In January of this year I wrote a blog post laying out my intentions for the year. Or, more accurately, my intention, singular: to start looking outward.
One of the small steps to which I committed (in writing) was to volunteer at TEDxEastEnd. Well, dear readers, I’m here to tell you that I kept my word. I rocked up at Hackney Empire at 9am on 25th February and threw myself headfirst into the chaos. And it was fabulous.
There’s a particular prestige that accompanies the TED brand. In the build up to the event, whenever I mentioned my volunteering plans, the mere mention of ‘TEDx’ was followed by widening eyes, a respectful nod and, more often than not, an awed ‘Oh wow!’. To those who are less familiar with the hundreds of viral fifteen minute talks that bounce around social media, TED is a non-profit organisation committed to ‘ideas worth spreading’. While TEDx sits under the TED umbrella, TEDx events are organised entirely by independently from the main TED organisation. The idea is to create local events, with local speakers, run by local volunteers.
Tapas has somewhat lost its meaning in London dining of late, popping up in a vast range of cuisines to indicate everything from starters to street food. If this liberal use of language has got you longing for the proper stuff, you won’t get much better than La Fábrica in Stroud Green…
Read my full review for North Four magazine
La Fabric, 45 Stroud Green Road, London, N4 3EF
I recently saw Yerma at the Young Vic, directed by Simon Stone. I’m a little late with this review (the play has been running since late July and recently closed) but it had a significant impact on me, and I wanted to share my thoughts nonetheless.
As Spanish speaker, I was nervous. Lorca is notoriously difficult to translate. His texts are rich with strong imagery and cultural resonances, and the rhythm of the lines heightens the emotional intensity of the language. His plays are beautiful to read aloud in Spanish; even if you can’t understand the words, meaning is conveyed through the flow of consonants.
I needn’t have worried; watching Yerma, I was thrown straight into the world of the play. Despite being written and set in Catholic Spain in the 1930s, it felt unnervingly fresh and relevant.
Bookshops are my happy place.
Nothing delights me more than perusing shelves, reading title after title, pausing to select the ones that intrigue me, to examine covers and read opening sentences, feeling the weight of the stories they contain, taking a moment to appreciate the work that’s gone into each and every edition.
Bookshops are my panacea, the mysterious elixir with the power to uplift, intrigue, excite and reassure. There’s nothing like the familiar sight of rows and rows of Penguin classics to settle my anxious mind.
Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time alone.
If that sounds bleak, it isn’t. At least, not for me. Most of the time, I like being alone.
There’s something inherently taboo about enjoying your own company. The carpe diem attitude championed by the self-help industry implies that choosing to be alone is somehow a cop-out, that in order to be making the most of our lives we need to be stuffing every second with brunches and first dates and weekends away and big nights out.
The truth is I get the same satisfaction from the prospect of a weekend without plans as I do from a brand new notebook and a collection of freshly-sharpened pencils. Both contain the delicious sense of possibility.