THE CREATIVE BLOCK…

THE CREATIVE BLOCK…

“Ok people. We are going to try something a little DIFFERENT TODAY… WE are going to write an essay.. of no less than a 1000 words describing to me who you think you are.. and when I say essay I mean essay. I do NOT mean a single word repeated a 1000 times… is that clear!? Maybe you’ll learn a little something about yourself…” BREAKFAST CLUB, 1985

Creativity takes Courage’ Henri Matisse

‘Get creative Becki!…” my friend texts. “Just BE creative!”. “Do something creative..”.

You’re a creative person.. go write!’ a friend from a previous writing class slights.

A bit of direction here would be nice. I think. To myself.

I sit down. With my laptop. And stare at the screen in front of me. Amazing.. just amazing what that Steve Jobs achieved.. I let my mind wander.

Whoever said I’m creative. I sigh. So much pressure. I pull up word and type a few words..

The coffee barista is giggling in the distance with her colleague and I feel a stab of envy.

I think of an idea to write about and write a page and a half of drivel. And delete. I look back at the barista. Who is now being chatted up by two builders it seems. I wish it was the bald builders I smile to myself. Funny guys. I look back at the now blank screen before me.

Envy has no place in this passing moment of time. I tell myself.

Pressure. The word pops around my head like the cork of a champagne bottle bouncing around aggressively. Triggered by some outside source, that of which has crept in to my psyche subconsciously.

GOTTA BE MORE GOTTA DO MORE! Dead Poets Society… 

I decide to put Queen’s ‘Pressure’ on my Spotify. It seems fitting for this moment.

Thinking about pressure – *the more I think the less I do* I decide to procrastinate for a little while longer.

So I flick up my facebook page. A few baby pics. I’d hate to upset the parents here but generally baby pics do all look pretty much the same. Sorry… all cute though. A few people shaking their *virtual* fists trying to save the world. Good on you! I whisper silently to the screen.

I *scroll down*.. Some engagement photos. Some wedding photos. Someone’s holiday pics. Fuck.

EVERYONE’s life is so much better than mine!!! The thought dashes in before I can stop it.

They are even in a snazzier coffee shop, that serves unlimited fucking tea. Tsk.

I spend another ten minutes beating myself up whilst perusing others posts. Then decide to search for the realists…. “I’m going bald and I’ve just been dumped!!!” a friend has posted. I giggle to myself sadistically.

Phew. I can always rely on *Dave to keep it real. Who was that guy I dated a few years back… I ponder. I wonder what he’s up to..

I receive a text. ‘How’s ‘being creative’ going?!’ it queries. They are trying to be helpful I remind myself.

‘I’m in the coffee shop now. With my laptop’. I reply.. steering my way around the question. ‘Great!’ they reply. I’m amused by their reply. I pull up my ex.

OMG. He’s married! When did that happen! WTF. He said he wouldn’t touch any of his colleagues..?! *A pilot and she a flight attendant…Well. Good for them. Thank god I don’t have any feelings for him anymore. She could have the decency to be ugly though.

And here it is. The grand late 30’s. Where time has flashed before my eyes faster than well. Pretty bloody fast. Where one takes pelvic floor tightening a bit more seriously. *Just in case*.. because 40 is closer than 30. I wipe a tear away at that reality. 30’s are also the new 20’s I tell myself.

“You know.. Rebecca you could have a baby now you now…”. my mothers words to me last time we spoke. To which I tortly replied ‘Oh REALLY can I!?!?! Thank you for the permission’.

Pressure. Rules.

Teenage years you’re pressurised to NOT get pregnant for fear of bringing shame and sluttiness upon the family. And then the late 30’s the pressure to start popping a few out.

I deactivate social media to save myself from the mind control, time stealing and comparing – and look back at my screen.

“Good artists copy, the geniuses steal” ~ Pablo Picasso (1881-1973).

I slam the laptop shut.

One of the young lads is cleaning cutlery next to me. He has a grumpy scowl. I titter to myself in amusement. *Ive done all the ‘cleaning’ jobs in my youth so I feel I’m allowed some allowance*

‘Wax on. Wax off’. I say to him. He furrows his brow. And I don’t think he understands what I mean. “Wax on wax off?” his colleague smirks…

Wax on. Wax off. And don’t forget to breathe. Very important.

Very fashionable mindfulness is these days. You’ve been doing it all your life and you’ve probably just forgotten it. You don’t need to pay £50. Just wax on. Wax ..off..

I walk home. And pull out some old photos.. That capture some of my younger experiences. That I never thought that would be *so far my best experiences.. I think about the Labyrinth and how she defeats the Goblin King and I reflect on all the layers that film has. I think about all the friends I haven’t seen for a long time. And those that I haven’t told them that I miss them. Or how I feel.

I think about one of my best friends who committed suicide just three months ago. Someone whose life seemed perfect. On facebook anyway. And I think about pressure. And how it doesn’t need to be this way..

And should you need me… I’m always here. And I’m sorry for not saying that I need you too.

Dedicated to Ryan Hall. Rest in peace and get to heaven safely. Still devastated. I’m sorry you didn’t feel you could talk to me. Becki Xx

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REVIEW: “MIDDLE PICCADILLY RETREAT and SHAMANIC HEALING”

Middle Piccadilly

Words and photography by Becki Burrows

“I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975….That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past…looking back now, I release I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years..” Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

It was that time. My stomach lurched. And a feeling of overwhelming sadness and doom came over me as I sat on the bus. I was fine when I left. What was wrong with me. I hadn’t expected to feel this way. I’d expected to be glad to leave. I was surprised that was not the reality. I woefully and yet hopefully, texted a few friends.

“Busy”..

“Sorry busy Becks..”…. “Far too busy..” another responded. I winced. Saturday evening and a twang of loneliness was starting to set in. Oh the love and hate relationship with oneself and the juxtaposition of the either joy or despair of isolation.

“It’s like.. I want to be alone… but… it’s like. In another way. I don’t..”

The bus passes Canterbury.. (the trains being delayed due to a leaf on the track..it’s always the little things!)…

*I could just get off here and stay in a hotel* I ponder to myself. It’s 5pm and I remember that everywhere else in the country shuts shop at 5.30. Not many options of what to do after that. *Nah I think. And I sit back and decide to just head home.

I had been staying at the Middle Piccadilly retreat, Dorset.

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Middle Piccadilly Retreat

And I hadn’t expected to feel this way. In fact I’d presumed the opposite. It was not as if I had been around people the whole time during my stay at Middle Piccadilly..a detox/shamanic healing retreat in Dorset. I had been excited to go. Of course! Yet also perhaps slightly cynical. With a bit of fear. Due to the thought of being on juice for two days without solids. I like to chew. And feel the different textures and taste of food. Don’t we all?

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Vegetarian Falafel, just one of the many dishes on offer at Middle Piccadilly.

I found some yoga retreats to be.. hmm not really about the yoga. Too many young fashionistas obsessed with their weight (and yours!) and trendy ‘overpriced’ yoga outfits rather than the actual practice or history of yoga. I’m not saying I’m not concerned about my weight but when one feels insecure..those places sure can be a rather intimidating environment when someone curls their lip slyly at ones figure. I remember when one of the retreaters – who was slightly plus sized came off the plane and greeted the rest of us. The yoga instructor whispered.. she doesn’t look like a yogi..”… to all the more.. ‘slighter looking ladies’. *F*ck that.

And then there was the bootcamp. I had been on a previous bootcamp – running around for 8 hours a day for 7 days. Admittedly I came out straight out and ate all the crap I had been trying to not consume in the first place. On my second visit to a diferent boot camp.. by day two,  and by push up 571 after a cracker for breakfast. I thought you know what. F*ck this. And made a sharp exit.

Extremism. Black and white. Which is exactly the sort of *thinking*  I am usually trying to escape from. All or nothing. Working out everyday. Or not at all. Working all day and night. Or procrastinating. For me the bootcamp way of doing things doesn’t really work. It’s like. It’s like… self f$cking punishment. Sure parts are fun. And yes I’m not a ‘dog’ and shouldn’t need a ‘reward’ at the end of the day. But all work and all work. Is not that rewarding. (I hate it when instructors use that line “You don’t need a reward you’re not a dog”… yeah yeah.. *rolls eyes*) and when one replies in a facetious manner.. “Well. Actually this guy once said..” doesn’t wash.

Then there was the yoga retreat that was meant to be all veggie health food, no meat or alcohol on site. Well let’s just say that went out of the window when a bottle of Vodka was discovered under the sink by one of the girls.. and well. Doing yoga with a hangover is not FUN.

So how about actually doing well. Nothing. And actually doing ‘nice’ things for oneself. Like having massages. And relaxing. Sitting around at home – can often not feel that relaxing especially when the incessant mind *I should be doing this* or *I  should be doing that* the haunting SHOULD SHOULD SHOULD’S that haunt our daily lives. Generally resulting in extremism or NOTHINGNESS. Well. I speak for myself.

And so I arrived at Middle Piccadilly and Eliana, 87 – who founded the establishment in 1986 with her husband greeted me cheerfully. I was astounded as she told me that she practices yoga everyday for 20 minutes and has done ever since she was 30. *And I never saw her once in Sweaty Betty yoga gear!*

“Try to not do any work while you’re here!” she smiled as she checked me in.

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Eliana – Middle Piccadilly founder and shaman.

On the first evening I meet a woman who has been there for several days. ‘Its so hard!’ She exclaims. It is a quiet time of year so there are not many people about. She starts talking about food. Fish and chips. And all things nice. I look at my juice. “Lets not talk about food” I urge.

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Lemon and Ginger Juice

DO NOT understand why why why go to a health retreat and then sit around mourning chips, kebabs, burgers and alcohol. It has happened at every retreat I have been to – and quite frankly my advice is – if you shut that one down straight off – your journey will be far easier. For it is simply fellow camaradie in self punishment. And futile in my opinion. Would you really go into a rehab and talk to a heroin addict or alcoholic about drugs or alcohol..

Oh hi- you’re trying to quit booze! Well.. do you miss wine? Beer.. heroin.. what about the fun and parties?! By the way I went to an amazing party at the weekend shame you missed out”.

I retreated to my room that evening…stomach slightly rumbling, armed with a few books ..’Fear’ by Thich Nhat Hahn and ‘The Body Keeps Score’ by Bessel Van Der Kock. The room, clean, comfortable and secure.

On the second day headed to the kitchen where my next juice was awaiting me. The woman I met the previous night is leaving. She is nursing her juice slowly. I take note of that and nurse mine too.

My first treatment is a therapeutic massage. By Claire one of the therapists. She takes me to a relaxation room and asks me about allergies and the scents that I prefer. I lie down. “Do you mind your stomach being massaged?” She asks.

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Manager Dominic, Claire and the cat.. name unknown..

“Erm. Well. I’ve never had my stomach massaged” I shrug, remembering  the time I went to a massage parlour in Korea and an old lady – wearing literally only her knickers started massaging my boobs after jumping up and down on my back. *Can’t be as weird as that experience* I think to myself.

Lunch and dinner are again juices. Yet, surprisingly I sleep well during the evening.

The next day, however, I awake feeling a bit depressed and lethargic. “Damn. I should of done more with myself yesterday!” I tell myself.

I go for my next juice. I am alone. But have shamanic healing at 10am. *Mmmmm juice*. I think to myself.

I am starting to get hungry now. The hardest part I am told. The first few days.

“With the Shamanic Healing just try and be open minded” Claire the massage therapist had urged me the day before.

I took that on board. On my first day Eliana had asked me about my health and all the generic questions one needs to ask someone. I had been surprised when she guessed my childhood past straight away.

With a caring nature paired with keen perception my instincts trusted her.

So I lay down on the table. And Eliana set her Shamanic tools out. She picked up a feather

“Calling to the winds of the west….!” she started.

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Eliana, Middle Retreat founder.

A part of me wanted to giggle. But I resist and decide to try and take it seriously. After all. What the hell do I know. I know that technology, materialism and disconnection has taken over the world.. and that most of the population are on anti depressants. Which can’t be normal.

So I feel happy to embrace and get back to a bit of earthy nature and universal connection.

She sits by me and asks me to close my eyes. And starts to talk about my childhood. My mind resists. *Eurgh I really don’t want to talk about that right now* I think. But then whatever helps, I’m keen to try.

“Always be curious….” A group therapist had said to me once ….”Always be curious when you don’t want to talk anymore”.. I remember I had probably rolled my eyes with a ‘oh whatever’ stance to what I considered psychobabble at the time.

But then. She could have been right.

“Ok” I persist. “What is the colour in your chest.. can you see it.” she asks. “Er. Erm Yes.” I reply with my eyes closed. “It’s er black…?”…

She relates this to a serpent from my past and asks me to pull it out and yell. I have my eyes closed and envisage this. I do as she instructs and I try to yell. But again. Feel silly.

“I feel stupid” I say to Eliana. “It’s ok” she urges..” So I yell. Admittedly not that loudly feeling embarrassed. “Louder!” she urges..

Whilst there is no one in the room with me I imagine my three brothers and most of my male friends in my mind guffawing and mocking me.

The “night sea journey” is the journey into the parts of ourselves that are split off, disavowed, unknown, unwanted, cast out, and exiled to the various subterranean worlds of consciousness… the goal of this journey is to reunite us with ourselves. Such a homecoming can be surprisingly painful, even brutal. In order to undertake it, we must first agree to exile nothingStephen Cope

I leave the room relaxed and thoughtful. My mind awake. As I had been asked to go back to my past. Something that has never and never will leave me. Although my desire to let go is strong. I aminterested by the perception in my mind post shamanic healing.

I go for my next juice. Starving and a bit grumpy, I steal an apple.

“I don’t believe in juice diets” I think to myself.. “plus how am I meant to go for a well you know! Need fibre don’t we..”…

Ahhh the beloved mind. Always very good at excuses. It can talk oneself into the silliest of things.

I eat the weetabix and apple.

And cue: guilt…….. “Tsk. You can’t even do two days!” my mind berates.

At dinnertime Dominic the founders son – and the person who now runs Middle Piccadilly is there juicing my next drink. We chat about several things.

“Well it’s not that bad if you do eat an apple or something it’s not like it ruins everything.. or is that much of a big deal” he says.. which seems a healthy way to look at things.

I start to wonder if he had counted the apples in the bowl and knew that I had eaten one that afternoon. I look for the hidden cameras.

“Erm. Yeah..” I shrug. ‘Guess not”.

And the next day! I am introduced to food! A delicious bowl of oats soaked overnight in water – resulting in a milky texture awaits me in the kitchen. I am surprisingly not that hungry but eat it thankfully.

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Overnight soaked oats

My next appointment is an holistic massage again with Claire and is more about getting in touch with the body. She talks about chakras and sensations within. We discuss disassociation.

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Raw Nut Burger with Avocado Mousse

For dinner Dominic makes me a cold ‘raw nut burger’  which is served cold with an avocado mousse and an abundance of salad. *Dominic is a genius* I thinkIt is delicious. And probably the best vegan/vegetarian food I have ever tasted..I am in awe of his cooking skills. “Really you made this recipe up? Really.. ” I go on. Irritatingly. The “burger” is followed by a deliciousness gluten free cheesecake made from cacoa beans.

 

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Cacao Cheesecake

I don’t feel deprived. Not like the punishment of a bootcamp where one works out all day and returns to a dinner of  half a cracker.

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Claire, Middle Piccadilly Retreat

And before I know it.. time is up. And on the last day I have a mud wrap and a good chat with Claire about life, relationships, being a woman in a mans world etc. I shower and smother myself in organic coconut body lotion. My body feels soft and relaxed.

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Claire preparing a mud wrap

Whilst I was only at the retreat for four nights and five days… I could easily have stayed longer. Having the freedom in the day to do what one pleases but having the structure of treatments and regular meal times incorporated kept boredom at bay. 

Whilst I don’t want to be a cliche,  I believe that this retreat was the first time I had experienced what the term ‘self love’ really means.

Being kind to the body. Not putting it under gruelling tasks for the sake of society (from over working out – to binge drinking). Taking time to just connect to oneself. Just being. Without ‘trying’ to just be. Nourishing the body and trying to eliminate stress in a healthy way.

And so.. you know how the story ends. On the bus.. feeling sad at having to say goodbye. But. On to the next adventure..

Middle Piccadilly is in a beautiful location in the English countryside, and has a homely community vibe without being overbearing. Eliana, Dominic and Claire are very likeable, friendly individuals. And it is as many reviewers have said online. “A home from home”... well they weren’t lying...

I highly recommend.

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Beautiful Rural Retreat in the Dorset countryside Telephone 01963 23468 Email relax@middlepiccadilly.com

www.shamanka.com – for the School of Women’s Shamanism

www.middlepiccadilly.com 

Follow Dominic and his tasty recipes at www.instagram.com/the_lifestylechef

A FEW OF THE ABOVE RECIPES CAN BE FOUND HERE

You can follow me at www.instagram.com/becki_burrows

Becki BXx

Words and photography by Becki Burrows

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#metoo ‘Harvey Weinstein’ sexual assault reflection blog

pulp fiction

“Everyone’s got their chains to break
Were you born to resist or be abused? Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?” Foo Fighters

So – I wasn’t going to comment on this campaign but.. I couldn’t help but reflect on the discourse going on before me.  Many strangers and friends have been posting the #metoo hashtag on twitter and Facebook. Male friends stating their shock and support at the amount of people coming forward. And getting ‘likes’ in double numbers.

The  ‘Me too’ hashtag isn’t just about creepy dudes in bathrobes, you know.” (The Independent)

Don’t get me wrong – it’s great that this is coming to the forefront and being discussed. However. I started to reflect a bit deeper on the movement last night. Why is it that men or women posting in support are suddenly being congratulated on supporting the sexual assault campaign? Shouldn’t that support be standard anyway.

The #metoo campaign has evolved after concerns to Harvey Weinstein – a ‘once’ powerful Hollywood producer, who now faces allegations of sexual assault/harrassment. This allegedly also includes two of rape.

Weinstein formed the film production company Miramax with his brother. Think – Pulp FictionClerksGood Will Hunting some of your favourite movies right?

Some of these allegations – made by some of the most powerful female celebrities/icons/models on our screens today lead back to more than two decades ago.

So I came to thinking. Of the Jimmy Saville scandal – and of the widespread public disgust that arose from that.

When asked why nobody did anything, Mr Lemmon said: “I suppose because it was Jimmy.” (Telegraph)

And I ask myself the question – WHAT HAS TAKEN SO LONG????!!!? For the world to listen? If even the most powerful women in our society have fought so long to be heard.. (over two decades) what does this say for the rest of the population who have suffered such trauma (male and female).

The #metoo hashtag was actually created by 44-year-old activist Tarana Burke ten years ago. She founded the campaign as a grass-roots movement to reach sexual assault survivors in underprivileged communities. As a way to connect with #survivors with #survivors. (Ebony Mag)

I look to the Hollywood actors and actresses speaking out and starting a much needed conversation as well as many other celebrities that have made their stories of sexual violence known by using the “me too” hashtag, starting a much needed domino effect. And I commend them. And you!

Because it’s an uncomfortable topic. That is ignored all (most/a lot) of the time.

I recently read the recent post on The Independent  which offers an interesting alternative perspective on the matter talks about “being shunned as a whistleblower”.

It seems very easy to write disgust at assault on Facebook and get a few hundred likes but. What will actually change?

Whilst Facebook is a powerful tool – and writing in solidarity is great and that the ‘me too’ hashtag is a good start, I worry that it could dangerously minimalize the importance of the topic if not careful.

And I mean, by forgetting those that suffer in silence. Those whose first validation of exposure – at rape or sexual assault – who might write a ‘#metoo’ post.. that it might be ignored. Or passed by. And those that are perhaps even too ashamed to write the first letter ‘M’ on their social media site.

“According to a study by the NSPCC on young people (aged between 13–18), a third of girls and 16 percent of boys have experienced sexual violence and that as many as 250,000 teenage girls are suffering from abuse at any one time. 12 percent of boys and 3 percent of girls reported committing sexual violence against their partners.” (Wonderslist)

And those that have had to face their perpertrators in court. That are too afraid to speak out. That don’t get their voices heard due to not being passed through the CPS system. Those shunned. Those so overwhelmed with shame to say anything. Anything at all. Despite knowing verbally that it wasn’t/isn’t their fault. And those – too young to even know the words that fit the description of what is happening to them.

“we love celebrities because they are an integral part of culture. They have made it in the worldview we are so entrenched in. By worshipping them (to an extent), we feel as if we are participating in this hugely important cause/belief system. And that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy, and like our life matters” (Pyschology today)

And I question – as this mirrors the whirlwind of the Jimmy Saville scandal once again –  why has it taken a case like Harvey Weinstein’s to get something like this moving? Does it feel more close to home the further away it is? What about the girl or boy next door. Or indeed in other countries.. where women can be sent to prison for being raped.

“With an estimated of 500,000 rape cases every year, the country has one of the highest rate of Rape Crimes in the world. It is estimated that more than 40% of South African women will be raped in their lifetime.”

And I find myself pondering – perhaps – it is those that are famous and on our TV screens – that can actually really change things. And I accept that, that is the way society is built. And I commend the bravery coming from those places. For whilst, these men and women might be ‘famous’ I’m sure the evidence that appears; of the length of time that even the most powerful amongst us struggle to be heard – well. That is very telling. And aren’t we all simply humans?

And so as someone said to me once “you have shamed shame”. And to you I urge… Keep it up. For the path to victory, is rarely linear, let’s hope the Weinstein case will be a change in history for millions of women and men around the world.

And as a friend posted on Facebook after disclosing ‘not that it will actually change anything’. I feel her anger and I too, can quite often retreat into a state of despair. But like he say’s in #shawshankredemption

“Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” #ohDearyme

Peace and love.

Becki Bx

I follow other #survivors on Twitter campaigning endlessly for better rights for #survivors – including Ian McFadyen , Sammy Woodhouse , David Lean who tirelessly campaign for the rights of #survivors and I commend their work.

It is not aimed to offend – just a blog about the general confusion that quite often appears in my head. 

 

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INTRODUCING: MONTRELL ‘MORNING’

Montrell Band

“Love is just a language we could never speak..” 

“We were trying to connect with those who often turn to a stranger’s bed to alleviate all the pressures of the contemporary world. People are often waking up next to someone they’ve just met, and almost living out a condensed relationship in a matter of hours. We wanted the listener to be in that room, with that feeling, in the song.”

I first saw this band last year at Wildfire Festival last year.. a small and fun festival in the woods just outside of London. A slightly drunk and friendly Jonny Taylor ambled passed my table with a smile beaming after his set, in the only music tent there. An add on Facebook and a year on (blink and you’ll miss it..) and out of the blue..(I’ve been posting a lot on Facebook about certain current topics) a bit of support of solidarity fell into my inbox. Gratefully received and much more pleasant than the porn I was receiving from strangers…(after my post about the tragic Grenfell Tower tragedy – I had a lot of adds coming from many different countries).

On the tail end of that Jonny mentioned what he was up to currently. His band; Montrell, consist of Jonny P Taylor, Danny Monk, Dave Persiva and Sam Delves and they came onto the London music scene with a sold out show at the Servant Jazz Quarters in Dalston in March (2016?). Their first EP has been released..(above) named ‘Morning’, a song which gets to grips with the idea of ‘disposable relationships’ (more on that later..)..

Influenced by artists ranging from George Harrison and Paul Simon to Foxygen, Cigarettes After Sex and Mac De Marco…the four-piece have been working on their sound in an underground Baker St studio…

Jonny P Taylor’s smooth yet vulnerable vocal sits on top of chorus-dowsed and brittle electric guitars, sitting somewhere in between Indie Pop and Psych Rock.

I love this song. I found it really beautiful to listen to. The mesh of both dark and light.. the loneliness of disconnection, the urge to connect paired with the beauty of story telling.. the self reflection of a sad story but a beautiful way to tell the story.

“The only one I know is in the mirror” .. I wonder how many people feel that.. and do we ever truly know anyone but ourselves…

Montrell play the main stage at ‘Smoked & Uncut’ festival in July.

To book them or for interviews please contact: talktomontrell@gmail.com

Have a great Monday y’all! This week I am going to educate myself on Tennis.. Andy Murray playing today..

Follow them on Spotify HERE

Best, BeckiBXx

@ohDearyme

www.instagram.com/ohdearymeTV

 

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The Grenfell Tower Tragedy

Grenfell Tower Tragedy

It’s been a very difficult week for a lot of people living in West London. A lot of people have lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower tragedy. And then there are the friends and family that have been directly affected in what has been a very tragic and upsetting event.

As a resident of the Kensington and Chelsea borough – and as a part time volunteer at Citizens Advice – I found myself – in some unexpected situations I could not have predicted.

This included interviewing (very briefly) Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, meeting an amazing filmmaker called Janey Ayoade who was helping a strong activist called Neville by filming his story. Briefly meeting Peaky Saku and his friends working as best they could/can to help. Experiencing Mustafa Almansur attempting to collate and lead a committee (due to the Council not being seen anywhere at this point), and hearing the name Ishmahil Blahgrove spoken everywhere I went (I haven’t met him)… but I think he is a brilliant speaker rising up against the mainstream media.

And then there’s the famous face of Lily Allen. Who I met briefly, obviously deeply upset and passionate about helping and using the voice she has to vocalise what she saw. Maybe (and I can only really speculate) aware of her status and not wanting to make the situation about her. The ‘dancing on the fine line of trying to help and intentions being misconstrued’ and taking a lot of flack from the media – one has to be a very strong character to take that on board. 

And then let us not forget the children affected. Ryan Faraji and Tina Faraji aged 6 and 8. Ryan who lost his best friend Yacob. A voice of perspective for his generation. Too young to understand how powerful his message is to the rest of us.

There is a lot to write about this event. But I will not write it all now. I felt as an independent blogger/filmmaker that it was important to capture what was happening, on the ground. Firstly, because I didn’t feel that the media were reporting it authentically. And secondly, because when these families and residents look back on this. They may want to see and reflect on what went on. One day.

I have noted a few names up there. People trying to help. Let it be noted. There are a lot of people not mentioned here trying as best they can, with whatever they can to help as much as they can. This does not take away from the fact that this event – has affected so many people and has been an extremely tragic and heart wrenching situation. And it will always be about those people affected.

Whether I have done the right or wrong thing with capturing these moments. Well. That is arguable and I questioned that myself. And to be honest I don’t know the answer to that. But I did it with the best intention. An attempt to create a ripple effect in the right direction. I felt it was the right thing to do – whilst the media are putting out heavily edited footage.

The trauma that residents are going through is and will be huge. An Iranian woman that survived passed out during an interview with the BBC whilst describing the event to a reporter (which Kimia Zabihyan who was translating at the time claims was never broadcast). Kimia related that the woman wanted her story to be told. Why? Because it was so shockingly traumatic – almost in an unbelievable way (as in – is this really happening in Great Britain today?) that she felt it was important to tell her story.

But for now – above is a ten minute unedited clip and pictures I took, through my eyes.

Unedited – so that. Well you can make your own mind up.

To all those who have lost their lives. Rest in peace. My thoughts are with those directly affected. I’m sorry that this happened to you.

Best,

Becki BXx

#westlondonstrong #grenfelltower

 

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