lundi 27 juin 2016

Double Word Score

But - after my last post - we all also need some good news in the world right now.  I'm taking it wherever I can find it, frankly.

You know, just like that totally fake Winston Churchill quote about 'if we don't have art, then what are we fighting for?'.  It might have been made up, but was definitely correct in its sentiment.

My very clever friend Becky made a brilliant film called 'Double Word Score' - it's got romance, a very cool indie sensibility and SCRABBLE.  It's great.

Here she is, talking very inspiringly about the film and her career.  Let's all do great stuff like this.

No more excuses

I don't know why I always feel the need to apologise for a more 'serious' post here - or at least make a lame joke about my 'silly' little thoughts on matters, just because I usually witter on about music and books and art and FEELINGS and shit (although I'd genuinely argue that they have their own importance, too).

Well, no more.  I am not apologising.

I wrote recently about the importance of speaking out about sexual assault.  I've been feeling lately that this should be taken as a lesson and applied to all things.

Since the news of the EU referendum results hit on Friday, there have been a lot of 'let's calm down and stop going on about it' posts on social media.

FUCK THAT.  I am full of anger, sadness, fear, despair and total embarrassment at this horrendous outcome.  I want to shout about it and I think it is very important to do so.

samedi 11 juin 2016


I am a person who likes everyone to be happy, entertained, getting along.  My darkness - along with the petty day-to-day 'I'm tired/sad/cross' etc - is always turned inwards.  The response to my last post - which made me sit and weep at my computer - has reiterated to me the importance of communicating, not being afraid to talk about the difficult things.  The importance of shouting.

I currently feel filled with power.  It happens sometimes.  I have exciting plans afoot.  I want to use my powers for good.  I want to inspire.  I want to change the world.  Don't laugh; I really do!

I have this song in my head.  It could be about a lot of people I have known.

I need to find someone who also sees a door.

vendredi 10 juin 2016


I already posted this video on Twitter and Facebook this morning.  I'd kind of like not to have to.  There is so much stuff happening in the world at the moment, which makes me sad to talk about but too angry *not* to talk about.  It's on my mind a lot.  These are conversations that we DO need to have.

I am thinking of the brave and brilliant Stanford survivor, who has helped us all in speaking out so eloquently.

Even the gossip pages seem to be full of stuff that makes me angry these days.  Top of the list is how Amber Heard has been portrayed on the sort of trashy websites that I really shouldn't be reading.  They are bad for the soul.

It all comes down to the same thing.

I do understand why, say, Vanessa Paradis would feel the need to jump to the defence of her children's father, in coming forward and saying that he would never, ever be violent towards a woman.  Ergo, it must be a lie.

But just stop for a minute.  Listen.  I know from experience, my own dynamic with every partner has varied wildly.  I am a Gemini (as, I believe, is Johnny Depp - although I am not blaming astrology for this).  I have ex-boyfriends who would say I am a delicate little manic pixie dream girl.  I have ex-boyfriends who would swear I am a crazy fucking hellish nightmare.  The long-term ones who really know me would probably say I can be both.  We all can.

My friends would all say I am mild-mannered to a fault.  When I am really angry, I get shaky and I can't even speak properly.  I never shout in an argument; even raising my voice makes me feel weirdly nervous.  The other day, I told a friend that I had sent a 'really shitty' angry message to an ex and felt horribly guilty about it.  When I read the message out to her, she literally LOLed at my idea of what constitutes an angry message.  It had the word 'sorry' in it twice, for a start.


I once punched a man in the face.  I am not proud of this.  In fact, when I try to recall that moment, I feel surreally horrified.  It's not the sort of thing I would ever do.  I was very drunk.  It was in a nightclub (Popstarz at the Scala in the early 2000s, for those few who may remember it).  It might even have seemed kind of funny to an onlooker - a smallish girl in a sparkly mini-dress and far too much eyeliner, unsteady on her high heels, swinging for a man much bigger than her.

But I did some damage.  I did a wrong thing.  It is never OK to be violent.  He wasn't 'asking for it' by getting caught cheating on my friend and making him cry, no matter how much that upset me.  Incidentally, I was wearing a huge ring that I bought at a car boot sale and it split his lip.  There was actual blood.

This is a small example, but my point is: I'm sure my friends would say I would never be capable of doing such a thing.  But I obviously was because I did.

Like most of the women I know, I have never had anything 'really awful' happen to me.  Not the worst stuff.  So far, I have been lucky.  However, like most women I know, I have historically had some pretty gross, weird and borderline really-not-OK stuff happen to me when I was too young to know how to stop it.

I grew up in a very privileged, private school, home counties sort of an environment - this was by boys/men who, like me, had nice families and good prospects.  Just having a laugh, etc.  They now have wives and jobs, and I'm Facebook friends with some of them.  At the time, it was just 'how it was'.  It's time to say this is not fucking OK.

Listen.  Believe.  Support.

mardi 7 juin 2016


So, last night I got to go to the wonderful launch party for my brilliant friend Harriet’s amazing book THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER.

It was in the very swank fifth floor bar of Waterstones Piccadilly, and it was a dreamy summer night.  Harriet’s book is also seriously dreamy and I highly recommend you read it – it’s got physics, romance, bands and a cat called Umlaut.  I have serious love for this book.

The evening began with a panel of brilliant authors – Harriet, plus the legendary teen queen Sarra Manning, Leila Sales and Sarah Crossan, chaired by Anna James.  The theme of discussion, taken from Harriet’s book, was ‘This Is Who I Am’.  It was wonderful to hear such interesting women talking about being writers and being human people.

I was especially delighted that some of my own favourite formative books were mentioned – Harriet cited I Capture The Castle and I will now forever love Sarra Manning for saying the book that best represents her is Jilly Cooper’s classic Harriet.

I met lots of lovely people and was mostly all-round delighted to be celebrating wonderful Harriet and the really special and awesome The Square Root of Summer.

On the theme of ‘this is who I am’ – quite fitting because, of course, Jordan Catalano came up in the evening’s discussions – I’m afraid this video is an absolute must.

lundi 6 juin 2016


At the weekend, I had a party.  An actual old school house party (although it was a small one).

I never have parties, but it was the first grown-up birthday I have ever had living alone, and it seemed like a good moment to do it.  I am so glad I did!

There was gin fizz in a punch bowl, a disco ball, many flamingo accessories and pom-pom garlands (I went a bit party crazy in Tiger - no imagination, but so much fun!), cheese and pineapple on sticks...  I even made a cat-shaped green jelly, but I forgot about it until I found it staring at me luridly in the fridge while I was cleaning up the next morning.  Loads of my lovely favourites came and it was even a nice enough evening to hang out in the garden.

My friends brought presents, and Annabel made brownies which she then turned into an amazing trifle.

And - oh! - it was a lovely night.  Which continued with singing and dancing in the kitchen until the early hours of the morning.  But yesterday was sunny, and I managed to drag myself out of bed for outdoor pizza, and I was of course very glad I did.

I am filled with love for my friends and memories of dancing madly round the kitchen to this (and singing along with the French bits, which is one of my favourite things in the world to do):

jeudi 2 juin 2016

This is what 35 looks like.

Today is my birthday.  Hooray for me!

I am feeling quite grown-up this year: for the first time ever, I have come to work on my birthday.  It's kind of nice.  I have eaten cake for breakfast (a lot of it; I actually feel slightly sick as I type this - lovely) and there will be a lunchtime excursion to the pub.

Of course, this is related to the fact that this is the first birthday when I have lived alone.  I feel genuinely empowered by this fact lately; in honour of this, I'm having an actual house party on Saturday night, for the first time in years.  This morning I woke up luxuriously in bed and took my grandmother's advice to look in the mirror, smile and say 'it's my birthday and I am the best!'.

Last year, I spent much of my birthday alone drinking wine in an art gallery in Hastings, being ignored by French people (long story).  My book was two days away from being published.  That all seems a very long time ago indeed.

Instead, today, I find myself thinking more of birthdays long ago - my sixteenth birthday in the middle of my GCSEs, still in school uniform and spent with my friend Rachael and maybe the last real birthday of my childhood; the following year was a whirling, drunken, technicolour swirl with a million friends and a new short haircut.  I feel closer to that person now than I do to some of my more adult selves.  My fifteenth birthday, wearing a long skirt and a Red or Dead T-shirt that I bought in Selfridges and thought was the coolest thing ever - I can scarcely believe that was 20 years ago today.

Fortuitously, this morning I read this brilliant interview with the wonderful Bat for Lashes.  I have loved her since I first saw her at Glastonbury around the time Fur and Gold came out.  She is one of those artists I have always felt very close to - I have always had the sense that she *could* be my friend, even though she isn't.  Every album she has released so far has somehow reflected my own thoughts and concerns about myself and the world.  In this interview, she has basically read my mind and articulated pretty much my exact feelings on turning 35.  I feel like she's a celestial big sister, just a really cool and famous one who I've never actually met..!

For some reason, yesterday I thought of this song - which again I hadn't listened to for about 20 years.  It really made me laugh.  I really think that everything's going to be OK.