Jul 312014
 
Four years

On 31st July 2010, I’d just arrived in Ethiopia. Everything I’d imagined happening during the rest of my life had vanished. I was unemployed, homeless, and didn’t really know who I was any more. But I was also alone, footloose, and free of responsibilities. There were many pieces falling through the air, but also a clear space for them to fall into. What a difference four years make. At times, it can feel that the settled demands of a steady life are closing me in, that I’m becoming stuck – or unstuck. But it pays to think back. It makes me remember there are always unseen options; that fear and Read full post >>

May 182014
 

Last night, I went with my sister and her partner to see Martin Simpson at Cecil Sharp House. He was as brilliant as he always is. But this isn’t a post about Martin Simpson. This is a post about a black cab ride. I’d ridden up to Camden on my bike, along the canal as I usually do. When I picked up my bike to come home again, around eleven o’clock, I hadn’t gone far before realising I had a flat tyre. Immediately, I felt furious. First with the bike. Then with myself, for not bringing my tools, a pump and a spare tube, as I usually do. Then with Read full post >>

Apr 272014
 
Therapy

It’s been a while, Internet. I haven’t talked to you for some time. I’m not sure I had all that much to say. Things have been interesting, but they’ve been draining, too. The sheer number of people and tasks I deal with at work leaves me pretty out of whack by the end of the day; if I have the evening at home, I kind of want to retreat. And if I go out and see a film or a friend or go to my Quaker meeting, there isn’t time or energy left to write by the end of the day. Lately, at home on my own, I’ve been playing Read full post >>

Mar 052013
 
Offline (Decluttering, part 4)

I’ve stopped using Facebook and Twitter for Lent. I thought this might prove difficult, given how easy it is to log in and spend time on them without really meaning to. But it’s not. Change the passwords to something random you can’t remember, don’t tell your browser, and remove anything from your phone that might push a notification into your pocket and make your ears burn. Social media works by making you think that you need to be connected, need to be fighting off messages with a repost here, a witty comment there, a rebuttal there. But you don’t need this; you didn’t need it before you signed up for Read full post >>

Dec 152012
 

Back at the start of November I went to Secret Cinema. For those that don’t know, it works like this: you buy a ticket and turn up at a predetermined location in character and in costume; details of who you are and what you should wear are sent out to you in advance, like a fancy dress party. You are then plunged into the world of the film you are going to see. Locations have been found that resemble the film. For two or three hours events from the film play out and you’re right in the middle of them. It’s very realistic, with high production values and lots of Read full post >>

Nov 012012
 
Ownership

Very shortly after my 30th birthday, when I still lived in Brussels, I went for a haircut. I don’t like having my hair cut, and I never feel very at ease; when I was about 15 a barber’s scissors nicked the corner of my ear, which then spouted scarlet until I turned green. It’s hard enough explaining how I want it cut in English, let alone French, and when the barber, with a heavy Maghreb accent and words I could not remember started gesturing with his scissors towards my eyes, I had a sort of embarrassed panic before realising that he was trying to ask if I wanted my eyebrows Read full post >>