My name is Katherine and today we’re going to talk about...erm, paradoxes I guess, because well it would be weird not to wouldn’t it?
So now, this is where the Paradox journey truly begins for me. We are as a business, very much in our infancy and people we've worked with will still mainly know us for coffee related work - which of course is still an integral part of this funny puzzle we are piecing together. I’ve personally worked in the coffee industry around 5 years (Specialty that is...) Writing is something I've been doing for 15 but very separately from all other things I've done, and far removed from the coffee life as it were. I've wished to bring various aspects of my bizarrely fragmented creativity together but until now it had seemed too much of a struggle, too disjointed. Then I met Zain. And almost immediately it made sense why I hadn’t quite figured out how to marry all these eccentricities together, Paradox is very much about connections for me at it’s core. The intermingling of our respective skill sets being the foundation. I’ll be the first to admit I needed a bit of his discipline and focus to rub off on me... He’s rather inspirational that one.
Working in coffee is no longer a distraction from the art I thought I should be making / was told I should be making... But the catalyst for what has now begun to unfold.
Still, when you are beginning something new it can be hard to find your feet. So I've written, rewritten...scrapped and stalled many times before getting to this point -
Launching the Paradox Journal ( hands up who else hates the word blog )
I knew from the planning stages of Paradox that some kind of publication was fundamental for me. Writing and photography are ways in which I evaluate information and thoughts, I like to document. Display. Collect (some would say hoard...)
But let’s start on a subject that has walls to contain it. Otherwise I could, and would meander endlessly through a myriad of topics.
We're beginning with a little something about this years London Coffee Festival, because as the barista calender goes it’s pretty much the Eid/ Christmas/ Diwali etc.
Now that the exhaustion has passed, or can no longer be blamed upon those four days that shot by with lightning speed we can look back and evaluate things properly.
Firstly, I should say that this post began entirely differently when I started. Then, when I was struggling with my tendency to overthink - Zain pointed me in the direction of James Hoffman's Vlog https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRs2r4MMo6s on the same subject.
So, if you haven't already watched it - off you go... Come back and finish this once you have.
Done? Yep, so, that put paid to that.... Although what Hoffman has to say is not word for word the same as what I had written- it’s far too close. And there’s no reason to repeat it when he put it all so eloquently. It’s better this way, I was worried I was going to come across too scathing...and while he can get away with it, I have more to prove and indeed lose. We are obviously in very different positions James and I...
However this gifts me an opportunity to look at it from another perspective. One that invites a solution to what it all boils down to.
The Festival was disappointing (🤭...there, I said it) And as we’ve caught up with people in the days since I’ve realised we are not alone in our thoughts. While there were exceptions of course, and we personally had an amazing time running workshops at the La Marzocco Kitchen, and brewing for an unbelievably quick hour with Hario at Brewed By Hand. However I felt an over all lacking of creativity, save for perhaps Square Mile and the perfectly orchestrated Hasbean Pop up, Made By Hand. A godsend when being in the actual “festival” overwhelmed you too much and sent you running...
I’m obviously missing out some of the good shit- forgive me. But I want to get back to the solution. Or rather, that twinkle I’ve noticed already in some peoples eyes... “Possibility” Why, as a self proclaimed artist have I stayed in the coffee industry so long? (Yeh, so I like coffee...) Seriously though the industry is full of creativity. And more over, filled with artists, musicians, writers, hell we are all over the shop. Isn’t it about time the London coffee people took some control back ?
Built something befitting of the spirit that London is meant to encapsulate and the reason so many people make the pilgrimage here from far and wide. We need to provide it ourselves as a community. And not just for the industry, I feel like it could offer us a way of genuinely connecting with the audience we serve to.
I for one believe the festival needs a little more real festival to it. And I want to see people I know showcasing not just their coffee talent but their other skills too. We need a fringe...
I’m done with being excited for an event that is never quite what I hope it will be.
Where do we begin ?...