It’s quite ironic and sometimes very mysterious how the universe operates. My latest post was about the desperation one can feel as a freelancer, and how to find ways to utilize the down periods, without plunging into despair and losing faith that things will ever turn around. And then - whether it being an intervention by whoever one prays to, a turn of the constellations, or that proverbial flap of a butterfly’s wing thousands of miles away - something shifts, and boom - you get busy. Busy enough to actually not have time to write about not being busy.
My work - being my own boss, instigator, manager, slave driver - consists of so much more than just taking pictures. That’s perhaps not even the major part of the equation. Before getting to the point of actually picking up the camera there are a number of variables that must fall into place, and it all starts with that beautiful email: We have a job for you, are you interested?
In this particular instance the email came from someone I have worked with before, who was proposing the kind of shoot I live and breathe for, so I of course accepted at once with zero hesitation. Now, shooting this kind of particular job is what can be considered a major volume, and it involves ticking off a number of steps and putting together the right team of people that you trust to help carry out the assignment to your - and most importantly - to the client’s satisfaction. In the case of this particular shoot, a person with a fundamental understanding of a very specific region was required to cook and assist in prop sourcing, and finding that person - through having carefully curated a network of amazing creatives over the years - was what kept me busy. That, and securing the right location to do the shoot, handling the budgets and general logistics. The other day I was finally able to confirm that this person is on board, and for the first time in months I felt the stress losing its grip on my cells, at least for a moment. And so I decided to take the next day off, and that’s actually what this post is really about.
Now, what do you do on a day off?
The night before I had gone to bed early, almost immediately falling into a near-comatose sleep, something I can’t remember doing for a long time. True to form I woke up to the sound of those overly excited let’s-party-at-4:30am birds, and the breaking dawn. I don’t have any curtains (after five years in this apartment putting up curtains has become one of those impossible tasks that just seem to never get resolved), but instead of trying to slumber until finally giving in to the sounds of the workers at the warehouse across the backyard and getting up - accepting that sleep is not a luxury you can enjoy when you feel like there are things that should be done - I wedged in a blanket between the window pane and the frame to block out the light, rolled over, and got a few more hours. Oh, holy, blissful sleep!
After sweating through a Dalí-esque, REM-induced nightmare I finally woke up, all groggy and puffy-faced. Determined not to leave the house, as in taking a shower and putting on clothes worthy of other human being’s glance, I needed an indoor project for the day. A while back I purchased a pasta machine, thinking I could be one of those resourceful, self sustaining people who would here-on-out make her own pasta. Not really. After the first attempt I had angrily packed the damn thing up and tucked it as far away as possible as things went terribly awry, and since patience has never been one of my finest qualities. I’m not known to bea “practice makes perfect”-kindda gal. The dough either dried out or stuck mercilessly to my fingers, and found unimaginable ways to lodge itself inside the mechanisms, in places where it surely wasn’t supposed to go. Attempting to recover said escape-prone dough, hoping to make at least a few strands of cookable spaghetti, I cut my fingers on the sharp metal edges several times. Suddenly I realized that my pasta had a strange red hue - not coming from anything I had added, such as beets or tomatoes, and that’s when I decided that this BS was not for me. Naturally I threw the whole, sad batch in the trash, and was pretty much done with it. I even almost wrote an angry review on Amazon, but decided against it. Mostly because I’m not an asshole who writes angry reviews, but also because I had to factor in the fact that it probably wan’t the machine’s fault.
However, on the day in question, feeling strangely rested and filled up with positive day-off vibes, I figured, why not give it another try? Maybe I actually can be a “practice makes perfect”-kindda gal.
One of my first rules of cooking - or of any sort of leisurely project - is picking the right soundtrack. On this day it wan’t difficult, as I pretty much just continued where I left off the night before, and the night before, and the night before that.
A few weeks ago I went to see one of my most treasured heroes in concert, a man whose music I have loved and had a profound connection to for more than twenty years. In his capacity of not only a gut wrenching musician and songwriter, but also as a cultural icon - a phenomenon, if you will - in the most pure form, Nick Cave has always had a very special impact on me. Having sadly missed his live performances on several occasions in the past due to cancelled shows or me just happening to be living in whichever country or city I resided in, when he decided to show up in the country or city I had just left, this would be my first time ever actually experiencing him on stage. Something that should turn out to be transformative, no less.
Due to a dumb and unnecessary misunderstanding with my friend I ended up going alone - something I’m not opposed to, and oftentimes actually choose, but that hadn’t been the premise for the night. So sitting in the theatre next to an empty seat was bittersweet, but once Mr. Caveappeared, people rushing up the isles to get close, I literally felt something shift within my very core. The show was a series of punches to the gut, tears, laughs, and pure awe. I won’t go into too much detail - it’s private and frankly not something I’m capable of conveying in writing. Especially since he appeared to be in a deeply raw and uncompromising state due to his son’s recent passing and the performing of the songs from his latest album Skeleton Tree, which in large parts refer to the tragedy - but let’s just say that after that experience I’m seriously worried that I may have developed an unhealthy obsession.
I’ve had musician crushes for as long as I can remember. Off the top of my head: David Bowie, age 7, after seeing him in Labyrinth, and the first poster I ever kissed goodnight. George Harrison, age 10, he just had such kind eyes and a really cool guitar. Axl Rose, age 14, exploring those budding teen-feels, and hoping to one day be that girl in the short-in-the-front-long-in-the-back wedding dress. Brett Anderson, age 17, when late-teen angst and depression descended, deep and impenetrable, ultimately causing me to leave the nest of my parent’s home and move to London.
I’m surprised, but not entirely unhappy to find myself in that place again. I’m not delusional, thinking that Nick will come and sweep me away - like I may have thought that Brett would back then in London - it’s nothing like that. After all, I’m (very) grown up now. It’s more like a feeling of familiarity, a nice, comfortable place to allow myself to sink in to and indulge in for a little while. And speaking of indulge: the pasta came out great, and I shall now hence forth be the person who makes her own spaghetti. I urge you all to give it a try, but be on the look-out for sharp, blood-drawing edges. And by all means, accompany the process with your favorite comfort-music. And remember to take a day off every once in a while, just for you. It’ll do you good.