jeudi 30 mars 2017

The Pyjamas Paradox

This may be a paradox, but it’s a fortuitous one as far as I’m concerned.

I currently have a new (to me) pair of pyjamas that make me feel both ludicrously comfortable and spiritually strong.  Yes, it turns out that is possible in a pair of pyjamas.  They don’t even look like anything *that* special: they’re a sort of jersey material, grey and white, thin stripes, kind of yoga pants and a slouchy top.

I inherited them from my best friend last week.  Having turned up at her house underprepared for a sleepover, I then proceeded to wear them for 24 hours straight.  As I was reluctantly taking them off while packing up to leave, I commented on how much I liked them, and she instructed me to keep them – ‘they’re nothing special; they’re only cheap’.

I think they are pretty special.  Mostly because they are not something I would ever buy for myself.

My best friend A has got pretty good at self-care by this point in life.  My stay at her house, as always, involved lie-ins with dogs, proper coffee, Moroccan tea made lovingly in a teapot, indulgent bathing, delicious food, time to read and write and have big conversations.

She has many pairs of comfortable pyjamas.  Her house is always warm and cosy.  Her fridge is always full.

I generally sleep in a ratty old band T-shirt, if that.  I don’t really do comfortable lounging clothes.  At a push, I might wear my running kit all day and then be cross with myself for not going running.  It’s not really the same.

I am a puritan at heart; I have no idea where I get this instinct from.  I don’t really see the point of turning on the heating ‘just for me’.  Too often, I will consider making dinner and then have a glass (OK, bottle) of wine and a bag of crisps instead.

Whenever I spend time with A at her house, I feel recharged and more positive about the world.  This is largely due to her wise and beautiful presence, of course, but it also extends to the space around us.  Her house is like a zen retreat.

I always put this down to the fact that she has a more flexible working life than I do.  This is technically true, so I’m not going to start being hard on myself over it, but I can try my best.

I am determined that the mythical pyjamas should be a reminder; they should remind me to create this same zen feeling in my own house, wherever I can.  I have worn them every night this week and, while that time has admittedly involved eating cereal in bed at midnight for dinner, it has also involved writing a lot of words.  It’s a start.

lundi 27 mars 2017

Like they do in Babylon.

It’s definitely spring.  The clocks have changed; the sun is out.  Yesterday I went out walking in just a Velvet Underground T-shirt, no jacket!

Even more exciting…  Today is the Aries new moon, you guys!  This explanation of it is from Ethereal Culture (one of my faves) and it speaks to me deeply right now:

While it could feel difficult to advance relationships and projects at this time, the best use of these energies is to relax with the slowness and otherworldliness, and to integrate old lessons before launching forward. [But now] we can boldly move forward without the constraints of ego or the fear of failed experience. With the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and Uranus all in Aries, our confidence is boosted, and we feel empowered to make decisions without hesitation.

Let’s hope so.  I for one am into it.

It was the best kind of quiet weekend, energies brewing.  Mine started on Friday, when I had a day off with my best friend (and her dogs) – the casual and cosy sort of day that is my dream come true.  The weekend was mostly spent drinking coffee, sitting in the sunshine, writing (slowly, but writing), cooking, pottering, talking about possibilities.

The weekend’s listening: I have come ridiculously late to Civil Wars (they don’t even exist any more) and they are not my usual thing, but I have been playing this sexy cover* into the ground lately.

*A song that LC noted was ‘able to embrace all passionate activity’, lest we forget.

mercredi 22 mars 2017

Wednesday chez ECW.

So, somehow tonight seems to have unexpectedly turned into a solo YouTube party...

This song should be the theme tune to my future biopic - purely on the title alone.  I hadn't listened to it in ages and the opening lyrics actually made me LOL.  I love it so.  Plus it's obscene how sexy Moz is in this video.

OF COURSE this song is ridiculously happy-making.  It reminds me of dancing around with my sister when we were children (apparently it came out in 1993, so I was 12 and she was 9).  Now it makes me happy in a whole spectrum of ways.

Now, presuming you're still with me, everything you have ever seen in your life thus far was only to prepare you for THIS.  My friend Ruth and I discovered it (when drunk and wanting to do the rap and resulting dance moves, obv).  I've tried to watch it every day of my life since, frankly. There's a very good reason why this has been captioned 'may be too hot to handle'...

Finally, if still watching this is wrong then I don't ever want to be right.

jeudi 16 mars 2017

Cryptic tales.

Last night I went to a party in an ACTUAL CRYPT.  It was awesome.  An actual crypt!  There were candles and secret passages and hidden rooms and piles of gravestones.  Also, some of my favourite people and a lot of cake.

This was for the fabulous launch of THE SCARECROW QUEEN by Melinda Salisbury, who is a rare and charming and staggeringly talented human.  She wears excellent dresses and every time I see her I seem to drink a lot of wine.  She brings a lot of joy and I am particularly excited to be working with her on FLOORED (our no-longer-secret project).

In other book things, I have recently read THE YELLOW ROOM by Jess Vallance.  Jess is another favourite writing friend and I can't believe it's taken me this long to read one of her books - it's properly amazing.  It's funny and creepy and very addictive.  Proper miss-your-train-stop stuff.

I have just started reading IF BIRDS FLY BACK by Carlie Sorosiak, which I am falling a bit in love with, despite being only about 30 pages in.

In other activities, I went to see Cat Power at the Concorde in Brighton and it was properly wonderful.  A special, lovely evening.  I truly love her.

Maybe it's all these late nights, but despite this week of fun activities, I was feeling tired and sad this morning.  Then, I stepped off the train and it turned into a beautiful day in London today.  Sunshine and blue skies and an air of spring in the ether.  Ballet shoes and a spring jacket for the first time this year.  Sunglasses and my nan's old silk blouses.  A black bra under a white shirt and pretending you are in Paris.  Promises of outdoor lunches and flowers in bicycle baskets.

I know I have posted this song a few times over the years, but I genuinely cannot think of a better soundtrack to a sunny morning.  I can feel it physically lifting my spirits every time I hear it.  It was the PERFECT song to come on as I walked along the south bank today.  It made me smile to myself, as it always does.  I highly recommend trying it.

jeudi 9 mars 2017

Becoming Betty

Soooo.... I wrote another book!

It's called BECOMING BETTY and it will be available in All The Shops on 20th April.

You might like it if you are a fan of any of the following:
1. Girls in bands
2. Bands
3. Band T-shirts
4. Music in general
5. Flapjacks
6. Makeover stories (one of my favourite things in the world from Clueless onwards - I was always the Tai)
7. My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend
8. Brighton
9. Friendship dramas
10. Feminism

BEHOLD THE COOLEST COVER EVER (I am officially In Love With It)

I hope you all love Betty as much as I do.  You can find out more about her here...

mercredi 8 mars 2017

Life lately

Has involved:

Going away to Qatar for a week.  It was hot (which felt like heaven to me at this time of year) and I love anywhere where there is a call to prayer.  I smoked shisha and ate a lot of hummus, sat on a lot of rooftop terraces.  I watched the Kardashians with Arabic subtitles and sat next to a glorious infinity pool, from which I texted obnoxious photos with captions like 'THIS IS A WORK TRIP WHY DO YOU KEEP CALLING IT A HOLIDAY' from my sun lounger.

Reading 'A Quiet Kind of Thunder' by Sara Barnard in pretty much one sitting, which I really fell swooningly in love with.  Gorgeous.

Also reading 'The Princess Diarist' by Carrie Fisher, which has been a slightly bittersweet experience for obvious reasons.  I still haven't quite processed how I feel about it, and it's made me question a lot of my strongly held beliefs about 'being a writer' (see: the sliver of ice through the heart). Possibly more to follow.

Working on 'Floored' and getting stupidly excited about it.

An evening of 90s goth films ('The Craft', 'The Crow') and absinthe (which apparently really does make the heart grow fonder), which was definitely my best occasion of the year so far.

Going clay pigeon shooting.  Long story.

Watching 'Jackie' followed by 'Manchester by the Sea' in a row on the plane, drinking red wine and weeping copiously.  Having to watch '(500) Days of Summer' to recover and then being forced to question how much I live my life like it's a film and Zooey Deschanel is playing me.

Rewatching 'Funny Girl' and rekindling my childhood crush on Omar Sharif and desperate desire to be Barbra Streisand when I grow up.

Listening to a lot of Marianne Faithfull, after fortuitously finding a cheap copy of 'Broken English' (one of the best albums of all time) on a market stall in Brighton.