Idle issue#4

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Idle



Idle Magazine


Cover by Nicola Abraham Huge thanks to everyone that submitted and worked on the creation of issue 4 of Idle.

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Contents 7.

Editor's note Can I call this an Editor's note?

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For Daniel For a stranger Roos met on her travels

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On the buses Jess explains her awe of hidden stories from passers-by

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Missing ring Ophelia recreates a missing wedding ring

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Tiny Greenland village The Greenlandic island of Ittoqqortoormitt

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Don't talk to Strangers Marley's experience with meeting people from the Internet

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Moonfish A short poem by Maria

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Aqui vive Bembi Bembi, his chicken and his home

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Why do you call them a Stranger? Chris shows us some of the strangers he met while travelling

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Maybe she's an Umbrella Maker Maya's story of the mysterious Umbrella Maker

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Blood Moon Beautifully intricate words and drawings by Danielle

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People are beautiful Taking chances and jumping for opportunities can lead to great things

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The hiker in Iceland Pratiksha's story of how she overcame her shyness

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How Baseball saved my life Dave Hilton's double hit sparked something for the future

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Black roots Getting back to your roots

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For Bryson When the kindess of a stranger means a great deal – a story of Bryson Malone

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Stars, Stripes and Maple leaves A great journey through the U.S and Canada

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Firehole Canyon Loop A road trip provides chances with the unfamilair

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W e l c o m e t o t h e f o u r t h i s s u e

Welcome to the fourth issue of Idle words by Chloe Ray

Can I call this an Editor's note? The fourth issue has finally arrived and it's taken its time, so I will keep this short and sweet. For this issue we looked at the idea of strangers, and what others thought about them. We asked for encounters, whether funny or humbling, and as always the response and stories we received were a pleasure to read and feature in Idle. From beautiful one-night encounters to long distance friendships, you will find a variety of musings. I was told from a young age that I shouldn't talk to strangers, yet throughout my life strangers have taught me a lot. They’ve appeared in fleeting moments of madness, leaving some sort of impression on my life. They’ve become my friends, brothers and sisters. They've taught me to at least try and give someone a few minutes in my day to listen or to help, and that those random acts of kindness are appreciated. My advice – we should work united, together, as one.

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F o r

D a n i e l

Love and affection, the perfect being, like paper and pen, but more indwelling. It's to listen, while deep within us, we get stuck in the darkness, we see what is to see deep inside, we hear what truth is. What happens when we are together? When we look into each other’s eyes? When we smile quietly? When we sing a song?

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For Daniel words by Roos Muis and picture by Unknown

For a stranger Roos met on her travels. It is the briefness of a stranger's presence in your life that can make the meeting so meaningful. As in life, the fact that it will end gives all of it so much beauty. To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life. But to feel the affection that comes from those whom we do not know, from those unknown to us, that is something still greater and more beautiful because it widens the boundaries of our being, Pablo Neruda wrote. I know that now. On the day I met you, I had swum in lucent water and climbed a green hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. I had been wandering through the old part of the city when I glanced through the window of a small bakery and saw you looking up. Your generous smile invited me inside. When you heard that I would only be in the city for two more days, you told me to come to the fountain that evening so you could show me the places you loved. I remember my father once told me about a kind of moss that exists only because of a combination of circumstances that makes it grow at a particular place at a particular moment. Its presence depends on the coincidence of the cave’s angle to the sun, but if the hills on the western shore are any higher the sun would set before reaching the cave. I felt in awe of all the synchronicities that make life possible. That make love possible. In exchange for such a gift, all I could do was to live in reply. It made me return to the old city in the evening and let me wait for you at the fountain where later that night you would gently kiss me goodbye. I can still remember the way the setting sun fell on the tie that held your black curly hair tightly bound together. With eyes wrinkled from laughter you sat down close to me on the fountain’s edge. Your glance extended into a touch that grew into an embrace. After a

long journey through an unknown land, I had walked into your tender arms. A calm familiarity that reminded me of home. The air was full of promise. I closed my eyes in silence, surrendering to all of it. The time I would spend with you was always, by definition, strictly finite. In each other’s lives, we were just passing through. After we said goodbye, I thought perhaps I had imagined you and you had imagined me. Two bodies dancing in the space of a story where the beginning could be everywhere and the endings are ongoing. The following evening I fill a book of poetry for you with rose petals that I find on the paving stones of a street that still carries the warmth of the day. It lingers and soothes. When I kneel down to pick the petals up I look at the deep red colours that grace my skin. It is my unfolding that I hold in my hands, that I press between the words of a language that I cannot understand. I leave the book at the bakery and walk past the fountain, the hill, the sea. Every moment I think the light couldn’t move me more deeply, and every moment that passes it does. When you embraced all of me into a warm, selfless acceptance there was neither past nor future. There was only an invitation to love this one moment ferociously, not in spite of the fact that it would end, but because of it. And so we live. We are each other’s light before dusk. Iridescent, startling, lucid, gone. See more of Roos' work at roosmuis.tumblr.com/

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Tiny Greenland village words and photography by Nicola Abraham

Nicola's experience on the Greenlandic island of Ittoqqortoormitt. I was volunteering in a tiny, extremely remote settlement called Ittoqqortoormiit (quite a mouthful… it took me the duration of my stay to pronounce it properly!). Ittoqqortoormiit is a place in complete isolation, this means there are absolutely amazing unspoiled, peaceful natural surroundings and Arctic wildlife. It is the northernmost settlement on the east coast of Greenland, and with the only access being by helicopter or ship, it’s very hard to leave. Most of settlement will stay in Ittoqqortoormiit all their lives, so we aimed to bring a bit of fun and inspiration to the kids during the long, nightless summer. The involvement we had with the community was great. They were all so welcoming and the children especially loved being a part of our project and communicating with us despite the language barriers. Having grown up in a small town in the south of England with a population bigger than that of all of Greenland; the most intriguing part of this experience was Ittoqqortoormiit’s slow transitioning in regards to their culture. There is an apparent shift from the traditional Greenlandic culture and values towards a more westernised, modernised way of life. The majority of income still comes from living off the land through fishing and hunting. However, media influence and Denmark’s heavy involvement has lead to the children of Ittoqqortoormiit having similar influences and role models as children in England. Most also have access

to the latest technology such a smart phones, yet less of what I myself would consider essential: education past the age of 14, dentistry, or fresh fruit and veg. There is only one ship a year that brings the town fresh produce, which makes this a huge event within the community. 
 Those I volunteered with were complete strangers to begin with, all from very different cultural backgrounds, but together we went into this very small, out of the way settlement. We had to integrate ourselves into the community. As volunteers, we all got so much from one another, we formed very close friendships throughout the project, our first bonding experience being swimming in the Arctic seas together, and a very close polar bear encounter! The impact we could make within the settlement was dependent on us all working very closely as a team. When it came to the local community, the dynamics were very different. The children were all very shy, yet curious when they met us, but by the end of the project, really opened up, and would chat non-stop to us despite our complete lack of understanding Greenlandic. All in all there is an air of selflessness and a great community spirit in this town, where unsurprisingly everybody knows everyone and has seemingly endless time to give and just appreciate the simplest things in life. See more of Nicola's work at flickr.com/ nixter121

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M o o n f i s h

Moonfish words and photography by Maria WindschĂźttel

A short poem by Maria. Moonfish, there you hung on my gloomy firmament, / While the wind sang and the wind took our songs. We’re standing on facing ocean shores, staring at each other. See more of Maria's work at wolfwendy.com

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Why do you call them a Stranger?

Why do you call them a Stranger? words and photography by Chris Moody

Chris shows us some of the Strangers he met during his travelling. Some he became close to and some he knew only for the night.

Honestly we are all strangers, and when does one become or overcome being a stranger? Do we consider the people we haven't met yet strangers or is it only once we know of their existence yet we know nothing but something about them. It's odd how a 'stranger' is often given a bad reputation... when we ourselves are strangers and always will be. Some strangers turn in to your life partner, some strangers are nothing to you besides someone you just walked past, some strangers you'll never even know of and

sometimes you will feel that you are a stranger to yourself. Is it strange that a person opens up their life to you when you just met? Is that why you call them a stranger? Why do you call them a stranger? A stranger is you, a stranger is me, a stranger is them, a stranger is the man I met at the beach and spent the evening with inviting me to live in his van, a stranger is the bus riders I met on a greyhound across the country, a stranger is no one, a stranger is the old woman working at her little

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shop, a stranger is the man you just walked past, a stranger is now your best friend, a stranger is growing inside of you. We are all strangers. See more of Chris' work at cargocollective.com/chrismoody


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Why do you call them a Stranger?

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Why do you call them a Stranger?

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B l o o d

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Blood Moon words and illustrations by Danielle Tweedie

Beautifully intricate words and drawings by Danielle. The sun, The moon. Like long lost lovers, strangers, almost. Oh sun. Oh moon. Where have thou been? We embrace once more, with a blood tinted glow. Brief, not forever, and we are strangers once more. See more of Danielle's work at danielletweedie.tumblr.com

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B l o o d

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illustration: sun

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illustration: moon

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illustration: lunar eclipse

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The hiker in Iceland words and photography by Pratiksha Kulkarni

Pratiksha's story of how she overcame her shyness. As a child, growing up in India, we are taught not to talk to strangers. But as I grew up I found it a bit absurd. Because we are born in the world full of strangers and we slowly get acquainted to everyone. Even the love of our life is stranger to us before we meet. Contrary to what I was taught, I made friends with strangers all my life. We

all have school and college friends but in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) we have train and bus friends too. These are the people complete stranger to us and sometimes become good friends for life. I always feel curious about the story that a stranger might tell. But at same time I’m shy and I’m always hesitant to break the ice.

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However my recent trip to Iceland helped me overcome my shyness. While we were driving around the country we stayed in local guesthouses. That gave me a good chance to meet people from around the world and also the local hosts. We even offered rides to hitch hikers. On one cold rainy day we picked up a hitchhiker


from Akureyry to Hverir. She was a travel blogger from Hungary and it was her first day of hitch hiking alone after her boyfriend went back home. We chatted with her until we reached the Hverir. After dropping her off, we went to see the geothermal area. The rain was pouring and we were wet and cold, so we decided to go

See more of Pratiksha's work at alwaysinsearchof.blogspot.co.uk

back to hotel. But at the main road we saw the girl was still waiting for the next ride, in cold rain. When she saw us she felt relieved that we fetched her again. We dropped her to her camping site and she thanked us for our help. And for that, I felt happier in my heart‌

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Black roots words and photography by Arnaud Ele

Getting back to your roots. I was born in Cameroon and I came to Europe when I was 5 years old. I just returned from a road trip on the way to my roots! I had the chance to meet people who have a completely different life from mine. In a small village near YaoundÊ I spent a while in the house of an old man of 116 years! He took the time to tell me his story and that of his ancestors. I felt very close to him, even though I’d only met him once. He taught me the value of simple things, the wealth and power of nature. You can view a small film about Arnaud's trip on vimeo vimeo.com/137181261 or via Facebook at facebook.com/ arnaudelenadiatarra

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Stars, Stripes and Maple leaves

Stars, Stripes and Maple leaves words and photography by Julie Drummen

A great journey through the U.S and Canada. On April 1st 2015, our adventure started: my boyfriend and I were off traveling for three and a half months across the States and Canada. We had been planning our trip for months, deciding where to go and saving up carefully. That evening we left from Gatwick, both carrying a heavy backpack and holdall bag, eager to leave England for a while, to go exploring. On our way to America, we made a pit stop for a night in the Icelandic town of KeflavĂ­k, not too far from the capital (not going to lie, it was cheaper that way). It was a bit of a shock getting off the plane and seeing a white landscape, as we definitely weren't prepared for such cold. However, the town looks out on the icy mountains in the North Atlantic Ocean, so I was willing to put up with the negative temperature for a bit. The next day, after a six hour flight, we landed on American territory. We planned to travel from the East to the West coast and to see as much as we could along the way. Our trip took us from Washington DC, to New York, Boston, Niagara Falls, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, all the way up the Californian coast to Santa Cruz, San Francisco and last but not

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least, Banff in Canada. In between these places we also saw a lot of countryside and beautiful national parks. It still astonishes me how vast this country actually is, being used to European sizes. During our trip, we used a volunteering organization, called HelpX (short for Help Exchange). This is something my parents pointed out to us, as we've been using it at our home in France for a while. If you haven't heard of it yet, I highly recommend you have a look! It's kind of like a working holiday, where you help people out, in exchange for food and accommodation. Not only do you save a lot of money, but you also meet the most wonderful people. People who are total strangers to start off with, end up feeling like close friends, or even family. We worked on a large number of projects: from weeding and planting flowers, to looking after animals and painting a whole house. The projects completely vary from home to home, which makes it more fun. We were also lucky enough to stay with some talented cooks, who prepared us the most delicious meals. I dare say we even turned vegetarian during the first month of our trip! (Yep, in the US. Who would've thought...).


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Stars, Stripes and Maple leaves

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Stars, Stripes and Maple leaves

Our journey did not always go as planned. During our first ever HelpX in New York, I managed to block someone's toilet upon arrival and flood the whole bathroom. We also got off at the wrong metro stop in Chicago, which left us stranded for a while in a pretty dodgy neighbourhood. Later it turned out that this was one of the most dangerous areas of the city, which one of our new friends referred to as ''the hood''. Half way down our trip, practically all my money was stolen from my card, in Las Vegas we got pulled over by police for driving without our lights on, in L.A. we stayed in a haunted hotel with a gruesome history and not far from San Francisco, someone casually flashed a gun at us, tucked in the back of his trousers. Despite the occasionally strange and scary moments, (which do make some pretty good stories for when you return home), I think back of this trip as one of the best things I have done so far. It is amazing to see places you wouldn't come across as a tourist and to meet new people, who are welcoming, open and trusting, with whom you share meals, stories and laughter. Furthermore you also give back by lending them a hand, which is very rewarding. When I look at my pictures, I relive these moments in my head and I cannot wait to do it again. Have a nice day y'all! For those who are interested, go check out: www.helpx.net and to see more of Julie's work go to juliedrummen.tumblr.com

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Firehole Canyon Loop words and photography by Jade Leetz

Every road trip provides you the chance to interact with the unfamilar – in views and people. Not too long ago, my friend Samantha and I drove some 30 hours out West to experience Yellowstone and Grand Teton together for the first time. I’ve always found that road trips provide an incredible opportunity to interact with the unfamiliar, and this trip was not unlike the rest. Upon our late afternoon arrival into Yellowstone, Samantha and I set up camp and drove out to Old Faithful. We turned onto Firehole Canyon Loop, not realizing there was a swimming hole up ahead. This discovery was an exciting one because we missed an opportunity to swim in Grand Teton earlier in the week. The rocks were

sharp and difficult to walk on, so many of the tourists sat along the canyon wall and let the current pull their legs. Samantha and I waited until golden hour approached, sitting on a rock overlooking the river. A group of three girls swam side-by-side along the wall of the canyon. We each took a series of photos and proceeded to find our way back to camp. See more of Jade's work at flickr.com/photos/jadehannahrae

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On the buses words and illustration by Jess Hinsley

Jess explains her awe of hidden stories from passers-by. I have always been in awe of the profuse amount of hidden stories in the world. Myself, my friends and my family have such a vast amount of stories, ideas and dreams within each of us. I’m often struck by the idea that we are surrounded by an incomprehensible number of stories when sat on a bus, or gazing over a town, or peering up at passing houses. It’s truly aweinspiring. We will never know these stories, ideas and dreams, and we will never know these people. See more of Jess' work at jesshinsley.com

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Missing ring words and photography by Ophelia Mikkelson

Ophelia recreates a missing wedding ring. In April saw a hand-written lost notice in a barbershop window, it read: WEDDING RING LOST 90 YEAR OLD GOLD PH: 4456035. Taking a photograph of the notice I continued walking. I kept on thinking about the missing ring, what it may have looked like, who the person was who had lost it, and

how old their hands were... I began making copies of the ring forming it in pale pink plasticine and then in wax, wondering if any of them resembled the original. Choosing one, I had it cast in bronze. When I wear it, the (replacement) ring, I think about the person that lost it, although I do not know them, I wonder about their hands still and if the place the place on their finger is pale and indented from where the ring once sat. See more of Ophelia's work at opheliamikkelson.com

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Don't talk to Strangers words and photography by Marley Hutchinson

When Marley's experience of talking to Strangers, over the internet, turned into something amazing.

I feel like everyone's parents used to tell them, “Don’t talk to strangers." Before a certain time, a stranger was always someone who you might experience in your immediate perception - and then the Internet came around. I was then told, “Especially don’t talk to strangers on the internet!" Of course the phrase has its merits when you’re a child, but if you grow up being overly cautious your whole life of the potential dangers of every person you may encounter randomly, then you also shut yourself off to all the potential experiences and the great things that can come from them. From a young age, I felt the need to expand my experience of the world. Growing up in a small quiet town in the south coast of England, the local surroundings didn’t seem to be enough for me. Where most people around me were satisfied with remaining in their hometown, I would feel almost like a

butterfly caught in a migration pattern, with the burning desire to travel and move from place to place and to not entirely be sure of why. Ever since I was a child I have had a particular interest in America, most likely influenced through a narrow window of perception through films, television and photographs. Like every photographer out there, after getting my first camera, my interest for the medium grew exponentially. After looking for a place to post my images and get advice, I was delighted to find a photography subsection on a gaming forum I had frequented a few years prior. On there, photographers could post their photographs and get feedback from other members, discuss various photographic topics, and post and discuss inspiring works from other photographers. As members posted their photographs, I would start to learn a little more about each photographer - where they lived,

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how old they were, their photographic style e.t.c. Their geographic locations spanned across many countries, from the UK, America, Australia, and across many countries in Europe and Asia. As my awareness of them grew, so did theirs of me, and the more committed members of the forum began to correspond through private messages and social media. One of these members was an American photographer named Steve Otto. Many nights were subsequently spent bonding over our interest for photography and the differences in our cultures. After expressing a wish to visit America, he kindly invited me to stay in his family home in Dayton, Ohio. It was finally time to travel west! After touching down in Dayton, I left the airport to experience a humidity unlike any other I’ve experienced before. Sat on a bench in the blazing Midwestern heat, I awaited for the arrival of my


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Internet buddy. Steve met me at the airport, with this being the first time I had heard his voice or saw him outside of a photograph. From the first day of my trip, I was thrown into Midwestern American life. It was as if I was in England one minute, blinked, and then suddenly found myself half way across the world in a friend circle composed of unfamiliar people, (one of whom is now my long distance girlfriend of 2 years!) This unique opportunity allowed me to experience and photograph America from an intimate perspective, seeing it through a window of which most tourists only get a glimpse. My visit solidified Steve and I’s friendship, and we have remained very close friends ever since - with me returning to the states twice more to visit and also with me returning the favour and hosting him in London. Although I was the first on the forum to travel intercontinentally to meet another member, I wasn’t the last. My first trip served as a catalyst for other members to begin travelling across the world to meet one another, allowing other members to take fresh pictures, make new friends and experience different cultures. All of these pictures of people and places were captured as a result of the kindness of one stranger over the Internet, who in turn became a friend. See more of Marley's work at marleyhutchinson.co.uk

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Aqui vive Bembi words and photography by Camille Rouzaud

Bembi, his chicken and his home. Bembi was asleep with his pet, a hen, around the bed. The bed was in front of the non-door in the middle of all this kid games, cd players and a whole bunch of things. Some were organized but most weren’t. Bembi lives in a Caribbean Island – where he says films were shot there – and he collects things that he likes. For a lot of people, a beautiful view is the pure finest. But most of the time it costs us dearly. However Bembi lives, in an absolute mess, for zero bucks. He has an amazing view in front of the bay and off behind the mountain range with no building cutting off the panorama. It's large and quiet and there is a yard for his hen to run freely. At first I didn't know who was living in this strange space. But the place attracted me. As banal as its sounds, meeting new people randomly gives you different images and perspectives. Bembi has no money, no windows, no electricity but he does have a beautiful view. See more of Camille's work at camillerouzaud.com

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Maybe she's an Umbrella Maker words and photography by Maya Beano

Maya's story of the mysterious Umbrella Maker. Her oversized salmon pink beanie caught my eye - it looked so monstrous on her it fell a few millimetres short of engulfing her gaunt cheeks. A stark gamine, she waltzed her way in and nonchalantly laid her bag near my coffee. Malnutrition signs aside, the salmon pink hat was a perfect match for her bronzer, and beneath the veneer of cosmetics she hid a classic beauty. She started taking off her white waterproof jacket and pointed to the only free chair in the shop, “Can I sit here? I’m not going to order anything – I’m just escaping the rain.” We were all just escaping the rain. A thunderstorm was brewing, clearing the streets in the Altstadt of all its visitors. How dare they venture outside on such an unsympathetic day?

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I had rushed into the first coffee shop in sight after snapping my umbrella in half. I shall call her Anja. Anja sat down opposite me and started shaking her umbrella under the table. She explained to me how she usually revelled in the rain, but that she had almost got blown away that day. I nodded agreeably and shared with her the story of my umbrella’s fate. She brought up hers from under the table and spent a few minutes trying to show me how offset the canopy was. Her eyes focused inordinately on the details of its anatomy, which only made me imagine her designing umbrellas in a past life. It suited her, I thought, a dainty artisanal job like making jewellery... or umbrellas.


Every time she lifted her delicate head, however, her attention faltered. Aware of my own blue demeanour, it struck me that she looked equally despondent. Her intense focus was quickly replaced by a blank stare, a switch in spirits which was all too recognisable. I did not address this – the sky, in all its thunder and glory, was painful enough. The corners of her mouth turned a little as we exchanged some weather related anecdotes, and the more she spoke, the more rounded her face appeared. Her cheeks, albeit a little less chiselled than before, were eternally saved from predictability by dozens of caramel freckles. Despite her seemingly refined mannerisms, she knocked over my coffee as she waved her arms about trying to

illustrate one of her stories. Alas, she was not an umbrella maker. How long does it take to truly get to know someone? My encounter with a stranger in a coffee shop left me pondering the universality of my own dreams and fears. “When I was a child,” I said to her, “I used to pull my bed covers over my head when there was a thunderstorm outside. Actually, I used to do that all the time just in case there were monsters in the room.” “I still do that!” she exclaimed. See more of Maya's work at flickr.com/mbeano

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People are beautiful words and photography by Shaun Flint

Taking chances and jumping for opportunites can lead to great things. I first came to Norway a few years back, I got lucky and struck gold, found some work in a seasonal business which employs people from all over the world. It's a fantastic mixing pot. I've made many strange friends with the craziest ideas, we make ambitious plans over a few drinks, which we then go through with the next day, slightly hungover. It always ends up wonderful, full of jokes and laughter. People are beautiful. See more of Shaun's work at flickr.com/shaunshaunone

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How Baseball saved my life words and illustration by Geoffrey Bunting

When Dave Hilton hit a double back in 1978, it sparked something for Murakami and, in the years that followed, helped Geoffrey too.

In 1978 Haruki Murakami sat in the bleachers of Jingu Stadium watching a baseball game when Dave Hilton hit a double and Murakami realised in that instant that he could write a novel. In 2009 I read The Wind-up Bird Chronicle for the first time, starting a now six year love affair with Murakami’s writing, and in that instant realised that the absurdity and surrealism in my life, mind, and writing, were completely appropriate – thus ending years of uncertainty. For those that know me it would be hard to believe that I used to be pretty uncool. When I was eighteen I was living alone with no life, no friends, and in love with a woman (let’s call her B.) that had spent the previous four years ruining my life and would continue to do so for the next four. I was struggling through the composition of my first novel, the writing – and reading – of which could be likened to wading through a mire in shoes two sizes too big, all the time wondering whether I really wanted to write, play music, or act – despite not being good enough at any of them. To say I was lost would be clichéd, yet entirely true. As far as I was concerned I was just a flat consciousness lost in a colourless world, looking for something solid; trying to find some real data to grasp hold of. Yet I found none, so instead I fostered a dependency on my futile love affair and did nothing.

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It wasn’t for lack of ambition, I was just missing the drive and means to do anything about it. Somewhere in my adolescent mind I felt that my chronic heartbreak should be channelled into everything I did. It wasn’t a choice, love had rewired my brain. It made for lacklustre, miserable art and a similarly lacklustre life. The trouble was that I wasn’t me. I was living in a world of selfimposed barricades designed to keep the bad stuff out, exiled to a world of secrets beyond simple privacy by myself and those around me. What I didn’t realise was those barricades also kept the bad stuff in, allowing to fester malignancies that I held onto for years that were slowly poisoning me like a cancer of the soul. I was hiding from who I was; perpetually under the covers where the monsters couldn’t get me, and everything I did propagated that. Instead of doing what was healthy, I was staying up late, watching Countdown at four in the morning, and thinking about a girl who couldn’t have cared less about me and, hindsight suggests, might have been trying to kill me. Retroactive reflections aside, to put it bluntly, I was fat, lonely, and weird, and doing all I could to convince myself I was none of these things. All I needed to do was to accept myself for who I was, yet I didn’t have it in me. My one salvation was reading and writing. But in my writing I was suppressing my natural


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surreal tendencies, trying to write “normal” stories, and trying to follow the rules I learned in school – all the while heaping pressure on myself to get better faster. I was well on the road to nowhere. At the behest of a friend, I picked up The Wind-up Bird Chronicle expecting little more than another book to add to my reading list. But I was wrong. Halfway through I noticed colour seeping back into my life. I started seeing the world around me rather than just the space immediately in front of my eyes. Those walls I built around my real personality crumbled and I started seeing things differently, interacting with the world in the way I wanted and needed to for years, but had never had the assurance to do so. In Toru Okada I found a character as nonplussed and stoic as I, in a world of cats, warped histories, and strangely tame adventure. In the characters around him I saw caricatures of the people around me. It began a process of awakening and opening through relation that progressed with every Murakami book I read. Over the period of a few months – the time it took to get through Murakami’s catalogue – I had emerged a new (yet entirely old) person. Those facets of my persona that I suppressed for so long while I tried to function within accepted norms, flourished. My writing evolved almost overnight, to include the weirder and more interesting aspects of my imagination. In welcoming the surreal, I began to be more realistic, I let myself focus on what I really wanted – writing – and working out how best to make what I wanted happen. For the first time in years I was comfortable and had a plan, and it was all thanks to one man. Six years later and my first novel is getting positive responses from agencies. I went to university and lived through it, I got rid of B., and, more than anything, I got myself to a stage

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where I can write about the past without bringing it all back to me. The key word is myself, I suppose. However, I hate to think where I might have ended up if I’d not discovered Murakami when I did. The process is ongoing, but the change was instantaneous. Perhaps that’s the power of the strain that runs through Murakami and to his readers. Much as the decision to write a novel came in an instant, so too do the realisations his writing effects. Hindsight and perspective are wonderful things. They allow me to look back at years of misfortune and laugh, they allow me to learn from my mistakes, and they allow me to see the potential for fiction in the stark realities of my life. And looking back – past B. and the fantasies of my adolescence – I see one friend stand out, a man I’ve never met, who helped me navigate my way through one of the toughest periods of my life and come out the other side a better man. It seems strange to me that one person could change my life so – though perhaps B. proved it could be done – and maybe Murakami only reassured me that I was “okay”; that I was “normal”. There were others along the road too, both immediate and distant, that could be credited with making me who I am today. But since him, no one person has had so much of an influence on me. I often wonder what I would say if I ever happened to meet Haruki Murakami, and I think the only thing I would be able to say is “thank you” – and I fancy he might understand. And while I was at it, I would probably thank Dave Hilton for hitting that double back in April 1978. See more of Geoffrey's written work at gtbunburywrites.tumblr.com

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For Bryson words by Chloe Ray and photography by Bryson Malone

When the kindness of a stranger means a great deal – a story of Bryson Malone. Words by Bryson are missing, however I thought this was a chance to share some of my thoughts about strangers. Bryson is a photographer who shoots the great outdoors and all the sports he enjoys doing in it. I stumbled across Bryson’s work a few months ago and asked him whether he’d like to contribute some words and thoughts on this issue’s topic. Looking at his list of work, including Free People Clothing and others, I was expecting a thank you and then a decline. I was joyfully surprised to hear back from Bryson and we had a little chitchat. He said he’d love to help a grass roots publication like Idle, and that he’d rummage through his archives to find some (pretty awesome) shots. These photographs are from his trips to Yosemite and Half Dome at sunrise, where he took groups of people to watch the spectacular. The majority of those in the groups were strangers that just knew him through his work. What I wanted to say was, although the term stranger has negativity around it, a stranger could still show incredible kindness to you even though they don’t know you or your intentions. Bryson took the time out of his busy day to help me, a stranger, out and I’m very grateful for that. If a stranger hasn’t shown you kindness or consideration yet, perhaps to spread some warmth and positivity is a job that was meant for you. See more of Bryson's work at brysonmalonephoto.com

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A magazine for the quieter readers, who wish to get away from the mundane and chaos of the real world. For the five-minute biscuit break or the indulgent bedtime reading. We want to feed curiosity and shed light on overlooked things in life.

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