Just like this image I took a couple of days before New Years Eve, it may all look dark and cold where I am right there, but on the horizon there’s new light. How is that for a tacky analogy?
2014 ended with some of the best personal highlights and some low marks as well. First of all, my second daughter was born in July. I have been extremely blessed with my first born daughter 13 years ago, to say me and her mother raised her well is not giving her too much credit of everything she has achieved by her own account, but yes we were there to support. Writing this, she’s with her mother and her mothers new family in Brazil for seven weeks (lucky bastards) doing nothing but capoeira, spending time on the beach and eating fresh fruits from the trees. My second daughter is like experiencing it all over again, and I actually start to believe lightning can strike the same place twice (another cliché added to this text).
The second highlight of the year was me leaving my McJob on the train side of life, and getting back into coffee. It’s amazing to work alongside such talented and gifted people in a kitchen. However there’s not too much coffee on my plate, it’s far more on the cooking side. My interest in cooking at home has really taken off, and it has sparked other sides of me that really needed to be overseen, such as the health aspect of life.
For far too long, I’ve indulged in alcohol in a way I’ve lost control over. I am no longer a drinker, I am what the AA call a problem drinker, or more bluntly an alcoholic. I went to the AA in the late 90’s cause I couldn’t handle the situation any longer. Back then, it was more what I did when drunk, rather than the drinking itself that needed to be stopped. All the violence got me into grave anxiety attacks that was gonna see the end of me. I was completely sober for about seven years. This time around, I am seeing a whole new aspect of drinking that I thought didn’t really apply to me; self medication. I want to do nothing but getting down the rabbit hole and disappear, in order to cope with the real world. You see, I feel the world today is a little bit like The Matrix in reverse (oh no, another tacky analogy); a lot of us hide online where life can seem a little bit more bright, in order to get away from our every day chores. If my life looks a little bit more glamourous in the bits and pieces I share, it will also feel that way. It’s a spiral that goes nowhere fast.
I called up an old friend who’s been going to the AA for a long time, and I tagged along. I’m not going to say I was reborn, but it was a good reminder of what I am. As I will keep going there, I will also try to remind myself of who I am. And for that purpose, I find myself at the mercy of spirituality and hard work out as a combo that has been working for others, and then hopefully for me. I have to remind myself that, in the words of Tom Petty, ‘my load is wide, my street is narrow’.
In the midst of my happiness and personal hell (I am a person of extremes) my beloved friend and companion Max died. He was a Jack Russell we adopted 5 years ago, I had sworn never to be a pet owner again, but my daughter and ex wife insisted, and when we got him I fell in love with him. He became a baby that slept in our bed and ate at our table (well, he tried to anyway). That cheese loving, ball crazy dog. When we divorced in 2012, we shared custody. He was with me on my first date with the mother of my second child (which a friend of mine said; “bringing that dog on a date is practically cheating”), and he became a beloved family member of our new little family, since my ex wife got allergic and couldn’t share custody anymore. One night when I got back from work, my ex wife was at our house with her sister, helping my oldest daughter to paint her room, and Max had fallen severely ill. We knew he wasn’t in the best shape, but it was almost like he had waited until he had everyone in his life around him to say goodbye. I took a taxi, naively hoping to give him a shot and return with him shiny and happy as always, but ended up with having to look into the eyes of my best friend when he died in front of me. I have never cried so much and hard in my entire life. I still get tears in my eyes thinking of him. Goodbye beloved Coogee Beach bum. Very few dogs have experienced what you did, and I am happy for all the love you gave. Heaven is a Western Australian beach with endless supply of balls and cheese, I am sure! See you there buddy….
As for 2015, I think this is the year, in general, that will bring back an analog lifestyle for a lot of people. Social Media has been proclaimed dead by experts, which I think has been happening for a long time. The second year on Twitter for me, saw the first year recycled. There was nothing new, only the same things recycled. Following people on Instagram and Twitter has become less about what these people can offer as knowledge or where to look further for knowledge, but a map of what brands they use and what little clique of people they want you to see them with. We know of course that social media has been a lot about building your personal brand, but it’s imploded with the co branding and the high fives and the hang around crowds wanting in. The response to this will be closed circles not giving away anything outside their own crowds, and people focusing more on relevant socialisation AFK (away from keyboard). And as much as I find all these peoples photos from their gym sessions, I still think that is what social media will be more about; finding people that inspire you rather than snooping around what beer label and coffee person they’ve been hanging out with.
Speaking of coffee, I think the paradigm of coffee awareness amongst people outside the coffee crowd is still waiting to be happening. Instead I think we will see the continuation of coffee as one of many produces of high quality more cafés will look into. Actually we see a bit of reverse focus happening, where for instance Drop Coffee has started a very interesting focus on food to compliment their coffee menu. Will more people follow? I think so, and I still think offering overall fresh produce with the same care as coffee is the way to attract the mainstream crowd. Speciality tea and Kombucha are expected to be the next staple hipster choices in Brooklyn, so we’ll see it in Stockholm by 2016 more as people “living in New York for 2 months” adapts it and take it home to what they believe is the “6th Burrough”. I mean, Raw Food is finally finding its way to Sweden for Gods sake.
For me personally, 2015 will be about music, literature and food. We reunited a band I was in some 13 years ago (yes that’s me 20 kilos lighter) for the sake of a gig, and as the gig was cancelled we’re now in pre production of an album set to be made on vinyl only in 2015. I am currently working on a book on Coffee Culture in Sweden, and hope to finish it by September, but we’ll see… Maybe I’ll just be an Alexander Supertramp and step Into The Wild.
NP: The Eagles In The City