As I've mentioned, I've been thinking a lot about youth lately. I saw this article today about a photographer who took these pictures of the Beatles when he was 18. He couldn't afford a flash so took them all with natural light. As someone who never uses a flash, I absolutely love the light and shade in these. And can you imagine the thrill of being on stage with the Beatles capturing these moments?
This week, here in the UK, 6 Music have been celebrating New York with a series of brilliant programmes and playlists. Until I visited last year, I hadn't been to NYC for over 20 years. In fact I could hardly say I'd been there at all as that first trip was only a fleeting 24 hours in which all we really did was rush up to the top of the Empire State Building and rather than feeling in awe of the city, we simply felt giddy about being so far away from home unsupervised. But then I found myself booked to go back to help to organise an event.
The first trip over was a 48 hour whirlwind recce. We landed late on the Monday night and at 5am on Tuesday morning I lay wide awake in my hotel room one block away from Central Park. What else to do but get up and walk? I decided I would head to Radio City Hall and zig-zagged across the blocks, round the side of the park and straight down Broadway. I stood and stared up at the vertical signs feeling excited and disorientated with commuters around me, my wide eyes giving me away as a jet-lagged tourist. On the way back to the hotel, I stopped for coffee and a bagel and then took a detour past Carnegie Hall, which I've wanted to see since listening to Ryan Adams' beautiful album of the night he played there. The city had me hooked.
We returned a few weeks after the recce to deliver the event and threw ourselves wholeheartedly into the city. I found myself feeling completely intoxicated by its creativity, energy and movement. It's clearer than London with wider streets. You can see it more easily, have more perspective. There's noise and madness but I also found so many quiet, creative corners.
When I first went to New York, all those years ago, to see the Empire State building and nothing else, I was on my way to spend a summer working in the Rocky Mountains. I met an American guy who made me a mix-tape. It included New York State Of Mind by Billy Joel and one lyric resonated more than the rest, "Been high in the Rockies, under the evergreens." On this trip to NYC, a group of us went to a brilliant piano bar in Greenwich Village one night. At 2am after one too many glasses of red, I paid twenty bucks for the pianist to play the song. The waitress stepped out from behind the bar. leant casually against the piano and belted out the words like a Broadway star. One lyric resonated more than the rest, "I don't have any reasons, I left them all behind... I'm in a New York state of mind." It's a moment I'll remember all my life. What a town.
The Kindred Studios creative community opened their doors today and I popped along to have a nose around. I was so absorbed that I totally forgot to take any photos of the artists' studios but you can find out all about them on their Instagram. The studios are in a huge converted Victorian school with high ceilings and white painted rooms that are flooded with light. I've never seen anywhere quite like it. I chatted to several of the artists who all talked about loving being part of a creative community and sharing their ideas. It felt like it should be a model that is followed in every town, a place that values and celebrates the creative industries and gives people a proper space to pursue their passions. Wonderful.
This week I took myself away for a short but sweet writing retreat. I'm working on the second draft of a novel for 8 - 12 year olds and after having the first draft professionally critiqued last year I've been struggling to find time to dedicate to writing. Four days in wonderful Copenhagen helped me to focus. It's such a beautiful city and it was great to feel like an international student writing in cafes and restaurants. I really recommend the following lovely places to write...
I love taking photos when little details catch my eye. I'll often spot something, snap it and then crop the picture or brighten it up using my phone to get feel of the image right. These two photos felt like they sat well together. I like the juxtaposition (posh word!) of the old and the new and the slightly ethereal look of the sunlight.
I've had the pleasure of working on the wonderful RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the past week and wanted to share some pictures here. First thing in the morning before the show opens, it's the very definition of a Quiet Life. Still. Glittering in the early sunlight. Beautiful. To me, it's so much more than a flower show. The growers, gardeners, designers and BBC production team are all creative, passionate people who care so much about the show and the energy that creates is just magical.
I was rushing around one day last week, trying to run errands before I was due to head out of London. I decided to reprioritise and carved out a much needed hour for myself to sit with a coffee and read a magazine before I got on the train. It's so important to take time for yourself, to stop ticking boxes and breathe for a moment. I read a lovely article in SImple Things magazine (my favourite!) about how to find calm. Why not get yourself a coffee too and have a read by clicking here : )