Monday, June 30, 2003

Sorry for the lack of posts - things are crazy again! But hey, I like to keep my readers on their toes.

I realise I promised photos from Shindig, but I'm going to very cheeky and suggest that you admire Sheila's review on her site, because it looks cool and I'd be repeating myself a bit anyhow. Besides, some of the photos there were from my bunch, so I wasn't a complete slacker!


Sunday, June 22, 2003

Still in NYC...

I'm breakfasting on vanilla tea and toasted challah as I write this, enjoying the temporary quiet of a Sunday morning in NYC. We've already been up since 7:30 am because we had to take Keiko (my friend from Tokyo) to the airport. I thought I had it bad with two 7 hour flights within three days of each other, but 13 hours wins the prize. It's raining (again) but I guess it's fitting for the slightly sad mood as everything winds down and I have to start saying goodbye to people.

I'll save posting about the actual club night until I get back, so I can do it justice with photos - but last night's drinks party was incredible. At about nine pm, our Spectropop friends starting showing up and we settled in with lots of drinks and nibbles. We were pleasantly chatting away when at 11 pm, the door buzzes. And who was it? Maxine Brown!! I knew she was coming, but we'd kept it a surprise from some of our friends just to see the look on their faces. Maxine swept in, looking fabulous (I have photos, so more of that later too!) and kept us hanging on every word for the rest of the evening. She's currently working in a jazz/blues trio with two other women called Triple Threat, but she still does her 60s soul hits too - she recently performed at a weekender in Cleethorpes. Imagining Maxine from Queens in Cleethorpes really made me laugh!

Some of her original singles and picture sleeves were produced for autographs, and she happily posed for photos with everyone there. We also played her some unreleased songs from the Where the Girls Are cd to get her comments, but fascinatingly enough Maxine didn't remember them. She explained that they'd often haul her into the studio, give her 20 minutes to learn a few songs and record everything in one or two takes - and if the songs didn't take off, she would just move on to a new batch. Such was the way in the quest for an overnight hit back then...

I still can't believe that we all just spent the evening with the woman who sang "It's torture" - one of my favourite songs of all time.

But things don't stop there. Later on today, before I have to catch my flight, we're going for a drink with Darlene Love!

Excuse me while I go faint and recover...

Friday, June 20, 2003

Live from NYC!

Soundcheck starts in 4 hours and what am I doing? Lounging around in Sheila's room, listening to Shiina Ringo and drinking tea.

The flight was excellent - Continental is once again the only reliable airline I've flown with. The Travel Essence drops I bought from Neal's Yard totally worked to fight off jet lag, too - I'd highly recommend them.

I love being here - it's such a liberating city! After a chat and some pad thai, I wandered out down Prince Street to find a cappuccino and someone came up to ask me for directions. I apologised and said I wasn't from here - and the woman exclaimed "Oh, you looked so at home I thought you were the one to ask!" which made my day.

Later on, we went for amazing Mexican food and settled back at Sheila's for more drinks, gossip and lots of records. At one am, I suddenly realised I'd been up for 24 hours - how did that happen?

I'm scared and elated about tonight, but a few drinks and some deep breaths should settle me down. So I guess I should leave you and start getting dressed! More later...

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

It's just too hot to post.

Besides, I have to pack for New York. I've gotten about as far as picking out a dress for the show and thinking about dragging out a suitcase.

And I have to sort out various office move traumas before I fly out on Thursday - such as sorting out our "decorated" offices, which now look crap because the gang of probationers assigned to do the work had a paint fight and plastered over our electrical sockets. And when we turned up on Monday, they weren't expecting us even though we've reconfirmed the date for three weeks, so we didn't even have anything to unpack into. I still have a way to go before I get used to the quirks of working for a non-profit organisation...but it's all good!

Sadly, I realised I have to miss Ulrich Schnauss on Sunday. (now I'm really glad I made it to Nottingham!) Well, you can't have everything.

It really is *too* hot...pfffffft.

Friday, June 13, 2003

Too tired to write, but I've been meaning to plug this...

Sheila's really into up and coming bands from Sweden, Norway, etc. - and my favourite suggestion from her so far is Tiger Baby from Denmark. If you go here, you can download two good quality mp3s. "Chinese Fairytale" is the best one - really reminiscent of mid-era Saint Etienne (think Sushi Rider...)

Monday, June 09, 2003

I never thought I'd be saying this, but I have a show in NYC!!

My lovely friend Sheila has organised a Spectropop-related club night - and although I didn't think I'd be able to make it, it was meant to be after all. But much to my surprise, once I confirmed I had a flight she asked me to sing a couple of my songs before the main act, It's My Party. I'm elated but nervous too. What will the crowd be like? And my lovely friend Mick (who will be DJing along with Sheila and other S'pop members, just as he did at my 'do!) tells me that there will be some illustrious 60s scene guests. That's a bit knee knocking, so I've said I don't want to know who is there until *after* I sing.

As well as meeting some S'pop people who have only been email faces until now, I'll also be able to catch up with lovely Matt and lovely Brian, as I haven't seen them in three years.

Not only that, it's going to be a super girly weekend, since I'm staying with Sheila along with my friend Keiko from Tokyo and the girls from It's My Party. I just love quality "getting ready to go out" time, a la Actionettes...

Oh, it's just all too exciting. Someone pinch me!

For the full flyer and details, go to Sheila's site.

Friday, June 06, 2003

Attention Carpenters fans with digital tv! I've just realised that the Hallmark Channel...yes, don't retch...just showed the wonderful Karen Carpenter Story. I was gutted until I saw that it's being repeated tomorrow morning at 6 am - that's 6 am on Saturday morning. So set those videos - this is a rare chance to catch it! It regularly sells on eBay for $20 or more for a third generation copy...

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Hey, I love cats (I've got three of 'em!) but I'm not one of those scary pet owners (such as the dog obsessed contestant in Drop Dead Gorgeous!) So like kitten calenders, Royal Doulton figurines and cat address labels, this is waaaay too twee for me... (check out the oh-so-happy expressions on some of their faces!)

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

A spot of lunch in the country, then an electronica evening. Is there *any* nicer way of passing a Sunday?

I am a city person, but I need a break sometimes. So I was delighted when Mike invited the bf and I to lunch "al fresco" at their fab cottage in Derbyshire, with plans to go on to Nottingham that evening to see Ulrich Schnauss at the Moog bar. The weather was amazing - sunny, warm and perfect for my first sundress of the year. I took great delight in padding around their garden in bare feet, enjoying the paving stones warmed by the sun. A lovely barbecue, new potatoes, a good bottle wine and for pudding, a crumble made with my own rhubarb crop. (Mike and K raved about it, which is my favourite kind of compliment of course.)

Then it was on to Nottingham, stopping to collect former blogger Buni along the way. Come to think of it, he was my third blogger meeting, although I did hear Faustus M.D. singing earlier that day when Mike played me a cd of his musical.

The Moog bar was a nice little place - lots of nooks and crannies to sit in and a groovy collection of Panton era wall hangings. I'm sure I drank too much, again (!) - what is it with me and Nottingham, hmmm? Isan were DJing, not playing as I'd hoped, so I'm afraid I had no idea who they might be. We spotted a couple of the guys from our favourite shop in Manchester, Pelicanneck, and Buni seemed to know every other person in there (and a story to go with each one, too!)

And then Ulrich played, and it was magical. As you can see here, he obviously has a soft spot for those no-slip flowers you stick in the bath:

There were a few new songs, and a mix of tracks taken from "Far away trains passing by", the new LP "A Strangely Isolated Place" as well as Mike's favourite, "Where ever you are". Heaven. And if you missed him, he has a few more dates: