Codes of The Flux
Codes of The Flux is a new #Slanguages project that deals with an age old issue – Code Switching. Code Switching is the phrase used for the act of changing our voice, language, style, or mannerisms to accommodate our surroundings. Afroflux in association with #Slanguages is interested in exploring how we make a point of being ourselves, especially through our comic-loving, gaming, skating, dancing, illustrating, gardening, and coding selves in and through the arts, languages and creativity.
With this in mind we bring in a few creators who more than know how to be themselves and see how they got there. How do Black and brown people who are often considered to be doing ‘white people things’ in the creative industries look at the idea of code switching?
We ride with a few of our Afroflux compatriots who range from poets and illustrators to educators, living in spaces such as Paris, Singapore and Birmingham (UK).
How do they navigate in their work and learning spaces in a world that demotes Black women for having natural hair? How do they travel, live, love and continue to create?
Join us for a series of short trips to find out through comics, conversations, words and music. Join us as we find our way through the Codes of The Flux.
By Charlotte Bailey
Zaeb Dust - Inn Flux!
Commentary by Bar .... CodeFlux
|1| 7 valley silk merchant forRmyula in memory
This first line has a long write up because it’s important. Wallace Dean Muhammad aka Wallace Dean Fard aka Master Fard ‘came from the East’ to Detroit in 1930, instigated the spiritual Black National offshoot Nation of Islam and disappeared from public record 4 years later.
The ‘foRmyula’ (as pronounced like every actor in 80s Bollywood Superhero flick Mr India) I’m referring to is what became ‘Supreme Mathematics’ in NOI’s own offshoot: the Five Percent Nation or the Nation of Gods and Earths. Clarence 13X founded the NGE to be less religious, and more meaningful to Black Youth of the time with an emphasis of knowledge of self and the greater universe. Supreme Mathematics, conceptualised as a ‘universal language’ can be described in lay terms as a resource for constant cyclical growth and reflection through ten values of which the number 7 represents GOD. Specifically the Black (wo)Man. This can be explained i) There is no ‘creator God’ - the highest form of consciousness therefore, is divine, true, and living ii) The origins of all civilisation is Black People - all science, art, etc draws from Africa(ns) and communities that migrated very swiftly all around the globe (including Europe) and by modern standards, would be considered ‘Black People.’ Consider the significance of this to a population that had been enslaved for hundreds of years, and still yet not free in the USA. The anthropogeny makes sense.
The Five Percenters became a huge formative influence in Hip-Hop culture, and colloquialized the deityfication of friends. ‘Peace God!” was heard on records from Wu Tang to Noreaga, and for a young Pakistani kid who had previously just heard Sufi Qawalli singers call each other God.. this was mindblowing.
The forRmyula in Mr India allows invisibility. Kinda fitting considering Master Fard’s folklore. It is possible that he travelled from India. He may or may not have been a silk merchant. He was possibly a Future Paki.
|2| mogambo getting chuffed holding globes gloss from emery
Mogambo is the fairground blowing up; guided missile hoarding; lava pit lacky chucking; throne reclining; supervillain underground lair residing; arms smuggling; one token white guy friend having; manically grinning; terrorist villain of Mr India. His catchphrase is ‘Mogambo Khush Hua’ which semantically means ‘Mogambo is pleased’ (and hilariously, literally it means ‘Mogambo is Happy!). Mogambo is happy when evicting orphans from a beach front house. He is happy when his soldiers jump at command into his laval pit yelling ‘Hail Mogambo!’ He is happy when his ICBMs are ready to destroy India. This guy really takes pleasure in wanton purposeless evil. ‘Chuffed’ is a colloquialism used ironically that I first heard loads in secondary school by Black kids when the were takin the piss out of someone who was over-happy and extra*.. my white friends used it standardly. I do both. How’s that for a ninjastar codeflux outta nowhere?
*Extra - Also from the African community of the Caribbean
|3| no beef lathurr thee jaahket in the S’aventies
‘Lathurr thee jaahkets’… every desi Uncle has a pic somewhere looking like some Miami Vice character in a leather jacket. 70s Balsall Heath/South Brum in general… really want to make a film set there. From how mixed my own uncles/aunts friendship circles was for decades; the ‘no beef’ things alludes to a better unity but also simply that: Hindus didn’t really eat beef so culturally Pakistanis who were a former part of India and in close proximity to Hindu communities; didn’t really bother with it as a staple either.
S’aventies is how first gen south asian migrants say it. How I said it as a kid. And real desis fluent in their English accent will still desify their English words when speaking their mother tongue. It’s a must or you’re a fake ass. Also, this EAL phoneme of ‘e’ is also present in some Caribbean accents (and others too).
 molotovs slogged like chukkay at the A’nemies
Before nuclear families mobilised upwards through the echelons of Britain’s economic class system; Pakistanis, Indians and Bangladeshis kept with the traditions of their mother land and loved a good riot. For the righteously furious; Molotovs were a rage against the governmental machines of politics; racism and corruption. Cricket is also a great love of the subcontinent and a ‘Chukka’ is a 6er. Home run baby. In slang, I may say that someone hit a ‘chukka’ if they just performed excellence; or exceeded expectations fantastically. A slogger is a technically lacking batsman but effective for short periods at ‘slogging’ quick 4s and 6s haphazardly, usually before quickly being caught out. (Caught out there!)
 before hearing tupac, ummi called me a tHAgg
The Rap Thug was popularised via mainstream Hip-Hop and its cultural propagation by Tupac Shakur who also had a group called T.H.U.G L.I.F.E. “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody.” Other rappers such as Onyx, DMX, Bone Thugs n Harmony, Noreaga et al invoked a Thug Life of some sort as a part of their persona caches. Later The Rap Thug became a hyper-masculinised macho personality as parodied (and ultimately purged) by The Boondocs; but still continues to be used as a racist synonym for ‘Black Man aged between 12 and 60’ by the US and other media.
In Britain, ‘thug’ became most associated with violent; drunk; obnoxious, racist, laddish, former National Front football hooligans.
In urdu/punjabi/hindi, the word ‘tHAgg' was used to describe a swindler, con artist or deceiver. From Bollywood films; i learned that the original Thaggs were road bandits… horses and wagons and robberies. Then later I watched docs and read books about how the Indian Thugees were a 700 year plus fraternal order of decentralised roving groups with diverse vales, who traced their idealogical lineage back to the Goddess Kaali Ma. Thugees folklore stated that they were born of the sweat Kali shed in battle against the demon Raktabija and so the cult took it upon themselves for obscure reasons to be humanity’s saviour’s. Muslim Thugees (yup was there from the beginning) would even invoke blood drinking, life giving hindu Goddess Bhavani as a human subordinate to Fatima, to retain their monotheism, whilst killing their targets. The order grew over centuries into an organised and sophisticated network of professional robbers and heavies; and with increasing military links were kind of like a Ninja Mafia as they would lure their victims in disguise. They were a special thorn in the British Raj’s backside; which is what led to their ultimate dwindling. Recent Bollywood blockbuster Thugs of Hindostan has a couple of very cool setpieces; but was such a missed opportunity with its goofy Pirates tone and lack of delivery after initial promise.
My mother called me many things, but she didn’t every actually call me a Thug.
 for the bullets dipped in pig grease, who robbed ya wagons cuz?
Indian soldiers forced into fighting for the British Raj rebelled and rioted (yay!) after finding out that their bullets were dipped in pig fat (an affront to vegetarian Hindus and swine defying Muslims alike). Actor Aamir Khan (also from Thugs of Hindostan, Lagaan) does enjoy licking shots at the British Empire whenever he can.
 first things first mannnn panga laya sabtho burre nal
On Wu Tang Clan’s Protect Ya Neck’, Ol Dirty Bastard rhymes: ‘First things first man, you’re fucking with the worst, I be stickin pins in ya head like a fuckin’ nurse.’ I suggest folks listen to that whole song and deconstruct what they hear (that ODB couplet has SEVERAL layers of meaning) but what Im doing on this song is quoting that famous line verbatim - but half way literally translating to punjabi.
The tradition of allusion is common in all form of poetry. in Pakistani folk music, vocalists often sing verbatim lines of esteemed poetry. In Hip-Hop, rappers will weave homages to other emcees into their writing, by interpolating iconic lyrics within their own verses. Dozens of rappers, including Black Thought and Tupac, have repeated Rakim’s ‘taking off my coat, clearing my throat’ line, for example.
|8| uncle doctor suiyyy stickin in where the headaches from
We had a non blood related ‘Uncle’ called Doctor Suyy which means Needle. He was a sagely, older Muslim gentleman who lived in Balsall Heath; dabbled in the occult and also happened to be one of Birmingham’s first registered acupuncture therapists. Anyways yeah, everyone called him Doctor Suyy or ‘*insert his name here* Needles.’ Anyways, needles upon head will make you look like Pinhead
 going gunga maa ya mucca, not the ultimate
The Islamic Mecca of Mecca is the holiest of places to Muslims. The river Ganges is sacred to Hindus. Baba Bulleh Shah (RIP in Kasur, 1757) was a punjabi sufi poet whose poetry was ubiquitous in our punjabi Pakistani household through paintings and qawaali/ghazal singers. My uncle did paintings of him with quotes just cuz. Dude was a radical who wrote polemics against religious orthodoxy and has a poem:
“Going to Makkah is not the ultimate. Even if hundreds of prayers are offered
Going to River Ganges is not the ultimate, Even if hundreds of cleansing (Baptisms) are done
Going to Gaya is not the ultimate, even if hundreds of worships are done
Bulleh Shah, the ultimate is when the “I” is removed from the heart!”
These poets would often write themselves in the third person or shout out their friends or lovers (ref: Rumi always hollering at Shamz)
 found the 9th perfection, that’s the buddha uppercut
In Buddhist traditions, the Noble Eightfold Path routes you to Nirvarna and escape from this realms cycles. Addicts use an adapted 8 step path to be free of their addition. Company Flow had a ill song called ‘8 steps to Perfection.’ Whilst we still in Samsara… can consider the additional two folds, of which the 9th is a form of insight. In Samsara this personal wreckoning and return to purpose… call it the Buddha Uppercut.
 patterned calico in the bangla in the valley of
 yoga pose sweet when done bring the kambal love
Calico…bungalow…yoga…and a kambal is a blanket… words from Hindi/India
PLO Ginuwine, kundalini sufi
There’s a picture of Ginuwine where he is wearing a keffiyeh looking earnest. Method Man and Wu had a song called ‘PLO Style’ as they would rock keffiyehs too. Hence PLO Ginuwine. The spirit coils of energy known in vedic tradition baked into a cookie with mystic islamic elements. With Pakstan sharing almost all of its geographical history with India, it is inevitable that there will be organic cross pollinations of culture
RNA intertwined, kehl of ital kursi
RNA just made me think of mother code. The Ayat Al Kursi is a chapter in the Qu’ran about the the majesty of Allah and how everyone and everything else is incomparable (Master of Ceremonies.… ). Al Kursi means Throne. Kursi in punjabi/urdi means ‘chair’ though so us cousins found it funny that there was a whole chapter in the Qu’ran about a chair. ‘Khel’ means game. ‘Ital’ (as I’ve spelled in the lyric) is how we pronounced ‘ayat al’ in Punjabi when you say i fast, which sounds like the Jamaican patois word ‘ital’.
sorry to bother you im pleased to get through to you
‘Sorry to Bother You’ is a film by Boots Riley starring Lakeith Stansfield as a telemarketer who has learned - as any one more than mildy melanated who has worked in telesales can attest to.. the ‘whiter’ your voice/accent sounds; the more sales or leads you get. So you code switch hard. It’s quite simple. ‘Sorry to bother you’ is the most common sentence repeated.
my avataarrs a mix of sultan rai and vishnu
In Hinduism, an Avatar was a human or animal manifestation on Earth to fight evil. Sultan Rai is a punjabi Pakistani actor who embodied all the burly machoisms of his era and exacted vengeance upon many enemies. Vishnu is the preserver of the world. It would look cool as an in-game avatar.
oy tu mere badal tho daffo o
This is a direct punjab translation of the opening line of Method Man’s eponymous ‘M.E.T.H.O.D. MAN’ ‘hey you, get off my cloud!’ Method Man says its about smoking and he adapted it from Bootsy Collins the pioneering/legendary bassist and vocalist of Parliament Funkadelic, and instrumental in James Brown’s sound. Bootsy himself got the line from Rolling Stones ‘Get off My Cloud.’ Who got everything from Black people themselves. Loops.
toddlers in Kasur was given their own buffalos
In the town of Kasur, there were buffalos everywhere. And households would save up for a buffalo as a source of milk income/ shit patties for fertilizer steaming on walls everywhere. Little toddlers were adept at controlling a giant buffalo. That was amazing to see.
round table builders, dont include chamcha folks
In urdu/punjabi a ‘chamcha’ is a yes-man. Literally means spoon.
after show nasha 4am food Moseley Road
Birmingham has few places beyond a certain time where you can eat food thats tasty and wont kill you. Zaffs on Moseley Road has often been graced post show or other adventure and they’ll stay open til 4am. Clean up and be open a few hours later. Brum stuffs.
yeh year 7 had to flip the whole syntax
In year 7 i arrived in a secondary school where I was one of not many kids who spoke like they were from the Pakstani ends. I started adapting my own English to ‘proper’ speech. I read all the fucking time as a kid so my vocabulary and comprehension was advanced; but I spoke how most Pakistani kids who grew up in Balsall Heath/Sparkhill/Sparbrook. This adaptive practice proved to become a skill, tool, resource and privilege.
babel fish arrival chip gift the globe giffgaff
The Tower of Babel’s planed height and building community’s arrogance offended God so much that he cursed the people with different languages so they could not communicate any more and the project fell apart. In Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is a British sci fi comic novel where one device is a ‘Babel fish’, which when implanted in the ear allows folks to communicate across any language in the universe. I perceive the MCU as working off of this principle. ‘Giffgaff’ is possibly a celtic scottish word that means ‘exchange of world.’ Ive imagined an implant chip that allows everyone in the world to communicate in like. Would YOU like that?
Pizza Haq score maximum taste impact
Pizza Haq do amazing paninis, pizzas and mix meat grills. Haq means TRUTH in arabic.
jalabis over sweet surprised they leave the face intact
aka Diabates Pretzels
Pathay saare chakdhe, bandoook yaar rakhde
‘Chakdhe pathay!’ is a hype punjabi phrase oft heard on bhangra songs: an imperative instruction to ‘chuck the planks!’ - meaning, get so hype that you rip the planks out the floor/walls/roof and dash them emphatically… ‘tear the roof off’ is a common hiphop prase…’bandook yaar rakhde’ means ‘mate leave the gun.’ ‘Leave your nines at home bring your skills to the battle’ is an iconic Jeru the Damaja lyric.
galactus duniya daff lithi, ussi saray udd gayy
Trans: Galactus scoffed down the Earth, we all flew away.
Kushi In a rolled form saqia aur pilaa day
Kushi means happiness. Kush is cannabis. ‘Saqia Aur pilaa Day’ is a Sufi qawaali song by Sabri Brothers where they compare wines of the Earth and metaphysical realms and ultimately none taste as fine as the wine born from a very specific kind of devotion and anguish - though if you know anything about sufi shrines, you know certain Sufi cats are smoking and drinking as much as my rap group anyway….
No sadhana, im in a crew formed without saaye
There is a 1950s Bollywood film called ‘Mera Saya’ with a title song that is so haunting and beautful. It’s sung by a dead ghost wife of a very sad husband. Essentially the poetry is that ‘no matter where you are, my shadow will will always be with you’, - a spiritual presence so to speak. Im in a crew called: Shadowless. ‘Sahdana’ is the name of the actress who is in the ‘My Shadow’ film.
Mohenjo-daro city o.g Black Bageera
Mohenjo-daro was a city built by the Black Indus Valley Civilisation around 2500bce in what is modern day Sindh, Pakistan. This region of Pakistan and NW India was a web of city networks that dramatically disappeared around 2000BC, when it is understood that mass migrations from Central Asia had arrived into the region… In recent years Bollywood set a film in this era and exclusively cast light skinned, light eyed leads. Please search ‘mohenjo-daro’ dancing girl/sculptures for comparison.
In the Jungle book, which was one of my favourite racist cartoons; animals are named after their hindi nouns. Baloo is Bear. Sher Khan means Tiger Khan. Bageera is Panther. Imagining an early Wakanda in the Indus Valley Civilisation.
Urmila lighting up tanhaas in Rangeela
Rangeela. Tanha Tanha. Urmila. SNM.
Sathe pe sathaa, new gods on a panzer ya
Ref: Line 1. Sathe pe sathaa means ‘7 on a 7.’ As in cards. And also a famous film starring Amitbh Bachin and Hema Malini.
Tuy wich goon nay thai kaawan nau saantha
Oh Man. The best semantic translation for this is ‘you ain’t got shit in your arse and you’re hollering at flies.’ This takedown was used my mother on us ALL the damn time. It was designed as a Icarus experience. Once this started rolling of her tongue, that’s it you lost already.
By Juice Aleem
The first zine, Code Switching, was created by Charlotte Bailey (@charlottewithink_on Instagram) heads the Birmingham chapter of Laydeez Do Comics. The track, "In Flux", was created by Zaeb Dust. The second zine, Flux Code, was created by Juice Aleem (@aleeminati on Instagram). The Codes of the Flux zine is a collaboration between the #Slanguages project and Afroflux. This blog is a report of material first posted on the Afroflux website.