Tuesday, October 23, 2012

100% Live Girls!

Level of conviction in own genius: 7
Hours of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: 2
Watching / Listening: The end of the majestic second series of 'Boardwalk Empire' / excellent Percy Grainger chamber music on Radio 3
Hair Day: Thankfully settling down into a more blondey-blonde. Phew.

It's been a very folky week. I met musical compadre (and hopefully producer of my first You Are Wolf album) MaJiKer for a Gilbert and George - I mean, a Turkish at Mangal 2 in Dalston, where the artist duo eat nightly - before tracking down the remarkable Dalston Boys' Club for a Nest Collective gig. What a venue! Seemingly a bohemian, near-illicit church hall, it's packed full of slightly risque paintings of nude men proudly displaying their crotches, along with stone cupids and strange dolls; it has an out-of-tune baby grand and tons of dank armchairs and candles. Sam Lee, of the Nest Collective, warned us gleefully in his welcome that it was an illegal (unlicensed) gig, and that the police could bust in at any moment and stop everything. I crossed my fingers all night for the fuzz to burst in noisily to find a load of Dalstonites sitting on the floor listening attentively to Julie Murphy or the Ballina Whalers singing a sea shanty. Alas, it never happened!
It was my huge pleasure to have Scottish folk hero Alasdair Roberts come and play in my series at Handel House, and even more so to sing a couple of numbers with him. He is currently performing a lot of his new, epic, characteristically raven-dark material, which belies his very charming and sweet nature, as I found by putting him up in Camberwell that night. I also managed to go to dinner with not just my favourite folk singer but my favourite poet Robin Robertson as well (his friend, and I've set some of his work), in an abrasive evening of grizzled Scots art-kingpins.

In a whirlwind weekend, I put on what I called on Twitter 100% Live Girls! but was actually 60% live girls and 40% live bassist husband and electronica wizard Graham Dowdall. The Vortex needed a last-minute gap filled, so I volunteered my You Are Wolfing services, plus the fantabulous Laura Moody and Roshi feat. Pars Radio. It turned out to be a pretty magical gig, a lovely crowd that included folk denizens Nancy Wallace, Lisa Knapp and Sharron Kraus. Hurrah! Perhaps this will revive mine and Andy's idea of putting on 100% Live Girls! , cutting-edge music by girls, in a strip joint once a month. It certainly helps with my blog audience numbers - I noticed that there was a significant peak of readers in my last-but-one blog, 'Schnittke Hot! And An Incredible Encounter'. Hhm. Expect all posts to sound slightly salacious from now on.

juice have just launched their first crowd-funding mission: to commission beatboxer supremo (and more recently, composer) Shlomo, and to work/co-write more with MaJiKer. If you're interested in being part of our band of commissioners, please do visit our wefund site and check out all of the amazing presents and incentives you can earn yourself!

I'm currently starting preparatory work on my community chamber opera for Wigmore Hall. It's in the very early stages, but as it's been commissioned as part of Wigmore Hall's Britten centenary celebrations next year, the themes are folksong/lore and the outsider figure. I am reading Marina Warner's excellent book on the male grotesque figure in folk history, 'No Go The Bogeyman'; did you know that the word 'bug' comes from words such as 'boggle', which meant the Devil, also called the Lord of the Flies in the Bible? Strange that variants on words for bogeymen are now leading brands of yummy mummy prams, the very thing parents were supposed to protect against...

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