Monday, 29 September 2008

You Didn't See Lefors Out there Did You?

As the sun sets, and reflected vapour trails in the canal emerge from the darkening blue – like the flag of St. Andrew rising from the depths – it’s time to let the day fall away, with all its triumphs and tragedies, and head home to a vodka and tonic and a celebratory viewing of Cool Hand Luke and Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. I imagine this is how I will spend my days after the apocalypse, fishing in the canal, and reciting lines from my favourite movies. That and killing zombies.

I wrote “I ain’t scared of lightning” while watching the end scenes of CHL, borrowed the title of “Stronger than Dirt” from the scene with his dying mother, and have the film deeply embedded in my psyche to the point where I unconsciously reference it all the time. That’s another way of saying ‘steal’.

1969’s Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (we both had our initial release that year) led me first to Paul Newman, and to William Goldman who wrote it, and to George Roy Hill who directed it (and several of my favourite films) and finally to Conrad Hall, whose cinematography has remained unparalleled throughout history – CHL is all about the blue, baby. Prisoners’ uniforms, southern skies, Newman’s eyes. It’s actually Conrad Hall who doubles for Butch when crashing the bike in the famous Bacharach/David “raindrops” sequence, trivia fans. CHL (1967) was ground zero for an explosive starburst of talent - play spot the famous actor - a family tree of interlinked artists whose work I cherished as a kid, and am grateful for now. But Hill, Hall and Newman…alas all now gone. Thankfully summonable at the flick of a switch – at least for a little while longer, so that’s how I will spend my Sunday evening, in their company. I raise my glass to you all, gentlemen – the first of many hopefully, if I can find something left at the back of the fridge to drink. Ah yes, here it is. For a moment there…

Thursday, 25 September 2008

King McRae

Exciting news for all of us who harbour dreams of ruling over our fellow men: it is now not necessary to be protestant or male to be heir to the throne of England. To be fair, those requirements weren't necessarily a struggle for me. Now the only thing standing between me and a life of pointless luxury and constant tabloid coverage, is the fact that I wasn't singled out by God to be born in the right bed, to some(foreign) blue-blood, probably so in-bred that for every child born with the requisite number of limbs there is a baby in the attic with the head of an ant. Jesus-fucking-Christ, are we still putting Royal stories (even constitutional ones) on the front page of serious newspapers? Some days I struggle to find evidence that we live in a grown-up world. Maybe Sarah Palin is right, maybe the planet is only 7000 years old. That would explain alot.

PS. To everyone who says the Royal family don't harm anyone, or that they bring in tourists' money... and give us some sense of heritage and tradition... I say this: they establish the fact (one compounded by private education, hereditary peers... etc) that the bed in which you were born will be the defining characteristic of your life. What the fuck does that mean for those of us born in Chelmsford?

PPS. There goes the OBE.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Ask Tom #3

hi there , uhm there is something that i have been thinking about for a while now but i didn't dare to ask you at the time. Well ,I was the girl who threw the panties on stage in Utrecht and you looked annoyed or something ,we thought it would be funny and actually I still think it was , just checking ...
bye x nele

Hi Nele, I can't imagine I would have been annoyed. Things like that could happen more often if you ask me... knicker throwing never seems to happen enough to singer-songwriters. Are we not human? Do we not need love? Is it too much to ask that people throw under garments at us to express their recognition of the passionate souls performing for their pleasure? If I made a funny face I can only apologise. I can look a bit weird when I sing. Did I take them with me? What happened to them? Ah, we always have a good time in Utrecht. Except when we're robbed at gunpoint. But panties can make up for that.


P.S If this starts a craze of throwing pants, can it just be the women? No men.

Ask Tom #2

I'm wondering if there's anywhere I can view/hear your performance of "Language of Fools" on the Conan O'Brien show from probably 5+ years ago. Thanks!

Good question, I have no idea. I take it you've tried YouTube? I'd like to hear it myself. I remember being freezing cold in the studio (apparently you can only be funny if it's cold) and the audience didn't stop cheering until we'd nearly finished the song. I think they were wound up by the floor manager to a point of high excitement and no one warned us they'd scream for so long. Still, it was nice to be on Conan. I still have the sign they made for my dressing room door. Sad, I know... but those little things are souvenirs of exciting times.

Ask Tom #1

I saw you in Atlanta, GA when you opened up for the Water Boys and became an instant fan. Any plans to ever come back to Atlanta?


Jerry Adams

Hello Jerry. That seems a long time ago now, was it the Roxy we played? I remember a great little theatre, and also playing an in-store somewhere that day. It's all starting to get lost in the mists of time. I'd love to come back to Atlanta but alas have no real plans to just yet, as all my touring in the states is self-funded right now and I can only play a select few cities. Maybe you can book a trip out to East or West coasts one day. If not, hold a house party, invite me, and we'll see what we can do!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Raining Bankers

For the past few days I've had my binoculars trained on Canary Wharf, trying to spot the newly unemployed billionaire bankers jumping from the top floors. Alas, none of them seem capable of doing the decent thing - so until it is literally raining bankers I refuse to believe this recession is as bad as they say. When I say 'they', obviously I mean journalists, for whom nothing is as exciting as total disaster. "Economy follows same predictable pattern as before" isn't really an exciting headline is it? Never mind, tighten the purse strings, send back the helicopter, and concrete over the pool, and I'm sure we'll all survive - just in time for the next disaster. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world hurricanes kill people, floods, famine and disease still decimate populations,and wars rage. But fuck them. Where's my fuel rebate?

Having put down the binoculars and climbed off my soapbox, I head off to the studio to master a collection of live tracks recorded over the last year on the European tour. This official bootleg collection (as I'm temporarily calling it) is like a little time machine that has been transporting me back to some of my favourite moments in recent years. Playing with Oli and Olli is always a privilege, and it's nice to hear back some of those live moments (complete with audience participation) without being covered in sweat, worried about my hair, and trying to remember the words. When it's done I'll see if there's anyway of releasing it, depending on demand. He said coyly.

Right, I have to go and decide how and where to hang the Damien Hirst that has just come into my possession. I'm thinking by the neck, with piano wire, from my front porch - as a warning to all other talentless charlatans.

P.S I don't have a porch. Paunch maybe. Not porch.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

A field that is forever Essex

People amaze me. Generally it's our ability to fuck things up given half a chance, which definitely happened at the Offset Festival this weekend. But mostly it's the fact that people have deep wells of resources upon which they can draw in times of need. I mean it's not Hurricane Gustav or anything, but seeing the faces of a die hard audience who had waited three hours, were exhausted, hung-over and ready for bed, but still willing to stay for the show, was heart-warming. Having wandered in search of a stage willing to have us, like Joseph and Mary with a little baby cellist in tow, we eventually wound up back at the original stage. This show, and the previous Borderline show, were our small way of seeing out the year with a couple of intimate gigs, having been inspired by the Brighton weekend to try and weave some magic in tiny rooms (and tents) before we all disappear for another year or two. And despite organisational chaos, I enjoyed them. There is a flame here that needs protecting and nurturing. A secret. But like all good secrets I feel compelled to share it, so I'm off to the states to whisper it to some other friends. It's been an interesting summer. I stayed still for months - that never happens. I wrote and discarded an album's worth of songs.... (okay, they went missing on a stolen laptop - but I realised I didn't miss them or mourn their loss), I became handy with a drill and screw driver in an attempt to stay dry (and burglar proof) it's been an experience all in all. McRaetheism was conceived as a complete additional website, a forum for rants, ideas, philosophies and much more. It was almost finished when said laptop was nicked. Get insurance people, and back things up - that's my advice. But instead of giving up totally on the idea, as a stop gap I'm trying this Blog thing. It's simple and just about functions, like me, so I'll have a go for a while. Happy Autumn, thanks for coming to the shows. Hopefully see you in the States with my little friend, Steve Reynolds.