Thursday, May 26, 2016

Inspiring Women: Grace Jones

Before Lady Gaga, before Kanye, before Beyoncé, before Madonna, before the so-called swag, before the slay hashtags... There was Grace Jones. Supermodel, Bond Girl, style icon, performer, exotic visionary, futuristic chamaleon, singer, artist, actress, producer. How does one not seek inspiration in this extravagant panther? Born in Jamaica in 1948 (still can't believe how ageless she looks...), where she was raised by her strict religious grandparents (she described her childhood as being "crushed underneath the Bible") before moving to New York - and eventually Paris - Grace has always been this constant hurricane, a fusion of disco and funk and pop and avant-garde reggae, that enabled her to become an icon through the decades. Miss Jones is the Queen of Subversion - forever defying stereotypes, clichés and gender roles imposed by society. She redefined concepts of style (intimidating witchy veils, androgynous shoulder pads and layers of glittery sequins, anyone?) and fashion itself, fearlessly embracing the excess and the maximalism of aesthetics and incorporating a neverending metamorphosis by reinventing herself - from hoola-hooping onstage to setting trends in Studio 54.
Grace worked for Yves Saint Laurent, Claude Montana and Kenzo Takada. She was also the muse of Guy Bourdin and Jean-Paul Goude. This woman is not just that scandal-prone diva who lives off champagne and oysters (ok, well, maybe); she's Art. An explosive cocktail of rythm, creativity and charisma. Her transgressive persona has always been the living proof of authenticity being the key to make a difference.

Friday, May 13, 2016

A Semi-Sunny Day in Bray

I'm not much of a hillwalker but I never say no to a proper challenge - and yes, climbing Bray Head is indeed challenging if you add hail, a few minutes of heavy rain, wild wind, dysmenorrhea and an empty stomach to the equation. It's a popular activity though, go figure. Me and my friend Mark, both dehydrated and famished, made it to the top of the hill after 30 minutes of sweat, swearing and sighs. We're not exactly mountain goats, you know. There were several stops on the way up - dogs to pet, a stunner of a scenery to admire and an infinity of photo ops. Our journey had its (steep) ups and downs, almost like a pilgrimage of sorts, and we went all the way up until we reached the cross atop of the hill, only to be rewarded with a memorable panoramic view. I was expecting to see the coast of Wales on the horizon but it didn't happen - I blame my miopy.

Bray itself looks a bit like a Victorian Coney Island (or how I imagine Coney Island to look like). Seaside sorbet stalls, merry go-rounds, a bandstand, pebbles, well behaved dogs and a creepy hotel lurking ahead. The Sims-like houses, silent streets, sweet shops. I devoured my meaty pizza and washed it down with a refreshing mojito, inhaling the salty sea breeze that reminded me of my hometown.

Our last stop before heading back to the train station was The Harbour Bar, which immediately became one of my all time favourite pubs in County Dublin. Quirky yet traditional, cosy and awesomely decorated; I guess the food menu was to die for, as I could smell venison burgers on the grill. We sat by the fireplace with our drinks and enjoyed our last moments in Bray before another lulling DART ride.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Nocturnal Overthinking

4am, in bed, insomniac.

Trying to shake off this song stuck in my head... I'm thirsty. I need to pee. I wonder if the toilet can wait. Or, in this case, my bladder. Oh, there's a bassline I have to remember tomorrow - where's my notepad? So many things to do, so little time. Oh, hello, anxiety. This pillow is playing games with me... Is it so hard to find a comfortable position?! My neck hurts. Do I really need to go to the toilet? False alarm. When will I die? And how? And why? Do people ever get their heads flooded with these sour thoughts when they can't sleep? Sure, it can't be just me. I need to turn off the bloody heater, it's roasting. I miss home... But where is home? Deep. That Pinterest moodboard is exquisite. How many hours until sunrise? Let me check if I set up the alarm... Can I reach my glass of water in the dark? Fuck. Maybe I should listen to Chopin, classical always soothes the sleepless. Am I still hungry? My stomach is roaring... I'm still too full though, no wonder I can't fall asleep. One should never pig out before bedtime. Life's too short. Will I ever find true love? I can't believe Keith Richards is still alive - incredible. All I can think of right now is peanut butter and chocolate ice cream... and I don't even like peanut butter... The Universe is doomed... Cosmic complexities... Black holes! I lost one of my socks in the layers of this bed. My feet are cold. Did I remove my mascara?! What the hell was that noise? Should I go downstairs? Nah, can't be bothered. MICHAEL FASSBENDER. What should I wear tomorrow? Brown boots + mustard sweater + blue dress + burgundy hat... *mentally visualisation of my entire wardrobe* Do we actually remember when we were little kids or only the photographs of us instead of the actual memories? Is it morning yet? Humpf. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Anatomy of a Broken Heart

Your ribs open and expose a scrapyard. You sink into this shipwreck state and crash like a trainwreck. Remains of long lost memories are all what's left in the carcass that once was your soul. You become vulnerable like a deer in the headlights, you find yourself praying for someone to come back into your life, even if that means a second round of a hurricane destroying everything around and inside you. You dig a grave for your heart but there's no coffin big enough to carry it or to bury it. Life becomes an Amy Winehouse song. You listen to Tom Waits and relate to his drunken laments and his misery. The Smiths play on the radio and you think those lyrics were customized. This mess you're in is not functional, let alone rational. Knees are too bruised from crawling after someone who doesn't give a shit if you're dead, alive, suffering or celebrating. You self-sabotage yourself, questioning everything and wondering if you've been living a lie, or not living at all. It's like taking that Matrix red pill, more like an overdose of red pills.

That's how heartbreak feels like. You can't dance, focus, eat or sleep. Some sort of tormented tunnel vision that blinds you with passion. You obsess over what went wrong, what could have happened been, the what ifs. Everything feels cold and uninviting. Just like an emotional comedown you're trapped in. You delete photos, you try to erase memories by muffling them with alcohol-induced amnesia. Oh, the things you do to feel less. To not feel at all. Brainwashed by your own feelings, you cry on the kitchen floor, you roll your eyes at those happy couples on the bus home, you declare war on dating. Hope is the danger you fear the most and when you wake up it feels like a fuzzy hangover feeling you can never delay. You stuff your stomach with uppers and downers that eventually will numb and distract you from what's going on. The butterflies in your tummy are now rats looking for a way out. You torture yourself and ask yourself how people deal with this. How long will it last? Is it really over? You refuse to listen to your gut but you should know better, you know you must trust your gut in order to avoid disaster. You end up feeling sorry for yourself - why wouldn't you? You're going through Hell after all. You feel like the heartbroken, lovesick, delusional, humilated loser they talk about in your back. And let's face it, you never really learn anything from hearbreak, do you?

Everything tastes insipid. You waste your time cursing the moment that person entered your life, never truly belonging to it but ruining it all for you. You realise you were never special. Somebody else is now where you once were. You're torn between relief and regret, distancing yourself from whatever logical thought that could save your soul in this Purgatory called unrequited love. Your bedroom becomes the Valley of Dolls and you alienate yourself from what used to be you. People will tell you "Don't drink yourself to death. There's plenty of fish in the sea." and "It was for the best. A blessing in disguise, I tell ya!" or "You need to see the bigger picture!" but you are blind and empty inside. There's nothing left, only grief, rage and angsty anguish. All you have left now is time to heal your wounds - you can always brag about the scars later. It's fuckin' survival.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Smithfield Food Fair - Spring Edition

Once again, a food fair took place in Smithfield and as you can imagine, I was there to experience everything the market had to offer. Supporting local organic traders, vegan brands and independent Irish businesses sounds like a good plan. A plethora of stalls featuring homemade jams, honey, cakes, vegetarian burgers, cheese, fruit & veggies took Generator Hostel by surprise - so many fresh products, so little time. Another rainy afternoon spent among healthy snacks, live music and baked goods.
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