Sunday, 30 August 2015

nostalgia/america: part 1

I'm back from my annual America trip. I'm not as distraught as I was last year - i was actually pretty exhausted by the end this time, and some part of me wanted to come back. i made notes/diary entries throughout the trip which i'm alternating with the pictures to achieve some ~balance~
there's so so much to write about the trip. so this is part 1: Chicago.

coming back here induces a welcome surge of melancholic nostalgia. for the first time i feel as though i have grown up here - nothing has changed so everything is familiar.[...] driving to Skokie i was marvelling at the sprawling slowness of time. endless crappy strip malls take up the space of 100 flats in London. 

the days here go fast but also feel endless. we've been here a week and have seen family & friends, explored Chicago a little and watched shitloads of movies - favourites have to be Dear White People, The Brady Bunch and Almost Famous. Almost Famous made me realise that being cool or distinguishing yourself from others is neither very important nor very attainable. 'coolness' is so subjective anyway. maybe being able to look like everyone else isn't a bad thing - it's like an invisibility power.

it seems there is no shortage of space or time here. now i remember the constant low hum of the bugs in the trees, the sad brown buildings of Skokie. we saw fireflies as we were arriving, emitting a greenish glow before disappearing into the dusk. 

it feels as though time has frozen here, and we are just taking a break from our London lives to continue where we left off.

i'll be back in about 3 weeks. then the wait begins again for next summer - the anticipation is often better than being here. but it's been fun. we made a fire and roasted marshmallows for s'mores which was not disappointing and was an ~American experience~

this is the highlight of each year and it goes by so quickly. each minute feels so fleeting i feel i have to constantly remind myself of the nowness of now.[...] so many thoughts & feelings to process - about summer, about time, about loss. the loss of summertime.

reading// Great Expectations (took me ALL SUMMER to read)
listening// SZA - Babylon, fka twigs - M3LL155X
watching// Broad City (loooove it), Leon: The Professional
feeling// lonely, missing New York

get ready for part 2 you guys...


Sunday, 14 June 2015


time is getting more and more scary to me. i enjoy the anticipation to an event more than the actual event sometimes, because if something is happening that also means it will end. this one bit from a Rookie article ages ago has really fucked with my head ever since: "I was already obsessed with the idea that the experience of any sensation is accompanied by the knowledge of its impermanence. The very fact of my noticing any particular pleasure or pain meant the moment had passed." I feel the exact same way and it's really not good for me. when the tricky concert was over (yes still not over that) and we were leaving i was just in shock. in recovery. when my mum started talking about it, analysing the performance, i was just like 'please don't talk about it like it's over'. when we got back at 2am i wrote 'time consumes/life resumes'.  

i finished reading open city by teju cole a few weeks ago, which was really good. there was one part of a sentence where it said something like 'in the past, if there is such thing'. this really stuck with me for some reason, and freaked me out a bit (like, what if there is no such thing as the past? we'll only have fragments of what has happened in the form of photographs, videos, writing, but so much of the past needs to be reconstructed purely from memory, which is unreliable. ahhhh) 

i went to a house party for the first time on Friday - i didn't exactly enjoy myself as i barely knew anyone there, and it ended up being more of a human observational study for me (lool i suck at being a teenager). but i think there were bits of it that will be bittersweet memories at some point: walking around muswell hill highstreet at 11pm, escorting my drunk friend around on a walk; dancing to pop music in the strobe light room, fragmented faces and bodies surrounding me, feeling like everything in the room was moving; waiting on a store front at 12:30 for my friend's dad to pick us up, probably looking a little like prostitutes. yeah so it was an experience. a necessary experience.

anyway, apart from my over-analysis of pretty much everything, i'm good. in 6 days i will be 15. half way to 30. and then when i'm 30 i'll think how lucky i was to be so young and naive and that i should have appreciated my youth more...

lol bye,

Sunday, 24 May 2015

time consumes

not feeling particularly motivated today but i wanted to write about the concert yesterday because it was amazing and powerful and momentous. everything was perfect - it ended at exactly the right time, the venue was beautiful and we were at the very front.

The opening act, Gazelle Twin, were great. The music was similar to Tricky's in its jarring quality, vulnerable lyrics and slightly sinister undertones. Both musicians wore masks obscuring their faces, and the main singer wore a blue tracksuit with the hood up, casting a shadow over her features. When the set was finished they simply walked off stage. A lack of formalities was expected - 'thank you' would have ruined the performance.

Tricky himself was otherworldly. for me the performance was slightly anticlimactic, only because i had been placing so much on it, expecting some sort of divine awakening. but that can't be fulfilled by one person alone, in the space of an hour and a half. i wasn't at all disappointed, but the concert went so quickly and i found it difficult to enjoy it in the moment - a lot of the night was spent internally deliberating whether to film or not. 

Tricky was slightly drunk and disheveled. He sang in fragments. The set was not choreographed; the audience didn't know what was coming next, and neither did he. Each song was played how Tricky felt it must be in the moment - moving his fingers as though across a fretboard indicated to the bass player to begin, whilst thrashing his arms in the air told the drum player to come in. the impulsiveness of it made it feel as though you were witnessing something being created, and it was comforting to see Tricky have control over his music, as he should. The performance was powerful and haunting, but vulnerable. his intoxicated state mixed with the lack of rehearsal made you feel as though you were witnessing something you're not supposed to. as he crossed the stage, sometimes singing into both microphones at once, dragging the stand across the floor until a heap of wires lay tangled on the floor, i was awed but kind of saddened into silence. his presence was mercurial.

he intermittently dragged on a cigarette, tendrils of smoke swirling into the blue haze of the stage. he was so small but so big. at one point he was stood in the centre of the stage on a platform, with blue smoky lighting engulfing his frame, a huge arched window behind him. i remember just thinking that he looked beautiful. i was transfixed, wanting to capture it but knowing i couldn't.

he performed a mix of old and new songs, but for me his presence was more important than which tracks he did. one song consisted only of the two lines 'i'm by myself/i'm all alone'. it was painful but also powerful, a proclamation of solitude. another song had the repeated phrase 'i can't breathe' - perhaps in solitude with Eric Garner? i didn't make the connection until my mum pointed it out. for some reason i don't think of Tricky as a political artist (although The Unloved (Skit) is pretty political), more as a troubled spirit sent to earth to make music.


street art in brighton
to conclude, it was brilliant, haunting. a perfect night. but all i have left now are half-dissolved memories, some videos, a photograph and this, whatever this is.


Tuesday, 12 May 2015


not much is up except I henna dyed my hair! it's going to take a lot of getting used to but I do really like it - it's a deep auburn shade that goes quite red/ginger in the sun. I've wanted a drastic change for a while and although this was quite impulsive, I'm really  happy with the results - feel like I've been missing out on doing stupid teenage things anyway.
I do quite miss my old hair though. I dyed my hair more on the basis of wanting change rather than not liking my hair colour, which I have always loved. because of this i am questioning my decision (not regretting, just questioning). but what's done is done. henna is permanent! (btw i calculated it roughly and it will take about 4 years to grow the red hair out - maybe 3 if my hair grows quickly and i have it short. *sighs)

sorry for the shitty phone quality.

lots of people say it suits me - they can't all be lying, right? haha i'm so annoying i shouldn't have done it in the first place if I'd regret it so much! i like it. i like it.


Monday, 27 April 2015

double crossing time

hey! feeling ~inspired/in a good mood right now.







I am ecstatic/concerned as to what my goals will be now for the rest of my life. Tricky has been so important to me for so long, it feels unreal to be actually seeing him live. I feel like I should wait? is that weird? obviously i can see him more than once but I have a feeling (premonition?) that this will be the only opportunity i will have to go to his concert, and therefore need to stretch it out, savour the waiting time.

I'm also seeing Ibeyi in November...if nothing else, 2015 will undoubtedly be the best concert year of my life thus far (fka twigs/tricky/afropunk/ibeyi).


as of today i am obsessed with this song:
i can't explain it? i usually only listen to electronic music, but this song captivates me (and is now on repeat).


on saturday i went to a lecture about Basquiat at the ICA (with my mum (hi mum)), which was really interesting! it was cool to hear interpretations of his work that gave a philosophical/personal context - otherwise i feel as though i don't really 'get it' when looking at his work, and am mostly in awe of the world he's created or colours used instead of thinking about the meaning of it. it was a bit problematic (the speaker thought Basquiat had lived a 'full life' by the age of 27...there is so much more work he could have done if he didn't have such a destructive drug addiction - just because he made such a large body of work doesn't mean he was meant to die so young), but still great, although it left me feeling very melancholic at the end.


Tuesday, 20 January 2015


I'm feeling kind of creatively frustrated; I don't know what medium to channel my creative/nervous energy into. It's not a tangible feeling, just an internal compulsion to make something, somehow, which is proving to be difficult due to my perfectionism. I bought a journal last month and have done pretty much 0 in it (which I predicted), but am trying to work through my inhibitions of doing something 'wrong'/messy and just do something. Right now my substitute is listening to Tricky 24/7. I've written a post about him before and my commitment is proving to be lifelong - still in love with almost every one of his songs. 
Line from Christiansands that's been stuck in my head: "Always, what does that mean?/ Forever, what does that mean?/ It means we'll manage, master your language/ And in the meantime, I create my own"

GCSEs are still pretty overwhelming, although I'm actually enjoying all my subjects (and becoming more and more appreciative of the chilled out attitude of dance; the luxury of having only the music and the counts and the corrections in my head instead of maths equations or something). But the looming prospects of 6th form, university, FUTURE, just seems more surreal now. Each good grade becomes more and more meaningless - we are trained to write the right thing over and over again so we can get the right mark so we can get the right job...where's the break from this systematic approach to education? It seems as though there'll never be space to breathe, we're just shipped from one obligation to another. But at the same time I thrive on doing well - I'm a willing slave to the system. 
I say I want to have a job in science, maybe biology, but this seems less appealing over time. I want to have the cool, artistic lives of Rookie writers and of all the musicians, writers etc. that I admire. But that's even harder in some ways - it requires real passion, which I lack for any specific thing.

Also realisations about the relentlessness of time have been hitting me recently - like, I'll never be 13 ever again. I'll have memories, pictures, writing, but I'll never physically be 13 again. I never fully thought about this until recently - maybe some kind of teenage 'forever' mentality/ignorance kept a kind of translucent barrier between being like "aha i'm so young though" and "hey, my teen years are limited, I'll only ever get older. And then die." This is pretty terrifying, because for some reason I had some weird internal assumption that I can go back in time. Not literally go back in time, but in some place between reality and imagination where there are small pockets I can slip back into. An assumption that time isn't fully linear.

Happy 2015, ghost readers.


Sunday, 23 November 2014


getting into fka twigs currently - I'm seeing her in a couple months and hence have been getting more acquainted with her work. Her music seems a kind of genre of its own, a strange mix of vulnerability and power and abstract beauty generally. The music videos to go with her songs are all vaguely, or not so vaguely, disturbing. I think she's pretty awesome.

and Lorde. For a long time I just mildly liked her work from a distance. I don't know what the problem was...too 'mainstream' for me? But after getting Pure Heroine, and basically every other song I could get my hands on of hers, I am in awe of her lyrics and voice and basically everything else about her/her music. I watched the latest Hunger Games movie yesterday and stayed until the very end just to hear Yellow Flicker Beat. I'm annoyed that the song wasn't in the actual movie - it really captures Katniss and her mentality/personality. So I was one of the only people left in the cinema, singing along to Lorde whilst people looked at me weirdly.

A few posts ago I wrote: 'I'm going back in 5 days which is nothing but also forever.' I think that whole nothing/forever thing is basically the teenage experience, at least for me. Everything feels so fast and fleeting but also neverending. 


Saturday, 13 September 2014

monologue (fiction)

I see her everywhere. I see her in windows, glass doors, water, mirrors; I see her in my reflection. Memories of our childhood haunt me every time I get a glimpse of my face, a face almost indistinguishable from hers. We used to share everything, Kara and I, but now that our connection has been severed, I feel lost, faceless. Kara was always a better version of me: extroverted whilst I was introverted, confident whilst I was shy, popular whilst I was unpopular, intelligent whilst I was average. Yet we were inseparable as children. Sometimes we could just look at each other and know exactly what the other was thinking - a telepathic connection wired by our matching genes.

When I was in primary school I accidently threw a ball through a classroom window, shattering the glass and nearly breaking a teacher’s nose. The classmates who had witnessed it ran to tell on me, whilst I ran crying to the bathroom. Kara found me there, and as I explained the situation, her face lit up. “Give me your jacket and skirt,” she ordered. I did as she said, accepting the clothes she shoved at me in exchange. When we had dressed, I followed her, bewildered, to the teacher. “It was me, miss. I’m really sorry,” she said, staring levelly, as always, in the face of authority. As she was ushered to the headteacher’s office, she turned around and flashed a ‘thank me later’ smile before turning the corner.

I used to feel both inexplicably lucky and cursed for being Kara’s twin. When we were alone, we treated each other as equals, sharing secrets and playing games that no one else understood. But at school it was different – she was with the popular group whilst I had only two close friends. She often ignored me at school, passing by me at lunch without even a wave. It wasn’t particularly important that I was her twin, but when people realised that she was mine, their eyes would widen in awe and confusion that someone as remarkable as her was related to someone as unremarkable as me.

One day, when I was fifteen, a new student joined our school, arriving in the middle of a maths class. “Do you mind if I sit here?” she asked, motioning to the chair next to mine.
“Sure,” I smiled, moving my bag and shifting over. She leaned over to look at my book, and having seen my name, paused and said “Oh, you’re Kara’s sister,” with a wistful look in her eye. Rage raced through my veins and it took all my strength to supress the urge to scream and cry at the same time. The girl cocked her head in confusion. “Aren’t you?” Before I knew what I was doing, I had slapped her hard across the face and was running out of the classroom. I climbed over the school gates and ran all the way home, sobbing. I can still remember the icy pain in my lungs from running in the early winter air, and the strange feeling of freedom from crying publicly, unashamed.

I will always be ‘Kara’s twin’. Over the years I’ve started to resent her for this, blaming her for my lack of identity. That’s why I started to separate myself from her, blocking her out of my life. I dyed my hair, began acting differently – I even contemplated getting a tattoo. But still I see her in myself; her ghostly image follows me like a shadow. I used to cover all the mirrors at home, trying to free myself from her, but it didn’t work. That’s why I sought help, why I’m here now. She’s all I’ve ever known – I have always existed in the context of Kara, so who am I without her?

Friday, 29 August 2014


America came and went.

The first thing I was really aware of when we arrived was that I had become slightly disenchanted with the trip - travelling to Chicago and New York is normally the highlight of my summer, even the highlight of each year. But at first it just seemed like a race to see each friend and family member, with much less time to just 'hang out' than I had originally imagined. From the start of the trip I was already acutely aware of how fleeting it was going to be. Even within the first few days I felt as if my holiday was already nearly over. 

The feeling decreased when we got to New York. Although we were still super busy, rushing around New York was easier to enjoy - even riding the subway felt like a special experience. We went to Baltimore for two days, and it was surprising just how segregated it was. Then last Sunday (has it been nearly a week already?) we went to the AfroPunk Festival, which was the coolest thing ever. People were dressed so well/awesomely/enviably and the music and general vibe was a much more profound adjective than I can think of right now. On the last day I was kind of in denial that we were really leaving and as we walked around Williamsburg in the comfortably uncomfortable heat I just felt really happy. On Saturday we went to the roof garden on top of the Met and you could see the entire New York skyline. Looking at all the buildings, a mix of the iconic and the unknown, under a purple-grey afternoon sky, I felt a sense of love for the city that I couldn't quite place at the time. I didn't miss London for a second during the whole trip. 

Another thing is we barely took any pictures. Pictures are proof that things happened, things you can look back at and reminisce about some memory. I think the lack of pictures somehow made the trip go faster. I feel like this year was lacking something it had last year, whether that is a sense of 'summer' or a feeling that the trip would never end, I don't know. I romanticise America unfairly, which is probably why I feel disappointed when the holiday isn't perfect.

After being in New York, which had perfect summer weather, we arrived in a rainy, grey London. I immediately felt a sense of loss, a sinking sensation that it's all over. That summer is officially over and i may as well hibernate through winter, just waiting until next year. I've been back now for a few days and feel as though I have accomplished nothing once again - summer is supposed to be a time of freedom and I was hoping I would do some writing, drawing, music...nada. Since we got back I have holed up in our house reading (finished Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which i really enjoyed) and slowly doing homework, convincing myself that I will do something tomorrow, before school starts next week. I loathe this condition of perpetually doing nothing that I have every holiday. I guess I'm writing now, but what is this really? A whiny internal leaking of stupid privileged teenage thoughts that no-one's even going to read. boom.

I have been neglecting this blog for too long, partly because I feel there is nothing to say and partly because I am losing the faith/time/inspiration/energy to write. I say I enjoy writing but I never really do it, except for school. I'm going back in 5 days which is nothing but also forever.