A bright new website is on it’s way very soon. Stay tuned, …
A bright new website is on it’s way very soon. Stay tuned, …
We are amazingly excited to announce the E-release of Yusuf’s second novel, “NARAYAN”. For those of you who have been following for a while, this book has reached mythic notoriety, since we have all heard of it and about it (notably its prestigious award nomination by Penguin) – and yet we’ve never read a single part of it, or seen the cover! Well, we’re pleased to finally fix that today… The cover (designed by Yusuf as always) looks really great and seems to capture the story and its themes well (although boo, we only get to see the ‘front’ cover, since this is the E-Book / Kindle release —the paperback is coming in May—!) The quote at the bottom of the cover is, let’s be honest, absolutely hilarious! And typical, somehow…
So, Kindle owners, get your copy today ! An interview with Yusuf on the novel is coming up in a few days, from an exotic location… Stay tuned for that…
The story of Narayan, a humble, unassuming man working in a train station ticket office, is one of urban realism, and at the same time, an exploration of man’s inner-world, taking on the mundane and the profound in one brave, poetic sweep. Set against a dreary Hounslow Winter, Yusuf Misdaq has crafted, out of almost nothing, a searing portrait of existential hardship and hope.
Gangs of Nefisa UK, Hounslow!
PS- For clarification as we had a few confused comments – the post below this one (i.e. Butlers and the English language!) was put up as is, with no editorial comment from us, as per Yusuf’s request. It was indeed written by Yusuf Misdaq!
Who is Alfred the Butler?
He was the wise one, in all of his incantations, from the intuitive Londoner (the latest version, played Michael Caine), to the regal, upper-class and somewhat tender Michael Gough. Even the muted and socially-awkward Alfred of the campy 60’s TV series, played by Alan Napier, had a quiet dignity about him (for some reason, he reminds me of an old Indian/Pakistani grandfather from the 20’s).
Why am I writing about this as soon as I sit down? Here in lovely Fells Point, a pretty little Baltimore neighborhood. I’ve started to sometimes spell it ‘neighborhood’ now (US spelling, as opposed to neighbourhood, English standard). And what’s more, I’m starting to soften my D’s. I’m almost saying “bedder” as opposed to better. This is what happens to you when you speak to Americans all day.
On the one hand, all of this doesn’t matter one iota. If anything, it’s good, good that I am un-bonding to England (as much as one inevitably misses ones homeland) – good that I would un-bond from any nation. A fine symbol for the necessary un-bonding of men from their material surroundings. But all that is high and mighty.
In doing so, I become a nation-less, accent-less man. I also fall into other stereotypes, ever more rarefied. The Englishman in America. There is something tragic about him, especially when his accent starts slipping. I glossed over this felt phenomena very casually in my first novel, I remember a scene with a Frenchman who spoke on a talk show, with a slightly Californian accent, as if he had been in Hollywood too long. He was no longer a Frenchman, not an American, just some sort of entity, a gimmick. Yes, there is something tragic about ‘Englishman in America,’ especially when his accent is no longer English. When he loses his Englishness.
As much as it is, and should be, in fashion for English people to be slightly ashamed of their Englishness, there is still no denying that somewhere, somehow, once transplanted abroad (and in particular to America), a strand of that Englishness becomes associated with credability, and with the intellect. I can’t for the life of me understand why.
When the D’s begin to replace the T’s, one feels saggy. After all, ‘T’ is, and always will be, sharper than ‘D’. Try it, you’ll see. Even the word “Testicle,” sounds exact and pointed (when in reality it, or rather they, are anything but). On the other hand, we have dud. Dipstick. Dilute. Dangle. Dilapidated. Dutch.
All blunt, clumsy objects. All duds.
The butler is the wise one. He serves, and gives. He cares, and by way of the self-sacrifice that his profession demands of him, he is able to gain a distance, a clarity of assessment and thus sound judgement in times of crisis. A far-sightedness. A feel for things. And yet, armed with all of this wisdom, the constraints of his profession force him to hold these jewels in his heart. He will not tweet his knowledge, boast of it, or use it in any cheap way. He rarely imposes his views (although it must be said that, concordant with our societal decay in politeness and decency, ‘Alfred’ has become more and more outspoken with each generation / incarnation) either upon his master or anyone else. Rather, he contents himself to speak when asked, and he maximises his verbage by employing higher than normal ratios of wit; taking indirect and subtle avenues into difficult, thorny subjects. Again, such delicacy is reserved for those who have clarity of thought, and clarity of thought is reserved for those who are able to have the big-picture, and the big-picture, for those who do not clog up their lives with their own needs, wants and desires.
If we want to see the big picture, we must remove our selves from the mirror, for we are spending far too long in front of it, and we see little else.
Even when Alfred is forced to challenge (and therefore contend with the mighty ego of) his employer, he largely manages to get his point across without hurting or offending. If anything, we feel even more sorry for Alfred when he is forced to speak up and protest, as we saw Michael Caine’s Alfred do increasingly in the recent Batman trilogy. Why is this? Because it is a shame and a sore-sight for the eyes when the obtuse, action-packed world forces a quiet and wise person to have to shout loudly. We still respect humility and calmness; we don’t enjoy seeing it threatened.
Butler is best.
And yet, there is something in us, in all of us, that wants to be Bruce Wayne. Batman. Both.
Since he is an unattainable object, and since humility is far easier, and far more heroic (in the -big picture-) the question must become, who will step up? Or perhaps more aptly, who will step down? Step down from the high plastic throne of lies and say, “I will be a servant!”
Who has the guts to live a life out of the limelight for the vast majority of the time? For all time?
Who has the tenacity?
Who wants Truth more than they want
Dud or Tree?
Ding-a-ling, or trembling?
Taken from Ahmadyarts website:
In what promises to be yet another invigorating discussion, Ahmady brings together John Menick and Yusuf Misdaq. Two brilliant artists with very different backgrounds whose individual perspectives on artistic activity allow for the making of heartfelt works that are simultaneously process based, conceptually vigorous, and seamlessly span across mediums: writing, sound, film, and more.
In collaboration with ArtonAir.org and Independent Curators International, Yusuf will be joining host Leeza Ahmady for a conversation on his practices and the intersections of his writing, music and visual art, as well as shedding some light on his recent (successful!) Kickstarter campaign.
Come along, October 16th at the ICI’s curatorial hub in Tribeca, NYC. More details to follow.