2018: A Year In Food
In 2018, my gym coach assigned me to keep a food blog so he could track my meals. Through developing healthy eating habits to satisfy all of my nutritional needs and a rigorous exercise programme, I lost the 21 kg between January-August 2018 I'd gained on anti-depressants.
I wanted it to be somewhere more private rather than being shoved down people's throats (literally) through Instagram/WhatsApp. Hence I've posted my culinary creations here.
Being vegetarian and/or vegan always presents a challenge in terms of hitting the protein target so this was particularly the most interesting challenge for me.
I made a conscious decision to stop food blogging in 2019 (due to time restraints), but it's useful to have a year's diet documented as a reference and a source of inspiration!
Fred Hersch is a contemporary American jazz pianist whose influences span not only swing, blues and ragtime, but many areas of Western art music, alongide cubism and rhythms from Latin America. He was performing in the Purcell Room of the Southbank Centre, a setting which suited the music perfectly.
He has a super-sensitive touch and response, tinkering with every subtlety, gently teasing every emotion out of each note, carved into an intricate phrasing with the skill of a sculptor. At points, he teeters on the brink of controlessness, but ropes it back in at just the right millisecond, with a fine degree of sensitivity. The scalic runs are also expertly pulled off with precision and style.
The melodies are intelligently put together, starting with simple, meandering lines, slow and profound, which entice you into their little corners and cul-de-sacs, playing with your expectations, and gradually building into symphonic peaks.
The cubist-style repeated cells, evocative of some Stravinsky passages, project some alternate rhythmic orientations, and serve to hasten the tension - now and then breaking out into wide, expansive chordal moments.
Fred Hersch brings about some beautiful convergences of harmony, kaleidoscopic shades and colours, bringing different lines and shapes in and out of focus, and interweaving them into an integrated tapestry or montage. Fred played acoustically, I believe, but he projected every note so clearly, and with such sensitivity, that they were not lost in the intricately weaving textures - each note was important in its own way, towards contributing to the overall picture, like the dots in an Impressionistic painting.
Some compositions experimented with the fugal textures of the Baroque, whereas others were more inspired by Schumann of the Romantic. Many of the compositions were structured symphonically, with driving, revolutionary builds, swells and arcs evocative of Beethoven, always striving towards something. Some compositions were inspired by timeless figures such as Fats Waller, Jerome Kern and Thelonius Monk, whereas others brought in a Brazilian tango or had soulful, cross-rhythmic passages evocative of Cuban Jazz.
Altogether it was a real melange of styles and flavours, all expertly woven into Fred Hersch's musical experience. He breathes so much life into the piano, that, sometimes, it is almost like he could be playing a wind or bowed instrument, because his notes simply 'sing' to you. He never forces it or misjudges it; everything is given as much strength as it needs, underpinned by a rich depth and breadth, to impart its meaning..
Moreover, it is significant to note that Fred Hersch composed most of these works himself, which have been contructed from single ideas or moments, and built into beautifully interwoven, multi-faceted compositions, and yet he plays them without written music, displaying an incredible memory. Neither could I tell whether anything were left to chance or that every note were composed into the music, since he played with the freedom of a bird yet the precision of a mathematician. It was a delight to witness a true artisan effortlessly fusing the worlds of precision and style into a unified masterpiece.
Rory spent the first few years of his life in an ice cave, carving out his palace of wonder. He's a bit of a love doll, but he who melts the ice shall have their reward.