On the way back home I kept thinking about my fellow bloggers and the circumstances that had brought them to London. There was a word that cropped up often in my thoughts: synchronicity. Despite the fact that we all had different motives to relocate to the Big Smoke, we all shared a common desire to make sense of our new surroundings through the magic of blogging.
So, there I was, pensive behind the wheel when all of a sudden the traffic slowed down almost to a halt. It happened as soon as I hit Shoreditch High Street. Sometimes when I find myself in a situation like this, completely unexpected and beyond my control, I go with the flow. Other times I lose my patience little by little. Luckily it was the former mood that got hold of me first. Since I had already written my post about hipsters in my new section, Urban Dictionary, but lacked an image to go with it, I thought to myself that here was the perfect occasion to take that picture. I pulled over and got my camera out.
I went back to the main thoroughfare, this time Kingsland Road. The scenery around me, however, owed more to a little market town in another country. Women with multi-coloured headwraps crossed the road slowly. Men wearing drainpipes waved drivers like me to stop as they manoeuvred their way through the dense, almost stationery traffic. Bandanna-ed old geezers sashayed on the pavement. A dreadlocked couple (hair length about the same in both man and woman) clad in gold, black and green carried what seemed to be heavy Tesco plastic bags, eyes set on each other. No one was in a rush. This wasn’t the London I was used to. The one with the frantic pace, horn-tooting and swearing. Maybe it was because it was Saturday, maybe because it wasn’t raining (for once!) or maybe because in the absence of rain we had been allowed a tiny bit of sunshine. The truth is that everyone was in chill-out mode.
The traffic build-up was total. It felt as if somebody had cast a spell over our engines. You could almost hear the soft purr of them, but it was all in vain, we weren’t going anywhere. I reflected more on what happened earlier on the day. So many people from different Spanish-speaking countries (Mexico, Colombia, Spain, Argentina and Cuba) sharing our experiences. Again, the same word flashed before my eyes: synchronicity. I remembered then an e-mail I had received some months ago.
If, like me, you have been blogging for a long time you might recognise the following scenario: a message pings into your inbox telling you that the sender has been following your blog for quite a while and do you think it would be possible to plug such and such product for a modest sum? My response is usually the same: no, I’m not interested. I haven’t even got Google Ad Sense on my blog. I want people to come to read me not to buy stuff from me or a company with which I am not familiar. Unless what I am flogging is that book that I keep meaning to write but always manages to elude me (note how I always blame the inanimate object).
Over time this type of correspondence has increased. From the odd e-mail I used to get every two or three months six or seven years ago, now I receive almost two or three per week. Occasionally, though, I find a little gem amidst the unsolicited mail.
|Synchronicity: unexpected but pleasant|
I must admit that when it comes to acknowledging correspondence I have always been on the procrastinating side of things. It was only recently that I got back to Darragh. However, instead of telling me off – quite rightly – for being so slow to respond, Darragh sent me a link to the whole album, The Secret Life of Blue (link to album here). And as I sat on Kingsland Road I suddenly recalled that there was a song in the record named Synchronicity. As soon as I got home that night, I logged onto my e-mail and listened to the melody again (clip below). Roisin O’s mellow tones completed the picture I’d been trying to sketch in my head all day long following the Sharehoods blogging workshops. When she sings: See the zig-zag of a shoelace/The way a jigsaw fits into place/When our hands tightly knit/I think of all the ways we fit I immediately go back to that room at Google Campus where all the pieces of this gigantic Ibero-American “jigsaw fit into place”.
The Secret Life of Blue probes the depths of pop music. It is a very well-balanced record. Opener Here We Go has a lovely, foot-tapping groove with highly sophisticated multi-layered vocals that show off Roisin O’s versatility as a singer. Climb High foregrounds an expressive, otherworldly piano which matches Roisin O’s own otherworldliness note by note. Let’s Find Some People reminded me of Tori Amos but with a KT Turnstall twist.
Altogether the album is a reinterpretation of Irish music, mixing the craic with soulful ballads. Roisin O is one of those artists who bridges the gap between modernity and tradition. In her case she leans more on the former than the latter. To me that was also what the event about the Ibero-American blogosphere was: a way to bridge the gap between the culture we left behind (but which never left us) and the culture to which we are adapting now. That all this brings like-minded people together, it’s a bonus. Then, again, that’s synchronicity for you, totally unexpected but usually pleasantly surprising.
Photo taken from Roisin O' website
Next Post: “Of Literature and Other Abstract Thoughts”, to be published on Wednesday 19th February at 11:59pm (GMT)