Weezer 2

When I was still going to university, I wrote for an online music magazine called Addicted to Noise, covering the emerging Britpop beat. I was obsessed; I pored over the liner notes of CDs, recorded and replayed videos of the bands from MTV and devoured the UK music publications. Though I was on a very tight budget at the time, I shelled out a whopping $8.50 per week to keep an in-house, weekly subscription to Melody Maker and NME at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Basically this meant I paid in advance so that when those papers came in (the bookstore carried only three copies of each), they’d set aside one copy of MM and NME for me.

Every Wednesday I’d go into the store, collect my copies and then park it at one of the bookstore’s outdoor tables to read every word while sucking down a few coffees and about a thousand cigarettes. I remember being mesmerised by the disappearance of Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers a few days before my 22nd birthday; the heated exchange of insults between Liam Gallagher and Damon Albarn at the height of the Blur vs. Oasis media blitz; and the endless inches dedicated flash-in-the-pan acts like Bis and Shampoo.

I longed to be Caitlin Moran, a young female journalist whose brilliant characterisation of Alex James’ swaggery sexuality left me wondering if she’d done a bit of recon work [insert *wink*]. In fact I actually wrote her a letter at Melody Maker to ask about writing for the publication; what I got back was a style guide and the business card for the editor – which I took as an invitation to submit proposals (something I did for the next several years…with no result!).


At the time I had a very specific dream: to be a music journalist and eventually an editor for Rolling Stone. I worked diligently toward this goal and worked my way up from 100-word album reviews to lengthy cover stories, forging long-standing relationships with some of the bands I regularly interviewed. I eventually moved over to print (because back then, print was still king – little did we know!) and featured in BAM and even managed a mention in SPIN. Everything seemed to come together when I took a position as Music Editor at WIRED magazine, a position the publication was trying for the first time in its then 7-year history.

Radiohead But when the magazine decided to move in a different direction and I took the first job I could find, which happened to be in marketing, the vision I once had started to fade. Though I continued writing on the side, music was no longer my subject of expertise. Journalism fell by the wayside all together a few years later, partly due to the changes in the industry but also from my own doing. I was never going to be Caitlin Moran (sometimes, the best way forward is to face these harsh realities!). I enjoyed the different challenges marketing had to offer and the perks, like health insurance and a regular salary, gave me a sense of stability that I’d never had before.

Through the years I managed to parlay my passion for writing into a burgeoning career in digital and social media. This progression was fuelled by a variety of factors. Music changed. The media industry changed. My tolerance for chronically-late, falling-down-drunk, arsehole musicians changed (here’s a special toast to you, The Dandy Warhols!). I worked the skills I had and developed new ones. To survive (and by survive I don’t mean simply putting food on the table, this also requires a job that doesn’t destroy my sanity or soul), I evolved.

And with that evolution came the realisation of another dream; one that always felt unattainable. The desire to live in Europe started with my Britpop obsession and developed through a steady diet of foreign films, Duchamp paintings and many, many bottles of Chianti. And here I am, nearly five years on living in a major European capital city. The exact details of how I arrived here, I understand; the force that drew me here is much harder to articulate. I think it lives at the heart of a quote by another type of rockstar Brit, Winston Churchill: “You create your own universe as you go along.”

The only thing I had to do is keep going.


Mixed Tartines

Needless to say, I love European food – particularly French and Italian (sorry, Brits – I still love ya but the food…er…). I discovered the humble tartine (a French, open-faced sandwich) when I was flipping through one of many French cookery books at Bookshop Santa Cruz (if I wasn’t in the music aisle, you’d find me in food/cooking). It’s something I still make often as it’s a quick, easy lunch and a great way to use up some leftovers at the weekend.

We had these last weekend as we had some tinned mackerel, a half an avocado, some yogurt and tomatoes. Just experiment with different ingredients and see what you come up with!

Tomato & Yogurt Tartine

2 slices of crusty, toasted, white bread – we like Pain Paysan

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

6-8 leaves of fresh basil

1/2 clove garlic

4 tablespoons Greek natural yogurt

8 slices of red, juicy, ripe tomatoes

Using a pestel and mortar, crush together the basil, garlic and sea salt. Now add in the yogurt and mix – you’ll end up with a thick, green spread (yes, it tastes better than it sounds!). Spread it evenly on the two slices of bread, and top each with four slices of tomatoes. Add a bit of cracker pepper on top and serve!


Mackerel & Avocado Tartine

2 slices of crusty, toasted, white bread – we like Pain Paysan

1/2 ripe avocado

Pinch of sea salt

1 tin of mackerel in brine or oil

A few sprigs of fresh dill

Mash the ripe avocado with the sea salt and mix until a bit chunky but spreadable. Spread onto the toast, divide the mackerel on the slices and top with fresh dill. Enjoy!