Early yesterday evening, after meeting friends for a couple of gins at a favourite bar in Cathedral Square (it was World Gin Day after all, it would’ve been rude not to), I took myself over to a small table, located outside, to write my post for the day. Getting out-and-about to write, always carrying my iPad with me, is something I’m currently trying to build into my creative habits.
It was one of those stunningly clear and crisp Winter afternoons – the sun piercing bright, glowing orange, as it set behind the skeleton-like trees and our beautiful, broken, Cathedral.
It was a unusual rear view, and angle, of this landmark that I’d never really stopped and observed before. Its European Medieval influence was very suddenly, very obvious. This along with the surrounding greyness, the little round table, with cane chairs and a candle, and my glass of Aperol, fleetingly fooled me into thinking I was in Paris. I could have been there, sitting outside a Bistro, watching life go by on the Boulevard by Saint Chapelle. It was a stunning setting, and in that instant, I fell in love with this city even more than I already do.
As I sat there writing, letting the words flow more and more freely with every sip, and observing my surroundings, a gentleman approached me from across the terrace. He explained that he was undertaking a 100 Portraits photo series, as part of an upcoming marketing campaign for a camera brand. He liked my style and could he please take my photo as part of the project?
I won’t deny that my outfit was pretty strong – in honour of World Gin Day I’d purposefully themed myself as a bottle on Tanqueray (yes, this how my mind works) – an emerald green 1950’s polka-dot dress, pill box hat that reminded me of a bottle cap, bright red lips, a full petticoat, and my beloved Tatty Devine enamel gin bottle brooch – pride of place, on my velvet blazer.
My confidence in my outfit, coupled with the fact I’d previously done my own photography project – which involved approaching strangers – meant I said yes with ease. I knew the anxiety associated with the cold-approach of subjects, so was happy to make life a little easier for him.
I stood against the beautiful sunset and my surroundings and posed for five minutes, answered a few questions, signed a release, and then it was done. Easy, and fun!
What I was not expecting was to be given $50 for my participation. What a most unexpected bonus!
Now, I am a firm believer that if an small financial bonus, or reward, comes your way in life, you should use it on something that’s an utter treat – if you are in the privileged position to do so. This philosophy is the reason I will never be rich, but I console myself with the fact that at least I’ll have surrounded and adorned myself in a lot of joy-giving, beautiful things.
So this morning I took myself down to my local record shop and spent my $50 on Aldous Harding’s new album, Party.
This decision was an easy one. I knew that this was the one and only album that I wanted. I’ve been streaming it a lot over the past month, especially the single ‘Imagining My Man’. The haunting beauty of her voice is exactly my style, reflecting my current mood and mindset. It’s the perfect album to nestle into over winter.
I try to be very conscientious and deliberate in my vinyl purchases – every record needs to be significant to me. It can be a classic, beloved, album from my past. It can relate to a specific time, person, memory, or place. Or it can be a new release that represents who I am, and what I love, in this moment. It’s the only way I can limit my browsing and purchasing scope and ensure that my collection remains concise and meaningful. It’s just too vast a world, and feels overwhelming, otherwise. In the age of digital streaming, there’s no need to own a physical copy of every album you ever liked. I reserve my physical collection for pieces that have story and heart.
So for this to be my purchase – to own it, in it’s rich, luscious entirety – feels very right, and symbolic. A true gift. And I feel very grateful for it.
And that’s my little story. The point, the reason why I wanted to tell it, is that if it weren’t for the 100 Days Project – the decision to write daily and the habits it’s forming, to the point that I’m now writing when I’m out and about – I never would have had my photo taken for another persons project, and this beautiful album, that speaks so strongly to me, and I’m playing right now as I write, would not be mine.
It’s because of this project.
I like to believe that what energy you put out comes back to you, so I’m heartened to think that yesterday’s incident was the first example of the Project giving back to me.
I hope that your creative output and efforts come back to you in a wonderful way, too.
Keep going. It’s worth it.