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It’s Michał G shot in his bedroom in London. Meet more of our Elska boys and read their stories by getting a copy of Elska from bit.ly/elskamag

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Getting your attention with another naked pic, this one a previously unpublished ultra low-fi image of Michał G, who we shot for Elska last year. 

And now that we have your attention, there’s an epic 20% off sale on for a few more days. It’s valid off all Elska products, from our Elska Magazine editions and annual subscriptions to our art prints and postcard sets. Just head to bit.ly/elskashop and use the discount code TUTTUGU.

Cheers!

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(My Cardiff Crush… with Radek P from Cardiff)

For the past two issues I’ve done a “My Crush” blog post, so I figured I should do one for Cardiff too. The trouble was that in Cardiff I liked everyone (well, maybe not every single person), so it was hard to single out anyone in particular. But since I gave myself the challenge to make a tradition of the “My Crush” post, I decided to give the “honour” to Radek.  ​​

It was actually a bit difficult to crush on Radek since his partner was there with us during the shoot, and well, mine was there as well assisting. But perhaps in a way this fact made it easier to feel at ease with him, because there was no tension, no awkwardness, and indeed I felt really comfortable with him. I even stayed on after the shoot for a coffee, something that’s actually quite rare.We also had a lot of things in common. First of all, he’s rather overeducated, particularly with regard to foreign languages, which meant we could talk about stuff that most people roll their eyes at in boredom. He demonstrated his Welsh knowledge, I blurted out my rudimentary Portuguese, he spoke a bit of Polish, and I taught him how to write his name in Georgian. Oh, and he also had a Polish poster on his wall which impressed me no end (if you haven’t ever checked out Polish movie poster art, you’re really in for a treat).​​

And then there was something more personal we had in common. He knew it what it was like to arrive in a new country, feel very at home and then suddenly feel uncertain of his place there. For someone who calls Britain home but wasn’t born in Britain, the Brexit vote had a profoundly depressing and confusing effect. We both thought we lived in a progressive, inclusive, and open country, and we were proud to be part of that. Brexit shattered that and forced a division in society whereby we’d need to discover who’s who, i.e who is for Remain, and who wants us to get the hell out of the country. Such divisions are of course not ideal, but at best they bring some of us together, fortunate to find each other and take solace in our shared points of view.

See more of Radek and read his story in Elska Magazine Issue (07) Cardiff.

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(“I’m getting too old to live like this”… with Michał G)

When I first arrived at Michał’s place I was astonished. It was insanely flash and posh considering that Michał works in a restaurant, and he’s not even a head chef or anything close to a Gordon Ramsay. Of course, he did share the house with a few others, and it was a bit far from Central London, but still I was impressed. He’d recently moved there from a room in a council tower block in Oval… “I’m getting too old to live like that”, he said. I know exactly how he feels.

For Londoners, it’s perfectly normal to be over 30 and still share an apartment with two, three, four, five, maybe six others. It’s just the reality of the cost of living, and we deal with it. To ever buy your own place has become impossible in the past decade, and if you want to rent your own place and don’t earn more than £80k a year, it’s going to have to be beyond zone 6, probably well out of London altogether. 

About five years ago I moved to Dallas, Texas, where I worked as a high school French teacher. To be honest, part of my desire to go was that I could live in a whole house, a detached one, with a garage, a decent car, big rooms, and a garden with a pool (well, I had a hot tub rather than a pool). And it cost me 1/3 what my little flat in outer London cost me. Insane. Yet I only stayed two years and then was desperate to leave.

Dallas isn’t London, and the several million of us Londoners who love to complain about how crowded, expensive, and unpleasant our city is know that there are other reasons why we remain. It’s that vast array of experiences on offer and the many kinds of people to meet. Like most of us living in the capital, I hate London, but I also love it. 

But it’s too late to come on home… with Michał G. for Elska Magazine

I shot before with Michał G., a guy I met at a party where Florence & the Machine was playing. I’d been meaning to listen to her latest album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, and it took Michał to push me into finally doing it. We also decided, on the night we met, that we’d do some photos together.

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Needing aural inspiration as I always do, I chose my favourite song from that album, “Long and Lost”. It wasn’t even a track that Michał remembered, but it spoke to me. Like Michał, we both emigrated from our homes and moved on too much to ever be able to go back.

The imagery reminded me of an old VHS tape that gets scratchier and fuzzier every time you watch it. That’s my birthplace to me, not home but just a blurred up mess that I no longer even have a machine capable of playing it, i.e. a VCR.

I added some scratchiness and colouration that seemed to emulate my memory of old tapes. And I doubled up two images, like the part of the tape where you’ve recorded over one show to make room for another.  And so we have Michał reminding me that it’s no longer possible to go home, and really it’s not home at all. It’s only a place I remember, fuzzily.

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