Good morning (as I write) my lovelies!
Three plasterers and a painter got a rather scary welcome at my door this morning. 8.15 am, my alarm must have been going off for half an hour but it was the thumping at the door that got me out of bed like a bat out of hell. Flew down the steps in my PJ's and somebody's dressing gown still in mid dream. Hair like a wild beast just escaped through the bushiest of bushes (left overs from backcombing tousled, flower/feather hair combo for iTunes festival iMegaphone gig). The doorbell's broken. They'd been waiting a while. Anyway...that's all calmed down and they're around the house getting on with it. Feels good! So here I am, lady of the manor, sipping some tea and nibbling on some rye bread toast in the most gloriously colored kitchen you've ever seen. i will reveal all later in the blog.
Here below lies the beginnings of a blog I started at Bangkok airport on the way home from Thailand, 17th May. I was going to finish it on the plane but I slept all the way to Heathrow. Then all manner of things just came one after the other, until now, here at the breakfast table floated in a lull of calm.
Well...It's only just sinking in that I'm on my way back. I'm sitting at gate G2 waiting for the delayed flight back to Old Smokey. Only 6 hours ago I was still on Koh Samui, looking out over the beaded, sparkly ocean, bobbing fishing boats and ferries full of people about as the sun began to set. I wanted to stay as I still haven't caught a sun tucking into the horizon. I've been on the wrong side of the island, or it's been overcast, or for whatever reason it's been a bit of a non event. It looked like in just half an hour, that I would have got one...but I had to get to the airport. For some reason I thought I would see at least a small handful over 10 weeks but hey. I can't grumble!
The last few days on Samui brought a (cheese alert) whole new dimension to the world for me. Have any of you been swimming at night in tropical waters? Well...I hadn't. I was out there with my fancy villa nextdoor neighbors one very late night after dinner and Peter asked me if I'd "seen the light yet?". Wondering what on earth he was going on about, I looked into the water and around each hand was a galaxy. A multitude of little specks of light teeming about my fingers and anything else that I moved. Bioluminescent beings! I had no idea plankton did this? I was totally and wonderfully unprepared for it. Such a fantastic surprise. I was swimming about doing all kinds of experiments. When you do a light breaststroke in the water, the little stars make a V with your hands and arms. I really felt like a superhero. I had some magical power, I haven't quite decided what It would be yet but nonetheless, I had one. So for the consecutive nights I wasn't alone in the water, I had my little fluorescent friends with me. Actually, the night directly after the discovery I had to show someone. Thankfully, Mike
and Yen were coming over to hang out so we could live it up like I imagine Brad and Angelina would (they're probably not a couple anymore...I don't know these things) for a night and a day together. We went about in a really fast speed boat and stopped off at various beaches of Koh Pangnan (a close relative of Samui) to find our perfect spot. This turned out to be Bottle Beach. We got a bright pink frisbee and threw it kind of in the direction of each other.
Today, 13th July, 07. Still at the breakfast table....now accompanied by some of yesterday's delicious freshly prepared hand made sushi that Toe cooked up (will get there with all of these new references).
and that my friends....is as far as I got. In a nutshell, I'm sure I was going to say, what a great time I had. I managed to have a good break, met some great new friends and hooked up with old ones too. Wrote some songs that I'm very happy to sit on the new album with and generally, got some time to myself and played and played some more, the piano (well various ones actually). That was by far the better way to go. Being out there with it all. All that stuff I'm supposed to be writing about. Sitting and staring at a blue carpeted wall in a room within a huge industrial estate for inspiration just runs to it's bedroom, slam-locks the door, and cries into it's duvet cover in shame. Though...I have to say, I did enjoy that too somehow at the time.
Here's a pic of the daily rain storm coming in over the ocean. So dramatic. Really looked forward to it every day around 3pm.
I have now moved out of the blue carpet walled studio that I wrote and recorded Speak For Yourself in. If you haven't seen the 360's of it before you can look here
I have moved it into....wait for it......drum roll.......our old family house. The room where I played the piano every spare second I had until I was about 12 (and went to boarding school, never really to return full time) has me back in it, making and album 17 years on. My dad's been living here all that time but is now moving out to another place. The thought of somebody else living here other than my family and us maybe never being able to go on the roof again, or sit in the garden was just too sad to imagine. I recently signed a publishing deal (they're the good guys) and for the first time in I don't know how long, since piggy bank probably, I'm in the black. It's a beautiful old house i.e. not cheap to run but it's something I can now take on. When I was thinking where to do the next album dad did say to me, why not move back here and do it but at the time It felt like a step back somehow and I began to look at other places in and around London for a studio getaway. In the end though, it really comes down the fact that I absolutely LOVE this house. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. There is no-where else on the entire planet that I love more than this place.
The first thing I did when the gear was in, was walk around the house (it's actually oval!) and brush my fingers along the outside walls, speaking to him (i've decided he's a he) in soft tones things like...
"We're going to be great together, you and I. I'm going to take care of you for at least another 50 years. I'm going to bring you back to life and get you smiling again. Let's take a deep breath."
One day I'll tell you more about him.
So basically, I came back from writing (this long section to the end also doubles up as my excuse for being out of iblog touch for almost 2 months!) saw my family, half unpacked then three days later went to New York and around for a good mate's wedding for a week. While I was out there of course, met up with people, did some "business" stuff including a rather sexy (sad as it sounds) ring tone for a certain company I rather like. If it comes off (probably sept) i'll let you know then...if not, i'll put it on the site anyway. It's an all vocal 50 second, getting more and more layered and complex mini song. I can't really describe it but I think it's rather groovy. Then steam back to London and straight into the studio with Nitin Sawhney
for three days to collaborate on a track for his new album. Love the concept we came up with and so far I think it sounds really lovely. I'll be singing it (need to get serious practice in!) at the Royal Albert Hall, 10th August. Here's
some more info on the gig. I've always loved going to The Proms. I go to the random hit or miss premier's of contemporary composers music as there's rarely many people there. Do this. Choose an "unpopular" night, bring a pillow or something soft, cue up for the Promenaders bit, aka "the pit" (which is less than £5) and settle down, lying on the floor staring up at the "mushrooms" on the ceiling and let the music wash over you. It's sooo good. We also spent a day that involved getting up at the crack of dawn and meeting up at Billingsgate Fish Market for 6am. it was a long day. We ended up in Camden at Midnight for some more field recordings and got some rather amusing drunken tidbits down the mic from some, which may or may not be used.
From then until now I have been mostly here in the countryside, choosing colours for the various rooms, moving furniture, playing the old piano (I recorded "Sleep" on back in '96) and literally getting my hands dirty. You'll be pleased to hear I have been fashioning some rather attractive blue dungarees and taking great pride in my tool box. I have bought a lovely garden bench. which, if it's a nice morning, you'll find me gazing at the house with the odd bowl of cereal.
The studio gear at the moment is in boxes and cases all over the basement from the move and also from touring. I haven't done an ounce of music since I got back, though I did one night come up with a nice idea on the piano which I think may evolve to become the last track on the album which has the working title of "Backbone". So many people have been in and out of these doors over the last month. There's a great team working on everything from sanding down kitchen tops to sorting out air conditioning for the studio computer cupboard gear, to plasterers, a muralist, lighting designer, carpenter. You name it! They've been here and had tea. Lots and lots of tea (note to self...must get teapot). All in all at the moment I think I counted 23 people involved! So many things are coming full circle like for instance.. one of my brother's best mates who used to play here with him, since I was about 5 now owns a painting and decorating company who are going to be building an en-suite for my artist in residence (ooh er!!!!!) Luci Metcalff. There really is so much going on at the moment. Each time I mention something if feels like there's this whole story that I need to tell you in support of the point I was trying to make. So, to save me from doing this...my good friend Justine
is continuing the filming of the album process that I began on the writing trip. She's been here a few times a week catching what's been going on. I'm thinking limited edition album CD with the making of DVD for the first few thousand. Super fancy artwork. True Heap style no expense spared type thing. You only live once!
The studio is being built in our old playroom. This time it's the real deal. Getting it acoustically treated as this is, for the first time, a permanent studio space. I can't wait to start making funny noises in there but equally am loving the process of getting it to that point. Getting it just how I've always wanted it. Wireless remote areas all over the house with microphone socket points already in the walls, so I can access the computers in the studio, put into record, read lyrics etc without running up and down the stairs. it is going to be so darn slick! Woop Woop! calm calm...she's getting excited...
Justine's man, Toe also turns out to be a magnificent chef. So every now and then he pops over to cook us a feast. Love having people over to stay as there's room to do it here. In my little flat in Waterloo it's my bed or the sofa.
I've passed my driving theory test. Shock horror! You mean...you don't have a license??? I know, i KNOW..but...I can drive, honest, I've just never taken my test. So a couple of weeks ago I swatted up on my theory books, on the tube and train journeys to get here and took that part of the test. Been driving dad about a bit to brush up on not crashing into things. It's quite a way out here. Though only 45 mins from london (at 3 in the morning) it's beautifully lush and green which also means, no shops to speak of and no transport (other than horseback).
I'm getting distracted now. Plastering of the studio's done and I'm dying to move things around again in that studio...erm...what else what else...
Oh yeah. iTunes festival gig
. That was a couple of days back. Great fun. So nice to just play the piano and not set everything up etc, lug it all around etc. It would have been such a pain in the ass to get it all out of this house for that one spot, plus....I feel like I have kind of gigged that last album out of me a little now. At least for a few more months. When I was asked to do it, I'd just got back from LA and NY iMegaphone gigs. I enjoyed them so much that I asked if I could do iMegaphone only stuff. I haven't really ever done the songs like that in the UK as I had a band back in the day who I toured the UK with. One of which was in the audience, the lovely Leo
. Leo introduced me to my friend James
who opened for me.
Found this pic on this
page. i was stretching to get some water on the left hand side of the piano stool but thanks to my corset it was almost impossible due to no bending capabilities at the waist!
I really liked the question and answer section that seemed to emerge from the US shows so brought that to the London show too. I hope the songs come out alright. I'll give them the once over and if they're good enough will get them up on iTunes for you to hear. I'd like to get the Q and A bit up too. thanks to those who came. Sorry the tickets scenario was a bit of a nightmare and thanks to all those who asked me something. To the girl up front who's question was "can you play speeding cars". The answer in short was... no. Sorry! Strictly i meg only.
Here's a large snail from Samui though.
There is something else actually I need to tell you. It's a bit sad though. I'm not scoring the flamingo movie anymore. It just didn't work out I'm afraid. I said yes to one too many things this time and then with taking on this house, it just became impossible to do. There's no hard feelings though and I spoke to Leander (co-director) today on ichat. They've got the music under control and it's going to work out great for everyone. I wanted to score my first film before I was 30 but instead something even more amazing with this gorgeous house has happened. You just got to go with it when that happens in life.
I'll be hungry for a score once the next album's done. "When is that though?" I hear you all say....
soon...relatively. Maybe it'll be out next spring/summer. I hope to have at least 7/8 songs sounding really spanking by the new year. I am so beside myself with excitement at the idea of making the album here I can't tell you! it's gonna be a good'n!
So there we go. Loads going on. Life is good. Will keep you up to date a little more now I have this blog out the way. It was that, haven't called up your best mate for a year feeling and it's never a good time you know? Just got to do it.
Love, fluv all the way home.
the pic at the top of the blog is my little balcony garden at the flat that Justine put together while I way away. So nice to come home to a row of happy faced flowers! I just love watering and talking to them. "Morning boys and girls. Don't you look just divine? Would you like a little drink?" xxxxx