Howling at the moon

A few weeks ago I had that rare lockdown experience- the opportunity to hang out with real people in a real place! Not only that, I got to dress up in a catsuit and howl at a virtual moon. This was a lot of fun, with the marked exception of the four inch heels and resulting foot torture, admittedly entirely my own fault! I hear some people pay for that sort of thing. If you’re one of them, feel free to borrow those boots- permanently! They are easier on the eyes than on the feet. 

Anyway, this is the result! Just Like In A Movie is the result of a collaboration with my dear friend and devilishly talented guitarist Dave Winkler for his band Star Circus which is out today. I recorded the sax parts at my studio, Anarres, last year. Dave and Tony Wilson have worked their magic on them and produced something amazing I would never have dreamed of. It is absolutely and wonderfully Dave, from Sophie Aurelia Young‘s funky zombie choreo to the strong anti-romance message. 

I must also thank the eternally glamorous Miss Fortune, who not only puts in an amazing performance in the video but also found time to enlighten me on the true, deadly nature of split ends, without which I would probably be entirely bald now. I had been planning to abandon hairdressers entirely and go full hippy, but it turns out that if you don’t get a trim the split ends can travel all the way up to your scalp, leaving you with….no hair!! I’ve never booked a haircut faster. 

Dave is also the person who introduced me to the wonderful David Ryder Prangley, one of the most highly creative people in the known universe. David always makes the catchiest songs and films the most wonderful cinematography. He recently released this amazing music video for his song Hello, to which I contributed backing vocals. This is particularly nostalgic as it was recorded partly at  Unit 2 Studios, the physical version of which exists now only in imagination. The track was mixed by the wonderful Drew. Check out this demon dream now!

There’s more coming from David and Dave soon as they both have albums on the way. 

This is of course all a little different to my recent output with Spiral Dial. A friend recently asked me why I have ‘stopped making songs’. Which I didn’t really understand, as I continue to make, and have always made, music. For me all of the projects I do are different aspects of one huge surreal musical playground. As a young child I could be found singing Ave Maria at weddings, performing classical recorder concertos with full orchestra, lurking in the pit of a musical theatre production and improvising witch songs with my brothers in the back of a Daihatsu van. 

I like to think I have taken this comprehensive training forward into my adult musical life. So far this has included:

  • performing Messiaen in a church so cold that finger sensation was entirely lost by the end of the first movement
  • making up lyrics to soft rock classics performed with a novel chord structure at a bicycle helmet promotional dinner in Slough
  • improvising an a cappella recorder and cornet duet (thanks Marcus Hamblett for sticking with me on this one….) to a highly bemused crowd during a synth crash at Roskilde festival
  • singing Fuck Her Gently in place of the best man’s speech at my bandmate’s wedding reception 
  • squatting in fishnet tights and a tutu while singing about terrible one night stands
  • improvising full hour long shows based on poems about panda dreams.

I have played gigs with more than ten thousand people in the audience and fewer than ten, sometimes within the same week. I’m also able to polish off pretty much anyone’s rider, especially if it includes cake or chocolate mousse. The Just Like In A Movie shoot involved late night vegan pizza- Dave has excellent taste in video fuel! 

So I hope you enjoy this rock interlude and all the stops on the musical journey to come! I don’t know what’s coming, and that’s just how I like it….

DISCLAIMER: I’m unlikely to take up the ukulele anytime soon. Apart from that, all bets are off.