Inspiration

Inspiration is a funny thing. Sometimes fleeting and fragile, occasionally almost overbearing in its intensity — but always welcome. It’s the fuel that drives my workday and my evenings, without it I couldn’t function as a creative. I love Lynch’s notion of the diner and I often find myself seeking out places which allow my mind to wander off in search of inspiration to those other places he describes.

DSC_0149.JPGDSC_0146.JPGDSC_0150.JPG

I was never one for working from home, far too many distractions — I need places with noise and colour, people moving around me and sounds drifting by, and I need good coffee and sweet snacks to feed the beast. Over the years I’ve found many places which can satisfy these needs, and these are my favourites.

ICA Bar, The Mall, London — I’ve spent the past 15 years visiting the ICA, for DJ nights and talks, performances and late night drinks with friends. Best of all I’ve spent many hours sitting by the window, watching the comings and goings and letting my mind wander happily to interesting places. See some art, have a coffee, chat to friends, enjoy.

Lillipep (formerly Rodko), El Born, Barcelona — A wonderful discovery on my trip to Barcelona in February, Lillipep is just a perfect coffee shop. Books everywhere, local art on the walls, great music and a wonderful modern medieval chic feel to it — I spent a lot of time here in July, thinking, drawing, planning and enjoying their excellent coffee.

DSC_0106.JPGDSC_0107.JPGDSC_0102.JPG

Chai Wallah’s, Big Chill, Eastnor Castle — My first port of call the morning after the night before at the Big Chill for the last few years. Chai Wallah’s is an Eastnor institution. Foregoing my usual coffee for a cup of chai, delivered in a hand-thrown ceramic tea bowl, became one of the highpoints of my days at the festival. I spent hours here, reading and relaxing.

Tate Modern Member’s Bar, Southbank, London — One of my regular London haunts, not for the faint-hearted at the weekend where it gets absolutely mobbed and can be unbearable. During the week it transforms into an oasis of calm. Get a seat overlooking the Thames and St. Paul’s and get writing. The coffee’s good too.

Palais de Tokyo, Trocadéro, Paris — I love this place, I always make my way to it whenever I’m in Paris. Sitting next to the cool-but-straight Musée d’Art Moderne, the Palais is the absolute opposite — the plaster’s been stripped from the walls and the art mingles with graffiti and skateboarders. Grab a coffee and enjoy the mayhem.

DSC_0087.JPGDSC_0067.JPGDSC_0093.JPG

Munson’s, South Ealing, London — My little bubble of sanity just down the road. A little coffee shop and deli, these guys know how to make a fine latte and the food is very good too. I’ve sat in here many a time setting the creative world to rights with my friends — half an hour in here and everything comes together again, beautifully.

Santa Caterina Market, El Born, Barcelona — The mayhem of this food market is utterly addictive, the smells, the sounds, the colours, the movement — you sit with your coffee and it all happens around you. I’ve often started my day here — the coffee is delicious and you feel like a proper native as people come and go on their way to work.

Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, London — I rediscovered the studios this year after a long absence and they have become the place I go with my sketchbook and laptop. It’s an active and working studio with the buzz of recording sessions going on around you, an exhibition space next to the café and an excellent riverside terrace for summer brainstorming sessions.

SNV13120.JPGSNV13144.JPGSNV13122.JPG

La Renaissance, The Rocks, Sydney — Three years living in Sydney meant that I needed a few places to seek inspiration. This little patisserie had the most beautiful garden set back from the street in the middle of a dense collection of buildings. I spent many afternoons sunning myself amongst the trees with a sketchbook, tucking into one of their gorgeous crème brûlées.

Classic Image Café Gallery, Chiswick, London — This unassuming little coffee shop has become part of my life in the last few years. I’ve become entirely addicted to the latkes and smoked salmon and they do the best coffee in Chiswick. Inspiration flows freely for me here — I can often be found tapping away on my laptop or working through the pages of my sketchbook.