THE SLUMP

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I had high expectations for this Easter holiday.

Very high expectations, in fact.

I envisaged sun soaked sessions outside local coffee shops with my laptop perched on my knee in an oversized jumper. I pictured lazy days in the park spent scribbling in a notebook. At one point, I was booking a very expensive holiday to Cape Verde that I couldn’t afford, hoping to tan and write at the same time. Basically, I predicted that wherever I was in the world, I would be being (at the very least) creative, although of course, the reality of any sort of writing I do consists of my bed, some snacks and a pair of unwashed, faded pyjamas, so I’m not quite sure why I all of a sudden saw myself living in some sort of Hipster paradise, churning out great works of art on the other side of the world…

But anyway, two weeks into a two and a half week break from work and all I have posted on here are two ‘Sunday Papers’ pieces (which literally consist of nothing other than other people’s fantastic writing) and a couple of ‘Monday Mantras’, which, of course, everybody needs at the start of a working week, but it’s not exactly rocket science and/or a work of creative genius to find a quote and share it.

But it’s really not that I haven’t wanted to post anything. On the contrary, I was determined to become the next Zoella or whoever else is now living off the fruits of their online presence in the space of 17 days. But, surprisingly, it hasn’t happened. Perhaps I aimed too high? Perhaps ‘becoming Zoella’ was a little too optimistic? Perhaps I’ve lazed in bed for a little too long each morning? Spent too much time cooking delicious food or getting on with adult things like finding a flat and a new job?

Truth is, I really couldn’t tell you; I haven’t a clue why I haven’t been writing. I could list five thousand reasons why I might not be feeling particularly creative at the moment, but I really have no idea where my words have gone. The problem though, is that when these slumps strike, and I go into some sort of creative coma, it’s very difficult to hop back out of it and pick up a pen or start typing. Much like working out, once I haven’t written or posted anything of any significance in a while, the thought of doing so becomes scary and – at times – impossible. I question my abilities and grow uncertain about why I even do this.

And then I get an email.

Or a private message on Twitter.

People start questioning why I haven’t posted in a while and my hearts lifts a little.

I start to hear the familiar little cogs turning and get the urge to post something… anything.

So that’s why I’m here on this Wednesday evening.

I am hoping that by typing words and hitting publish without thinking too much about them, a creative valve hidden somewhere deep inside my body will open and, just like that, the juices will start flowing once again.

Here’s to thinking, writing and being more creative over the next few weeks.

Watch this space.

SOUNDS

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An intimate gig in a random location.

Sounds like another Hoxton-inspired event idea which has appeared out of a hipster-haze, right?

Wrong.

After a couple of years of not being able to get tickets, not being able to make it when I eventually did get tickets and then sometimes forgetting it was even a thing, I finally managed to make time for Sofar last night. Having been to these types of events before, I sort of knew what to expect and I was looking forward to popping my Sofar cherry. So after a short bus ride after filling my belly with pasta, I found myself in a tiny meeting room in an office block, with a view of Tower Bridge, listening to three live performances with a few tins of gin bought from the nearby Tesco. We had no chairs, no covers, no frills or spills, just great music, precious alcohol and good company.

I don’t want to say too much about the night because it seems to me that these events are best enjoyed when taken at face value. But what I will say is that Sofar seems to attract nice people. From the volunteers who run the events, to the tentative audience members with real-life manners, my evening was made complete just by being surrounded by like-minded individuals who didn’t settle for Netflix and a chinese on a Wednesday night. Instead, they went on a hunt for something a little more interesting. And boy did they find it. I was lucky enough to enjoy 3 acts who were so fucking talented it hurt. We had a soloist who described his music as ‘soul inspired pop’, a synthy trio from Suffolk with a penchant for blue hair and a four man band who played ALL the instruments.

You can see past performances here if you like, just to get a taster of what Sofar is all about, but I would recommend not clicking and just applying for tickets without knowing too much about what’s in store for you. Just don’t expect to find your normal gig experience.

Sofar is not for the socially awkward, it is not for those who require comfy seating and it is especially not for those of you who don’t appreciate excellent music and good company.

Buy your tickets here. It’s the world’s best kept secret. For now, anyway.