I made this playlist for my book launch party, which was a
couple of weeks ago at Paper Dress Vintage in Shoreditch.
Ever since, I must confess that I have been listening to it
near constantly – because it involves so many of my favourite songs, cheers me
up (it’s great for singing along to in the bath) and reminds me of a night that
made me so happy (brilliant friends, beautiful dresses, basically the dream).
It’s that time of year again when every
newspaper, magazine and website is filled with ‘what to take to Glastonbury!’
Now, if you’re going, you’re probably
already set by now.But I am reminded
anew that EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE ARTICLES SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN WRITTEN BY
SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER BEEN TO A FESTIVAL IN THEIR LIFE.
It annoys me without fail every single
year.Oh yeah, let’s all wear pale
floaty dresses* and big floppy hats** and gladiator sandals*** to
Glastonbury.OK, FINE – if you are never
actually venturing outside of the pristine VIP area.
Here is what you will actually need.****
TENT? – I actually think it’s questionable
whether you need one of these at all.In
all my years of festival-going (many), I have never actually taken my own
tent.They’re a massive ballache and you
will pretty much always find friends you can crash with.
A PARKA –One of those really proper,
massive ones (I got mine in Oxfam a decade ago).I have also never taken a sleeping bag to a
festival, as this is a far more useful multi-purpose alternative.
WELLIES – I know this sounds like a
no-brainer, but I didn’t take any to my first Glastonbury.I’d been to Reading and loads of other
festivals, and was convinced that my usual Converse high-tops would be
fine.They were not fine.I wanted to kill myself.I ended up queuing for hours and paying £30
for a pair of crap, too-big wellies – which at the time seemed like a bargain,
I wanted those wellies so badly.Those
other festivals do not take place at working farms.People are not ‘just being dramatic’.Even if you take nothing else, take wellies
DRY SHAMPOO, FACE WIPES, EYELINER – You
need no other beauty products.OK, maybe
toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant – but that’s literally all you need.
FOOD IN A CAN – You are guaranteed to run
out of money and be hung over.Keep a
can of something gross stashed somewhere secret (one with a ring pull so you
can open it – don’t do anything silly like bring can-openers and sh*t).I promise you that at some point you will be
so desperate that it will taste like heaven.I remember my friend Lou and I huddling in a tent on a Monday morning
and eating an ‘all-day breakfast’ in a can with our HANDS and trying to do it
quickly so we wouldn’t have to share with the others as one of the best meals
of my life.
AN AMAZING/RIDICULOUS VINTAGE DRESS – There
are always loads of press and photographers at festivals, and it’s fun to have
your picture taken.I have been in all
sorts of random publications through my stupid festival outfits.My tactic is generally just to wear something
ludicrous (wedding dress, prom dress, an 80s evening dress that used to be my
mum’s) and wear it all weekend, reveling in the fact that it’s filthy and
falling apart.It’s not like I’m going
to wear it anywhere else again, anyway.
A BUMBAG – It sounds uncool but the odds
are that someone’s stuff will get nicked at some point in your festival
experience, so keep your important things with you at all times.You can incorporate it into your festival
look.I even invested in a second-hand
Gucci one just to make my sensibleness seem a bit more glamorous.
AN ACOUSTIC GUITAR – So you can regale the
campsite with your musical stylings.JUST KIDDING.
Other assorted advice (which, ahem, may or
may not be based on personal experience):
·Don’t take mushrooms on the
first night and spend the whole weekend going ‘Will it never end?Will I ever go back to normal?’ whilst
weeping and trying to find your friends/tent/mind.
·Don’t break up with your
boyfriend because he talked at you annoyingly all the way through PJ Harvey
(when he KNOWS she’s your favourite) and thus not have anywhere to sleep for
the next three days.Wait until you get
·Don’t set up camp next to the
Amnesty International tent, who play ‘Get Up Stand Up’ on a loop THE ENTIRE
TIME.You will begin to think you are
actually going mad.
·Do go to Glastonbury as a worker
if you can.I worked on a stall for two
years and it was the best fun, plus you get better toilets.
·Don’t believe anyone who says
you can go on that bungee jump thing for free if you are naked.Honestly, someone falls for this every
year.Don’t let it be you.
* which will be filthy within MINUTES
** which will blow away and either be lost
forever or covered in crap within MINUTES
*** do I even need to explain?
**** and this is written by someone who
once turned up at a festival wearing a wedding dress, veil and trainers,
carrying only a bag full of booze and nothing else, and survived the full five
I had barely heard of Dungeness until I went there last weekend.
I have never been somewhere so strange and wonderful in my
life, and now I am in love.
It’s so hard to explain the special feeling the place
has. It’s in Kent, by the sea. It has a pub, a disused railway and a nuclear
power station. (‘It sounds dreadful,’ my
mum said as I told her these facts.) It
is scattered with ramshackle cottages, including the late Derek Jarman’s –
which has a much-admired garden and a poem painted on the wall. It is the only place in the UK officially
classified as a desert.
Apparently it has long been popular with artists (and with
stylists and photographers and stuff), unsurprisingly. The moment we drove through it, I was already
hatching plans as to how I could buy a tiny wooden hut (‘they must be so
cheap!’) and live out my days there in artistic isolation – writing and
communing with (bleak) nature and fishing and stuff. Then I found out that a lot of other people
have the same idea and it might be a little out of my price range…
Still, I honestly never wanted to leave – after only an
afternoon there, its pull on me was palpable.
I want to go there on holiday – glorious isolation etc etc, if only
temporarily – as a matter of urgency.
Maybe one day I will be able to live there.*
(The latest in a long line of ‘I want to live everywhere in
the world’. I also currently want to
live in France, Seaford and Brooklyn, please.)
So… Today I
officially have a book out in the shops!
(As you may know.) It is called
MY SECRET ROCKSTAR BOYFRIEND and it is being published by Macmillan Children’s
It is a romantic comedy for teenagers, about a girl called
Tuesday (Chew for short). She loves
music and wants to be a writer. She
writes a music blog, which nobody ever reads, except for her mum and her best
friends. But one day her favourite
rockstar stumbles upon her blog while Googling himself, and gets in touch with
her… Hilarity ensues (obviously) and
Tuesday learns some lessons about life and love and stuff. The story involves lots of music, charity
shopping, Glastonbury festival and hair dye.
I had basically THE BEST FUN EVER writing the book, and the
whole process of its publication has been an absolute dream. (Much like the story itself is kind of a
dream-come-true exercise in wish fulfillment.)
I wrote it really quickly, in about a month – although after
that there was a lot of editing and the other ‘official’ stuff that happens
before a book is published. The original
title was ‘Snog/Marry/Kill Your Idols’ before we eventually changed it to the
much more accurate title it now has.
My very wonderful agent Caroline finalised the deal with
Macmillan on her last day at work before going on maternity leave – and she
went into labour the very next day, which is kind of cool! I knew I’d picked the right publisher when I
went to their offices to sign my contract and was greeted with a whole party of
awesome people, fizzy wine and cupcakes with ACTUAL RECORDS on them.f
I’m so excited that the book is finally out today. IF you read it I hope you love it and let me
know. (And thank you!)