I was excavating on my old Myspace account, which I hadn’t been to since 2007. I was pleased to find it still existed and thought I’d update this blog with a blast from the past. I might be making this a regular feature given all the older blogs, and other writing I’ve done before.
I found the Myspace account really interesting to revisit, as in 2005-2007 I was just learning how much fun it was being an opinionated blogger and I had the added bonus of only being 26, and therefore even more rabidly opinionated about STUFF that bugged me than I am now. Now I just sigh very sadly(!)
In the Blast From the Past I’ve re-posted below, I cheer on the delights and the great importance of COFFEEE to the writer’s psyche.
Also, I HEART coffee. I HEART it so very, very much.
This is my October 6th 2006 ode to the brown stuff, which came to me during a satisfying trip to Costa Coffee over lunch, back when I didn’t need actual food to make it through a work day:
I think it’s important to note that I’ve used ‘coffee’ in the title, rather than the more prevalent ‘caffeine’ as the difference is important in this context.
Firstly, because caffeine can be gained from a whole range of products, but most on’t match up.
Coca-cola – caffeine delivery is cold and there’s too much sugar
Pro-plus – Caffeine delivery is a snarling pitbull which provides no mellow rise and thrashes your brain so it’s no use at all
Chocolate – has many great qualities, but lacks a soaring sense of caffeine delivery. Sugary, but ok for emergencies (I hear a yachtsman survived on it while waiting for rescue, so it’s not bad at all)
Instant Coffee – I’m sorry, but, why bother? It’s hot water that smells like coffee. If you’re lucky it’s a close texture. But its abilities are very limited.
Ok, so that oh-so-scientific analysis has left us with the good stuff. Brewed, stewed, smooth, and delicious.
I love coffee for a very good reason. Whether or not, as the coffeeshop I’m in claims, it really was used by monks to meditate (surely some of the jumpiest meditating monks around), it’s the writer’s friend. I can sort of see why it would give those meditating after it a bit of an edge…
The best coffees – that’s best prepared, nice beans, yummy milk – will set loose a slew of happy cognitive thoughts in a sharpness of enlightenment. It hooks random thoughts, pictures and daydreams and reels them onto your page, screen or canvas (or, ok, conversation among the more sociable. heh).
This makes is more valauble than any of the thought-smearing properties of drugs or alcohol (I confess to innocently limited experience in the former). But have you tried pinning down a drunken thought? Momentary illumination aside, can you even rememberhaving those thoughts in the first place? It’s like looking at the flashes after a camera’s gone off – temporary burns on the retina/brain and then zap. Just a headache to show for it.
Coffee provides a laser-sharp accuracy of thought and rapid correction if it’s a little skewiff. How quickly we can choose our priorities, see our dance moves more quickly (if there’s a quiet space in the office, ahem) nad send witty messages to friends whilst simultaneously filling in a spreadsheet and writing a shopping list. When coffee caffeine has you in its sturdy grip, there seems to be little you can’t achieve. Or it’ll feel like that for a whole morning. Which is good. Particularly on a Monday. Particularly now it’s getting dark again.
At the very least, coffee gives you confidence that kicks alcohol’s arse – for a start you can string facts together and the worst you’ll need is a breath mint.
Case in point – an ex-BBC news reporter came to do a talk at my university. There was an oppertunity to meet him afterwards at the student bar. He ran late, and by the time he wandered in I’d downed two Bacardis and coke (with coke…I know, how rough), and my ambition and nerve had dropped to zero. I slunk out after a few minutes, gradually kicking myself as the day went on. My opinion now is that, maybe with a good coffee in my system, I could have let that moment of go-getting clarity propel me into his attention.
I’ll never know for sure, and on that minor anecdote I’d hate to think I’d need a coffee foreverything. I’ve had experiences at writing courses and at work where a coffee’s definitely given me the edge required.
When I’ve visited London, it tunes me into the vibes of its grubby thundering streets. I can’t face dodging pedestrians down Oxford Street, or surviving Waterloo without it!
The point is that a well-percolated cup of the steaming black stuff (Bovril excluded) is just necessary for those of us requiring a push in the right direction, ideally putting us into a sober-drunk mindset.
Coffee can add to aggression, sure. Woe-betide the idiot who plays a Lily Allen song directly after my first cup. Coffee is the warm storm in a mug, and there are a million coffee shops in the UK because we’re all hooked. Caffeine addicts are amongst them, but there’s a culture of lounging in such places that adds to coffee house appeal. They must be doing something right.
Coffee houses are cosy hide-aways. They’re the only place where it’s really socially acceptable drink a beverage by yourself in a lunch hour – where you can be seen toenjoy this time to yourself. You’re not unsociable, or friendless, you’re drinking coffee. In many cases this happens adjacent to reading a paper (broadsheet, naturally), or they’re on a laptop, scribbling, or tending to kids in a pushchair. It’s still a warm, bustling place where you can lose yourself and be yourself at the same time. All the while cuddled by (hopefully) comfy sofas and hot milky foam.
Not that there aren’t some shite ones….
If, like today, everything gos entirely right and your latte has the most beautiful creamy foam on top, your chocolate twist is utterly unscorched, the staff are friendly AND it’s a FRIDAY – then you might be inspired to scratch out an awkward love-letter to a place and drink that comforts and awakens the brain. Even as you notice that, with gruesome inevitability, your personal hour is up and you must battle the wind and rain to get back to work.
Have a good weekend everybody. More soon, including reviews of Theatre and other random thoughts from the bottom of the cafetiére…
Incidentally, there are two other things that mirror the effects of coffee. Red wine and Jack Daniels. Red wine must be Shiraz and stain your lips like cheap vampire blood. JD must be without anything but water/ice and taken sparingly, and only if your acerbic senses are already a bit, er, turned on.