Thursday, December 10, 2015

Ode to a stalwart friend/musings

I'm gonna spoil things now, it's not a human friend its a coffee place/deli.

Oh Guy and Gallard on 28th and 7th how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Your staff are all polite and friendly with genuine warmth and character not corporate roboticism.

You have the best possible coffee set up - a row of large urns from which one can serve oneself and choose from a variety of roasts and flavours ensuring me the perfect amount of room for milk and combination of vanilla and hazelnut coffee.

You have multiple jugs of whole, skimmed, semi skimmed and soy milk so I never have to hover awkwardly near the counter waiting for someone to have a free second to pass me a carton of soy milk or whatever they've run out of out front.

You have BOTH kinds of coffee lids so that people like me who are driven mad by the flimsier ones that are completely flat and have a little flap that can be snapped closed over the drinking spout have the option of the sturdier, duplex-style lid without a fiddly flap.

You have all the bagel types - you have GARLIC bagels. Noone else has garlic bagels and they are amazing. Also they always toast the bagel the perfect amount and put the ideal slathering of cream cheese - not so much it makes it soggy if you have it to go, but enough that you get a good gobful of delicious creamy goodness every bite.

They can keep their Starbucks, their Think their Birch and their Grumpy. Have Konditori, have Caffe Bene even...and it pains me to say this even Momofuku Milk Bar home of the pastrami and sauerkraut- stuffed roll...ow.

G&G you're the one for me, brightening my Wednesday and Thursday mornings cos that's when I work in Chelsea one block south of you.
Small things like this are what make life really wonderful.

Also making life wonderful:
Woman in Chains by Tears for Fears ft. Oleta Adams. I meeeaaan come ON is there a greater yearning ballad than this? I've listened to it on repeat since yesterday evening.

I just came from dance rehearsal for I Could Never Love Anyone, the dance piece in which I play a facet of the protagonists' many addictions. It's a based-on-real-story piece that explores how addiction affects and individual and those around the individual and represents it as more than a simple 'person with problem' struggle by addressing that there are different types, different stages, different motivations. It gets pretty dark but has some moments of redemption. It's choreographed by my friend Katie Pettit who I've danced for and with several times now and I've mentioned before on this blog how I enjoy dancing her choreo because she really utilises pedestrian movements and non-genre specific steps which allow her dancers to infuse them with our own unique styles. Everything isn't 'look I'm daaaahncing' which can so easily be one-note. It can be spectacular but still one note. Like how a singer belting to the rafters and riffing every single note can be breathtaking but after a while can leave you a bit cold and longing for a slightly more real, human moment. I like to think that we are trying to be the real human moments in are world where spectacle often comes first.
Plus this piece has existed for a while but it's being expanded and it feels really good to be participating in the creation of art from the ground up.

I've been thinking a lot about that recently - about the notion of myself as an artist.
It's something I've been reluctant to adopt as a label pretty much forever. I don't know if that's my rough and tumble salt of the earth upbringing or some insecurity I've developed since being here but I can't remember ever being like 'oh yes I am an artist' and not feeling like it was pretentious in some way. I think maybe it's because I didn't feel I'd earned it.

My dear friend Jess is an artist - there is concrete (well, steel) proof of that in the welded sculptures her house is filled with and before those came along there were her paintings and drawings of her various animals among other things and her musical gifts. Theodora has been studying digital anthropology for some time now but I'd still call her an artist before I'd call myself one. You can also see her beautiful sculptures, drawings, cartoons and songwriting if you care to look. Both my roommates are clearly artists first - the art forms they engage with are their second language and as much a part of their identity as their names, more so than any job.

For some reason this is a recent revelation but...I make art ALL THE TIME. I have so many creative outlets that I really need. This is not to say I am proficient in every form of art there is, far from it. But without my guitar to play around on and make music, my craft box to make collages and cards and posters and designs, this blog, my rotation of about 6 different notebooks in which I jot down songs, poems, essays and stories...hell without my wardrobe, which I use as one more forum to be creative and artistic...I don't really know who I'd be. And that's all the stuff that comes in my spare time outside of dance rehearsals and theater company meetings and singing in concerts. So I should stop being a dickhead and admit to being quite clearly an artist without shame. If anyone were to call me out on it - and there's no reason why they should but this is the weird insecurity that stops me from saying it proudly - it's not like I'm lying!
I know also that I have always done all of these things. Having art supplies and tinkering with music and writing for fun are second nature to me. Thanks, entire family of multi-talented creative people who don't necessarily identify as artists but clearly are! From that I realised that just because my experience of life has only been filled from the start with art doesn't mean everyone's has, even people who are currently engaged in creative pursuits i.e. acting.  That might be the only for of art in which they are involved.

It sounds really silly but this really has come as a surprise to me - of course I know there are people who don't identify as creative or artistic, I know they exist buy I don't know any of them...turns out I do. Plenty of people did not grow up drawing and singing and writing poems and dressing up in costumes and pretty much I have to be better at embracing that and having patience that everyone doesn't care about handmade cards and decorations or other things that are really important to me. Huh. I have genuinely been frustrated over a lack of creativity in others before which is just so stupid and I'm sure those same people are frustrated at my lack of logic or something. To say someone is not creative is not derogatory and vice versa it's just different, and it has taken me 25 years to understand that not everyone is an artist but I am one and that's just great.
Weird musings!

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