Friday, August 19, 2005

All done.

My absence for the last few days has, I am sure, thrown the Internet into disarray, and provoked scandalous rumour-mongering about what could possibly have befallen me.

Well, FEAR NOT hundreds, nay, THOUSANDS of screaming fans. I have not been kidnapped by the producers of White Noise for so openly disparaging their piece of art, the depth and power of which can only be rivalled by sticking your head into a toilet whilst simlutaneously listening to the Crazy Frog on repeat for 2 1/2 hours. Nor have I been captured by the minions of Paris Hilton for implying that she is a pretentious, irritating, emaciated Knob-Face and that I am better than her because I am, well, not. Well, I'm ceratinly not emaciated.

I have mainly been sunbathing. Sunbathing and having my picture taken (although not whilst sunbathing). Also watching TV. Yesterday I watched Friends, Charmed (I have a passionate but very embarrassing LOVE for Charmed. Don't laugh at me! It has hidden depths) Will and Grace, Kill Bill vol. 2 (MASSIVE Tarantino fan) and whatever the hell else I could find.

It was lovely.

But I have some catching up to do now, as both Dawn and Monkey Typist have sent me some questions to answer. This is a cool sort of meme-y thing as the questions have to be personal.

So I will start with Monkey Typist's questions.

1.whats the one place or thing in london you recommend people see or do?

I would certainly recommend people see me. And, obviously, when I say 'see' I mean 'get drunk with'. As for doing, well, I suppose that depends how drunk you get me.
Seriously, though. That's quite difficult, really. I would recommend a walk along the South Bank. Starting with Borough Market, where the Best Brownies Ever live. It is a food market, kind of semi inside and semi outside. On a Saturday it is always teeming with people, some doing their weekly shop for fresh food. These are the smug people that cook healthy good things and seem like the sorts who might sneakily do Improving Things when the rest of us have our backs turned. Borough Market is one of those places you wander into and your senses immediately reel. The echos of voices raised in the energetic business of buying and selling, the smells of the rich, fresh food, cooking and baking, mixed with fresh coffee, the bright, startling colours, the greens, browns, reds, of the produce and of the people happily twisting, turning, reaching for tasters and exclaiming over the deliciousness of some previously untasted cheese, chocolate or olive. And, O, the brownies rock my world.
Coming out of the Market, you turn left along the river bank and walk along, past riverside pubs and offices, gazing out at the wide Thames with its boats and bridges claiming its depths. Past the Tate Modern, which looms up, roaring with square, red-bricked certainty. It has so much power, that building, with its huge tower and solid base. I love the juxtaposition of it. It looks, from the outside, like a 19th century factory from the soot-suffocated North. Exactly like something described by Dickens or Gaskell in one of their long-suffering Industrial Novels. A place of toil, of work and of suffering. The Tate Modern seems to be aware of its appearance, and it relishes its own contradictions. Just like a stern old English Gentleman whose humour is only ever drily hinted at, the Tate Modern hints its glorious and hedonistic contents with a wry irony.
Continue along the river, and pass Gabriel's Wharf and more bars and trees and offices. To get to the National Theatre and the National Film Theatre. Outside the National Theatre there is a square of grassy stuff with tables and chairs, upon which to sit and drink or eat. There is a stage there, too, and most nights (at least, in summer) there is a performance of music of some sort, world music or acoustic something or other. Under the brige is a book market, with long trestle tables crammed with books of every description. There are, of course, the omnipresent buskers. Maybe a wiry old man with a handkerchief around his neck and a straggled white beard, moving jerkily as he plays some complicated violin solo with his eyes clampled shut. Or some students with a backing track leaping out though an amp, jamming on their saxes or bongos.
To carry on past all this takes a while, but then you come out and carry on strolling. Maybe by this time it is early evening, and the lights that sweep and curve on wires between the trees that line the Thames here have flickered on. Following these lights with your eyes you can feel the curves of the river and sense the gentle antiquity of the spherical street lamps reflected in the water.
But then the modern London swoops into your vision, in the shape of the London Eye. The huge wheel always seems to me to be a heady mix between the majestic and the arrogant. Its constant, sweeping serenity in unruffeld by the excitable hoardes of tourists who clamber aboard unceasingly, ready to be awed by the panoramas it bestows.

Personally I just like sitting on one of the comfortable, slope-backed benches and gazing out at the water. Pint in hand maybe, alone or with company, reading or engaged in low conversation against the background city noise.

I will move on to the next question now, but I also love Camden for its diversity and buzz, Covent Garden for its familiarity, St James Park, or in fact, any of the parks. There are loads of plaes I love in London, and even more that I have not yet seen. I think London is wonderful.


2.With your singing, do you mainly sing covers or do you write your own songs too?

With jazz, I sing standards. Summertime, My Funny Valentine, Angel Eyes. Fever, Night and Day, Misty, Bye Bye Blackbird... there are so many. They have been done so many times that there has ceased to be an accepted manner in which to sing them. Everytime I sing these songs I feel like I'm singing them for the first and millionth time.
I do write my own songs, but I am a bit embarrassed of them. I feel that the lyrics are over poetic and pretentious, the music is too simplistic. I have never performed any of my own songs. That, to me, is a challenge yet to be faced.


3.What one piece of advice would you give someone about blogging?

Be true to yourself and pure of heart.

HA, just kidding. No, don't. Just write funny stuff. People like funny stuff.

Feel a bit drained now, so am going to have a little lie down before I continue.

I will update SOON with Dawn's questions, though.

UPDATE

Dawn's questions now. I'l try to keep these answers a bit shorter.

1. Have you always wanted to be a singer? Why do you want to be ajazz singer, specifically?

I have always wanted to be a singer, I think. I have vague recollections of a half-hearted desire to own a cheese-shop, but those plans were quickly thwarted when it quickly became clear that just because I owned the cheese, it didn't actually mean I would be able to eat it all.

I have always loved to sing, even though I was quite shy up until I was about 14/15. I play the 'cello as well, and whenever I had to play in front of people I would be excruciatingly nervous. I remember shaking talcum powder on my hands to rid them of the squeezing swollen sweatiness that went along with those nerves. But I haven't ever felt nervous with singing. Provided I have a vague knowledge of the words I know that I can just make it up and it will be alright.

Why jazz? I don't really know. My Mum used to sing Summertime as a lullaby. I used to sing that in the car on trips, it's such a beautiful, ebbing song to sing and I can't remember a time when I didn't know it inside out. Then I just got a taste for the flowing, silky romanticism of female singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Dinah Washington. The old songs, full of heartbreak and hope in equal measures, they touch me in ways no other music ever has. Another thing I love about jazz is the spontaneity and electricity of live jazz. Never knowing what will happen, but at the same time really FEELING like you know what might be coming next. I don't know any theory apart from the classical stuff I learnt from my 'cello, so it is ALL about feeling my way around the music, about listening and responding.
So when I say 'I don't really know' I mean I DO know and am going to write a long and oblique paragraph about it.


2. How did you get into this whole blogging gig?

I had a lot of free time on my hands, and Internet access. I was looking stuff up on Google and trying to find ways of entertaining myself when I did a virtual comedy stumble across Amalah's site. I read the whole thing and was just SO amused and delighted by it. So I read more blogs. I was going through some pretty horrible stuff at the time, and so I thought I would, as an experiment, start one up of my own. So I did. Then I wrote to Amalah's Wednesday Advice Smackdown, basically asking her how I was supposed to KNOW if my blog was good, or shit or whatever. She said something along the lines of "Dude! You're English! That's just cool in itself! (Oh but she's wise) Keep going!"
So I did. And am.

3. If you had to lose one of your senses for the rest of your life,but could pick which one it was, which would it be? Why?

Oooh. T. R. Icky.

Smell. I know it makes telling if you had left you're oven on/telling if part of you was on fire/detecting skunks considerably more difficult, but it would also mean that you would never walk past a McDonalds and think "but it SMELLS nice. It might TASTE nice, too.. this time?" Because? It DOESN'T. And don't argue, Ronald McDonald, I won't be swayed. And anyway, I think you're biased.

4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

I know I'm copying your answer, Dawn, but I think I would live everywhere. I want a jet, and houses everywhere. I love London, but would love to be able to move and come back, and just travel my heart out.

5. Which do you prefer: cats or dogs? Why?

Dogs. Cats are cleverer than me and that is disconcerting.
Dogs are just a little bit silly and easily surprisable. They're like "Oh WOW! You came HOME! I'm so excited I don't have enough room to show you in running how excited I am but I will run anyway and WHO CARES if I run into stuff and bang my head I AM HAVING SO MUCH FUN JUST KNOWING YOU'RE HERE! And, wait a cotton-pickin' minute. Is that FOOD you're giving me? This is just TOO MUCH! HURRAH! Look at me leap! Look! LEAPY LEAPY!" and so on. Cats are like"Who are you? No. Don't tell me. I can't be bothered to listen. I'll just slink places and be totally apathetic about some stuff. Meh".
I just like being popular, that's all.

So that it then. And NOW...

The Official Interview Game Rules:
1. If you want to participate, leave a comment below asking to beinterviewed.
2. I will respond by asking you five questions - each person's willbe different.
3. You will update your journal/blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interviewothers in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask themfive questions.

I am duty bound to fulfill these rules, so if you want questions, ask me and I will provide. In time.

7 Comments:

Blogger Bug said...

You make me jealous I don't live in London (although I love where I live). I may have to visit

2:36 pm

 
Blogger Dancinfairy said...

Ahh it's good that your back and I so have to follow your advice next time I'm in London, that sounds right up my street.

I know Monkey Typist already asked but ask me some different questions! It's all me, me, me!

9:53 pm

 
Anonymous number1hypocrite said...

I almost believed you when you said that the writers of 'White Noise' had kidnapped you. Because the director of 'Boogeyman' sent hitmen to my house when I trashed his movie on my blog.

Now you have to ask me questions. Ha!

5:18 am

 
Anonymous Dawn said...

Nothing wrong with stealing answers. I mean, I stole that question from someone else, so I think it makes us even.

3:02 pm

 
Blogger Dancinfairy said...

Hi, thanks for the questions - my answers are up.

And now for yours:

1) You have a super power for a day. What is it and how do you use it, for Good or Evil?
2) You always make me laugh. Who makes you laugh?
3) What is the worst outfit you have ever worn?
4) What is your biggest fear?
5) Recommend a book that everyone should read.

5:20 pm

 
Blogger Doug said...

I think I could use some questions. Feel free to indulge me.

5:44 pm

 
Anonymous Angela said...

I've been reading your blog for a while now (ever since your question in Amalah's smackdown, actually--we shall all bow down and worship her together for she is freakin' hilarious!) and I've got to tell you how much I've enjoyed you. You've got a great combination of the funny and the heartfelt and are one of the people who have inspired me to start a blog of my own. I'm only on day 2 and have not much of an internet "identity" yet, but thanks for your inspiration and you can count yourself at least one more loyal reader in me!

12:27 am

 

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