Wednesday, 30 May 2012

London Calling

And so the countdown is on...just over two weeks until I'm back on British soil and thankfully, the last couple of weeks have kept me busy enough for it to feel like it's flying by. My friend Hannah and two of her mates came out to Bali for a fortnight and it was really good to visit a few places I hadn't seen yet and to introduce them to the things I'm quite familiar with.One of them being Linga Longa Bar, our favourite hangout spot where Fran took to the stage on more than one occasion to entertain the crowd with her powerful, jazz style voice. We had fun in Ubud and dined around Sanur, not forgetting a few games of pool at the scuzzy but fun Angel bar; the only place in Bali where I get to hear my favourite tunes...Hendrix, Clapton, Zeppelin, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and even Queens of the Stone Age are always on the playlist. For those of you who aren't on Facebook, here's a few pics I nicked from the girls:

Woody, Fran, Hannah & me in temple attire

Lo and I chillin in the water

Me feeding fishies at Tirtagangga palace
Lo putting us to shame at Angel bar

Me and Hansy
Dinner in Ubud
So it's been all fun and games but the end is nigh and I've got to get my head down and finish up some work before we cross waters. I'll miss Bali for friends and certain places of course, but UK is a calling and with a few exciting things lined up for when Lo and I get there, I'm raring to's what we've got booked so far:

* Spending Summer Solstice in Glastonbury - my favourite town in all of England! There'll be drumming, meditating, tree-hugging, love-spreading, rejoicing, garland-wearing and lots of other cool happy hippy stuff.

*Going on a 'Foraging for Herbs' walk - in July we're going on a jaunt around Regent's Park, led by a Herbalist and natural remedies expert who will show us how to, well, forage for herbs in London and will show us how to use these wondeful plants in cooking, cosmetics and healing...the nature geek in me squeals.

*Seeing Swan Lake at the Coliseum - tickets are booked for The English National Ballet production this August! It will be my first live ballet and I'm giddy at the thought...I know I'm gonna love it.

*Going to the Contemporary American Indian Art Exhibition at Highgate Gallery - I made friends with a Navajo artist called Troy Whitethorne when I was in Arizona and when he said he was having an exhibition in London, I promised him I'd go and see it. It's on from 8th-21st June so I'll be landing just in the nick of time. I'll be tired, I'll be jetlagged and crazy busy but a promise is a promise and I'm all about supporting what has become a very precious culture to me.

Aside from these exciting dates in the calendar, not only will I be loving the reunion of me and my city (and hugging and kissing the life out of my friends and family) but I also get to take Loic around as it's been roughly 10 years since he's been to London...the best way to get into the city again is to be a tour guide for someone else so there will be many an outing to museums, galleries, coffee shops, gigs, pubs, parks, theatres etc. There'll also be much gorging on cake, pastries, cheese, wine and all the food that Indonesia isn't really best at...ditching the motorbike for our good old reliable legs again is going to be much needed.

There are so many things that we've missed about Europe that I'm quite sure that we won't be bored for quite some time...but for now, let's enjoy what the rest of this island has to offer before we wave it goodbye.

Saturday, 19 May 2012


Here's a piece from my unfinished collection that I've been working on, just to give you a taste; I've decided that there'll be prose in there as well as poems. This particular one doesn't have a title yet:

We walk into the bedroom in the dark and you stand amongst my wreck. Black hiding an undressed life and you wander into it as if you have seen it before, even though you don’t see it now, my gallery of posed questions and the paper meals that feed my hunger for answers. You make the room jump when you walk past the mirror. A quick stream of colour flashes back recognition of you more than it does me. And yet I still don’t reach for the light as you carry on going; maybe I’m waiting for you to intuite some more, perhaps show me what I’ve never been able to see.

Our conversation from back there out in the world didn’t follow us in and I’m not sure what to do with the silence. Perhaps it is better to contain it here in the dark; no makeshift words to construct in a space that is already too full. No prompted reactions expected, no critique or applause to await. In this obsidian box I could paint whatever you want, some stars perhaps? Or do you prefer just a navy sky and a clear prominent moon?

I hear you turn on your heel and this actress isn’t yet ready for the lights. She hasn’t rehearsed enough; she might wither before an eager face. I know you were pleased by what you saw at the preview, back there out in the world. I recognise the same smile that freed itself from your lips when I looked up from my glass. Only this time it is decorated with midnight and it looks ever the more beautiful.

Now that you don’t see me, what do you see? See with your heart, feel with your eyes. Peer into me while I’m in nothingness, because you have no present comparison for beauty.

I take one step and pause before the next, one foot teetering behind the other like my thoughts do; carefully laying themselves down. I’m nearly ready to expose you to it all, from young womanhood to present day; storyboards that don’t have endings, shards from dropped feelings never cleaned up. I’m close now because I sense you by your warmth and it changes the air between us.

And before I can tape together the words that would fit right here in this space, you find the switch because those lips that part ways for flattering smiles kiss mine suddenly in the light.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

In the Shadows

Every now and then I rediscover an appreciation for an art and then like a maniac I indulge in it for a condensed period of time and long to be able to create the same, but of course I can't do everything! I do however need to be constantly inspired seeing as though what I do involves a lot of imagination. I am incredibly visual and things not only stick better in my mind if I see them, but also I write from my photographic memory and it's the little details in each image that spur on a brand new idea.

Image from We Heart it
I once read in a very helpful book that when we write, we must write with our most honest voice and explore our 'shadow selves', the darker parts of ourselves. It is important to question and pick through what it is that makes us, us. Things have much bigger impact if they are somewhat curious or bizarre and for myself in particular, I admire things that are beautifully tragic, or tragically beautiful, however you wish to see it.

I've done a lot of this 'shadow self' thinking and I've often discussed with friends how we sometimes love to feel odd, different, a little dark (in a Tim Burton way) and sometimes even melancholic. I'm a sucker for putting on a sad song if I already feel sad, I'll wallow I admit - but how else can I describe that emotion if I don't explore it and really feel it?

Image from the movie Sleepy Hollow

But more to the point, dark things can be poetic and beautiful or at least on the surface, visually stimuating. I pick myself apart a lot, especially in this blog, if you hadn't noticed already!

I'm working on a collection of poems at the moment (amongst a tirade of other projects) and I promised myself I would write it with that voice, delivering the dark and the beautiful that rise up within like a serpent in those silent moments. Each poem will be set in 'darkness' or night time to be more accurate, with all its unsettling connotations as well as its magical ones.

My favourite show as a little girl wasn't My Little Pony but Knightmare and my favourite Roald Dahl story was The Witches. My favourite movies were films like Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and The Lost Boys and at five years old my ears pricked up the first time I heard the song "Poison" by Alice Cooper. But of course, I don't just have a gothic's heart and managed to come into adulthood quite tame despite my querky interests as a child. I complimented them with the fluffier things in life like Disney, Sylvanian Families and Motown music (the rocker in me won the battle in the end) - the 'light' side of ourselves is just as important. 

So to make this blend work in a creative way, I sift through art until it strikes that chord and I think 'that's my style'...this week, two things have popped up: shadow theatre and ballet. I love shadow theatre and it's an art that I didn't really take heed of until I came across an amazing performance in Exeter. It was winter and it was late at night and on the side of the old town church, a dark fable was shown from a projector, the giant shadows twisted and danced upon this perfectly chosen building and I was enamoured. I unfortunately didn't get the name of that performance or the company that displayed it but I did find this shadow animation on YouTube which gives you the idea of shadow theatre if you've never paid attention to this sort of thing before. It's pretty and enchanting and I admire just how much work and creativity has to go into something like this.

The second thing that had me "ooh" and "ahhh" was Angelin Preljocaj's ballet interpretation of Snow White which showed last week at Saddler's Well Theatre in London. This darker, sexier version is something I really want to see and could be inspiring on so many levels. I'm absolutely gutted that I wasn't home to see it but I'm hoping it'll come back sometime in the not so distant future.

Snow White Ballet Performance

 “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

― Carl Jung

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Time For a Little Poem...

It's been a while since I've written a poem here and this morning this one fell out of my mouth, my head and my heart and I quickly laid it down on paper before the words had a chance to shatter on the floor and I'd have to sweep them away.

So forgive me, it hasn't been edited...this is purely spontaneous.


Dusted it off and blew on it twice
A wish escaped along with the breath
And travelled over battered walls
And banyan trees
Exhaust smoke and children’s pleas
To skip the begging and play
It avoids the Sun’s fury all day
Dances past judgment and
Still on the breeze
Through cracks in the temples
Tried to get down on my knees
But couldn’t feel the buzz only the numb
Really straining to hear that hum
Those whispers that shake the leaves

One taps me on the head and I feel chosen

Nature’s gentle nudge
But that wish gets snagged and doesn’t budge
For a while until it’s forced
To take another course where spiders creep
Between flowers winged creatures peep
Both kindred and enemy they feast on the skin
Bang at the door
Can’t take refuge curled up on the floor

They will get you there too until the noise stops

And I’ve got my eyes on that moonlight
Its brilliant glow
The way it kisses the ocean the way it hangs low
Somewhere in that forgotten and unknown
It’s casting light on a king made of stone
A kris in his hand and menace on his face
Giving the impression that gold means grace

He sits higher than me and I’m meant to feel his power

I’ve never counted so much in my life
Hour by hour
Sunrise to sunset I've left little hearts in the places we met
For all of you by the sea and under the stars
Music and love faded the scars
That wish is still on its way up to Father Sky

Still battling exhaust smoke and avoiding those pleas

Indonesia you’ve helped me see
Helped me see