Richard Blake of Yallah on making the everyday your hole-and-corner
Richard Blake, the founder of Yallah, independent Cornish coffee roasters, tells about his home farm, why it’s essential to make your everyday your hole-and-corner, and why he will always return to the sea…
A ‘hole-and-corner’ is an old English term meaning a secret place: somewhere you go to escape the world, to be inspired and to contemplate and create. Where is your ‘hole-and-corner’?
I guess I’ve got two places that spring to mind. Firstly, Argal Home Farm. It’s a funny choice as I live and work here, so it’s hardly a secret place. However, walk through a few fields and you’ll find uninterrupted views across the valley and not a sound from the outside world. If you’re lucky, you might catch a sight of the resident barn owl, deer or just go and feed the Shetland ponies next door. If nature isn’t doing its thing then there’s the constant flow of creative people to and from the farm, whether it’s the residents or the makers, there’s plenty to inspire.
My second place is and will always be the sea. Whether it’s swimming, sailing, surfing or jumping off a cliff. It doesn’t really matter. Being in the water brings a peace of mind and satisfaction I definitely can’t live without.
Is it important to you to have somewhere to escape from the hustle and bustle of life?
Some people thrive on hustle and bustle, for me it’s completely the opposite, being away from it all and near the sea calms nerves and makes me think clearer. It makes tough times worth it and the long hours seem like a small price to pay.
What do you like to listen to when you’re working?
I love listening to both music and podcasts but it depends on what I’m doing. I’m not very good at multitasking so if it’s a project that requires a lot of thinking my mind wanders too much if I listen to something I love. I start thinking about festivals and parties! But anything from Sam Cooke to Stealing Sheep. It’s definitely an eclectic mix.
What elements do you think make a perfect ‘hole-and-corner’?
For me, it’s something or somewhere that lets your mind relax. Running a business you have to think about so many things at the same time that you lose the ability to think creatively. The perfect hole-and-corner clears the space to let your mind wander.
Is it private to you or do you let other people visit?
The spaces are not private as such, others are welcome. It’s what’s going on in your head while you’re there that’s the important bit.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Tough question! A friend of mine always talked about starting a business or making a career for yourself in a place where you can have the best day of your life any day of the week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday… doesn’t matter. You could wake up and have the most incredible day…. surfing, climbing or sliding down a mountain.
I’ve always tried to stick to that and I’m so glad I did.
Describe your most memorable performance and why?
Both are gigs, first would be watching Bonobo at Glastonbury 2014, they have so many amazing musicians, playing the most amazing music and just having so much fun. I’ll never forget that gig.
Second would be Loyle Carner last year at a small little festival called Knee Deep near Liskeard. It was an emotional gig just before he blew up in the UK. I’ve got a lot of love for his music, lyrics, ethics etc. It’s really cool to see people like him succeeding and I think it’s a bit of a new golden era for UK hip hop.