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When two slow hunches collide


Allal is a unique character.  We met whilst I was out in Morocco visiting music festivals and dancing.  


We head out, it is late afternoon and the heat from the day is beginning to ease.


There is no plan.


We are drawn to the large Kasbah on top of a hill. It dominates the landscape. From the top you can see for miles, across the ocean of date palms, a green sea, moving in the gentle breeze from the snow capped mountains in the far distance. 


Allal is as always himself, larger than life, stories and anecdotes flow in a constant verbal stream. He's very engaging and I was enjoying his performance. He was born to perform.


As we were getting there, the clouds came rolling in big, dark, black clouds and when a storm comes in Morocco, particularly in the Draa, it's not like in the UK where there's a few spots of rain and there's a little drizzle. It is always announced where the wind. 


It is always announced. 


These are the storms that bypass the high Atlas and so when they come, they roar down this valley and you get a huge flush of cool air.


On this occasion, that air was fresh air and you saw the rain coming. This intense rain coming across and so all of the palm trees start to bow and to nod and to dance and to swirl. The birds are flying and the storm comes, so we hunker down to the side of this Kasbah and we wait for the storm to come and to pass and fresh rains hit your face, hit my face. It was a scene of such beauty that quite literally I thought my heart would burst. I thought, I never want to leave this space.


What I would learn later is that that space is the thing that is within you, not without but at that moment, I never want to leave here. 


I talked to Allal about my dreams, about where I had been, about the breakdown of my relationship, about the pain in my family. There was a strange ability for him, or the place, or something.  Allowed me to let go. 


Allal will often, when I get stuck, when I hold on, I get caught up.  He will say, "Cough it up, let it out, let it out of your body.”  Just talk and don't hold back. Don't think about what you're saying. It's a great practice. It's a very freeing practice. Just free form, let it out, no judgment.  Unthinking writing, artistic journalling, or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) journaling. This is a cathartic experience. It's a human experience. I think channeling feeling and emotion and thought into physical performance is another method for me, to get out of your head and into another realm.  That is one of the essences of life. 


We are tucked up next to this kasbah with this rainstorm coming down I said, 


"I just want to work in the arts. I want to find an organisation where I can go and work, where I can add value, where I can feel that what I'm doing is making a difference, where I can personally be nurtured from that exchange in that experience. To teach arts”


He said, 


"Well, why don't you build one? Why don't you make it?" 


hesitantly, but also with confidence, 


"Well, yes. I could." 

And I was thinking, 


"Yes, I could." 

I could. 


He said, 


"Just build it. 

Just do it why are you waiting? 

Don't wait." 


“Go for a walk; cultivate hunches; write everything down, but keep your folders messy; embrace serendipity; make generative mistakes; take on multiple hobbies; frequent coffeehouses and other liquid networks; follow the links; let others build on your ideas; borrow, recycle, re-invent.” 


Steven Johnson (2010)

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