Dear Pleb:

To start with the start is rational and to start with the end is unorthodox. I am irrational. So as not to keep you waiting, it ends with instant coffee at 4/78 Lebanon Gardens, Wandsworth, London, SW18 1RH. So about this tragic downfall into the consumption of instant coffee…“We’ve created Kenco Millicano to be just as easy to prepare as regular instant coffee. Simply add 1 to 2 teaspoons of coffee to your cup and add hot water, just off the boil.” Regular Instant-ly VILE coffee. To get to all this…

Jan 2012: On the First

Outside the van, New Year’s Day beckons the snow falling soft across the vineyard. Setting up the camping stove inside the van, I clink Mimosa filled cups with my dear friends. We wait for the scrambled eggs to cook and of course piping hot Italian espresso to finish breakfast. Sam and I hike our way through the vineyard and up the hill to an empty house. Turning around, we stand shoulder to shoulder in silence looking over the snow covered valley.

I wouldn’t mind having this some day,” Sam breaks the silence but even then, the thick snow muffles his voice. His use of “this” is vague but I somehow understand.

Rumbling further east in the van listening to The XX, the grey skies ease way for a crisp wintery sun to shine onto the small garden of the vintner and renowned Professor of Oenology, Fedor Malik. After a bit of wine tasting from his selection, he bids up a good year and expertly swings a machete down, slicing off the top of a bottle holding his own Prosecco creation. The bubbly crisp substance tastes heavenly in the cold Slovakian sunlight.

We stop again, this time in the middle of a forest, to brew more of the sumptuous Italian espresso before closing down the first of January with dinner in Bratislava.

February into October 2012: It’s a Blur

These months are filled with random insanities. I’m on the Berlin-Warsaw Express inventing “train-batting” and scrambling out of the carriage to avoid a flying stream of pink mess. I am poking out of the sunroof of a speeding car with a scarf wrapped around my face and Aviators covering my eyes – looking much like a modern day Texas bandit – in a Mille Miglia hot pursuit of a Ferrari, a Mercedes-Benz, and a Bugatti through the Tuscan hills. I am back on the streets of Paris feeling much at home and content. I am taking multiple cold showers per day in Tel Aviv and frequenting the likes of Rothschild 12 and Radio EPGB by night when I’m not murdering cockroaches with a toxic bug spray sold nowhere else in the world due to its severe health violations. I am in Portsmouth shaking hands with Jochen Mass and Bernd Schneider racing SilverArrows around the Goodwood Tracks. I am fired for the first time in my life, resulting in me standing on the shores of Provence.

November 2012: Productivity

After a few weeks of roaming around in PJs, it’s time to be creative. I wake up before ten-thirty to shower. The Axe Alaska body soap always reminds me of Japanese bath salts. I then suffer 25 push-ups to somehow convince myself that I’m not entirely a malnutritioned skeleton. I put my contacts in and force another 25. Deodorant and then a dress shirt and trous. I fix on one of my thin ties. My waistcoat follows. I apply a spray of ODIN No. 2 that’s supposed to “open up with rare mandarins from the Japanese province of Owari and freshly crushed grapefruit leaves.” I make myself an espresso and accompany it into The Office. In a productive mood, I roll up my sleeves and things start to happen.

I shoot a few creative people. I interview them afterwards. And then I post them online. I call it VOIX.

December 2012: A One Way Ticket

My mind is numb from the 1.99€ wine. It crosses my mind that I used to drink the likes of Sassicaia and Barolo. Now I can already feel the pains of a hangover brewing and I haven’t even checked in with my bed. This is slightly worrisome as I’m expected for Sunday “coffee & waffles” at ten. TEN?!?! I have another sip of wine and ring New York.

I can always count on her to answer with a hesitant question: “Helllooo?”

“Hey it’s me, how’s it going?”

My Euro-trash accented English that invariably confuses strangers, instantly gives me way: “Oh my God, Gabe! Hey, what’s going on?”

“Not much. Just called to say Hi. You?”

“Just about to meet a friend actually. Sorry Gabe, I’ve really got to go. But listen, maybe you can call me another time? I’m so sorry! Bye Gabe…”

The sharp automatic hang-up sound on Skype knocks through my brain leaving me in worse spirits. Why didn’t I go for the 3.50€ bottle? That was obviously the smarter choice. Even the conversation might have gone better as a result. I walk the length of The Castle twice. It takes me 13 minutes, checking my eyes in the bathroom mirror, gulping fresh air out the window, poking my head into the kitchen for water. I make myself an espresso and enjoy it on my third tour. It’s twenty past nine in the evening.

I lie down in the middle of an empty room with a green Eames rocker observing from the corner. The voice repeats over: “…I’ve really got to go….”

I book a one way to London.

Jan 2013: Starting Nondivisibly

As I expressed a few weeks back, I feel like the character in Knut Hamsun’s novel “Hunger,” just barely keeping it together to afford a meagre breakfast, one coffee a day, pasta for dinner, and a glass of red to ease the starving pains. It’s a reality that leans towards panic. It’s taxing on one’s sanity. “Going MENT-ILL.” But there’s somehow an ironic freedom to all of this. The hour is 00:00, the skyline lights up with fireworks. I lean out the window and celebrate with a gulp of my fresh-ginger honey tea meant to soothe my illness. I am most likely the only one in London not drinking champagne or wine or the like, but without health insurance, I am determined not to be diseased/deceased. Eventually the sounds die off and is replaced with the comforting pitter-patter of rain meeting roof shingles. With a simple ONE added to last year’s number, all the difference is made and I finally arrive (London-time) at 2013.

The first of January has no trace of 2012’s rainy grey gloom. The morning sunrise is to a crisp blue London sky. I fancy a delicious coffee and so count the coins left after topping up my Oyster Card from the previous day.

3.90£

I scour the cupboards in defeat and chance upon Kenco Millicano. From Italian espresso in the Slovakian countryside to…Kenco Millicano Instant Coffee. Oh save me! Quite the change in 365 days…

But let’s say it’s all for the better and my world is not doomed yet! At the very least, you’ll be hearing of The Kernel Brewery in London as well as some more designers from Berlin including the anticipated interview with Svenja Specht of Reality Studio. Also a piece on a Bruxellois laser-cut vase designer with legendary hair like a porcupine. Followed by Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin. So while I put down my cup of coffee and end this overview of the despicable number 2012, I get to work discovering fashion, food, and grand designs from the streets of London.

Cheers!

Until further notice, Your’s Truly,
GabrielDesigns