Monday, 16 November 2009

Awards and The Coliseum


Going underground is what our work prep. feels like; contact with the world at large being via my phone, with its tiny screen only allowing me to view blogs while squinting and shaking it at the same time. I often tried to comment but for some reason my on screen keyboard seems to have been made by Lilliputians with a sense of humour. Clicking anything makes the page expand and contract, double clicking makes me type in Danish, do I speak Danish? My phone seems to think so.

So alas, I am back in the realm of the living on a mild November day and gearing up to read what I’ve been missing. As for those who messaged, love you. This post is in two parts; the first, passing on awards because they are “about timely” and the second a youtube sight that can only be called … well, you’ll see.

I have tried not to repeat awards for those that already have them; I know the "rules" involve one word answers to questions, etc, but I was never very good with rules or monosyllabic answers. I choose to pass them on in appreciation and love, unconditionally.

The "Deborah" for Laurel, Pamela, Jennifer, Renee, French Fancy, Vanessa and Purple Flowers.

The "Kreative Blogger" for Lori, Diane, Heavenly Housewife, Phoenix, Victoria, Debra, Corinna, Dzintra, Jacqueline and Des.

Above you will find a feast to suit any mood, be it intellectual, emotional, decorative, culinary, cultural or simply those that bring a spark as they share. Thank you for being who you are so openly.



In complete contrast, the following youtube video may surprise. It’s one of the first things I saw on going back online to a reasonably sized screen. I want to write about it objectively, if that is possible. I can attest to never seeing anything like it.

The centre of attention is footballer, Elizabeth Lambert of the New Mexico University team. The sight of this girl kicking, punching, pulling hair, tripping up opponents and tripping them up again has flamed through youtube with a vigour worthy of the cheesy wedding dance couple.

This is the most surprising, feisty and ferocious bit of (sports) violence that people have witnessed for some time. One of the kindest people I know viewed this and burst out laughing. While offensive, the complete incredulity of the clip brings forth a shock that is sated by laughter. It is hard to believe that it is real. It’s too cartoon-like, too "Street Fighter", too.. masculine?

As of now, the youtube view count is hurtling past one million. The comments alone reveal a snapshot of the world at large,

"She was provoked", "What a bully!", "Go girl", "Thug life!" (apparently a positive).

Besides the obvious calls for a referee (where was she/he?), the majority of Elizabeth’s defenders appear to be male and her opponents, female. In an age where equality is King, when a woman produces a performance mirroring Vinnie Jones’ - former model for football hooligans in my country, it is electrifyingly vulgar.

Perhaps it takes an act of sports barbarism or rough play according to which side you are on, to wake people up. Violence of this kind is rarely made real to the majority of genteel viewers. One expects it to be the start of gang fights (when they can’t find their blades) or the result of a crass late night gone wrong. One does not expect "Thug life!" to come in a blonde, middle class and female package.

Elizabeth Lambert is the bitter pill and antidote to an unshockable zeitgeist. Perhaps the transplanted coliseum show playing across our screens is just what we need in order to ask how far violence is going. She could be your daughter or sister, that is the piercing reality when the laughter dies down.

So could her toppled opponents. Within forty seconds of footage, the college girls have been catapulted to infamous worldwide attention. The last thing they expected to learn besides their major and minor was how to take a thorough kicking, in public too. It is neither their fault nor their infamy but the memory is sure to remain more acute now. The fact that a mea culpa has been issued is of little use to them as is her indefinite suspension.

As for Thug Life Lizzie, we have not heard the end of her after that apology. Rather than vilify her, it would be wise to ask where this anger comes from, is it a symptom of our times? I can’t help but believe that condemning something makes us stop debating, stop figuring out what lies beneath and what we can do to change it. Condemning it also makes the taboo grow acceptable and more palatable, because in our world, taboo attracts attention.

We have not seen the last of that kind of performance either. Expect youtube parodies to come pouring in with carrion crow efficiency. One can only hope that the "Why?" can be answered before the world numbs itself with laughter.


Sunday, 25 October 2009

Question Mark

A graceful curve, a succinct point. One flow here to a pause, followed by a simple dot. The question mark; a wonderful addition to our world.

It is not about the look of this object but what it represents. "Question everything.". That is a human birthright. What separates as from animals if not our reason? At the heart of reason is the quest for knowledge, inner and outer. Curiosity is the antidote to ignorance.
Curiosity is a question mark.
I can imagine a long queue of human beings milling along a busy city street. The view of them is from above as they walk to and fro. Over each head, a clear question mark follows like a punctuation halo. Some are as clear and bright as an oil slick, others are dulled, many have their forms nearly scratched through although the shape remains the same.

We are born curious creatures. We learn at a rate that a computer could not hope to quantify before we even understand what a computer is. Curiosity and reason are as inbuilt as love. I don't doubt that in years to come the curiosity gene will be discovered with a big "I told you so" written all over it. The truth is the gene is unimportant; exercising curiosity is what really matters.

Time seems to go so fast that we are being dragged along with it like barnacles holding fast to a speeding ship. The temptation for the human being in this state is to accept, anything. Be it the status quo, the safest option or whatever is handed to them on a plate. Sometimes all of the above.

Question everything. If you see an irrational world, question it, dig deeper than what you are told is the answer. If you yourself have an irrational thought, question yourself.

I discovered recently that the question mark was also known as the interrogation point. Like a full stop with attitude. But the "interrogation point" sounds apt. Interrogate life, question the why and the wherefores. Look behind the veneer of stated fact and ask the difficult questions as well as the easy ones.

It was not too long ago that I was pleased with an ivory tower, filled with exclamation marks and full stops. I questioned nothing if I felt it would interfere with my ivory tower. Most of all, I never questioned if I was truly happy. Difficult questions are easy to avoid because we know deep down the answer might serve as a challenge. A challenge to re-examine, change or even grow.

To grow is something adults are unused to. The mind and heart are as settled as the flesh and bones they inhabit. We remember the pain of teething and fear the same again, perhaps more acutely this time. It is a genuine fear. But we should all remember that teething was a temporary stage that passed and was forgotten like a fallen autumn leaf. We gained something new and better after it. We gained a freedom we had not anticipated but gladly welcomed.

Curiosity is just the same. It awaits, ready to be tapped into. It is everywhere and in everything. It enables us the chance to grow before we cannot grow anymore. It gives us a gift to not just react and follow, but to reason, decide and choose what we will. The question mark is a friend on the tip of your tongue.


Thursday, 15 October 2009

Come Fly with Me

Thanks are in order before I begin this post. Three lovely ladies graced me with sweet awards on the sidebar, Shell, Vanessa and Lori, your blogs are unique and I thank you for the warmth and sweetness you bring here. Do check out their blogs if you have not already. Now, for mentioning something about me not mentioned before (as asked):

I would like to share a private dream with you - as yet unfulfilled;
I've always wanted to fly. Preferably in a small plane, over Africa, Asia, anywhere that is rich with landscape, colour and wonder. To be a skilled aviatrix is something I don't see happening for a while, time being one reason. But sometimes the dream catches me softly and I allow myself to smile in its familiar hold.

I want to know what it is like to control and master a delicate and precarious engine. I want to know the feeling of human melding with wing and horizon until you are one motion. Most of all I seek the dream of soaring skillfully, as if I was born in the air.

Dear all, how to describe why I am always touched by this film sequence, where even the tiny screen does it some justice. If you get goosebumps and your heart swells, I understand. From the overhead view of Africa to John Barry's golden music, this is beauty designed to make every human ache.

May I present to you three aviatrix (except Amelia, I intend to write a post for her alone) who were not only capable of all of the above but were TRUE examples in their courage, dedication and quest for adventure. These are real pioneers. They had no publicists, pop songs or photoshopped spreads, they were only themselves. Lovely.

A brilliant and feisty girl from Texas, who after being denied flying lessons because of her colour, saved and travelled to France in 1921, where they allowed women and African-Americans to obtain the difficult international pilot's license. She was the first American woman to gain it. She returned to The States, aged twenty-nine, to much acclaim and continually worked hard to be a flyer, activist and lecturer across the country. The first African-American aviatrix proclaimed, "I refused to take no for an answer".

This was true for Elly Beinhorn-Rosemeyer (see last post). She started off as an only child with a thirst for life and a desire to break through the city walls surrounding her. Long distance-flying became her dream despite opposition. In 1931, aged twenty-three (two years after gaining her license) she flew solo from Europe to Africa, carrying a mosquito net and water. On her return to Germany, she pointed to an Atlas and said that she would like to try, "Somewhere on the right"; this was Elly. She then flew over Mt. Everest, Bali and Australia then returned to the African coast, the last time with her husband. She turned in her license aged seventy-two voluntarily, knowing she had tasted her dreams.

Imagine the early days of aviation. You are like Columbus in a small drag plane. All you have is a compass and basic instruments. In front is an open cockpit window and no roof. The wind rushes past your face, bellowing at you, as you lift and lift higher into the air. Surrounding you is the sky, intimate and vast.

Ascha Donnels, Californian aviatrix, remembered on her ninety-ninth birthday:
“I could imagine that I was sitting on the edge of a cloud, looking out over the whole world. In those days there was no smog, and you could smell the fragrances of oranges, whatever you were flying over, at all altitudes."

Achsa: “I had no sense of fear. In fact…when they learned about it (first flight), my family said I had no sense, period.”

I wonder what it was like; below you have left not only reality as you know it, but the thoughts of the age. Very few people if any believe you should be up there. To them a woman in jodhpurs is hideous, let alone a woman in a plane. They cannot believe your choice and yet, some of them admire you for it. A lonely place is knowing you are doing the right thing although few understand.

But up in the air, the wind is knocking the truth back into you, "It doesn't matter" and it really doesn't. You are electrified and more free than most on this planet. You inhale adventure and light. The engine roars its encouragement, you go higher, "This is the world and I am its dove". Everything seems minute below, but you feel oddly protective of it, somehow more enchanted. It is true that distance makes the heart grow... not fonder, but aware of good.

I think that flight taps into our consciousness in a manner few things can match. On the one hand, it is spectacular to roam the planet as a winged being.

On the other hand, it serves as metaphor: Striving and reaching higher than you thought possible; facing oneself at a dizzy height; finally, mapping your journey and taking charge of destiny. Wherever it takes you, at least you follow a map and compass. So this is my dream to be one with the sky and use my compass wisely. I hope you have enjoyed your flight.


Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Old Age, you Rockstar

"Breathing, listening, being", fantastic, alles in ordnung, all is well. The sun is shining and I feel odd posting this as my mood is lifted by the sparkly view from my window. This was written the day before and is illustrated by the subject of my next post - pioneering women... go with it :)

Let me be the first to remind us today, sweet gratitude!

A reminder is needed: I have been confronted by the smite we all know as the "woman's column", everywhere I turn I face the dreaded false distraction of women AND men somehow putting down women for the awful crime of, wait for it.... growing old. There I said it. "Old", say it, let it curl around your tongue like a forgotten flavour.

This is after all what the "fear" is; equalling old with "forgotten", "past it", "sell by date" - I am still shocked, even now, that we can use this kind of language to describe one of the most BEAUTIFUL gifts in the world, the experience of life in it's many seasons, growing, changing, living.

So this will be an unusual turn for me, a slightly tongue in cheek look, perhaps a kitten's rant in defense of ageing.

I will add that grey (gray for my American friends) hairs don't count; we have lots of beautiful natural dyes on this planet used by pre and post grey-haired people, equal opportunity dyeing for all; moving along.

Now some of you may be aware that I am "relatively" young, by that I mean, no longer a teenager nor am I old enough to be a district attorney... I think. Find whichever age you think that is and guess away. Because that is beside the point, how old am I? Who cares? I won't deny that for years I always wanted to be older, as if something magical was going to happen then. This only stopped when I hit eighteen and then the facet of mortality and an immature fear of revolving years nipped at my heels. But I am over that now, have been for some time, thank God.

For those that still have this superficial fear of ageing drummed into them, my dears, consider the alternative? .... exactly.

For those that would like to take a time machine back (sometimes I would too, but only to meet all the wonderful people who've passed), not going to happen. I tried, they told me the science was impossible. Plus I think that, seriously... God does not need to do a "rinse, repeat" with our destinies.

And for those that would like to look like they did when they were younger, what good would it do you? And if that is the case then how far back do you want to go exactly? I could go as far back as age twelve in my head, hmm, I looked like a cute girl with the body of a twelve year old boy, no thankye.

Frankly, anything which is not naturally occurring that somehow makes you look twenty years younger, well that's surgery, CUTTING and it is just unreal. Sorry to state the obvious. In fact I look on that kind of surgery, the pull, tug, nip, tuck, disappear acts as self-harm. Harmful because they are there to make you THINK you need to look better than you do, you don't. They are also there to make you feel you are not good enough, you are more than good enough - you are fantastic. They are lastly there to turn ageing into the millennial money-making disease.

"The plague, the plague"

"What? Swine Flu?"

"No! old age, quick, call your surgeon".

I don't wish to blame the media. Start, stop. It's been done. One does not have to invite a rude person to dinner neither is one compelled to buy into that shtick. I accept that youth is adorable but it is not King Solomon's Mines. The real treasure is the face of wisdom, love and understanding. All of which grow and are magnified by greater experience.

As for wrinkles? Beautiful. My favourite are the crinkly eyes when someone smiles. I look forward to them, can't beat 'em, don't want to, so join 'em. I look forward to all the things that we are told to shun and fear out of ignorance. Dear friends, let us just stop buying into the paranoia, the cosmetics have made enough money off of it and do we really care if 10 out of 23 women prefer retinal a to peptides?

To emphasise, cellulite? fine, bring it on. Change is good. Stretchmarks? groovy. Case in point: A beautiful friend (in her twenties) was wearing jeans to a tea party, complaining about stretchmarks, she then with one finger displayed some on her upper hip, uninvited. Following my initial surprise, "Cool" I ventured, "It's like a Zebra print", she got the joke; but the truth is I see nothing wrong with it. Look at it another way - nature's tattoo (!) People make out like these are sinful scars, "Horrible, horrible, pass me the cocoa butter", why? If they are scars, then let them be the battle scars of womanhood. Wear them proudly, you made it!

We all know it's not always easy being female and it does not get any easier. I know I live life happily, but please be aware, it is not an exercise in floating with my eyes closed. I worked to get this way, or get back to being this way as I believe we are all born with the brightness gene. It just gets dimmed sometimes.

Yet, back to taboo stretchmarks, bring them on too. Zebra print me, I don't mind. In fact, I'll help it along; tonight I'll take an extra scoop of ice cream, make that two extra scoops. Anything I can do to impede the madness that is "FEAR OF OLD AGE" and the natural body, I shall do. No sacrifice/scarcrifice; sorry, had to.

Lastly, please think back to some of the most amazing and graceful people in this world. Where would we be without those who lived without fear and delusions? People whose courage made us smile and inspire us to go forward be it on a shared path or simply by the gift of their pearlescent quotes. I wonder what they would think of the petty 21st century concerns about something completely natural and precious. I wonder how incredulous they would be. Most likely they would pity everyone. Those that fear ageing and those growing up to fear it.

Below follows Audrey at her most beautiful:

Please, let us remember that this life is a gift as is every.... single.... wrinkle one earns during it. Kiss it, love it, embrace it. A certain fifties male actor dropped this ditty, "Live fast, die young and leave a good looking corpse". Well, he got 2 out of 3. I still think it is the silliest line ever. That along with, "Why buy the cow if you can milk it?". Sorry, Jimmy. I also feel sorry for anyone who chases the mirage that a plumped this or a tighter that, equals happiness.

I thank God for the graceful gift of living, I pray that we all live a RIPE old age, full of sweetness, full of truth and full of giving. Serving white and dark chocolate ice cream tonight, feel free to join me.


Sunday, 13 September 2009

Autumn on my Cheek

Autumn, you rush in like a kiss brushing the cheek, yet leaving an impression.
Autumn, you call to me like a long lost friend;

"Remember me? How my colours evoke silences? How you taste the minty air on your lips? No more heat for you my friend, still I bring warmth... I unearth your sweaters, your scarves, your happy shiver. "

Autumn reminds that we all love a little surprise, a spicy breeze captured in the cocoon womb of our jackets - worn and comfortable - or newly bought, "For me? Why, thank you" says Autumn, "I always like it when you dress up".

"But, oh dear soul" soothes Autumn, whom shall herein be referred to as "A",
"I am more than a change of look, sweet as it is, nay, superficial fare am I not.

I am your reminder, your conscience, your special season. I show that life is not endless Summer nor forever Winter. I laugh at Spring, your fleeting friend, for I am "A", your gentle one.

I quicken your pace, as Winter saunters, and there is much to be done. The languid days of Summer have taken their own holiday, after kindly hosting yours. But "A" is here, the loyal nudge along the cycle of life. "

"Remember, remember" whispers "A", "Time is the fleeting season, circling once before it passes".

Love, live, renew... wrap up warm, sip your steaming cup and ponder your map of life. Then smile as another breeze raises a gentle kiss across your cheek, whispering "Remember, love".

Our time on earth is but a raindrop in an ocean of always.


Thursday, 3 September 2009

A Little Light Reading

I love poetry and poets. I love the heart that articulates the soul and mind. You are all so sweet to share with me, I wanted to share one of my favourite poets with you, E.E. Cummings: Truth seeker and pacifist, genius and exuberant heart. I normally recite silently; this is my reading I taped lo-fi into a mobile phone and mingled with some photographs you may have seen and some that are new to you. Feel free to tell me what you think on here or on youtube. May all your days be filled with poetry.


Monday, 24 August 2009

New beginnings, ascending

I hold a bird in my hands. This bird of love. It looks up with sad eyes and I notice then that its wing is injured. Whose fault was this? Yours, mine or ours? It doesn't matter now. I must heal it without fail.

On waking one day, I find, not when I tell it to, but when the bird tells me, that it is well again - I can let go, let it fly, let it be. The eyes are no longer sad, but trusting, aware, forgiving. "Forgive me", I still say. For whatever we do or don't do that causes pain, we humans should always ask forgiveness. There is value in releasing hurtful pride, and allowing truth to be our friend. Acknowledge the wrong. This could be apathy, forgetfulness or worst of all, ignorance. Be truthful that it might have been your fault and if it wasn't, there is something to be said for healing the wound that isn't your doing.

Love is one of the most precious things we can offer. How easy it is to forget the love we see every day, the love we share, the love we hold. How foolish it can be to look for it elsewhere, either out of sadness or even boredom. The brave heart understands the trust in its hands. The mind reminds it to look at it, every day, every night.

"Forgive me" are powerful words. With them, we lay ourselves open to love and - acknowledge the weakness we are programmed to hide in this motorised world. We are not machines, mistakes will be made. The lesson of wisdom when this happens is what you do afterwards. Do you ignore it? Turn your back on it? Or heal the wing?

Years might have passed, or simply days before such questions are asked of ourselves. The important thing is to ask them. Believe in the good and let it come through you as light that rests within us all. Ready to shine, glisten or murmur through your skin ever so quietly.

Love is a tender bird, strengthened by our actions. Love is the bird in flight. Treated well, it can transcend time and trials. Know yourself and those you love by understanding - without judging. Loving freely soon follows.


Saturday, 15 August 2009

Sunrise arise

I have just returned from a topsy-turvy two weeks. Nothing exciting - yet. A humongous cold for days. I dragged myself out of bed, just to fall back into it. The past few days was spent racing to catch back the week I needed to make up for and how.

So much time away makes me feel like the roadrunner with a to-do list. Chasing me is the wolf of schedules and consciousness. I somehow feel guilty having a cold, then drift away from that, as all time is precious. I am here, better - and there is no gift like the present. I hope you have been well. Please take your vitamins. Thank you for the kind emails, it is lovely to be thought of and remembered.

If you ever need a breather in a week which is crazy hectic, I recommend Belgian chocolate cake and mp3's of a comedian/poet - my current favourite is American and once called himself the "Dark Poet" - ironic as his thoughts exhaled enlightenment. I then recommend you put those away as they can be far too distracting.

Above you see a beautiful hinted sunrise I captured in a defiant blur against my cold. Missing the day against the drawn curtains, I nearly climbed over my roof, camera in hand, wearing pyjamas (thank God: neighbours/sleeping) and snapped these few delicious pink hazes.

The night before I was woken up by my own girly cough to find a light bellowing through my curtains like the beam of a lighthouse. Thinking someone was missing the point of night, I inched toward the window to discover no jokester with a searchlight inviting Batman or aliens but... the moon. How beautiful. How incredibly unexpected and welcoming. I forgot myself and the chilly night and just had to reach for my camera and take her picture.

It mesmerises me how I can look up and somewhere on that sphere is a human footprint. Likely Neil's, untouched by time or weather as of course, there is no atmosphere up there. But there is down here, and there is time, reaching to us, calling, reminding all how the sun sets and rises and we have to pursue our destiny or waste the breathing day. Your shared words on "Love Letters" touched me deeply. I love you all, you feel that. Those who don't ... read back.

Have a beautiful Sunday and every day.



Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Love Letters

Vanessa, a sweet soul (Vanessa's Runway) paid me a kind compliment two posts back and then mentioned my possibly writing love letters.

I must admit, I've never written one or a love poem. Received letters and poems? Perhaps. Modesty forbids one from discussing details. The truth is, in my mind, those didn't count, because the emotion (carefully avoiding the word - love) was not reciprocated.

I truly admire people who can profess love through a letter, without knowing how the beloved receiver may react. It is brave, it is hopeful, sometimes it's just foolish. But I would rather encounter an honest fool than a dishonest vagabond. Did I just type vagabond? Alas must be the Browning influence.

Secretly too, sometimes, I peer out from under an emotional hat, wondering what it must be like to love the sender of a love letter. I've never been in love, not even close. I guard my heart carefully and want to be with one person and not waste a lifetime tasting the fall-aways. This may seem quaint and old-fashioned in this day and age, but I'm OK with that. Although I do tend to hear the chorus of "When one has so much love to give it would be a waste not to marry...". People mean well. Yet, one cannot force love, one cannot conjure chemistry or forge true understanding. It is so much easier to be friends than to know who your life partner should be.

So when I come across a love letter, a genuine profession of the beating heart, It moves me, in a sweet sad way that can only be compared to looking through glass at a beautiful sight you cannot touch. Then I close the shutters. And reality crowds in like welcome clouds. I am reminded how blessed I am, how gifted with good people and true love in other ways.

The rose you see above is a love letter. One picked by my father to give to my mother. After decades of marriage I am touched by how sweetly they can share love. In ways I cannot describe here, they bring an example for me to look up to. I also see it in my friends, a couple who have been through so much in a youthful marriage, perhaps the sum of challenges some face in decades and still their strength and faith revives and holds up their love. They are amazing to me. They make the choice to see the good in everyday and each other. I think the best examples of love to me are those who choose to work as a team, no matter what and make it them against life's inevitable tests. Perhaps that is the best love letter, the unwritten, never finished one. Where the pages are years and the words are their actions.

Love is such a delicate beautiful giver, of the heart and the mind. I am reminded that if anyone wants proof of God they need only think of love. I hope you can all take the time to treasure the soul that is entwined with yours today. Feel free to write a love letter, or even share it. This wonderland was made with love. So I guess, these posts are my journey but also, my love letter to you.


Monday, 20 July 2009

Doubles, anyone?

I got double-tagged. A truly lovely compliment from two adorable and bird-like ;) bloggers I admire - Laurel of HappySimpleLife and un bel Oiseau. I first came across Oiseau's ("Bird") blog a while ago and then Laurel's (who shares my adoration of Gatsby); I found that they have a winged obsession in common, remember Laurel?

I adore this award, it's so unfluffy and simple, it's a bit English too, which fits, so thanks! So the rules are, according to Laurel:

I need to copy the logo and place it on my blog (Right)

Link it back to the person who gave it to me (Which? I'll put both)

Pass it on to five fellow bloggers (Gladly)

List 10 things about myself (OK, this should be easy for a relatively anonymous blog)

Before I give my 10, I would like to pass this on to, in alphabetical order and with just one of their talents highlighted:

Anika - Book collector
Will Bryant- Artist/Illustrator

If you have been tagged, then I hope that we can find out 10 more things about you. I'm not sure what to write, so here follows a simple stream of consciousness.

My ten are:

1. I am an optimist with a reality hat on. I see the world as it is but rose-scented.

2. By the age of twelve, I had visited over forty countries. I love travel but have a nesting instinct.

3. I decided to be a writer early on after my love of reading. I decided to be a Filmmaker too aged sixteen after reading Orson Welles' biography by Barbara Leaming. He was a misfit and nothing else fits but film and words.

4. I choose my close friends carefully (sometimes after a minute) but am friendly to everyone. Life is too short and precious to be cold.

5. Last year I was faced with my own mortality. It was a tough time but brought me back to my true course; I quit my current work and decided to direct my own projects. Nothing teaches you more about reality than realising how short life is. I'm fine now.

6. Although I live by the city, I like oceans, lakes and mountains. Nature refreshes me, if I had a choice I would eat facing a view, all the time.

7. I don't drink.

8. I think Africa is the most beautiful, varied and mysterious continent. From Mozambique to Morocco, so earthy and ethereal.

9. I believe in God. My DNA is because of him, I'm grateful.

10. I don't know what to put for 10, I really don't. If you have read my blog and you know anything I can put there then let me know. Good or bad, I don't mind.


Monday, 13 July 2009

Recycled humour, now exporting.

Here is an unusual post from me. I rarely get to catch TV beyond the news and a really good documentary. So I am increasingly pleased with youtube, a virtual picnic of clips you can get in your inbox, choose or drop without having to sit through a precious half hour.

Thanks to them I get to share some new British comedy with you that you may be unfamiliar with. Humour is continually evolving here, but what I adore is that it never loses it's wit, irreverence or more to the point, kind satire; be it towards Churchill or the Church of England - the latter being the church King Henry VIII invented so he could legally get a divorce. Ahem. With that, please enjoy this comedy window with brief descriptions. I'm leaving the best until last but they're all quite good.

The following BBC clip comes from the naughty schoolboys in grown men's clothing known as Armstrong and Miller. This clip is one I like because of the literary references and tongue-in-cheek treatment of manuscript readings à la Byron, Shelley and Co.

We take a brief break from this presentation to bring you the following "advertisement" from Mitchell and Webb. Another funny pair who are rather similar to the above. Sometimes I feel like my country's entire comedy repertoire consists of the grown up antics of former public school boys (public school means private school in England, we call none-private schools, state schools). Happily this advert spoof needs no translation:

We return to regular transmission to
finish with Armstrong and Miller. Their funniest work is the spoofing of British WW2 Films and the stiff upper lipped pilots therein - only the language these characters use is current slangy "London street":

There's a brief foray into some laughs, let me know what you think.


Wednesday, 8 July 2009


I like listening, I adore people who listen without waiting to jump in. Although an endearing talker can make me smile; I'm sure you know someone like that, who is just fidgeting to speak, so you nod and then their words flow like pearls clattering down stairs.

I am slowly realising that there is an art to this life, and listening is another art within it; one to practice and attempt to perfect. Yes, I said perfect. I know we will never achieve that state, being flesh and fallible. Yet while knowing this and being freed from the myth of human perfection, why not aim for perfection? that way you can at least conquer the best you can do and exceed your own expectations.
This applies to listening.

It is also giving: Something to share without asking anything back, something you present, something that makes someone feel special. Listening ticks all of those boxes without coming in a gift-wrapped one.

As a child I was either incredibly shy and watchful, soaring with glee or chatting non-stop with those I felt comfortable with. Not unusual. But I recall listening in order to learn, absorb, soak in. The quiet moments taught me most. The expressions of adults as they pondered thoughts I could not reach, with emotions I could sense as keenly as fire or ice. As we grow older and savour the nuances of a deeper and wiser life, our beloveds have a lot more to say, a lot more to carry and also release.

Listening brings it's own rewards. At first the air changes. Literally. I can feel a tangible peace when someone listens and I listen back. The words that are spoken are absorbed. And still more goes on, we are expressing, "I am here", "I understand" and even "I love you" without having to say a word.

Time is so precious and one of our preconceptions is that we need to fill it to experience it; with speed, travel, music, parties. All of these things are extras, some of them wonderful extras but they cannot replace the gift of time, spent with someone, when you just listen.



Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Optimism - The Art of Looking Up

Optimists are the road sweepers of the soul. I had to look out the window after writing that - while my conscious self caught up with the inner - then smiled. You see, we're rather tame. We don't tend to do much drama, tear our hair out or scream into pillows. The idea of that just seems like a waste of energy. I would rather stare out at a beautiful view, reflect, maybe photograph it and share it with you. Like these ones from again - Morocco.

Optimism is not hard won by but some people do need to win it - back. I think that as children we were natural optimists. Open to the world and always looking up, peering at the sky, into a flower, staring at a melting ice cube.

Everything is fascination, everything is light and promising. To where does such an amazing viewpoint disappear sometimes? We sense and recognize it's passing either personally or in observation. Some of us are living examples of a life adequately lived with just a memory of complete happiness.

All is not lost. All is never truly lost. But, how to win it back? I think that one way is to step back from any distraction, sit down and just... think. Happiness is partly being reconciled with yourself. There is no one alive who is truly happy that is not true to themselves. So it might be good to reintroduce yourself to yourself. Who am I? What do I really want? Why am I here? From there you can search out your methods and tools to go forward. I found mine at the age of twenty-one and I am so grateful I did. Others will find their way, as long as they search it out.

There is such a life to be lived! And meaning like treasure to be unearthed; it would be a sad thing to leave this world with the epitaph, "I came for the food".

With regards to this world - realising you can't control it is an immense freedom. Observe this fact from a simple distance. Distance from anger, envy. Distance, from any negative reaction that springs like a struck match. This is not coldness; it affords you a truthful minute to look at things with clear rational eyes. I think that gives one more patience and ultimately compassion. Try controlling everything and you'll soon lose track of yourself and the point. Just, step, back.

It's hard to tell more without revealing. I used to live a life that glistened on top but was shallow underneath, yet had hugely complex feelings bartering for attention. Now it feels a lot deeper and incredibly simple. I just have to look up from time to time.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

1am in London

It's nearly 1am in London. Taking a break from editing to watch the news. The news is that another human being has left this earth, this time it's Michael Jackson. My thoughts go out to his family. Fifty is so young.

Suddenly the reglorification and gushing begins.
I am listening to newsreaders and contributors praising him highly, "Groundbreaker..Thriller, Peter Pan". How different to the past two decades.

I grew up listening to him, watching those mesmerising videos. To children, he was a larger than life figure that connected with them because of his vulnerability. It is not hard to see how this was exploited by others. If one looks at the bare facts, he had been "working" since the age of five. Most of his life was spent in the spotlight, how normal can you remain in that environment? So much has been rumoured about him. I hold the belief that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, somehow I wish the media would have upheld that basic human right.

He started as a child performer, became a superstar, was ridiculed like Quasimodo and is now back in the superstar books. He was simply a man, brother, father, son. As the swarm begins on the screen, I feel I must turn away. My thoughts go out to all the human beings who have left this plane today. Rest in peace.

Monday, 22 June 2009

All the World

"All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece but not too much."
~George Harrison

The morning began with these

Then these

I melted a little.

So it was my birthday, a day filled with love, beauty and laughter. I feel so blessed and thank them profusely. What to do with a relatively anonymous blog? I suppose post a snapshot of the periphery. Not the gifts, that would be tacky, although I'm itching to be tacky... but I shan't.

I was then told, nay, ordered "not to do a thing". This is hard for me.
A friend once asked me not to work too hard then added "Well, it's like asking Jesus not to cure the blind, isn't it?". So I allowed this one day of total pampering with no mind to work, writing or schedules. I felt somewhat useless. But lovely. Wrapping paper was strewn like confetti and a zaniness ensued that I had nothing to do with but delighted in gladly. The day of hugs and kisses included full stomachs with a surprise dinner of one of my favourites - Spaghetti Cioppino (pardon the blur - steam)

And was matched by

This berry-scrumptious creation arrived courtesy of Patisserie Valerie (est. 1926, they proudly boast). Together with a loved one they chucked their repertoire and came up with a new recipe of all my favourite things - fresh berries, ganache and what appears to be Belgium's entire supply of white chocolate. I am sorry to any diabetics, truly I am.

I love the effort that comes straight from the heart, not spectacle or show but pure love. It was a good day, so rhythmically good I almost got a headache.

After some delicate hour I floated off to bed, feeling like a princess. I just wish I remembered what I dreamt about...

Monday, 15 June 2009

Carnaby Street

Dear all, I've run away to join The Sixties.

And this man is about to run away with that outfit...

Saturday 12pm - London's Carnaby Street was transported back to when it was the hub of the Swinging Sixties.

For those unfamiliar with the street, a short film I grabbed off youtube plays below:

Although I am a child of the eighties and nineties, I adore The Sixties/60's (along with the thirties). So many "ies" in that sentence. The best music burst forth from that decade, The Who, The Beach Boys, Cat Stevens, The Kinks, Motown and John Barry - Mozart of the century. The poetry discarded form, the books broke barriers. Such a flood of creativity, colour and vivacity, while the rest of the world tried to cope with a new identity, a new era.

One of my favourite films is a little known gem from that time called "The Knack and How to Get It" - someone kindly put a preview up on the 'tube:

It spells out the struggle between new and old, wild and innocent, pretentious and truthful, it also sends up the era it exists in. This is the film I show to very special people on a rainy day in.

Back to Saturday; Londoners and tourists alike came for the spectacle. I liked it that those who experienced the era got to revisit it so fondly. A few even dressed for the occasion and brought their beautiful toys:

The most 60's Woman (not age wise, mind) was this lady, I want her choker:

The male equivalent was him:

A gigantic crowd suddenly gathered around a stage; they knew before I did that the highlight of the day was the sound of The Small Fakers, tribute band to (The) Small Faces.
If the point of the day was to celebrate the 1960's, then this band brought it home sweet home.

The drummer and Hammond organ/piano player were consummate professionals. The solid base player complemented the overly charismatic lead singer/guitar player.

The energy The Small Fakers brought was raucous and wide open, underpinned by serious musicality. The crowd, a mix of ages and tastes, was swept up by the music and good humour pouring from the stage. Classics from "Tin Soldier" to "All or Nothing" rocked out.
Who knew that one of the best live sounds in London would spring up in Carnaby Street? If they wrote some original material, I would film them. Do check them out, you might be as pleasantly surprised as I was.

After the encore, it was time to drive away and savour a Waterloo sunset. Wish you were here.