Tits, tosh and ticking boxes

“She’s my favourite female artist!”

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. International Women’s Day. I won’t name the BBC radio DJ who uttered this classic piece of patronising tosh live on air last Saturday night. My inbox has been deluged with female fronted masterclasses, women only playlists, tributes to women composers, in fact every form of tokenism you can think of.

Looks like a woman- thinks like a man! Liza Bec by David Ryder Prangley

Oh but, I hear you say, isn’t it good that female artists are getting a smidgeon of attention? Shouldn’t we all just be grateful for what we are given? Grateful for one day. Out of three hundred and sixty five. Not only that, it seems that even on International Women’s Day we don’t seem to be capable of refraining from making value judgements on art based solely on the gender of its creator. 

On the live circuit it’s even worse. It doesn’t seem to matter which country you play in, there is a universal assumption that if you are caught near a stage in possession of a pair of tits you must be either a) someone’s girlfriend, b) someone’s assistant or c) intent on sleeping with someone else’s boyfriend. If I had a pound for every astonished man congratulating me on being able to play my own musical instruments after a show, I could have retired twenty years ago. 

This is even more maddening for me as I actually identify as agender, although I’m painfully aware that society at large has me pegged as a woman. I knew something was up when I was turned away from the Scouts aged seven. Fast forward a decade to my university Physics lectures and I became one of only a select few students with boobs. Evidently I “think like a man, but look like a woman.” I’m still not sure whether this is meant to be a compliment, or indeed what it actually means.

We are all so intent on putting people into boxes. I’ve often wondered what this compulsive categorisation is all about, but now I understand that it is about power. Labelling a being gives you the power to make assumptions about it, the ability to reassure yourself that you know how to react to it, how to survive in a hostile world.

Yet nature’s true beauty is its ability to create an infinite variety of forms from incredibly simple fundamental rules. From the glittering crystals of a shattered geode to the glorious symmetry of a tree, all that complexity is underpinned by the inexorable geometry of fractals. 

Simpler still, the first law of thermodynamics is the closest I have ever come to appreciating religion. There is a great comfort in the idea that none of the energy in the universe is ever wasted, just changed from one form into another. Death is merely the doorway to another form of being. 

Deep down, all of us are the same. I hope I live to see a world where we are all celebrated for who we are, rather than the boxes we can tick. 

PS If you’d like to read and listen to some of my work you can check it out here.

Artwork for Episode Three of Spiral Dial by Pushing Normal. Yes, you’re right. It looks a bit like a….

Brain Song is here!

Good news! Not only is it Friday, which is always a relief, but I’m extremely excited to share my new band Spiral Dial‘s first single with you. Out on Spotify, Itunes and short story on Kindle Unlimited! I hope you enjoy it.

Please do listen, watch and share on social media, it all helps. Your support really means a lot especially with such a personal project. It’s been strange writing about having epilepsy but I’m really glad I did it.

We’ll also be playing live at Servant Jazz Quarters on 3rd February, it’s a lovely venue with great cocktails and is replacing our sadly cancelled Vault festival shows. I’ll be firing up the robo recorder into full on psychedelic mode. You can get advance tickets here and there is some more info on the venue website.

Wishing you all a lovely week and hope to see you on the 3rd.

Liza x

Breathe, and sing

Hello all,

I hope you are managing to stay warm and cosy in the damp November grey!

While curled up with the cats in front of the snooker I really wanted to share with you a short snippet from our first live robo recorder show at Guys Hospital recently.

The fear factor was fully present – this song was completely improvised (not around a pre existing idea either!) However having overcome the initial terror I’m really loving the freedom and possibilities which open up for us around a performance which is truly a blank slate. I also did the sound here myself, so I’m pretty proud of that (and also looking forward to having someone else doing it next time!)

Talking of next time, there will be big news later this week on upcoming shows. It’s something completely new for us which I really hope you will love! So please keep an eye out for an email.

Until then, I send you purrs from the cats and a large, steaming virtual mug of hot chocolate!

Liza x

Robo Recorder is Live!

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all well. It’s been a long and eventful year for me, and doubtless for you too! You may remember I’ve been locked away in a small room with a computer for a while now  in order to create an audiovisual installation and short story called Innervate about music triggered epilepsy. An incredible experience but quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done!

The good news is that after many hours and weeks and months of programming and procrastinating we have not only finished the installation, we are finally playing our first gig!

Adam and I will be playing some of the music from the installation live at Guy’s Hospital Atrium 1 next Wednesday the 18th September at 1pm as part of their fantastic arts programme, Breathe. It’s a special place for me for a lot of reasons and has a beautiful acoustic. I really hope that some of you can join us to hear it. It’s also completely free entry.

I’ll be playing my robo recorder which is specially modified with a circuit board and MIDI inputs, and using it to trigger an array of synths on my computer. Everything will be improvised live with no sequencers! Adam will be playing cajon and percussion. So a little different to my usual sound. I hope you like it! Details of the show are here.

If you’d like to be able to see (and read!) my project early I’d love you to take part in the feedback group- particularly if you have any experience of chronic illness or disability.  Please email me and I will send you all the details.

Thanks so much for your support. The cats send purrs ( it is their birthday so they are being spoilt!)

Liza x

Some chilled tunes on a Sun-day 😻🎼☀️

Hope you are all enjoying the amazing weather! We are taking turns with the cats in front of the fan….how about you?

If you’d like to come and cool down with some new tunes Will and I are performing a half hour acoustic set at the Notting Hill Arts Club this Sunday night. Doors are at 4.30 and we’re on at 7.30 so plenty of time to grab a refreshing drink or two ( at least that’s what we’ll be doing!) You can grab tickets in advance here. We’ll be performing some new songs including a preview of  Will’s new EP.

Purdue and Bec by David Ryder Prangley

As if our three cats are not enough, we will be joining Pussy Riot amongst others at Byline festival on the 24th August- tag line ‘Let’s dance, laugh discuss and change the world’.  That just about sums it up! Check out the line up and tickets here.

Are you going to any other festivals this summer? I will also be performing with the amazing James Holden everywhere from Croatia to Hungary, as well as End Of The Road, Sea Change and Edinburgh in the UK, so check out the dates here to see if we will cross paths!

Hoping to catch you somewhere this summer, and sending lots of tuneful vibes your way!

Liza and Will x

Fusion Fund Success!

If you’ve been keeping an eye on my social media you may know that I’m absolutely thrilled to have been selected to receive a Fusion Fund grant! I’m so SO grateful to Help Musicians UK for their support- it means such a lot to me after working so hard to restart my career in music. There may have been some jumping up and down when I found out the news!

You can hear us talking about the project in this short video clip and read more about the fund on the Help Musicians UK website here

I’m going to be working with the amazing Dan Tombs, Catalina Velasquez Gonzalez and David Ryder Prangley among others to create an audiovisual representation of music-triggered epilepsy- which as you know is something I have some first hand knowledge of…. We cannot wait to get started- there will be more updates coming soon!

Anyone for Vinyl? New EP ‘Beyond The Blonde’ Out Today!

I’m very excited to say that after a very long time and a lot of hard work from so many talented people Beyond The Blonde is OUT TODAY on vinyl, CD, download (Amazon/iTunes) and Spotify!

The best description of the title track I’ve heard so far is: ‘Retro Garage Funk Rock’!  I’ve also been told it’s good music to murder someone to!  What do you think?

There’s so much more to check out from modern  madrigal ‘How Do You Live’ to languid love song ‘I Run To You. It’s all written to go with the short story which comes as an insert to the vinyl, so you can listen while you read. I really hope you enjoy listening as much as we enjoyed making it!

Talking of reading, you can also download the short story on Kindle, free on Kindle Unlimited, featuring all of Catalina Velasquez Gonzalez’s graphics and David Ryder Prangley’s photography.

Cover artwork by Catalina Velasquez G and David Ryder Prangley
Cover artwork by Catalina Velasquez G and David Ryder Prangley

Not only that but there’s another video surprise to come in only a few weeks time!

Please share it with your friends and do let me know what you think- any ideas for a sequel are most welcome!

Liza x


Epilepsy Action Feature

Some of you know that I suffer from music-triggered epilepsy which stopped me playing for a good few years when I was diagnosed. It took years for me to relearn how to play and sing so I’m really proud to be able to tell my story, hopefully this will inspire someone in a similar situation that all is not lost! I still can’t believe I’m in the position to release Beyond the Blonde on vinyl in May! (tix here) Kami from Epilepsy Action, a fab charity who really helped me with useful info, has written this lovely article. 

Hope you enjoy reading!

Liza x

Beyond the Blonde launches 9th May!

We are SO excited that Beyond the Blonde is finally coming out on the 9th May- not only that but our launch is part of the Wandsworth Fringe Festival! It’s all happening at the Half Moon Putney which is a fantastic venue with amazing atmosphere and sound- tickets are on sale here. If you’d like to save some money on the vinyl, CD and cute tote bag to carry them home in you can get an exclusive package including vinyl and CD here. All featuring Catalina Velasquez G’s amazing designs!

Just in case you’d like a preview you can listen to one of my new songs from our last show at the Troubadour here!

Really looking forward to seeing you there!  Liza x

Hard Rock Cafe

Liza Bec and Will Purdue by David Ryder Prangley 2017

Excited to announce that we will be playing live with full band at the Hard Rock Cafe fashion show next Tuesday the 20th February, playing some old favourites and some new material too!  The music starts at 8pm- we’ll be on stage at 9.30pm.  Will is also strutting his stuff on  the catwalk from 6pm if you can make it early. The amazing Ru who some of you saw when she supported us at the Troubadour will also be playing, this time with her fantastic band.

Get advance tickets here!

Multi Instrumentalist, Composer and Author