The awkward turtle

Celebrating the failings of a successful person


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Hollow Man Returns

It only takes a day to disappear. Even when I found myself on solitary islands in the midst of the Andaman Sea, the only neighbouring land visible but ghosts on the horizon, I still did not experience that feeling of absolute tranquility, the feeling that I had disappeared. I was still connected to the world by which I define life; my family and friends back home in England, the new friends I met along the way, all combined to keep me firmly grounded to a tangible reality. It wasn’t until my last days in Thailand that I experienced the strange and oddly exhilarating sensation of not existing. I was in Bangkok passing through en route to Kanchanaburi, a city 2 hours outside of the capitol, having just touched ground after a 14 hour coach journey through the night from Krabi. I had no wifi access and I had maxed my roaming limit so my phone was rendered obsolete but for the need to keep time. I was alone in Bangkok for the first time, the previous two occasions I had been there I was in the company of my friend V. As I looked around the bustle of traffic and people pursuing life in the unrelenting heat and pollution, it dawned on me that not one soul in the world knew where I was. Not exactly. I smiled, no one could vouch for my presence since going on 17 hours now, and this was at once terrifying and liberating. Do you exist if no one knows you? Then came the guilt for the people who would be worried about me: my mum who I am certain never slept the whole time I was away. But as I could do nothing to alleviate their concerns I decided to enjoy the moment anyway basking in the freedom of nonentity.

In some respects coming back to AwkwardTurtleTales reminds me of that feeling of nonexistence. I have been hovering over half-written posts since my return and have held back each time from recommitting myself to the world. Im still retreating in observer mode, cautious to jump right back in. This post is me breaking my proverbial seal (the literal one is long gone by now), and by golly! there’s a lot of writing to be done.

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Midnight Mass with Matt Corby

This morning I awoke for work refusing to open my eyes because the cold in bones told me all there would be to see was frost invading the world outside. As I looked in the mirror, furious dark rings framed the eyes starring  back at me, I was determined to be grumpy. I was tired, I looked a mess, and there was ice outside. Peering at my discontent I remembered that I have undertaken a vow of gratitude, so I rethought: I was tired because I got in late, I got in late because I went to an amazing gig, it was icy because it is winter (somethings you simply cannot change).
Did I mention the amazing gig?

Two days ago I never Australian knew singer/song-writer Matt Corby existed, luckily my Aussie friend did and asked if I wanted to come along to a gig. I replied with the affirmative, my only question being, what type of music was it? Folk. OK, I could get down with that. After a series of disatruous events in the run-up to the show – a peak hour London Underground commute, station fires, lost tickets (on both our parts), and a scarf that came with an aphyxiation hazard – we arrived, shivering and weary, outside the beautiful Hackney Round Chapel. Inside rows of chairs flocked around the pulpit that was a stage. Although I had not expected to be sitting down my feet were grateful and we shamelessly grabbed seats on the second row. Whilst the seating arrangements made for a more introverted audience – we were told as much by the support act Bear’s Den front man who was genuinely hillarious – it also set the mood for an intimate live performance. Bear’s Den came to an end, the set changed, and the main man appeared accompanied only by a guitar to open the set. Having only had one EP’s worth of education on the Matt Corby experience I was still happily nibbling on my chocolate and distractedly trying to point out the set features to my friend. I soon realised that she and the entire audience were transfixed by the man on stage and he was yet to strum a string. It wasn’t until the first note of Big Eyes escaped his mouth that I heard what everyone was waiting for. I stopped crunching my chocolate and simply melted into the music; my eyes closed and my ears hooked. His voice was so melodic and his range contrasted from the gruffness of soul and blues in Soul A’fire, to angelic softness in his signature EP Brother.  

Matt Corby, acoustic soul, Round ChapelWhat was most enjoyable about watching the performance was the clear comradery between the band members, and that each one was distinctive and fascinating to watch;  I fell in love with Bree Tranter, the ethereal keyboard player and was utterly mesmerized by drummer Chris Maas.The finale, My False, had us all up on our feet as the band rocked out and literally let their hair down. You could not doubt the passion they felt for their music. My only wish was that there was more. On my way out I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something more to come, yet my feet continued shuffling me back outside to the cold Hackney streets.

I went to the chapel of Matt Corby and came out a believer.