Monthly Archives: September 2014

‘Espresso Sospeso’ or ‘suspended coffee’; the new pay-it-forward.

Yesterday I spoke of my coffee addiction with a fellow addict. First time in a long time I was told there was no judgment for me drinking more than eight cups of coffee a day (well, I used to – now it’s more like four or five). And that got me thinking of all the new flavoured coffee creations, those with all sorts of creams and liqueurs and spices? Whereas I’m more traditional – I like a cappuccino, espresso and most of the time I’ll opt for just a cup o’ joe so piping hot it’ll put a hop in my step.

Now, I don’t usually partake in “do this get this, do this feel, this pay this feel this, I dare you I dare you not” challenges presented on Facebook or other venues. But recently, I’ve seen a lot of inspirational people turn the ice bucket challenge to something else. For an inspirational example, my friend Inês turned the ice bucket challenge into something more personal, and more beautiful, with a well-explained message on how she would not throw cold or other kind of water on herself, but rather has donated and encourages others to get involved with suspended coffees.

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Those unfamiliar with the idea, the idea of suspended coffees originated in Naples, Italy, and has since spread across most major cities. Largely due to the unwavering efforts of an Irishman John Sweeney,a young plumber from Cork who recently himself having experienced unemployment knows exactly how hard it can get.

For those more suspicious, not in first-name basis with “in your face” homelessness and anti-homelessness campaigns, suspended coffees is a way to give with knowing your contribution goes directly to help those in need, with no second or third parties taking a cut, without governmental organisations involved and without any morality preaching. It is up to you what and how much and if you indeed suspend something at all.

So, what do you do? How does it work? What does it mean for those in need? And if you have questions, do some rudimentary research – such as open a link, Google it or, you know, ask… Valid or invalid questions alike can be covered with the rather self-explanatory answer of how the process is rather simple; you walk into a coffee shop, order your coffee and on top of your own explain the barista that you would like to include (insert number here) suspended coffees as well. You pay your own and the suspended coffees, and next time someone in need comes inquiring for a warm drink, they’ll have one waiting for them.

As this heart-warming notion of help is spreading, it is good to be aware of the locations nearest to you. Myself being in Scotland, here’s a list of suspended coffee places in Scotland. But I’m sure there is more to follow?

Social Bite Rose Street, Edinburgh. They are a leading example in Scotland when it comes to suspended coffee. Truly remarkable. And it’s not just coffee.

Stewart’s Cafe St. Andrews Street, Glasgow.

Bite’s and PCs Internet Cafe Main Street Falkirk.

Our Story Cafe St. Andrews.

Moondogs Channel street, Galashiels.

The Suspended Coffees Scotland are continuously looking for more coffee shops to get involved, so if you or you know someone who does run a coffee shop, in Scotland or anywhere, find your local suspended coffee community and get involved. As that hot beverage or a sandwich or whatever you have suspended might be the only thing down on their luck individual gets that day, you can be the reason for someone to lay their head down that much fuller of warmth, even for one night.

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Festival Frenzy

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As a recent graduate with a sudden abundance of free time20140802_142307 (well, compared to the nonexistent free time before), I went a into a wee festival frenzy this August.­­ Some of the favourites at the Fringe and International Festival I got to experience left a lingering dream-like state, some shook me to the core and some I could’ve stayed enjoying over and over agaDSCN5074in.

The Military Tattoo was something I probably would not have personally gone to see, but I knew it was on my mother’s bucket list so why not. We had a wonderfully Scottish day with rain nonstop, and to escape the weather we went to the National Museum before our gorgeous dinner at The Ship on the Shore, and enjoyed some lovely flamenco that was part of the National Museum’s free Fringe festivities.

The Lady Boys of Bangkok was one of the first shows of the season – and albeit it is not perhaps the most   well-executed performance in the world, my gosh those ladies were gorgeous and the show as a whole was a hoot!

This year I also decided, what with my new-found new time and learning to breathe in peace, I decided to take myself on a date every weekend. First date was La Boheme, a small production from the Opera Bohemia, and I found out I am indeed one of those who weeps rather uncontrollably when Mimi dies. Got to say, it was wonderful production and absolutely one of my favourites this year.

A last-minute decision was to go see Inala and I was flabbergasted. The blend of South African dance and song with Western 2014-08-22 00.50.31contemporary ballet was a celebration that I wasn’t expecting. I floated home afterwards with the Ladysmith Black Mambazo setting the beat for my feet.

Hot Dub Time Machine was a good show – music from 1954 till 2014 and my friend and I despite our deep sleepiness boogied and danced till the very end. And by the looks of things, we’ll be the only two people who’ll remember anything from the night… I mean, seriously, is there no other way of having fun than being so blastered that you dance on broken glass in barefoot and don’t even notice? I’ve officially become old. I come for the music not for the booze. 2014-08-22 21.00.23-1

After Hours at the National Museum was a lovely event where we got to enjoy the inside of the National Museum in atmospheric lights, with champagne in hand having our names spelled out in Chinese.2014-08-22 21.08.54 Lovely experience – and got a sneak peek of Et Tu Elvie; Elvis Presley with Shakespeare, and it was fantastic!

Loud Poets is a group I have seen a few times before and they always do a great night! Talented people with loud mouths and a lot to say. Big Love always gets me.

Bitesize Chekov from D’Animate was another little treat; breath-taking nonstop movement that surprised and wrenched some hearts, while tweaking those corners of mouth into out loud laughter as well. Looking forward to see other productions from this talented group in future!2014-08-23 22.02.59

NotFitState Circus – Bianco. Indescribable. Saw them last year and loved them. Saw them this year and adored them. They are   just – for me – perfection. The effort and talent that goes into each production; the nonstop work each of the performers do, including their individual 2014-08-23 19.57.52acts, of moving around the rafter set, being attached with a harness to whichever artist is doing their act at the time to give them the weight balance allowing them to go up and down and twirl all around… It is breathtaking performance of talent, strength, ability and amazement. And unlike my two friends who have their loins on fire from mere sight of the lovely August, I was mesmerised by the talented Hugo, especially with this juggling act while reciting the beautiful Portuguese poem. Candy for the eyes and the soul, you know. And not to forget the amazing Sage – she always has that wow effect that exemplifies the beauty and talent of NotFitState.2014-08-30 21.20.54

Mahler’s 6th Symphony was a classical treat that soothed the mind and body after hectic weeks and months. Something I really needed.

Delusions of the Fury from the Ensemble musikFabrik was just bit of a freakishness I love and wasn’t expecting as I  deliberately read nothing of the Harry Partch creation in 2014-08-30 21.20.33advance. Delusions of the Fury should be experienced, not described. If Philip K. Dick, Salvador Dali and David Lynch had a joint consciousness and were trapped in a steampunk dream – that’s what the show was. In the setting of the gorgeous King’s Theatre. ‘Nuff said.

Fireworks were the perfect way to end the festivities – although the weather could’ve been better. Nice friends, nice view, what more could one ask for? I’m ready for next year!

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