March 2010

I’m reading a section of Drawing the Line an essay by Michael Craig Martin on drawing which accompanied an exhibition of drawings selected by him for the South Bank Centre in 1995.

  A paragraph lept off the page… “The experience of selecting, organising and hanging this exhibition has been for me like making a work of art and I have thought of it as such. It is the result of the same mix of instinct, careful planning and fortuitous accident”.

 What a wonderful line…a mix of instinct, careful planning and fortuitous accident….this sparked off for me two other references to mindful acceptance of uncertainty…

 Firstly on Barry Zweibels’ excellent blog GottaGettaBlog    I loved his  extract from Professor David Clutterbuck’s presentation on Virtual Coaching. the @ggci: #tcbcoaching – “if you know where the conversation is going, it’s not coaching!” – D. Clutterbuck

The other is a sequence in Yi Yi, (A One and a Two) a film by Edward Yang. The film looks at a few turbulent  weeks in the life of the Jian family. The husband and father NJ is a partner in a failing software company which just might save itself by teaming up with an innovative Japanese games designer called Ota.

 During one of their conversations they discuss this possible merger, Ota senses NJs’ partners’ anxiety and aversion to risk.

“Risk is high when you do anything for the first time, why are we afraid of the first time?

Every morning is new, everything in life is for the first time, we never live the same day twice but we’re never afraid of getting up in the morning…why?”

I look forward to where today’s conversations and their fortuitous accidents take me…..


Today a friend kindly sent me the second of two links to articles about cutting edge coffee places in London and New York….

I became quite steamed up as I read them, it’s all about Espresso!  The world’s becoming a one brew town! If you read the majority of blogs about coffee there is an obsession with baristas and espresso coffee making. Lovely though the coffee is and great that there is a rise in small artisanal coffee roasters I lament the emerging universality of the espresso and the global dominance of trendoid coffee. Whether it’s an Americano, a flat white, a bumpy brown or whatever, I miss the diversity of brew and culture. In northern European countries coffee was usually taken with milk. Not a bloody latte but café au lait or kaffee mit milch and it was made by filter or cafetiere. The southern Mediterranean countries drank small strong cups of coffee without milk, using the stove top espresso or moka pot and eventually developed the espresso machine. In places like turkey and the Middle East they use the ibrik (also called briki or jesvah).

It was interesting to read a past article by George Sabadosin in a Coffee geek forum

“What is unique is that, outside Italy, the Australian and New Zealand café markets are the only other 100% espresso-based markets in the world! The US and other countries are dominated by filter style, or brewed, coffee. You cannot give filter coffee away in Australia or New Zealand. “

His article refers to the migration of southern Europeans to Australia, unlike the earlier migration to the States it took place at a time of the development of the mass produced espresso machine and so emerged the dominance of the espresso in Australia and New Zealand.

Sadly there are now few places where the espresso machine has not come to dominate.

 The NYDaily News article finishes nicely……

….….. “I’m not trying to be a hater, but dude, have some fun!” said La Colombe’s Wolfe. “Everyone’s so serious. It’s just coffee. They’re like, this is a single varietal from El Salvador and I’m using a $15,000 machine, and you’re going to give me $7 and we’re going to geek out.”

Oh what am I drinking today? Yemen Mocha Matari  ……Filter!!!