Sunday, 27 March 2011

Walter The Fish

When I was nine years old I heard a story which I like to refer to as Walter-The-Overhead-Projector-Fish.  It was told at school as part of RE  ( religious education) which was given at school in those days . It was a simple story told through a series  of overhead projector scribbles that a three year old would have been proud of. The drawings may have been simple but their impact was immense. Basically poor Walter got washed up to shore and died because nobody could be bothered to throw him back into the ocean. As he lay dying on the beach he kept calling out to passers-bys but nobody heard him or perhaps they ignored him. Then when he died a lady walked past, took pity and threw him back into the ocean but it was all too late by then. I'm not even sure what the point of the story was  - be kind, be helpful, think of others, don't be cruel, fish can speak English you just have to bend over to hear them - but I was devastated by this tale. Nobody else in my class was but I was so shattered my mother ended up having to take me home such was my grief.She didn't try to console me with the fact that it was only drawing, it wasn't real; she knew Walter was real for me so she let me cry and mourn his overhead projector passing.

Nowadays I still think of Walter the Fish, particularly when my heart is in pain and I feel as if I am not coping as well as I would like. I think of him because he reminds me of my nine year old self who still dwells inside and who deserves to be honoured. I know she is very sensitive and can suffer terribly but she also comes from the same part of me who builds incubators out of green gift boxes to save dying birds; who shows patience and love to her students even when she has none left for herself, whose imagination is so big she sometimes falls right inside it.  Walter the Fish showed me how big my heart was even at age nine and  the fact that it is still big now shouldn't be seen as a weakness  but as a strength. Yes it means when my heart is hurting there is a lot of it to heal but I am sure my nine year old self would much prefer that I feel every break than sit stony-faced watching as Walter the Fish loses his way.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Wicked Game

I first heard the song Wicked Game by Chris Isaac when I was about 20 years old. I fell in love with it immediately and since then it has remained my favourite song in the world ( despite some stiff competition from Mr. Blunt, U2, Reamonn, Billie Holiday and Puccini.) Funnily enough even though I loved it, the first few years of our relationship were quite tumultumous because  I could never remember its name. Fortunately my friend, the Wise Woman, was always on hand to remind me.


'So Wise Woman, what is the name of that I song I love. You know la la la oooh woo I don't want to fall in love...'
'Wicked Game by Chris Isaac.'
'Thank you, Wise Woman.'
'Da nada' (She was studying Spanish at the time.)

One week later...

'So Wise Woman, what is the name of that I song I love. You know la la la oooh woo I don't want to fall in love...'
'Wicked Game by Chris Isaac.'
'Thank you Wise Woman.'

You get the picture!

Fortunately the Wise Woman was so wise she gave me my very own copy  for my 23rd birthday so I would never forget it again. This was especially wise as she was about to leave me for foreign lands and she knew I would not function without her nearby to remind me on a weekly basis. Praise be to the Wise Woman

I still have the copy she gave to me then. It is actually sitting in my cd rack here in Switzerland now. Of course I absolutely adore the original but I do love the version Rebecca Ferguson of X- Factor fame did last November too. To be honest I'm not even sure why I love this song so much. Maybe it is that  sublimely beautiful collision of melody, lyric and soul which happens so rarely in a song these days or perhaps it the raw truthfulness of it. I suppose it doesn't really matter. I love this song and it resonates in a painful, melancholic way  with me and countless others too no doubt.

Now why I mention this song is actually because of the comment put under my last blog entry by Lo Stinky Il Vagobondo -  a dear friend from London with a penchant for twins! Thank you Lo Stinky. Whether he knew it was my favourite song or he just knew it was apt I am not sure but it was such a beautiful bit of poetry to add to my blog I just had to thank him.


As an end note I would just like to add that another thing crazy blue chandelier person has done in her past ( instead of just lying flat and wasted in her bed)  is  to dance like Fred and Ginger down the stairs of Charing Cross with her old friend, Lo Stinky.
Thank you Trafalgar Square twirler , I remember each night and how we danced like little gods.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Crazy blue chandelier

I was lying in bed at 7 pm tonight thinking how sad it was to be lying in my bed at such an early hour, when I noticed the crazy blue chandelier I have hanging from my roof. I stared at it for a while, admiring how it looked like a giant crystal star right in the middle of my living room universe, and I thought the  person who bought that incredible light would never pass so much of her time lying, flat as a pancake, in her bed.

                                                                    Being blue

She would probably spend her time trying to eat goat soap in a Malian market or swim eyes-closed in the Amazon River as the piranhas lick their lips or go urban camel-riding with insane Syrians at three in the morning! She might even shiver her way down the Yangtze River in a rusted river boat or kiss the Blarney Stone with her forehead. She might search for the grassy triangle somewhere in the Lake District, run naked through the Wadi Rum or drink Scorpion mezcal shots in the only cantina in Oaxaco where unbearded women are allowed to enter! At a pinch she might even dance with  a Peruvian Spaceman at high altitude or ride her city bike from Siena to Buonconvento in the middle of winter. She might even lay quietly dying in Timbuktoo with sand in her ears and a fever to match the sun.... but she would never just lie like a piece of paper, flat and expressionless, in her bed at 7 pm on Saturday evening. So I made her get up and write this blog instead!
Picture of crazy blue chandelier in its natural Egyptian habitat before relocation to Living Room Universe!

Friday, 18 March 2011

finding the balance

Tonight my yoga teacher said that if you can balance in yoga then nothing in life will overwhelm you. (I would like to add that this teacher was not Izabella but actually a psychopath disguised as a yoga teacher who made me do lots of very difficult bendy things. ) Naturally, as soon as he said the above I immediately fell from my balancing pose with an enormous bang ! I think I threw the whole class out.
After the class I came home and found Alf showing me exactly how I should bend like a true yoga person! (Alf is currently having a week spa holiday at Chateau Della Joanna where he basically gets to to do what he wants/ say what he wants/ be who he wants because I am just so happy to have such a hairy, beautiful man in my house!)

Monday, 14 March 2011

Two hours of freedom

You know one thing I will never understand is people who pay to sit at concerts. Actually I do understand it because people do it all the time and I’m all for freedom of choice. I suppose what I mean to say is one thing I will never do is pay to sit at a concert...well not until my knees give out anyway. It’s like going to the dentist because you feel like having a lie down or visiting the gynaecologist because you’re lonely - it's just not right. Concerts are about dancing not toe-tapping. They are about feeling free and in the moment. They are about finding the courage to throw your arms up in the air, sing out of key and just let go. Even when you know that at the end of the show, when you bring your arms back down, everything will be exactly the same. The same worries will be there, the same problems, the same grief... but at least for those two hours - at least while the music plays - you are suspended in the air - your heart is completely free.
Well, last Friday night I went to the James Blunt concert in Zurich and I felt free. I know I know. I can hear some of you shuddering just at the very mention of his name but guess what... he makes me happy. He is my guilty pleasure. I like his pretty tunes, I like the whole posh voice thing, I like the fact that he doesn’t take himself too seriously and I like the fact that I generally have a high chance of remembering most of his lyrics because they are fromage to the highest level.
I read somewhere that the secret of happiness is freedom and that the secret of freedom is courage. Well, I had the courage to dance unabashed and unashamedly to a man with a higher voice than mine last Friday night and for those two hours as I spun, sung and swung I felt freedom. I felt happiness.
I might have forgotten how it feels now but I still remember that I felt it.

Saturday, 5 March 2011


This afternoon I was walking home when a tiny girl of about five suddenly stopped in front of me. Her mouth dropped open and her blue eyes nearly fell out of her head. Then she began to skip around me smiling as wild as summer. Her father called out to her to hurry up and she sighed (in English) 'But Daddy she has the most beautiful skirt!' I gave her a smile and held my skirt out for her to touch. She was so joyful it made my heart ache ( in a good way for once!)

I look forward to the day when I find a skirt of my own to circle again.

On another note a good friend sent me a proverb by Hazrath Inayat Khan: "Die Reise beginnt mit einem Weg voller Dornen und der Reisende muss barfuss gehen" (the way of your voyage at the beginning is full of spines and you have to walk barefoot). I hope the spines and barefootedness are worth it in the end. I think that they must be.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

my raison d'etre

I mentioned in a recent blog how I have been listening to the Algerian singer Souad Massi. In particular I am drawn to her song Matebkiche. It has such a beautiful melody - in a sad, longing sort of way. If I were a melody right now I would be this one. In the future I hope there will be a different melody for me but right now this one suits me just fine. I mean you can't always be Dancing Queen now can you!


I finally went back to yoga. Izabella was there with her wide open arms ( and incredibly bendy body!). I struggled through the class both physically and spiritually but strangely enough I managed to do the wheel pose unassisted for the first time in my life. Perhaps this is my raison d'etre...along with peppermint chocolate ice cream and Hafiz.

Oh and my braccialini handbag.