Can What’s Missing Be Your Strength?

I have been a fan of Q (English music magazine) for many years and in the latest issue, I was reading an interview with a band called Royal Blood. Now I’m not really a rock fan but every now and again a band comes through that I really like and Royal Blood are currently and pleasantly deafening me with both their albums. But why am I talking about this band and what has the header image of a vegetarian dish got to do with this band?

Well, when I used to visit Brighton in the past, I occasionally visited a restaurant called Terre A Terre, a rather good vegetarian restaurant in the city. In the Q magazine interview with Mike Kerr, the singer/bassist with Royal Blood, mentioned that he used to work as a chef in Terre A Terre and while there he was struck by how inventive they had been with the ingredients available to them, especially when they had a supposedly necessary ingredient to many i.e. meat taken out of the equation as it had forced them to be more creative with what they had.

Royal Blood

At that time, Matt was also putting together a new band and after being inspired by his experience at Terre A Terre in creating more interesting things with ‘less’, he realised that instead of having a traditional line-up, he decided that the band would just be his mate Ben playing drums and himself playing bass and singing. He may have made the right decision as last year Royal Blood sold out shows in Europe and the US, are now friends with rock stars including Muse and Jimmy Page (from Led Zeppelin) and have been one of the most successful bands in Europe in the last 3 years since they first came on the scene.

We don’t need to do what others have done. What many see as ‘something missing’ can in fact be a strength if we choose to see it that way. A restaurant doesn’t need meat to be successful and Royal Blood don’t need a traditional rock band line-up with a guitarist. So, my question to you is:

‘do you have something ‘missing’ in your life that is or could be your strength’?

Watch Royal Blood video for ‘Figure It Out’…


Gothic Gin And Tonic With A Bit Of Verdi

As you know, this blog is called Away From The Noise and if you’ve read it before you’ll know that among other things, I like getting away from the noise by hanging out in cafes, listening to music, writing music/blogs and simply walking around Granada in the sunshine (it’s 34 Celsius / 93 Fahrenheit today – so, rather lovely and sunny).

But as it’s the weekend, I thought I’d do something else and as I was flicking through another blog I have Cortado Inglés which is more specifically about living in Granada/Spain, I found a post from last year called My New Favourite Gin Palace In Granada.

Verdi chandelierFortunately, this fabulous gin bar is less than a minute’s walk from my flat in the city centre and other than the fantastic gin cocktails, what I love most about this bar (which is called Verdi) is the rather sumptuously decorated neo-gothic interior which upon entering immediately transports you to another time and place and makes it so easy to simply get away from whatever noise you have in your life or in your head. So, this is where I’m going this weekend.

I know some people go to the beach, others read, do sport or hang out in their garden, but when things are getting a bit much and you need to clear your head or get some space, what do you do or where do you go?

The Scent Of Nostalgia

While walking around town recently, a woman walked past me and just as she went by, a waft of perfume struck me and suddenly I was at university in a conversation class with a French teaching assistant called Nathalie who wore the same perfume by Issey Miyake. Just like that. No introduction. The last thing I was expecting as I was on my way to class and yet, the power of the scent was so strong that the connection was immediate.

Later I started to wonder what other scents/smells/aromas held an equally powerful sway over us. And then I thought about food. For example, last week I went to a restaurant for a Sunday Roast (traditional Sunday lunch in England for those who don’t know) which took me back to mum in the kitchen cooking, dad in the garage fixing things and my younger sister and I probably watching the Young Ones, TopOf The Pops or one of the Elvis films on TV. Like the perfume previously, I hadn’t thought about it in ages, but the memory was quite vivid and all because of the smell.

There is undoubtedly a lot of research to scientifically explain why our sense of smell has the power to take us back to places in our past so vividly – any scientists want to enlighten us in layman’s terms? –  however not being a scientist, I like to think that the random moment when you are reminded of the past by a smell is perhaps the universe making you aware of your surroundings, both where you are now and where you once were. It’s up to you how you take that.

On the one hand, maybe you’re happy you have moved on from where you once were or on the other hand, you may even want to momentarily revisit the past, either way, the scent of nostalgia came to visit momentarily and just as quickly disappeared leaving you with some (hopefully) sweet memories to make you smile.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name…

After seemingly years of spending time in anonymous (inter)national chain cafes, bars and restaurants, it’s such a pleasure having your favourite place where everybody knows your name – though admittedly, Jason often causes a few challenges for the Spanish tongue…

It doesn’t matter whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner, tapas or just a coffee, the principle is the same. The staff are welcoming and friendly, the service is excellent and what they serve is wonderful. It’s a deceptively simple formula. So, when I go to one of my favourite bars (note that you go to a bar for breakfast in Spain as opposed to a cafe, just in case you were thinking I like a whisky or two with my toast…) for breakfast, It’s a lovely feeling of belonging first thing in the morning.

Do you have a favourite place ‘where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came’? Note that this can be a literal idea or not. The staff don’t have to know your name nor anything about you except how you have your coffee in the morning, but there is still that warm welcome.

Am off to one of my favourite bars in Granada now for a copa and a tapa, Los Tintos (read review here on my other blog Cortado Ingles)…


Anticipating Hummus

Inspired by today’s Daily Prompt, an interesting question:

– if you could slow down an action that usually zooms by, what would you choose?

On reflection, there would be a thousand things I would like to slow down, including at times my life in general as I get older and watch it fly by, whereas when I was much younger, I just wanted everything to speed up including ironically enough, getting older….

However, as things stand today, I wouldn’t slow down doing an activity itself, but would slow down the moment of anticipation beforehand.

In my case today for example, it would be the moment just before I tasted the hummus (chickpea-based dip) I made at home for the first time ever. I love hummus and have never made it for some reason but was strangely happy by having finally got round to it today.  However, as with many things in life, the moment of anticipation and expectation just before you actually taste it was… delightfully delicious. And fortunately today, it was worth the wait too!

What action would you slow down if you could?