Archive for the ‘London’ Category

Duchovny Dad Dancing

Saturday, May 7th, 2016

Well, what a night! After hearing the fantastic news that Sadiq Khan is our new London Mayor, I hot-footed it down to Islington to meet a couple of friends from Manchester.

I was lucky enough to get the HOT TICKET of the pre-festival season to go to see David Duchovny perform at Union Chapel. It is, of course, a beautiful venue and always a pleasure to be there, the church surroundings and lighting design didn’t disappoint and his band are very talented musicians.

Duchovny seemed to love self-consciously performing as a rock star rather than singing the songs with meaning, which meant some of the lyrical content was lost. He wandered through the crowd on occasion, who played along and reached out to touch him. I mean, who wouldn’t want to touch David Duchovny?! Some people were even singing along, it was super cute.

I won’t mention the songwriting on his album Hell or Highwater or his singing but the in-between banter was great; he is clever, charming, self-deprecating and very funny.

The best part of all was his out-of-time weird chicken robot dancing. The whole thing felt like when someone has a really great band at their wedding but the bride’s dad gets up to ‘do a few numbers’ with them. It was such a joyous experience I giggled throughout.

He was having such a great time on stage that I just couldn’t hate it. No matter how hard I tried.

Victoria

Friday, April 8th, 2016

After unpacking my suitcase for the first time in 6 weeks, I took myself out to one of my very favourite London places, the Curzon Soho, to see Victoria.

Victoria is a strange journey on which to go alone. It is entirely shot in one take and follows a young Spanish woman on a night out in Berlin, where she lives. I can’t really say much about it without giving any spoilers at all but the way the camera follows the actors, you really feel as if you are inside the film. That they are all real people and this is in fact all really happening.

The sound production was also really really special. There are very occasional moments in the film where music is used in such a perfect way, whereas mostly the sound is left alone as it is on the streets.

The performances are pretty much flawless and Laia Costa deserves every award she is given.

To finish watching and walk out into a busy city in the middle of the night was perfect. I thoroughly recommend this!

Sadly, the Curzon Soho is under threat as they want to build part of the Crossrail 2 where the building stands. The cinema has been around since the 50s and holds a lot of memories for the film industry in the UK. I really hope it is saved in time. Please sign the petition if you’re that way inclined.

BAFTA Games

Friday, April 8th, 2016

What a week!

I’ve mostly been hanging out with friends and chilling in my April room in South London, which is much fancier than anywhere I’ve ever lived (yes, even including The Penthouse back in the day – because it’s got some soul, rather than just being a charisma-less flash new building).

Anyway…on Wednesday I had the honour of accompanying two BAFTA Games nominees to the pre-awards party.

Twin brothers, Peter and Robert Curry have a New Zealand-based game development company called Dinopolo Club, under which they released a game called Mini Metro. It lost out (at the awards the following night) to Her Story, the much lauded game by Sam Barlow. I also met a pair of Canadian game developers who were there as nominees for their game Keep Talking Game.

Although he wasn’t at the event, it’s important to note that Mini Metro’s sound was designed by the wonderfully talented Disasterpiece and I now have dreams of heading over to New York on a pilgrimage to ask him to make me his apprentice.

It was a great night in a super glamorous location with lots of champagne and nerding out. I was basically in my heaven.

On my way home, in a magical twist of fate, I crossed paths with the first fox I’ve seen since being back. It was beautiful and we held eye contact for a long time before it toddled off to find a late tea.

Please sir, can I have some more?

Monday, March 28th, 2016

I have been treated very very well since arriving back home from New Zealand. The biggest highlight of being so spoilt has definitely been the food.

My brother-in-law is an absolutely brilliant cook, so luckily I got to eat lots of yummy homemade meals when staying with my family, this included a wonderful surprise of smoked mackerel salad, as he knew I had missed mackerel very much while I was away.

I’ve eaten a few delicious home-cooked roasts, including the best roast potatoes I’ve ever had, courtesy of my friend Jen.

A visit to Honest Burgers in Soho, was a must, I chose their classic beef burger and rosemary fries, which were large in portion and would’ve been better if they were bigger in size like chips but they were beautifully crispy. The burger was really good, not as good as the best burger I’ve ever eaten, which was at Paddock in Cambridge near Hamilton in New Zealand but better than the burger at Burger Liquor in Wellington.

And then of course, there is The London Particular. I really don’t have the words to describe how good it was to be back in this place. It goes without saying that the coffee is still impeccable. My first meal was a beautiful mix of salads, both vegan, accompanied by beautiful sourdough bread and olive oil.

On my next visit I had the vegetarian brunch bowl, which included the London Particular’s signature baked beans. I’ve never tasted beans like them, so so delicious.

Since I left, the management have expanded and set up the LP Bar next door, decorated with old bits of aeroplanes, complete with actual old aeroplane seats. It’s gorgeous, I can’t wait to try their cocktails some time.

I am considering going vegetarian again or even vegan. It is harder to find ethically-sourced meat and fish here. Quality food is also much more expensive. The thing that most holds me back is finding adequate sources of B12 and Ferritin to ensure I don’t get really sick again like last year. That was really scary.

Films, Music, Films

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

I’ve spent my days so far wandering the streets again, going on long bus rides on my own, seeing all the old buildings I missed while I was away, and reconnecting with close friends.

My first week-and-a-half back in London coincided with BFI Flare. I can’t say this was pure coincidence. Queer Christmas, as it is comfortingly called by some of my favourite queers, is an annual celebration of what it means to be LGBTIQ+ in London. There are films galore and DJs play most of the nights in one or both of the bars.

So some of my evenings have been mis-spent, in the best possible way, at the BFI surrounded by gorgeous sexy people of all genders and sexualities.

Femme Brutal is a documentary about an Austrian burlesque troupe based in Vienna. The documentary included interviews with groups of two or more of the seven performers. These interviews were conversational and relaxed, showing the humour and shared chemistry between the people involved in the brutal, kinky burlesque shows.
Interspersed was footage from performances, shot as artistically as possible, with close-ups of bodies and the performances adjusted to work to camera, which ensured the people watching the film were as involved and included as if they were in a live audience. The final sequence was an elaborate power-play of sexiness between two of the performers.

I left flabbergasted, overwhelmed with joy at being home where I belong.

That weekend I went to the Roundhouse to see some performances as part of Roundhouse Rising, most of note was a stunning improvised collaboration between sound artist Gawain Hewitt and countertenor Patrick Terry, based on the theme of ‘water’. The set-up included a bowl of water containing a hydrophone, into which Patrick sang, and a large soundboard with waves painted onto it where the triggers were.

I couldn’t believe it had been improvised, the whole piece was so perfectly delivered.

I was lucky enough to be able to visit some of the young people’s pieces of work down in the Roundhouse Studios too. Audio Collective, made up of 11-25 year olds, has been working over the last few months on some sound art of their own, developed around the idea of water. The three pieces of art I saw were stunning and in great contrast to one another. It was easy to imagine them all within a gallery context, being interacted with and critiqued by pretentious art-types. My favourite was a piece created from sine waves and hospital drips, it was genius.

Then, back to the BFI for a night of three short films as part of the Glitter, Slush, Neon, Cake selection.

The first was a beautifully touching German story about a young teenager spending the summer with her younger maths tutor and her older ballet teacher. The second was a trashy Brazillian high school drama full of magic and lust.

The final film of the evening was a perfect honouring of femme sex workers set in a fictional American building called The Palace. It was just so wonderful, I wanted to dive into the film and spend the night adventuring with them.

Writing Again…

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Just over 27 hours later, I stepped off the plane in Heathrow Airport after 3.25 years in New Zealand. It was 4.50am.

I’m grounded. At peace inside my own body and mind. It’s a strange feeling after spending over 30 years being a crazy Tasmanian-Devil-style-hyperactive-ball-of-mess.

I’m calm now, I listen. These are the things Aotearoa New Zealand gave me, along with the seeds of understanding about what colonisation is and the impact it continues to have on indigenous people around the world.

But aside from these changes, I am hungry. Hungry for a city, a real city. With all the dirt and diversity and dancing.

And I’m writing again…

Rainy June

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

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Argh! So much has happened since I did a proper blog I don’t know where to start. With a list of course!

  • In October 2010 I had the start of my first ever tattoo. It was finished in February 2011 and is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I love it and I am so grateful to the artist Henry Hate. He is like the Juliette Binoche character from Chocolat but for tattoos. I went in with an idea and came out with my soul on my skin.
  • I did my first ever solo tour of the UK. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to book any Wales gigs this time round but I’m hoping to soon enough. I went to Bristol, Cambridge, Glasgow and Ayr. The Scottish gigs were with tour buddy Dave Hughes who is like a cross between Shane MacGowan and Macaulay Culkin and knows more about Bruce Springsteen than anyone I know. I had tonnes of fun and adventures along the way. The new set-up using a small 80s keyboard rather than my big full-size one works much better (even though it does leave me with nothing to hide behind!).
  • I have new hair. It is short-ish and blonde. I adore it. The best hairdresser I’ve ever had did it. You can find her on Twitter. If I ever get a world tour, Sapphire is coming with me to do my hair.
  • I finally got to the Out Of This World exhibition at the British Library. It is fantastic. The only frustrating thing is not being able to touch and smell the original copies of these wonderful books. I will be going back again before it finishes.
  • My favourite wannbe-rollergirl’s boyfriend arranged an incredible birthday surprise treasure hunt for her around the National Galleries and Trafalgar Square. Her closest friends all dressed up as characters from her two favourite stories: Alice In Wonderland and Mary Poppins. It caused a bit of a ruckus when security tried to chuck us out though and we ended up being chased by around 7 security guards. It all ended in a tea party. I was the Cheshire Cat, obvs.

Future things:

  • The Very Exciting Thing I am doing is now underway. I still can’t say much about it but as soon as I can I will let you know. At the moment it is just in the research stages.
  • I booked my first holiday for about 5 years: In October I’ll be visiting one of my best friends in Bangkok then we’re also going to Bali too! I almost fainted when I read the confirmation emails. I have been ordered I’m not allowed to do any work at all while I’m there. I might have to sneak some online time to dispel any withdrawal symptoms!
  • The new single Milk and Water is almost ready. It has been a labour of love.
  • The artist development programme I created for Drake Music has finally been given a little bit of money for the first session. I’m really looking forward to it although it means more work for me!
  • Lots of changes have happened that make me think East London might not be the place for me soon, I love it here and of course my heart will always belong to London but I’m thinking more and more about moving away. I won’t be going too far and I’m sure you’ll read about this in the forthcoming year.
  • And FINALLY I am planning my next party. It won’t be until the autumn and will have a very different feel as well as be a more ‘exclusive’ event. More to follow!

So all in all a transforming few months. Not sure what’s next, which is (as you know) how I like it. Exciting times. #followthesigns

London Tips

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

1. Buy an A to Z

2. Go out without anywhere to go

3. Walk or Get the Bus

4. Look up as well as down

5. Speak to strangers