food, life, music

i have what i need – and sometimes the wind.

Though I love London – and ardently – sometimes I feel like I’m getting it all wrong. Sometimes we’ll wonder where to go for dinner – and minutes, hours, or even days after that, we’ll still be stumped. I deliberate on decisions like this so much precisely because I don’t want to get them wrong. I have a list longer than I could show you with my hands of places I want to go, but in that moment, none of them ever seem to quite fit. Too far away, too busy, too expensive, too niche, too deep-fried. He wants bao buns, I want mac’n’cheese. Sometimes we’ll go somewhere off-list and it’ll be brilliant and after revelling in that for a while, I’ll feel despondent and defeated because it wasn’t on my list at all and how many other brilliant places are there that haven’t made it onto my list, that I might never uncover?

And that’s just the food. The same goes for the music, the art, the comedy, the views. Our city couldn’t be richer in it all and it’s exactly that which makes me feel, all too often, like I’m getting it wrong, looking the wrong way, missing a trick. But every now and then there are the long Sunday afternoons in the pub, where the lights are just right and the rioja just flows. When you step out into the cold to catch a gig and you’re so glad you did. When you glimpse a view by chance and you feel privileged to have done so. And so, below are some of the times we’ve got it right, in this order: Elvis Perkins at Dalston Victora | Sunday afternoons at the The Red Lion, Leytonstone | This Is The Kit at the Scala | reflections on the River Lea | Sunday roasts at the Hackney Plough, Homerton | John Grant at Eventim Apollo.




life, travel

there are places i remember, all my life.

Last Monday, we were in Paris. We walked along the river, lit candles in Notre-Dame and lunched at Holybelly – a few steps away from the Canal Saint-Martin and moments away from a future tragedy. Then we caught the train home. Cut to this Monday, and we’re starting the week a little sadder. Feeling connected, but disconnected; weak, but strong; despondent, but proud. I took the photograph below this time last week on the Rue Lucien Sampaix. I like to think it speaks – in its own little way – of beauty, community, tradition, love and unending hope.

food, music, travel

i ain’t saying i loved you first – but i loved you best.

We nipped to Paris over the weekend, mainly to see Joanna Newsom at the Salle Gaveau, but also because – well, why not? We stayed in South Pigalle (SoPi if you’re in the know), generally lapped up the 20-degree, blue-skied November days and may even have bumped into Steve Coogan in my favourite jazz club. Oh, Paris. May I recommend Buvette for breakfast, Miznon or Holybelly for lunch, and Le Bon Saint Pourçain for dinner. Of course we left with a to-do list longer than the one we arrived with. Always the way/must nip back.







When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high-pilèd books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starred face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.


when i have fears that i may cease to be


I think now – I think if I had turned and walked along beside him and not said anything, it might have been the right thing to do. But that’s what I think now. It has taken me all these years even to imagine doing that, and I had a math class on the second floor, clear at the other end of the building, and there was just barely time to get there before the bell rang.

music, travel

she was electric blue, catching the last of the light.

…and then we went to Festival No.6 in Portmeirion. It’s been years since I’ve been to what I’ll hesitantly refer too as a ‘smaller’ festival, and I had the loveliest time getting reacquainted with it. We made friends for life and discovered some sublime new music – both of which tend to evade me when I surrender myself to those hectic few days a year on Worthy Farm (not that I’d change that for the world) – and on top of those accidental perks, we saw Badly Drawn Boy in the woods (who closed with the Stone Roses’ I Wanna Be Adored), made it into two 100-capacity Town Hall sets with the No.6 Ensemble (Gaz Coombes and James, no less), caught Steve Coogan and Chris Gifford in the Central Piazza, watched our beloveds – Belle & Sebastian and King Creosote – headline, and fell in love with the Brythoniaid Choir daily. All that’s left to say is: be seeing you.


if I could have a second skin, I’d probably dress up in you

So we made it up to Edinburgh for the last week of the Fringe Festival in August and the conclusion was: I continue to bloody love that place and I continue to be in awe of Daniel Kitson. Besides Kitson’s Polyphony, which won the week for me, we also caught James Acaster, Stewart Lee, Lolly Adefope and Tom Basden’s Party – and lots more. Naturally we booked dinner at the Scran & Scallie (it never fails), but were also recommended the brilliant Ting Thai Caravan, from which, it turned out, we couldn’t stay away. Throw in long afternoons of folk at Sandy Bell’s, all-the-beers at Brauhaus, coffee and truck toasties at Cairngorm Coffee Co. and all-too-frequent night-caps in the Thistle Street Bar – and you have yourself one very sad-it-was-over logsy. Just don’t talk to me about the wind on Arthur’s Seat.





art, music

don’t think you’re owning what you see.