It’s a KnowVember special! (B+A Bulletin #167)

It’s a KnowVember special! (B+A Bulletin #167)

B+A Breaking (the mould)

🚨 Disruption Alert 🚨

So we mentioned a couple of weeks ago that B+A London were embarking on a new mission for November. Inspired by our book club read ‘Think Like an Anthropologist‘, we set ourselves mini research missions – throwing ourselves into environments we’d never explored, learning from people and cultures entirely new to us. And it was called – wait for it – KnowVember (wahey).

Our housemates Idean were kind enough to let us present them our learnings, but we didn’t want you guys to miss out – so here’s a lil sample of what we got up to.

It’s B+A Bulletin #167, KnowVember style…

B+A Brexit

Who? Rosy, Jenny.
What? Attend a session at the Houses of Parliament.
The lowdown? UK parliament is a culture until itself. And like every culture, it’s got its own language (anyone for some chuntering, flouncing or mellifluence?), its own standards of art (bad; see above), and fascinating interactions with the local and global. But most importantly, it’s a culture that is a lot easier to reach than you might have realised. Contact your MP, or even just rock up on the day. And right now, it’s sure to be pretty juicy.

B+A Balenciaga, Burberry etc.

Who? Abi (Dubai), Andrew (London).
What? Attend a fashion show.
The lowdown? It was London’s Pakistan Fashion Week, Edition 14. If I was to guess, I’d say fashion folk don’t just deal in seasons, instead of years, they also seem to crave provenance, solidity and timelessness that suggests status. After waiting an hour for entry, and some pandemonious seating management (lesson: don’t mess with fashion press), so to the fashion. There were some beautiful dresses. All the models were white. The gaggle of Pakistani women behind me declared every outfit either “stunning” or “disgusting”. Nothing in between. And this bipolarity was reflected in the oxymoronic dramatic tension that announced each collection. Moazzam Abbasi‘s was trailed as “traditional ensembles with a bit of Urban Energy”, Aisha Imran‘s: “Bold yet feminine”. And I guess this conundrumization was what I left with. I was intrigued but non-plussed.

B+A Bikers

Who? Almass, Nicola, Gal.
What? Ride the Olympic Velodrome.
The Lowdown? “STAY!!!” screams Gal as he flies past Nicola on the right. The shock of it almost sends her veering off downhill and straight into Almass, fearlessly mastering riding a brakeless bike wearing clip-on shoes for the first time. This is no leisurely ride. B+A are at the Olympic Velodrome, pedalling the same track as some of Britain’s greatest athletes in 2012. The momentousness of this fact is almost overwhelming, before the more competitive B+A participants get back to focusing on the most important task at hand: overtaking the rest of our ‘Velo Taster‘ group and chasing each other over the finish line…

B+A Brrr

Who? Adesuwa, Aminah
What? Climbing the O2
The lowdown? It may be “London’s superstar attraction”, but the hype-building advertisements for climbing the O2 didn’t quite match up to the less-than-adventurous reality – in Aminah’s words, more of a “leisurely walk”. But what we did learn was how to listen with all 5 senses and how to instil trust in a group of strangers. You need to use all of your senses to ensure that you’re climbing safely and you need to trust the people in your group, as one wrong move might cause havoc.

B+A Beyond

Who? Gal, Rosy.
What? Visit Madame Tussauds.
The lowdown? Madame Tussauds is an experience that exceeds human limits. More than this: it is the experience of immortality itself. And after several hours spent queuing, filing in a pressured yet orderly fashion, and contemplating the relationship between society and the media, comes the ultimate revelation. Madame Tussauds, and by association perhaps immortality itself, sits, frozen in wax, simultaneously within the realms of both the Real and the Fake. And who knows what this means for the future of humankind.

B+A Breaking the Bank

Who? Aminah, Luke
What? Play bingo in a bingo hall
The lowdown? BuzzBingo Stratford was fundamentally a myth-busting experience. As well as a disappointing absence of bingo number nicknames and the prevalence of touchpads over bingo cards, the biggest revelation was the dominance of the game itself over the social. During sessions it was intense, head-down and, crucially, individual (although that didn’t prevent us connecting with our bingo mentor – big up Lucille for the hand holding).

B+A Bye…

If only there was space to tell you about Bollywood cinema, meditation or AndrĂŠ’s newfound penchant for pilates. Maybe another time.

We’re back to Bulletin business next week. Til then though, keep on exploring. Anthropology: c’est une lifestyle.

Team B+A