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Life with Lavendar in London town

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Birthday Bliss

It's my birthday. Another year under my belt and what a year it's been. I am pretty chuffed to be honest. I never thought that thirty-nine would feel......good.

I feel good.

They call it the Dirty Thirties.  Dirt has certainly been a feature of my thirties. I moved to London; the smelly, polluted city that I love. I had a baby whose poos are so legendary that they are known at her nursery as Dragon Specials. I learned more and more that life is not fair.  It's a crapshoot.

All you can do is roll with it and turn it to your advantage.

So in that spirit I decided that today was to be about INDULGENCE.

Breakfast at my favourite new spot in London,  the Delaunay followed by a new hair do at J. Moriyama. Then to Bliss Spa for their super dooper oxygen treatment which is probably a case of getting a few hundred quid out of your wallet and burning it (We'll see, watch this space) Then some time with Dragon before a night of latin dancing and dinner with the Husband.

Thoroughly frivolous and I am going to soak up every single minute of it.

Bring on the Naughty Forties. Living life the way you want and to hell with the rest.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Mortal Engine

A few weeks ago I found out that Chunky Move were touring to London to perform Mortal Engine at the Southbank Centre.

I am going to see Chunky Move, I told the Husband. Can you look after Dragon that night?

Who is Chunky? he asked. Why do you want to see him move?

Chunky Move is an Australian contemporary dance company based in Melbourne, Victoria. Founded by Gideon Obarzanek in the mid 90's, they have been on my radar since 2003 when I lived in Melbourne and took classes at their studios. Their HQ resembled a big bar of chocolate which had been gnawed at by a giant rat:

Cadbury or Nestle?
Inside the windowless studios which were painted a honeycomb yellow, I would take weekly contemporary classes, wondering if I would catch a glimpse of Mr Obarzanek looking artistic and moody. The dancers from his company often taught our classes and over time, I came to view Chunky Move as a dance home by default.

Artistic? Moody? Nah....

On Saturday night, I was the first to enter the empty Queen Elizabeth Hall theatre. As I took my seat and watched the audience come in, I saw Gideon Obarzanek walking down the aisle, takeway coffee in hand, looking like, well, Gideon Obarzanek. I felt like shouting Hi! before I realised he did not know me even though his company felt like a piece of my past.

Mortal Engine is known for being a contemporary dance piece which wholly embraces motion capture video and sound responsive projections as part of its choreography. The technology utilised is not an adjunct to the piece but very much an equal performer in its own right. In his notes, Obarzanek, describes the work as a dance-video-music-laser performance.

Usually this kind of thing turns me right off a dance piece. I often feel that if the work is good, it doesn't need the flashiness of lights and lasers to embellish it.

Mortal Engine proved me wrong. As I watched the piece unfold, I marvelled how he had seamlessly integrated all the different components together to create some wonderful performance moments that were fresh to my eye. The sceptic in me got a big slap.

There was also slightly too much laser and noise work at times, making me feel as if I were trapped in a bad rave venue. And some choreography which made me wonder if Obarzanek is bored with bodies.

Nonetheless I left excited about what this work it meant for the future of dance. And curious as to how quickly all the London creatives in the audience that night will start to adopt these methods into their own work.

Congrats Gideon. Good job.


Saturday, 13 October 2012

Goodbye to All That. Part II

Yesterday I deactivated my Facebook account.  For months I had been itching to do it but could not because of my fundraising efforts for Retts Syndrome. Love it or loathe it, Facebook is a great social platform for spreading the word.

The reason I have come off Facebook is that I wanted to get rid of half of my "friends". I didn't know how to do this without pissing people off.  So I thought I'd take myself off instead. I realised during my months of fundraising that many of these "friends" were not. I don't have it in me right now for people who take my energy and give nothing back in return. Adios!

Bye Bye Facebook. I'll miss you (for a week)

I also need time to work on a special project that has been in the pipeline for many years. Facebook is the best excuse for dithering and not doing what you should. So I figured, no Facebook. No excuses. We'll see. I have a two month gap in my life to give his project momentum. 

And for this project to take flight, I need the time to stare and dream and think. I need the creative space which I have made no time for in the past two or three years.

I need to create rather than react.

It's been 24 hours and it feels weird in this post Facebook space. I feel like an addict that is coming off her drug of choice.

I've promised myself that once the project is past it first stages, I can log back into Facebook and unleash my inner nosy parker.

Who knows. Maybe I won't want to by then.


Monday, 1 October 2012

Goodbye to All That

After I had given birth, running seemed as possible as flying. My life as a runner was over I decided. I stashed all my running clothes away in a dark corner of my closet where I expected them to moulder away. I knew that I would NEVER wear lycra again.

As my body healed along with my mind (yes, your mind also needs to recover from birth), I made a few feeble attempts of hitting the pavements. But it didn't feel right, My body was still awash with breastfeeding hormones and I felt like I was hauling around the body of a cow, not my own.

Over! my burning lungs screamed at me as I came back from the run/stagger around the block. Your running days are O-VAH.

Then winter came. The worst winter of my life. My baby got sick. And stayed sick for six long months.  Then I got sick and stayed sick despite seven courses of antibiotics. One day, I lost my rag. I pulled on my rusty trainers, went outside and ran.

I ran and ran and ran to escape the long, cold months of coughing, infection, medication upon medication, ignorant doctors, despair and the hard reality of parenting. I was so pissed off.

In my mind I ran like a gazelle but in filmed reality it was probably more like a goat.

On surviving that run, I set myself the goal of completing a 5K, 10K and half marathon all before the end of 2012. 

This coming weekend will see the completion of those three goals. I have done my 5K and 10K.  Once the Royal Parks Half Marathon ends this Sunday, I will have done all three. And also raised a sum of money towards curing Retts Syndrome.  Which makes it the most important race I have ever done to date.

Which will also make it the last.

The sum total of reclaiming running is that I realise that long distance running is not for me anymore.**

It's good to stop something when you want to rather than when you have to. I'm glad I ran again to know that I didn't want to anymore.

Gruelling long training runs in the cold and wet. No energy for anything else for the rest of the day. Repetitive strain on aging joints. No time for any other hobbies because of training.

Goodbye to all that.

** I will however continue to compete in 10K races due to the lower level of committmet to training they require, as well as trail running which I love.