Tuesday 11 March 2014

In Which I Get Out And Do Things Like A Normal Person

It's incredibly easy to fall down the mummy rabbit-hole during maternity leave. You meet a whole new load of people who don't care if you own such-a-record on clear blue vinyl or what new bar just opened in town or that Righteous Golden Unicorns are playing there next Saturday. Most of these people don't even know your name, they just know the name of your snotty oik. And that's only because you're bellowing it at ten thousand decibels as your offspring body-slams their precious cherub and pokes it in the eye.

So it was very nice to be whisked out to Tower Of Song last week and be reminded that I am not just a mother, wife and aerobics instructor, I am also a (very amateur) writer of music, and that this formed a huge part of my life once upon a time. Tower Of Song is a monthly night co-run by my bandmate Nicky at the Fox & Newt in Leeds. Each month there's a theme and a style, which you can adhere to or ignore as you choose - the only proviso is that all performers play original music. You can go and gawk or go and play, it's all very friendly and fun.

OK so some of these people are really good...Nicky and Iz's songwriting prowess is positively terrifying (I nearly bottled it after S showed me a video of their Eurovision-style song about biscuits from February's do). But despite this it was such a relaxed and lovely atmosphere for March's installment - 80s Action Heroes performed in a punk style.

It's positively encouraged to stop in the middle and wonder what the next chord might be or (as I did) bury your head in your carefully written out lyrics with zero showmanship and a terrible strumming technique. It's all about taking part though, isn't it? I had such a great time once my nerves left (round about the time of the last verse), and it proved that I can still knock out a song in a couple of days, even with only a couple of hours to do it and a 9 month old clinging onto the strings and trying to dance for that entire time. I'm only sorry I don't have a video of the writing process.... I do, however, have the footage from the night:


 Worth a listen just to hear my impression of a machine gun, which S says is "really good for a girl".

Sunday 2 March 2014

The Tears Factor

Oh it's Oscars day! You know what that means. Some people win, some people lose, everyone wears ritzy stuff that cost a boat-load of money. You know what else? People will cry.

They'll cry because they're happy, mostly. Crying because you're a bad loser is just poor PR, isn't it? Imagine it now, you've lost out on your Academy Award to some jumped up little porcelain-veneered, perma-tanned, simpering nobber fresh out of drama school and the camera is on YOU. You have no option but to suck back that tide of It's So Unfair hysterics, suck it in baby, and smile for the camera like you're an unmoveable mountain. It's the performance of your life. You're acting baby! You're doing it! They should give you that award just for THIS!

I don't know how those Hollywood stars do it. Even with my highly impressive grade at GCSE Drama, I can't hold back the angry tears of injustice. Sad-Tears at watching Bambi I can lock down. Pain-Tears when I stub my toe I can contain. Tears because you just took credit for my work/pushed in front of me in the bus queue/were just downright rude to that little old lady? That's when the dam bursts. I start to say the very coherent, cutting and composed thing I have in my head, find myself getting ten words in and starting to hyperventilate.

"Excuse me, I think you'll find this dear sweet old lady was simply trying to (sharp intake of breath) find her spec (hic) ta (hic) cles before you (snort) reversed your four (snort) by (snort) four over her footAHABAHHHAWAA..."(face turns purple, collapses into a puddle of snot)

I do wonder what greatness I might have achieved if I had been able to stay more composed during times of heightened crossness. I definitely have the right words to say, words that would deal a crushing blow if my voice didn't rise up three octaves halfway through my sentence, making me look about as scary as Piglet trying to argue his way out of a parking ticket. Is it a girl thing? Is it a me thing? Is it a millenia-old evolutionary device to stop me getting into punch-ups at soft play cafes? Would you hit somebody who was crying, even if it sounded a bit like they were calling you a bell-end  between the sobs?

Anyway. Happy Oscars day all, whether you are an avid red carpet fan or couldn't give a taffeta shit about the plastic ponce parade. I heartily endorse Lancome for waterproof mascara, just fyi.