I am walking inside an apartment. The walls are white, smudges of paint stain the walls and floor, random objects around me create a mosaic of a life spent backwards. People move around me in a swift pace, placing half burned candles on the floor, blankets on surfaces and painstakingly checking that every detail looks effortless. This feels like a dream.
If you told me last week I would be walking on the stage of the English National Opera I would have scoffed at your face (and then apologised because that would be rude). Yet, here I am. The set is a genuine work of art, full of beautifully crafted details that might not be perceptible to the spectators but make the world of La Bohème so exquisitely intricate.
I was a bit sceptical before my visit. I read reviews that were neither favourable nor flattering and so I did not know what to expect. I found my seat, the lights dimmed and I stopped breathing as the set I was walking on a few moments ago lit up.
Two hours of pure heart string pulling ensued.
I genuinely think the reviews missed the point. By no means do I consider or advertise myself as a critic, but I understand that when I go to see a modern interpretation of a work it will be different. You have to see it with completely new eyes, almost as if it is a totally new play. Can it stand in its own merit? The director is bringing something new to the table – saying ‘but we always did it another way’ is not doing it justice. Veering off too much from the original is not something to be looked down upon – it has to be celebrated; you don’t want a lukewarm version, you want a punchy rework that makes you see things in a different light.
The cast was amazing. The leads (Corinne Winters and Zach Borichevsky) did a fantastic job, but I have too I was genuinely captivated by Rhian Lois as Musetta and Duncan Rock as Marcello (who I bumped on the next day in the tube and awkwardly congratulated on his performance :) they were both incredible at bringing these characters to life and subtly showcasing all the layers of flawed yet endearing human beings. The sets were minimal yet powerful and along with the staging and the costumes created a micro-universe that defied time and space – it was a battleground for love to live and die.
Needless to say I cried like a baby and had to compose myself before walking out. I think it would be a shame to miss this performance. Keep a open mind, prepare to be surprised, wowed, enchanted and touched, prepare to be reminded why love hurts and how beautiful this pain can be.
Today is F*‘s birthday. It has been a long time since I saw him or we spoke, but his birthday popped on my iphone and a memory jolted in my head.
When I came back from holiday a few months ago I went back to the office and the most beautiful arrangement of white roses was on my desk. They were planted in a beige teacup and the rest of the team was dying to know who they were from.
They were from F*.
I tried watering them according to the instructions, googled how to care for them, asked people that were keen gardeners but slowly the flowers started withering, until the very last leaf was dead.
A colleague asked me why this happened last week. ‘You were so good with them. You took such great care of them, did everything you should have done. Why did this happen?‘.
I responded to him without thinking: ‘because sometimes, no matter how much you water something, it just dies. It is not your fault, it just happens‘.
When I finished that sentence a pained smile formed on my lips. Sometimes, no matter how much you try, it just doesn’t work out. It is not your fault. Don’t keep blaming yourself. Sometimes, this is how things are. And that is ok.
*Names have been changed to protect the innocent
Is the desire to have your image captured vanity? I am not a selfie fan, I do not put timers and take pictures of myself or own the much-laughed-at yet everyone-has-one selfie stick. However I always had a desire to have my picture taken.
I think it is mainly due to the fact that I don’t have a lot of pictures from my childhood as I was growing up. When friends would take out massive photo albums (yes, we printed out pictures back then), I would have an envelope with a few pictures inside. The main reason was a relative borrowing our albums and then losing them to the dismay and rage of my parents.
So, I started taking pictures. I guess that in my adolescence and early twenties I was the group’s photographer, always with a one use camera at hand; I think I was hoping that at some point someone would say ‘would you like to be in the picture?‘
Nowadays I ask: ‘would you mind taking a picture of me?‘ and I don’t feel like others will think I am vain.
As I am standing in front of the Strong at 80 wall with 19 pictures of Sir Roy Strong taken by John Swannell and I cannot help but wonder if this is art, pop culture or an experiment on ego-stroking.
As I tilt my head to the left I decide that it is not relevant. Art can be ego-stroking; pop culture can be art; and life imitating art imitating life can be a meta-trip that has no bounds.
Now, you can smile for the camera – as long as you share it.
I don’t often get food envy; I pride myself of always picking the best meal from a menu and intact most of my friends ask me what I will have before they order as they trust my taste. However as I was sitting opposite my date at Busaba, I could not help but feel a tinge of jealousy as his duck plate arrived. ‘Next time I am here I am totally getting this‘ I thought to myself.
A week after that date I met with S and his partner and after a couple of drinks we decided to go grab a bite. As we were in Shoreditch we decided to pop in Busaba when a flash of recognition went through my salivary glands. ‘I know exactly what I am having’ I exclaimed as my two fellow diners looked at me with a detached sense of apathy.
We ordered the calamari for the table and I got the duck with the sweet potato fries on the side. Needless to say that is was delicious. The duck was succulent, cooked to perfection in the red hot Josper oven and accompanied with a sauce that matched it perfectly and the sweet potato fries found the perfect partner in the dipping sauce they were served with.
We caught up with the guys on my adventures of singledom, their blossoming relationship and everything in between and then I decided to walk back to burn the calories from my new favourite dish.
I guess you learn things from dates, no matter how they go. From a new dish option to something you did not know about yourself or from a new venue to realising things are not as straightforward as they seem, there is always a new takeaway at each date’s menu.
And it is ended as quietly as it started. With a meeting and a walk and a lunch and a chat and a few tears and a feeling of emptiness that was as sad as it was liberating.
He is a very special man, and it was painful. We didn’t give each other what we each needed. I couldn’t.
I still have feelings for him, and it would be absurd to say that I don’t. But I don’t want to let that stop me from moving forward and being friends. I strangely like having him in my life and I am happy to have him as a friend. It will take some effort to do that, but I am willing to try.
I understand why this didn’t work and this understanding makes things so much simpler. I am aware I am only human and that I need to process these feelings and that it will take some time; but I can give my time to doing that. I can give my time to listen to my feelings and try to be as kind to myself as I am to others.
So, onwards and upwards (I will fill you in later about that).
So, things are getting complicated; or maybe I am complicating things. I have been told more than once that I am an over-thinker and that is fine with me for most of the times – up until the point it gets me in trouble.
You know how people can shrug things off? Well, when it comes to dating I find it a tiny but difficult. I was recently talking to a friend that told me that on the outside I act totally nonchalant and cool when inside I am hiding a full-on Fatal Attraction Glen Glose. Lock up your bunnies guys, G is in town.
So, this weekend I had an argument with the guy I have been seeing in the past month and it was a big one. I felt hurt, confused and totally unable to shrug it off. So, I decided that the best way to get my mind off it would be to go for a coffee with someone else to get some perspective. Do you see how this could get complicated?
So, I met this someone else for a casual coffee, which ended up being a walk, then lunch, then a kiss. The problem is, I like him. I mean, I don’t know him and I’ve only met him once, but I like him. I mean, I found myself going on full heart palpitations at the moment before the kiss and that is a telltale sign that we are in trouble.
So, yes, we are in trouble. Because now, I don’t know. I like the guy I have been seeing and we have not talked about exclusivity and I am pretty sure he has been seeing others. At the same time I like him and I don’t want to be a douche.
Having said that, I really like the new guy and would like a chance to get to know him better. It might lead to liking him more or to discovering there is no compatibility there; my heart tells me though that I could discover something special.
So, I am caught in the middle. I have never been in that position before and it is new to me. My plan is to take it one day at a time, be as authentic as I can, be honest with people and try to not hurt and get hurt.
It could all be ok in the end, right?