Nicholas Quirke was loving the Brighton vibe on 21st July. His past 3 days had been an eclectic mix of the alternative, business and socialising. He had been intrigued on 19th July to be invited to a ‘sound bath’ and was looking forward to discovering the nuances of this new experience. He was working for his client that morning and though he cleaned, helped garden and cooked a pea soup, he was also relishing a job that allowed him to sit and play Backgammon and be paid for it. It was then to work of another kind; unpaid but fun and entertaining as he was recording more episodes of the Podcast he and Penny had launched. He was still struggling to find a home for it but the recordings were fun and till he had finalised a host, he was sending out the link on social media. He was also contemplating which image to use on the site and a debate raged about the most relevant and appropriate for the content. He had to drop of some books for Cole and after a shop at Sainsburys gave Penny a lift home. Conveniently the invite, from a member of the Men’s Group, was to a home on his street so it was a short walk  for him. Aaron, Pius, Rainier and Eloise were also attending and he was pleased to be enjoying their company for the event. Simon had a number of sound bowls which, after he explained their provenance, their meaning and the quality of their notes, he played and invited them to focus on a most wished for need, to lie back, and allow the sounds of the bowls, chants, voices to wash over them and transport them to a place of bliss. Initially Nicholas was panicking over his most wished for need, there seemed to be so many crowding his mind: should he apply some standards to his choice? Some materialistic he dismissed, some emotional he toyed with and was so confused by the decision he was going to have make that he didn’t have a wish prepared as the music started to draw him in and he found himself in a deep state of meditation in which he seemed to abandon the physical world and exist in a state of content and restfulness, supported by the mystical sounds emanating from the bowls. When the session ended he felt elated and calmed by the experience and was open to some music making when Simon offered them to select an instrument and to Jam with him. He had no idea what it sounded like, It could have been a horrible noise, but inside the music it seemed harmonious and magical and akin to how he felt whenever he took to the dance floor.  he really had fun with the sound and Rhythm.  When he woke on Friday 20th he felt refreshed and looked forward to his 2 hours work before meeting Cole for Breakfast. He noted that it was now dark when he woke and was surprised by how quickly that had happened, particularly as the summer continued to be one of  intense sustained sunshine and heat. Something happened to cause his trapped nerve to spasm and his sciatica seemed as intense as when it first manifested itself. This meant that after eating a bowl of Singapore noodles at Loving Hut a shopping expedition and a poster, Graffiti photo opportunity with Cole he struggled home to rest his leg. He had purchased a ticket to see First Reformed at Dukes at Komedia and though he just wanted to lie down he forced himself to the cinema. He was constantly distracted by the pain in his leg and found the films nihilistic story line quite difficult to handle though the sudden surprising end was reminiscent of Wise Blood and he was glad he had endured it to the end. At home it was a familiar story of technical delinquency as he fought with his equipment to upload the podcast into his Blog. In the end frustrated and in pain he resorted to pushing it out on social media again before taking pain killers, a bath and sleep. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Jv2Q16ss0lFRL9yPGj4m7PH14N1DACPN/view    Saturday 21st dawned and he greeted it by waking up succumbing to his usual routine of vitamins, smoothie and messaging friends in foreign continents. Another habitual Saturday routine was conducted in Nero’s with Cathy and ten a shopping expedition for a peeler,  loo brush and a new linen shirt to replace his scorched one. on his way back home for lunch he noted a substantial police presence in Preston Park for a Green Pride festival. Leon Robinson was making a rare visit to Brighton and was holding court in Pavillion Gardens at the Cafe. It was great to see him again and to catch up with his news and other of Leon’s friends, including Andy who proudly announced he had read all of Phillips Mortal Engine Quartet and was ready for the film, which Nicholas features in, on its release in December. He had bumped into Rory and Ian on their way to Green Pride and on his return home he went to find them and discovered that Green Pride was a celebration of Cannabis festival and the light dawned on the police presence. He didn’t find Rory but he still enjoyed the vibrant ambiance before heading home and resting his weary carcass.

 

 

 

 

Nicholas Quirke was excited about his day when he woke at the unearthly hour of 4.45am on 15th July. He was looking forward to the boundaries of his knowledge being expanded and felt his exploration of Sussex life, since his return from his Odyssey, would continue apace with a visit, courtesy of his client to Barcombe Mills and the Anchor Inn the day before and his impending Glyndebourne trip that afternoon. The summer was continuing to scorch and delight so it was with  heavy heart, that when he walked out onto his roof terrace that morning, he discovered someone had vandalized his attempts to beautify his surroundings. Before heading into town to meet Audrey for tea at Marwoods, he made some salads for the evenings picnic. Audrey was in good form and they laughed and mostly avoided talking about work, till Audrey revealed that if any thing is going wrong with the people management, the management are now blaming the former managers, very bad form and he was quite discombobulated. By happy coincidence Peta was also going to Glyndbourne and he was able to give her a lift. Despite having been to Glynde and knowing his way, he utilised his sat nav, which chose to take them on an exquisite route through a typical English village he had never heard of. The gardens looked sublime and once they had found a suitable shady spot they took a turn round the estate. It was a perfect location and summer moment. He was there to see Saul,an Oratorio by Handel an he was deeply grateful to Osman who had organised a complimentary ticket for him. It was a Dress rehearsal and Nicholas was impressed to learn that the management provided tickets for all their employees and a guest, a truly benevolent gesture. It was some years since he had been to the Opera (If he didn’t count Peking} and literally decades since he had been to Glyndebourne and seen ‘The Electrification of The USSR’ with his friend John Chapman., and he was looking forward to reacquainting himself with the artifice and theatricality of the medium. He was not disappointed. It was spectacular and everything, from the haunting Baroque music, the astonishing voices, the vitality of the chorus, the inventiveness of the design, the subtlety of the lighting,the vibrancy of the costumes to the quirky choreography and the clever direction served the story and created an unforgettable event. He thoroughly enjoyed the 90 minute interval, picnicking with Peta and Rachel. It was an elated Nicholas Quirke who drove home as the burnished sun set on another lovely and fulfilling day.

 

 

Nicholas Quirke was anticipating a day of feeling proud on 13th July and he was not disappointed. He set off to London with Eileen at 7 and it was clearly going to be another scorching summer day. The roads were surprisingly free moving, despite rush hours, and they made it to Cole’s in Hendon by 9am. Cole was feeling a little anxious about the day, but by the time he had picked up his gown and reminded himself of how much he liked dressing up, seeing how very dashing he looked, he was able to relax. The ceremony was held in a huge Marquee on campus and was a really lovely event, though he found the guests around him were not very supportive and were not clapping the graduates other than their own. Cole’s name was mentioned thrice in the speeches as an ambassador for the university as a result of his outstanding win of the Free Range exhibition and his solo show in February and he and Eileen swelled with pride at his success. After drinks and photo opportunities galore they joined the students and tutors for a farewell drink. They then made their way to Camden to meet Richard and for a late lunch of Vegan Pizza at Purreza. After dropping Cole back home and loading up the car with some of his belongings they drove at a slow moving pace to Brixton for Brother Michael’s Open House exhibition. They were about half an hour early so enjoyed a coffee in a surprisingly white middle class restaurant. They had a wonderful time at the Exhibition, and though he only seen them on Sunday, thoroughly enjoyed talking with his nephews and nieces and was delighted to see heavily pregnant Lucy. On the way home Nicholas insisted they listen to his Podcast which he had launched that day. It had been a long but enjoyable day and home and in bed by 11 he allowed his pride in his son to enjoy a final burst before going to sleep.

Nicholas Quirke was being industrious this week with his friend Penny Parker, recording and editing the first edition of their Podcast; Quirke: A Day In The Year of a Nobody, to be launched on 13th July You (Listen and preview here) https://goo.gl/wtHnry. It was the culmination of a couple of busy days for him when he had been Cooking ‘Kitchadi’, for his client and making Pesto, driving to the Race Hill Garden Centre, the Tip, Homebase, dealing with his bank over fraudulent charges on his account, fruitlessly pursuing resolution on issues with Apple, I tunes, Go-Pro, KnowHow Cloud, as well as socialising with Cathie, his sister Kate, visiting a friend at Sussex Beacon , seeing the dentist to have a crown fitted, shopping, sorting out his diary, cleaning his card, online purchasing, and some job hunting. It felt really busy, but still having to work on his bed made him feel like he was relaxing rather than engage in productive endeavour. Plundering his past through his diaries was both funny, revealing and endearing, reviewing the mind of a young and relatively confused young man and sharing these with people was and interesting step for him to take. He was pleased with the outcome of their recordings and was looking forward to getting some feedback.

Nicholas Quirke was pleased by the industry with which he began his day 9th July 2018 despite not waking till 10.30 am. He managed to do laundry, housework and some research work on the computer for Terry in Denver, before deciding he needed to take advantage of  members cheap seats on Monday at the Duke o York’s and took himself to see ‘McQueen’,a documentary about the life  of fashion designer Alexander McQueen. The passion, vision and commitment to his craft and art were amazing and the journey to his tragic demise at the end of a rope deeply moving. He was pleased to note that the lethargy which had crept into his life had abated and he was feeling active and energetic again. He was also buoyed by the news that Brighton Terry had arranged a complimentary ticket to see Saul at Glyndebourne for him. He did some preparatory work for the Podcast and then set of to the Dome to meet Aaron and Audrey, his mother, to see Burt Bacharach in concert. Nothing could dim his excitement at seeing the legendary composer, not even the mother son altercation, which was swiftly bought to resolution with the appropriate opening song, What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love, though I think Burt had his thoughts directed on a global political scale.and not in the everyday, could colour the thrill he felt at hearing some of the most familiar tunes from his life played by their Creator. There was something heart achingly beautiful hearing this 90 year old’s broken and plaintive voice sing ‘Alfie’ and Nicholas was reminded that when he last been in the venue, on the night before his Odyssey began, The Divine Comedy had also performed ‘Alfie’ it seemed a perfect circle ha been drawn. Once they had been encouraged to join Burt in a rousing rendition of Raindrops Keep Falling on my head, the were sent home into the streets and home to bed.