Manchester on Film…

 

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Funny how a city can host a personality before you’ve even visited. Alive in a picture of people who’ve existed there, bands rooted there, a history learnt though documentaries on times long passed.

Manchester begins in dribs and drabs of estate housing and graffiti-ed red brick, a lineage of its industrial past. But there’s a certain warmth in the grottiness, maybe it’s the familiarity to me, that I can relate it to the streets I grew up in back in Newcastle.

I meet Amy and we play a game of musical chairs: alternative bars and cafe eats, vegan diners and dive bars, catching up on the year that’s passed like no time passed at all. A friend like a sister, a soul piece, a revelation. We’re well and tipsy and happy to be in the city discussing the deepest things in life: love, ambition, purpose and growing up. It’s been six years since we were let loose on the world, finding a grounding companionship on that first night of university. We haven’t changed much but then we’re completely different people, it’s a weird place your twenties.

Film camera tour stops, another cheeky brew at Jimmy’s, spontaneous tattoo’s and canal side goodbyes. It’s short and sweet and nothing spectacular at all yet I leave a piece of me there in the heart of Manchester and watch as those same red brick factories and terrace houses pass me by.

There’s something very humble about being back in England. An appreciation I failed to have before but I’m proud of where I’m from, not for the politics, for the societal decay but for the people up in these Northern towns, of the grafters, the artists, the people who paint the streets with their wild. We’ve got a riotous little core and theirs pride to be had in that.

Love & Light, N x

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12.06.18

Meditation. Focus on breath and body, those two components as a unity. A gentle practice but with unruly, forced intentions. I urge it to fix me. When it gets to the moment when my guide suggests I allow my mind to wander where it likes, I’m taken to a green meadow scattered with blossoms, an array of colours against a healthy green. It isn’t a tame lawn but a wild garden. I’m younger here, sprawled on my back in the midst of it all, all alone but content in the solitude, bathed in the warmth of the setting sun.

So this is where my mind wishes to reside? A reprieve from the hurricane thoughts I subject it to, soaking up the serenity I deprive it of. It doesn’t matter how much I push for that control I just cannot attain it, and the realisation of that swells in my chest, my careful breathing falls erratic and tears emerge from some shuttered space inside. It hurts me some, that I’m the one damaging myself whilst being the only one who can save myself.

15.06.18

Another adventure with El. A bundle of laughs but a lot of heart opening too. I need to get a handle on that, I’m anxious I’m becoming a bit of a burden to be around. But these people, just strangers three months ago, can’t even begin to understand the security I feel, admitting my darkness and catching a sweet glimpse of release. People hold so much power, even when they don’t realise it.

17.06.18

Paula retells her engagement with the sweetest of indulgence. There’s something timid about it, like it takes a lot for her to share this precious moment and I hang on every word she says. She’s sun kissed from her time on the island sure, but the blissful expression is something else entirely. A fraction more warmth, a little bit subdued. Paula is a romantic. gentle and kind and someone maybe a little too good for most people in this world. But it’s that tenderness that makes you triumphant that good things are happening for her, she deserves all of the pleasures in life.

18.06.18

We discuss energy and presence and manifesting your dreams like it’s small talk. I’ve known Paige for barely anytime at all, yet we discuss elements of life I barely even touch upon with life long friends. It’s odd to me that Paige doesn’t see the world as a ruthless place arranged by obstacles but instead a challenge of a platform from which we can communicate strength to mend each other in unity and conjure some kind of equilibrium. She’s a careful and grounded structure to my restless flighty one, a beacon of wisdom in this riot of obscurity.

Light & Love, N x

Glasgow on Film…

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The nostalgia of the train journey from Newcastle to Edinburgh. Memories planted with the wildflowers in the country. The incomparable sweetness of reuniting with a friend who beams, always, like sunshine. The magic of childish giddiness that keeps you from sleep.

The calm of belonging walking through Glasgow, that liveliness that exalted you on your last trip four years ago. The music: buskers around every corner, vinyl stores, advertisements for bands big and small, venues aplenty. From the uniform Britishness of the city center, to dilapidated store fronts, businesses too poor to prosper, to quaint hipster cafe’s and picturesque town houses. The levels of a city baring the trail of time.

Drunk in the sunshine. A parade of decorated bodies, slurred lyrics and mosh pits. The unity of strangers in the sunset light screaming lyrics to a song you know so well, but which takes on whole new meaning in the moment. The heart surge when the intro to your favourite song starts.  Jumping and losing your mind like you’re fourteen again at your first ever concert, of your most favourite band. That naive certainty that your whole world exists in this songs course. The frantic debrief afterward. Weary and strolling through the city streets, your mate squatting for a piss on the side of the road, chip shop chips, zonking out as soon as your fuzzy head hits the pillow.

More reunions with friends who seem fictional now, existing somewhere that isn’t the world you created together on the other side of the world. The simple contentment of eating good food and chatting good chats. The gratitude that consumes you, being surrounded by inspirational humans that make you believe the world might just be wonderful.

The rarity of a full heart rather than a heavy one as you say “See you later”, because you don’t really believe in the definiteness of goodbye anymore, and hop on the train home, excited to be back in a city that filled you with nothing but dread for so many years.

These shots were taken on a disposable with Ilford black and white film, and whilst the disposable was fun I’d prefer the freedom and the skill involved in an actual film camera, so if you have any advice for beginners I am so very super keen to hear it!  Annnnnd on another note if you ever get the chance to see Catfish and the Bottlemen live, run with it, even if you have to sneak into the venue. One of the best live bands I think I’ve ever seen.

Love and Light. N x

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21.05.18

Summer lingers in licks of sun kissed skin,  layers hang uncomfortably on the stubborn bodies of the suns children but the morning air is crisp now. Autumn is gentle in her arrival, aware of the bleakness her time foreshadows. But she knows her time has come as she approaches us shyly, nervous of our reception.

24.05.18

I might be aright in a new place. I should move. I need to move.

09.06.18

Today I feel so in flow. My energy is in tandem with the day. Work with the girls, those light smiles and delightful conversations. You forget, sometimes, the power of getting the music right when the weather is right and the energy is right. Sun shining from morning til evening, cheesy nineties hits, a good mug of coffee and a steady flow of lovely customers. In this I find my happiness, such an easy thing to ask for yet so rare. Even the unavoidable loneliness of the evening brings its own charms, a recharging vinyasa flow, the space and time to cook in the kitchen, the discovery of a new favourite album. And all the while anxiety buds somewhere deep within,  it’s gripe is with the fragility of happiness, the inevitability of a downward spiral and I do my best not to allow it to beat me.

10.06.18

You’ve got a soul that craves the whole world not just a corner of it. A spirit that creates chaos because it knows its worth. There’s something cosmic in your make up, so lively that it rejects the norm and pushes you toward the peculiar. This human world is built on the wild notions of individuals, so why should you disregard your own? It’s not valuable to be one specific thing, not valuable at all to be just one more person doing what everyone else does. And in this life it’s exhausting to defend yourself to the ignorant ones but its oh so important to persist regardless.

Light & Love, N xx

Trinkets…

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A safe space

A bed and shelves that sing my memoirs

Trinkets, a steal of sentimental youth

Book binds and record sleeves

Paint a picture of then

Blanket me in the now

Push me toward the next change

Grounded by a space that honours time

Honours who I was, am, will be

Anxiety paused, a platform to rejuvenate.

“Home” is where the heart is but it’s also where the strength to grow is. It’s revisiting the past and remembering why you left, it’s a heartbeat of clarity in the mess of your hounding thoughts, it’s allowing your stubborn self to be looked after and the rememberance that having people in your life to do so, however limited is one of the greatest gifts. I feel more myself in this moment than I have this whole year. I don’t miss New Zealand at all and that’s okay too. It was a time in my life I’ll learn I was in need of I’m retrospect and just because it was paradise for so many that doesn’t mean it had to be paradise for me too. Being home is not a failure and it’s not permanent it’s another chance, a hug and a push onto the next chapter. I feel more inspired here than I have anywhere else. The grey days show their own kind of love too. 

Love and light, N x

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05.05.18

How do people make time to settle? Months clip by like meagre days and there’s no second-guessing when your life is passing you by, no settling for a job you hate, a place you can’t grow, people who don’t inspire you. How can you even begin to feel contentment if you don’t give yourself the fundamentals? Surely a basis to bloom, create, go mad with passion and love for all elements of your day to day life, that is the most important ingredient to self-love?

‘If we were meant to stay in one place, we would have roots instead of feet.’

08.05.18

Deep chats with empathetic souls. El feels trapped too, wants more than whatever the present has to give. We grab drinks up the road and I chat her ear off, it’s all about idea’s and feelings, the topics that make me think and leave me feeling renewed: politics, feminism, youth, travel, work, philosophy. El is a refreshing change. She’s intelligent, self-aware and she just gets it. I don’t feel pessimistic when we discuss things, more contemplative. It’s the same for all the ladies surrounding me right now. At work, they’re all a force to be reckoned with.

12.05.18

Barred, enclosed in this paracosm,

grey world ignited in rose illusion,

tinted scenes from a novel land

embraced in a fairer story.

14.05.18

You are HERE, in THIS place, with THESE people and THESE opportunities. You have THIS face and THIS body. THESE are your words and your thoughts. NOW is where life is and I hope so ardently that you won’t waste too much more of your life away in that hopeless yearning for another self, time and place.

18.05.18

They approved my second-year work visa, I met the news with no such excitement. Everyone around me is overjoyed, they know how much effort and money went into the application, how daunting the six week wait was to find out the result. But it obviously isn’t what I want. This proves that. But where to next? Home? What’s there?

 

Light and love, N x

 

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18.04.18

Now, do you realise the power of ‘yes’?

New friendships on short road trips, explorer walks and real-world enchantment. Up in the skies with rebel waterfalls, droplets strung like fireflies in buttery setting suns, captured by a pause in time between forests and streams. The sort of moment that flaunts fantasy and encourages you to second guess all you thought you knew.

21.04.18

Loneliness is sweet with time,

and in her spaces, I think you up in a myriad of disguises,

from Prince Avenue to Grey Street…

23.04.18

You say you despise cigarettes

but you’ll never miss a break

a brew in one hand

and the patience of a saint

lulled by the jagged tuning

and the whispers off that delicate tongue

twisting words to rhythms

like language has never been sung.

25.04.18

Waking up easy, lazy light through gauzy curtains, slow sips of coffee in a warm bed, early Dylan tracks humming, gently encouraging my mind to wander, my thoughts to spill, my pen to write.

Light and love, N x