“They’ll talk to ya and talk to ya and talk to ya about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it’s gonna scare ’em.”

I’m very late to the Easy Rider party. 48 years late to be exact. But better late than never, as the old phrase goes. I watched this counter-culture classic yesterday after my sister rang me in raptures, having also just watched it for the first time. The film affected me quite a bit in a I just-had-a-profound-moment-of-existential-clarity kind of way, and I’ve been mulling it over ever since.

Released in 1969 to immediate critical and commercial success, Easy Rider stars Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper as bikers Wyatt and Billy, and follows their cross-country journey from California to Louisiana en-route to the New Orleans Mardi Gras, but really in pursuit of the ‘real America’.

Apart from being blown away by the incredible soundtrack (Jimi Hendrix Experience, Steppenwolf, The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane and many more) and the beautiful cinematography, what really struck a chord with me was the film’s scathing, yet poignant indictment on the political and social climate of the time. Nearly 50 years after its release, this movie and what it represents seems more relevant than ever – especially in this troubling era of Trump’s America. I am not an American citizen, but I am a global citizen with an opinion on the current administration and Leader of the Free World.

In Easy Rider, Wyatt and Billy initially find acceptance with a commune of hippies who are trying to live peacefully, and who just want to grow and harvest simple food for their simple tastes. But after riding off with a goodbye and psychedelic substances in their pockets, the two are denigrated and shunned by some of the people they meet along the way. The fact that Wyatt and Billy ride motorcycles, wear different clothes and have long hair, strikes fear into the hearts of many small-town folk who react with violence when faced with them.

There are many groups thriving these days who spew hate about gay people, immigrants, and anything ‘other’ than a white, Christian, all-American way of living. People are scared of what they don’t understand and of what they can’t relate to, and the ‘other’ is something to be feared and destroyed. Make America Great Again! That hideous, 4 word slogan that will come back to haunt us all. We’ll build a wall to keep the ‘other’ out! Surely this sort of hate is at odds with the fierce American idea of freedom. America, the Land of the Free. But freedom with conditions. Freedom if you fit a certain cultural mould and tow the party line.

But maybe it’s not even about politics. It’s about people and how people treat other people. Newtown is a suburb of Sydney which has always been a haven for the ‘alternative’ scene. Goths, Punks, Mods and Rockers, whatever your vibe, you’ll find it in Newtown. There’s live music, street art and it’s generally a wonderful, vibrant place to be. You could walk down the main drag with bright pink hair and spikes sticking out of your face and no one would bat an eyelid. People accept other people for who they are and that’s a great thing. But last year a trans person was brutally bashed in a pub by a group of men who would never normally be caught dead in Newtown. These guys were only there because it was the only place they could buy a drink so late in the night (this speaks to Sydney’s draconian Lock-out-Laws, but that’s a story for another day). I’m making assumptions here, but I bet those thugs are the sort of people who screech about how lucky we are to live in Australia and how the ANZACs fought and died for our freedom, but yet they put someone in hospital for actually exercising their right to that freedom – the freedom to dress and live as they choose. Surely that’s a slap in the face to the ANZACs? Easy Rider reminded me of that awful incident.

The movie also reinforced my view that apathy and ignorance are two of the worlds biggest killers. It’s as important as ever to question, protest, research, not to swallow what the government peddles hook line and sinker, to read and watch alternative media, and not to be fooled by simplistic, 4 word slogans. I think it’s important to critically engage with politics and to care about the world and people around you, but most importantly, to accept people’s differences with grace and humanity. Also, sometimes I fear I’m becoming intellectually atrophied from years of staring at an iPhone reading pointless snippets of information, and completing Buzzfeed quizzes about “which ramen noodle are you?” (I’m chicken btw). But I’ve only got myself to blame for that.

The standout character in Easy Rider for me was the alcoholic lawyer George Hanson, played by the astonishing Jack Nicholson. Billy and Wyatt make pals with George after he helps them get out of jail for ‘parading without a permit’. George’s off-the-wall personality and searingly concise, yet whiskey-soaked insights into politics and society are truly legendary. The following block of dialogue is, in my humble opinion, the core message of the movie.

George Hanson: You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can’t understand what’s gone wrong with it.
Billy: Man, everybody got chicken, that’s what happened. Hey, we can’t even get into like, a second-rate hotel, I mean, a second-rate motel, you dig? They think we’re gonna cut their throat or somethin’. They’re scared, man.
George Hanson: They’re not scared of you. They’re scared of what you represent to ’em.
Billy: Hey, man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a haircut.
George Hanson: Oh, no. What you represent to them is freedom.
Billy: What the hell is wrong with freedom? That’s what it’s all about.
George Hanson: Oh, yeah, that’s right. That’s what’s it’s all about, all right. But talkin’ about it and bein’ it, that’s two different things. I mean, it’s real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. Of course, don’t ever tell anybody that they’re not free, ’cause then they’re gonna get real busy killin’ and maimin’ to prove to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they’re gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it’s gonna scare ’em.
Billy: Well, it don’t make ’em runnin’ scared.
George Hanson: No, it makes ’em dangerous. Buh, neh! Neh! Neh! Neh! Swamp!

Word. George wins the game. If you haven’t seen this movie then I implore you to check it out. Dennis Hopper, motorbikes, a journey across the USA, Jimi Hendrix, free love and LSD…what’s not to love? This movie will make you want to stick it to ‘the Man’ by jumping on the next flight to L.A, getting a bike and buggering off. You’ll also want to be best friends with Wyatt, Billy and George.

I could wax lyrical about this movie and what it represents all night, espousing fierce opinions on my palm-oil free soapbox, but as Wyatt said to the Stranger on the Highway before leaving the commune, “I’m hip with time, but I gotta go”.


Gillian Welch: Heaven & Hell at the Enmore Theatre

I am a newcomer to American singer/songwriter Gillian Welch, only getting into her music a couple of years ago.  I’d certainly heard of her, and had many friends who were devoted fans, but up until that point my knowledge of her music was minimal. After embarking on a solid YouTube session, listening to song after song, album after album, I was hooked.

Gillian Welch’s smouldering alt-country/folk/bluegrass/Americana musical style has been beloved by many since the release of her critically acclaimed debut album Revival in 1996. Performing alongside guitarist and vocalist Dave Rawlings (her partner of over 20 years both on and off the stage), Welch’s lyrics, vocals and compositions are pared back and raw, reminiscent of a dead American dream in barren wheat-belts or yearning anecdotes from the depths of the Appalachian Mountains. There’s a darkness in her music that somehow reminds me of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (if Cave had grown up in rural America instead of suburban Melbourne). It’s like mixing the Bad Seeds’ Murder Ballads album, (also released in 1996), with Emmylou Harris. But not.

It just so happened that soon after I began listening to Gillian’s music I saw that she was to perform in Sydney for the first time in over ten years. I nabbed a couple of tickets as soon as they went on sale (two shows old out within 20 minutes!). That concert, on 8 February 2016, was the best concert I’ve been to in my life thus far.

The gorgeous, pre-Art Deco Enmore Theatre was jammed with an eclectic mix of people; young and old, hipsters sporting cowboy boots and a couple of real cowboys, the simply curious along with the die-hard fans, Aussie musicians like Dan Sultan, a few Triple J stalwarts, and music journalist Bernard Zuel. The place erupted when Welch and Rawlings walked onto the stage.

What followed was two hours of extraordinary music, a concert etched into my musical memory. No dancing, no fancy light show, no razzle-dazzle; just two consummate professionals with guitars and harmonicas leaving a 1,600-strong crowd eating out of the palm of their hands. The duo performed a beautifully curated balance of songs from across all 5 studio albums;  from a slow ballad telling the sorry tale of Becky Johnson putting a needle in her arm and ending up in the hard, Kentucky ground, to foot-tapping, up-tempo tunes that made you want to jump from your seat. What struck me most was how in tune Welch and Rawlings are; musically they never missed a beat and their perfect vocal harmonies went right through me.

The pair were funny, warm and engaging with the audience in-between songs. They struck me as being humble people, totally devoid of that sense of inaccessibility or smugness that often radiates off performers. It was like they were performing with us rather than for us.

I made my sister come with me, a person who’d never heard a single Gillian Welch song before I dragged her to the venue. I was worried she’d hate it and want to leave. I think she was expecting a God-awful country music concert, but she was totally enthralled from start to finish. I might have even spied a tear in her eye during Elvis Presley Blues. I win!

No one in the audience wanted the concert to end, and Gillian and Dave graciously performed 4 encores before the crowd let them escape. Their covers of Jackson and the southern gospel anthem I’ll Fly Away brought the crowd to their feet. After feeling a gamut of emotions throughout the concert – from heartbreak to joy and everything in between, I walked out of the venue feeling utterly elated.

I liked that fact that after their Sydney shows, the two packed a van and drove north up the highway to play in the village hall of Bangalow in the Byron Bay Hinterland, stopping to camp and check out the country on the way.

It’s been almost a year since the concert, and as you can tell I’m still not over it. I highly recommend giving Gillian Welch a whirl. You might love her, you might hate her. As for me, well,  I only hope she’ll mosey on back to Sydney sooner rather than later.


Revival (1996)

Hell Among the Yearlings (1998)

Time (The Revelator) (2001)

Soul Journey (2003)

The Harrow & the Harvest (2011)

www.gillianwelch.com  Enmore Theatre

“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” Sophia Loren.

“If you drink milk you should exercise.”

“I look at you and all I see is fat.”

“You look like a simpering toad.”

“You fat c**t.”

“We all thought you’d end up 6ft tall and gorgeous but instead you’re short and stocky.”

“You didn’t turn out the way we thought you would. You were so gorgeous as a little girl!”

“Ali, you shouldn’t be eating that.”

“Oh my God! You’ve lost so much weight! You’re shrinking in front of me.”

“I mean, you look good now, but if you lost weight you’d look really good!”

“If you lost weight you’d be Super Ali.”

“You’ve got such a pretty face but if you just lost weight…”

“You show that you don’t have to be a size 0 to be absolutely gorgeous!”

All of the quotes above have actually been said to me in the past, seared into my memory like a branding iron on flesh. I’m sure some were meant as compliments (wow, strong backhand! Have you considered tennis?), but seriously, what the fuck?

Sometimes it’s hard to accept that I look like a Hobbit when the rest of my family look like Tolkien’s elves. #frodo4ever #legolasforPM. Sometimes I look in the mirror and want to hop on a 389 bus and throw myself off The Gap. It sounds ridiculous that I’d get so upset about something so superficial (honestly, there are far more important things to worry about – am I a nice person? Climate change, Trump’s tan), but often what someone said as a throwaway line a decade ago will re-surface and mess with my head.

Often people project their views of beauty onto others. So, because I don’t live up to the way you think I should look, that means I’ve failed somehow? Gee, I’m so sorry to disappoint you. #notemysarcasm

It’s not like I’m morbidly obese, or have ever endorsed leading a sedentary lifestyle or making poor food choices. I’m currently enjoying a scorching Sydney summer and am hitting the pavement, enjoying fresh salads, and bathing in the healing sea.

I saw the incredibly beautiful sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid strutting their stuff at the Victoria’s Secret show recently. After wanting to die of jealously and self-loathing for about 5 minutes, I realised that not only am I not 19 years old anymore, but I’m also not 1.75 m tall. I’m ecstatic that people like Ashley Graham are making a splash on the international modelling scene now. I guess that’s one thing we can be grateful to Instagram for – that women who would have been laughed out of a modelling agency previously now have a platform and a voice. #bellamanagement

On the flip-side, one thing I loathe beyond all recognition is this idea of a ‘real woman’. Body shaming people for being too skinny, or saying things like “I’d rather a real woman than a bag of bones” is just as wrong as shaming someone for not looking like Kate Moss circa 1991. People look different, the end.

Paris, Crème brûlée, Harper Lee, Miss Honey

I regularly review my life as it stands now. Am I happy with life in general? Have I achieved everything I wanted to achieve by this age? Should I have done things differently in the past? Do I regret some of my choices? The answer is ‘yes’ to all of the above.  I often think about what I wanted to do career-wise when I was a child, a teenager, and a university student. Let’s review.

Pastry chef: I used to love baking cakes. At one stage I dreamed of working as a pâtissière in a glamorous hotel in Paris. I wanted to start at Claridges in London before moving to the City of Light to hone my craft. I’d live in a garret above a florist and read Baudelaire like an insufferable try-hard. Following my time in the French capital I would return to Sydney to open a pâtisserie in Potts Point or Surry Hills. People would queue for my apple tart tartins! Perhaps I could have written cookbooks.

During my first trip to Paris I made a pilgrimage to Café des 2 Moulins in Montmartre, featured in the film Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain. My obsession with quirky cafés and Montmartre knows no bounds, so it was an emotional experience. Maybe one day I’ll live in Paris where I can make like Amélie and crack the top off all the Crème brûlées I want. At least I won’t have to slave over a hot stove for them.

Author: But only if I could win the Nobel Prize for literature with my debut novel and then become a recluse like Greta Garbo or Harper Lee.*

After winning the Nobel Prize I would lecture occasionally at Ivy League universities and attend parties with the sort of people who opine that the New Yorker is trash and who translate ancient Greek into modern English for fun.

During my first trip to Paris I made a pilgrimage to Shakespeare and Company bookstore. To stand in a place frequented by such giants of the literary world as Hemingway, Joyce, Stein and Ginsberg was one of the thrills of my life to date.

*I can’t even go there with Go Set a Watchman. What a shameful grab for cash by Lee’s publishers. The only good thing to come out of that whole fiasco was reading a funny alternative title for the book on the internet –  ‘Tequila Mockingbird: Scout’s Journey into Adulthood.’

TV presenter: For a long time I wanted to be a newsreader or a presenter. When I was very young I loved putting on plays for family, was on the debating and public speaking team, and enjoyed drama class, but then crippling, all-consuming shyness and fear took hold and I stopped those things.*

I studied journalism at university but youth is wasted on the young and all I did was attend toga parties and skip lectures. I should have worked harder and sought work experience at the local TV station.

I also thought about being a foreign correspondent. During a trip to Phnom Penh I walked past the Foreign Correspondents’ Club and thought it was the coolest place I had ever seen. I fancied sitting at the bar with a martini pretending to be as glam as Catherine Deneuve was in Indochine.

*During my first trip to London I got stopped in the street by a talent scout who kept asking me to come into the agency.  Alas, I couldn’t pay for the copyright of professional shots since I was a lowly traveller with no money. It was probably a scam, but maybe that was my chance?

Working with children: I get on well with children. I used to love playing mum to my younger cousins and often thought about becoming an early childhood teacher. Telling stories, doing arts and crafts, teaching children to read. I wanted to be like Miss Honey from Roald Dahl’s Matilda. I find that most people remember the teachers they had when they were very young, and that’s a nice thought. But what if something happened to a child when it was in my care? What if I suspected a child was being mistreated at home? What if a child ate a peanut butter sandwich and went into anaphylactic shock?

Reality as of now: I work in the arts and cultural sector  which I love. I’ve been lucky enough to have tip-toed backstage at concerts, sat front and centre in the audience at famous opera houses, attended soirees in fancy private homes, and had sneak peeks at exhibitions.

Sometimes I think that if I combined all the things I wanted to do then I’d open a second-hand bookstore that also serves cakes, has a children’s reading corner, and hosts book launches. There could be a monthly music night with a jazz band purring while readers pick up dusty tomes and engage in conversation without a screen in sight. I’d also like to write and illustrate children’s books in my spare time.

As for Paris, well, I’m sure I’ll get there again one day.

In the meantime, I can lurk in one of my favourite places in Sydney – Gertrude and Alice cafe bookstore. Talk about literary giants and a big fat reference to Paris! It’s basically the most perfect place ever. Mosey on down to Bondi and marvel in its glory if you haven’t done so already. Gertrude and Alice, 1/46 Hall Street, Bondi Beach.

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: Art Gallery of NSW

“There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.” Frida Kahlo

I’ve always loved Frida Kahlo. I’m fascinated by her story and have spent hours poring over books and scouring websites for images and information on this remarkable character. Leading a life blighted by tragedy, Frida is probably the most famous Mexican artist of the 20th century, alongside her fellow artist and husband, the acclaimed Diego Rivera.

When I learned that The Art Gallery of NSW was holding an exhibition focused on Frida and Diego’s relationship, well, I made a pilgrimage to the gallery as soon as I could.

Featuring paintings, drawings, photographs, and letters from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman collection, the exhibition is illuminating and moving. The Gelman’s were avid collectors of Mexican art, and earlier this year I was lucky enough to see other paintings by Kahlo from their collection at the Met in New York.

There were fewer paintings on display than I’d anticipated, but what was there was incredible. The intense, introspective self-portraits by Frida were surrounded by hordes of people trying to get a closer look. Was Frida Kahlo the original selfie queen? Examples of Diego’s work included a stunning painting of Natasha Gelman which apparently threw Frida into a fit of jealousy when she saw it.  Over 50 black and white photos adorned the walls, accompanied by a timeline outlining major events in both Frida and Diego’s lives. The images and text told every tragic, joyful and sorry tale.

Born to a German father and Mexican mother in Coyoacán, a borough of Mexico City, Frida lived most of her life in le Casa Azul, the house her father built. She  contracted Polio as a small child, and was involved in a terrible bus accident at aged 18, where she sustained devastating damage to her back. The accident thwarted her plans to attend medical school and left her confined to bed for long periods of time. So, she decided to become an artist. I find it sad to think about Frida alone in her room, in pain and looking inwards.

Frida’s first encounter with Diego Rivera occurred when she was an art student and he her teacher. Diego was already a famous and respected artist, friendly with the likes of Picasso, and he gave Frida advice on pursuing a career in art. Although he was married with children and 20 years her senior, the relationship between teacher and student escalated quickly. After a messy divorce from his second wife, Diego and Frida married – much to the disappointment of her father.  Their tempestuous relationship waxed and waned throughout the years, with each engaging in numerous extra-marital affairs.

Aside from art, the two were passionate about politics and were staunch anti-fascists. They were friends with Leon Trotsky (so much so that Frida allegedly had an affair with him. As well as with Josephine Baker if you can believe it!).  In fact, after things went sour for old Leon, it was in Coyoacán that he met his grisly end at the hands of an angry KGB agent and an ice pick with his name on it.

Although respected by the Mexican public and art community, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that Frida’s popularity as an artist and cultural icon was sealed. Books on her life appeared, contemporary galleries wanted to exhibit her work, and an obsession with Mexican art and imagery boomed. Shops were filled with kitschy Day of the Dead merchandise, colourful prints, and copies of her self-portraits.

This carefully curated exhibition just made me even more obsessed with the artwork and story of this powerhouse couple. There was an intense energy in the room which befitted such giants of the art world. Upon exiting the exhibition, footage of Diego and Frida laughing in the garden of le Casa Azul was playing on large screens. It was a poignant touch to mark the end of a poignant exhibition.

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera is on at the Art Gallery of NSW until until 9 October 2016.

P.S Did you know that this shot of Frida was the inspiration for the cover of Patti Smith’s Horses album? FRIDA IS SO COOL THAT PATTI SMITH COPIED HER LOOK!


Doughbox Diner: Milkshakes, Elvis, Red lipstick, and Existential Nihilism

I took two little friends of mine to Doughbox Diner last Saturday. We stepped out of the icy winter’s night into the tiny establishment and boy, did we feel like Dorothy Gale stepping into glorious Technicolor from the mean, monochrome streets of Kansas.

First opened in 2011, Doughbox Diner is a bright and cheerful burger joint styled like a 1950s diner. Complete with candy-striped booths, a Jukebox, walls adored with pictures of old Hollywood stars, and Elvis crooning through the sound system, the diner is a fun, whimsical place to escape reality for a while.

The extensive menu includes burgers, savoury crepes, hot dogs, milkshakes, banana splits, and soda floats with cherries on top, among myriad artery-clogging treats.

Excited customers arrived decked out in 50s garb. Bright-red lipsticks, victory rolls, headscarves, Sailor Jerry tattoos, leopard print pedal-pushers and leather jackets. The Greasers and Bobby-Soxers revelled in their surroundings. The staff was dressed in retro uniforms and bustled around taking trays laden with ice cream sundaes to expectant diners who were busy instagram-ing the bejesus out of themselves.

I chowed down on a Dixie Burger and a Chocolate Mud thickshake. The burger was nice, if a little on the dry side, but the shake was heavenly! It was luxuriously creamy and oh-so chocolatey. I felt like I deserved to face the psychotic wrath of Kevin Spacey a-la Se7en. Like, obviously I was guilty of gluttony. “What’s in the box?!”. Anyway, I digress.

The eyes of my two charges, aged 6 and 10, lit up when I said they could order anything from the menu. The small humans ate their fries and drank their shakes with gay abandon. It’s nice that they don’t realise yet that life is utterly, utterly meaningless or understand that one day they’ll face the struggles of adult life, feel the searing pain of shattered dreams, know the crushing weight of regret, and are forced to witness the decay of western society as it crumbles around them. And bills, bills, bills. Anyway, I digress.

The 6-year-old discovered that glacé cherries aren’t like normal cherries and decided that they taste like ‘bad medicine’. The child learned a valuable lesson; some things in life are not what they appear. Something can look enticing and worthy of time and effort on the surface but in the end there’s nothing but disappointment and you end up swallowing a dose of bitter medicine/reality. Anyway, I digress.

One thing to note is that this place is extremely popular. We waited about 15 minutes for a table and there was literally a line out the door. I’d recommend going on a weeknight if you want to avoid the queues.

Doughbox Diner is a cute option in an area abundant with restaurants and bars, and is right across the road from the fabulous Enmore Theatre.  If you’re looking for a burger fix and an alternative dinner option, then don your Bakelite bangles and head on down to one of the dreamiest joints in town.

Doughbox Diner, 173 Enmore Road, Enmore. Open Tue to Sun, 6pm to 11pm.




Isabella Blow: A Fashionable Life

‘My style icon is anyone who makes a bloody effort.’ Isabella Blow

I saw the Isabella Blow: A Fashionable Life exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum last weekend. An icon of the British fashion scene and ardent supporter of up-and-coming British designers and models, the late Isabella Blow brought people like Alexander McQueen, Sophie Dahl and Stella Tennant to the forefront of the creative crowd’s consciousness.

Once the editor of magazines like Tatler and the Sunday Times Style, Isabella used her aristrocratic heritage, social standing, and unforgettable presence to become a muse and friend to designers, models, artists, and stylists.

Tragically, Isabella died in 2007, finally succeeding in ending her life on her 7th suicide attempt. Fast forward nearly 10 years and her friend, the indomitable Daphne Guinness, has used her powers for good and organised the collection and display of many of Isabella’s most fabulous outfits and hats – mostly designed by McQueen and Philip Treacy.

The clothes were perfectly curated and truly breathtaking – such exquisite craftsmanship in every piece. I was especially taken with some of Alexander McQueen’s creations. The enfant terrible of Central Saint Martins, McQueen wasn’t aware that Isabella was in the audience at his graduation show in 1992. Blow purchased the entire collection and the rest, as they say, is history.

Also featured were some stunning dresses designed by John Galliano during his tenure at Christian Dior. Is it bad to mention John Galliano these days? I cannot believe his spectacular fall from grace. Oh how the mighty have fallen!

Even if you aren’t really interested in clothes, the exhibition is an elegant, often moving way to gain an insight into the life of one of the most interesting and eccentric figures in fashion from the last two decades.

I’ve always been fascinated with Isabella Blow. If you aren’t familiar with her then do yourself a favour and look her up. People like her don’t seem to come around too often.

If you’re in Sydney and are looking for something to do, then I’d highly recommend checking this exhibition out. It’s on at the Powerhouse Museum until 28 August 2016.Click here for more information

Me and Radiohead

I fancy that I often think of clever and witty things to say. The problem is that when I open my mouth they never come out. Instead I say nothing, or offer up a quiet, stuttered, uninspired response. Or I stare with wide, frightened eyes like a rabbit facing a headlight.

I used to work for an Orchestra. Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead wrote a new piece of music and toured it with them. It was weird knowing that one of the most famous musicians on the planet was in the Studio next to my office. Like, actual Jonny Greenwood was in the next room. Cray.

It was only a matter of time before I’d pass him in the hallway and have to say something. Of course, in my head I kept repeating “say something cool, say something  cool.” He came into the staff kitchen one day as I was making tea. All I could manage was a brief glance with the frightened rabbit eyes, a girly “hi” followed by an awkward laugh, before I rushed out of the room, adrenaline pumping. Face scarlet.

I find the following quote from Thom Yorke rings true (I’m pretty sure it was Thom, if not, sue me!). I find it applies to me on almost all occasions that I have to speak (which is quite often) in the workplace, to family, to friends, and (excruciatingly) to guys.

“I had so much to say. When I finally had the chance to say it I stood there silently like a dumb motherfucker.”



“…Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth.” Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita.

I love that line. I always repeat it in my head. If only I had thought of such a perfect sentence. Alliteration. Nabokov. What an author to admire. What a story!

Maybe I should stop thinking about writing and start doing it. Doing rather than thinking. Repeat. Do rather than think.

Thinking on the bus each morning as I travel to work in the hard, grey city. Thinking as I bathe each evening. Thinking alone each night in my warm, soft bed. Incessant thinking. The super-charged cogs turning, turning. The endless, messy, confused, stream-of-consciousness whirlpool of thoughts. A jambalaya of memories, past, future, sometimes the present. Perhaps if I wrote things down and out of my head the fog would lift?

The paper and pen or the keyboard and crisp, white space on the screen. Could they be a salve? A balm of some sort?

I think so.

Actions speak louder than words.

Jesus that was emo. This post is emo isn’t it? Now the cogs are turning into overdrive and oh my God I don’t want people to think this blog will be filled with posts like this I swear it won’t be and now I think I need a paper bag. And a nice comforting cheese plate. And red wine. Definitely a large glass.