Two chicks from the Bronx

The Grosvenor SW9 on Sidney Road, might not be the music Mecca that every next musical talent dreams of whilst developing blisters on their fingertops practising their guitarskills or going through yet another piano excercise. Despite being close the infamous Brixton Academy and being fully wallpapered with flyers, it was surprisingly quiet when I walked through the doors at 8pm.

Or as my friend Maya described it in her textmessage to me ( when I panicked about being late): “It’s pretty chill.” Chill it was indeed, when I found out I was the only audience member not in a band that was playing this night. On top of that, one band stayed mostly outside on a never-ending nicotine break or hanging on the sofa in the back, whilst the remaining two acts were in fact solo artists. Yet if I paint a picture of a hideous night, you are wrong: if I was the only one there (joined after 20min by another girl) it was still the rest of the world who missed out.

First up was a lady from the Bronx, vacationing in London ( Can you believe that? She ends up playing in the Grosvernor on her holiday!) her name is FeSS and her voice has that lovely mix of power, sweetness and clarity. She played her songs on her guitar and her voice just draws you in. If anyone ever tells you it is scary to play for a massive audience; let them play for an audience of four. (The man who sold the tickets joined us…) To play for an audience that is actually watching you, actually listening to the lyrics you wrote (rather than having a quiet chat with their neighbour) must be challenging. Challenging yet still fun perhaps, as she did confide later that she really enjoyed herself. ( Must have been the quality of the audience, you really can’t beat class ;-)) Personal favourite was Looking Glass, and I recommend you look it up on her MySpace page.

Second, was another lady from the Bronx ( hence the title to this entry) who has been in London for a while carving out her career and working on her craft. Maya is a very talented artist with a great sense of humour, a combination which is very rare and often undervalued. Her own songs reflect on situations in her life and tell of comical yet recognisable incidents, all put into lyrics to music which show her incredible skills. I truly believe that any artist who cannot laugh about themselves, who cannot laugh about the fact that:
A) they need to ignore the rude band in the back who at no point made an effort to join the audience and enjoy the music
B) their main audience members are a blond who is drinking ginger beer and one oriental looking girl who is just glad to have found a cold Budweiser and a chair, is not worth their salt.

These ladies were though and I can tell you it was an absolute pleasure and a privilege to be in their company tonight.

Because Bob said it so well…

I leave you with this tonight:
Though I know that evenin’s empire has returned into sand,Vanished from my hand,Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping.
My weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feet,I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming.

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me, I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to.
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me,
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.

Tolerance and Marriage

Yesterday the BBC reported that researchers at Bath University had shown that relationships in which a man married a smarter younger woman ( at least five years younger) the relationship was less likely to end up in a break up.

As a result we are presented with a pull quote from one of the readers who comments on this:

Not so long ago the husband had to be older than his wife in
order to be able to support a family, but such criteria are not so relevant now women have been educated to be able to command good jobs, so I suggest the basis for a successful marriage should be tolerance – Ms
Monahan Bristol.

Have mercy, tolerance.

Is that what we have come to? Tolerance as the basis for a succesful marriage/relationship?
I know I am incredibly ambitious at times, and perhaps when I am 87 and still haven’t found The One and I have a desperate moment; I might settle for tolerance (as long as he keeps his teeth clean) on a wild trip in Vegas. But until then, can we all just make ourselves a promise that tolerance is not even a factor to get married in the first place?

Surely you tolerate your in-laws, you tolerate neighbours and you might even tolerate some colleagues. But please – if and when deciding to share your life with someone else, can we all agree to at least make a slight effort to find someone who we love, admire and respect?
If we don’t tick at least two of the three boxes ( I accept that even the love-thing can wear thin after a decade and a half – or does it really?) perhaps we might consider the marriage/ relationship not that succesful? Never settle for less: life is too short to iron or to be unhappy (which is practically the same).

Perhaps it sounds horrendeously naive and old-fashioned but the idea that someone might actually settle for tolerance when presented with this situation, is just too much to bear!

Monday.

I must stop my compulsive obsessions. I must stop my compulsive obsessions.I must stop my compulsive obsessions. I must stop my compulsive obsessions.I must stop my compulsive obsessions. I must stop my compulsive obsessions.I must stop my compulsive obsessions. I must stop my compulsive obsessions.I must stop my compulsive obsessions. I must stop my compulsive obsessions.I must stop my compulsive obsessions. I must stop my compulsive obsessions.I must stop my compulsive obsessions. I must stop my compulsive obsessions.I must stop my compulsive obsessions. I must stop my compulsive obsessions.I must stop my compulsive obsessions. I must stop my compulsive obsessions.I must stop my compulsive obsessions. I must stop my compulsive obsessions.I must stop my compulsive obsessions. I must stop my compulsive obsessions.I must stop my compulsive obsessions. I must stop my compulsive obsessions.I must stop my compulsive obsessions. I must stop my compulsive obsessions.I must stop my compulsive obsessions. I must stop my compulsive obsessions.I must stop my compulsive obsessions. I must stop my compulsive obsessions.I must stop my compulsive obsessions. I must stop my compulsive obsessions.I must stop my compulsive obsessions. I must stop my compulsive obsessions.

Greenwich Park

This Sunday nearly went down as another day I went to the gym. After I woke up, read a bit about Florentino and Fermina and got into my gym gear. When I found myself wondering whether I should go to the gym or go to Greenwich park, I stopped myself:

Until two months ago I hadn’t done any exercise in years. That is years. Plural. This question should not even be a question. To my own disgust I was turning in one of those people. The ones who are gym-obsessed, not because of maintaining physical health per se but more because of the extortionate fees that are being charged for the privilege of a month sweating on machines.

So I changed into jeans, jumper and boots and left the flat. I just had my boots re-heeled and after a whole year of trying to make my boots look worn in and scruffy, I noticed the man in the shop had polished them up so much they looked like new. Great, thanks…

After crossing the tunnel, I decided to go to Greenwich Market to find Mr Humbug.This is an old fashioned sweetshop which deserves to be endorsed if only for its slogan: Mr Humbug Suck it and See. It always surprises me that despite this they still get the kids in. when I chose the foam shrimp and banana’s the shopkeeper seemed genuinely disappointed in the lack of originality. I then also got some gobstoppers.The thing was I didn’t really want the foam sweets, but gobstoppers aren’t much fun if you can’t fish them out of your mouth now and then to see the colour change ( what is the point?) and I felt they were inappropriate for walking through the park.

The park isn’t huge, but my infamous disability still worried me: I cannot navigate to save my life. Quite literally actually.There is a near legendary story about me and my friend losing our classmates during a school trip to Paris, Père Lachaise – the graveyard- to be precise. The uproar it caused, more so because someone had seen my friend in tears and combined with my notorious sense of direction they nearly called out the gendarmerie. (Who found us anyway when our teacher made us do a presentation whilst sitting on the grave of Jean-Paul Sartre. He had a strange sense of humour… )

In the park, I decided to climb a bit higher thinking I would lose the sense of being in a city. The opposite is true: you become more aware of it as suddenly you can see beyond the edge of the park and there the city is in all her glory, impossible to ignore. The same applied to all the others in the park: real life people watching is so much better than the gym. Everywhere I saw families bonding with small children and grandparents, love-sick lovers oblivious to the rest of the world, groups of very loud American tourists ( is there any other kind?) and giggling girls who seem to live in herds throughout their teens and who all seem to take on the same look (Think Topshop and hairstraighteners). To my own surprise I felt a strange kind of relief in not yet/ anymore belonging to any of the above categories.

Back home, I put a Casablanca on (and only because I felt it was the kind of Sunday that should have an iconic film on. I have to admit that I still don’t really know what it is about – I just like the idea of it.) I cooked a casserole, baked a cake, polished my other boots, finished a short story, opened a bottle of wine and watched John and Edward make it to week 4 in horror.

I have written this whilst sucking on a gobstopper that has changed colour three times now: I might have trouble navigating sometimes, but I think this Sunday went pretty well.

Censorship

How many of my words to you are real and how many thoughts are fabricated?

You will never know. Sometimes I wonder whether I really know. The way I write about certain topics about certain events are often coloured with a little poetic licence such is my prerogative!

The mentioning of places and people by name are considered carefully: there is no need to name my ex-boyfriend or my flatmate as I think they both would find this awkward. But I did mention Open Arts Cafe because it is great and I want to encourage people to google it and enjoy it one Thursday and Sura is as much as an exhibitionist as yours truly and will most definitely want the credit for her unfaltering encouragement!

This self-imposed censorship is new to me as I am used to writing diaries in which I have no one to answer to but myself. I try my best to strike a balance between entertaining you with little notes about my life and yet sparing you the burden of my own insecurities. After all someone’s once said: A lady is a woman who never unknowingly shows her underwear…

Yet something has been bothering me for a couple of days now. When I wrote about Life’s Basics, somebody commented that I had forgotten about love.

Ah, love. Love love love.

What to say?

I could answer: ‘Yes I forgot, how silly of me!’ followed by a few amusing thoughts about love and be done with it.

The real answer would be: I did not forget about it, I just chose to ignore it.

But that answer would require some elaboration and the right words seem to fail me. So I will turn to a hundred-times ( a thousand, a million, a complete another league) better writer and read Love in the Time of Cholera in the hope I find the words my heart cannot express right now.

To be continued…