And then there were all of you! Yes, you who had come from far and wide and not an ego in sight to attend the launch of Beneath The Shadows The Soul Walks which took place on Friday 12th October at the amazing venue, Shangri-La Tattoo Parlour, 52 Kingsland Road, Shoreditch, London E2. Did it really happen? Were you really there? Open the cover of the book, peek inside to remind yourself of what it was all about, now close your eyes and remember what fun it was. The kindness of you all has not escaped our notice nor the fact that many of you were inspired to fly in from locations as far as Boston, Dublin, Rome, Paris, Porto, Scotland, Brazil, Thailand, Malaysia, even as far as the wilds of Manchester! You came, you brought your love, acceptance and your support. It was a gorgeous glamour fest, some of you dressing to match the book, and some of you simply oozing style and generosity as you walked through the front door. Tiaras, medals, crowns, headdresses, piercings, tattoos even metal headgear that would serve as metal sculpture on its own, graced the rooms and extended the concepts of beauty deep into the night.
When Predrag and I began working on Beneath The Shadows The Soul Walks, we wanted to challenge current trends and through our images and words, celebrate the loveliness in everyone, at all ages, gender, style, type and appearance. We were honoured and blessed to discover in our quest, the purest of naked souls which echoed in the faces and bodies and stories in the book. Without them, there would be no challenge to current thinking and presentation. Without them, we would not have created this vision of soul magic.
Now, while we strive to move on, continuing in our call into the depths of our expression, we want to celebrate loudly and gladly acknowledge and thank each and every person and company who helped not only to produce the book, but also gave their every effort, freely and without hesitation to facilitate and create the spectacular launch of Beneath The Shadows The Soul Walks.
We want to thank and honour our special guests, who with their magical performances, mesmerized all the party: Peter Adams whose ballet solo captured our hearts, Helen Daniels whose voice reached deep and scratched our souls into submission, Ash Mukherjee whose specially created solo dance, infused passion through each cell like a shot of glamorous DNA, the graceful Hrafnhildur Benediktsdóttir whose silent sewing of silk into skin begged our engagement, Barney Ashton-Bullock who prepared the reading so sensitively and carefully, and finally the macabre and yet highly emotive performance from Nicola Canavan. All of them sprang from the pages to bring into the Parlour, exotic and strange beauty for all to experience.
Of course, no event is possible without a host of silent partners who together, crack open the stone and release the monkey. Lesley Chan, owner of the Shangri-La Tattoo Parlour, and party’s vivacious and delicious hostess (also responsible for the fabulous title tattoo done on Predrag during the launch) must be mentioned as it was her incredible generosity and patience over weeks of preparation, allowing her business to be invaded as we put everything together, Lesley you are a star. Julian Aschner is a man of miracles and mystery. Not only does he have a mind that’s difficult to rival but also without him, things would just not have materialized with the ease that they did. (Thank you also to his family for giving their time in preparations). The flower garden genius of Jérémy Martin was a gift and spectacle that linked the environment of the night back into the book as his arrangement was an installation in itself. Loukas Angelou’s calmness and perfect organization kept the evening’s events flowing smoothly. There were the delightful servers, that amazing tattooed cute bottom appearing from the Peruvian rug carrying the incense (sorry I couldn’t concentrate on anything else for a while) and our ‘heavy’ Hippo who did a great job protecting the door from problems (we had none). The ever effervescent Darius Meibodi and lovely Kate Hunter not only took care of book sales but also patiently answered the whims and needs of both Predrag and I. Where would we have been without Roberto Foddai and Katerina Mootich meeting and greeting and directing attendees with their charm and style as well as helping some of the performers prepare? And finally, a huge thank you to Marco Berardi for taking these exquisite photographs of the event.
It says a lot when sponsors step up to the plate in the world of the Arts. We thank with all our hearts, Lorraine of Rosy Lee Tea, London, The Drunken Monkey Dim Sum Eatery and Bar, Envino Organic Wines, Craft Czech Lager, Blaqua, The Pandorian and of course Shangri-La Tattoo Parlour.
Far from being surreal, it was a blessing to be surrounded by such an incredible group of people, yes, we are talking about you again, as you so clearly showed your appreciation for the beauty we have worked to create in the book, as we do in life daily. We know that some of you will be eating beans for a month or two after giving your support to us, without hesitation or reservation and once again, we thank you. We thank you for every part you have had to play small and large. To have so many of you believe in the love we wanted to present, and to give your love in return has been a wondrous thing.
From both of us, Predrag and myself, JL, THANK YOU!
Text: © JL Nash, 2012
Images: Peter M Adams and Ash Mukherjee performing during the book launch by Marco Berardi ©