A big gig

I’m starting to play ‘bonafide gigs’ in London now and all on my lonesome.

It’s a bit harder than I anticipated – first you have to get the gigs, then shamelessly self-promote, go about your day job (mine often involves evenings for recordings or going to comedy gigs) and try and fit in some practice.

At my last gig I was feeling confident after the soundcheck, but then a ten-strong group sat in the front and continued their boisterous conversation as I played – people did ask them to be quiet but they kept talking. Sadly I’m still inexperienced in singing and playing guitar together so it put me off somewhat – I need some mates to come and chuck stuff at me (like in The Runaways movie) while I practice. When you can hear people’s words more clearer than your own, it’s hard to carry on.

The noisy audience members are something I should be used to – every time I do a gig I think ‘if it happens again, I’ll give ’em hell’. Predictably, I never do, not wanting to alienate the more attentive audience members. However, if it’s spoiling the show for them, I owe it to them and myself to sort the situation out – ultimately, however, I think the responsibility is with the promoter to gain control. This is something singer Kal Lavele is the queen of – check out her W.E Love Sundays gigs at World’s End in Finsbury Park. She’s a master curator (and a bloomin’ brilliant songwriter too).

What I figure is, the more people who are there to come and watch and support, the better I’ll be. So, if you’re up for coming along, I’m playing at Rattlesnake on Upper Street in Angel on the 24th June. Doors are at 8pm and it would be lovely to see some people there! I’ve got a couple of new songs for you too…

Disappointed in Me: the video!

I wrote Disappointed in Me back when I was in my second year of uni.

I guess I don’t really need to tell the story behind it as it’s pretty much all in the song (yes, ‘relationship upgrade’ were the words actually said to me, along with ‘well I’m very disappointed in you’).

So why record it now? Well, I might have written it when I was 19, but the situation isn’t uncommon for many women I know. Also, it’s ruddy good fun to play and my friend Reece was looking for something colourful to make a video around.

So here it is, Disappointed in Me on YouTube! (And for those who you who have asked me, it’s an excuse to see the ‘Get Flat’ too.)

You can get the track for free from my Get Frank Soundcloud now.

I was dead lucky to have Reece Lipman make the video for me as part of his new venture, Shimmer-man Productions. I felt really anxious about being in front of the camera again after an extended period of not doing much on You Tube and also because it was someone else filming me, rather than me filming myself, so I had to just trust Reece and make like a op star. Luckily, Reece made me feel really comfortable and I sang along to my own song so many times I got used to it pretty quickly! (I couldn’t properly mime so I quietly sang.)

In other words, I’d thoroughly recommend him if you’re looking for a music video producer/director!

Tedx Bow

The other day, despite suffering a hangover from a late night Mariokart session, I headed to my new favorite cafe Muxima for the first Tedx Bow event.

The theme of the event, which featured a mixture of local speakers and Screen Ted talks, was ‘From the Heart’, and highlights included Amanda Palmer’s honest and eloquently explained ‘Art of Asking’ for funding her music (she compares it to her former vocation as a street statue performer) and Anise Bullimore’s very moving talk, ‘My body of work: an experience of cancer and art therapy’.

A few talks in, Isaak (who programmes Muxima’s upstairs space) came up to my ‘gang’ of Natalie, Elena and Andre (we’ve formed a mini singer-songwriter group and go on outings and stuff) and asked if one of us could fill a slot by playing. I didn’t really hear much of this conversation, so it was a surprise when I was pointed at… an hour later I was on stage with a borrowed guitar, playing the only three capo-free songs I still remember enough to play.

Photo by Antonio Luca www.aellephoto.com
Photo by Antonio Luca
http://www.aellephoto.com

Aside from two people who spoke all the way through my first song (someone told them to stop or leave as everyone in the room could hear every word they were saying… it was weird having just our three voices at counterpoint) everyone was silent and actually listened – it was amazing. It felt like they had more of an effect on me personally than I could ever have had on them. It’s easier to connect with the words you’ve written when you have the space to feel them; to hear yourself perform them.

Now I know this will come across as pretentious, but when you’re playing an open mic or a gig in a bar and it’s noisy and the monitors aren’t helping you like they should, it’s easy to think ‘I need to get through this!’, particularly as I’ve not performed much recently. However, the audience, speakers and audience at Tedx Bow – the community, I should say – has given me more confidence to just flippin’ do it.

I can’t wait for the next one!

I’ve got a gig!

I’m playing a four song set this Easter Sunday (31st March) at All Star Lanes in Holborn.

It’s for the 15 Minute Club and it’s free! So, despite being only a short set, it’s in a cool place where you can eat, drink cocktails and bowl. Plus there’s no work for most the next day so what more excuse do you need? Facebook public event here.

Listen to some demos on Soundcloud now or head to this post for some embedded tracks and a bit more about my recent attempt to play more. 

Making music

Inspired by a chat with my songwriting friend Elena Dana, I decided to actually put a new demo online on Sunday.

I probably should have written this song a while ago, but it kind of came lyrically/melodically and then I had to be bothered to actually get my guitar and work out the chords (which as always, aren’t complex, so I have no excuse…) and structure it.

I’ve played two open mic slots in London so far and I have to seek out more and be proactive, but I get so scared about approaching people so only have myself to blame. I always say I want to have a band – which is totally true – but equally, I shouldn’t just lay down my guitar and refuse to play it until I do. If I do.

So, if anyone knows of nights I could play, get in touch.

Here’s the new song, 12 Feet Under.

This set of demos kind of reflects the more recent sound. So Far Away was written when I was 20… it’s a bit scary to think that that was nearly four years ago! Escapology was the only song I wrote while in Newcastle, while Hard Candy is a product of the time I lived in Willesden Green in an odd living arrangement that made me decide it was time to aspire seriously for my own place.

Now firmly settled in the Get Flat, I have no excuse not to write, and so I finally wrote the song I needed to write about some of the things that happened in 2010/11. I kind of wish I could do it semi-acapella with accompaniment from one of those rhythmic cup players you see on YouTube.

12 Feet Under
I’m on a train
I’m gonna give my body to the Tyne and hope my soul
takes flight
‘Cos I’ve got plans to be getting on with

And oh
You laundered marbles ’til you lost control
Oh
Now they’re coming back to trip you, trip you
Oh
Resting on your laurels ’til the branches snapped
And the tree on the ground
How it felled you

They’ll have to bury me 12 feet under
For your six feet on top
cos I am
Taking you with me I am
taking you with me
When my neck’s for that drop

And your mother should have warned you to be superstitious
For you’ll be crying out
For her arms
When I’m gone.

Here’s a song from Elena Dana – I used to play this on my Amazing Radio folk show back in the day…

GoldenBoys Launch Party

After my last blog post I was invited to the GoldenBoys launch party.

(Get in!)

I don’t go to many ‘London-y’ events. The last one was a CBS party celebrating NCIS at the Dorchester Hotel. There were cupcakes, champagne, wine and an actress from the show to chat to – a nice event, but a slightly stiff atmosphere.

Luckily the GoldenBoys event was a far more laid back affair. Held in Neo Bar, Barbican, the party was oh so generous with the complimentary cocktails (all renamed with a financial theme). I helped myself to ‘Millionare’s Martinis’ and checked out the site on the laptops set out across the bar. One of the key games on the site is all about gambling on the state of the market – whether it’ll be up or down once trading has ended at the end of the working day. Another is the ‘Millionaires’, another game based on world markets – but, in theory, more predictable than the lottery numbers.

I also got to meet site founder Martin Linham and caught up with PR Adam (who works for event organisers TopLine Communications alongside my sister, Charlotte). When he’s not in the office, he can often be found drumming for Glaswegian alternative rock act There Will Be Fireworks.

Photo of me, Adam and Martin by Sheri Selby

On another note, the event marked the second ‘official’ outing for my Urban Outfitter’s playsuit – a lovely garment in theory (and some might say ‘on-trend’ due the all-over pattern and wide legged pyjama trouser) – but bloody hazardous when out and about. It’s got a zip followed by back of buttons that means that I simply can’t redress myself post toilet-break. Thankfully my friend Sarina was on hand to help with the process!

Keep the invites coming, please!

Can I Have Your Opinion Please?

I have what fashion-sceptics would call a ‘First World Problem’.

In other words, it’s not really an issue at all, I’m just seeking the opinions of others over – of all things – a pair of shoes.

Shoes by Deena & Ozzy at Urban Outfitters. Originally £150, now £40

I picked these up on impulse during a spot of retail therapy. I think my Spidey senses were telling me that the week ahead would not be a smooth one (it’s only Tuesday and so much has flippin’ happened!)

Should they stay or should they go (back to the shop)?

Aside from this footwear splurge I finally bought a pair of jeans (that aren’t jeggings) and my first jumpsuit (I may even post pics later, it’s that special).

As I don’t usually tend to spend so much on a single item I’m starting to have serious doubts about the shoes. They’re comfy, feel fabulous to strut in and certainly draw the eye… but are they too much for me? I’ve not worn them out yet as I’m still not sure whether I should return them… and that’s why I need you!

Please let me know what you think with a comment below. Are they worth every penny or a waste of space? And ultimately, should I keep them?

 

BIC Soleil

BIC Soleil have launched a new campaign called 'Just Live', surrounding four new razors with Shaver grip technology all aimed at different styles of shaving.

I've often had people stare aghast at my hands when I grip pens (apparently 'normal people' use their index fingers whereas I use my trusty 'claw' grip), so happily BIC have created a range to suit more 'unique cases' like me as well as the more eloquent of shavers. I'm quite pleased to hear that the emphasis is on grip too, being that I was forever put off more flimsy disposables after slicing into the top of my thumbs during a routine leg shave one morning. Needless to say, it hurt.

Bella razor

BIC have teamed up with body language expert Dr Jane McCartney to tell you how the way you shave reflects your personality. Apparently my long-studied techique of resting the handle in the palm of my hand 'allows me to shave quickly and efficiently and reflects my direct, driven and pragmatic approach', with the razor most suiting me being the generously sized Bella (see above). To find out more about each product, including which shaver could suit you and the way you defuzz, head to the Just Live Facebook Page.

Of course, a promotion wouldn't be a promotion these days without the giveaways, and BIC are getting chatty with their customers over on their Twitter and Facebook accounts, giving away goodies for ten weeks (including Benefit vouchers) and a cash prize to top off their season of giveaways.  The Competition can be entered here using the simple entry form.

To enforce the idea that BIC Soleil can help you to 'just live' by getting you feeling glam in a few strokes of a razor (my Saturday morning routine is pretty much centred around my shower), BIC has recruited bloggers such as Lauren Loves and Blah Blah Becky to dispense their tips for getting ready for a stress-free Christmas. They've also teamed up with Dorothy Perkins, fashion stylist Hannah Hughes, hairdresser Andrew Barton and make up artist Alana Phillips to give you top style and beauty tips to accompany your silky holiday pins.

Oh yes, and before I forget, they've also asked me too! So keep your eyes peeled to the Facebook page where my tips on feeling confident in the kitchen on Christmas Day – and the traditions and recipes I employ to keep myself feeling festive.

This is a sponsored post, but don't worry – if I don't like it, I won't write about it.

Viral video by ebuzzing