I love trying new things. I like meeting new people (well, sometimes). I enjoy fresh experiences, tastes, feelings. It’s natural curiosity.
My life is usually so regimented, so bloody boring, it’s good to shake things up a bit from time to time.
And, really, those things and people and experiences don’t need to be huge. In London I never feel the need to go mad shopping or see big shows or eat at flashy restaurants or sip cocktails at trendy bars. I like the small details. I like noticing the little daily changes in a different place – how one day the blossom in the puddles is pink, and the next it’s white, then tinged with brown, then gone.
I like the odd meetings. The old woman who caught my eye as we passed in the street and said, ‘I’ve got a feeling...’ before calmly walking by. The man, round as a space-hopper, who grinned at me and said, ‘I had a girlfriend who was a redhead once.’ I smiled and he added, ‘Of course she just had a red head; no hair at all.’ Boom boom. Odder, oddest of all, as I was walking into the Festival Hall to grab a drink, a voice saying, 'Jane!' I spun round and saw this woman, all smart in suit and heels, smiling at me. It took me a moment to place her but the voice did it. A school friend - we hadn't seen one another since we were eighteen or so.
'You haven't changed one bit,' she said. And I was about to go 'Nah' but then I looked at myself and thought, she's right. Same wild hair, same skinny jeans and boots and leather jacket. Same crazy head still chasing dreams. And then I thought, hmm, if she'd met me a couple of years ago, she probably wouldn't have recognised me at all.
I like walking alone at night, late at night or way almost into morning when colours change under street lamps and sounds shift under darkness. I like walking the city by day, dancing through the crowds like an air-bender, criss-crossing through alleyways, across small patches of sudden green, past big landmarks and forgotten backwaters. Looking down, looking up, looking close.
Small pleasures. A cup of (decaf) coffee in an Austrian coffee house; the front seat on the top of the bus; smoked tofu with almonds; buskers; girls with techni-coloured hair; memory mattresses and fresh white bedlinen; someone else’s vast record collection; pyrotechnic scented candles sparking electric blue flashes. Peace and quiet. Sound and warmth. Signs written on the road and on boards, rather than in nature.
And some things the same. Two busy blackbirds in the garden. A Buddha that used to sit on my mother’s desk and then on my own, who now sits on Jane’s. And, of course, my self. Because – wherever you go, there are you. :-)