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The Star by Hackney Downs, 15 November 2016

19 November 2016

The aftermath: a dull ache on the left side of my neck; sharp pains across my lower back; a strain in my right calf… Such a range of persistent discomforts the next day suggests maybe I over-exerted myself at various times during this session. It’s hard not to, however, on evenings filled entirely with short poses – especially at The Star by Hackney Downs. Always worth the extra effort here.

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Drawing the Star is firmly established as a favourite group, and it was good to see so many familiar friendly faces amongst the artists. Pose lengths were reassuringly familiar too. Organiser Catherine Hall called the times: 5-minutes, 4, 3, 2, three of 1-minute, three of 30-seconds, 10-minutes and 5-minutes up to a break, then two of 15-minutes to a finish. Heaters maintained a tropical climate.

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I was in difficulty from the very first standing pose when a misjudged balance in my folded twisting stance ensured I had a fibrillating right leg for the rest of the session. Three minutes from the end of sitting for 10-minutes, the onset of a nasty cramp did the damage to my calf, whilst a diagonal recline supported on one elbow for the first 15-minute pose guaranteed me a stiff neck…

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Buddhism’s first noble truth is translated as ‘all life is suffering‘; meanwhile, western culture revels in the idea of ‘suffering for art‘. With so much suffering in life and in art, it seems inevitable that life art must be a double dose. I am not a masochist – I don’t enjoy pain, and mostly I manage my poses to avoid it. When it comes, however, it is usually a sign I’m loving the work and happy to push myself. Such as this night.

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