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.


Saturday, 6 June 2009

Onwards, beyond words

The plan was to post about the witticisms and evolution of slang and lingo. It was to be garnished with a picture of a silhouette. Instead it became something other, something else, because of two people.

I posted last about what we are told to be and who we really are, in part, the meaning of this journey. It's a constant exploration and interest and I am so pleased with your lovely and personal comments, thank you.
Lisa, your compliment was extraordinary. As is her dripping with charm blog, A Bloomsbury Life which also recently contained a picture of a silhouette (book cover); thus my change of mind on using a similar image.

The photographs you see are from my camera-fuelled voyage through Morocco, a truly amazing experience as much as a place. This was alluded to in the “Retour” post. I might just have to punctuate a season of posts with the pictures I took there.

I then read this comment from setyourselfonfire, who after reading the post decided to change her career course:

“I've just had the realisation about living my dreams. I've always chosen more practical things for the reason of being financially stable. But i've realised I can't do that any more because i don't put my all into the practical things because it's never something i'm passionate about. I've just made the choice to quit my job and follow my heart. I'm excited.”

Immediately, I had to get up and walk around. Then sit back down again.

I am pondering and processing what our hearts and our minds can do, when they spell out that meeting truthfully. Astounded; everything we say and do can release small ripples that grow in ways we have no idea of. That comment felt like the splash of a wave, coming back after I threw a pebble out to sea. I don't know what your life will be like, I just hope it will be beautiful. Sending out my prayers and love to everyone.