LOVE IN at the VAULT Festival
“an amazing and unique service to offer in a town that often feels indifferent to your wellbeing”
London is a hard city to crack. Even for those certain this is the place they want to be, for those deeply in love with its turbo pace, beauty and anonymity; it’s still tough. But in a shipping container round the corner from Waterloo station, Love In’s Amanda Grace offers a refuge to all, somewhere free of cynicism and defensiveness. Somewhere to have a truly sincere conversation about where you’re at in your life, how you’re feeling about the decisions you’ve made of late, and what you want for yourself. She also offers a cup of tea or coffee if you fancy.
It functions as a kind of therapy session, except Amanda responds to everything I tell her with unabashed enthusiasm and empathy. There’s some reflection on what we talk about, but nothing even close to critical. Also, unlike a normal therapy session, I’m allowed to ask questions about her, and she answers honestly and openly.
As we talk, she’s writing a letter addressed to me, and at the end of the session she pops it in an envelope, along with an English Rose teabag, a hand-written playlist and a little excerpt from Alfred de Musset to George Sand professing his unadulterated love.
The letter itself is as personal as its possible to be after a half hour conversation with a stranger, but it’s full of positivity and encouragement, and I’m truly delighted reading it on my commute home on a crammed London train.
I think Love In is slightly mis-sold, because it’s not really an attempt at showing ‘love’ or anything so disingenuous. Instead, it’s an opportunity to have a chat, free of judgement, to present yourself as you see yourself and receive only assurance and kindness. It must be an exhausting undertaking for Amanda, but she seems willing, and it’s an amazing and unique service to offer in a town that often feels indifferent to your wellbeing.
Reviewed on 5th February 2023
by Miriam Sallon
More VAULT Festival reviews: