Madrid, breakfast on bed, etc
Hi, my love. It’s a rainy (ish) day here in Amsterdam. We’ve returned after an absolutely glorious run of dates in Spain.
Before I talk about said beauty I want to thank all of you human beings for your responses last week. I’ve taken so many of them to heart and it also felt deeply gratifying to get a little worldwide ttalk hug.
(It tickles me every time to know that so many of you read this every week.)
(I love you! I love you a lot!)
One of my favorite responses came from my dear friend Danya. In true Jewish magnificence, she answered my question with a question:
I want to question the premise of your question: "How do we continue to work at this pace and also find time for self care when many of our former self care modes don’t work anymore?" :) CAN we work at this pace AND find time for self care? Just another thought path to travel down...
There it is, man.
For the record, I completely agree with Danya (and the many of you who privately expressed similar thoughts). When I put out the ttalk last week I had a whole paragraph about just that. It more or less said that if I kept going at the pace I was going, I was headed for some sort of breakdown.
I took out the paragraph because honestly my parents and both grandmothers read this ttalk now? And I don’t want them to worry about me. Because we, too, are also truly Jewish. So, to those who birthed me and those who birthed them: I love you and I’m fine!
(But also if I keep working at the pace I was working last week I’m not going to be fine.)
The good news is that once I recognized that last week, if for no other reason than I didn’t want my nana (hey queen!), savta (hello hello!), or parental units worrying, I took major steps. I delegated work to our team. I did the hardest thing for me to do: Let other people make some mistakes. I booked in a slot for a weekly conditioning treatment for my curls. I bought another book. I read that book.
And, of course, we went out on tour, which fixes so many problems for me.
Kind of all the problems, actually. I often describe my experience with life as a kid at the end of a kiddie roller coaster saying, “Is that it?!” I always want things to be brighter, more exciting, more honest.
I used to engage in dangerous and unhealthy behaviors to combat this. Thankfully that destruction is behind me: I’m able to find the wonder in life as it is now, without any enhancements or drama.
But staying in one place still drives me up the wall. I wonder sometimes if the level and ferocity of my work is to try and avoid that feeling.
(Even in typing it, I know that’s more or less the case.) (Agh!)
Tour helps. It runs at my kind of pace. The lack of sleep, built out schedule and rigorous bodily upkeep of being a touring singer don’t grate on me in the slightest. Each time the plane takes off the ground my body just … resets.
I grab the sleep while I can in the air. I land rejuvenated.
I thrive in this alternate tour universe. In said universe, you’re picking up your world and shifting it to a new country every day. Many people I speak to tell me they can’t imagine a life like that.
Color me the opposite. Though I once reluctantly lived another way until I could support myself with my art, I now can’t imagine a life where I’m not touring.
I don’t want to.
I love planes, trains, itineraries.
I love early lobby calls or luxurious late ones where you can grab breakfast in the city you’re in.
I love transfers from the airport where you learn the life story of the badass person in that city who is helping run the show.
I love the stage, I love the venues, I love meeting new people every day.
I love how a set shifts and gels the more you do it.
And oh god do I love hotels. Bath robes. Slippies. Big ol’ beds.
(Where, if you want, you can eat your meals on your bed while watching Star Trek.) (Tour: No fear of mice.)
(Tour: No need to clean.)
Eating meals in bed is a new thing that little t recently started by special request. We call it “breakfast on bed,” regardless of which meal it is. Observe the excellence of 9 pm breakfast on bed below, with glorious Lebanese delivery in Madrid the other night.
As far as I am concerned breakfast on bed is an advertisement for tour life in and of itself.
But, of course there’s always more, like the beautiful reality of a new city every day. The ability to land in Barcelona and take a short walk to the Gaudi buildings before soundcheck.
Or wake up early, do your morning pages and go for a stroll in Malaga.
(At some point during that walk in Malaga I got a little lost)
(I ended up in a tiny and narrow alley where I thought, “This may… end up how I die”)
(And when I exited, no lie, I saw a store called “talia fashion”)
(A hilarious very.. butt centric store)
(It was too much)
(So much so that I made José come back with me to document after the show)
Every so often the tour is routed to a city you haven’t been to yet. A true joy.
You fall deeply in love with this city. You feel exuberant joy and slight rage that no one has told you how excellent this city is yet. This happened to me years ago on our first run in Istanbul. It happened the first time I sang in Brussels. And it happened to me this week again.
(Hello, Madrid. I’m talking about you.)
Oh my god.
Were you, my dear ttalk family, also not aware that Madrid is the greatest place around!? Or were you just keeping it a secret from me?!?!? I feel like my whole life up until this week has been a lie. But I will allow it. Because at least now I know how amazing Madrid is.
Madrid, Madrid, Madrid.
Open thoroughfares turn into maze like side streets. Quirky coffee shops. Treasure troves of homemade clothing. Leather workers, colorful pancake/cheesecake shops (I’m not lying! that was! a shop!), perfect bars serving perfect tapas.
José describes Madrid as “inside out,” which is a genius way to say it. Inviting and also self contained. A feast for the eyes. The street is as much part of the storefronts as the inside.
Madrid is vibrant. And alive. And what really, really stayed with me is that every single space you see has immense character. The part of me that mourns the LA-ization/corporatization of every small business lately was just dancing on air in Madrid. There was none of that nonsense. As such, I wanted to walk into every single place I saw.
I didn’t take any photos because I was just in heaven. I feel bad now that I didn’t. I hope you can imagine it from my words.
I did grab this one of José in a sprawling magnificent store selling only art books and postcards, though. (What is that store description! Come on! Ma! Drid!)
I bought about 100 of those postcards. (at what point does one have a postcard… problem?) The promoter also got word that I have a postcard problem, so he sent me to a store that only sold authentic art / postcards (!) from local artists.
I died with happiness. I bought a lot more postcards. And then it was time for the show.
This was the third show in a fully sold out Spain run. I was already riding pretty high, because we’re talking venues like this magnificence below in Malaga.
There was one really special moment that night where it was just me, José and Rich backstage. Rich and José have been touring for over a decade, and I’ve been in the picture for almost seven or so years myself. We are family by now.
If anything, the insanity and stress and tension of COVID tour has only made the three of us stronger. Some day we’ll all be back to normal. But I’ll still remember when these two became even more of my family than I ever thought they could. I snapped this photo to immortalize.
I’m so fucking proud of José and myself and of all of us for keeping it together. As it stands we are one of the only groups I know that is consistently internationally touring. That requires rigorous and stringent safety policy. It makes tour a lot less fun. But even then I still know that our life is a privilege, the kind of pure pure joy that makes me smile like the below photo from instagram user Nieves Luque.
Smiles turn into sleep turn into new experiences. We are home now, five or so more days.
(The right amount of time for me.)
The wüdbürner is burning. José is making bo luc lac because he is determined to win the greatest husband alive contest. Later tonight I’ll walk to Albert Heijn, buy a bunch of stamps (because one of my videos went semi viral on tiktok?! what is life?!) and mail out a whole fuck ton of postcards.
We’ll be here for the week, then head out again. I’m going to cherish the off days and be kind to myself. Thank you for being here with me. I adore you.
Till next week