Saturday, 11 June 2016

The Ties That Bind - R&D at Black Mountain School, North Carolina, USA

The Ties That Bind


How does it feel to dance, freely

In the present 






And time


Unconscious to the conscious 





How does it feel to dance, freely

Without restriction and restraint?



How does it feel to dance, freely


Knottyconstraining, contorted, controls


Tied tight, tighter, tightened as stretched, speckled flesh spills





An unruly body, straining against 

Systematic oppression 

is real. 




An excess of form






Dance freely on His grave

Laugh hard as salted tears stream down 

Ruddy cheeks


Quench my thirst for


Thursday, 2 June 2016

North America, Art, Love, and Life.

North America, Art, Love, and Life



28th May 2016

My first day in Toronto! I arranged to meet Dean at breakfast, so we hung out there. I brought my laptop down with my USB stick so I could carry on with all the marking I have to do (23, 3k essays). I tried to get it all done in the week before I flew out so that I wouldn't have to work abroad, but it was just too much to do in such a short amount of time. Marking, I've realised, takes a reeeeeally long time

There is an amazing free breakfast in the hostel (bagels, cereal, toast, tea, coffee, fruit!)I was very happy to have a banana and some coffee in the morning. 

We spoke about the fact that I had used £35 worth of data in Canada since I arrived the evening before (I found out after I got a text message through about rates, that its £6 per MB. WHAAAT? I turned my 3G off and hung around coffee shops with WIFI).   

I decide to head to the AGO today (The Art Gallery of Ontario).

There was an exhibition on called 'The Outsiders' which is probably one of the best exhibitions of photography I've ever seen (and I don't say that lightly).

Details here:

"Photographers Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, Danny Lyon, Gordon Parks, Garry Winogrand, and those who attended Casa Susanna, and filmmakers Kenneth Anger, Shirley Clarke, Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie, and Marie Menken created works that remain as challenging — even troubling — today as they did in their time" (AGO Online, 2016). 


I met up with Joe and Stephen this evening, we went to a bar called Snakes and Lattes, which was kind of a theme bar, where you can play any board game imaginable! We played Banangrams and Carcassonne, both new games to me, and both really good fun! 

We also played Cards Against Humanity, which I seem to be very good at, even though its sexist, racist, misogynist etc. 

It was so wonderful to catch up - we reminisced about all the people we used to work with at The Princess of Wales theatre on King Street, and what we had been up to in our lives in the past 7 years.  


26th and 27th May 2016

I was out for goodbye drinks with Dagmar, Kostas and Orestes the night before my trip - it was nice to see everyone again! I managed to bag myself a sandwich from our ritual skip shop raid to eat on the long bus journey to Bristol airport.  

It's always sad to say goodbye to people, especially when not quite knowing if you'll ever see them again. I think I've become quite used to it now - working in Canadianna hostel in Toronto for 9 months (2008-2009) meant that the deep relationships I built with all those amazing people I met ended, as soon as visas expired and travellers moved on. 

One thing that keeps coming back to me, is this...
 Time changes everything, and life moves on. 


 I couldn't sleep, even though I knew I had to be up at 5.30am to catch the bus from Bretonside. I ended up cleaning my room at 2am and generally faffing around feeling a mixture of nervousness and excitement

I had about 3 hours of sleep before my alarm went off. 

Usually I press the snooze button repeatedly, as anyone who knows me understands that I'm not a morning person... but not this time. 
Up, in the shower (to wake me up more than anything), get ready and I'm out the door, in a taxi, and en route to catch the South West Falcon 


The rave bus*

*there was no raving, unfortunately.  


The bus is spacious with comfortable seats. I'm exhausted, but again, I can't sleep, and its really starting to annoy me. To pass the time I end up taking selfies on the bus. 

They came out quite well!

I like the direct look into the camera (proclaiming my subjectivity in the face of my objectivity), and my seated, open-legged positioning, subverting the type of 'ladylike' demeanour and regulation of behaviour that has me crawling the M/F walls! 

I love this jacket I'm wearing (its a "man's" jacket, and has Christian imagery on the sleeves... again, anyone that knows me at all, knows I love my Christian Iconography!)

There was a bad crash on the A38 and I start to feel a bit paranoid that I'll miss my flight, but it seems to only be half an hour or so before we are moving on. 

I felt guilty for willing the traffic to move, knowing that there might be a fatality ahead. There are bigger things to be concerned about, than catching a flight on time. 

Perspective, Natalie! 

Arriving at Bristol, I checked in at the Wowair desk. I was informed that my flight was delayed by an hour or so, so decided to grab a coffee (NOT the filter coffee at Starbucks again, *shudder*) and listen to some more of the Baggage Reclaim podcasts 

(I highly recommend them, check out the link here:

Waiting, and waiting, and 4 hours later... we board the plane. Its an Easyjet style plane, no frills, no legroom, no food or drink or entertainment unless you pay! Not sure I will fly with them again, even though the flights were cheap.


Arrive for my first stop over in Iceland... There is a strike by the air traffic controllers in the country - which means there are further delays *sigh* 

There do not seem to be any seats in the airport, so I buy an expensive pizza (Did I mention its expensive? Its soooo expensive!) and park my tired ass down on the floor like everyone else, to eat. 

About 2 hours later, the plane is ready to board. 
Unfortunately, its parked on the runway quite far out, and there is no tunnel to shelter us from the wind, rain and hail as we make our way to board. We all get soaked, and there are lots of angry older ladies! Good job I bought my raincoat and trusty bobble hat!

I particularly liked WoWair's attention to detail on the sick bag!

I arrive in Toronto, a mere 6 hours later. I still haven't managed to sleep, and I am well and truly knackered.

Walking through the airport, I see this sign... All of a sudden, a million memories flood back, and I realise I am home <3

The information lady directs me to where I need to catch the bus from, I transfer to a streetcar, get off at College and Bathhurst, walk for 5 minutes and arrive at Planet Traveller - relief! 

I made it. 


Checking in, I meet Dean - who it turns out was on the same connecting flight from Iceland. We get shown around the hostel, finishing off with an invitation to 'loan' some beers from the hostel for $10. 

What the hell, lets drink. 

I've been awake for almost 24 hours, but I guess the adrenaline / excitement of being here kicks in! We go up to the roof terrace and meet a few other people, drink our cheap Pilsner beers, and look over the Toronto skyline. 

I am home. I smile. I am so tired!

I go to sleep... x