It’s a big blog.
I am late with this blog, but for really good reason. I have just been really busy. I finally stopped being really busy last night. I was meant to go to a gig but I got in from a 10 hour stint at work and was so exhausted, and coupled with realising I don’t have quite enough money to feed myself for the rest of the month, I thought better of spending £18 on a train ticket in to London.
I sat on my bed with my notes, diary, admin stuff and thought “I am going to catch up with emails and stuff, and write my monthly blog” I drank two glasses of wine and fell asleep.
So some of the best bits of the last month include…
Visiting Balcony TV in Camden. An awesome opportunity to be part of this show which some of my favourite musicians have been on, and also to work with producer Lauren Deakin Davies (always a pleasure!)
Playing at Loughton Folk Club with Piers Haslam. Thanks to PJ Photography (Paul Lyme) for taking some lovely photos. You can have a ganders here PJ Photograpy
I also hosted a small event at my own house, which was lovely. It was the first time I’d done anything like it but I will definitely do more. It was an evening with Authors Sue Hampton and Leslie Tate. They talked us through the process of becoming and being writers. We were a small but perfectly formed audience who all took a lot from the evening. Songs were sung, stories were shared, conversations were had about everything from cross dressing to eggheads, how to bake a vegan cake to writing original stories. Tony Birch bought plenty of wine, I bought plenty of snacks, everyone bought plenty of loveliness and it was all we needed. If friends, wine, snacks and words sound your sort of thing then keep your eyes peeled because I will post on my Facebook page if I host something again.
Ok so this next bit was a massive highlight for me! Zoe Konez released her EP at a magical gig in London as part of Kal Lavelle’s series of awesome “We Love…” gigs. Not only is the EP heartbreakingly good and now exists in the world for us all to hear, I also got to be part of her awesome backing band alongside some of my favourite musicians. Thanks again to PJ photography for capturing the moment, if you hadn’t then I am not sure I would have believed it wasn’t all a dream. You can check out Zoe’s latest video here…Click here to fall in love with Zoe
I played a gig for Lobby Live at the Watford Colloseum – it was a really lovely night for me as I had people from all parts of my life attend to support me. Family, friends, musicians, work colleagues, previous work colleagues, Roller Derby girls, wonderful neighbours!
I also got to play with the wonderful Masakichi in Bedford – thanks to Neil McCarty for this snap of me doing so…
This month also saw the first proper meeting of The Company of Players
This project is the brainchild of Jess Distill of Said the Maiden. I’ll probably be talking a lot about this on my social media and in real life because it has swallowed up my thoughts and heart quite a lot.
The idea of the project is to gather together some folk musicians to create a body of songs based on the life and works of Shakespeare – as part of the celebrations this year marking 400 years since his death.
There are 10 of us. We just got back from a week of writing together in Derbyshire which was one of the most creative, inspiring experiences I have ever been a part of.
I really did feel like quite a stowaway and messaged my sister on the first night “They are all much better musicians and drinkers than me. Send help” She sent words of encouragement (but did agree I may be the lightweight of the group when it came to drinking – folk musicians really can drink!)
The others all create beautiful individual music but I was worried they were all a bit more “traditional” folk than me and that my song wouldn’t be quite right. Due to other commitments I had to arrive a night later than the others which also left me feeling really nervous that they’d all have bonded, written songs and decided they maybe didn’t need me after-all (over-thinking things much!?)
That isn’t what happened at all. I felt so welcomed, from the moment I got there everyone was excited to meet me and to “Complete” The Company. We spent days or nights – I am not really sure because I lost track of time – writing songs which we all. felt incredibly proud of. Sharing my song with the group was terrifying but they were all really excited to work on it and weaved their magic to create something beautiful which I can’t wait to show you!!
I learnt a lot about writing and music during that week. I also learnt about making dinner for 10 people – you need more potato than you think. You need less carrots. Let that be a life lesson.
I can’t quite put in to words how much I gained from the week and how much it meant to me to be part of this. I am also aware how big this blog is growing! But we shared many photos, videos and info on our facebook page so please come follow us if you’d like to…we live here Up and Down, Up and Down, we will lead you Up and Down…
So some pretty wonderful things have been happening this month and I feel really lucky to be a part of them and have more things on the Horizon with a UK tour in May/June, adventures with The Company of Players and a European tour planned for November.
Rehearsals for the Ghost Tour I am part of took place, I have a new little part this year which is exciting. If you live in or near Hemel Hempstead then you can follow our antics here Spirit of the Old
I have been fortunate enough to work with Watford Arts Council and Museum to be part of their WordFest celebrations, I’ve been telling BFG stories and catching dreams in bottles at the museum.
I’ve been learning the new job of working in a prison library and continuing my Charity project in the library -hoping to find some more time to develop that next month but as it stands we still have plenty of men taking part and benefitting from the scheme.
So lots of lovely things happening alongside some of the other usual things going on such as getting lost, having calamities and drinking a lot of tea…
Thanks for reading