So why do I think my local loves me? Well first let me define what I mean by ‘my local’, it’s not my local pub or even my local area, of which there are at least 5 (good pubs). It is rather the fact that I have discovered places where they know me, and I know them. I grew up in a mid-sized village in Scotland where everyone said good morning and asked how you were, and (get this) really cared. So, this sense of belonging has always been important to me, and it’s been missing for the last year. It’s amazing how that sense of dislocation makes the difference between feeling lost and being really happy.
So, let me know tell you what else is great beyond this service to me and my ego. There are a number of good eateries, bars and restaurants around here, so good in fact that they have been featured in our version of ‘The Metro’ newspaper, Conde Nast and Grazia - yup Frank’s Cafe. The eateries range from the ubiquitous chicken chains, donar kebab establishments to the 3 that I particularly want to mention. The first is The Flying Fish - truly excellent fish in batter that remains crispy even when cold and chips that are never too soft but have the right crunch, and you can bring your own bottle.
Then there is what I call The Greek but actually has a proper name The Vineyard. ‘The Man’ and I have our own table that we always sit in - our backs to the wall, our favourite wine (try the greek wine), while we people watch. The food is tasty and plentiful, the service quick, the atmosphere relaxed, and most importantly very good value.
My last, and favourite, is Maloko (I’ve been told that it means the journey in Cameroon). I’m not sure why I love this place more than others, but I’ve just spent the last couple of hours in there reading my book after tucking into a galette stuffed full of ingredients that are good for you (sitting here feeling smug after eating quinoa), followed off with beetroot, carrot and apple juice. If you know me you’ll know that I’m not a fan of beetroot so it’s got to be fairly spectacular to tempt me to not one but two glasses. You can also bring your own bottle (for those of you thinking this why I like these places, it’s not after all I’ve just spent the afternoon drinking juice).
I think that it’s the simplicity of these places that attracts me, there is no pretension, no queues (though you’ll have to queue on sunny days for Frank’s cafe) or judgement. Obviously there are other places that I visit but I can’t and won’t mention them all here, as I’d be here all night and you’d switch off. Suffice to say that the combination of them all has provided me with a true sense of community which I believe we all need regardless of who we are.
I’m always intrigued by what makes people hang out in an area so I’m now wondering what your locals are that you love.
“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.” ― Jack Kerouac
I was in a meeting the other day and the subject of passion amongst the more junior employees came up. It had been noted that there wasn’t any amongst them - they are all high achievers and highly intelligent wonderful people but they seem somewhat…flat.
I have seen the passion in their eyes. I have seen them on the dance floor or outside the office, and it is there. It has driven them to get to this point in their career, but what happens to it when they reach the front door of the office? Is their job done? No, they need that passion in order to be noticed in the sea of brilliant graduates - peers with similar experience and degrees.
I’m going to say it, (yes I hear your groans) but when I was their age I bounced into work, I would test out new ideas and push the boundaries of my role. It was fun, people fed off my passion. I was never criticised or demoted when showing that passion. They rather encouraged it, as I was committed, willing to try and they knew hungry for the challenge. Rather they helped me channel it. I worked hard because of this passion and was rewarded for it.
I still carry that passion around with me. I take mine into the office with me, but back to the question at hand, is passion appropriate in the workplace?
Yesssss. Without it, how can we be the best? As a manager I seek individuals with passion, as a team who are excited about what they do means that half the battle is won. They’ll take the initiative and inspire the rest of the team, and myself, as I along with everyone else also wants to be inspired. Of course I won’t hold my passion back as in the words of Joss Whedon 'passion is the source of our finest moments', and I know it's led to mine.
There are not many things that really surprise me anymore, or so I thought, but this week I’ve been surprised and haven’t stopped thinking about a haircut. Yes, a haircut. The haircut in question belongs to Beyonce - in case you care I think it looks great on her. She is a beautiful woman with striking features who can carry most styles. You can bet that this is not something that she has done on whim. This is a woman who for the last 15 years has been recognised, and defined, by her long mane, be it blond, brown, curly, wavy or poker straight or even braided, it has always maintained it’s length. It’s part of her brand. She has thought about this. Still, it’s just hair.
Well no, as in the black community hair we long for long, thick, smooth hair. Do you doubt this? Then look at those in the public eye like Tyra Banks, Oprah Winfrey, Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, Michelle Obama - their hair is long, thick and smooth. They are our supposed hair role models. We constantly change our hair as we strive to achieve this hair paradise. So, for Beyonce to have had this and to cut it short is a big deal.
We take pride in our hair, you could say. Actually we’re obsessed with our hair, truly obsessed. I’ve stayed in all weekend before because my hairdresser could not see me, and cancelled appointments as my hair was not the smooth style that I wished it to be. I’m not alone in this. Black women spend a fortune on our hair, we’re constantly thinking about it, changing it. We buy virgin Brazilian hair because it’s thick and glossy, or Indian hair because we’ve been told it lasts longer. We research hair seeking remy that doesn’t tangle or fall out. We spend hours in a chair, contorted while someone braids, weaves, pick and drops or crochets our hair in order to obtain that length - and the longer the better. How many people do you know who wrap their hair at night in the vain hope of ensuring their style lasts longer? Do you believe me yet when I say that we are obsessed with having long hair? (For those non-believers who need further proof then I recommend Chris Rock’s film ‘Good hair movie’).
So, a drastic haircut from long to short is a big step for any of us, especially for someone like Beyonce who is known for those long locks. Now, the only thing that could surprise me more, would be if she went au naturel. Now that I would love to see. Though I fear that she’ll revert to her safety blanket and we’ll be seeing her once again with long hair. But, it’s only hair.