This month has been a very busy and fulfiling one; I have tried lots of new things and experienced many impulses from different areas in my life that I want to include in this month’s Freya Chooses post. There are, as usual, a few items in the media category, as well as a couple of musical and cultural experiences that touched me, and even some other more personal highlights of the month. I hope that the things I write about in this series here on my blog can give you a few ideas for things that you might also enjoy, or inspiration for some small ways to improve your daily life.
Starting off with a fabulous book that I read this month, The Animators, by Kayla Rae Whitaker, took me on a whirlwind through the lives of two young women in America, finding their paths and their identities in the world. Both artists, the characters meet in art school, through which they become business partners, and together they create incredible animation movies. This is a book about art and what it is to be an artist, especially for women in what is a pre-dominantly male field, it’s about family and relationships, sexuality, life in very different parts of the USA and, ultimately, death. This is a really wonderful read and I totally recommend it for something to help you escape from the real world.
I had to mention this great show which is a Netflix original. The second season just came out, which is why it is fresh in my mind, but I have enjoyed it all from the beginning. In my opinion, this show absolutely nails the portrait of a real relationship – and not in the usual ‘fake’ way that you see in TV shows and the movies. In Love, the characters each have their own worries and issues, it’s often hard to say which one is right and which one is wrong, they make you feel slightly uncomfortable yourself as you watch them fight and they make decisions which reflect real life. A show like this is so refreshing and different, episodes are a perfect length and you are guaranteed a giggle or two!
Robert Frank Exhibition
Although I had never previously heard of the photographer/film maker Robert Frank, on a recent trip to Salzburg I decided to check out this exhibition at the Rupertinum Museum. Frank was a native of Switzerland but spent much of his life in the States and Canada. One of his most famous pieces of work was a book of photos called The Americans, which portrayed real people in their real lives all across America. I learnt that Frank was a contemporary of Jack Kerouac (definitely enough to get me to the exhibition) and Kerouac actually wrote the introduction to The Americans, in typical Kerouac style. After reading it and then looking through the book, I was struck by how much the writing matched the photos; it moved and flowed, it revealed secrets and was altogether incredibly inspiring. I definitely recommend checking out Franks work, especially if you like Kerouac – his photos are amazing and his short films are really interesting too.
This month, I got to spend a weekend with my aunt, her partner and my two cousins in Brighton, and I was reminded of how much I love this place. I don’t know if it was that I was having such a good time with my family, with great food, walks on the beach and the best Bloody Mary I have ever had, or whether the bohemian vibe of the city just got to me as it always does, but I felt so happy and content there. I also took a visit back to my old school to teach a day of masterclasses to some young violin students, and it felt so good to teach again! It really reminded me how fulfilling it can be to see the look in a young student’s face, as they begin to realise, through the things that you say, just how many possibilities they have in music-making.
On the subject of Brighton, I had to mention my favourite vintage shop, which I managed to get a chance to pop into on my way to the airport! I discovered this store a couple of years ago and immediately fell in love with it. It is a warehouse full of recycled, upcycled, reclaimed vintage clothes and bits and pieces. I have talked a lot on my blog about how much I love to shop second hand, so Beyond Retro is kind of a dream for me! Every single piece is unique, there is so much colour, so many styles from every decade, so many prints and fabrics, I could honestly spend hours browsing here. I picked up a couple of things which I absolutely LOVE and will be featuring in a Vintage Finds #2 blog post coming up soon! (Check out the first one here.)
Living Room Concert
This month I held the first concert in a new concert series that I have called ‘Living Room Concerts’. My idea was to take the musicians out of the formal, sometimes inaccessible, concert hall into a place much friendlier and more intimate – i.e. my living room! I will dedicate a whole blog post to this event as there is much more to say, but the concert was definitely a success and I am already planning the next one! There was a great atmosphere, great music, beer and conversation and altogether it was a very special evening. I know that concerts like this are going on everywhere, so I suggest checking if there is something similar near you, as it really is a fun event!
I want to talk about a new discovery for me, near to where I live, which is a gorgeous walk around the Lindener Berg, or Linden mountain (Linden is the name of the area of Hannover in which I live). Just now the bloom is starting to emerge and the spring daffodils and bluebells are absolutely beautiful. It is so worth taking a walk around this area, and there’s also, in true German style, a cute beer garden too, serving beer, coffees, ice cream, wurst and pommes. I definitely recommend a visit here if you ever find yourself in Hannover!
Raging Bitch and Maple Smoked Weizenbock
Finally, I have been introduced to two craft beers this month which are so delicious! The Raging Bitch is a Belgian IPA and has a hint of orange in the after taste. The Maple Smoked beer, which comes from Steam Works brewery, has more of a smokey flavour, but is not harsh or too strong. Both beers are really smooth, tasty and if you like craft beers then definitely check them out. Watch out though because they have a pretty high alcohol percentage!