From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

East London Loves. #2

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In April this year I moved to East London. I thought I’d be blogging almost daily as there is always something going on. In truth I’ve been so sidetracked by addictive coffee, wandering down Spitalfields alleys to find old buildings inscribed with Soup Kitchen for the Jewish Poor, discovering art in unexpected places. I started an East London section in June and since then have not updated it, or this blog much in general. Like many great ideas are born from bacon so was this blog post today.

Today, after a kick up the bum from my sister, I woke with a determination to blog. I decided to kickstart my brain by walking down to Dishoom for breakfast. I fell in love with Whisky Sours in their Permit Bar over my birthday and now I have tasted the future…. the Bacon Naan. I could dream of recreating this but it would be pointless, nothing could come close. Bacon with barely a trace of fat with coriander, chilli chutney and a hint of cream cheese with a freshly baked naan enveloping it. Washed down with chai of course.

I walked off breakfast along Redchurch Street, discovering lyrics from The National in street art from My Dog Sighs. And it was that band that carried my feet all the way to Chatsworth Road Market. Not my first visit to the area but the first time I’ve visited the market (think Broadway Market before it went too middle-class). Full of families, smiles and Pearly Kings and Queens sipping tea. My main reason for walking up there was to visit Clapton Craft’s pop-up in the LBJ shop. I can’t wait until they have a permanent home as the service was exceptional and choice staggering, I went for Elderflower Mikkeller and it’s taking all my will power not to crack open a bottle as I’m typing. Craft beer is my new safe drunk, pain seems lesser in the morning. I swear by it.

I stopped off at Dalston Eastern Curve Garden before heading back indoors for the afternoon and my walk coming full circle. As beautiful in the winter as it is in full bloom. The minute I walk in there I feel my shoulders physically drop (and that was with a back pack stuffed with second-hand books and bottles of beer). I sat down after my wanderings and took stock at how lucky I am to live here. Not just East London but London itself. Come April I’d have been here a decade and truly not a day goes by when I don’t think this. It can come to me at the most ordinary of times, sharing a smile with a stranger at a bus stop. Or it comes on days like this, when I get lost in places now so familiar to me.

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A Hoxton Childhood (Back In The Day)

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Shortly after moving to east London this year the book A Hoxton Childhood by A.S Jasper came my way from my cousin. At the time of reading I had moved to the area where the book is set, an area where my paternal side of the family were born and raised. I blogged back in May how the words in the post script really touched me.

“Be thankful that you were born now and not then. Go forward, but try to be tolerant of your parents along the way”. A.S Jasper.

This Wednesday my aunt and I listened to A.S Jaspers nephew, Richard Penny, read that exact sentence at the books official reissue in the Broadway Bookshop, along with A.S Jaspers son Terry.  A cousin brought this book into my life, two cousins have met after researching their family tree and republished this historical document.

Living in the area, and being lucky enough to wander the streets with my Dad and hear his stories has meant the world to me this year. I walk down Crondall Street and laugh at dad telling me about the “Crondall crumpets” (it seems the girls living on this road were once quite up for it). My dad could run street tours on his life in Hoxton.

Until I persuade him to do this A Hoxton Childhood is a real east end family tale, where people still find something to laugh about when all seems hopeless and doomed, that stood by one another. Christmas is lurking fellow book worms, buy a copy for your families and heed those words I quoted above.

A Hoxton Childhood. Left, reissue and right, 1971 copy.

A Hoxton Childhood. Left, reissue and right, 1971 copy.

Written by Anon PA

October 11, 2013 at 8:14 pm

I Dream Of Silence

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It’s been a little while since I blogged about Tinnitus, seven months have passed since I wrote my last post I Dread The Quiet Of The Night. In October’s Cosmopolitan I get to talk about Tinnitus in an article called Just Be Quiet by Rosie Mullender (and I truly thank her writing about this). Today I met my new Doctor (not Capaldi), back on another NHS waiting list as I transfer to a hospital closer to where I now live. It seemed like time to blog about it again.

2013 is speeding past me in a blur, I can’t help but feel the older I get the quicker twelve months pass. Come November it will be two years with Tinnitus. I’d love to type that since I was diagnosed medical research has come on leaps and bounds but it seems stagnant. A woefully underfunded area and still little, at best conflicting, understanding around the condition. I am still as much in the dark as I was two years ago. But not alone in the dark, I am with my ever buzzing and ringing companion. Never completely in the silence.

But I am also very much not alone in my waking hours either. Since I started blogging about Tinnitus I have received emails from sufferers. A dear friend has also contracted it and we nudge one another to remember earplugs at gigs. Over dinner last week I chatted to my neighbour, a fellow sufferer. And you know, if there’s one little positive it’s having people to talk to about it that know exactly what it’s like. That you don’t need to try to reach for the words or comparisons. A look says it all between two people who know what it’s like to lie staring at the ceiling unblinking and frustrated. Honestly, unless you have experienced it I don’t think you can quite understand the levels of borderline insanity it can send you at times. I hope that you never do and wish none of us ever had.

Look after your ears beautiful music lovers.

Written by Anon PA

September 9, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Sunday Swoon. September 8th 2013.

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1. I always feel it’s terribly cliché to describe a track as haunting but I guess a collaboration between Natasha Khan and Jon Hopkins was always destined to be just that. Garden’s Heart is simply stunning.

2. I recently had the honour of hearing Margaret Atwood speak at Queen Elizabeth Hall. It was an inspirational reminder that I was lucky to be part of the generation that grew up with the likes of her and Kate Bush as role models. She was sharp, witty moving and wise and it’s an evening I will cherish forever. If you have never read any Atwood for some bizarre reason start with her poetry and The Handmaid’s Tale.

3. One  of the many terrible woes of suffering from Tinnitus is resisting the temptation to blare out tracks like Sleigh Bells Bitter Rivals through my headphones. Huge excitement that a third album is due out in the autumn.

4. Finally Gold Panda pays homage to Peckham is his video for Community. Making me think I really do need to drag myself south to nose at what’s happening down there.

Written by Anon PA

September 8, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Life Is Like Riding A Bicycle

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Back in January, when London was under a constant grey and weeping cloud, I trekked to Brixton and collected an old bike that I couldn’t yet ride. My blog entry on collecting my old Dutch explains all, I had decided in my mid-thirties to learn how to ride a bike. And I have. A mixture of listening to friends tips, a steely determination on a few Boris bikes when my friend Stephen and brother-in-law Adrian still hadn’t fixed mine up, a long bike ride sandwiched between my sister and Adrian which served as an unofficial cycling proficiency.

As my legs pushed up Kingsland Road in stifling city heat the other day (London has a habit of chosing between oxygen and sunshine, it’s impossible to breathe) I spotted a notice board with a quote from Albert Einstein.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

I instantly connected with this from the cyclists point of view as opposed to a new life mantra (Luther has been back on don’t you know? I need to sit very still for that). I think back to the many hesitations I’ve had as learner. Too slow when traffic lights change, too scared along the canal path that runs past my flat, too cautious around any movable object in general. The romantic, and slightly hipster, notion I had of peddling around care free like a scene from a French film isn’t the reality.

The point of my typing this is in The Guardian today Philip Hoare described not wearing a helmet as a case of civil liberties. How do I make my point without throwing too much weight behind the word helmet as an insult?

As someone who is effectively the Bambi of the cycling world I heavily rely on direction from responsible cyclists, courtesy and awareness from pedestrians and vehicles, unbreakable concentration and my cycling helmet. While I know that in a case of Hat Vs. Double Decker it wouldn’t act as a force field, it still helps as a reminder that I am vulnerable on two wheels. And you know, I think that’s a very good thing to have at the forefront of my mind while I practise and practise. Even after I stop ducking under the bridges along the towpath, and stop choosing to crash into concrete over the possibility of colliding with anyone or anything, I’ll never not wear one.

helmet

Written by Anon PA

July 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Don’t Stand Your Ground

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Over the past couple of years I’ve experienced, and been told many stories, of what I can best describe as bullying at gigs. Without exception it always involves people who are my age (thirty-five) and older, and a majority of the time it is men that behave this way. It’s also worth noting that I only ever see and hear about women being on the receiving end of this. During the day I am sure they are all utterly polite and hold a door open for a colleague, step aside when someone says excuse me. At gigs this all goes out the window.  Let me give you a few examples.

Recently at a Matt Berry gig a woman who I’d guess is in her late thirties was so incensed at a girl of about seventeen wanting to squeeze past just to take one photo that she screamed “obese bitch” at her and refused to move. At a polite girl young enough to be her daughter who made it clear it was just to take one photo and she’d be gone. Friends suffered men constantly, and on purpose, crushing into them at an Arcade Fire gig whilst being told to stop pushing them.

At Glastonbury I was told I wasn’t allowed to stand here by a man who was actually in front of me which I am still puzzling over. I had an experience so awful at a Battles gig with my friend Priyam that I still frown about it two years on. Men in their forties were stood behind us on the balcony. When I went to the bar they barely let me past, when I returned they formed a solid wall and refused to let me through despite the fact that I asked politely to get back to my friend, even strangers asked them to let me past and they refused. At the end of the night one of them pushed me in the back of the head with force. For no reason.

Last night at Public Service Broadcasting my bladder gave out after too many pints so I decided to run to the toilet. A relatively short dash in the intimate upstairs of the Lexington. Grown men crossed their arms and adopted a military stance. I had to squeeze through gaps a mouse would have problems getting through.

Let’s be clear. When you buy a gig ticket you are not paying to rent an exclusive square metre. I understand that views can be frustrating but I’m talking about scenario’s when someone is trying to dash to the bar quickly, not suddenly arriving on stilts in front of you.

Music is actually like a religion to me (without the wars). Going to see a band should be a shared experience, one of those oh so rare moments that you can look around at everyone and think “we’re all here for the same reason”. When the entire crowd sank to their knees during Foals singing Spanish Sahara at Glastonbury in anticipation of the song building up I felt like I utterly belonged. These were my people. Sadly there seems to be a growing minority of adults who seem to think they’ve paid for a private experience and are disgusted other humans are in the same room/under the same sky wanting to have fun. The only person’s night that’s being ruined is those guilty of behaving this way. They always look so miserable.

When an unstoppable force (my need for a pint or a wee) meets an immovable object (an adult refusing to budge even an inch to let me pass) chances are I will be tempted to lightly touch your back on my way back through to wipe a boogie on you. Karma is unkind. What can I say.

Written by Anon PA

July 18, 2013 at 10:57 am

Marylebone and Eton Mess

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I won’t name the person in question as she’s far too modest and wrinkles her nose up at praise. Pay her a compliment and she accepts gracefully but always adds “funny how people see you isn’t it?”. I’ll leave it up to her if she wants to share this post. Today is her birthday and well, she’s truly been a bloody brilliant friend to me the past year.

She’s helped me move house on a Monday night straight from work, carrying boxes and boxes of books to the top floor of my building. Shared many a glass of wine and gin. Shared some special gigs. Reminded me I’m well loved during tough times. I remember a particularly low day last July she sat opposite me in a pub in Marylebone. Her expressions a complete mirror of my own, she was genuinely as upset as I was.  To me that’s a dear friend, someone whose very expressions show they’re going through it with you. She’s an amazing person.

So, this mixtape is for her, you can play it on Spotify or YouTube.

Happy Birthday and I’ll see you later so you can blow out the candles on your Eton Mess. ♥

  1. Bonobo Feat. Andreya Triana – Stay The Same
  2. The Knife – Heartbeats
  3. Zulu Winter – You Deserve Better
  4. Jessie Ware – Taking In Water
  5. Polica – Lay Your Cards Out
  6. How To Dress Well – & It Was U
  7. Daft Punk – Get Lucky
  8. Kindness – Swingin’ Party
  9. Chromatics – Kill For Love
  10. SBTRKT – Pharaohs

Written by Anon PA

June 5, 2013 at 9:50 am