28 July 2010


Picking raspberries. A raspberry for each year, month, day, for each moment away. But I eat them. They are tasted, then gone. One for the bowl, one for me. Staining my hands as I pick. Blood smears. But the butchery is over, and the taste is now sweet, only sometimes tart. Over my cotton dress, that I wish was muslin, I wear your hand-knitted cardigan, worn most when pregnant with me. You tell me I look pregnant in it. Slouchy space to fill with raspberries, all mixed up like Eton Mess. We hold out for blackberries, as the brambles were not cut back this time.

Still wearing the cotton thrift store dress, I go on my first proper bike ride in six years. No time at all, when it comes down to it. A blip just like the bumps I test my suspension on. Warbling over these bumps is instinctive. War cries not quite Red Indian. Bridge pit-stops, half pints and opportunities for you to Tell Me Things. Mostly bird-related. Birdseed and binoculars on the way back.

23 July 2010

The Week After the Weekend Before

I met the Serial Schmoozer, who is apparently also an Expert Tweeter, and learnt that there is such an invaluable Business Thing as a Power Clasp. A Hand Clasp of Power. And a Power Stance, which is even more mind-blowing in terms of sheer poser POWER, and must only be attempted when safely at the head of an executive table, sitting in an ugly leather chair.

Anyway, the Serial Schmoozer schmoozed all about augmented reality. At me. At length. A great deal of it went over my head, but parts captured me and basically sounded really COOL. Like you could have a club night in a an awesome hipster venue, where everyone has to wear a plain uniform of black trousers and a bright white t-shirt. So far so dull. But then everybody puts on special glasses (over-sized, black-rimmed, faux-geek, ultra-hipster, natch) that use the technology of augmented reality to reveal the actuality of avatar outfits. Projected onto the white t-shirts. They could be Superhero costumes, or butterfly-colourful, and ultra-glamorous and over the top. The glasses change everything. 'Meh' to marvellous in the blink of an eye. You can be whoever you want to be. Everyone would jump to do this for one night only. Very Cool Idea.

Schmoozing has been a bit of a theme. Lauren Laverne ( LaLa, light of my life, as shiny as the Northern Lights, blooming and bursting of belly) doe-eyed at camera-flash Mercury Music Prize announcements in super-slick basements. Stemming the flow of my rising gushes with free fruit juice the colour of crushed rose petals, downed from gleaming glasses. Company tabs, strong americanos, iPads, Blackberries and James Bond meeting rooms flanked with an intimidating terracotta army. Carl Barat swigging from rum-bottles, slurring his words, wearing a wife-beater and causing mosh-pit nostalgia of four years ago amongst the achingly-cool crowd. He rocked out a number with his actress/indie-publisher/artistic-director/poet/singer sister, the stunning tattooed lesbian, who was my first schmooze. My first personal schmooze.

Carl sang the same Libertine song as I saw Pete sing separately only a couple of weeks or so ago. This was astounding, but made me sad. Seeing them sing it separately. Pete sang it better. That's my penny's worth at any rate. I'm dizzy-pleased that I am in a position to even proffer it.

Aside from this unreality, this schmoozing and silliness, I have been in a mind of moons and gods and kissing-corners and disappearing kettles. Where I fear I feel more at home, for better or worse.

18 July 2010


We buy our first ever lottery tickets together - he gets frisked for ID - and we both choose 15. The one number we get right.

I feel like a teenager, a fifteen-year-old, all weekend. Sitting in attic rooms, talking of old love affairs, watching a lovely sex film about humans and humour and fragility and frigging, telling jokes about Spaniards who sleep with goats, making CDs late into the night, eating greasy Chinese takeout, laughing at cartoons before bed, rummaging through charity shop treasures, learning how to fold paper into envelopes for future correspondence, having his mum make us a yummy dinner like I was going round for tea...

Beach hut vibes and seagull song and cries from the three-legged cat poke through my regression blanket, and I pose by Hardy's statue, wax lyrical over peaches (T.S. Eliot and Keats), discover an old black&white photograph of a quaint family with funny facial expressions, eat a sugar-crusted Eccles cake from a warm slab of wood for a bakery-breakfast, sticky flaky sweet, flaking and sticking to my chin and cheek. I drink apple juice from local apples and pink tea that smells of rose gardens. I want to pet the wicker pig whilst I read in the conservatory. I borrow the electric-blue toy accordion and make grand plans of sound in my head. I find a Murder She Wrote board game at the car boot sale and photograph Angela Lansbury because the idea makes me laugh. I am still fifteen. I hang out, I am a teenager. This is what weekending should be. Taking time out from my twenties, and going back to the best of teen years.

On the train back to my twenties, there is a cow on the track that halts my journey. The cow is absurd. I like it. I like that it pauses smooth progress. And that it makes me smile on my way home.

12 July 2010

Dark Night of the Soul

A most excellent, awesome and affecting work of art has come to light. Into the light from a Dark Night.

A collaborative album of epic proportions is now out there in the ether ready to encompass all those of receptive intelligence with sound waves. Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse present Dark Night of the Soul. And it is not only these two minds of musical genius involved. David Lynch has produced a book of photographs to accompany it, as well as featuring on the actual album. DAVID LYNCH. Yes. Along with Julian Casablancas, Iggy Pop, The Flaming Lips, Scott Spillane of Neutral Milk Hotel, Nina Persson of The Cardigans, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy and... stopstopstop, I can't take the amount of favourite people from favourite bands ALL TOGETHER ON ONE ALBUM.

What makes the whole project all the more poignant and emotionally stirring is, of course, its posthumous release. Mark Linkous, aka Sparklehorse, committed suicide in March. I only discovered his distinctive soundmaking a little beforehand, becoming slightly obsessed as he sent me to dream for lightyears in the belly of a mountain. He has such a lovely voice, steeped in sadness around the edges of his song-smiles. His vocals appear on the song Daddy's Gone on the album, which has lyrics about making cakes - absence and comfort and loss and yummy joy within one song and summing up Sparklehorse as a whole. More heart-wrenching still is Vic Chesnutt singing Grim Augury. Chesnutt also committed suicide, in December. The tortured lives of artistes...

But Pain is a lively treat of a track, with Iggy Pop at his energetic best. And the finale, the title track, featuring David Lynch, is just beautiful. Pink Floydesque, haunting and thought-drowning sinking sighing.

There were problems with the release due to disputes with EMI, but it's now set to be available from July 13th. Thirteen is unlucky for some. Unlucky Mark Linkous. Unlucky, lovely Sparklehorse. But lucky us to be able to experience such a creation.

5 July 2010

Diddley bo diddley bo ALL THE TIME

Festivals are all about shuffling into spaces. Playing people tetris.

They are ALSO about dangling Converse from bags, everyone singing along to 'Lola' on a Sunny Afternoon lalala, children sitting on their daddies' shoulders, Pete Doherty's ballerinas, remembering my teen love affair with 'poetic' Pete and his London vowels and disregard for committed consonants, pretending that Seasick Steve is my grandad or, better still, my red wine-swilling story-telling buddy, weaving weaving through the crowds whilst looking at my socked feet and holding onto a hand, acting out Ballad of the Thin Man with expressive eyes and literal dance moves, forgiving Bob his ravaged gravel-voice as he can still roll stones and stands firmly in rock, following the flame-filled lanterns overhead with our upturned faces, guessing the suit and number of an abandoned playing card lying under dancing toes that pull foot-tapping shapes, discovering that Davendra has lost his beard but not his dulcet-delicious tones, drinking cider two cups at a time as stray hay sticks itself to bare legs, smooching to Mumford and Sons though claiming it's to the sight of horizon hand-claps, planning to make our own diddley bo, battling with hat-hair that actually sits best when unkempt in Kent...

And they finish with a zig-zag parade through emptied cups and polystyrene debris, aweary beatific and aweary, and dosing on a coach as a Denzel Washington film plays in the background of my half-asleep songs that I take with me from Hop Farm.