I decided to accept, or rather, my friends decided I should accept, and also decided that Joe Scarboro should come and help us run the 3beards – he’d made himself invaluable at Silicon Drinkabout and had a great understanding of business – something we rather lacked.
That’s when the coffee really kicked in, I spent my days in Ozone hammering out emails, having endless phone calls and meetings. I lived on caffeine, adrenaline and electricity of the moment, a sense of change, a bright, shining moment of optimism and hope. The year I spent between Westminster and Leonard Street flew past faster than a cycle courier, and I became a consultant and returned to the 3beards, where the team had done sterling work in my absence – and we’d found ourselves organising Art Hackathons, the largest of which was in The Turbine Hall of Tate Modern. It was like a dream come true, to display our friend’s ideas in that cathedral of culture, to make a tiny mark alongside the greatest of all time.
Much around Old Street has changed and will continue to do so. From the dissidents graveyard of Bunhill Fields to City Road, and with the regeneration of Old Street station ( a plan five years in the making ) to the hundreds of businesses come and gone. But humans are frequently far too distracted by the shiny and new to pay heed to the history of the place, to fully acknowledge and recognise the true order of the world.
Two years ago I left London for Amsterdam. I was running away from the past, and from myself I suppose – I’d failed at a relationship and couldn’t forgive myself, couldn’t look people in the eye anymore, and the skyscrapers flying up felt like edifices of my failure. I felt I’d corrupted everything I’d held dear, I felt unclean and worthless so I packed my bags and left. Luckily for me, I couldn’t escape the draw of Ozone Coffee and would frequently visit Bakers & Roasters in Amsterdam for a V60, where I still performed my little ritual, another location but the same process.
If we’re truthfully honest, we can’t escape ourselves, no matter how much we may want to, we are always forever changed by life, and when it comes down to it, change is the only constant, and people are the only true value in life. I’m pleased to say we sold and closed our little business down – it came with a few nice rewards and trinkets, and the opportunity of change enabled by the sale has put me on yet another path, one of painting and poetry, and everything I ran away from. I’m trying to make peace, and so back to London I’m returning, and taking up my seat at the bar once again, to pray at this most wonderful of happenstance churches to celebrate people once again.
I pour the last of the coffee out, raise the glass to friends who’ve been lost, and smile at what has been.
Who knows what the next five years will bring….