April 12th saw us return to some semblance of normality as pubs, shops and gyms reopened across England. Like everyone else, I was quick to forgo the daily walk, head into town, and eat something that I didn’t throw together myself. What happened next? My second trip knocked me out for a week; it wasn’t Covid, but a social life that got me. Besides that, I’ve been soaking up being able to stroll around Liverpool again. Although, I can’t be the only one wondering how I balanced a job, socialising, and downtime pre lockdown life? Here’s what’s sparked some joy during the fortnight I got papped, overdid the naps, and ate to my heart’s content.
Taking full advantage of restaurants reopening, we blocked out the cold and headed straight for Crust on Bold Street, crowned the best pizza in the UK in 2019 for those of you who love some trivia. I went for the Rustica pizza with vegan cheese, and it was well worth the food coma.
Out of everything I missed during lockdown, brunch was up there. On Sunday, we tested out Liverpool’s new arrival, The Vibe, aka plant-based heaven. Sorry, Potts Coffee, you have competition. I cleared my plate, inhaled my smoothie, and I’m already thinking about going back this weekend. Honestly, I’m impressed by our willpower to resist their cakes at the counter.
Another John Frusciante album? Yep, I boasted about his 2009 album, The Empyrean, in last month’s post, but A Sphere in the Heart of Silence, in collaboration with Josh Klinghoffer, is too good not to mention. At Your Enemies and Communique are beautiful in every sense of the word.
Meanwhile, after following them for nearly four years, The Pale White’s debut album, Infinite Pleasure, is finally out in the world. I casually sat on a Zoom call with them the night before release for the album preview, and the signed vinyl arrived yesterday. Now, get me to their concert.
As for new bands, browsing through Spotify, I discovered Psychedelic Porn Crumpets. One of their song titles? Found God in a Tomato. As tragic as they sound, their album High Visceral, Pt.1, has been on repeat. Tame Impala meets King Gizzard, with smooth transitions, and as you would hope, psychedelic rock madness.
Talking of Tame Impala, get this mix on.
And as always, a playlist of what I’ve been listening to this past week can be found here:
Alongside the go-tos: No Such Thing As A Fish, The Girl’s Bathroom, Happy Place, Outrage & Optimism, podcasts have replaced the TV when I just want some background noise.
Today’s post is turning out to be a reiteration of the creators I love, with Adam Buxton getting another mention. He recently chatted with Would I Lie to You Funny Man and Paul McCartney’s favourite comic, Lee Mack. Their conversation around meditation, Buddhism, and self-care was unexpectant yet refreshing. With funny anecdotes and diverting digressions, I could have listened for hours.
The Minimalists Podcast’s episode on being ‘Too Busy’ is also a recent highlight. If we were to have unlimited money, we would likely waste it. Similarly, we waste time and write ourselves optimistic to-do lists because we believe we have plenty of it. What if we only had 25 years to live? Would we be spending each day fretting about working through our ever-expanding to-do list and never taking time for ourselves?
Admittedly, I can’t go a day without a to-do list. As sad as it sounds, I feel a bit lost without one. But, what happened to us living spontaneously: unplanned and carefree? There’s a fine line between being organised and chaotically cramming in twenty tasks a day, and this episode reminded me to make space each day to simply be. ‘Busy is an excuse, not a lifestyle.’
Besides still ploughing through Alexandre Dumas’ ‘The Conte of Monte Cristo’, the spotlight’s on non-fiction lately. I recently finished Jon Savage’s ‘This Searing Light, the Sun and Everything Else: Joy Division: The Oral History.’ The interviews with band members, managers, and other witnesses’ to the band’s success are full of references to bookstores, the Manchester music scene, and a love for the North. Despite knowing how it would end, I couldn’t fault it.
I’m nothing if not a multitasker. My current reads include: ‘New Yorkers’ by Craig Taylor, kindly gifted to me by Tandem Collective; ‘Black Box Thinking’ by Matthew Syed, and David Attenborough’s part memoir, part wake-up-call, ‘A Life on Our Planet’, on audiobook.
Finally, despite waking up to the glare of my unread stack of books, a trip to Waterstones was long overdue. As soon as their doors opened again, I came out with more non-fiction: ‘Think Like a Monk’, ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’, ‘Talking to Strangers’, ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’, and ‘Why We Sleep’. I’m now officially on a spending ban and set for a summer of reading.