Drawn From Life, London 2/2


The body is a large brain. Early rise and to Brick Lane market (Sunday). Something has changed. Oh yes – oh my! – the new Crossrail line inserted upon the old eastern town. Its sleek and elevated concrete design creates a startling contrast to the scruffy brick town of old with the seemingly miniature people setting up their stalls and trading and bustling at the market below. Two different centuries in parallel, paving the way for future landscape; the scenery has a ‘science fictional’ allure to it. My hope is that the vast bland structure will be covered in fabulous graffiti in years to come…

The market is bursting with multiple colours, odours, goods and faces, the rich variety of people is heart-warming and the bagel from the ‘Baegel’ shop tastes great, everything is pretty much as it used to be. I’m delighted to discover the new (?) Rough Trade store, it’s a giant leap from their previous Neal’s Yard basement cave: like in Helsinki, it is a sign that independent music is in good health and the ecology of pop music is growing richer. And the ambience is well created: I feel like sitting down and listening to every record they have on display. Create a delightful environment, and life will flourish right within.

Walking around the area with only momentary lapses to the memories of past. This moment here is where I want to be.


Nana suggests we meet for coffee on Broadway market. Once upon a time Gabriella and I did our first band recording in her converted warehouse space here. Funny how life goes! The day is sunny and warm, the street and the park buoyant with life; I can barely remember feeling happier in ages. We have lunch at one of the numerous cafes and later walk to her studio through the lively neighborhood. I’m enjoying our conversation enormously, and it’s always wonderful to meet people who are passionate about things and pursuing their dreams. It makes me feel how interconnected and shared possibility life is. Her work in film and storytelling feels fascinatingly ‘on the pulse’.

A bee joins us at the studio at one point, flying in from the garden next door. We have just talked about the use of a bee sound in a piece.


Sunset over London Fields. I cross a park, blinded by the sun. Group of men playing football, beautiful evening sky. Mothers strolling with prams, kids racing on bikes. Soft hum of distant traffic, busy tweeting in trees. I pass my old neighborhood and suddenly realize I’m retracing the exact route Megumi and I documented and turned into a song on Spring Makes Noise. And it was nearly the same time, five years ago. I reach Stoke Newington, stroll along the Church Street, the city bathing in the setting sun. Life is everywhere, in every colour, every expression. A charming girl giving me a beautiful smile at a shop (or being amused at a blonde monkey, doesn’t matter), eyes sparkling. I come to the park, and can’t help feeling how unbeatably lovely the world is. And I don’t want to sleepwalk through it at all: I want to put all my time and energy into things that I care about, that make me feel alive, that I’m passionate about. (And hoping that they might be constructive and meaningful to others too…).

Bus to the centre and to meet a friend of mine, Tamer, for a late coffee. It’s nice seeing him after all these years (we were in Tokyo at the same time but didn’t know it back then). A Perfect Day.


I keep singing ‘One Fine Day’ by Byrne/Eno as I’m walking along the Thames, on my way to meet the poet Rick Holland at the Royal Festival Hall. The song’s electronic gospel flow fits to my mood but I’m sure I’m getting Byrne’s lyric wrong. It works for me however: you could make a song about two eggs on toast (my breakfast) and it would still turn into a love song in someone else’s head.

It’s great to meet Rick finally in person after years of our electronic canon of emails and songs and random bits. He’s taller than me. One of the most talented and fascinating – and contemporary! – poets I’ve come across, I originally got to know of him through his work with Brian Eno (a must mention, yes). A very pleasant and inspiring conversation in another delightful environment where life is flourishing (RFH) – I realize I’m going to miss London greatly when I’m back to Finland. Before we depart I promise to finish our pieces by the end of May. Actually…


Since I don’t have time to make it to the Barbican after the British Museum, I decide to tour northern London by bus. Number 31 is the old favourite. It’s pissing rain, London looks miserable, the bus is crowded and I’m still feeling home. The final coffee in Notting Hill, finishing Dayal’s book (despite this woman making eye contacts quite – perhaps bit too – persuasively). I used to feel lonely in this town when I lived here, but not anymore.

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Brixton. Up very early, it’s the last morning and what a beautiful sunshine. Discovered an amazing breakfast place, this Italian café, right on Brixton Rd. Enjoying the sounds and pace of local markets and the high street, soaking up the atmosphere while I still can (soon back to Helsinki). On returning to Victoria I pop in at Tate Britain – “just for a short peek” – and run into some old friends, and then into Andrea who takes me to the Chris Ofili and Henry Moore exhibitions. A lovely surprise to see her (apparently this is the only day of the week she’s working there)! Ofili is intriquing but Moore: inspiring! My favourite is a small wooden sculpture of a Nubian woman.


Venice Morning