Happy New Year, may 2015 be joyful and catful

The best sign I saw in New York

The best sign I saw in New York

2014 has been a very, very long year. 365 days. Many, many hours. Some quantity of minutes that I do not possess the mathematical ability or interest to calculate and oh my God, maths, I’ve already bored myself.

I find looking back on a whole year a bit of an impossibility, like trying to fit an entire packet of digestives in your mouth without taking the wrapping off first. Continue reading

*Does jazz hands for a good five minutes, then sings*

I went to the David Bowie exhibition at the V&A on Monday. It was…fine. It certainly perked up when Annabel spotted a visitor wearing non-ironic lederhosen, but for the most part it was nice enough.

In the final room though, everything came together. It’s a huge, cavernous space with three floor to wall screens showing different footage of Bowie singing the same song; Jean Genie, Rock n Roll Suicide, hit after hit comes tumbling out in front of you, with various amazing costumes just hanging out in front, being a bit stiff and museum-ish.

David Bowie is exhibition, 2013. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

David Bowie is exhibition, 2013. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

It was the most incredible and oddly moving thing – the rest of the exhibition turns scrawled notes and bits of design into reverential tosh, but here you could see Bowie doing exactly what he should be, and this room more than anything in the exhibition, served to show why he is such a bloody great icon.

People just sat, or stood around, their jaws scraping along their lapels, while we lapped up performances we hadn’t been around to see, from someone we would never have been brave enough to be.

And for me, it reminded me of the utterly amazing, borderline holy, experience that live music can be. The very best concerts, or festival sets, or whatever, transport you. Bat For Lashes at the Spitz, or the Kentish Town Forum. The Offspring at Reading Festival. At its best, live music performances make you feel more alive than anything else.

I joined a choir in January, one which has been going for four years and has gigged around London endlessly. I am hugely excited because tomorrow it’s our first gig – performing just one song, Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain, at The Good Ship in Kilburn.

And next week, we’re performing at Brixton Village East – all sorts of stuff. I have a little solo in Heartbeats, which I never thought would happen given how terrifying every audition I have ever done has been. I’m covering the main soloist too, and last night she was on hols so I got to sing it with the whole choir – and it was lovely. I recorded it for posterity, and clearly, the blog.

Tom, who sings the male solo, looks utterly transported every time he sings it, and it’s completely infectious. In fact, you look around the whole choir, while we’re singing, and everyone looks completely overjoyed, crammed together in our little rehearsal room above a Kennington pub.

I can’t wait until we get to do this in public.

Latitude, with all of your ladies you are spoiling us

A cheery email announcing Latitude Festival‘s first line-up has just come a-pinging into my inbox. Here we go! Here’s the line-up. Let’s have a look at it and have vivid flashbacks to festivals we may or may not have drowned at in the past:

Latitude festival first line-up announcements

Whoah. Something weird’s going on here. Where’s the – where are the – ladies? Women? Women of pop and comedy, hello. I’m calling to you. Latitude, I can’t find the – oh no, wait.

I’VE FOUND HER. She is one half of alt-pop duo Beach House.

Latitude festival first line-up announcements - one lady

Back in the day, the day being 2006, I ran a festival website for Emap. Latitude was launched that year, and it was a complete blast, with a fantastic varied line-up and a line in food you actually wanted to eat. What a shame. What the f, Latitude? Have you seriously only managed to pin down a single one of the world’s myriad musical and comedic ladies to flag up in your first line-up announcement, and even then as part of a duo?

Mais non. The Guardian tells us that  Yeah Yeahs Yeahs, Jessie Ware, Cat Power, Laura Mvula and a load of other women I am no longer current enough to know about are also playing.

Eurgh.

Well bugger that. I’ve had a lovely week of women, as it happens.

Business women!

Tonight I’m going to troll around the Country Living Spring Fair with my entrepreneur friend Jessica. I really don’t have more to say on that as I haven’t been yet, but I haven’t seen Jess in weeks and am very, very excited about that.

This is however a great excuse for a quick tangential reminisce over an amazing picture from my 30th – Jess is Peach, her fiancé is Luigi (wrong way round!), our friends are Daisy and Mario, I’m Yoshi, and that is my Tetris piece brother on the far right who flew in from Singapore for three days just so he could come to mine and dad’s birthdays. Dude!

nintendo birthday party

Best. Party. Ever.

Large-footed women (and business women)!

Last night, I went to the launch of the 9/10 club at Opium, for women with large feet who would actually quite like to wear nice shoes. It was run by the design-your-own-shoes site Upper Street, which in turn is ran by two amazing sisters.

Shoes at Upper Street's 9/10 club launch at Opium

Shoes!

There were loads of women in one place, all gossiping, eating, trying on shoes, swapping war stories of shitty shop assistants and the world basically hoping they’d all shut up and go away so they could carry on not catering for them.

Cocktails at Opium

Booze!

Elizabeth and I kept on freaking out slightly by the unusual sensation of lots of women sharing our eyeline rather than being several inches below it. It was great fun – especially when they started bringing out cocktails in caged coconuts which appeared to be on fire.

Writing women! (who also have impressive jobs)!

And then I went to Polpo, also with friend and Write Club buddy Elizabeth, where we drank lots of prosecco, ate various delicious things in near-darkness and slurred our way through a long list of fantastic female children’s authors and Books That Made Us Who We Are before wobbling off in the direction of the Tube. Brilliant.

Dark dinner at Polpo

Somewhere in here is truffle cream

Utterly bloody funny women!

And on Monday, shortly after leaving a tablet and a box full of cheesecake on the 63 bus (FML), I went to Birthday Girls‘ comedy night at the Wilmington Arms, run by former members of the all-female, apparently all-conquering comedy troupe Lady Garden. And bugger me if there weren’t loads of people there being funny, quite a lot of whom happened to be female.

I fell a little bit in love with Mae Martin, a Canadian ex-pat who did a fantastic stand-up set. You will love her too. She also does animation, which she didn’t show off on Monday thankfully or I might have had to invade the stage and cry on her.

There was Lou Sanders (lady) and Joe Lycett (man), who weren’t my cup of tea but got plenty of laughs from the audience, and two not-women, Max and Ivan, who I absolutely adored. And then Birthday Girls of course, who were great hosts and had some lovely new sketches.

I haven’t seen any musical women this week which rather prevents this blog from ending on a powerful note of strong meaning

This is because I missed my choir rehearsal to go to the 9/10 launch and see Elizabeth. But there is a clip of another lovely Elizabeth singing solo in our new version of Heartbeats by The Knife, which is brilliant – and I’m trilling the high bits at the end, so let’s pretend that neatly wraps up my annoyance at Latitude not giving the ladies in its bill more due prominence.