Since Legenda Aurea provided no connections whatsoever with sentimental love, appropriate lore was embroidered in modern times to portray Valentine as a priest who refused an unattested law attributed to Roman Emperor Claudius II, allegedly ordering that young men remain single. The Emperor supposedly did this to grow his army, believing that married men did not make for good soldiers. The priest Valentine, however, secretly performed marriage ceremonies for young men. When Claudius found out about this, he had Valentine arrested and thrown in jail. An additional modern embellishment to The Golden Legend, and widely repeated despite having no historical basis whatsoever is that on the evening before Valentine was to be executed he would have written the first “valentine” card himself, addressed to a young girl variously identified as his beloved, the jailer’s daughter whom he had befriended and healed. It was a note that read “From your Valentine.”

14 February (Tue)
20:00 MUSIC, Nostalgic for the 80s? Billy Ocean performs live with a 14 member band.

V: SLECC (TKTS: Hilton)


Jigsaw Rs. 550
Diedre Jonklaas Cadiramen

Jigsaw is a fast paced, easy, interesting read. Diedre Cadiramen’s 3rd book is a slim volume of 15 stories, where some like Black Friday run through only 2 ½ pgs while the longest is 10 pgs. But into these pages the author compacts plenty.

Her style is unadorned. She has a story to tell, which she tells straight with minimal description, no introduction or building up of character through extensive detailing. We need to round out the characters ourselves by the incidents she relates. A plethora of characters parade through her pages: Ruth the day-dreaming only child; Bempy Singho the long standing driver of a Colombo 7 household who gets invited to a wedding and ends up behind bars for failing the breathalyzer test; Naomi who goes to London and ends up earning mints as a hostess in Soho; the characters of a typical up-county tea estate from the dorai to the tappal coolie and thalavar…

Chesa Swiss, Colpetty

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Over the past few years, CS have maintained standards of quality and appearance. The charming Parisienne hostess leads you through the clean, neat, warmly decorated foyer that instantly transports you to colder climes and rooms decorated in European style. My own favourite though, is the inner courtyard – which epitomizes tropical dining –exposed to gentle breezes & starry skies.

Creamy Raclette cheese melted over hot potatoes & served with little pickles sets the pace; tender asparagus spears (grown in Kalpitiya!) arrive crunchy, the Risotto with porcini mushrooms is exotic, al-dente and flavor-some; ever since I saw poached chicken on the Australian Masterchef, bland though it may sound, I’ve been burning to try it. The CS version comes smothered in gorgonzola which lets both flavours shine through, neither dominating the other. The fish is grilled & served with a tangy lemon sauce which complements it just right. A creamy crème brulee rounds it all off nicely. All of this combined w/ consistent-ly attentive service makes for a pleasant evening. I know I’ve complained of a not-so-ideal experience before, but in the mood to celebrate or otherwise, I keep going back. Having said that, the prices are a tad too high and the average meal without wine will set you back close to Rs. 4,000. Better save up.

Peeks and sneaks
23 February (Thu)
10:00 EXHIBITION, around 100 established architects & students of architecture display their work. Visit it for ideas & inspiration. To 26/2.


24 February (Fri)
17:30 LECTURE, Asiff Hussein on The origins of SL Muslims (Moors, Malays, Memons & Bohras): Their language, professions and culture

V: OPA (Baudhdhalaoka Mw)
T: 777-772-220 (FREE)

28 February (Tue)

19:30 THEATRE, The Animals & Children took to the streets. 1927 performs w/music, story telling & film. To 29/2.

V: British School Auditorium
TKTS: Rs. 800 to 1000

15 February (Wed)

ART BIENNALE 2012, kicks off and continues until 19/2 in a series of free and ticketed events including exhibitions, lectures, dinners, discussions etc.

V: Nat’l Art Gallery, Sapumal, JDA Perera Gallery, Lionel Wendt, Park St. Mews, Coca, Hempel Galleries, Warehouse Project, Goethe, Barefoot etc.
T: 11 2431903

18 February (Sat)
19:00 MUSIC, German Master-works: Aron Konczei, Mozart R. Strauss, Beethoven: Hans-Jurgen Nagel conducts the Symphony Orchestra of SL

V: Museus College Auditorium
TKTS: Rs. 300 to 2000 box plan at Park Street Mews.

19 February (Sun)
15:30 & 18:45 THEATRE, Balloth Ekka Be (Can’t with the dogs) – comedy of errors and disguise (Sinhala)

V: Tower Hall TKTS 777363633

19:00 MUSIC, Jazz guitarist Martin Taylor performs with local artistes Amarasiri Pieris, Nirosha Virajini, Bathiya & Santhush, Kasun Kalhara and others.

V: Nelum Pokuna
T: 0777999169

29 February (Wed)
17:30 MOVIE, The Bride
V: Iranian Embassy (FREE)
T: 11 588225

OK, cultural events are a little thin on the ground in this 2nd half of February. Still, go out and enjoy whatever is on offer, especially the Art Biennale which features lots of talent.


Culture & culture is based on the fortnightly email newsletter, Culture Vulture. It is a selective, non exhaustive, non-comprehensive listing of Colombo’s cultural offerings. Its views are un-biased but totally subjective.