This global pandemic has wreaked havoc with friendships. I’ve come to truly understand just how fundamental friendships are.

Image: © Sam Manns

Friendships transport us to other times and different selves, they nourish the soul and the best ones challenge us, spurring us on to become more ‘ourselves’. Friendships are the golden threads that shine through the fabric of everyday life. They light our paths in moments of darkness. They can show us pain, but also untold joy.

My three-year-old used to love going to nursery. She would bowl in boldly, play and mingle with her mates, dance and sing. …

Image courtesy Antoine Julien

Let the people dance

For as long as I can remember I have loved to dance. Not in any formal way but that feeling you get from dancing your heart out at the front of a rave is part of me. A feeling of freedom, living from moment to moment, held by the music, connected to it. When it moves you move. Dance replenishes a sense of self that not many other activities do. …

Mono Tile Repeat poster, 2011 @Studio.Hester

Being a person of dual-heritage and so-called ‘mixed-race’ is a complex position to inhabit. My mother is English and my father is Nigerian — I tell people in this order because I sense that what they really want to know is why I’m brown and my hair is kinky — so I keep them waiting for the answer. If I decide to give one at all.

At different moments in my life, I have experienced being seen and treated as white — particularly when travelling on the African continent. While in the UK or on trips to Europe or the…

Wandering around the park enjoying snippets of conversation in between yelling at the twins, hurtling on scooters at top speed. My friend’s brave-little-one follows suit, standing upfront of his own set of wheels, grinning and laughing without reserve, showing off daredevil stunts way past his tender age. Watching children play with a sense of abandon while chatting to a friend I don’t have to explain myself to, who can pick up a conversation paused, dust it off and carry on because I’ve known her since we were their age. These friendships feed the soul. This is happiness.

At the beginning…

Photo courtesy Gage Smith

Can quiet stand beside the noise? Does an in-breath always follow out?

In my attempts to find calm in this current crisis, it seems I had disconnected. It’s as if my emotional capacity had run out of bandwidth. It wasn’t anger or rage that hit me this time, but grief and despair, right in the centre of my chest. Glimpsing the fury burning through my social media feed, my instinct was to retreat, to reflect. Beyond a quick reaction — an angry-face emoji, a comment, a meme, what could I do that was true to the depth of feeling?

Our world is overcome by pain, and people are clamouring to shout into…

Photo by Tommy Tong

It’s 6.45 am. My alarm goes off and I roll over, lean out of bed and swipe my finger across the surface of my phone to dismiss the high pitched instruction to rejoin the world, awake. Beyond the covers I have become entangled in throughout the night, this is my first touch of the day. Despite being happily married, before any kind of human-to-human contact, my fingertips reach to touch the tepid glass of my phone. From that moment on I am hooked into a perpetual loop of touch, swipe, tap, check, scroll.

I’m not alone. Award-winning indie-documentary Stare Into…

Crazy Camo, 2020 by @Studio.Hester

Like many people, I am currently thinking about human connection. About what ‘together’ really means, and how to make more of what we have.

Time means something new, I have both much less and a lot more. But the quality is different. With small beings swinging from my elbows from dawn ‘till dusk I have got better at being in moments of pure joy and amazement, witnessing their daily experiments with language, movement and moods. I also have moments of deep stasis in which the high-decibel commands of a red and yellow high-viz clad three-year-old with a megaphone are enough…

Loren Hansi Gordon

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