TORO: Where the human meets the animal

‘It’s in depictions of the monstrous that artists have the most freedom,’ says choreographer Carlos Pons Guerra, after a performance of his work  TORO: Beauty and the Bull  at Sadler’s Wells on April 25th. TORO inhabits a vulnerable zone where the human meets the animal; the staged meets the authentic. Danced by Marivi Da Silva, the…

Pilgrimage

If my brother hadn’t gone on that Tinder date; if I hadn’t been irritatingly hyperactive on the plane seat next to him, then I wouldn’t be here, almost two months later, hiking up a Spanish motorway. I’m in Gijón (written Xixón in Asturiano and pronounced Hee-hon), an industrial beach-town in Northern Spain that’s on the…

Creature discomfort: strutting, squabbling and defence of territory

I should have seen the signs when my flatmate showered with the bathroom door open – twice. The steamy pink flesh and torrent of water weren’t about what you think. They were a defence of territory. Him taking back the flat for himself. He’d decorated it for that purpose a long long time ago, with…

Clothes for the life you have

Most of the time, it’s less a case of what’s fashionable and more of what’s compatible with the life you have. Function, temperature and mood swings all have to be accommodated. Once there was the old fashioned notion of occasion in a wardrobe: daywear; workwear; sportswear; evening wear; nightwear, even travelling clothes, but now many…

Eavesdroppings of a 5/8 hippy

I go to the games, but haven’t bought the season ticket – that’s how I’d describe my new age hippy status. Almost four years ago now, a friend recommended I go to a yoga class and since then there has been no looking back. Conversations with strangers about being more open in one hip than…

The Predator Instinct

Last Tuesday I woke up to the smell of incense. Strange that someone was burning that at 6 am, but it wasn’t wholly unpleasant. I might sleep, daydream a little longer. A few minutes later, the smell seems more tobacco; I really should open my eyes, at least take a look. When I do, there’s…

Mischief

Swearing, not caring,  an old lady staring. Shhhhh! or we’re going to get thrown out.  This is the one place I can work, I can’t afford to be blacklisted.  Collapsing into giggles; profanities and talk of gardens, grandchildren to run alongside one another, just as freelancers and retirees do this Tuesday morning in a North…

Paris : Pairs

Everything in Paris is twinned, it seems. There are companions, long-sought matches and doubles from different points in time and space. I find an illustrated reworking of Beauty and the Beast  in a graphics shop, which tilts the original, so that Beauty is as sweetened by the Beast, as he is by her. Her charms…

How to turn into my mother

It’s an ancient cliché that with each passing year, we grow more and more like our mothers. A carefree individual is swallowed into a resemblance of the woman who raised her.  But what truth does this myth hold today,  when women often have radically different experiences from their mothers and self-awareness is at its peak?…

Where songs catch : an anatomy

In the beginning there were two sounds: the Charleston and the chorus. The Charleston was the spring dance rhythm my great grandma played on her piano; the chorus, heavy Greek lullabies that other relatives sung to me until I cried. The first animated my hips and knees; the latter made my throat lumpy. There’s no…

Slinging it

Right at its snaky tail-end, 2016 tripped me up. I skidded on a patch of ice, fell heavily, broke the bone linking my arm and shoulder. New Years Eve’s cocktail was codeine and ibu-profen, the party dress a sling. I don’t know how Venus di Milo does it -asymmetry works better for statues, anyway. I’ve…