“You are the best. You are the worst. You are average. Your love is a part of you. You try to give it away because you cannot bear its radiance, but you cannot separate it from yourself. To understand your fellow humans, you must understand why you give them your love. You must realize that hate is but a crime-ridden subdivision of love. You must reclaim what you never lost. You must take leave of your sanity, and yet be fully responsible for your actions.”
Gnarls Barkley, in a letter to the legendary rock critic Lester Bangs
I never thought of Cee Lo Green as a prophet but here he’s somehow reached into my feelings, winkled out the deceptive ones and nailed the most confusing bits to the wall. With Thor’s Hammer. Today I feel like I’m rewriting the bible. Each chapter I was once happy with now seems to have been written by a complete stranger. A someone who, though present at the event, has had a completely different experience of it to the me who is reading it light years later. It all has to be rewritten.
Emotional journeys always take the longest. By December 2016 my world and the world itself has changed so much that you’d be forgiven (and subsequently so can I – be forgiven) for not recognising it from this year’s perspective. By comparison, the physical journey (practically unaided) from Ibiza to Manchester is nothing more than a simple stroll in Thatch Leach Park.
In my world according to Mysticmamma:
“insightful Lena Stevens from The Power Path.com: says …
“This month we enter the labor that will birth our own transformation and change. And just as in actual childbirth, once the process begins, there is no going back.
“The pressure we feel is that of being in a container that has grown too small. It is time to face the unknown, our own fears and resistance, and move ourselves to the next level.
“Everything this month will be pressurized. You will feel pressure from the outside as well as pressure from the inside.
“The image is that of a large balloon being inflated until the pressure of the hot air forces it to rise. We have been filling ourselves up with new dreams, new intentions and a commitment to balance, personal growth and change and now we are at that point where the pressure of our own needs and desires is pushing our container to a higher level of vibration.
Onwards and upwards like an over inflated balloon, huh. Better duck then – we all know what happens next, right?
“Wisdom is precisely what is missing when – like rats in the famous experiment conducted by B.F. Skinner more than fifty years ago – we press the same levers again and again even though there is no longer any real reward. By bringing deeper awareness into our everyday lives, wisdom frees us from the narrow reality we’re trapped in – a reality consumed by the first two metrics of success, money and power, long after they have ceased to fulfil us. Indeed we continue to pull the levers not only after their diminshed returns have been exhausted, but even after it’s clear they’re actually causing us harm in terms of our health, our peace of mind, our relationships. Wisdom is about recognizing what we’re really seeking: connection and love. But in order to find them we need to drop our relentless pursuit of success as society defines it for something more genuine, more meaningful, and more fulfilling.
I broke out from packing like a prison breaker, running hard into the Ibiza sunshine. Helen and I took Sugar for a spin over to Lips in Playa D’En Bossa, where we dined with our french friends Angelique, Antonella, Charles and Hjordis. Ibiza is truly lovely in winter when you can have a lazy afternoon eating al fresco and in the sunshine. True to form, the world was here celebrating the end of season wind-down, preparing to cocoon and binge-watch on Netflix. You could hear the anticipation of the winter adventures to come bristling underneath the napkins at every full table. The question of future plans dropped into our conversation and pinged around the group like a Powerball. My mum, the landlady, the move, the work crisis flooded sentences that rolled out in front of me like a traitorous tsunami. I cried in front of them all. Hashtag awkward. URL www.surprisedfaces.com/embarrassedfriends. We ate, my friends were as consoling as they could be for people who were positively happy with their lives, we hugged and left.
Moving house is hardcore, it rides roughshod over you no matter what the reason. They say it’s the third most stressful thing you can experience in life next to death and divorce. They (those pesky statisticians) are not wrong either as I have all three under my Ninja Belt of Life and have the grey hair to prove their theory. Leaving friends and a way of life you love and have grown happily accustomed to sucks ass too and is probably nestling at number four or five on that list.
 Ariana Huffington – ‘Thrive’ – WISDOM – Life as a classroom p117
AFFIRMATIONS – NOVEMBER 2015
I spread my wings.
I put myself back on the UK radar
I do more teaching and public speaking.
I find an interesting job.
I set myself my usual time limit. One year. Twelve months. 365 days. No biggie.
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 7TH
WORD OF THE DAY
(Hawaii) Toward the mountains
SPANISH WORD OF THE DAY
At liberty, free time, unscheduled, not occupied, without cost
My land lady has forgotten her ‘vacate premises’ ultimatum and asks why I am packing boxes. I show her the FB IM message she sent asking me to leave first at the end of October, then the 1st November, then the 15th. She says she has wondered why she hasn’t seen me out and about. I tell her that I haven’t been out or seen anyone nocturnally since Halloween and due to her ‘last offer’ of a November 27thvacation date, boxing and packing has become my beat-the-clock occupation. She asks if we are still friends. I pointedly say ‘yes … the sort of friend that I no longer trust.’ She says that I can take as long as I like to move. I only plan to stay put until my deposit payment will pay the final month’s rent, no need to wait for everything to become clearer in 2016 A.DC10 (that is, after DC10)
My best friend Gavin is back from his travels / pilgrimage. He has spent the year in full Number One Prince fan mode and has just returned from Minneapolis for the secret Prince gig. His stories are spectacular – Prince took everyone to see Spectre after the concert??? Whataman! WTF! I don’t think I have ever been taken to the cinema by one of my musical heroes after the gig. I am jealous of the intensity of memory that that gives.
We gossip for an hour about the Trade The final : 25th anniversary party – ravers on walking sticks, great music, great event. He says he was the youngest one there and he is nearly 40. I say he that’s because he always was the youngest one there and he laughs. But after entering at 8pm they left at 3am – 8 hours partying is enough. They’ve all grown up. They are all ‘too old for this’. Still, for one night, Trade was resurrected and The Egg was transformed. We talk more about his Prince exploits, his and my crazy neighbours and then settle down to my home cooked spaghetti with a fennel, bacon, chilli pepper sauce. He too is at a crisis point and like me finds the island lacking in stimulation. It is isolated. He says it is cut off from the real world. I say it is a bubble. There is a world outside Ibiza Airport, we are part of a bigger thing – beyond the petty everything that is going on around us. Island news is ‘cat stuck up a tree’ uneventful. His company is doing very well – Radio show Production, syndication and event management for AAA list heavy hitters. Where to next? Things in his apartment have started to break. He has been here 9 years. I left Paris after 9 years. There are strange and spooky parrallels. He says It’s time to move on and move up but I know he won’t leave yet. Even if he moans about everything, I know deep down that he loves living here and is way too settled to change. Unlike me.
I’m not Carl Cox – my leaving won’t make seismic waves in Ibiza club culture. Still I find it serendipitous that even he has chosen to hang up his Space headphones in search of that fine filament, the red bracelet that connects us one to another then leads us on to our spiritual home. What I’m trying to say is that at some point in your life YOU will start YOUR fantastic journey AND no matter how radical the change might seem, everything will be alright. The world won’t end. Just A world.
There was a time when there were hardly any female djs. We were a small group and we practially all knew each other personally. The circuit was international but smaller. I found myself regularly playing alongside a brace of mavericks including Rachel Auburn, Princess Julia and Mrs Woods at Heaven or Queer Nation, with Dulcie Danger at The Zap Club, with Angel at Venus in Nottingham, with Kath Mc Dermott at Flesh and Home in Manchester. We all started dj’ing on the gay scene and became the first female djs to play on the international circuit. 20 years later there is a whole new generation at the helm, women like Annie Mac, Nina Kraviz, Nicole Moudaber, Cocoa Cole, Heidi, Cassy – women with a mastery of their art, their look, their everything. They are demons at marketing, business, branding, radio, broadcasting, production, events, technology, networking and social media. They have the full package and a team behind them to help. It’s not a lone pursuit or a lucrative hobby any more. They are fierce business women who will scale still higher heights; undisputed leaders of the new school who have grabbed the dj baton and run like fuck around the world and back whilst waving it like a blazing Olympic torch in the face of patriarchy. This is great progress and I am proud to have been one of the first to have exhibited such a pioneering spirit.
THURSDAY NOVEMBER 12TH
WORD OF THE DAY
- Producing or imparting flavour, taste.
I’m in the middle of a dream and asking someone I know well to bring me some english biscuits when they return from their travels. I am asking for Custard Creams, Bourbons, traditional fayre. Then I am at Pikes eating said biscuits in the swimming pool. It all makes perfect sense to me when my eyes are closed and twitching but it perplexes me all day once I am awake.
Breakfast time and Missy Elliott and Pharrell break the internet with “WTF (Where They From)”. From the lyrics, arrangement and stripped back roll to the hair, make up and styling, it’s a next level video that I can’t stop watching. It’s a hints and tips masterclass that makes me consider wearing Lichtenstein make up every day and investing in a good wig. Hip-hop has been missing Missy. I have missed Missy.
The Youtube / Twitter vortex sucks me in as far as the bulldog who has broken the world dog skateboarding record for skating through a 30 person arch.
Thug life for real.
Then there’s Barbie’s #ImagineThePossibilities
Inspiration can sometimes come from the strangest of places.
FRIDAY 13TH NOVEMBER
WORD OF THE DAY
- a person who is unknown; a stranger
- Also called sheefish a game fish, Stenodus leucichthys, of fresh or brackish northern waters.
I am more excited than anything about my London trip and wake up at the first alarm. Friday the 13th has never been a significantly negative number for me. Obvs.
I am on the BA flight from Ibiza to London City. When I board I wonder why I have flown Vueling, Ryanair, Monarch and Easyjet non stop for the last three years and not paid for more civilised cabin treatment before? It’s amazing what a delicious / free roast chicken, couscous and keeeeeeeenwaaaaaah salad does for the red-eye morale. Even if it is bite-sized and served with bendy cutlery, it beats the customary 6€ plastic Vueling meal deal hands down.
Landing at London City, passport and Oyster card in hand, I suddenly feel like the Queen Of All Things. As I walk to passport control I show a passenger that their passport is just about to fall out of their back pocket (don’t leave a sister hanging, high five required here). Everything is right with the world until I have to do that embarrassing handbag vomit in front of the Biometric passport machine assistants due to my passport having disappeared into the lining of my handbag. I’m sweating profusely – holding the queue up, blocking a man in a wheelchair whose Fasttrack rights I am clearly impeding. Not to mention a queue of impatient and harumphing Londoners. Could I possibly be turned away from the country I love? Not this time. Psych.
On the DLR I am taking it all in like Rain Man. Its been a year since I last visited the UK and yearsssszsahh since I was last in London and I had forgotten how much I have missed and love this place. Even the sight of the Tate and Lyle factory’s ‘Save Our Sugar’ sugar tax protest sign fills me with patriotic slash political pride. The East India Company sign makes me bristle with a dark sense of history and the Millenium Dome’s industrial alien communication spikes give me a flashback to watching it being built day by day on The Big Breakfast fifteen years ago. I almost want to stand and give a rousing rendition of ‘Rule Britannia’. Don’t get me wrong, I love Ibiza. I love the countryside and the beaches but home is where the heart is. Nothing beats the continually evolving history of London at any time of the year, even if the first thing I see in the Tube Station is Chris Evans’ slightly smug face grinning down in the poster advert for his book ‘Call The Midlife’. It’s his 50th this year. I am reminded that the clock will soon start ticking on mine.
I spend the evening with Cocoa Cole at Capital Xtra. It’s LIVE national radio (not pre-recorded or pre-produced like a lot of shows) and she’s working without a producer tonight. She has to get it right – and she does. Cocoa works like a multi-tasking octopus, twirling around in her chair to flit from the mixing desk, to fire the music through Myriad, tweeting links from her laptop, doing shout outs and playing exclusives whilst remembering to include all the advertising reads, keeping her cheery, bubbly, knowledgeable and fresh demeanour throughout. ‘It’s a beast’ ‘It’s a banger’ she says regularly in catchphrase heaven. Three hours pass in a flash. I leave her at Leicester Square tube station to start a very London (ok Shoreditch slash Hoxton) girls’ night out with my best girlfriends Sam Tee, Reetu and our honorary girlfriend, Joe Theophilus (Flying Lotus – Really Happening) at Ernesto Leal’s wintry outdoor event at Tokyo Nights. Friends, street food, djs, music, lots of chat and a little bit of alcohol. So far, it’s a good mix.
We go on to a techno party at the buzzing, humid and very sweaty Basing House. We’re here for an adult rave feauring Fox Low, Logan Fisher and Jonas Constantine; there are a lot of frenchies in the house and I’m in bilingual heaven. I’m up for the rave in principle even though I’m not really dressed for it. Having gone out for this Friday night social straight from the radio station I feel ashamed and unglamorous for daring to rave in my slouchy travelling clothes. Everyone is asking me to take my coat off, saying it is making them feel uncomfortable, then telling me to put it down somewhere but for a ton of reasons and no reason at all I don’t comply. I am anxious and feel at twattish odds with myself and everyone around me. I start acting like we are not going to stay that long, do lots of sitting upstairs on the smoking terrace, talk seven shades of nonsense, rave for a bit then do some more talking. Suddenly I don’t feel like dancing and am being annoyingly stubborn about joining in. Half way through the main set Sam asks me if I’ve seen anything about Paris yet? I say no – I haven’t been checking my phone. Then she shows me a Facebook post on her page. She asks me if I know where this is and that maybe I should check in with my friends? When I do, news is slowly then quickly filtering through, then internationally trending of a red-alert hostage situation at the Bataclan in Paris. I run upstairs in Basing House to get a better signal, then I start talking to the french people we are with and we start the frantic pinging of all of our Parisian friends. There is much confusion. Like the night that John Lennon was shot, or when Princess Diana and Michael Jackson died, or 9/11 we will remember this night forever. Despite my efforts to explain, and geo-localise the problem in simple terms for the English friends who I’m partying with, no one seems to realise how serious this is. Yet.
My phone starts to sound with incoming texts asking if I’m OK. “Yes I’m fine” I say, “I left Paris three years ago and am in London tonight” It’s like no one has noticed I moved to Ibiza. Still, they are all glad that I am in London tonight and so am I. I feel strange because people are contacting me because they think I might have been hurt in the attack. I feel a fraud in saying that I am alright. I flag myself as safe. The developing news and horrific nature of the attacks renders me silent. Our group had now stopped taking anything in musically so we agreed that the party was over. On our way home it seemed like a good idea to stop for a dirty kebab on the Holloway Road. By the time we were in front of the TV watching the news unfold from the safety of a living room sofabed in Tufnell Park, our warm kebabs sweating on the cold plates, I had lost my appetite.
During my nine years resident in Paris, Le Petit Cambodge was one of my favourite eateries in the 10tharrondissement. I ate there regularly with my best friend Christophe, first after my weekly lessons and then as a kind of tradition until I left. The tables were always full, and it was always a hive of activity. They didn’t take reservations and rain or shine, the food was always worth the lengthy wait outside in the queue. Now my heart and head hurt thinking about how many wonderful Friday nights and weekends out had started in that area and how much such callous cowardice would have ripped a hole in Parisian morale. My friend Charlotte’s partner owns and runs a beautiful brasserie close by where this night they found themselves sheltering 40 people from the raining bullets and unable to let people leave due the area being designated a crime scene.
It takes less than a second to change lives forever: the time to miss a bus, choose another restaurant, buy the last concert ticket, drink at another bar, choose another weekend break destination. This convinces me more than ever that it’s the people that should matter in my life choices. None of us know how long we have. One random suicide bomber walks into a bar, a concert hall or a tube station and it could all be over tomorrow. What then? How would I want to have lived my life? What would I want written on my tombstone? What song would I want to be played at my funeral?
Fuck Friday the 13th – I’m going to bed. Paris is covered with the Angel of Death’s sprawling cloak and we sleep unsoundly and angrily in our beds wondering who or which city will be next?
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 14th
A wet week to come
… There has been a big change as we’ve moved into November with an unusually powerful jet stream drifting southwards and putting us in the firing line for some wild and wet autumn weather. Named by the UK Met Office as Storm Abigail, severe winds were not the only feature to affect the UK on Thursday and Friday. In the 24 hours to 1800 GMT on Friday 13th, an estimated 107mm of rainfall fell across the hills of western Scotland (see figure 2).
There will be little let-up in the soaking conditions as we head into the second half of November with plenty more rain on the way. Overnight and into Sunday 15th, the main focus of the rain will be on the northern half of the UK with some high totals expected across the hills and mountains of western Scotland, north-west England and north Wales. In fact, some forecast models suggest that these areas could see in excess of 100mm of rainfall during the 48 hours to Sunday night, with up to 200mm possible in a few spots.
Paulette Constable updated her status.
14 November 2015 09:36
Je n’ai pas des mots. La tristesse est profonde.
My eyes open on a nondescript, cloudy London morning. How could anyone so savagely rip the heart out of a city (its people and its culture) that I – and the world – loves so much? I am one of the lucky ones – my friends are all marked safe. I feel selfishly relieved. Last night’s news severely underestimated the fall out and now the death toll keeps rising. Two friends, Sophie Callis and Janie Valentine phone and drop in. Like us, neither has slept well and both are depressed at the turn of events. We drink tea, coffee, become sofa philosophers / politicians and talk through this together whilst watching the news on an infinity loop. It is a day of mourning, grieving at a distance, of not moving from the sofa and TV whilst eating everything that is not nailed down. It’s a day of simultaneously contacting everyone we know in the proximity of the attacks plus anyone we know with whom we can process this with via IM and phone. None of us can quite believe it. Facebook turns red, white and blue within hours in support.
Paris attacks kill more than 120 people – as it happened.
14 Nov 2015
Carnage. Massacre. L’horreur. Bloodbath. La Guerra. Terror. The international news headlines are all in agreement.
In France, Marine Le Pen’s Front National seize the political opportunity and a slow wave of Nationalism floats its precarious lifeboat atop the wave and ensuing deluge of negative, hateful rhetoric. Yet in the hours and days that follow, there is also poetry, solidarity, community, beauty and forgiveness in the media. One response floated above it all and went viral: french radio journalist, Antoine Leiris’ heart-rending open letter written in response to his wife’s murder in the Bataclan.
So eight terrorists are dead. Hashtag #SorryNotSorry. Fuck terrorists, suicide bombers and their terrorist attacks. #JeSuisParis #RIPTerrorAttacks #RIPBataclan … no matter how much I feel the need to hibernate, to throw my hands up in surrender, to curl up in bed and turn my back on the world, the world keeps turning.
The Soho Radio show and Housewife techno session go ahead as scheduled but whilst we try our best to make them celebrations, both become unwitting victims / bystanders of the attacks. It pours with rain all day and the state of emergency established in France has predictably altered the mood in London and Europe-wide so much that despite efforts to stay positive, the lock-down atmosphere of fear and mistrust has won. The night is sombre, not sparkly sequinned ‘mad-for-it’ or party at all. People stay home, keeping their doors locked and hugging their families and loved ones that little bit closer.
Still, whilst the world seems to be going slowly bonkers, not one of my nine lives has been lost by the end of November 2015 and for that I feel truly blessed.