The first of three Tales of the Wilderness, in anticipation of Wilderness Festival, where Toast will be curating the Lakeside Spa this August.

Extract from Wild: An Elemental Journey by Jay Griffiths.

Wild Earth: Feral Song

The wild. I have drunk it, deep and raw, and heard its primal, unforgettable roar. We know it in ourselves, for we are wild to the core. We know it in our dreams, when the mind is off the leash, running wild. “Outwardly, the equivalent of the unconscious is the wilderness: both of these terms meet, one step even farther on, as one“, wrote Gary Snyder. “It is in vain to dream of a wildness distant from ourselves. There is none such,” wrote Thoreau. “It is the bog in our brain and bowels, the primitive vigor of Nature in us, that inspires that dream.”

And as dreams are essential to the psyche, wildness is to life.

For the Native American O’odham people, the term doajkam, wildness, is etymologically tied to terms for health, wholeness and liveliness. “Life consists with wildness,” wrote Thoreau. “The most alive is the wildest. All good things are wild and free” and “In wildness is the preservation of the world.”

We are animal in our blood and in our skin. We were not born for pavements and escalators but for thunder and mud. More. We are animal not only in body, but in spirit. Our minds are the minds of wild animals. Artists, who remember their wildness better than most, are animal artists, lifting their heads to sniff a quick wild scent in the air, and they know it unmistakably, they know the tug of wildness to be followed though your life is buckled by that strange and absolute obedience. (“You must have chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star,” wrote Nietzsche.) Children know it as magic and timeless play. Shamans of all sorts and inveterate misbehavers know it; those who cannot trammel themselves into a sensible job and a life in the sterile suburbs know it…


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by TOAST ( 03.05.13 )

Today is the first of May: the first day of the bright half of the year, the beginning of summer. Today is a day of life and light, a day of revelry and celebration – a time to gather flowers, a time to laugh, a time to dance…


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by TOAST ( 01.05.13 )

The third dispatch from author, printer and dealer in ‘Vintage Fishing Tackle for the Soul’ John Andrews (a.k.a Andrews of Arcadia). John is one of the six working men photographed by Neil Gavin for our spring/summer menswear collection.

The coming of spring prompts a changing of the guard, an audit of the kit that has got me through another winter on the floor of the market. Usually, this is nothing more than a list of repairs given to the Empress, the sewing up of ripped sleeves, the re-tying of buttons, the strengthening of pockets and shoulder straps and perhaps the re-heeling of a pair of boots. In one year it was a call to the scrap merchant to tow away the car whose wheels had seized and whose seats had rotten. A ritual as bruising on the heart as the shooting of a horse. This year it was something almost as significant, a change of shoes…


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by TOAST ( 30.04.13 )

A Northern Lake by Tom Thomson.


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by TOAST ( 26.04.13 )

Seb Emina is the creator and editor of the London Review of Breakfasts blog, where he writes under the brilliant nom de plume of ‘Malcolm Eggs’. Reviews come in the form of poems, political musings and Freudian dreams, dispatched by Malcolm and a host of other contributors (all with equally ingenious aliases such as Tina Beans and Vita Bicks). Nobody knows breakfast quite as well as or is as passionate about the topic as Seb. He has recently penned his debut book (co-written with himself), The Breakfast Bible, based on his widely read and much loved blog. We caught up with him to find out what makes a good breakfast… To jam or not to jam?

Coming next week: an exclusive extract and recipe from The Breakfast Bible.

Bacon or sausage?

Yes please…


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by TOAST ( 25.04.13 )

Mustard Meadow by Ryan McGinley.


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by TOAST ( 19.04.13 )

Johnny Flynn is an actor, poet, musician and songwriter of extraordinary (but in no way boastful) talent.

Most recently he has played Lady Anne and Viola respectively in Mark Rylance’s all-male productions of Richard III and Twelfth Night – long and very successful runs, first at The Globe and then at The Apollo. His band Johnny Flynn and The Sussex Wit released their first album A Larum in 2008, catching the revived interest in folk at just the right moment; their second album, Been Listening, was released in 2010: their third will be released this summer.

Last year Johnny wrote and recorded the soundtrack for off-the-wall American comedy A Bag of Hammers. He’ll return to the stage at the Royal Court this May in Bruce Norris’s The Low Road, a fable of free market economics and cut-throat capitalism.

In person Johnny is quiet, self effacing, watchful; on stage, something altogether else – and always worth catching. He was born and brought up in Pembrokeshire and now lives in London with his wife Bea and son Gabriel.

johnny-flynn.com


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by TOAST ( 19.04.13 )

Dr Sally Bayley. 

Few teas are as pretty and pleasing to look at as S. Africa Redbush tea. Pour it into a glass and watch it glow amber-to-red.  Its natural sweetness makes it drinkable without milk, but it also tastes surprisingly good with soya milk (which doesn’t taste much good anywhere else), and the overall effect is faintly toffee-like without any of the cloying sugariness.  Redbush tea has crept onto supermarket shelves in the last few years as a better-for-you rival to our regular builder’s tea or English Breakfast.  Most popular tea companies are pushing their redbush brand; even Tetley has come out with some exotic packaging to promote their Redbush brand: a Turkish carpet design swirling across their red Redbush Tea box.

I want to defend Redbush or rooibos tea as an outstanding choice of alternative tea. Drawn from the South African herb, Aspalathus linearis, redbush is a rare and delicate plant whose brilliant yellow piney leaves harvested in the summer turns, during the Autumn months, a deep red colour…


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by TOAST ( 15.04.13 )

Puglia, Les Pouilles by Franco Fontana.


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by TOAST ( 12.04.13 )

Nico Renson is a songwriter and producer for the likes of Macy Gray and Kelis. He began his life in a distant corner of Belgium, his career in a less remote corner – where he graduated as a film director – whence he moved to London to pursue his ambitions in music. In a pair of skinny jeans he fronted a punk-rock band and played every pub within the M25 at least twice, but became disillusioned with the reality of band life and began writing for a solo album. His debut album, Play to My Own Tune, was released under his stage name, Bunny, in the U.S. and Japan.

Nico is very tall, thoughtful, serious but ironical in a Flemish escapee way, and has startlingly blue eyes. His music can be heard on his website, nicorenson.com


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by TOAST ( 11.04.13 )
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