30 years on earth has given me a head full of stories and a hard drive full of photos. I thought it was about time I started putting them somewhere.
Gemstones and Hippies
July 15th 1975 Only 5 hours until Bangkok. I’ve tried to sleep but my mind is whirring uncontrollably. It keeps soaring to the city where he’s waiting for me. I’ve been reading his letter over and over. “I love you,” he said. “Come to Bangkok and you will be my queen in the kingdom we will build.” I clutch his letter to my heart as tears roll down my cheeks. These months without him have been torture. But soon we will be reunited.
“Alabama's gotten me so upset Tennessee made me lose my rest And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam” With the blistering, searing anger of this song, Nina Simone left her mainstream-friendly, light-hearted jazz days behind and catapulted herself to the front of the civil rights movement. Nina became a prominent, outspoken figure of the movement, using her musical power and prowess to fight in her own unique way for the rights of African-Americans and to try to effect change in the United States. This dedication to the cause came at great personal cost. Nina would later tell Jet magazine that Mississippi Goddam ruined her career. The song was banned in southern states. Her records were smashed and the pieces sent to her record label. Nina believed she was boycotted by the music industry. She left America in the early 70s, and although she would return for concerts, she never lived there again.
A Concise History Of My Life's Musical Journey And My Feelings About Valentine's Day
I’m a huge music fan. Always have been. Some of my earliest memories are of bouncing around in the back of the car singing along to my parents’ CDs. (My dad was in the military, so we spent many, many hours in the car visiting friends and family scattered around the country.) For all you Gen Z kids out there, a CD was a round disc that you could put in a CD reader. It usually had 11 songs on it, which you then got to know very, very well. Perhaps it was these hours of enforced listening in my formative years that made me appreciate such a wide variety of musical genres today.
The Thirty-Year Plan
Alexei stepped out of the meeting room and closed the door carefully behind him. He jerked his tie free, balled it up and buried it in his jacket pocket. He loosened his shirt buttons and breathed a deep sigh of relief. He hated the suit and tie, but nothing less was expected for such an important meeting with such high-ranking personnel. He was pleased; it had gone well. And he was relieved; you never quite knew beforehand how these meetings would go.
The Tiny Town With History On Every Corner
Well, here I am. Back in my hometown. I’ve moved away many times. I’ve made a home in several cities around the UK. I’ve lived in a few different countries. I’ve travelled the globe. When coronavirus unleashed itself on an unsuspecting world last March I was in Peru, finally about to fulfil a lifetime’s ambition of climbing up Machu Picchu. I didn’t quite make it. Instead I was locked down in a hotel room in Cusco for three weeks before being repatriated back to the UK on an emergency flight organised by the British government. And now I’m back in my hometown, in my childhood home.
It's not actually that sunny in Philadelphia
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Like the name of a wholesome family entertainment show. Perhaps a light-hearted comedy where a group of old friends who own a bar get into a few scrapes but it all turns out all right in the end. Well, the irony begins with the title. It’s Always Sunny is one of the craziest, darkest sitcoms ever to hit our screens.
Wellness is whatever you want it to be
In today’s ultra-capitalist, consumerist, commercialised world, it didn’t take long for businesses and corporations to jump on the wellness bandwagon. Instagram influencers peddle supplements and vitamins. Cosmetics companies tell us that using their products is an act of “self-love”. Beauty brands push “skincare is self-care”. Gyms and diet clubs promote weight loss as wellness. I even saw a company with “wellness” in their name, whose main treatments seem to be something called “cryo slimming”, as well as “cellulite bursting” and hair removal. I always thought that wellness was about how you feel, not how you look.
Can you drive a Ford Fiesta through a desert?
I’m flying down the B1 highway from Windhoek to Keetmanshoop with a map and a boot full of camping gear. I’m excited for the first stop of my Namibian road trip: the Quiver Tree Forest. I spot the sign and turn onto the C17, off the tarmac and onto the gravel. I’ll be there soon; it’s only ten miles or so. I am unprepared for what comes next. The car slides and slips across the road. I am not fully in control anymore. I slow to a crawl. The car judders and shudders, the noise deafening, the vibrations rattling the teeth in my skull. It takes me around an hour to drive the ten miles. I arrive at the campsite relieved to be in one piece, even if it feels like all my bones have been shaken slightly out of place. I will later learn that this is what happens when the gravel road becomes “corrugated”, and that the roads authority goes round once a week to “grade” them. Seems I arrived about 6 days after the grader had last been round.