I'm a woman

I'm a woman
Photos copyright Laurence Gouault
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Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Temptation of Saint Anthony by Stevie Haston

Hello, I set myself a few rules when I started this blog and I don’t know whether I’ll keep them. The first was to try and keep this blog free from the usual advertorial stuff, the second not to boast too much. Now then boasting is an integral part of my psyche and it is something I have no wish to deny. I like a pat on the back and it helps with the training some times, but and it’s a big but what is truly worth a good pat? Doing great routes is that worth a pat, a small pat? By great I mean grandiose, gorgeous to the eye, and maybe tricky like a difficult piece of music. So, I can’t sing, I sing in private because it is so bad I don’t wish to inflict it upon the ears of the non deaf, awful singer would be a compliment, on the other hand I climb passably well, especially this year. Is it worth a pat? Many people in my family are artistic, a disproportionate amount in fact, there hands seem to just make things materialize out of thin air. Not me, an average artist, I used to draw well but when I looked at the others work I would tear mine up. Do you like colour? I love colour, I dream in colour and hear the most beautiful music too, do you know how sad it is to be nul at the things you adore. Can you imagine Van Gogh flipping burgers, or Pavarotti working in a machine shop, Noureev brewing and consuming moonshine. There are cliffs so outrageous beautiful that they make me cry just to look at them, to climb on them is the supreme gift and joy of life, to climb well on them is ambrosia, the food of the gods. I used to snowboard a lot, most winters more than a hundred days, my climbing sponsors used to go ape with me. I used to do a couple of mixed climbs a winter (good ones admittedly to keep my sponsors happy and then bugger off looking for powder, the light fluffy stuff off dreams. Waking up in the morning my legs would feel the swell and roll of the snow just like a sailor has his sea legs, to cut through a meter of powder on a long board is like looking at Van Gogh's painting of sunflower while listening to Beethoven’s fifth 5th. There was the odd day on the Grand Montet on the Hearse during a storm so the norms would be huddling in the cafeteria, when the loon riders would come out, the guys who you just wanted to watch in awe at their majestic raging speed. So switch to climbing and go to one of the great cliffs and catch the show, watch riders of the huge roofs, aerial kings, gibbons. That’s a pleasure as good as any, If you ask one of these acrobats of the anti gravitational art if its worth a pat on the back they will probably shrug and say ‘yea training went good this last year and I m on form’. Shrug and smile. In Italy you sometimes get applause instead of a pat on the back , or get called Maestro Italy a lovely place, home of the sincere compliment. So what’s my boast today then? Well I have been climbing for ever, and love it to death, and still search and pray for those days when training and desire are matched with fury and passion and you do your best, and you are in the zone that makes magic possible.