Saturday, January 20, 2007

It's only January...

Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: 0
Level of conviction in own genius: 6
Hair day: most poor but am most poorly so fair enough

.. but already I may have seen one of my best gigs of the year and participated in a juice highlight.

First off, juice had their coolest experience to date by performing as part of the London College of Fashion Graduate Show at the Royal Academy of Arts. The LCF's composer-in-residence, Phillip Neil Martin, wrote for us and ace-o-rama beatboxer Beardyman in a 35-min piece made up only of vocal sounds, whether live, sampled or electronically transformed into birdsong, cicadas, whips and much more. We were thoroughly part of the show, being dressed in the first collection and made up in the same way as the models, most hilariously. This meant trying to manoeuvre ourselves into bafflingly-constructed cream cotton trousers with protruding bits, vast sleeves and hoods, as well as being given plaster-white faces (yes, remarkably even I can be made paler than my natural skin tone), a few jet-black hair extensions and heavily-accentuated eyebrows. Anna particularly looked like a terrifying Japanese banshee woman. I was most nervous not about performing on a podium in front of hundreds of industry and press three times over but about having to reveal myself in all my non-modelly glory backstage. But after a few minutes, remembering that I had extreme musical talent if not steely good looks, I didn't really care about mingling with the 7-foot tall, non-breasted boys and girls, and merrily wandered about in my pants wobbling my size 10/12 patchy cellulite-pocked thighs in their knife-cheekboned faces.

The show itself was a barnstormer, the music apparently stealing the show. juice did two of my pieces as well as panpipe impersonations in the version of 'Watermelon Man' and an ethereal piece by PNM. Beardyman was incredible, indefatigable in his renditions of scratchy dark hip hop, kinky hardcore and strutting jazz: string bass, hi-hat, muted trumpet and everything. The hardest thing was standing still on our separate blocks in each corner of the stage for so long and trying to keep our eyes straight ahead rather than on the eye-splitting colours of the outfits, the fetish-inspired gear, the incredibly tight buttocks and tiny breasts.... was very funny seeing models waft past us, still inches taller even though we were on podiums! Ha ha ha. Still, I can now say that Jimmy Choo and Peaches Geldof have heard both my music and the juicettes sing. We rule.

In a more spectatorly fashion, sighed to a glowing Joanna Newsom at the Barbican last night. We first swooned to the incredibly burrrnished burr of Alisdair Roberts' darkly original folk, before she scampered on kittenishly, looking like 70s glam country star Crystal Gale with her long gown and silky mane. She certainly gave us our money's worth, trawling through the whole of her second album with the LSO behind her, before coming back to do a few older solo numbers. She revealed another audacious change of direction with one new song, playing as a trio with percussionist/singer and tambura player, with Kate Bush-esque vocals and a very East European/Arabic slant. Live, her voice is richer and less squeaky, though just as versatile, still veering between coquettish little girl and warmer crooner, and in truth she was at her best as soloist; the orchestra swamped her mad fairytale songs and only stripped down could we really hear all the twisty lyrics and watch her hands comb over the glittering harp strings. Gorgeous.

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