Diary of a Separation (Loneliness When Accompanied)

Is loneliness in a couple worse than being alone by yourself?

Friday 17th May 2019

Loneliness is scarier when we suffer it in the company of others. Being isolated on our own is horrible, but at least there’s the consolation of being alone with oneself. Shared loneliness is the pits.

I thought of that tonight as I was driving to the Rich Mix. My two formal relationships since moving out of S’s have been free of the clutter I brought to S’s and my relationship. For years the last thing I did before going to bed at night was either switch the computer or my mobile off (or both sometimes). The irony was that there wasn’t just one person feeling lonely upstairs, but also another one downstairs, slowly drifting away from the partnership, albeit unconsciously.

My first relationship post-separation was an attempt to address this issue and establish a sense of connection with my partner. A way to invest time and inject trust in our union. I’d like to believe we pulled it off, even if our relationship was never fully in the open. With Ao, there was hardly ever social media-checking or distractions. In that regard, it was another improvement.

Tiny steps, perhaps, but big ambitions.

As part of The Festival of Latin American Women in Arts or FLAWA for short, my friend Elaine Correa’s band WARA was playing at the Rich Mix. It’s always a pleasure to see Eliane and her gang on stage. The energy is superb and the crowd supportive. Elaine shared the bill with France-based, Cuban singer La Dame Blanche. She was definitely the business. A cigar-chomping, explosive mix of hip-hop, dancehall and reggae, this flautist and percussionist had the punters on their feet the whole time.

I even ended up on stage. Just don’t ask me how I got there.

Sunday 19th May 2019

Another FLAWA gig, this time at OMeara, near London Bridge. Liniker e os Caramelows was a much-cherished musical “discovery” tonight. I knew nothing about the band, other than they’d been knocking around for three or four years.

Fronted by Brazilian musician and poet Liniker Barros, Liniker e os Caramelows is a funky, sultry, slow-grooved powerhouse. Barros herself is an outspoken advocate for trans and queer rights. The result is an entrancing mix that keeps you guessing at what’s coming next and never disappoints. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert.

London-based, Cuban writer. Author of “Cuban, Immigrant, and Londoner”, to be published by Austin Macauley. Has written for The Guardian and Prospect.

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