeks and the public never saw the redesign. How can you vote on anything that no one has seen yet? The Board cut off Morris saying, “so specifically you don’t have any problem with it [the design] you just…” Morris then said, “Oh I am totally against this project, but thats besides the point isn’t it.”

The planning board is also concerned that the current design may still be too big.

At one point Board member Susan Curran Hoyt said, “we know you’ve cut down your number of rooms on this project, but we still see it doesn’t seem to fit the description of a ‘botique’ hotel,” and asked Eva Hassett, Vice President of Savarino Construction, “we wonder if you could reduce the rooms further.”

“One thing I didn’t talk about was the price levels of these rooms and that will be important to know. The room rate will be somewhere between US$120 and $160 a night, which is about the same price of the Hampton Inn down town and the smaller you make the hotel, the more expensive the rooms will get. We believe that we’ve made a good compromise in terms of the size of the hotel and perhaps botique means different things to different people,” said Hassett.

The board was also concerned that there is not enough parking asking, “are there alternative plans for valet parking off-site, in the event that you have a full hotel or a large event going on?”

“We are exploring several possibilities with respect to additional parking for valet and parking near-by,” replied Hassett. “We are also exploring the possibility of using the rear of 1105 Elmwood for additional parking, which would give us an additional ten or eleven spaces.”

The new design has a total of 55 parking spaces for 72 rooms, with 39 of them underground and the rest on ground level.

Hassett also said that a “parking study” will be done on the area.

Concerns that the second floor of the hotel will be too close to the property of 605 Forest were also brought up. The board asked how far the hotel would be from the property and Karl Frizlen replied saying it would “be approximately five feet from the property line,” but he also admitted that, “I do not know exactly how close the house next door” will be from the hotel, but did say “I think the house is about four or five feet away from the property line and we [the hotel] sit right on the property line.”

The board is concerned the setback from the property is not enough saying the space between the building and the hotel is “pretty narrow.”

The City’s Common Council also agreed to table the proposal also citing the need for more public engagement and the need for more organizations to respond including the Buffalo Preservation Board and the Office of Historic Preservation.

During that meeting, Hassett also said the proposal to try and get a variance to obtain the properties of 605 and 607 Forest were “now off the agenda.”

The Common Council is expected to meet and hold a public hearing about the project and the rezoning of the properties to be demolished (1119-1121 Elmwood) on Tuesday March 7, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall. At the moment the properties are not zoned for a hotel.

Fifteen people killed in Philippines hotel fire

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Fifteen people killed in Philippines hotel fire
Published in July 13th, 2018
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fifteen people were killed and twelve were injured after an eight hour hotel fire in Tuguegarao City, Northern Philippines, however police and firefighters managed to save many guests. Reports suggest the deceased sought cover in bathrooms where they were burnt beyond recognition.

After entering the building firefighters were left in tears after finding the charred bodies of guests on the upper floors. “It’s so close to Christmas, we wept when we saw their bodies,” said fire investigator Daniel Abana. Nine of the deaths were confirmed to be nursing students from a nearby university. The students were in the city to take nursing exams. Nursing college instructor, Romeo Opido, told authorities that 36 nursing students from nearby provinces were at the hotel. Tuguegarao City counselor said, “It is very unfortunate that this happened just when they were about to take their exams.”

The other deaths were the hotel owner’s and their family, including three children. The cause of the fire is still undetermined although it is known that the fire started on the ground floor and was energized by car tires and other combustible materials. It is also believed that paint cans were still in the building following a recent make over.

Bat for Lashes plays the Bowery Ballroom: an Interview with Natasha Khan

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Bat for Lashes plays the Bowery Ballroom: an Interview with Natasha Khan
Published in July 13th, 2018
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Friday, September 28, 2007

Bat for Lashes is the doppelgänger band ego of one of the leading millennial lights in British music, Natasha Khan. Caroline Weeks, Abi Fry and Lizzy Carey comprise the aurora borealis that backs this haunting, shimmering zither and glockenspiel peacock, and the only complaint coming from the audience at the Bowery Ballroom last Tuesday was that they could not camp out all night underneath these celestial bodies.

We live in the age of the lazy tendency to categorize the work of one artist against another, and Khan has had endless exultations as the next Björk and Kate Bush; Sixousie Sioux, Stevie Nicks, Sinead O’Connor, the list goes on until it is almost meaningless as comparison does little justice to the sound and vision of the band. “I think Bat For Lashes are beyond a trend or fashion band,” said Jefferson Hack, publisher of Dazed & Confused magazine. “[Khan] has an ancient power…she is in part shamanic.” She describes her aesthetic as “powerful women with a cosmic edge” as seen in Jane Birkin, Nico and Cleopatra. And these women are being heard. “I love the harpsichord and the sexual ghost voices and bowed saws,” said Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke of the track Horse and I. “This song seems to come from the world of Grimm’s fairytales.”

Bat’s debut album, Fur And Gold, was nominated for the 2007 Mercury Prize, and they were seen as the dark horse favorite until it was announced Klaxons had won. Even Ladbrokes, the largest gambling company in the United Kingdom, had put their money on Bat for Lashes. “It was a surprise that Klaxons won,” said Khan, “but I think everyone up for the award is brilliant and would have deserved to win.”

Natasha recently spoke with David Shankbone about art, transvestism and drug use in the music business.


DS: Do you have any favorite books?

NK: [Laughs] I’m not the best about finishing books. What I usually do is I will get into a book for a period of time, and then I will dip into it and get the inspiration and transformation in my mind that I need, and then put it away and come back to it. But I have a select rotation of cool books, like Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and Little Birds by Anaïs Nin. Recently, Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch.

DS: Lynch just came out with a movie last year called Inland Empire. I interviewed John Vanderslice last night at the Bowery Ballroom and he raved about it!

NK: I haven’t seen it yet!

DS: Do you notice a difference between playing in front of British and American audiences?

NK: The U.S. audiences are much more full of expression and noises and jubilation. They are like, “Welcome to New York, Baby!” “You’re Awesome!” and stuff like that. Whereas in England they tend to be a lot more reserved. Well, the English are, but it is such a diverse culture you will get the Spanish and Italian gay guys at the front who are going crazy. I definitely think in America they are much more open and there is more excitement, which is really cool.

DS: How many instruments do you play and, please, include the glockenspiel in that number.

NK: [Laughs] I think the number is limitless, hopefully. I try my hand at anything I can contribute; I only just picked up the bass, really—

DS: –I have a great photo of you playing the bass.

NK: I don’t think I’m very good…

DS: You look cool with it!

NK: [Laughs] Fine. The glockenspiel…piano, mainly, and also the harp. Guitar, I like playing percussion and drumming. I usually speak with all my drummers so that I write my songs with them in mind, and we’ll have bass sounds, choir sounds, and then you can multi-task with all these orchestral sounds. Through the magic medium of technology I can play all kinds of sounds, double bass and stuff.

DS: Do you design your own clothes?

NK: All four of us girls love vintage shopping and charity shops. We don’t have a stylist who tells us what to wear, it’s all very much our own natural styles coming through. And for me, personally, I like to wear jewelery. On the night of the New York show that top I was wearing was made especially for me as a gift by these New York designers called Pepper + Pistol. And there’s also my boyfriend, who is an amazing musician—

DS: —that’s Will Lemon from Moon and Moon, right? There is such good buzz about them here in New York.

NK: Yes! They have an album coming out in February and it will fucking blow your mind! I think you would love it, it’s an incredible masterpiece. It’s really exciting, I’m hoping we can do a crazy double unfolding caravan show, the Bat for Lashes album and the new Moon and Moon album: that would be really theatrical and amazing! Will prints a lot of my T-shirts because he does amazing tapestries and silkscreen printing on clothes. When we play there’s a velvety kind of tapestry on the keyboard table that he made. So I wear a lot of his things, thrift store stuff, old bits of jewelry and antique pieces.

DS: You are often compared to Björk and Kate Bush; do those constant comparisons tend to bother you as an artist who is trying to define herself on her own terms?

NK: No, I mean, I guess that in the past it bothered me, but now I just feel really confident and sure that as time goes on my musical style and my writing is taking a pace of its own, and I think in time the music will speak for itself and people will see that I’m obviously doing something different. Those women are fantastic, strong, risk-taking artists—

DS: —as are you—

NK: —thank you, and that’s a great tradition to be part of, and when I look at artists like Björk and Kate Bush, I think of them as being like older sisters that have come before; they are kind of like an amazing support network that comes with me.

DS: I’d imagine it’s preferable to be considered the next Björk or Kate Bush instead of the next Britney.

NK: [Laughs] Totally! Exactly! I mean, could you imagine—oh, no I’m not going to try to offend anyone now! [Laughs] Let’s leave it there.

DS: Does music feed your artwork, or does you artwork feed your music more? Or is the relationship completely symbiotic?

NK: I think it’s pretty back-and-forth. I think when I have blocks in either of those area, I tend to emphasize the other. If I’m finding it really difficult to write something I know that I need to go investigate it in a more visual way, and I’ll start to gather images and take photographs and make notes and make collages and start looking to photographers and filmmakers to give me a more grounded sense of the place that I’m writing about, whether it’s in my imagination or in the characters. Whenever I’m writing music it’s a very visual place in my mind. It has a location full of characters and colors and landscapes, so those two things really compliment each other, and they help the other one to blossom and support the other. They are like brother and sister.

DS: When you are composing music, do you see notes and words as colors and images in your mind, and then you put those down on paper?

NK: Yes. When I’m writing songs, especially lately because I think the next album has a fairly strong concept behind it and I’m writing the songs, really imagining them, so I’m very immersed into the concept of the album and the story that is there through the album. It’s the same as when I’m playing live, I will imagine I see a forest of pine trees and sky all around me and the audience, and it really helps me. Or I’ll just imagine midnight blue and emerald green, those kind of Eighties colors, and they help me.

DS: Is it always pine trees that you see?

NK: Yes, pine trees and sky, I guess.

DS: What things in nature inspire you?

NK: I feel drained thematically if I’m in the city too long. I think that when I’m in nature—for example, I went to Big Sur last year on a road trip and just looking up and seeing dark shadows of trees and starry skies really gets me and makes me feel happy. I would sit right by the sea, and any time I have been a bit stuck I will go for a long walk along the ocean and it’s just really good to see vast horizons, I think, and epic, huge, all-encompassing visions of nature really humble you and give you a good sense of perspective and the fact that you are just a small particle of energy that is vibrating along with everything else. That really helps.

DS: Are there man-made things that inspire you?

NK: Things that are more cultural, like open air cinemas, old Peruvian flats and the Chelsea Hotel. Funny old drag queen karaoke bars…

DS: I photographed some of the famous drag queens here in New York. They are just such great creatures to photograph; they will do just about anything for the camera. I photographed a famous drag queen named Miss Understood who is the emcee at a drag queen restaurant here named Lucky Cheng’s. We were out in front of Lucky Cheng’s taking photographs and a bus was coming down First Avenue, and I said, “Go out and stop that bus!” and she did! It’s an amazing shot.

NK: Oh. My. God.

DS: If you go on her Wikipedia article it’s there.

NK: That’s so cool. I’m really getting into that whole psychedelic sixties and seventies Paris Is Burning and Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis. Things like The Cockettes. There seems to be a bit of a revolution coming through that kind of psychedelic drag queen theater.

DS: There are just so few areas left where there is natural edge and art that is not contrived. It’s taking a contrived thing like changing your gender, but in the backdrop of how that is still so socially unacceptable.

NK: Yeah, the theatrics and creativity that go into that really get me. I’m thinking about The Fisher King…do you know that drag queen in The Fisher King? There’s this really bad and amazing drag queen guy in it who is so vulnerable and sensitive. He sings these amazing songs but he has this really terrible drug problem, I think, or maybe it’s a drink problem. It’s so bordering on the line between fabulous and those people you see who are so in love with the idea of beauty and elevation and the glitz and the glamor of love and beauty, but then there’s this really dark, tragic side. It’s presented together in this confusing and bewildering way, and it always just gets to me. I find it really intriguing.

DS: How are you received in the Pakistani community?

NK: [Laughs] I have absolutely no idea! You should probably ask another question, because I have no idea. I don’t have contact with that side of my family anymore.

DS: When you see artists like Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse out on these suicidal binges of drug use, what do you think as a musician? What do you get from what you see them go through in their personal lives and with their music?

NK: It’s difficult. The drugs thing was never important to me, it was the music and expression and the way he delivered his music, and I think there’s a strange kind of romantic delusion in the media, and the music media especially, where they are obsessed with people who have terrible drug problems. I think that’s always been the way, though, since Billie Holiday. The thing that I’m questioning now is that it seems now the celebrity angle means that the lifestyle takes over from the actual music. In the past people who had musical genius, unfortunately their personal lives came into play, but maybe that added a level of romance, which I think is pretty uncool, but, whatever. I think that as long as the lifestyle doesn’t precede the talent and the music, that’s okay, but it always feels uncomfortable for me when people’s music goes really far and if you took away the hysteria and propaganda of it, would the music still stand up? That’s my question. Just for me, I’m just glad I don’t do heavy drugs and I don’t have that kind of problem, thank God. I feel that’s a responsibility you have, to present that there’s a power in integrity and strength and in the lifestyle that comes from self-love and assuredness and positivity. I think there’s a real big place for that, but it doesn’t really get as much of that “Rock n’ Roll” play or whatever.

DS: Is it difficult to come to the United States to play considering all the wars we start?

NK: As an English person I feel equally as responsible for that kind of shit. I think it is a collective consciousness that allows violence and those kinds of things to continue, and I think that our governments should be ashamed of themselves. But at the same time, it’s a responsibility of all of our countries, no matter where you are in the world to promote a peaceful lifestyle and not to consciously allow these conflicts to continue. At the same time, I find it difficult to judge because I think that the world is full of shades of light and dark, from spectrums of pure light and pure darkness, and that’s the way human nature and nature itself has always been. It’s difficult, but it’s just a process, and it’s the big creature that’s the world; humankind is a big creature that is learning all the time. And we have to go through these processes of learning to see what is right.

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