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.

jeudi 23 février 2017


Yesterday was a genuinely exciting day, which rarely happens to me.  A TOP SECRET project that I have been working on was announced to the world, so finally I am allowed to talk about it!

The news is that I am working on a very exciting and totally unique collaborative novel with six other brilliant YA writers. I am so hugely honoured and excited to be working with such a wonderful and inspiring group.  I feel incredibly lucky to be involved.

So, the writers are: Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and me.  The novel is called FLOORED and it will be published next summer (2018). The novel was the brainchild of my brilliant editor Rachel - it is the story of six characters, who meet by chance and whose lives become intertwined.  We're calling it The Breakfast Club meets One Day.

One of my favourite things about this collaboration is that we are not going to tell who wrote which character.  I am fascinated to see if people will be able to guess.

You can find out more information about the project in yesterday's announcement in the Bookseller.  We celebrated the fact that it is no longer a secret by meeting up yesterday for lots of tea and chatting and a lovely lunch.  And taking selfies in a lift.  This gang are the best fun, basically.  I am so incredibly delighted to be a part of it.

lundi 20 février 2017

You won't but you might.

Possibly the quietest weekend on record.  Followed by a gentle and sleepy Monday morning.

On this Monday morning... If Kurt Cobain was still alive, today would have been his 50th birthday.

I can't quite process this thought.  I would love to have seen KC at this age.  He would have been GREAT at being an older man.  Like so many people who die too soon, he had an old face even as a beautiful young man.  An air of having been around a long time, as well as having packed a crazily impressive amount into 27 years.  At 27, I think I was still working out what haircut suited me; he was a father and a husband and had made In Utero.  He looked ageless.  Jesus and William Burroughs, I think.

I like to believe, had he lived, he would be following a broadly Neil Young sort of role in the world.  I wish he'd just been allowed to give it all up and disappear for a bit, and then I really believe he might have eventually, quietly resurfaced with the most interesting music of his career.  I think he might have lived in the woods somewhere and occasionally put out an unlistenable album, occasionally something brilliant.  Even more grizzled, more difficult, more sexy; maybe when it had all calmed down, more funny.  I'd like to have seen that.

I think Kurt would really like Cat Power and Pussy Riot and RuPaul's Drag Race.  His hair would be longer and even more raggedy.  He would still smoke and he'd probably watch a lot of Netflix, generally.  He would paint more.  He would be political.  He would have worked with Michael Stipe. Maybe he'd have written a novel, which I assume would have been dense and unreadable and I would have loved.

These are the things I like to think.

Kurt, I'm still sad you died. It's a sadness that still has the exact same flavour as it did when I was 12.  It's one of the many things I wish were different about this world.  I'd rather you were in it.  I hope you got your Leonard Cohen afterworld.  Of course I do.

I should probably put a Nirvana song here.  But we know them all so well and you can sing your favourite ones in your head.  Mine are probably Heart-Shaped Box, Drain You and About A Girl.  Maybe in that order.

So here is a song that is more like I am feeling today.  I've been listening to it on a loop all weekend; I don't know why.  I have no idea how KC felt about Elliott Smith.  Wistful and fragile, but with a sting in the tale...  It feels fitting.