Thursday, February 16, 2012

In Which I Cannot Play

On my run this morning (nonchalant smugness, anyone?) I saw some crocuses (croci?) and snowdrops (snowdri?). Added to the joy of finding an unexpected daffodil earlier on, this was cause for a small, if somewhat sweaty, leap for joy. Aslan, I thought to myself, is on the move.


Mother's Ruin Theatrical Spectacular was, well, theatrical and spectacular. We Eggs haven't done a spot of anything together since the Halloween show at Islington Mill, performance-wise, unless you count heavy drinking and sycronising our periods, which I personally do. Lydia, Sara, Lowri and I were the four doing Mother's Ruin, and we met up for a couple of rehearsals do sort out what we were going to do. I was up for downing a bottle of gin on stage and then doing a big drawing of our collective uterus, but this was not to be. Actually, we came up with something, or a series of things, that just seemed to, work, somehow. I know it sounds implausible, but we just had fun, messed about a bit and did stuff until it all seemed good. We all wore Drama Blacks (polo-necks and leggings, plus the nearest things we could get to jazz shoes) and polished up our RADA jog (tiptoes, chin up, meaningful gaze) and did some things. The piece culminated in me singing an earnest, folky rendition of Boom Boom Boom (Let Me Hear You Say Wayo), accompanied by my own terrible keyboard "playing", while Lowri and Sara used hairdryers to make my hair all wind machine blowy and Lydia did the rap bit as Takisha the alien. Who knows why it worked, but it really seemed to. People were stamping their feet afterwards, and not even really out of anger and disdain.

It was marvellous. We watched the other acts from the wings, many of whom were drag queens.

Have you ever found yourself in the business district of a major city, wandering through towering, glittering skyscrapers, staring up to see the tops but feeling so dizzy from the sheer height you have to look back down towards the reassuring presence of your own feet?

Well, that's what it's like being a five foot five woman in flat shoes surrounded by drag queens who all push the six foot mark even before donning their five inch stilettos. All mountainous hair and enormous shoulders, and in the darkness of the wings it felt most peculiar.

I don't know what's next for Eggs. After the summer show and then Halloween, there was a sense of an impending hiatus, but really, after last Friday it seems a shame not to get back on the Egg-shaped horse (not practical) for more.


This week is half term so I am not teaching or doing my course, so to celebrate I went to a gig today in an art gallery that is part of Manchester Metropolitain University. A duo called Taylor and the Mason were playing in the café bit, and they are wonderful. I saw them on New Year's Eve, and got a little starstruck, and today they were just as good. Two women, two guitars, two fantastic voices and some knock-your-socks-off harmonies. Because it is a student place there were lots of sullen-looking girls about looking artily uncomfortable in their own skins. Add the general insouciant, teenage air to the fact that every so often someone would clunk something out of the vending machine, it can't have been a very easy gig to begin, but they soon triumphed. Taylor and the Mason do their own songs beautifully and some fabulous covers. Anyway, I am crap at writing reviews and I don't want to do it anyway. But they're great. Listen out for them, if you like good things.

(Maybe they can put that quote on an album cover? "Listen out for them, if you like good things" - some woman who says words on the Internet.)


I got a place on Flying Solo Artist Programme! Doing a week of workshops with brilliant artists to work on solo material, which I will, in a glittering flurry of understatement, say that I am really, really happy about. There is a pitch thing at the end where you have to pitch against everyone else (and in front of an audience) to say why your show deserves development time in Amsterdam, Manchester and New York, which sounds terrifying. I will just draw a picture of my uterus and down a bottle of gin and see what happens.

(Note to self: find out what uterus looks like. Oh, and buy gin.


I have been "playing" the keyboard this afternoon. Please note that I cannot play the keyboard. I can stab at the buttons (read: keys) and do some chords, but I quickly get frustrated with what seems sadly to be an almost complete lack of skill. I am desperate for lessons, but with no keyboard to practice on (I borrowed this one from school) and the fact that I often neglect my other instruments, I just haven't made it a priority. Also, piano lessons cost money, and, whilst I find some sort of romance in the idea of being a starving artist, I get very cross and weak when I am hungry. No point being able to play the keyboard without the strength to hurl it across the room in a fit of hunger-induced rage. Maybe when I am a mutli-trillionaire from writing insightful music reviews I will reconsider, but until then, sadly, I must stab and cry, like everyone else.


So, spring is unfurling. The drizzle is drizzling on Manchester and I have lots of washing up to do. With this washing up in mind I might go and have another kick-about on the old electronic joanna, see if I have magically acquired the ability to play more than a C Major chord in the last half hour.

Tomorrow I am doing a studio day with Lowri and whoever else turns up, and then the weekend and then back to normal. But right now, what with all the snowdrops, impending spring and the shimmer of interesting things on the horizon, normal is pretty OK.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

If You're Happy And You Know It Clap Your Hands

...and rehearsal yesterday was amazing, and then I came home and had my dinner and pretended to tidy up and sent Lowri my thing for our Edinburgh application and then started the washing up and then Ben came back from (That) London where he'd had a great day and said "hey do you wanna go for last orders at the pub" and I took my hands out of the water and said um, yes, and we went and got pints of Guinness and the band was playing including the man with steel drums wearing the "To Hell With Work, Let's Go To Barbados" t-shirt on, we had another Guinness and then came home and stayed up really late chatting and then I woke up when he left to go to (That) Cardiff and I got up and started researching the golden ratio for the meeting Dan and I have today with the Cornerhouse about the commission they're giving us to produce some work and then I got a message from my friend Lily to say that she's coming to Manchester at the weekend and is going to be able to come to the Mother's Ruin Theatrical Spectacular thing I'm performing at with Eggs Collective and I got excited and put it on Facebook and then I went and put the radio on and it was Jeff Buckley's Lover You Should Have Come Over, and I really, really love that song...

And basically, that's why I'm in such a good mood.

Oh, and it's sunny out.

My jollity is only slightly marred by the fact that I have an ever-so-slightly sore finger from where I cut it yesterday on the plunger bit of the cafetiere, probably one of the most middle class injuries ever to be sustained. Perhaps today I will twist an ankle from slipping in some houmous, or get a puy lentil stuck up my nose.

I hope you have a nice day, too. Hopefully one that involves amusing-but-not-life-threatening injuries and a trip to Barbados.