Tag Archives: Josh Idehen

The Food Of Dictators. The Music Of Love.

        

Imagine you have the task of cooking meals for a dictator? What was Pol Pot eating while two million Cambodians were dying of hunger? Did Idi Amin really eat human flesh? And why was Fidel Castro obsessed with one particular cow? Traveling across four continents, from the ruins of Iraq to the savannahs of Kenya, award-winning journalist, Witold Szabłowski tracked down the personal chefs of five dictators known for the oppression and massacre of their own citizens—Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Uganda’s Idi Amin, Albania’s Enver Hoxha, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, and Cambodia’s Pol Pot. Witold listened to their stories over sweet-and-sour soup, goat-meat pilaf, bottles of rum, and games of gin rummy. Witold Szabłowski joins Norman B to talk about his remarkable book, How To Feed A Dictator – Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, Enver Hoxha, Fidel Castro, And Pol Pot Through The Eyes Of Their Cooks.

Over the last few years, London-based musician and spoken word artist, Josh Idehen has made frequent appearances on Life Elsewhere. First representing his band Hugh and their sublime music, then, more recently as part of Benin City, a three-piece with Tom Leaper and Shanaz Dorsett. “The name Benin City was chosen” says Josh, “because I grew up there, even though I was born in London and we are two-thirds black and two-thirds gay, so it seemed to fit.” It’s the slightly irreverent attitude that comes to the fore in their music. Benin City doesn’t shy away from expressing their opinions, yet they cleverly manage to concoct catchy popish sounds to do it. Their latest single, Hold Them Close was written over a year ago, long before Covid-19. While in isolation, they determined the sentiment of the song was exactly what everyone needed – Hold Them Close. In our conversation, as is typical when talking with Josh, we quickly diverted off into a tangent about politics and the responsibility of governments in the UK and the US. In listing major concerns, Josh touches on a topic not well known outside of the UK, the Windrush scandal a 2018 British political issue concerning people mostly from Jamaica and other Caribbean islands who were wrongly detained, denied legal rights, threatened with deportation, and, in at least 83 cases, wrongly deported from the UK by the Home Office. Our conversation with Josh Idehen and Tom Leaper was recorded via Zoom and will be available soon. 

Show #374

Two Extraordinary Stories + One Important Song

In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent command across France: “She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies, we must find and destroy her.” That spy was Virginia Hall, a young American woman who – rejected from the Foreign service because of her gender and prosthetic leg – talked her way behind enemy lines in occupied France and went on to become one of the greatest (and most unlikely) spies in U.S. history. Much of Virginia’s story has been lost to the annals of history until now. Journalist Sonia Purnell has done incredible research to uncover her life, and the result is the fast-paced and intriguing, A Woman Of No Importance: The Untold Story Of The American Spy Who Helped Win World War 11. Sonia Purnell joins the program to tell of a real-life spy thriller, at a time when women and disabled people were often discounted or relegated to the background.

The death of Steve Jobs brought a wave of doubt over the future of Apple. Operations guy, Tim Cook was seen as the last person qualified to fill Job’s visionary shoes. Fast forward eight years later – Cook proved to be the perfect man for the job. In Tim Cook – The Genius Who Took Apple To The Next Level author, Leander Kahney has written the first-ever biography of Tim Cook and tells the inspiring story of how one man attempted to replace someone deemed to be irreplaceable. Kahney chronicles the post-Jobs Apple, including how Cook led the company to its historic trillion-dollar valuation. You’ll be fascinated by Leander’s enthusiastic story-telling as he shares insider details in his conversation with Norman B.

Josh Idehen, one-third of London-based, Hugh likes to share his opinions. The singer, songwriter & poet has concerns about our world. In Direction, Hugh’s first single, they ask, “Do you believe in love, in all kinds of love?” As Josh Idehen explained in our interview at the time, Direction is all about love between two people. It doesn’t matter if they are straight, gay or whatever. Enough of the bigotry. Being in love should be enough. And that should be celebrated, not condemned.” For their latest single, Sober, Josh says he is frustrated with what is going on in the world. The chaos with Brexit in the U.K. People moaning and groaning and marching but not voting. “I’m fed up!” Says Josh, “So much noise, but not enough action that matters. The same thing in the U.S. People grumble but then carry on with their lives. I know it’s hard, but we all have to make an effort. That’s what Sober is about.” In this edition of Life Elsewhere, you hear Hugh’s new single and Josh Idehen talking about it. His commentary is from a longer conversation which will air in an upcoming edition of the show. Special note, listen out for the special vocal talent of Amaroun, a distinctly brilliant artist from South London. Enjoy!

The Podcast is available at NPR One, Apple Podcasts & Mixcloud

Sundays 12 noon ET at The Source WMNF HD3
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Life Elsewhere Music airs:
Sundays 11.00am ET at 
WNRM The Root
Wednesdays at 3.00pm Pacific Time on 
NWCZ Radio
Fridays at 10.00am Eastern Time on IRN
Cornucopia Radio airs Life Elsewhere Music throughout each week
You can hear all the volumes over at Mixcloud

Show #320