Monday 19 April 2020
Dreamt about fruit in various forms throughout the night. In one dream I sat at the kitchen table at DARP and ate fake, plastic fruit and manifested it tasting like the real thing. In a dream that came early in the morning, I was told I had to stop eating so many apples because the world’s apples were in short supply. I was told to eat oranges instead.
Woke up very early today because I have a new schedule. Read a productivity book over the weekend and it taught me a lot about time blocking. I made an excel spreadsheet to give my life structure. It made me feel calm to see my life time-blocked and colour coordinated.
It was warm and bright all day.
At lunchtime, Ella and I sat at the table in the basketball court and ate a large beetroot salad with honey mustard dressing. Sean tinkered with the house bikes. We listened to an ambient/techno playlist on NTS and fantasised about being at a day time festival in Tempelhof. We decided DARP should have a school trip to Berlin, to go to art parties and get stick n poke tattoos. Or whatever people do in Berlin. I texted the group asking if anyone would be into getting a stick n poke tattoo saying DARP on them. No one replied.
Prag and Hugh arrived in the evening! They had taken the train up from London to Derby and then cycled the two hours here. They both looked tanned and lithe and they beamed and brought joy into the house in such a sudden way. Hugh – Prag’s new partner, a performance artist and activist with an absurd sense of humour and gentle way of meeting the world - told us stories about his own experience of communal living in a squat in London. I asked him what his housemates were like and he said there was 30 of them and the spectrum was broad but in summary the spread began with the Brazilian lady who lived at the end of the corridor upstairs, who had recently gotten married to God, and ended with the Calabrian man who lived at the end of the corridor downstairs, a drug dealer and gangster who went by the alias Serpentino.
Tuesday 20 April 2020
Spent a lot of the morning in the studio working on a pastel drawing. I was happy with how it went (I tried to work methodically, strategically) but drank too much coffee and smoked three roll ups by 11AM and then felt dry and unwell.
I had a shower and realised that I needed space to myself and made the decision to go back to Spain, to a residency I had done back in November in Almeria by the sea.
Did a too-intense workout.
Dipped in and out of the lives of others – Prag, Ella. It’s so interesting seeing the threads from such different worlds coming together. My childhood friends and art friends. Ella, Prag, Hugh and I messed about in the kitchen and compared belly buttons. We realised Prag had a really glamorous belly button, a neat vertical slit. We imagined a reality where Prag became the industry standard for belly button modelling. Her Wikipedia bio would say “human rights lawyer and belly button model”. We imagined her eventual downfall and the public apology she would have to give, following the inevitable backlash she would face on social media for reinforcing impossible beauty standards, and belly-button shaming teens.
Wednesday 21 April 2020
Had an emotional meltdown over some shit on the DARP group chat. Have been overwhelmed and not communicated properly with my housemates about guests arriving (A was visiting over the weekend too). Felt sad and tired. Keep waking up at 5:40. Thought about getting curtains.
Thursday 22 April 2020
Worked in the studio over the morning. The drawing was very nearly done but the background was still push and pull. Almost there. When I feel elated with work like this, I often feel scared too, sort of paralysed, worrying I might put a foot wrong and destroy everything.
I suppressed urges to tear up the drawing just to get rid of the problem.
Later, on the way to the post office, I had a long chat with my mum. I hadn’t spoken to her in ages. I had texted the family group earlier that day saying I missed everyone, and all I had got in response from her was a message saying ‘58kg’, which was the new weight she had reached since being on a diet.
On the phone, she told me about everything she eats in a day, about the vaccination centre she has been working in and something about Boris Johnson. I zoned in and out. We discussed relationships, and her and my dad potentially visiting DARP.
Had a session with my Jungian analyst, Gail. Discussed my dream from Monday about apples and oranges. She suggested that the apples were England and the oranges, Spain. A sign to go to Spain! Discussed another dream I’d had about flow states. She said Spain was my flow state. I cheered. Spain IS my flow state.
At around 6pm, we cooked communal dinner - carrot tortilla, crispy roast potatoes and balsamic glazed cherry tomatoes. Then, Ella, Jake and I retreated to the chapel (the room where we meditate, which has incense and candles in it, but not much else to differentiate it from an old school office, which is what it is). We were going to do some tarot readings. It felt like everyone in the house was having a spiritual crisis, and we needed some guidance.
We listened to a show called sacred spaces on NTS and fell into the whole experience. Our cards were accurate and affirming: Jake should take time and space for himself and perhaps start journaling, Ella should follow her personal life path, without distractions of excess (or her ex), and I should remember that all worries and heavy thoughts are just swords on the wall that can’t harm me, and that I also have an astrology blanket to protect me.
The lovers is an obvious one. Lol. I'm most into that very phallic, erupting volcano in the background though.
We made ourselves a G&T. Ella and I smoked a cigarette out the window of the chapel and something about the lighting and music made us feel very elegant. For a moment we felt like we were in a French bar. Jake took a photo of us, though, which sadly revealed that in fact we were both wearing ski-jackets, and also made it look like it was 3AM and we were coming off drugs in an empty room at a house party.
Friday 23 April 2020
Went to the gardens by the cottages to take photos of myself for drawing reference. Decided to nap on the grass. The whole place was sun soaked. Listened to an episode of Talk Art with Rachel Whiteread. Wondered why Russel Tovey kept saying the word ‘arty’ to Rachel Whiteread. Thought about how much better Talk Art would be if the hosts were less simpy.
A didn’t text me back all morning. It triggered something in me - made me alarmed. I started projecting, imagining irrational things like he had got back together with his ex or had decided that I was an evil person. He texted me at 2:32PM with an emoji of a cat with heart eyes. I think I have an anxious attachment type.
Saturday 24 April 2020
Woke up stressed. Still overwhelmed. Fantasised about running away. Scrawled lines of affirmations in my morning pages: life is playful and fun! life is playful and fun! life is playful and fun! I had chewed the end of my new muji pen though, so every time I got to writing the and fun! bit, spit would fly out of my nib and soak the paper through.
A arrived that afternoon and I was so happy to see him. It was the first time I had felt
pre-bonded to him. We spend so much time on the phone to each other, so in the past seeing him irl had resulted in some sort of initial disconnect. He had said it was like like I would thaw over the days we would spend together. This time it felt easy though. We drank cocktails and laughed and caught up. In the garden. In my room.
That evening, we all had a bonfire. We ate a small amount of mushrooms and continued to drink, excessively. Hugh played the banjo and told absurdist stories, and Jake and A bickered about free memberships to private members clubs.
Sunday 25 April 2020
Hungover. Of course. Long morning in bed. A and I walked through the park to Nutbrook Café. I ate a large jacket potato with beans, cheese and tuna mayo, which felt like a little much but both A and the lady behind the till egged me on. A and I discussed the benefits of practice-based PhDs, what living in Sweden might be like, and then panicked over suddenly feeling so middle-aged, holding hands and drinking flat whites at a charming café in the East Midlands.
The day was slow. And nice. At some point A worked on editing his film and I hung out with Prag and Hugh in the basketball court.
Prag had a fat love bite on her neck. Hugh told us more about his squat, about his housemate Liam, who had set fire to his other housemate, Arianna’s, feather boa. We laughed and discussed the merits of structural tension processing procedures. A later pointed out that burning a feather boa is, in itself, a form of tension processing. Hugh agreed but suggested that maybe it would have been safer if Liam had burned the feather boa outside the squat, rather than inside by the electrical cupboard with a blowtorch.
In the evening A and I practiced inversions in the corridor and then we all had vegetable curry for dinner. There were so many of us in the building it felt like we were at an opening. The melodic sound of people meeting, getting to know each other, giggling.