one of the best books I have read – Man Walks Into A Room – Nicole Krauss
This summer, I have spent the most joyous weekend afternoons and sunsets at Burnt Enz. Rihanna themed my tunes as bottle after bottle of prosecco, the holy water of my religion, filled flute after flute. We ate the best steak burgers, eels, roast quails and even a whole piglet. The banter, continuous. The love, everlasting, lustering between sunsets and dawn. It is truly glorious living in London Fields.
It all started when I was rocking up to The London Fields Brewery on my birthday in June with a bunch of my friends as the Cuban band played underneath the bunting. It was post Jubilee, pre Olympics and there was a perfume of optimism just hanging in the air like a smog of goodness, promising fun and laughter. The sunset swung its deep red rays onto the faces of my friends who were puffing cigarettes, swigging pints of beers and talking endlessly to each other. Perhaps the sun was so forbidden this summer that every glimpse we had, we made the best of it.
After this, I lost my voice for two weeks solid. The silencing brought on a depression I had never felt before and like any (mute) cry baby, I wept for days, abstained in bed, frightened that I would never be heard again until I wrote and wrote and wrote and found a certain voice, somewhere in La Bouche and the library, a literary one, I would hope. And there, I saw how everything happens for a reason and once I found my inner voice, the vocal one also came back, a rebirth.
I did lots of nice things like a shoot and interview with Sophie Dening at Editer.com to The Daily Express (which I wasn’t sure about – he made me smile very forcibly – am no good at that!) Sophie also invited me over and cooked the most delicious Jose Pizarro recipe of hake and peas. Even though I am put on ice, I met with some incredible publishers too and didn’t think I could ever be so lucky to even get an appointment. I did some more amazing supper clubs and classes where I met loads of wonderful people. A hen do where they all came on a double decker bus; a cooking class where we cooked, learned, ate and watched The Men’s Wimbledon Final.
was featured in Scout Magazine
Did a food demo at The Vietnam Festival
My friend Danny McCubbin at Jamie Oliver ran with the Olympic torch!
I also joined The Skinny Bib and cooked a Thai/ Vietnamese night at Global Feast and had lots of fun giggling and doing yoga afterwards in the cold courtyard. There wasn’t a lot of sleep involved, especially when we partied with Rankin at a book launch at his studio and what with running down Mare Street with a(nother) bottle of prosecco, whooing at the fire works during the opening ceremony and laughing my head off.
Rankin & Ayami
had lovely dinner parties with friends
didn’t go to bed a few nights and cycled around Victoria Park
was in a few magazinea
My ex next door neighbour had an impromptu cocktail party, she told us to get dressed up and actually there were only five of us and we danced to Graceland all night with diamonds on the soles of our shoes. After a bet, (and with thanks to Chris Hendrie) I managed to secure tickets to see Paul Simon at Hyde Park the next day which was Ah.Mazing. I went with my friend Azzz who like me, loves living it up and we had so much fun munching on hamburgers at a Drive Thru after wards, sat in my roofless car, gazing at faint starry tinkles.
I still own the records my father left behind with his clothes when he left in the mid 80s. My brother and I favourited Simon & Garfunkel, Live in Central Park, 1981, a record we would play over and over. If you open the record sleeve, you can see the crowds of people at Central Park, a view Simon & Garfunkel saw as they sang. We always wanted to be there, in the crowd. We would shut our eyes tight while blasting the volume loud and imagine.
After the Graceland set, Paul Simon came to the stage, solo, with his acoustic guitar, just a blue beam on him, above his pork pie hat. Hello darkness my old friend, he sang, in a voice that have aged deeper than what is engraved. I’ve come to talk with you again… At that moment, I was transported back to the age of seven, or eight or nine years old. Like a therapist’s dream, I stood, awakened. My childhood mind thawed as my thirty something year old self froze, I stood in Central Park in 1981, with ten thousand people, maybe more, holding my little brother’s hand. We looked at each other in astonishment and we smiled like we had never smiled before and he, being a five, six or seven year old boy hugged my long arm dangling beside him.
One rainy July day, I went to Pub On The Park to meet someone (impromptu) I had never met before. I am wearing jeans and a white shirt, I said. I am wearing suit trousers and a blue shirt he said. This is looking like a blind date, I said… the best ever! He was fit! Especially when we met weeks and weeks later as the summer sun was mounting low and we decided to go up and down, up and down, up and down the glass lift of the Heron Tower and also had a really enjoyable meal at Duck & Waffle on the 40th floor.
View From Heron Tower
Duck & Waffle
Previously, Richard Vines had taken me for a belated birthday dinner at Sushi Samba which is below Duck & Waffle. Great thing about dinning with Richard is that we can order many things and I loved a lot of it, especially the sushi. We drank champagne on the terrace over looking a beautiful breathtaking view of London. The man always has to walk in front of the woman when she is climbing down the stairs, he says as I vertigo over the see-through steps (on the 40th floor by the glass window). So that he can catch her if she falls.
Richard Vines & me
Without any sleep after a supper club I went directly to The South Of France, to Gaillac, a little town an hour from Toulouse to a mutual friend’s wedding. I went with my old friend and ex flat mate Will, whom I’ve known for over a decade. The wedding had a little pool party too and afterwards we travelled around the South Of France. While running with our bags and eating baguettes we caught all the trains. Remember this, Luu, Will said, as we laid bare on the beach, toasting with sun cream and sea salt in our hair. We had a picnic of tinned tuna, baguette and la vache qui rit, a can of Kronenberg and some iceberg salad. Remember it, he kept saying, because this is the best day ever! It really was.
When I landed back at Gatwick, I received a good ask, to work with Bill Granger. I was terrified. I drank a lot the day before (obvs, if among gorgeous boys and the sunshine at Burnt Enz) and had no sleep (because I was packing props and terrified). But I did it!
One night, after a poor meal and a lot of booze later, I enjoyed one of the best bowls of pho at midnight. It was a left over from the supper club and there wasn’t enough herbs or spring onions and the meat was getting kind of old from being in the fridge for a few days but it was so good. Ever so good. A memorable good! Oh na na, whats my name, sings a handsome boy with a creased linen tie, Ohh naa naa… Then, just like that, as if like clockwork, I forgot about the house of cards, the one I had spent all year building so carefully … .. .
Dang! I have had the most amazing summer! Sorry for the lack of blog posts then, now you know why.