Friday, March 30, 2007

Visual DNA

I have a weakness for personality tests... and I adored this one!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Kentish Town adieu, adieu

This time last year, I was packing up all my worldly belongings, dropping off bags of clothing at Oxfam and trying to say my goodbyes to the house on Islip Street and the characters with whom I had lived with for the last year.

Lovely, The Swiss, Tom and Chirac; the double bass that lived in the conservatory for early morning and late night jamming sessions, Chirac perched on the end of the table, housemates' incessant shagging and porn collections, the discovery of the upstairs lodger's 3 week old dead body and subsequent infestation, house parties and fireplay and Tom's parties that went on until all hours, my bedroom with its voyeuristic construction, The Swiss' collection of dusty videos, the conservatory with its attempt at a water feature, the oven that smoked, last call at the Oxford, The Pineapple, bad dates at the Vine, chess and Pimms o'clock on sunny Sunday afternoons, hangovers on the Heath. And throughout it all, music.

Chirac played bass, wrote screenplays his band has since opened for Amy Winehouse and Eryka Badu. Tom went to Camden gigs, his room plastered with music posters, and lent me CDs of bands I needed to hear, drumming his fingers along the tops of the cases. Lovely dragged me dancing at Ghetto and vibrant Soho nightclubs, burnt me discs and serenaded me with old New Order and house. Swiss played double bass, belting out 'Fever' in the mornings, his jazz and a love of 80's music.

Before all that, the Ex was forever bringing in new music. After him, subsequent housemates always had an ear for something new. Each one of them brought something to my music collection, rekindled love affairs with old bands, turned me onto something new. I never did know what I had until it was gone, when suddenly it was I who had to do the seeking.

And now I want new music, I need new music. My mind needs expanding. I am craving funky new beats and soulful melodies. I am craving a brand new soundtrack.

Friends are feeding my habit, Amelia brings me Jazzanova and Hotel coste, has me wanting to experiment with LCD Soundsystem and Broken Social Scene. Another friend Muse. A date with the cool motherfucker left me delirious as bands spilled out of his mouth: The Rapture, Tubeway Army, Analogue Set, AFX Twin, Out Hud.
Murmurings of Bloc Party, Radio Citizen, Slowdive, Chapterhouse, Black Dice.

And so I ask you to help me in this time of transition.
Post comments and suggestions. Sing me lullabies. Invite me to gigs. Throw open your music collections and let me in.

I need more. I want more!

Thank you for listening.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Brain Day

From: The Nurse
Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2007 9:39 AM
To: Marquise, Lady Miss
Subject: How are you?

Are you doing ok? I think today is brain day, let me know how it goes. Remember to breathe, slowly.
N x

PS: Made out like a school kid again, its like that Diet Pepsi commercial


Yes, today is Brain Day.

Brain Day highlights include being injected with some sort of iodine-esque contrast material through an IV, followed by numerous x-ray beams passed through my skull and brain at different angles.


And I didn't even get to make out like a school kid last night. I miss that.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Losing face

My site looks a mess. I feel as if I have left the house without make-up, my hair unkempt and flat, wearing mismatched socks.
I had this brilliant idea to add a little more colour, a little more joie de vivre, and instead... this.

So I apologise for my appearance whilst I undergo a major (or even minor ) reinvention.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Over the last few weeks, things in my life have shifted quickly and with little warning. I stopped the other day and realised that I have been back in Vancouver almost a year, a friend of mine recently out of rehab said he had lived more this year than the years preceeding his recovery. In a sense, I can relate. This last year has been about facing up to all that I have spent years hiding from, and starting to make it right again.
I often write about being just there, at that moment, right on the edge of something bigger.

I feel that now, again, stronger than ever. Not that my life is about to start, but that I am about to embark on yet another adventure and this is the adventure I have spent years preparing for.

I am taking charge of my health, and despite all the emotions that are coming with it, I know that it will be okay. Whatever *it* is. Because I will be in control of it. Because there are so many people around me right now offering support, whether virtual or spiritual or medical or familial. Because I need to get past this to get to the next stage. Because I just know that I have a bigger purpose in this life. Because there is much more fun to be had, more words to be read and written, more laughter, more tears, more joy, more love, more adventure, more lessons, more truth, more value, more life.

There is just more.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


It is amazing how differently we interpret words and gestures, sounds, a look. Listening carefully but only hearing a select few words which wrap themselves around our subconscious, and then lay silently waiting.

He walks into the room, flustered, and introducing himself takes the book from my hands.
"I am always interested in what people are reading." He holds the book at arms length to see the title, glasses perched precariously on a thin nose.
Polite chitchat, a discussion about the book. I am expecting no more than for him to quickly glance at my lab results, and send me away for a retest.

Nothing too serious. I am relaxed, tired of trips from here to there and back again; B12 and folic injections and blood labs. I am quickly overcoming my irrational fear of needles.

In a moment, his demeanour changes. He looks at the papers in front of him and fires a volley of questions, querying symptoms and tests, health history. I am caught off guard, trying to remain calm.

"Do you take medication? Anything at all?" He asks me this 3 times.

"No," I say, "I don't even take pain killers."

The words I hear before can I catch myself ring soundlessly through my ears.
I take a deep breath and listen again, for a few brief seconds I cannot hear anything, can only watch his mouth open and then shut, aware that there are sounds escaping from his lips.

"I'd like to send you for a head CT scan, I'd like to rule out the possibility of a tumour."
There is a ringing in my ears, I can barely hear what he says next. I know I ask a question, maybe 2. He reassures me. It is very rare, this condition. Precautionary measures.

I follow him through the corridors back to the nurse station, he shakes my hand and over the counter I can see the words STAT written beside the scan request.

Sometimes a word can be interpreted too carelessly, taken for granted its one dimensional persona, sometimes we do not take time to see past all layers its meanings hide.

Tumour, for example, literally means: a swollen part; swelling; protuberance.. It is the thoughts we associate with these words that cause our minds to race. I know I am a dramatist, I take for granted all the different miracles my body performs each day. I know that in my mind, a word hides many meanings.

I interpret tumour in a way that knocks the wind from me, replaces my calm assuredness with fear. I am not afraid to admit that I am frightened, and I am not afraid to admit that even after phone calls to my other doctor, to friends, to my sister and the reassuring tones that even if, if, there is anything it will be benign, I am still frightened.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly

Last January I made some determinations, wrote a list of all that I would achieve this year and pinned it onto my pinboard where I would see it each day. Each day something new on that list jumps out, whether it be to be kinder to myself, or to fall in love, to nurture the most important relationships, smile more or to get a new job. All are determinations that I need to be taking charge of daily.

And then there are those that take a little time, like getting a new tattoo or travelling to places I have never been. Those determinations take a little bit more time, some carefully thought out contingency plans and research. Others are about confronting fears and obstacles we put in our way, starting that book I've been writing in my head for so long the words seem like close friends or pitching that great idea to the Georgia Straight or Globe and Mail. Then there are those determinations that push me, physically and mentally such as running that 10k I have been talking about for the past 3 years. Courage, wisdom and determination are the three words I need to keep repeating to myself in order to hold all these fragile pieces together.

"You overanalyse everything", The Gorgeous tells me several weeks back.

I know this, it is as part of me as my skin. Whether this negates my observations, or enhances them is anyone's guess. But for me, I need to see value in every day life; I know I am extremely lucky in the opportunities that I have had and I have worked hard to achieve them. And I take every day as an opportunity to continue to develop who I am, to improve myself.

The Gorgeous tells me not everything has to happen for a reason.
"Sometimes," she says and shrugs her shoulders, "life"

And indeed life is, simply, life. But surely, in the people we meet, the interactions we encounter or we make or we break, there is value and there are lessons?
A wise man and friend once said to me "Everything is value". And so I carry this saying around with me, try to see the lessons, good or bad, in all my adventures.

"You need to give yourselves foot rubs," another friends tells me, dropping Bach flower remedies into my bottled water. "You are out of your body, you need to ground yourself."

I nod, Bird says the same thing last autumn.

The last few months I have felt out of place, not just physically, not just mentally. Not sad, not blue... just off. I am dizzy, anxious, tired, my energy level dangerously low. I feel as if I am constantly neutral, constantly running on anything but physical energy. A bruised coccyx forces me to stop running for a week, and then another one. I start missing those cold nights along the seawall, my ipod plugged into my ear and the waves crashing along the path. There is a correlation between the two, my body picks up an infection and the antibiotics throw my body out of routine, leave me sluggish, tired, and toxic. My naturopath starts to pin pieces of my health history together, orders blood tests to rule out x, y and z. She cannot rule them all out, suggests something that has not been mentioned before. Symptoms and history fit, I will find out Thursday morning where we can go from here. In my head, I am straddling worst case and best case scenarios and trying not to stay too long on either until I know for sure. Whatever happens, I will walk away with a new found appreciation of how my body works, and hopefully learn not to take it for granted.

Life, simply, is. I add taking charge of my health to my list of determinations.
Then quite by chance, I am given the opportunity for an adventure and come across an artist who is as passionate about the tattoing process as I am. Amelia calls my decision to cover up what I was trying to erase a palimpsest.

I like that. Aren't we always scraping off and writing new after all?

If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

slave britain

As Britain prepares to commemorate 200 years since the abolition of the slave trade, a new Panos exhibition at St Paul's Cathedral reveals how human trafficking is a bitter reality for thousands of women, men and children in the UK today. Slave Britain artfully documents the ordinary lives and everyday locations caught up in trafficking and calls for an end to this illegal 21st century trade. The show is produced by Panos Pictures in partnership with Amnesty International, Anti-Slavery International, Eaves and UNICEF UK.

Visit the website and read the full story here.