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Monday, 3 June 2013

Love is the law

The country is full of laws and regulations - step over the line and it'll cost you. Incidentally, to my mind the line is straight, narrow, thin and blue. I happen to prefer guidelines that leave room for interpretation, however, of all the laws that could be imposed I think Love would be the most effective. Give love, accept love, share love and act with love. I'm not talking about a Soho sex party, but something that seems easy to mock and hard to practice.

Of course reality ensures that the daily details of acting with love are difficult to interpret and all depends on perspective - to a degree. Could I be much more vague? Imagine if the only suggestion issued by God/ The Govenment/ Your Mum was that whatever decisions you take and choices you make, act with compassion and kindness. Would we live in a more open, respectful and intelligent society? Where you chose not to offend because you'd considered the consequence, rather than because there's CCTV over there and you're not stupid. Quite.

With an optimistic disposition and some rum for the train, we headed over to Bethnal for the launch of the Dystopia Edition of Love is the Law. On arrival we were handed bottles of Duvel and ushered into the white washed warehouse where an act was singing the blues to an attentive crowd. Marques Toliver charmed the audience before we decided to wander upstairs to view an allegedly private performance.



The performance never materialised so we found ourselves performing mime and interpretive dance with some jovial Italiens and a spoon bender. Bent spoons seemed to play an unofficial role in the evening, unless the same one was very clever at relocating itself. The star attraction of the evening however, was undoubtably Shingai Shoniwa of the Noisettes. She materialised in white feathers and what looked like a wedding dress with a gold basque and proceeded to enchant the crowd with her sweet textured voice, Dan's soulful melodies and her intelligent Heburn eyes.



Dystopia is a useful starting point for analysing where we are now, but the theme that to me stands out - at the magazine launch, at parties and in my social sphere, is one of hope. The bleak political climate, numb accepting society and willingness to look away is too much; there's a momentum gathering from which springs hope, colour and revolution.











Sunday, 2 June 2013

Mint tea and waterfalls.



At the Cascades d’Ouzoud, about a hundred miles East of Marrakesh, we arrived at a guest house we knew allowed travellers to sleep on the roof – the budget option. We negotiated a price with the friendly owner but an overbearing man appeared and tried to schmooze us with Bargain Hunt similes, football banter and poor Cockney imitations. He smacked of tout and argued with the proprietor before turning to us all smiles and sidelong glances claiming to own the place himself. He tried to charge us five pounds each to sleep on a concrete roof (no bedding!) and so we walked off to shouts of “you won’t find cheaper!”

We ordered mint tea at an open air restaurant on an outcrop that looked directly over the magnificent cascades. We were so close that occasionally spray from the deluge would be brought up to us on the soft breeze, although we were high up in the orange cliffs. On an impulse I asked how much they’d charge us to let us sleep on the sofas that night. 

As darkness thickened over the falls a steaming vegetable tagine was brought over to us with fresh fluffy loaves to mop up the stock heavy remnants. The gap tooth owner joined us, bringing over illicit liquor to share. We bedded down on the straw stuffed sofas, exhausted after a seven hour drive, whilst our host and the waiters relaxed with a strawberry shisha, which clouded the air with a soft sweet scent. The constant thunder of the falls was both comforting and perturbing; my dreams were tinged with the rational worry that there might be a sudden surge. 

Sleep was abruptly shattered by a cockerel that had wandered into the restaurant and was announcing dawn. Animal lover though I am I picked up a leftover loaf and threw it at the bird. Perhaps an hour or so later, as the sun started to peek over the cliffs and into the valley, another small commotion penetrated my consciousness; I peered out of my blanket nest to find 3 Berber monkeys swinging from the rafters and squabbling over the bread missile. I watched them lazily whilst the rising sun created rainbows out of the wet mist. I have slept in deserts, jungle and mountains but I have never woken up to such an awe inspiring sight as this colourful forested gorge coming to noisy life.