Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 catwalk review: Amanda Wakeley (by Jess)

Ziad Ghanem by Avril Kelly

What an amazing show; Ziad Ghanem has trumped everything else I’ve seen this week. Opening with a model dressing in a dark, prescription this dramatic floor length strapless gown, nurse with green feathers, cheapest stilts and skull makeup the audience were cheering from the off.

The front row was packed out with the eccentrically dressed – Boy George almost blended into the background in a bright yellow hat and full face of makeup. Special mention has to go to the PVC clad, (and complete with blow up hair), London artist Pandemonia, sitting opposite me. Together with a matching blow up dog, she must have been boilin’!

Ziad Ghanem by Alison Day

The loud show, with music changes more frequent than model changes provided clapping, laughing and unanimous approval – so much so that no one seemed to care that the show started an almost an hour late. Male and female models took to the catwalk in stunning creations – capes, gigantic earrings and tremendously tight dresses were wriggled, danced and glided down the runway on joker-style made-up faces.

The models came in all shapes and sizes but voluptuous curves and a heaving bosom was the order of the evening. Corset dresses that pushed said bosoms up and out were so tight that somewhere Scarlett Johansen was blushing. Full length floaty gowns in pale hues of blue, deep reds, sparkling gold and matte grey also allowed for plenty of swishing, and cloak spinning as the models made their way towards the waiting photographers.

Ziad Ghanem by Madi

My favourite dress was the bright fuschia deep cut and backless cocktail dress that nipped in perfectly at the waist. The shiny nature of the material was so unashamedly trashy that it avoided (I think) being either tacky or quality street wrapper-esque. Other notable highlights of the show include a deathly bride and groom, solemnly showering the crowd with petals at the end of the show, and the model who pirouetted her way backwards after walking down the catwalk. All in all, a brilliant show – exciting, entertaining and some truly beautiful clothes.

Ziad Ghanem by Avril Kelly

What an amazing show; Ziad Ghanem has trumped everything else I’ve seen this week. Opening with a model dressing in a dark, pills dramatic floor length strapless gown, site with green feathers, case stilts and skull makeup the audience were cheering from the off.

The front row was packed out with the eccentrically dressed – Boy George almost blended into the background in a bright yellow hat and full face of makeup. Special mention has to go to the PVC clad, (and complete with blow up hair), London artist Pandemonia, sitting opposite me. Together with a matching blow up dog, she must have been boilin’!

Ziad Ghanem by Alison Day

The loud show, with music changes more frequent than model changes provided clapping, laughing and unanimous approval – so much so that no one seemed to care that the show started an almost an hour late. Male and female models took to the catwalk in stunning creations – capes, gigantic earrings and tremendously tight dresses were wriggled, danced and glided down the runway on joker-style made-up faces.

The models came in all shapes and sizes but voluptuous curves and a heaving bosom was the order of the evening. Corset dresses that pushed said bosoms up and out were so tight that somewhere Scarlett Johansen was blushing. Full length floaty gowns in pale hues of blue, deep reds, sparkling gold and matte grey also allowed for plenty of swishing, and cloak spinning as the models made their way towards the waiting photographers.

Ziad Ghanem by Madi

My favourite dress was the bright fuschia deep cut and backless cocktail dress that nipped in perfectly at the waist. The shiny nature of the material was so unashamedly trashy that it avoided (I think) being either tacky or quality street wrapper-esque. Other notable highlights of the show include a deathly bride and groom, solemnly showering the crowd with petals at the end of the show, and the model who pirouetted her way backwards after walking down the catwalk. All in all, a brilliant show – exciting, entertaining and some truly beautiful clothes.

Ziad Ghanem by Avril Kelly

What an amazing show; Ziad Ghanem has trumped everything else I’ve seen this week. Opening with a model dressing in a dark, this dramatic floor length strapless gown, pilule with green feathers, stilts and skull makeup the audience were cheering from the off.

The front row was packed out with the eccentrically dressed – Boy George almost blended into the background in a bright yellow hat and full face of makeup. Special mention has to go to the PVC clad, (and complete with blow up hair), London artist Pandemonia, sitting opposite me. Together with a matching blow up dog, she must have been boilin’!

Ziad Ghanem by Alison Day

The loud show, with music changes more frequent than model changes provided clapping, laughing and unanimous approval – so much so that no one seemed to care that the show started an almost an hour late. Male and female models took to the catwalk in stunning creations – capes, gigantic earrings and tremendously tight dresses were wriggled, danced and glided down the runway on joker-style made-up faces.

The models came in all shapes and sizes but voluptuous curves and a heaving bosom was the order of the evening. Corset dresses that pushed said bosoms up and out were so tight that somewhere Scarlett Johansen was blushing. Full length floaty gowns in pale hues of blue, deep reds, sparkling gold and matte grey also allowed for plenty of swishing, and cloak spinning as the models made their way towards the waiting photographers.

Ziad Ghanem by Madi

My favourite dress was the bright fuschia deep cut and backless cocktail dress that nipped in perfectly at the waist. The shiny nature of the material was so unashamedly trashy that it avoided (I think) being either tacky or quality street wrapper-esque. Other notable highlights of the show include a deathly bride and groom, solemnly showering the crowd with petals at the end of the show, and the model who pirouetted her way backwards after walking down the catwalk. All in all, a brilliant show – exciting, entertaining and some truly beautiful clothes.

Illustration by Yelena Bryksenkova

Rocking up to London Fashion Week for the first time on Day Five feels a bit like having overslept for work: you’re constantly trying to catch up what you’ve missed. Because, case I mean … wow. Just the courtyard of Somerset House is a fashion show of sorts, with the metallic leather, the Jackie O headscarves, the artful hats, the baby-as-accessory, and the miles and miles of feathers-and-corsage up-dos. Not to mention there’s a lot of shoes previously only seen in fashion magazines, girls who look like boys and vice versa, plus a lot of very tall women. At 5’7” I’ve never felt short in my life, but yesterday was a first for this too, as I stood there trying not to twiddle my press pass and look so much like the rookie that I am. But then Helen Martin, a Fashion Week veteran by now, came and rescued me, and together we made our way for the Amanda Wakeley runway show.


Illustration by Sandra Contreras

I had no idea to expect from the Amanda Wakeley show, other than it being ‘grown up’ fashion. Well at least it would be something different, I thought as I brushed some mud off my leg as we found our seats on the second row. A few minutes later people stopped running around, the plastic cover was removed from the runway, lights down, music up, and then – the models. One by one they came, the tall, gangly girls, rolling up the catwalk in their pouts, their towering heels and scraped-back hair. The black dresses came first, then a wave of bright orange, before a third lot of whites.

A few floaty numbers came here and there, but most of the dresses were very sculpted, sitting tight on the body with architectural lines built into the fabric. These all came with a thin, black leather belt, playfully tied into a double knot at the front. The rows of metallic cuffs up models’ arms added to the strict feel of the dresses, each garment subtly different from the next due to an alternative neckline or new skirt shape. Wakeley had maintained a very lady-like dress length on most of her creations, meaning the couple of models wearing flaring minis added a fun touch.


Illustration by Mina Bach

Several of the looser, more transparent dresses had what looked like beading; this was either ‘antique metal sequins’ or something called ’solar encrusted beading’, according to the literature. I especially liked the orange dress with the heavy silver-beaded panel (image above), as with my boyish figure I’ve never found a defined waist to be particularly flattering. There were plenty of boyish shapes among the models as well, but being professional mannequins they pulled off Wakeley’s sometimes unforgiving, figure-hugging dresses with ease. Wakeley actually has a pretty good track record when it comes to designing for real life women, but still, I couldn’t help but think a few curves would have made the outfits look even better, especially the fitted ones. I understand this is the way the world of high fashion works, but coming to this for the first time I guess I’ve not yet fully adjusted my outlook.


Illustration by Sarah Alfarhan

It was over in a flash, and Wakeley showed her face for no more than three seconds to wave, before she disappeared again behind the curtain. All around people were rustling impatiently even though the queue moved quickly towards the door, and by the time I’d made it outside a few of the models were already gathered around the back for a sneaky fag. For them it was just Day Five, but for me it was the first, and sadly the last. For now, that is – it all happens again in September and next time I’ll make sure to show up bright and early.

More of Yelena Bryksenkova’s illustrations can be found in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Categories ,A/W 2011, ,Amanda Wakeley, ,fashion, ,Helen Martin, ,lfw, ,london, ,London Fashion Week, ,Mina Bach., ,Sandra Contreras, ,Sarah Alfarhan, ,Somerset House, ,Yelena Bryksenkova

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 catwalk review: Amanda Wakeley (by Jess)


Illustration by Yelena Bryksenkova

Rocking up to London Fashion Week for the first time on Day Five feels a bit like having overslept for work: you’re constantly trying to catch up what you’ve missed. Because, I mean … wow. Just the courtyard of Somerset House is a fashion show of sorts, with the metallic leather, the Jackie O headscarves, the artful hats, the baby-as-accessory, and the miles and miles of feathers-and-corsage up-dos. Not to mention there’s a lot of shoes previously only seen in fashion magazines, girls who look like boys and vice versa, plus a lot of very tall women. At 5’7” I’ve never felt short in my life, but yesterday was a first for this too, as I stood there trying not to twiddle my press pass and look so much like the rookie that I am. But then Helen Martin, a Fashion Week veteran by now, came and rescued me, and together we made our way for the Amanda Wakeley runway show.


Illustration by Sandra Contreras

I had no idea to expect from the Amanda Wakeley show, other than it being ‘grown up’ fashion. Well at least it would be something different, I thought as I brushed some mud off my leg as we found our seats on the second row. A few minutes later people stopped running around, the plastic cover was removed from the runway, lights down, music up, and then – the models. One by one they came, the tall, gangly girls, rolling up the catwalk in their pouts, their towering heels and scraped-back hair. The black dresses came first, then a wave of bright orange, before a third lot of whites.

A few floaty numbers came here and there, but most of the dresses were very sculpted, sitting tight on the body with architectural lines built into the fabric. These all came with a thin, black leather belt, playfully tied into a double knot at the front. The rows of metallic cuffs up models’ arms added to the strict feel of the dresses, each garment subtly different from the next due to an alternative neckline or new skirt shape. Wakeley had maintained a very lady-like dress length on most of her creations, meaning the couple of models wearing flaring minis added a fun touch.


Illustration by Mina Bach

Several of the looser, more transparent dresses had what looked like beading; this was either ‘antique metal sequins’ or something called ’solar encrusted beading’, according to the literature. I especially liked the orange dress with the heavy silver-beaded panel (image above), as with my boyish figure I’ve never found a defined waist to be particularly flattering. There were plenty of boyish shapes among the models as well, but being professional mannequins they pulled off Wakeley’s sometimes unforgiving, figure-hugging dresses with ease. Wakeley actually has a pretty good track record when it comes to designing for real life women, but still, I couldn’t help but think a few curves would have made the outfits look even better, especially the fitted ones. I understand this is the way the world of high fashion works, but coming to this for the first time I guess I’ve not yet fully adjusted my outlook.


Illustration by Sarah Alfarhan

It was over in a flash, and Wakeley showed her face for no more than three seconds to wave, before she disappeared again behind the curtain. All around people were rustling impatiently even though the queue moved quickly towards the door, and by the time I’d made it outside a few of the models were already gathered around the back for a sneaky fag. For them it was just Day Five, but for me it was the first, and sadly the last. For now, that is – it all happens again in September and next time I’ll make sure to show up bright and early.

More of Yelena Bryksenkova’s illustrations can be found in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Categories ,A/W 2011, ,Amanda Wakeley, ,fashion, ,Helen Martin, ,lfw, ,london, ,London Fashion Week, ,Mina Bach., ,Sandra Contreras, ,Sarah Alfarhan, ,Somerset House, ,Yelena Bryksenkova

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Amelia’s Magazine | The reluctant Valentiner

Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea
valentines foxes by bex glover
Valentines Foxes by Bex Glover.

By now if you have any interest in the upcoming consumer fest that is Valentines Day you will probably already have read Hannah’s slightly bah humbug Valentines blog post, symptoms which nevertheless gave some great tips on how to best celebrate this festival of luuuurve.

Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd
Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd. Available to buy as a print over on Society 6.

Last year I detailed how Valentines has been for me in the past – in almost every instance a non event unless I went to the trouble of sending friends and family something special.

jenny robins - red valentine
Red Valentine by Jenny Robins. You can buy her Book of Love here on Etsy.

But I’ve been in my current relationship for quite awhile now and this year Valentines Day throws up all sorts of new worries for me… Will he feel pressurised to take me out? Do I even want to go out and join the masses, now that the option may in fact be available? What do I feel about how I should be treated and what, at the end of the day, is the best expression of love? Don’t laugh, I’ve seriously never had to think about these things before: my love life has been that rubbish for so long.

valentine's day by Natsuki-Otani
LSD Love by Natsuki Otani – available to buy online at Society 6.

Well, unsurprisingly I have to say that my views remain pretty much the same as they did last year. For me the best way to show that you care about someone is to put a bit of thought into whatever you decide to do on Valentines Day, whether you are showing that kindness to friends and family or a special partner – something that it goes without saying should really be an ongoing year-round state of affairs.

youmakemetick by Adam Smith
youmakemetick by Adam Smith.

Whatever you do steer clear of the crazed demands to BUY BUY BUY, and instead think of what your loved one truly appreciates – which is most likely to be your time and your energy. For me receiving something hand made is always the most appreciated gift there is – time having become such a precious resource in itself. There are some really sweet ideas that cost barely a penny over on Hannah’s blog.

Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith
Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith.

Failing that a gift hand made by someone else is definitely a close second best. So in the spirit of collaboration I asked people to send me their hand made Valentines gift ideas via twitter – here’s my pick of the best:

Anko Fairy Steps pendant
Ankolie has contributed to Amelia’s Magazine as an illustrator – here’s her lovely little Fairy Steps necklace which features really cute heart links and a central cabochon that features one of her paintings, available on Etsy.

lovebirds-becca thorne
Becca Thorne offers this adorable love birds linoprint on Etsy.

stay over toothbrush pendant by plastic seconds
On the recycled jewellery front how about this jokey Stay Over toothbrush necklace from Plastic Seconds? Also seen in the ICA shop.

Prick Your Finger hearts
Prick Your Finger offer these lovely knitted wool hearts that were knitted by Mary in the Shetlands: a steal at £4.50

Rob Ryan Valentines
He’s the king of romantic whimsy so I felt duty bound to include the now obligatory Rob Ryan laser cut piece Can We Shall We – miraculously there appear to still be some of these in stock at Soma Gallery. Grab em whilst you can.

Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith
Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith.

Lomography have brought out a special edition Diana F+ camera encrusted in naked people and a Fisheye 2 in syrupy sweet pink. If your lover is not yet a hipstamatic aficionado now may might be a good time for them to try analogue again.

I Heart Music by Liz Lewis
I Heart Music by Liz Lewis.

Flowers would never ever go amiss… so long as they haven’t been flown in from some beleaguered country far away.

LOVE by Lou Cloud
LOVE by Lou Cloud.

And I like jewellery. Don’t know why. I just do. I think it’s something about the fact that a treasured piece can be worn almost all the time as a reminder of someone’s devotion, which is why I respond very well to delicate pieces… particularly in gold. Speaking of, the much anticipated UK Fairtrade ethical gold standard came into force only yesterday, so here’s hoping that it will soon become very much easier to buy luxury jewellery that is made without harm to people or planet. Because, after all, where’s the love in that?

Laura Gravestock
Love these rose gold pieces by Laura Gravestock, and quite reasonably priced too.

Oria-blossom-bird
Over at EC One ethical jewellery brand Oria (featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration) offer their lovely lovebird earrings – as illustrated in my book. Purrrrfect, and they come with a totally clear conscience.

Finally, if you’re looking for something to do that’s a bit out of the ordinary, how about a trip to the Museum of Everything to see the current Peter Blake curated exhibition for the last time? There will be things to watch all over the weekend, including live music, and a film showing.

Je t'aime by Anieszka Banks
Je t’aime by Anieszka Banks.

The School for Life is well known for hosting some ever so intriguing seminars. On February 14th they ask:
Who’d be in a relationship?
At its best, love can make us deliriously happy. At worst, it makes us more miserable than anything on earth. It robs us of our autonomy, freedom and financial independence. It can bring disillusion, heartbreak and betrayal.
Who’d be single?
We’re confined to the prison of our established and frequently very boring selves. At best, singleness allows us to be free agents, able to fulfill our desires. At worst, it drags us down to the depths of loneliness. It robs us of intimacy, personal engagement, and an understanding that true happiness is about giving oneself away. 

Paris by Joanna Faria
Paris by Joana Faria.

So why not book an evening with author Simon Critchley? He’ll be talking at The School for Life which is located at 70 Marchmont Street, London WC1N 1AB.

Elliott_Quince_Linocut_illustration Quinky Art
And if you’re still feeling a bit grumpy about the whole affair how about this free downloadable Zombie Valentines lino cut from Quinky Art?

No pressure on the boyfriend at all then. Between this lot there’s a little something for everyone don’t you think?

emma_block_Oria_jewellery
Oria Lovebird necklace as featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Illustration by Emma Block.
valentines foxes by bex glover
Valentines Foxes by Bex Glover.

By now if you have any interest in the upcoming consumer fest that is Valentines Day you will probably already have read Hannah’s slightly bah humbug Valentines blog post, drugs which nevertheless gave some great tips on how to best celebrate this festival of luuuurve.

Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd
Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd. Available to buy as a print over on Society 6.

Last year I detailed how Valentines has been for me in the past – in almost every instance a non event unless I went to the trouble of sending friends and family something special.

jenny robins - red valentine
Red Valentine by Jenny Robins. You can buy her Book of Love here on Etsy.

But I’ve been in my current relationship for quite awhile now and this year Valentines Day throws up all sorts of new worries for me… Will he feel pressurised to take me out? Do I even want to go out and join the masses, illness now that the option may in fact be available? What do I feel about how I should be treated and what, at the end of the day, is the best expression of love? Don’t laugh, I’ve seriously never had to think about these things before: my love life has been that rubbish for so long.

valentine's day by Natsuki-Otani
LSD Love by Natsuki Otani – available to buy online at Society 6.

Well, unsurprisingly I have to say that my views remain pretty much the same as they did last year. For me the best way to show that you care about someone is to put a bit of thought into whatever you decide to do on Valentines Day, whether you are showing that kindness to friends and family or a special partner – something that it goes without saying should really be an ongoing year-round state of affairs.

youmakemetick by Adam Smith
youmakemetick by Adam Smith.

Whatever you do steer clear of the crazed demands to BUY BUY BUY, and instead think of what your loved one truly appreciates – which is most likely to be your time and your energy. For me receiving something hand made is always the most appreciated gift there is – time having become such a precious resource in itself. There are some really sweet ideas that cost barely a penny over on Hannah’s blog.

Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith
Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith.

Failing that a gift hand made by someone else is definitely a close second best. So in the spirit of collaboration I asked people to send me their hand made Valentines gift ideas via twitter – here’s my pick of the best:

Anko Fairy Steps pendant
Ankolie has contributed to Amelia’s Magazine as an illustrator – here’s her lovely little Fairy Steps necklace which features really cute heart links and a central cabochon that features one of her paintings, available on Etsy.

lovebirds-becca thorne
Becca Thorne offers this adorable love birds linoprint on Etsy.

stay over toothbrush pendant by plastic seconds
On the recycled jewellery front how about this jokey Stay Over toothbrush necklace from Plastic Seconds? Also seen in the ICA shop.

Prick Your Finger hearts
Prick Your Finger offer these lovely knitted wool hearts that were knitted by Mary in the Shetlands: a steal at £4.50

Rob Ryan Valentines
He’s the king of romantic whimsy so I felt duty bound to include the now obligatory Rob Ryan laser cut piece Can We Shall We – miraculously there appear to still be some of these in stock at Soma Gallery. Grab em whilst you can.

Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith
Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith.

Lomography have brought out a special edition Diana F+ camera encrusted in naked people and a Fisheye 2 in syrupy sweet pink. If your lover is not yet a hipstamatic aficionado now may might be a good time for them to try analogue again.

I Heart Music by Liz Lewis
I Heart Music by Liz Lewis.

Flowers would never ever go amiss… so long as they haven’t been flown in from some beleaguered country far away.

LOVE by Lou Cloud
LOVE by Lou Cloud.

And I like jewellery. Don’t know why. I just do. I think it’s something about the fact that a treasured piece can be worn almost all the time as a reminder of someone’s devotion, which is why I respond very well to delicate pieces… particularly in gold.

Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea
Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea.

Speaking of which, the much anticipated UK Fairtrade ethical gold standard came into force only yesterday, so here’s hoping that it will soon become very much easier to buy luxury jewellery that is made without harm to people or planet. Because, after all, where’s the love in that?

Laura Gravestock
Love these rose gold pieces by Laura Gravestock, and quite reasonably priced too.

Oria-blossom-bird
Over at EC One ethical jewellery brand Oria (featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration) offer their lovely lovebird earrings – as illustrated in my book. Purrrrfect, and they come with a totally clear conscience.

Finally, if you’re looking for something to do that’s a bit out of the ordinary, how about a trip to the Museum of Everything to see the current Peter Blake curated exhibition for the last time? There will be things to watch all over the weekend, including live music, and a film showing.

Je t'aime by Anieszka Banks
Je t’aime by Anieszka Banks.

The School for Life is well known for hosting some ever so intriguing seminars. On February 14th they ask:
Who’d be in a relationship?
At its best, love can make us deliriously happy. At worst, it makes us more miserable than anything on earth. It robs us of our autonomy, freedom and financial independence. It can bring disillusion, heartbreak and betrayal.
Who’d be single?
We’re confined to the prison of our established and frequently very boring selves. At best, singleness allows us to be free agents, able to fulfill our desires. At worst, it drags us down to the depths of loneliness. It robs us of intimacy, personal engagement, and an understanding that true happiness is about giving oneself away. 

Paris by Joanna Faria
Paris by Joana Faria.

So why not book an evening with author Simon Critchley? He’ll be talking at The School for Life which is located at 70 Marchmont Street, London WC1N 1AB.

Elliott_Quince_Linocut_illustration Quinky Art
And if you’re still feeling a bit grumpy about the whole affair how about this free downloadable Zombie Valentines lino cut from Quinky Art?

No pressure on the boyfriend at all then. Between this lot there’s a little something for everyone don’t you think?

emma_block_Oria_jewellery
Oria Lovebird necklace as featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Illustration by Emma Block.
valentines foxes by bex glover
Valentines Foxes by Bex Glover.

By now if you have any interest in the upcoming consumer fest that is Valentines Day you will probably already have read Hannah’s slightly bah humbug Valentines blog post, treatment which nevertheless gave some great tips on how to best celebrate this festival of luuuurve.

Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd
Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd. Available to buy as a print over on Society 6.

Last year I detailed how Valentines has been for me in the past – in almost every instance a non event unless I went to the trouble of sending friends and family something special.

jenny robins - red valentine
Red Valentine by Jenny Robins. You can buy her Book of Love here on Etsy.

But I’ve been in my current relationship for quite awhile now and this year Valentines Day throws up all sorts of new worries for me… Will he feel pressurised to take me out? Do I even want to go out and join the masses, cure now that the option may in fact be available? What do I feel about how I should be treated and what, at the end of the day, is the best expression of love? Don’t laugh, I’ve seriously never had to think about these things before: my love life has been that rubbish for so long.

valentine's day by Natsuki-Otani
LSD Love by Natsuki Otani – available to buy online at Society 6.

Well, unsurprisingly I have to say that my views remain pretty much the same as they did last year. For me the best way to show that you care about someone is to put a bit of thought into whatever you decide to do on Valentines Day, whether you are showing that kindness to friends and family or a special partner – something that it goes without saying should really be an ongoing year-round state of affairs.

youmakemetick by Adam Smith
youmakemetick by Adam Smith.

Whatever you do steer clear of the crazed demands to BUY BUY BUY, and instead think of what your loved one truly appreciates – which is most likely to be your time and your energy. For me receiving something hand made is always the most appreciated gift there is – time having become such a precious resource in itself. There are some really sweet ideas that cost barely a penny over on Hannah’s blog.

Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith
Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith.

Failing that a gift hand made by someone else is definitely a close second best. So in the spirit of collaboration I asked people to send me their hand made Valentines gift ideas via twitter – here’s my pick of the best:

Anko Fairy Steps pendant
Ankolie has contributed to Amelia’s Magazine as an illustrator – here’s her lovely little Fairy Steps necklace which features really cute heart links and a central cabochon that features one of her paintings, available on Etsy.

lovebirds-becca thorne
Becca Thorne offers this adorable love birds linoprint on Etsy.

stay over toothbrush pendant by plastic seconds
On the recycled jewellery front how about this jokey Stay Over toothbrush necklace from Plastic Seconds? Also seen in the ICA shop.

Prick Your Finger hearts
Prick Your Finger offer these lovely knitted wool hearts that were knitted by Mary in the Shetlands: a steal at £4.50

Rob Ryan Valentines
He’s the king of romantic whimsy so I felt duty bound to include the now obligatory Rob Ryan laser cut piece Can We Shall We – miraculously there appear to still be some of these in stock at Soma Gallery. Grab em whilst you can.

Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith
Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith.

Lomography have brought out a special edition Diana F+ camera encrusted in naked people and a Fisheye 2 in syrupy sweet pink. If your lover is not yet a hipstamatic aficionado now may might be a good time for them to try analogue again.

I Heart Music by Liz Lewis
I Heart Music by Liz Lewis.

Flowers would never ever go amiss… so long as they haven’t been flown in from some beleaguered country far away.

LOVE by Lou Cloud
LOVE by Lou Cloud.

And I like jewellery. Don’t know why. I just do. I think it’s something about the fact that a treasured piece can be worn almost all the time as a reminder of someone’s devotion, which is why I respond very well to delicate pieces… particularly in gold.

Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea
Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea.

Speaking of which, the much anticipated UK Fairtrade ethical gold standard came into force only yesterday, so here’s hoping that it will soon become very much easier to buy luxury jewellery that is made without harm to people or planet. Because, after all, where’s the love in that?

Laura Gravestock
Love these rose gold pieces by Laura Gravestock, and quite reasonably priced too.

Oria-blossom-bird
Over at EC One ethical jewellery brand Oria (featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration) offer their lovely lovebird earrings – as illustrated in my book. Purrrrfect, and they come with a totally clear conscience.

Finally, if you’re looking for something to do that’s a bit out of the ordinary, how about a trip to the Museum of Everything to see the current Peter Blake curated exhibition for the last time? There will be things to watch all over the weekend, including live music, and a film showing.

Je t'aime by Anieszka Banks
Je t’aime by Anieszka Banks.

The School for Life is well known for hosting some ever so intriguing seminars. On February 14th they ask:
Who’d be in a relationship?
At its best, love can make us deliriously happy. At worst, it makes us more miserable than anything on earth. It robs us of our autonomy, freedom and financial independence. It can bring disillusion, heartbreak and betrayal.
Who’d be single?
We’re confined to the prison of our established and frequently very boring selves. At best, singleness allows us to be free agents, able to fulfill our desires. At worst, it drags us down to the depths of loneliness. It robs us of intimacy, personal engagement, and an understanding that true happiness is about giving oneself away. 

Paris by Joanna Faria
Paris by Joana Faria.

So why not book an evening with author Simon Critchley? He’ll be talking at The School for Life which is located at 70 Marchmont Street, London WC1N 1AB.

Elliott_Quince_Linocut_illustration Quinky Art
And if you’re still feeling a bit grumpy about the whole affair how about this free downloadable Zombie Valentines lino cut from Quinky Art?

No pressure on the boyfriend at all then. Between this lot there’s a little something for everyone don’t you think?

emma_block_Oria_jewellery
Oria Lovebird necklace as featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Illustration by Emma Block.

To read more about my abysmal love life see my previous Valentines blog of 2010.
valentines foxes by bex glover
Valentines Foxes by Bex Glover.

By now if you have any interest in the upcoming consumer fest that is Valentines Day you will probably already have read Hannah’s slightly bah humbug Valentines blog post, sildenafil which nevertheless gave some great tips on how to best celebrate this festival of luuuurve.

Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd
Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd. Available to buy as a print over on Society 6.

Last year I detailed how Valentines has been for me in the past – in almost every instance a non event unless I went to the trouble of sending friends and family something special.

jenny robins - red valentine
Red Valentine by Jenny Robins. You can buy her Book of Love here on Etsy.

But I’ve been in my current relationship for quite awhile now and this year Valentines Day throws up all sorts of new worries for me… Will he feel pressurised to take me out? Do I even want to go out and join the masses, website now that the option may in fact be available? What do I feel about how I should be treated and what, at the end of the day, is the best expression of love? Don’t laugh, I’ve seriously never had to think about these things before: my love life has been that rubbish for so long.

valentine's day by Natsuki-Otani
LSD Love by Natsuki Otani – available to buy online at Society 6.

Well, unsurprisingly I have to say that my views remain pretty much the same as they did last year. For me the best way to show that you care about someone is to put a bit of thought into whatever you decide to do on Valentines Day, whether you are showing that kindness to friends and family or a special partner – something that it goes without saying should really be an ongoing year-round state of affairs.

youmakemetick by Adam Smith
youmakemetick by Adam Smith.

Whatever you do steer clear of the crazed demands to BUY BUY BUY, and instead think of what your loved one truly appreciates – which is most likely to be your time and your energy. For me receiving something hand made is always the most appreciated gift there is – time having become such a precious resource in itself. There are some really sweet ideas that cost barely a penny over on Hannah’s blog.

Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith
Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith.

Failing that a gift hand made by someone else is definitely a close second best. So in the spirit of collaboration I asked people to send me their hand made Valentines gift ideas via twitter – here’s my pick of the best:

Anko Fairy Steps pendant
Ankolie has contributed to Amelia’s Magazine as an illustrator – here’s her lovely little Fairy Steps necklace which features really cute heart links and a central cabochon that features one of her paintings, available on Etsy.

lovebirds-becca thorne
Becca Thorne offers this adorable love birds linoprint on Etsy.

stay over toothbrush pendant by plastic seconds
On the recycled jewellery front how about this jokey Stay Over toothbrush necklace from Plastic Seconds? Also seen in the ICA shop.

Prick Your Finger hearts
Prick Your Finger offer these lovely knitted wool hearts that were knitted by Mary in the Shetlands: a steal at £4.50

Rob Ryan Valentines
He’s the king of romantic whimsy so I felt duty bound to include the now obligatory Rob Ryan laser cut piece Can We Shall We – miraculously there appear to still be some of these in stock at Soma Gallery. Grab em whilst you can.

Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith
Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith.

Lomography have brought out a special edition Diana F+ camera encrusted in naked people and a Fisheye 2 in syrupy sweet pink. If your lover is not yet a hipstamatic aficionado now may might be a good time for them to try analogue again.

I Heart Music by Liz Lewis
I Heart Music by Liz Lewis.

Flowers would never ever go amiss… so long as they haven’t been flown in from some beleaguered country far away.

LOVE by Lou Cloud
LOVE by Lou Cloud.

And I like jewellery. Don’t know why. I just do. I think it’s something about the fact that a treasured piece can be worn almost all the time as a reminder of someone’s devotion, which is why I respond very well to delicate pieces… particularly in gold.

Laura Gravestock
Love these rose gold pieces by Laura Gravestock, and quite reasonably priced too.

Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea
Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea.

Speaking of which, the much anticipated UK Fairtrade ethical gold standard came into force only yesterday, so here’s hoping that it will soon become very much easier to buy luxury jewellery that is made without harm to people or planet. Because, after all, where’s the love in that?

Oria-blossom-bird
Over at EC One ethical jewellery brand Oria (featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration) offer their lovely lovebird earrings – as illustrated in my book. Purrrrfect, and they come with a totally clear conscience.

Finally, if you’re looking for something to do that’s a bit out of the ordinary, how about a trip to the Museum of Everything to see the current Peter Blake curated exhibition for the last time? There will be things to watch all over the weekend, including live music, and a film showing.

Je t'aime by Anieszka Banks
Je t’aime by Anieszka Banks.

The School for Life is well known for hosting some ever so intriguing seminars. On February 14th they ask:
Who’d be in a relationship?
At its best, love can make us deliriously happy. At worst, it makes us more miserable than anything on earth. It robs us of our autonomy, freedom and financial independence. It can bring disillusion, heartbreak and betrayal.
Who’d be single?
We’re confined to the prison of our established and frequently very boring selves. At best, singleness allows us to be free agents, able to fulfill our desires. At worst, it drags us down to the depths of loneliness. It robs us of intimacy, personal engagement, and an understanding that true happiness is about giving oneself away. 

Paris by Joanna Faria
Paris by Joana Faria.

So why not book an evening with author Simon Critchley? He’ll be talking at The School for Life which is located at 70 Marchmont Street, London WC1N 1AB.

Elliott_Quince_Linocut_illustration Quinky Art
And if you’re still feeling a bit grumpy about the whole affair how about this free downloadable Zombie Valentines lino cut from Quinky Art?

No pressure on the boyfriend at all then. Between this lot there’s a little something for everyone don’t you think?

emma_block_Oria_jewellery
Oria Lovebird necklace as featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Illustration by Emma Block.

To read more about my abysmal love life see my previous Valentines blog of 2010.
valentines foxes by bex glover
Valentines Foxes by Bex Glover.

By now if you have any interest in the upcoming consumer fest that is Valentines Day you will probably already have read Hannah’s slightly bah humbug Valentines blog post, there which nevertheless gave some great tips on how to best celebrate this festival of luuuurve.

Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd
Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd. Available to buy as a print over on Society 6.

Last year I detailed how Valentines has been for me in the past – in almost every instance a non event unless I went to the trouble of sending friends and family something special.

jenny robins - red valentine
Red Valentine by Jenny Robins. You can buy her Book of Love here on Etsy.

But I’ve been in my current relationship for quite awhile now and this year Valentines Day throws up all sorts of new worries for me… Will he feel pressurised to take me out? Do I even want to go out and join the masses, mind now that the option may in fact be available? What do I feel about how I should be treated and what, order at the end of the day, is the best expression of love? Don’t laugh, I’ve seriously never had to think about these things before: my love life has been that rubbish for so long.

valentine's day by Natsuki-Otani
LSD Love by Natsuki Otani – available to buy online at Society 6.

Well, unsurprisingly I have to say that my views remain pretty much the same as they did last year. For me the best way to show that you care about someone is to put a bit of thought into whatever you decide to do on Valentines Day, whether you are showing that kindness to friends and family or a special partner – something that it goes without saying should really be an ongoing year-round state of affairs.

youmakemetick by Adam Smith
youmakemetick by Adam Smith.

Whatever you do steer clear of the crazed demands to BUY BUY BUY, and instead think of what your loved one truly appreciates – which is most likely to be your time and your energy. For me receiving something hand made is always the most appreciated gift there is – time having become such a precious resource in itself. There are some really sweet ideas that cost barely a penny over on Hannah’s blog.

Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith
Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith.

Failing that a gift hand made by someone else is definitely a close second best. So in the spirit of collaboration I asked people to send me their hand made Valentines gift ideas via twitter – here’s my pick of the best:

Anko Fairy Steps pendant
Ankolie has contributed to Amelia’s Magazine as an illustrator – here’s her lovely little Fairy Steps necklace which features really cute heart links and a central cabochon that features one of her paintings, available on Etsy.

lovebirds-becca thorne
Becca Thorne offers this adorable love birds linoprint on Etsy.

stay over toothbrush pendant by plastic seconds
On the recycled jewellery front how about this jokey Stay Over toothbrush necklace from Plastic Seconds? Also seen in the ICA shop.

Prick Your Finger hearts
Prick Your Finger offer these lovely knitted wool hearts that were knitted by Mary in the Shetlands: a steal at £4.50

Rob Ryan Valentines
He’s the king of romantic whimsy so I felt duty bound to include the now obligatory Rob Ryan laser cut piece Can We Shall We – miraculously there appear to still be some of these in stock at Soma Gallery. Grab em whilst you can.

Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith
Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith.

Lomography have brought out a special edition Diana F+ camera encrusted in naked people and a Fisheye 2 in syrupy sweet pink. If your lover is not yet a hipstamatic aficionado now may might be a good time for them to try analogue again.

I Heart Music by Liz Lewis
I Heart Music by Liz Lewis.

Flowers would never ever go amiss… so long as they haven’t been flown in from some beleaguered country far away.

LOVE by Lou Cloud
LOVE by Lou Cloud.

And I like jewellery. Don’t know why. I just do. I think it’s something about the fact that a treasured piece can be worn almost all the time as a reminder of someone’s devotion, which is why I respond very well to delicate pieces… particularly in gold.

Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea
Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea.

Speaking of which, the much anticipated UK Fairtrade ethical gold standard came into force only yesterday, so here’s hoping that it will soon become very much easier to buy luxury jewellery that is made without harm to people or planet. Because, after all, where’s the love in that?

Laura Gravestock
Love these rose gold pieces by Laura Gravestock, and quite reasonably priced too.

Oria-blossom-bird
Over at EC One ethical jewellery brand Oria (featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration) offer their lovely lovebird earrings – as illustrated in my book. Purrrrfect, and they come with a totally clear conscience.

Finally, if you’re looking for something to do that’s a bit out of the ordinary, how about a trip to the Museum of Everything to see the current Peter Blake curated exhibition for the last time? There will be things to watch all over the weekend, including live music, and a film showing.

Je t'aime by Anieszka Banks
Je t’aime by Anieszka Banks.

The School for Life is well known for hosting some ever so intriguing seminars. On February 14th they ask:
Who’d be in a relationship?
At its best, love can make us deliriously happy. At worst, it makes us more miserable than anything on earth. It robs us of our autonomy, freedom and financial independence. It can bring disillusion, heartbreak and betrayal.
Who’d be single?
We’re confined to the prison of our established and frequently very boring selves. At best, singleness allows us to be free agents, able to fulfill our desires. At worst, it drags us down to the depths of loneliness. It robs us of intimacy, personal engagement, and an understanding that true happiness is about giving oneself away. 

Paris by Joanna Faria
Paris by Joana Faria.

So why not book an evening with author Simon Critchley? He’ll be talking at The School for Life which is located at 70 Marchmont Street, London WC1N 1AB.

Elliott_Quince_Linocut_illustration Quinky Art
And if you’re still feeling a bit grumpy about the whole affair how about this free downloadable Zombie Valentines lino cut from Quinky Art?

No pressure on the boyfriend at all then. Between this lot there’s a little something for everyone don’t you think?

emma_block_Oria_jewellery
Oria Lovebird necklace as featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Illustration by Emma Block.
valentines foxes by bex glover
Valentines Foxes by Bex Glover.

By now if you have any interest in the upcoming consumer fest that is Valentines Day you will probably already have read Hannah’s slightly bah humbug Valentines blog post, pills which nevertheless gave some great tips on how to best celebrate this festival of luuuurve.

Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd
Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd. Available to buy as a print over on Society 6.

Last year I detailed how Valentines has been for me in the past – in almost every instance a non event unless I went to the trouble of sending friends and family something special.

jenny robins - red valentine
Red Valentine by Jenny Robins. You can buy her Book of Love here on Etsy.

But I’ve been in my current relationship for quite awhile now and this year Valentines Day throws up all sorts of new worries for me… Will he feel pressurised to take me out? Do I even want to go out and join the masses, viagra buy now that the option may in fact be available? What do I feel about how I should be treated and what, erectile at the end of the day, is the best expression of love? Don’t laugh, I’ve seriously never had to think about these things before: my love life has been that rubbish for so long.

valentine's day by Natsuki-Otani
LSD Love by Natsuki Otani – available to buy online at Society 6.

Well, unsurprisingly I have to say that my views remain pretty much the same as they did last year. For me the best way to show that you care about someone is to put a bit of thought into whatever you decide to do on Valentines Day, whether you are showing that kindness to friends and family or a special partner – something that it goes without saying should really be an ongoing year-round state of affairs.

youmakemetick by Adam Smith
youmakemetick by Adam Smith.

Whatever you do steer clear of the crazed demands to BUY BUY BUY, and instead think of what your loved one truly appreciates – which is most likely to be your time and your energy. For me receiving something hand made is always the most appreciated gift there is – time having become such a precious resource in itself. There are some really sweet ideas that cost barely a penny over on Hannah’s blog.

Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith
Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith.

Failing that a gift hand made by someone else is definitely a close second best. So in the spirit of collaboration I asked people to send me their hand made Valentines gift ideas via twitter – here’s my pick of the best:

Anko Fairy Steps pendant
Ankolie has contributed to Amelia’s Magazine as an illustrator – here’s her lovely little Fairy Steps necklace which features really cute heart links and a central cabochon that features one of her paintings, available on Etsy.

lovebirds-becca thorne
Becca Thorne offers this adorable love birds linoprint on Etsy.

stay over toothbrush pendant by plastic seconds
On the recycled jewellery front how about this jokey Stay Over toothbrush necklace from Plastic Seconds? Also seen in the ICA shop.

Prick Your Finger hearts
Prick Your Finger offer these lovely knitted wool hearts that were knitted by Mary in the Shetlands: a steal at £4.50

Rob Ryan Valentines
He’s the king of romantic whimsy so I felt duty bound to include the now obligatory Rob Ryan laser cut piece Can We Shall We – miraculously there appear to still be some of these in stock at Soma Gallery. Grab em whilst you can.

Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith
Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith.

Lomography have brought out a special edition Diana F+ camera encrusted in naked people and a Fisheye 2 in syrupy sweet pink. If your lover is not yet a hipstamatic aficionado now may might be a good time for them to try analogue again.

I Heart Music by Liz Lewis
I Heart Music by Liz Lewis.

Flowers would never ever go amiss… so long as they haven’t been flown in from some beleaguered country far away.

LOVE by Lou Cloud
LOVE by Lou Cloud.

And I like jewellery. Don’t know why. I just do. I think it’s something about the fact that a treasured piece can be worn almost all the time as a reminder of someone’s devotion, which is why I respond very well to delicate pieces… particularly in gold.

Laura Gravestock
Love these rose gold pieces by Laura Gravestock, and quite reasonably priced too.

Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea
Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea.

Speaking of which, the much anticipated UK Fairtrade ethical gold standard came into force only yesterday, so here’s hoping that it will soon become very much easier to buy luxury jewellery that is made without harm to people or planet. Because, after all, where’s the love in that?

Oria-blossom-bird
Over at EC One ethical jewellery brand Oria (featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration) offer their lovely lovebird earrings – as illustrated in my book. Purrrrfect, and they come with a totally clear conscience.

Finally, if you’re looking for something to do that’s a bit out of the ordinary, how about a trip to the Museum of Everything to see the current Peter Blake curated exhibition for the last time? There will be things to watch all over the weekend, including live music, and a film showing.

Je t'aime by Anieszka Banks
Je t’aime by Anieszka Banks.

The School for Life is well known for hosting some ever so intriguing seminars. On February 14th they ask:
Who’d be in a relationship?
At its best, love can make us deliriously happy. At worst, it makes us more miserable than anything on earth. It robs us of our autonomy, freedom and financial independence. It can bring disillusion, heartbreak and betrayal.
Who’d be single?
We’re confined to the prison of our established and frequently very boring selves. At best, singleness allows us to be free agents, able to fulfill our desires. At worst, it drags us down to the depths of loneliness. It robs us of intimacy, personal engagement, and an understanding that true happiness is about giving oneself away. 

Paris by Joanna Faria
Paris by Joana Faria.

So why not book an evening with author Simon Critchley? He’ll be talking at The School for Life which is located at 70 Marchmont Street, London WC1N 1AB.

Elliott_Quince_Linocut_illustration Quinky Art
And if you’re still feeling a bit grumpy about the whole affair how about this free downloadable Zombie Valentines lino cut from Quinky Art?

No pressure on the boyfriend at all then. Between this lot there’s a little something for everyone don’t you think?

emma_block_Oria_jewellery
Oria Lovebird necklace as featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Illustration by Emma Block.

To read more about my abysmal love life see my previous Valentines blog of 2010.
valentines foxes by bex glover
Valentines Foxes by Bex Glover.

By now if you have any interest in the upcoming consumer fest that is Valentines Day you will probably already have read Hannah’s slightly bah humbug Valentines blog post, find which nevertheless gave some great tips on how to best celebrate this festival of luuuurve.

Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd
Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd. Available to buy as a print over on Society 6.

Last year I detailed how Valentines has been for me in the past – in almost every instance a non event unless I went to the trouble of sending friends and family something special.

jenny robins - red valentine
Red Valentine by Jenny Robins. You can buy her Book of Love here on Etsy.

But I’ve been in my current relationship for quite awhile now and this year Valentines Day throws up all sorts of new worries for me… Will he feel pressurised to take me out? Do I even want to go out and join the masses, order now that the option may in fact be available? What do I feel about how I should be treated and what, order at the end of the day, is the best expression of love? Don’t laugh, I’ve seriously never had to think about these things before: my love life has been that rubbish for so long.

valentine's day by Natsuki-Otani
LSD Love by Natsuki Otani – available to buy online at Society 6.

Well, unsurprisingly I have to say that my views remain pretty much the same as they did last year. For me the best way to show that you care about someone is to put a bit of thought into whatever you decide to do on Valentines Day, whether you are showing that kindness to friends and family or a special partner – something that it goes without saying should really be an ongoing year-round state of affairs.

youmakemetick by Adam Smith
youmakemetick by Adam Smith.

Whatever you do steer clear of the crazed demands to BUY BUY BUY, and instead think of what your loved one truly appreciates – which is most likely to be your time and your energy. For me receiving something hand made is always the most appreciated gift there is – time having become such a precious resource in itself. There are some really sweet ideas that cost barely a penny over on Hannah’s blog.

Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith
Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith.

Failing that a gift hand made by someone else is definitely a close second best. So in the spirit of collaboration I asked people to send me their hand made Valentines gift ideas via twitter – here’s my pick of the best:

Anko Fairy Steps pendant
Ankolie has contributed to Amelia’s Magazine as an illustrator – here’s her lovely little Fairy Steps necklace which features really cute heart links and a central cabochon that features one of her paintings, available on Etsy.

lovebirds-becca thorne
Becca Thorne offers this adorable love birds linoprint on Etsy.

stay over toothbrush pendant by plastic seconds
On the recycled jewellery front how about this jokey Stay Over toothbrush necklace from Plastic Seconds? Also seen in the ICA shop.

Prick Your Finger hearts
Prick Your Finger offer these lovely knitted wool hearts that were knitted by Mary in the Shetlands: a steal at £4.50

Rob Ryan Valentines
He’s the king of romantic whimsy so I felt duty bound to include the now obligatory Rob Ryan laser cut piece Can We Shall We – miraculously there appear to still be some of these in stock at Soma Gallery. Grab em whilst you can.

Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith
Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith.

Lomography have brought out a special edition Diana F+ camera encrusted in naked people and a Fisheye 2 in syrupy sweet pink. If your lover is not yet a hipstamatic aficionado now may might be a good time for them to try analogue again.

I Heart Music by Liz Lewis
I Heart Music by Liz Lewis.

Flowers would never ever go amiss… so long as they haven’t been flown in from some beleaguered country far away.

LOVE by Lou Cloud
LOVE by Lou Cloud.

And I like jewellery. Don’t know why. I just do. I think it’s something about the fact that a treasured piece can be worn almost all the time as a reminder of someone’s devotion, which is why I respond very well to delicate pieces… particularly in gold.

Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea
Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea.

Speaking of which, the much anticipated UK Fairtrade ethical gold standard came into force only yesterday, so here’s hoping that it will soon become very much easier to buy luxury jewellery that is made without harm to people or planet. Because, after all, where’s the love in that?

Laura Gravestock
Love these rose gold pieces by Laura Gravestock, and quite reasonably priced too.

Oria-blossom-bird
Over at EC One ethical jewellery brand Oria (featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration) offer their lovely lovebird earrings – as illustrated in my book. Purrrrfect, and they come with a totally clear conscience.

Finally, if you’re looking for something to do that’s a bit out of the ordinary, how about a trip to the Museum of Everything to see the current Peter Blake curated exhibition for the last time? There will be things to watch all over the weekend, including live music, and a film showing.

Je t'aime by Anieszka Banks
Je t’aime by Anieszka Banks.

The School for Life is well known for hosting some ever so intriguing seminars. On February 14th they ask:
Who’d be in a relationship?
At its best, love can make us deliriously happy. At worst, it makes us more miserable than anything on earth. It robs us of our autonomy, freedom and financial independence. It can bring disillusion, heartbreak and betrayal.
Who’d be single?
We’re confined to the prison of our established and frequently very boring selves. At best, singleness allows us to be free agents, able to fulfill our desires. At worst, it drags us down to the depths of loneliness. It robs us of intimacy, personal engagement, and an understanding that true happiness is about giving oneself away. 

Paris by Joanna Faria
Paris by Joana Faria.

So why not book an evening with author Simon Critchley? He’ll be talking at The School for Life which is located at 70 Marchmont Street, London WC1N 1AB.

Elliott_Quince_Linocut_illustration Quinky Art
And if you’re still feeling a bit grumpy about the whole affair how about this free downloadable Zombie Valentines lino cut from Quinky Art?

No pressure on the boyfriend at all then. But between this lot there’s a little something for everyone don’t you think? Especially the ladies amongst us…

emma_block_Oria_jewellery
Oria Lovebird necklace as featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Illustration by Emma Block.
valentines foxes by bex glover
Valentines Foxes by Bex Glover.

By now if you have any interest in the upcoming consumer fest that is Valentines Day you will probably already have read Hannah’s slightly bah humbug Valentines blog post, tadalafil which nevertheless gave some great tips on how to best celebrate this festival of luuuurve.

Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd
Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd. Available to buy as a print over on Society 6.

Last year I detailed how Valentines has been for me in the past – in almost every instance a non event unless I went to the trouble of sending friends and family something special.

jenny robins - red valentine
Red Valentine by Jenny Robins. You can buy her Book of Love here on Etsy.

But I’ve been in my current relationship for quite awhile now and this year Valentines Day throws up all sorts of new worries for me… Will he feel pressurised to take me out? Do I even want to go out and join the masses, approved now that the option may in fact be available? What do I feel about how I should be treated and what, at the end of the day, is the best expression of love? Don’t laugh, I’ve seriously never had to think about these things before: my love life has been that rubbish for so long.

valentine's day by Natsuki-Otani
LSD Love by Natsuki Otani – available to buy online at Society 6.

Well, unsurprisingly I have to say that my views remain pretty much the same as they did last year. For me the best way to show that you care about someone is to put a bit of thought into whatever you decide to do on Valentines Day, whether you are showing that kindness to friends and family or a special partner – something that it goes without saying should really be an ongoing year-round state of affairs.

youmakemetick by Adam Smith
youmakemetick by Adam Smith.

Whatever you do steer clear of the crazed demands to BUY BUY BUY, and instead think of what your loved one truly appreciates – which is most likely to be your time and your energy. For me receiving something hand made is always the most appreciated gift there is – time having become such a precious resource in itself. There are some really sweet ideas that cost barely a penny over on Hannah’s blog.

Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith
Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith.

Failing that a gift hand made by someone else is definitely a close second best. So in the spirit of collaboration I asked people to send me their hand made Valentines gift ideas via twitter – here’s my pick of the best:

Anko Fairy Steps pendant
Ankolie has contributed to Amelia’s Magazine as an illustrator – here’s her lovely little Fairy Steps necklace which features really cute heart links and a central cabochon that features one of her paintings, available on Etsy.

lovebirds-becca thorne
Becca Thorne offers this adorable love birds linoprint on Etsy.

stay over toothbrush pendant by plastic seconds
On the recycled jewellery front how about this jokey Stay Over toothbrush necklace from Plastic Seconds? Also seen in the ICA shop.

Prick Your Finger hearts
Prick Your Finger offer these lovely knitted wool hearts that were knitted by Mary in the Shetlands: a steal at £4.50

Rob Ryan Valentines
He’s the king of romantic whimsy so I felt duty bound to include the now obligatory Rob Ryan laser cut piece Can We Shall We – miraculously there appear to still be some of these in stock at Soma Gallery. Grab em whilst you can.

Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith
Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith.

Lomography have brought out a special edition Diana F+ camera encrusted in naked people and a Fisheye 2 in syrupy sweet pink. If your lover is not yet a hipstamatic aficionado now may might be a good time for them to try analogue again.

I Heart Music by Liz Lewis
I Heart Music by Liz Lewis.

Flowers would never ever go amiss… so long as they haven’t been flown in from some beleaguered country far away.

LOVE by Lou Cloud
LOVE by Lou Cloud.

And I like jewellery. Don’t know why. I just do. I think it’s something about the fact that a treasured piece can be worn almost all the time as a reminder of someone’s devotion, which is why I respond very well to delicate pieces… particularly in gold.

Laura Gravestock
Love these rose gold pieces by Laura Gravestock, and quite reasonably priced too.

Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea
Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea.

Speaking of which, the much anticipated UK Fairtrade ethical gold standard came into force only yesterday, so here’s hoping that it will soon become very much easier to buy luxury jewellery that is made without harm to people or planet. Because, after all, where’s the love in that?

Oria-blossom-bird
Over at EC One ethical jewellery brand Oria (featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration) offer their lovely lovebird earrings – as illustrated in my book. Purrrrfect, and they come with a totally clear conscience.

Finally, if you’re looking for something to do that’s a bit out of the ordinary, how about a trip to the Museum of Everything to see the current Peter Blake curated exhibition for the last time? There will be things to watch all over the weekend, including live music, and a film showing.

Je t'aime by Anieszka Banks
Je t’aime by Anieszka Banks.

The School for Life is well known for hosting some ever so intriguing seminars. On February 14th they ask:
Who’d be in a relationship?
At its best, love can make us deliriously happy. At worst, it makes us more miserable than anything on earth. It robs us of our autonomy, freedom and financial independence. It can bring disillusion, heartbreak and betrayal.
Who’d be single?
We’re confined to the prison of our established and frequently very boring selves. At best, singleness allows us to be free agents, able to fulfill our desires. At worst, it drags us down to the depths of loneliness. It robs us of intimacy, personal engagement, and an understanding that true happiness is about giving oneself away. 

Paris by Joanna Faria
Paris by Joana Faria.

So why not book an evening with author Simon Critchley? He’ll be talking at The School for Life which is located at 70 Marchmont Street, London WC1N 1AB.

Elliott_Quince_Linocut_illustration Quinky Art
And if you’re still feeling a bit grumpy about the whole affair how about this free downloadable Zombie Valentines lino cut from Quinky Art?

No pressure on the boyfriend at all then. But between this lot there’s a little something for everyone don’t you think? Especially the ladies amongst us…

emma_block_Oria_jewellery
Oria Lovebird necklace as featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Illustration by Emma Block.

You can read more about my abysmal love life in my Valentines blog post from 2010.
valentines foxes by bex glover
Valentines Foxes by Bex Glover.

By now if you have any interest in the upcoming consumer fest that is Valentines Day you will probably already have read Hannah’s slightly bah humbug Valentines blog post, web which nevertheless gave some great tips on how to best celebrate this festival of luuuurve.

Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd
Peacock Heart by Jenny Lloyd. Available to buy as a print over on Society 6.

Last year I detailed how Valentines has been for me in the past – in almost every instance a non event unless I went to the trouble of sending friends and family something special.

jenny robins - red valentine
Red Valentine by Jenny Robins. You can buy her Book of Love here on Etsy.

But I’ve been in my current relationship for quite awhile now and this year Valentines Day throws up all sorts of new worries for me… Will he feel pressurised to take me out? Do I even want to go out and join the masses, now that the option may in fact be available? What do I feel about how I should be treated and what, at the end of the day, is the best expression of love? Don’t laugh, I’ve seriously never had to think about these things before: my love life has been that rubbish for so long.

valentine's day by Natsuki-Otani
LSD Love by Natsuki Otani – available to buy online at Society 6.

Well, unsurprisingly I have to say that my views remain pretty much the same as they did last year. For me the best way to show that you care about someone is to put a bit of thought into whatever you decide to do on Valentines Day, whether you are showing that kindness to friends and family or a special partner – something that it goes without saying should really be an ongoing year-round state of affairs.

youmakemetick by Adam Smith
youmakemetick by Adam Smith.

Whatever you do steer clear of the crazed demands to BUY BUY BUY, and instead think of what your loved one truly appreciates – which is most likely to be your time and your energy. For me receiving something hand made is always the most appreciated gift there is – time having become such a precious resource in itself. There are some really sweet ideas that cost barely a penny over on Hannah’s blog.

Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith
Valentines Icecream by Gemma Smith.

Failing that a gift hand made by someone else is definitely a close second best. So in the spirit of collaboration I asked people to send me their hand made Valentines gift ideas via twitter – here’s my pick of the best:

Anko Fairy Steps pendant
Ankolie has contributed to Amelia’s Magazine as an illustrator – here’s her lovely little Fairy Steps necklace which features really cute heart links and a central cabochon that features one of her paintings, available on Etsy.

lovebirds-becca thorne
Becca Thorne offers this adorable love birds linoprint on Etsy.

stay over toothbrush pendant by plastic seconds
On the recycled jewellery front how about this jokey Stay Over toothbrush necklace from Plastic Seconds? Also seen in the ICA shop.

Prick Your Finger hearts
Prick Your Finger offer these lovely knitted wool hearts that were knitted by Mary in the Shetlands: a steal at £4.50

Rob Ryan Valentines
He’s the king of romantic whimsy so I felt duty bound to include the now obligatory Rob Ryan laser cut piece Can We Shall We – miraculously there appear to still be some of these in stock at Soma Gallery. Grab em whilst you can.

Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith
Valentines fisheye camera by Gemma Smith.

Lomography have brought out a special edition Diana F+ camera encrusted in naked people and a Fisheye 2 in syrupy sweet pink. If your lover is not yet a hipstamatic aficionado now may might be a good time for them to try analogue again.

I Heart Music by Liz Lewis
I Heart Music by Liz Lewis.

Flowers would never ever go amiss… so long as they haven’t been flown in from some beleaguered country far away.

LOVE by Lou Cloud
LOVE by Lou Cloud.

And I like jewellery. Don’t know why. I just do. I think it’s something about the fact that a treasured piece can be worn almost all the time as a reminder of someone’s devotion, which is why I respond very well to delicate pieces… particularly in gold.

Laura Gravestock
Love these rose gold pieces by Laura Gravestock, and quite reasonably priced too.

Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea
Peppermint Patty. An oil painting by Artist Andrea.

Speaking of which, the much anticipated UK Fairtrade ethical gold standard came into force only yesterday, so here’s hoping that it will soon become very much easier to buy luxury jewellery that is made without harm to people or planet. Because, after all, where’s the love in that?

Oria-blossom-bird
Over at EC One ethical jewellery brand Oria (featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration) offer their lovely lovebird earrings – as illustrated in my book. Purrrrfect, and they come with a totally clear conscience.

Finally, if you’re looking for something to do that’s a bit out of the ordinary, how about a trip to the Museum of Everything to see the current Peter Blake curated exhibition for the last time? There will be things to watch all over the weekend, including live music, and a film showing.

Je t'aime by Anieszka Banks
Je t’aime by Anieszka Banks.

The School for Life is well known for hosting some ever so intriguing seminars. On February 14th they ask:
Who’d be in a relationship?
At its best, love can make us deliriously happy. At worst, it makes us more miserable than anything on earth. It robs us of our autonomy, freedom and financial independence. It can bring disillusion, heartbreak and betrayal.
Who’d be single?
We’re confined to the prison of our established and frequently very boring selves. At best, singleness allows us to be free agents, able to fulfill our desires. At worst, it drags us down to the depths of loneliness. It robs us of intimacy, personal engagement, and an understanding that true happiness is about giving oneself away. 

Paris by Joanna Faria
Paris by Joana Faria.

So why not book an evening with author Simon Critchley? He’ll be talking at The School for Life which is located at 70 Marchmont Street, London WC1N 1AB.

Elliott_Quince_Linocut_illustration Quinky Art
And if you’re still feeling a bit grumpy about the whole affair how about this free downloadable Zombie Valentines lino cut from Quinky Art?

No pressure on the boyfriend at all then. But between this lot there’s a little something for everyone don’t you think? Especially the ladies amongst us…

emma_block_Oria_jewellery
Oria Lovebird necklace as featured in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration. Illustration by Emma Block.

You can read more about my abysmal love life in my Valentines blog post from 2010.

Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, ailment ” announced Joan Wasser to introduce “Hard white wall”, this web a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig on Sunday. Never the shrinking violet, ask Joan stood centre-stage in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converged on her small frame. This was the seventh time I had seen Joan As Police Woman play in London.

The first time I saw Joan was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at the now defunct Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took to the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

The truth is that my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – perhaps in the same category as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – which deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way that isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling sorry for myself (on this last point, what I have learned is that boyfriends may come and go, but if you discover a good artist, they have an unparalleled reliance. Joan has consistently delivered the goods since her first album and that Spitz gig in 2006, which is far more than what can be said of any of my recent relationships).


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly from piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique vocals which can be spine-tingling, served tender or gruff. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date.

Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous material where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements; a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack out there today.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and sprightly, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the so-called ‘library’ of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder during the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan talks to Amelia’s Magazine about life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, embracing life and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that, but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands. The rest, I guess as they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands, which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arrangements, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.

But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone?
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very nerve-wracking experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I like to jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.


Illustration by Aysim Genc

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head, my own songwriting. I think that really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record, some of which I had been playing live. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed. I then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I had never recorded an album that way before. Before I would record what I had, decide what the record needed and then wrote the kind of song to fit the record. This time, the new approach was a great exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer where I feel very comfortable; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. Then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolutely glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I always think: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff. I have experienced a lot of things and it’s all been worth it, even though it was very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home just outside of New York. It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20-year-old Joan and 30-year-old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20-year-old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince, definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?” Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.

For a free-three track download from the new record, click here.

Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, order ” announced Joan Wasser to introduce “Hard white wall”, visit web a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig on Sunday. Never the shrinking violet, Joan stood centre-stage in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converged on her small frame. It was the seventh time I had seen Joan As Police Woman play in London.

The first time I saw Joan was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at the now defunct Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took to the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

The truth is that my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – perhaps classified in the same category as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – that deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way which isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling ridiculously self-pitiful. Yes, my one-sided relationship with Joan has roots man, she’s a sista.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly between piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique vocals which can be spine-tingling, served tender or gruff. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date.

Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous material where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements; a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack out there today.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and sprightly, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the so-called ‘library’ of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder during the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan talks to Amelia’s Magazine about life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, embracing life and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that, but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands. The rest, I guess as they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands, which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arrangements, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.

But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone?
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very nerve-wracking experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I like to jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.


Illustration by Aysim Genc

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head, my own songwriting. I think that really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record, some of which I had been playing live. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed. I then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I had never recorded an album that way before. Before I would record what I had, decide what the record needed and then wrote the kind of song to fit the record. This time, the new approach was a great exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer where I feel very comfortable; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. Then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolutely glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I always think: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff. I have experienced a lot of things and it’s all been worth it, even though it was very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home just outside of New York. It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20-year-old Joan and 30-year-old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20-year-old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince, definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?” Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.

For a free-three track download from the new record, click here.

Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, cheapest ” announced Joan Wasser to introduce “Hard white wall”, abortion a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig on Sunday. Never the shrinking violet, symptoms Joan stood centre-stage in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converged on her small frame. It was the seventh time I had seen Joan As Police Woman play in London.

The first time I saw Joan was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at the now defunct Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took to the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

The truth is that my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – perhaps classified in the same category as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – that deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way which isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling ridiculously self-pitiful. Yes, my one-sided relationship with Joan has roots man, she’s a sista.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly between piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique vocals which can be spine-tingling, served tender or gruff. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date.

Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous material where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements; a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack out there today.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and sprightly, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the so-called ‘library’ of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder during the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan talks to Amelia’s Magazine about life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, embracing life and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that, but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands. The rest, I guess as they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands, which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arrangements, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.

But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone?
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very nerve-wracking experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I like to jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.


Illustration by Aysim Genc

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head, my own songwriting. I think that really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record, some of which I had been playing live. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed. I then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I had never recorded an album that way before. Before I would record what I had, decide what the record needed and then wrote the kind of song to fit the record. This time, the new approach was a great exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer where I feel very comfortable; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. Then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolutely glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I always think: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff. I have experienced a lot of things and it’s all been worth it, even though it was very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home just outside of New York. It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20-year-old Joan and 30-year-old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20-year-old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince, definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?” Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.

For a free-three track download from the new record, click here.

Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, hospital ” announced Joan Wasser to introduce “Hard white wall”, a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig on Sunday. Never the shrinking violet, Joan stood centre-stage in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converged on her small frame. It was the seventh time I had seen Joan As Police Woman play in London.

The first time I saw Joan was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at the now defunct Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took to the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

The truth is that my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – perhaps classified in the same category as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – that deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way which isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling ridiculously self-pitiful. Yes, my one-sided relationship with Joan has roots man, she’s a sista.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly between piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique vocals which can be spine-tingling, served tender or gruff. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date.

Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous material where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements; a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack out there today.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and sprightly, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the so-called ‘library’ of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder during the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan talks to Amelia’s Magazine about life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, embracing life and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that, but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands. The rest, I guess as they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands, which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arrangements, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.

But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone?
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very nerve-wracking experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I like to jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.


Illustration by Aysim Genc

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head, my own songwriting. I think that really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record, some of which I had been playing live. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed. I then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I had never recorded an album that way before. Before I would record what I had, decide what the record needed and then wrote the kind of song to fit the record. This time, the new approach was a great exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer where I feel very comfortable; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. Then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolutely glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I always think: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff. I have experienced a lot of things and it’s all been worth it, even though it was very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home just outside of New York. It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20-year-old Joan and 30-year-old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20-year-old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince, definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?” Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.

For a free-three track download from the new record, click here.

Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, what is ed ” announced Joan Wasser to introduce “Hard white wall”, a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig on Sunday. Never the shrinking violet, Joan stood centre-stage in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converged on her small frame. It was the seventh time I had seen Joan As Police Woman play in London.

The first time I saw Joan was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at the now defunct Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took to the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

The truth is that my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – perhaps classified in the same category as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – that deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way which isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling ridiculously self-pitiful. Yes, my one-sided relationship with Joan has roots man, she’s a sista.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly between piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique vocals which can be spine-tingling, served tender or gruff. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date.

Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous material where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements; a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack out there today.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and sprightly, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the so-called ‘library’ of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder during the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan talks to Amelia’s Magazine about life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, embracing life and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that, but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands. The rest, I guess as they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands, which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arrangements, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.

But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone?
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very nerve-wracking experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I like to jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.


Illustration by Aysim Genc

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head, my own songwriting. I think that really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record, some of which I had been playing live. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed. I then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I had never recorded an album that way before. Before I would record what I had, decide what the record needed and then wrote the kind of song to fit the record. This time, the new approach was a great exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer where I feel very comfortable; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. Then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolutely glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I always think: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff. I have experienced a lot of things and it’s all been worth it, even though it was very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home just outside of New York. It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20-year-old Joan and 30-year-old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20-year-old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince, definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?” Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.

For a free-three track download from the new record, click here.

Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, tadalafil ” announced Joan Wasser to introduce “Hard white wall”, buy a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig on Sunday. Never the shrinking violet, Joan stood centre-stage in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converged on her small frame. It was the seventh time I had seen Joan As Police Woman play in London.

The first time I saw Joan was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at the now defunct Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took to the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

The truth is that my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – perhaps classified in the same category as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – that deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way which isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling ridiculously self-pitiful. Yes, my one-sided relationship with Joan has roots man, she’s a sista.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly between piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique vocals which can be spine-tingling, served tender or gruff. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date.

Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous material where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements; a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack out there today.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and sprightly, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the so-called ‘library’ of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder during the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan talks to Amelia’s Magazine about life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, embracing life and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that, but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands. The rest, I guess as they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands, which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arrangements, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.

But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone?
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very nerve-wracking experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I like to jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.


Illustration by Aysim Genc

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head, my own songwriting. I think that really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record, some of which I had been playing live. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed. I then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I had never recorded an album that way before. Before I would record what I had, decide what the record needed and then wrote the kind of song to fit the record. This time, the new approach was a great exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer where I feel very comfortable; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. Then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolutely glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I always think: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff. I have experienced a lot of things and it’s all been worth it, even though it was very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home just outside of New York. It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20-year-old Joan and 30-year-old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20-year-old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince, definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?” Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.

For a free-three track download from the new record, click here.

Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, diagnosis ” announced Joan Wasser to introduce “Hard white wall”, visit this site a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig on Sunday. Never the shrinking violet, Joan stood centre-stage in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converged on her small frame. It was the seventh time I had seen Joan As Police Woman play in London.

The first time I saw Joan was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at the now defunct Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took to the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

The truth is that my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – perhaps classified in the same category as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – that deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way which isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling ridiculously self-pitiful. Yes, my one-sided relationship with Joan has roots man, she’s a sista.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly between piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique vocals which can be spine-tingling, served tender or gruff. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date.

Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous material where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements; a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack out there today.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and sprightly, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the so-called ‘library’ of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder during the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan talks to Amelia’s Magazine about life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, embracing life and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that, but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands. The rest, I guess as they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands, which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arrangements, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.

But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone?
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very nerve-wracking experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I like to jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.


Illustration by Aysim Genc

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head, my own songwriting. I think that really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record, some of which I had been playing live. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed. I then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I had never recorded an album that way before. Before I would record what I had, decide what the record needed and then wrote the kind of song to fit the record. This time, the new approach was a great exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer where I feel very comfortable; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. Then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolutely glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I always think: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff. I have experienced a lot of things and it’s all been worth it, even though it was very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home just outside of New York. It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20-year-old Joan and 30-year-old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20-year-old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince, definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?” Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.

For a free-three track download from the new record, click here.

Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, health ” announced Joan Wasser to introduce “Hard white wall”, thumb a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig on Sunday. Never the shrinking violet, decease Joan stood centre-stage in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converged on her small frame. It was the seventh time I had seen Joan As Police Woman play in London.

The first time I saw Joan was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at the now defunct Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took to the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

The truth is that my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – perhaps classified in the same category as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – that deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way which isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling ridiculously self-pitiful. Yes, my one-sided relationship with Joan has roots man, she’s a sista.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly between piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique vocals which can be spine-tingling, served tender or gruff. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date.

Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous material where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements; a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack out there today.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and sprightly, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the so-called ‘library’ of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder during the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan talks to Amelia’s Magazine about life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, embracing life and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that, but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands. The rest, I guess as they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands, which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arrangements, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.

But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone?
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very nerve-wracking experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I like to jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.


Illustration by Aysim Genc

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head, my own songwriting. I think that really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record, some of which I had been playing live. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed. I then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I had never recorded an album that way before. Before I would record what I had, decide what the record needed and then wrote the kind of song to fit the record. This time, the new approach was a great exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer where I feel very comfortable; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. Then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolutely glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I always think: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff. I have experienced a lot of things and it’s all been worth it, even though it was very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home just outside of New York. It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20-year-old Joan and 30-year-old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20-year-old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince, definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?” Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.

For a free-three track download from the new record, click here.

Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, erectile ” announced Joan Wasser to introduce “Hard white wall”, decease a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig on Sunday. Never the shrinking violet, Joan stood centre-stage in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converged on her small frame. It was the seventh time I had seen Joan As Police Woman play in London.

The first time I saw Joan was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at the now defunct Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took to the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

The truth is that my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – perhaps classified in the same category as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – that deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way which isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling ridiculously self-pitiful. Yes, my one-sided relationship with Joan has roots man, she’s a sista.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly between piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique vocals which can be spine-tingling, served tender or gruff. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date.

Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous material where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements; a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack out there today.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and sprightly, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the so-called ‘library’ of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder during the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan talks to Amelia’s Magazine about life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, embracing life and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that, but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands. The rest, I guess as they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands, which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arrangements, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.

But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone?
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very nerve-wracking experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I like to jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.


Illustration by Aysim Genc

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head, my own songwriting. I think that really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record, some of which I had been playing live. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed. I then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I had never recorded an album that way before. Before I would record what I had, decide what the record needed and then wrote the kind of song to fit the record. This time, the new approach was a great exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer where I feel very comfortable; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. Then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolutely glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I always think: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff. I have experienced a lot of things and it’s all been worth it, even though it was very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home just outside of New York. It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20-year-old Joan and 30-year-old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20-year-old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince, definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?” Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.

For a free-three track download from the new record, click here.

Joan As Police Woman – The Magic YouTube Preview Image

Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, ” announced Joan Wasser to introduce “Hard white wall”, a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig on Sunday. Never the shrinking violet, Joan stood centre-stage in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converged on her small frame. It was the seventh time I had seen Joan As Police Woman play in London.

The first time I saw Joan was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at the now defunct Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took to the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

The truth is that my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – perhaps classified in the same category as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – that deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way which isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling ridiculously self-pitiful. Yes, my one-sided relationship with Joan has roots man, she’s a sista.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly between piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique vocals which can be spine-tingling, served tender or gruff. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date.

Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous material where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements; a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack out there today.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and sprightly, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the so-called ‘library’ of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder during the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan talks to Amelia’s Magazine about life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, embracing life and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that, but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands. The rest, I guess as they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands, which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arrangements, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.

But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone?
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very nerve-wracking experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I like to jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.


Illustration by Aysim Genc

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head, my own songwriting. I think that really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record, some of which I had been playing live. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed. I then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I had never recorded an album that way before. Before I would record what I had, decide what the record needed and then wrote the kind of song to fit the record. This time, the new approach was a great exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer where I feel very comfortable; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. Then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolutely glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I always think: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff. I have experienced a lot of things and it’s all been worth it, even though it was very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home just outside of New York. It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20-year-old Joan and 30-year-old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20-year-old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince, definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?” Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.

For a free-three track download from the new record, click here.

Joan As Police Woman – The Magic YouTube Preview Image

Illustration by Matilde Sazio

“This song is about fucking up against the wall, drug ” announced Joan Wasser to introduce “Hard white wall”, order a track from her second album To Survive at her Barbican gig on Sunday. Never the shrinking violet, viagra 60mg Joan stood centre-stage in an all-in-one fitted black leather number, slashed at the back, as the spotlights converged on her small frame. It was the seventh time I had seen Joan As Police Woman play in London.

The first time I saw Joan was on a balmy summer’s evening in 2006 at the now defunct Spitz in Spitalfields, which in my opinion, used to put on some of the best gigs in London. The venue was at capacity that night and the air inside was clammy to the point where every surface I touched, whether it was a table or wall, seemed to be coated with a film of sweat. Fresh from a tour supporting Guillemots, Joan took to the stage in a silver metallic floor length gown and wowed the audience with her electric solo set. No big stage productions, no fancy costume changes, not even a band; just Joan with her powerful, soulful vocals, Korg keyboard and guitar. I am certain that she gained some lifelong fans that night, of which I am one.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

The truth is that my enthusiasm for Joan extends beyond just liking her records and appreciating her live performances. There’s something about her music – perhaps classified in the same category as Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power and Regina Spektor – that deeply resonates with me. Her sound is raw, honest, pure and sung from the heart in a way which isn’t bland, overdone or contrived. The combination of her emotive vocals, attention to detail in the form of a subtle stroke of cymbal here and an echo of string instruments there, has had the power to reduce me to tears in the past (although I have been known to cry at most things!).

Over the years, Joan has seen me through the best and worst of times: she’s been the soundtrack to exciting train and coach journeys across South East Asia and South America as I have admired the ever-changing landscapes, accompanied me as I have trudged miserably into work on an overheated tube wedged up against some hairy obese man’s armpit, and comforted me through the pain of a relationship break-up where I often found myself lying kidney-bean shaped, feeling ridiculously self-pitiful. Yes, my one-sided relationship with Joan has roots man, she’s a sista.


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

A multi-instrumentalist who flits effortlessly between piano to guitar to violin, Joan has worked and performed with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Elton John to name but a few. Much is made of the fact that she was the girlfriend of the luminous late-Jeff Buckley when he died, whose “Everybody Here Wants You” track is rumoured to be inspired by her, but for Joan to be defined by this alone is grossly unfair. The recognition that she deserves should be based purely on her own talent of epic proportions.

In the same vein as Antony and Rufus, much of Joan’s charm lies in her musical arrangements and unique vocals which can be spine-tingling, served tender or gruff. Her new album, The Deep Field unfurls her lust for life and presents to us a more positive and upbeat individual compared to her earlier offerings, Real Life (2006) and To Survive (2008). In her own words, it is her “most open, joyous record” to date.

Although the record is a departure from her more typical sombre sound, its essence is consistent with her previous material where she continues to demonstrate mood, depth, authenticity and sophisticated musical arrangements; a rare gem amongst some of the generic, non-memorable cack out there today.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

When I meet Joan for tea at the K-West Hotel in Shepherd’s Bush for our interview, she is friendly and sprightly, but appears visibly tired after having spent two days trekking across the UK to do promo work. I try to act cool and calm, but I am sweating like hell and on my way to the hotel, I slip over and land on my bottom to the amusement of two young teenage boys who break out into hysterics, which makes for a nice ice-breaker as I re-tell my story.

Wearing a brown leather jacket, a matching pair of trousers and a bright yellow t-shirt with “Strut ‘n’ Stuff” emblazoned across the front that she picked up from a thrift store, with her thick unkempt dark brown hair and flawless skin, Joan looks much younger than her years – much closer to 30 than 40.

As we sit on a comfy sofa in the so-called ‘library’ of the hotel, Joan is oblivious to the two men in suits sitting behind us having a business meeting, who shoot a few disapproving glances in our direction as her voice gets progressively louder during the course of the interview. Speaking animatedly with a cup of herbal tea (she is trying to cut back on the coffee) in one hand and some neatly cut slices of apple in the other, Joan talks to Amelia’s Magazine about life before Joan As Police Woman, the inspiration behind her new record, embracing life and who’s house she’d most like to be a fly on the wall at, all in the good company of some soft-porn inspired saxophone music, playing softly in the background…


Illustration by Darren Fletcher

You trained as a classical musician and spent some time performing as one. What was the catalyst for you to explore being an alternative musician?
I always listened to different kinds of music as I was growing up and throughout my classical training. Classical music and non-classical music is all music so for me it wasn’t all that big of a stretch making other music. I loved studying classical music, but I wasn’t really interested in making it my life’s work because I wanted to make new music. There were also plenty of people who were better equipped at bringing new insight to the Beethoven violin concerto and I was not one of them. I loved learning the discipline behind that, but pursuing a career in it didn’t interest me so when I moved to Boston to go to school I started playing in bands then because all my friends were in bands. The rest, I guess as they say, is history.

You’ve been in several bands since you started out as a musician, including playing violin with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons, yet it as only in 2004 that you decided to front your own band. Why was there this delay?
Well I played violin exclusively for some time so I was mostly contributing to other peoples’ bands, which I loved doing. I was playing an instrument that is like a voice in itself. You don’t write songs on the violin so I had no way of writing. I picked up a guitar in 1997 to see what it was like; I wanted to figure out if I could write songs and started writing. I put a band together called Black Beetle and wrote a few songs with them and I joined Antony’s band. At this stage, I was still playing with lots of people doing string arrangements, but I also wanted to try out my voice which sounded horrible to me at the time. In the beginning you’re not used to what it sounds like and it doesn’t feel natural.

But surely you must have had reassurance from your friends that your voice is anything but horrible…
Well no one heard it. I started playing but I didn’t tell many people. I did get a lot of support from my friends which helped a lot, even if you think they’re lying because they love you.

So it was all very much about stepping slowly out of your comfort zone?
Yes, very much so. Antony had me open with one of his songs solo sometimes. It was a very nerve-wracking experience, especially as I was around a lot of astounding vocal performers. It was really scary, but I’m that kind of person where I like to jump into the deep end. It’s the only way to do things. I was making a record with Black Beetle that never got released, which was part of the learning process and then that band broke up in 2002 but I kept going; playing on my own and then I got a drummer to play with me and then Rufus asked me to go on tour and open for him and it just all went from there.


Illustration by Aysim Genc

The first time I saw you perform was at The Spitz in 2006, and even back then you seemed to be a very natural performer. Has performing always been second nature to you?
At that point I felt a lot better. Opening for Rufus was a good experience – you can’t really be opening for a crowd of total music lovers without getting your act together. Also, the fact that I come to a city that isn’t mine and tonnes of people show up. It makes you feel great; it makes you think: “OK – well at least I’m doing something right”.

When did you start recording the new album and what were your inspirations for the record?
I started by making a covers record which was fun for me to do. I wanted to get out of my head, my own songwriting. I think that really helped me to direct my songwriting on this record. I’m in a great place these days so I feel really open and joyful and I really wanted to get this across in the record. I first recorded seven songs that I had been writing since my last record, some of which I had been playing live. I did that in March and completed those songs and surveyed the scene and decided what the record needed. I then spent a few months writing five more songs to fill out the record the way I saw it in June and then mixed the whole thing at the end of last summer. It was really fun because I had never recorded an album that way before. Before I would record what I had, decide what the record needed and then wrote the kind of song to fit the record. This time, the new approach was a great exercise for me. I recorded at the same studio with the same producer where I feel very comfortable; it makes me feel like I’m coming home. Then I just got all of my favourite musicians to contribute to the record. It was just an absolutely glorious experience.

How do you think your sound has evolved since Real Life and To Survive?
It’s interesting because when I listen to my songs, I always think: “Where did that come from?” It’s beyond me. But I feel like I’m in a different place now…much more relaxed with myself in general. This is one of the treasures of spending more time alive because you get more comfortable with yourself and your surroundings.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

You reached a milestone age last summer (Joan turned 40) – were there any anxieties?
I was really excited about it because I felt like it was a demarcation point of where I really didn’t have to give a shit about anything anymore. I never had to before, but I could just actually free myself of all the youth stuff. I have experienced a lot of things and it’s all been worth it, even though it was very difficult at times. I feel really lucky that everyday feels a bit better than the last because I’m determined to live a full life.

How did you celebrate?
I had a big party on my roof at home just outside of New York. It was really nice because I was there for the first time on my birthday and I really embraced it.

What advice would you give a 20-year-old Joan and 30-year-old Joan?
I would just reassure the 20-year-old Joan that things are definitely going to get better – I did not think that then. At 30…I don’t know…the thing is I wouldn’t ever do anything differently. You have to learn everything the way you learn them, unfortunately sometimes.

What do you do to switch off?
I definitely have to exercise or I go crazy. I need that in my life so I do that a lot. I spend a certain amount of time with my friends being ridiculous and making jokes as terrible as possible. Oh and drinking way too much coffee.

Who’s house would you most like to be a fly on the wall at?
Prince, definitely! He’s the only person who I think: “What is he doing right now?” Because you know it’s something weird…or fascinating. He’s just incredible; amazing.

Joan’s new album The Deep Field is out now on PIAS records and she is playing across the UK until 13 February.

For a free-three track download from the new record, click here.

Joan As Police Woman – The Magic YouTube Preview Image

Ghosts in love by Sarah Alfarhan

Before I get all grinch-y about it, sales I should say I actually quite like the idea of Valentine’s Day. At its best it’s a reminder to take a moment to appreciate the person you care about, order but in reality it’s just fraught with peril. If you’re single it’s impossible, cialis 40mg as even if you’re happy with your situation it somehow manages to bring out the side of you that protesteth too much. And if you’re coupled up… ah, the pressure. The Boy has been refusing to even acknowledge it. Maybe I should be offended by this, but in truth I’ve been happy I don’t have to deal with it.

But then I was invited to attend a Valentine’s workshop at The Create Place in Bethnal Green, and I started wondering if it was possible to re-programme this attitude. Because now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever really celebrated Valentine’s. I tried once, as you sort of have to the first time you have a boyfriend for V-day, but it didn’t go so well; my parents chose the 13th of February to tell me they were getting divorced. I may have lost it a little among all the hearts and pink in Thorntons Chocolate that year (I still feel bad for my fellow shoppers). My poor boyfriend cooked me dinner and gave me a plant that grew to be taller than I am, but I never celebrated Valentine’s Day again.


Be Mine by Mina Bach

Back in the present day I’m finding myself at The Create Place, formerly known as Back to Basics. Inside is Sarah Butler of Violet Iris, who is here to teach the little group how to make Valentine’s cards. I’m provided with tea and a stack of red card to start with, before I’m nudged towards a table chuck full of ribbon, markers, glitter, buttons, stamps, threads, paints, stickers, patterned scissors and I don’t know what. I look around and wonder if the other people there can tell I’m a V-day sceptic, as they all seem so excited about it. One of the girls is telling us how she just loves hearts, and how she once made loads of cards and left them around town for people to find. The bar is set high. I tentatively peer into the basket of fabric, and find a reassuringly earth-toned floral in between the pinks. You have to start somewhere, don‘t you.


Instructing Cupid by Cat Palairet

Then the strangest thing happens – I start to get into it. As we glue and cut away, Create Place representative Jill tells us how the proceeds from the crafting workshops go to providing free classes for people from the local community. The non-profit venue is run by volunteers, and as much as possible of the materials are sourced second hand. Because it doesn’t take much – using a bit of glue, a fabric scrap and a heart-shaped (yes, I went there) button, I find that I’ve made my very own Valentine’s card. I also make two badges, personalised by basing them on my favourite deer and clover necklaces.


The Create Place workshop: My card and badges


Funny Valentine by Joana Faria

A few days later The Create Place put on its one-day-only Valentine’s pop-up shop, demonstrating yet again that homemade is best when it comes to gifts for V-day. Embroidered badges by Zeena Shah, vegan cakes by Sweet Thursdays, Just B’s handmade jewellery from recycled paper, and jokey Valentine’s cards and badges from Violet Iris. And then there’s ‘The Last Rolo’, a trinket neatly presented in a box by Lu Burnell, enough to melt even the staunchest sceptic.


The Create Place pop-up shop. From left: Mima handmade natural lipbalm, Zeena Shah embroidered badges, Sweet Thursdays vegan cakes, Just B recycled jewellery.


The Reluctant Valentiner by Avril Kelly

I’m starting to realise the trick is putting your own stamp on Valentine’s Day, and this may well mean taking things in a completely different direction than that directed by Thorntons Chocolate. The Residence gallery in Victoria Park Village is currently running its ‘Shame’ exhibition of collectable art lingerie; ‘Between the origin of sin and sexuality there rests a place for love,’ is the show’s tag line. Gallery director Ingrid Z shows me around: there are embroidered pants by James Daw (’Let he who is without sin cast the first Sharon Stone’), ‘surrealist stockings’ by Laura May Lewis, and zinged shirts by Ingrid herself, themed after the seven deadly sins. While most of the lingerie can be worn, Ingrid explains you may not want to do so as not all of it would take kindly to water. Like the pieces by Mark Scott-Wood – those stains you see on the shirt in the picture are made from … the stuff that makes those sorts of stains.


Shame exhibition at The Residence gallery. From left: Mark Scott-Wood, Alexander Heaton, Danielle Drainey


Heart signet ring by Digby & Iona

Following on from that, the anatomical heart signet ring from jewellery makers Digby & Iona seems quite lovely in comparison. I think it’s pretty neat actually. But in spite of all my Valentine’s attitude re-programming, I’m not on the look-out for any heart-themed gifts this year after all. As we were having breakfast the other morning, the Boy and I agreed to stick to our guns and skip Valentine’s Day. Maybe this sounds like a let-down, but the thing is – the fry-up I was scoffing was one he’d whipped up for us while I was still snoozing. So I’m really not complaining.


Heart-shaped eggs by Antonia Parker

The Create Place is at 29 Old Ford Road, London E2 9PJ – see the website for details of upcoming events and workshops. ‘Shame’ runs at The Residence gallery until 27th February; 229 Victoria Park Road, London E9 7HD.

Categories ,Alexander Heaton, ,Antonia Parker, ,Avril Kelly, ,Bethnal Green, ,Cat Palairet, ,Danielle Drainey, ,Digby & Iona, ,Ingrid Z, ,James Daw, ,Joana Faria, ,Just B, ,Laura May Lewis, ,london, ,Lu Burnell, ,Luburnell, ,Mark Scott-Wood, ,Mina Bach., ,Sarah Alfarhan, ,Sarah Butler, ,Sweet Thursdays, ,The Create Place, ,The Residence Gallery, ,Valentine’s Day, ,Victoria Park Village, ,Violet Iris, ,Zeena Shah

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Amelia’s Magazine | Flesh and Blood & Fish and Fowl: a review of the Mime Festival 2011 show at the Barbican

She and Him
She and Him

She and Him are cool eh? Zooey Deschanel in the vintage clothes I would love in my collection and marvelous fringe, approved and Matt Ward, information pills wearing his sunglasses and nonchalance. They’re also very happy sounding, buy which is great when strolling along a beach or beetling about in an open top car. But also when our beloved month of January is upon us, and we don’t reside in the Southern Hemisphere. Joyous music can be very important for SAD (seasonal affective disorder) fighting. Like Angel Delight, oh so sweet, it’s a joy to surround ourselves with sunny sounding high notes and chorus ‘badadadaaaas’. Ah swimming in a dessert bowl. Together these two create dreamy, poppy, nostalgic music that’s gentle, pleasant and cute as a button.

So, as a sunny treat, here we have the premiere of the new video for She & Him’s ‘Don’t Look Back’ (Domino Records) directed by Jeremy Konner.

She & Him – Don’t Look Back from Merge Records on Vimeo.

Ward says on their website: “There are a lot of people who write music so that they can take their audience to a dark night of their own soul or to get something really heavy off their chest. I don’t think Zooey looks at music that way, and I think that’s a huge part of where her songwriting is coming from. Certain people write songs to make other people feel good. When I think about some of my favorite singers, like Sam Cooke or people of that generation, I think that they saw their gift as the ability to make people feel better, to feel happy. It’s contagious to be around people like that.” Delightful.

She and Him

She and Him are cool eh? Zooey Deschanel in the vintage clothes I would love in my collection and marvelous fringe, adiposity and Matt Ward, link wearing his sunglasses and nonchalance. They’re also very happy sounding, which is great when strolling along a beach or beetling about in an open top car. But also when our beloved month of January is upon us, and we don’t reside in the Southern Hemisphere. Joyous music can be very important for SAD (seasonal affective disorder) fighting. Like Angel Delight, oh so sweet, it’s a joy to surround ourselves with sunny sounding high notes and chorus ‘badadadaaaas’. Ah swimming in a dessert bowl. Together these two create dreamy, poppy, nostalgic music that’s gentle, pleasant and cute as a button.

So, as a sunny treat, here we have the premiere of the new video for She & Him’s ‘Don’t Look Back’ (Domino Records) directed by Jeremy Konner.

She & Him – Don’t Look Back from Merge Records on Vimeo.

Ward says on their website: “There are a lot of people who write music so that they can take their audience to a dark night of their own soul or to get something really heavy off their chest. I don’t think Zooey looks at music that way, and I think that’s a huge part of where her songwriting is coming from. Certain people write songs to make other people feel good. When I think about some of my favorite singers, like Sam Cooke or people of that generation, I think that they saw their gift as the ability to make people feel better, to feel happy. It’s contagious to be around people like that.” Delightful.

She and Him

She and Him are cool eh? Zooey Deschanel in the vintage clothes I would love in my collection and marvelous fringe, clinic and Matt Ward, no rx wearing his sunglasses and nonchalance. They’re also very happy sounding, page which is great when strolling along a beach or beetling about in an open top car. But also when our beloved month of January is upon us, and we don’t reside in the Southern Hemisphere. Joyous music can be very important for SAD (seasonal affective disorder) fighting. Like Angel Delight, oh so sweet, it’s a joy to surround ourselves with sunny sounding high notes and chorus ‘badadadaaaas’. Ah swimming in a dessert bowl. Together these two create dreamy, poppy, nostalgic music that’s gentle, pleasant and cute as a button.

So, as a sunny treat, here we have the premiere of the new video for She & Him’s ‘Don’t Look Back’ (Merge US, Domino RecordsUK) directed by Jeremy Konner.

She & Him – Don’t Look Back from Merge Records on Vimeo.

Ward says on their website: “There are a lot of people who write music so that they can take their audience to a dark night of their own soul or to get something really heavy off their chest. I don’t think Zooey looks at music that way, and I think that’s a huge part of where her songwriting is coming from. Certain people write songs to make other people feel good. When I think about some of my favorite singers, like Sam Cooke or people of that generation, I think that they saw their gift as the ability to make people feel better, to feel happy. It’s contagious to be around people like that.” Delightful.

She and Him

She and Him are cool eh? Zooey Deschanel in the vintage clothes I would love in my collection and marvelous fringe, stuff and Matt Ward, tadalafil wearing his sunglasses and nonchalance. They’re also very happy sounding, ask which is great when strolling along a beach or beetling about in an open top car. But also when our beloved month of January is upon us, and we don’t reside in the Southern Hemisphere. Joyous music can be very important for SAD (seasonal affective disorder) fighting. Like Angel Delight, oh so sweet, it’s a joy to surround ourselves with sunny sounding high notes and chorus ‘badadadaaaas’. Ah swimming in a dessert bowl. Together these two create dreamy, poppy, nostalgic music that’s gentle, pleasant and cute as a button.

So, as a sunny treat, here we have the premiere of the new video for She & Him’s ‘Don’t Look Back’ (Merge US, Domino RecordsUK) directed by Jeremy Konner.

She & Him – Don’t Look Back from Merge Records on Vimeo.

Ward says on their website: “There are a lot of people who write music so that they can take their audience to a dark night of their own soul or to get something really heavy off their chest. I don’t think Zooey looks at music that way, and I think that’s a huge part of where her songwriting is coming from. Certain people write songs to make other people feel good. When I think about some of my favorite singers, like Sam Cooke or people of that generation, I think that they saw their gift as the ability to make people feel better, to feel happy. It’s contagious to be around people like that.” Delightful.

She and Him

She and Him are cool eh? Zooey Deschanel in the vintage clothes I would love in my collection and marvelous fringe, approved and Matt Ward, more about wearing his sunglasses and nonchalance. They’re also very happy sounding, which is great when strolling along a beach or beetling about in an open top car. But also when our beloved month of January is upon us, and we don’t reside in the Southern Hemisphere. Joyous music can be very important for SAD (seasonal affective disorder) fighting. Like Angel Delight, oh so sweet, it’s a joy to surround ourselves with sunny sounding high notes and chorus ‘badadadaaaas’. Ah swimming in a dessert bowl. Together these two create dreamy, poppy, nostalgic music that’s gentle, pleasant and cute as a button.

So, as a sunny treat, here we have the premiere of the new video for She & Him’s ‘Don’t Look Back’ (Merge US, Domino RecordsUK) directed by Jeremy Konner.

She & Him – Don’t Look Back from Merge Records on Vimeo.

Ward says on their website: “There are a lot of people who write music so that they can take their audience to a dark night of their own soul or to get something really heavy off their chest. I don’t think Zooey looks at music that way, and I think that’s a huge part of where her songwriting is coming from. Certain people write songs to make other people feel good. When I think about some of my favorite singers, like Sam Cooke or people of that generation, I think that they saw their gift as the ability to make people feel better, to feel happy. It’s contagious to be around people like that.” Delightful.

She and Him

She and Him are cool eh? Zooey Deschanel in the vintage clothes I would love in my collection and marvelous fringe, medicine and Matt Ward, viagra wearing his sunglasses and nonchalance. They’re also very happy sounding, which is great when strolling along a beach or beetling about in an open top car. But also when our beloved month of January is upon us, and we don’t reside in the Southern Hemisphere. Joyous music can be very important for SAD (seasonal affective disorder) fighting. Like Angel Delight, oh so sweet, it’s a joy to surround ourselves with sunny sounding high notes and chorus ‘badadadaaaas’. Ah swimming in a dessert bowl. Together these two create dreamy, poppy, nostalgic music that’s gentle, pleasant and cute as a button.

So, as a sunny treat, here we have the premiere of the new video for She & Him’s ‘Don’t Look Back’ (Merge US, Domino Records UK) directed by Jeremy Konner.

She & Him – Don’t Look Back from Merge Records on Vimeo.

Ward says on their website: “There are a lot of people who write music so that they can take their audience to a dark night of their own soul or to get something really heavy off their chest. I don’t think Zooey looks at music that way, and I think that’s a huge part of where her songwriting is coming from. Certain people write songs to make other people feel good. When I think about some of my favorite singers, like Sam Cooke or people of that generation, I think that they saw their gift as the ability to make people feel better, to feel happy. It’s contagious to be around people like that.” Delightful.

She and Him

She and Him are cool eh? Zooey Deschanel in the vintage clothes I would love in my collection and marvelous fringe, page and Matt Ward, wearing his sunglasses and nonchalance. They’re also very happy sounding, which is great when strolling along a beach or beetling about in an open top car. But also when our beloved month of January is upon us, and we don’t reside in the Southern Hemisphere. Joyous music can be very important for SAD (seasonal affective disorder) fighting. Like Angel Delight, oh so sweet, it’s a joy to surround ourselves with sunny sounding high notes and chorus ‘badadadaaaas’. Ah swimming in a dessert bowl. Together these two create dreamy, poppy, nostalgic music that’s gentle, pleasant and cute as a button.

So, as a sunny treat, here we have the premiere of the new video for She & Him’s ‘Don’t Look Back’ (Merge US, Domino Records UK) directed by Jeremy Konner.

She & Him – Don’t Look Back from Merge Records on Vimeo.

Ward says on their website: “There are a lot of people who write music so that they can take their audience to a dark night of their own soul or to get something really heavy off their chest. I don’t think Zooey looks at music that way, and I think that’s a huge part of where her songwriting is coming from. Certain people write songs to make other people feel good. When I think about some of my favorite singers, like Sam Cooke or people of that generation, I think that they saw their gift as the ability to make people feel better, to feel happy. It’s contagious to be around people like that.” Delightful indeed.

Flesh and Blood by Stacie Swift
Flesh and Blood by Stacie Swift.

Flesh and Blood & Fish and Fowl was inspired by photographs of the Ukrainian town of Pripyat near Chernobyl, tadalafil taken many years after the city was abandoned to radiation. They show the buildings and streets overtaken with plants and animals, hospital which have happily returned to build homes amongst the human detritus.

Flesh and Blood office

The impressively depressing (yet realistic) stage set features the interior of an office for Convenience Foods: dead plants and old mugs litter the desks and the walls sprout crumpled charts and post it notes. It is into this nightmarish world that Jerry, played by Geoff Sobelle, emerges, rolling gracelessly out of a dumpster inside which he has presumably spent the night, and hobbling a few steps to his desk.

Office Deer by Sarah Matthews
Office Deer by Sarah Matthews.

The lengthy intro features a zany fight with a buzzing fly that refuses to die, before we’re introduced to his office colleague Rhoda, played with relish by Charlotte Ford. Despite their dysfunctional relationship she’s clearly interested in developing a more intimate arrangement with her middle management foe, artlessly arching her bottom in his direction as she microwaves her lunch repeatedly.

Office Squirrel by Sarah Matthews
Office Squirrel by Sarah Matthews.

The only time they communicate with words is in cringeworthy office jargon against the backdrop of a wonky Leadership poster featuring a lion’s head superimposed over a mountain. It’s all too easily recognisable as the kind of office that litters the business estates of the UK, which is interesting because Flesh and Blood & Fish and Fowl is performed by Americans.

Office-Bear-by-Sarah Matthews
Office Bear by Sarah Matthews.

Both Geoff Sobelle and Charlotte Ford are trained clowns, adept at using exaggerated body movement and facial expressions to convey repressed feelings that eventually rise to the surface as the theatre set is taken over by a series of stuffed animals and plastic undergrowth.

Mime Festival Rhoda by Sarah Alfarhan
Rhoda by Sarah Alfarhan.

Before long they are mating loudly in the dumpster, from which Jerry emerges disgusted that his animal instincts have at last taken over, immediately spraying his body with disinfectant. As the animals continue to stake their claim over the environment Jerry desperately clings to obsessive compulsive means of control, all of which eventually fail.

Flesh and Blood And Fish and Fowl by Mira Tazkia
Flesh and Blood & Fish and Fowl by Mira Tazkia.

The programme says very little about the meaning of Flesh and Blood & Fish and Fowl, preferring instead – in the great manner of mime – to leave the story to unfold through the telling. But it seems clear that this is a tale of human folly, and how, ultimately, our environment will have the last laugh of all. It’s a testament to the performers’ clowning expertise that what could so easily have come across as uncompromisingly depressing is instead one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen.

Charlotte Ford & Geoff Sobelle

Flesh and Blood & Fish and Fowl is showing at The Pit in the Barbican as part of the London International Mime Festival for the rest of this week. Surreal, funny, disturbing and thought provoking, as I twittered on the night of the performance, this was a brilliant piece of mime: I urge you to grab a ticket now.

The Mime Festival is London’s longest running annual theatre event, encompassing visual theatre of all kinds. It runs from 15th-30th January and features a huge range of performances. Why not check out their calendar of events here?

Categories ,barbican, ,Berny M, ,Charlotte Ford, ,Chernobyl, ,Clowns, ,Convenience Foods, ,Flesh and Blood & Fish and Fowl, ,Geoff Sobelle, ,Jerry, ,London International Mime Festival, ,Mime Festival 2011, ,Mira Tazkia, ,Philadelphia, ,Pit Theatre, ,Pripyat, ,Rhoda, ,Sarah Alfarhan, ,Sarah Matthews, ,Stacie Swift, ,The Pit

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Amelia’s Magazine | Bourgeois & Maurice Can’t Dance at Sadler’s Wells: An Interview

Cher Lloyd by Gemma Pharo
Wagner by Karina Yarv
Wagner by Karina Yarv.

Another year, viagra 60mg another X Factor out of the way. I went through a period of not watching any telly at all, more about and oh how I used to poo poo this show, patient but then, in 2009 I got sucked in. It was the only break I used to allow myself as I was creating my first book Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration – a bit of enjoyably vacuous pop culture on a plate. And it was then that I discovered the joy of X Factor watched with my twitter stream open. Trying to think of the bitchiest tweets as fast as possible has now become a something of a national sport, and I thoroughly recommend you do both at the same time once the whole bloody thing rolls around again next year.

X-Factor_Dannii Minogue wearing J'Aton Couture by Krister Selin
X-Factor_Dannii Minogue wearing J’Aton Couture by Krister Selin

As for the final outcome? I couldn’t stand Cher Lloyd’s sneery face but thought her final effort was at least IN TUNE, whilst even on the same note the One Direction cuties struggled (harmonies, what are they?)

Dee-Andrews-Cher-Lloyd-X-Factor1
Cher Lloyd by Dee Andrews.

I loved Rebecca Ferguson’s voice until it started to grate on my nerves, as did the fact that she could not move, even singing the danciest of songs. I quite enjoyed some of Matt Cardle’s songs, but he was clearly not on form during the last few weeks. All in all, as could be predicted, I’ve heard better singers at small indie gigs.

Matt Cardle by Karina Yarv
Matt Cardle by Karina Yarv

My fave live performance by Matt:
YouTube Preview Image

What really grabs the audience is of course the whole spectacle – the cliched dramatisations of the contestant’s back stories, the ridiculously over the top stage effects and the outrageously expensive outfits and stupendous styling choices of the judges and contestants. Here, then, is a chance to revel in the sheer glory of the X Factor experience, as seen through illustrators’ eyes.

Abi Daker Cher Lloyd
The Lovechild of Jordan, Minnie Mouse and Jimmy Saville. Illustration by Abigail Daker.

Gareth A Hopkins Cher Lloyd
Cher Lloyd by Gareth A Hopkins.

jenny robins - amelias magazine -  x factor
Illustration by Jenny Robins.

Katie Waissel by Karina Yarv
Katie Waissel by Karina Yarv

Cher Lloyd by Antaya Lendore
Cher Lloyd by Antaya Lendore

GarethAHopkins Wagbo
Wagbo (a character from Harry Hill’s TV Burp that was supposedly the love child of Wagner and Tesco Mary) by Gareth A Hopkins

X-Factor_Rebecca Ferguson wearing Lisa Marie Fernandez by Krister Selin
X-Factor_Rebecca Ferguson wearing Lisa Marie Fernandez by Krister Selin

xfactor wagner by elliott quince
Wagner by Elliott Quince.

katie waissel and rebecca ferguson by ellie sutton
Katie Waissel and Rebecca Ferguson by Ellie Sutton

Cheryl Cole by Antaya Lendore
Cheryl Cole by Antaya Lendore.
Bourgeois-And-Maurice-Antonia-Parker-
Bourgeois & Maurice by Antonia Parker.

The lovely Bourgeois and Maurice are currently on a pre Christmas run at the Lilian Baylis Studio in Sadler’s Wells, try performing their fabulous cabaret show Can’t Dance. It’s a brilliant space to showcase their unique musical/comedic talents but far from their usual setting – so I thought it the ideal opportunity to find out more about their sharply observant political views, viagra sale amazing Julian J Smith outfits and special B&M recommendations for Christmas.
Helpful note: GB is George Bourgeois and MM is Maurice Maurice.

bourgeois & maurice by sarah alfarhan
Bourgeois & Maurice by Sarah Alfarhan.

I came to your show at Sadlers Wells last week which was somewhat different to the previous intimate performance I saw at Bistrotheque. Did it take a lot of preparation to fill that big stage? Have you met many lovely ballet types? Learnt anything? But seriously… has it forced your dancing to improve, and is the audience very different to your usual crowd?

GB: Yes audiences engage with what we do very differently in a theatre space. Somewhere like Bistrotheque allows the audience to involve themselves much more, because they are literally metres from the stage, whereas here at Sadler’s there’s a much bigger distance between us and the back row and as a result you have to find new ways to involve them. Which is why I climb through the seating and why I never pick people on the end of the row – it’s too obvious. I go for the ones who think they’re safe in the middle. There is a moment in the show when we attend a Ballet boyz rehearsal – that isn’t set up – they literally called us about 30 minutes beforehand and said ‘we’re having a class upstairs, you’re welcome to join in’. When we got there we just had to copy the other dancers and hope for the best. They were all incredibly kind to us, despite our incompetence.

MM: As Bourgeois says, it is different when people are sitting in the darkness of a theatre, they definitely feel more detached from you. So that is why he gets right in there and sits amongst them for a while. It’s polite. I tend to keep my distance though. One time I ventured in and touched someone and a mislaid party popper went off. I think it was a warning for me to Keep Back. I As for the dancing, we definitely learnt some things, and I might only be speaking for myself here, but I do think our pole dancing has improved over the course of these shows, which is nice. What with the job cuts n’ that, you never know what skills might come in useful.

bourgeois & maurice genie espinosa
Bourgeois & Maurice by Genie Espinosa.

You pulled my boyfriend out of the audience to serenade… and you clamber around amongst the audience quite a lot (well, Bourgeois does) What are you looking for when you home in on your prey? And have you ever gotten a surprising response?

GB: Sorry about that! – That’s quite alright, I think he enjoyed it! – I think we’re usually on the hunt for someone who looks like they’ll have a sense of humour and not be permanently scarred by the experience, but at the same time not someone who looks like a natural show off. We’ve already got two of those on stage. We once had a guy in the audience who stood up midway through a song and started to hurl really shit homophobic abuse at us (I mean, at least make it clever). I think he assumed we were going to be a burlesque act with our tits out, or something. Security dragged him out as he shouted threats at us, so Maurice made up a ‘Bye Bye Fuck Off’ song on the spot, which the whole audience sang to him. 

MM: Ah yes, a fond memory. He was a lovely man. He said he was going to wait for us after, but sadly we never saw him again. Love is so transient sometimes. That’s the most severe reaction we;ve had I think, although that was a saturday night at Bistrotheque, which is slightly different to the normal Sadler’s Wells crowd. People don’t tend to be so vocal in the darkness of an auditorium! Surprising actually how easily people tend to go with what you ask. I’ve tried to take this method into my everyday life more, but it’s just not as persuasive without the microphones and stage lighting.

Dee-Andrews-Bourgeois-Maurice
Illustration by Dee Andrews.

You’ve spoken about the problems that come from addressing contemporary issues in your songs… some of which then rapidly date. Which song from your past would be the most out of place now and why?

GB: Probably ‘Girls in Neon’ which was one of the first songs we wrote, way back in that heady summer of ’07, when Nu Rave was still around. It was a piss-take of that moment in music-fashion history which dated almost as quickly as the scene itself. And, in fact, we were very judgmental and wrong when we wrote ‘when the neon shades fade, will the Klaxons still sing?’ because they are, and their last album was really good. So sorry about that, Klaxons.

Bourgeois & Maurice by Kellie Black
Bourgeois & Maurice by Kellie Black.

You managed to slip in some very *now* references to the student riots when I saw you… how easy is it to keep your spiel up to date on the day? 

GB: Depends what time we wake up and how long we’ve got to read the papers! At the moment we seem to be living in a blur of major news headlines so it’s easy to find references that everyone will pick up on. it’s harder when nothing much seems to be happening, it can end up being a bit ‘oh we’ve still fucked up the middle east…so…yeah…that’s still happening and stuff…hello, you look nice’ etc etc 

MM: If we were clever enough we’d invent a complicated algorithm programme that sources, digests and ranks news stories according to relevance and public awareness, which we would download directly into our heads before each show. But we tend to just log in to Twitter. 

You manage to make biting political satire amusing – have you always been politically inclined, or is this just a fallout from living in London?

GB: We used to shy away from it a lot more than we do now. A couple of years ago we wrote a song called ‘Political Song’ which actively tried to be as apathetic as possible (which in a sense is kind of a political statement but…whatever). We’ve always been political beneath the make up but only recently did we consciously decide to start being more explicit in the show. I think there’s been a noticeable shift in public thinking recently- very Us V Them – which scares me so I guess our decision to satirise the political currents is a natural reaction to that.

How did you hook up with your Julian J Smith? Are all your outfits by him? and what is the process of creating them?

GB: Julian is the crazed visual genius behind all the outfits we’re wearing at the moment. We met him about four years ago in Boombox (RIP) a few months before B&M were born. He has the largest wardrobe of incredible clothing known to mankind so when we started performing we would sometimes borrow things and as the shows got bigger, so did the outfits. Julian’s own line is an amazing synthesis of couture and clubwear and i think that’s something he brings to B&M – he designs all the looks based on ideas we’ve had for songs and he’s been to so many of our shows he can sometimes predict our sartorial needs before we can. 

MM: We’ve also had some outfits made for us by the incredible Fanny & Jessy too, although we’re not wearing any of them in this show. Their debut collection was called We Hope You Die Soon, so we kind of felt we connected on a philosophical level.

George Bourgeois by Louise Wright
George Bourgeois by Louise Wright.

I am particularly enamoured of your pastel hair ball outfit – who had the brainwave for that one? Any side effects to wearing it? I seem to recall there were bits getting caught in your mouth that you described as pubes. Are your pubes falling out as the shows progress? Will you end up bald?

GB: That outfit is the bane of my life. I adore it but JEEESUS the upkeep is hard. It’s made from hundreds of metres of artificial weave, so I have to comb it with a weave brush and pick out of the little bits of crap it sweeps off the floor each night. And yeah the hair gets everywhere. But the outfit is so good I really can’t complain. I think Julian had the brainwave for that too – we were talking about creating an outfit that would be quite body dysmorphic and have its own life when I move around the stage. As luck would have it, the weave shop round the corner from me were doing an offer on multicoloured hair so I bought the entire stock. Oh, and I live in a constant state of fear about going bald. I look shit in hats. – Love the fact you talk about your actual hair there, rather than the outfit going bald.

YouTube Preview Image

Is it hard to switch off? What do you do to relax? How are your days filled when you are doing a run such as the one at Sadler’s Wells?

GB: I’m terrible at switching off when we have theatre runs. We both hate the process of being reviewed, and that really only ever happens during a bigger theatre run – critics rarely go outside their comfort zone – so as a result we tend to be highly strung til press night and then go ‘fuck it, let’s enjoy it’ after that. At the moment my days are filled with sleeping, reading and working on my best-selling novel, which at the moment is one paragraph long. My attention span is shot to pieces.

MM: It is really hard to switch off, and no matter what activities I partake in the day, ultimately I’m always thinking about the show in the evening. I made the terrible mistake of going into central London to do some Christmas shopping yesterday, and after about 10mins in Uniqlo I had a mental breakdown – Know the Feeling well! – and had to leave. So I try not to leave my house much in the day, I can’t really be held accountable for my actions otherwise.
 
YouTube Preview Image

According to Run Riot you have ambitions to “go rock” next year, and you are also working on a musical…. can you give us any sneaky tips as to what this will be about, and who we can expect you to collaborate with on either of these projects?

GB: At the moment they’re both quite distant pipe dreams. The musical actually started as a joke when we were warming up before shows and would improvise a really cliched musical-theatre style opening sequence to a show set in a small town. Then it sort of stuck as an idea – we worked on a project for Theatre 503 in November, where we wrote a song for someone else to perform – the first time we’d done that – and it was really fun so the plan next year is to come up with some songs for other singers and take it from there. Maybe it’ll turn into a musical, maybe we’ll end up churning out jingles for local radio ads. Watch this space…

YouTube Preview Image

Since it’s Christmas time, have you got any top B&M tips for how to get through the big day? And what will you be wearing? 

GB: We’ve both got a fetching his ‘n’ hers red sequin christmas number, which I daresay will make an appearance. Top tip: if there’s any hyperactive kids around on Christmas day, slip them a tenner in return for their Ritalin supply. Your day will float by in a golden blur, and you’ll have sorted out at least one christmas present – kids just love cold, hard cash.

You can book tickets to see Bourgeois & Maurice, performing up until the 23rd December, right here.

Categories ,Antonia Parker, ,Bistrotheque, ,Boombox, ,Bourgeois & Maurice, ,Bourgeois and Maurice, ,Christmas, ,Dee Andrews, ,Fanny & Jessy, ,Genie Espinosa, ,Julian J Smith, ,Kellie Black, ,klaxons, ,Lilian Baylis Studio, ,Louise Wright, ,Nu-rave, ,Run Riot, ,Sadler’s Wells, ,Sarah Alfarhan, ,Theatre 503, ,Uniqlo

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Amelia’s Magazine | Book launch: ‘Your voice in my head’ by Emma Forrest

Cockroach Amelia Gregory
Cockroach-tour-Science-Museum-by-Mina-Bach
Cockroach tour by Mina Bach.

A couple of months ago I was invited to visit the Science Museum to dress up as a Cockroach. How on earth could I resist such an invitation? So it was that with trepidation myself and boyfriend strolled up Exhibition Road on a Saturday afternoon. Who would be our fellow Cockroaches? Children? Families? Other slightly bewildered online journos and bloggers?

Cockroach-couple-by-Sarah-Matthews
Cockroach couple by Sarah Matthews

We arrived at the tail end of nibbles in the lecture theatre, recipe and were hastily whisked off to the Cockroach dressing room – right at the front of the museum so that interested passers by (and slightly petrified children) could watch as we donned our Cockroach regalia.

Cockroach Amelia
That’s me, medications dressed as a cockroach. Photo by Tim Adey.

Cockroach by Jessica Holt
Cockroach by Jessica Holt.

The purpose of all this Cockroach fun? Well you might ask… the Science Museum has just opened a swanky new Climate Change Science gallery, all swelling colours and interactive screens that change the digital atmosphere. (Immediate thought: what the hell is powering all this technical gadgetry? I was assured it was green energy).

cockroach tour maria papadimitriou
Cockroach tour by Maria Papadimitriou.

The Cockroach Tour is an art installation commissioned from Danish art collective Superflex – wherein my definition of art is VERY stretched – and takes groups of Cockroaches on a tour of the museum that ends up in the high reaches of the Climate Change Science gallery. The aim being to introduce people to the concept of human idiocy, as viewed through the eyes of a Cockroach, one of the oldest and most resilient life forms on the planet.

Cockroach-boy-by-Sarah-Matthews
Cockroach boy by Sarah Matthews.

For this tour we were led by a rapidly overheating actor. Ah yes, the Cockroach costumes. These are made of fibre glass and that rubbery stuff that you find in lots of kid’s toys these days. Hardly sustainably sound in itself, but very fun, even if my shell did bang rather hard against the back of my knees as I scuttled around the exhibits.

Cockroach tour car
Cockroach tour leader

Sample Cockroach talk: “Why do humans eat pizza when the box is so much more preferable?” I must confess that I really wasn’t listening very hard: it was just too damn distracting to gaze upon Cockroach Boyfriend, knowing that I looked equally ridiculous. The tour was indeed funny, but our leader could have been talking total mumbo jumbo and I would still have been chuckling like a mad woman at the looks on people’s faces. Oh how I love to dress up – we spent most of our time trying to out silly each other’s photos. Did we feel like overgrown children? Hell yes, but that’s no bad thing every once in awhile. After a few wrong turnings we arrived at our final destination, with all it’s interactive Climate Change wizardry, where we finally de-Cockroached.

Cockroach man by Sarah Matthews
Cockroach man by Sarah Matthews.

I’d like to turn a totally blind eye to the principal gallery sponsor (Shell, cough, greenwash, cough) but there has clearly been a large amount of money thrown at the Climate Change projectit was renamed the Climate Science Gallery in the wake of the Climate Scepticism controversy last year (boo, hiss) – so why not get along and enjoy it?

Amelia Cockroach from behind
That’s me showing off my shiny cockroach ass in the Climate Science Gallery.

I personally feel I know enough Climate Change Science to last a lifetime, but for somebody who hasn’t got a wide knowledge this would be a really fun way to get up to the top floor, especially if you have lots of kids in tow, and even just this brief visit reminded me just how much there is to see in the Science Museum, which I haven’t really visited since I was a child. And if you don’t believe me why not watch their very fancy video.

YouTube Preview Image

Cockroach tours are being held every weekend until December 2011, and you can find out more about them and book online here. To celebrate the launch of the tours the Science Museum is offering one lucky winner four places on a tour of the weekend 12-13 February – they will be given a hand held camera and their video will be slicky edited into a film for the winner to keep. Oo-er. More information on this link.

I’m quite tempted to go back and visit their Trash Fashion exhibition myself.

CUCARACHA  COSMOPOLITA by Geiko Louve
CUCARACHA COSMOPOLITA by Karla Pérez Manrique.

EL BAILE DE LA CUCARACHA by Karla Pérez Manrique
EL BAILE DE LA CUCARACHA by Karla Pérez Manrique.

Cockroach-tour-Science-Museum-by-Mina-Bach
Cockroach tour by Mina Bach.

A couple of months ago I was invited to visit the Science Museum to dress up as a Cockroach. How on earth could I resist such an invitation? So it was that with trepidation myself and boyfriend strolled up Exhibition Road on a Saturday afternoon. Who would be our fellow Cockroaches? Children? Families? Other slightly bewildered online journos and bloggers?

Cockroach-couple-by-Sarah-Matthews
Cockroach couple by Sarah Matthews

We arrived at the tail end of nibbles in the lecture theatre, cialis 40mg and were hastily whisked off to the Cockroach dressing room – right at the front of the museum so that interested passers by (and slightly petrified children) could watch as we donned our Cockroach regalia.

Cockroach Amelia Gregory
That’s me, dressed as a cockroach. Photo by Tim Adey.

Cockroach by Jessica Holt
Cockroach by Jessica Holt.

The purpose of all this Cockroach fun? Well you might ask… the Science Museum has just opened a swanky new Climate Change Science gallery, all swelling colours and interactive screens that change the digital atmosphere. (Immediate thought: what the hell is powering all this technical gadgetry? I was assured it was green energy).

cockroach tour maria papadimitriou
Cockroach tour by Maria Papadimitriou.

The Cockroach Tour is an art installation commissioned from Danish art collective Superflex – wherein my definition of art is VERY stretched – and takes groups of Cockroaches on a tour of the museum that ends up in the high reaches of the Climate Change Science gallery. The aim being to introduce people to the concept of human idiocy, as viewed through the eyes of a Cockroach, one of the oldest and most resilient life forms on the planet.

Cockroach-boy-by-Sarah-Matthews
Cockroach boy by Sarah Matthews.

For this tour we were led by a rapidly overheating actor. Ah yes, the Cockroach costumes. These are made of fibre glass and that rubbery stuff that you find in lots of kid’s toys these days. Hardly sustainably sound in itself, but very fun, even if my shell did bang rather hard against the back of my knees as I scuttled around the exhibits.

Cockroach tour car
Cockroach tour leader

Sample Cockroach talk: “Why do humans eat pizza when the box is so much more preferable?” I must confess that I really wasn’t listening very hard: it was just too damn distracting to gaze upon Cockroach Boyfriend, knowing that I looked equally ridiculous. The tour was indeed funny, but our leader could have been talking total mumbo jumbo and I would still have been chuckling like a mad woman at the looks on people’s faces. Oh how I love to dress up – we spent most of our time trying to out silly each other’s photos. Did we feel like overgrown children? Hell yes, but that’s no bad thing every once in awhile. After a few wrong turnings we arrived at our final destination, with all it’s interactive Climate Change wizardry, where we finally de-Cockroached.

Cockroach man by Sarah Matthews
Cockroach man by Sarah Matthews.

I’d like to turn a totally blind eye to the principal sponsor of this gallery (Shell, cough, greenwash, cough) but there has clearly been a large amount of money thrown at what has now been renamed the Climate Science Gallery in the wake of the Climate Scepticism controversy last year (boo, hiss) – so why not get along and enjoy it? Hell, why not enjoy it dressed as a Cockroach?

Amelia Cockroach from behind
That’s me showing off my shiny cockroach ass in the Climate Science Gallery.

I personally feel I know enough Climate Change Science to last a lifetime, but for somebody who hasn’t got a wide knowledge this would be a really fun way to engage any kids you might have in tow. And for the adults – even just this brief visit reminded me just how much there is to see in the Science Museum, which I haven’t really visited since I was a child. And if you don’t believe me why not watch very fancy Cockroach Tour video:

YouTube Preview Image

Cockroach tours are being held every weekend until December 2011, and you can find out more about them and book online here. To celebrate the launch of the tours the Science Museum is offering one lucky winner four places on a tour of the weekend 12-13 February – they will be given a hand held camera and their video will be slicky edited into a film for the winner to keep. Oo-er. More information on this link.

I’m quite tempted to go back and visit their Trash Fashion exhibition myself.

CUCARACHA  COSMOPOLITA by Geiko Louve
CUCARACHA COSMOPOLITA by Karla Pérez Manrique.

EL BAILE DE LA CUCARACHA by Karla Pérez Manrique
EL BAILE DE LA CUCARACHA by Karla Pérez Manrique.

Cockroach-tour-Science-Museum-by-Mina-Bach
Cockroach tour by Mina Bach.

A couple of months ago I was invited to visit the Science Museum to dress up as a Cockroach. How on earth could I resist such an invitation? So it was that with trepidation myself and boyfriend strolled up Exhibition Road on a Saturday afternoon. Who would be our fellow Cockroaches? Children? Families? Other slightly bewildered online journos and bloggers?

Cockroach-couple-by-Sarah-Matthews
Cockroach couple by Sarah Matthews

We arrived at the tail end of nibbles in the lecture theatre, thumb and were hastily whisked off to the Cockroach dressing room – right at the front of the museum so that interested passers by (and slightly petrified children) could watch as we donned our Cockroach regalia.

Cockroach Amelia Gregory
That’s me, order dressed as a cockroach. Photo by Tim Adey.

Cockroach by Jessica Holt
Cockroach by Jessica Holt.

The purpose of all this Cockroach fun? Well you might ask… the Science Museum has just opened a swanky new Climate Change Science gallery, all swelling colours and interactive screens that change the digital atmosphere. (Immediate thought: what the hell is powering all this technical gadgetry? I was assured it was green energy).

cockroach tour maria papadimitriou
Cockroach tour by Maria Papadimitriou.

The Cockroach Tour is an art installation commissioned from Danish art collective Superflex – wherein my definition of art is VERY stretched – and takes groups of Cockroaches on a tour of the museum that ends up in the high reaches of the Climate Change Science gallery. The aim being to introduce people to the concept of human idiocy, as viewed through the eyes of a Cockroach, one of the oldest and most resilient life forms on the planet.

Cockroach-boy-by-Sarah-Matthews
Cockroach boy by Sarah Matthews.

For this tour we were led by a rapidly overheating actor. Ah yes, the Cockroach costumes. These are made of fibre glass and that rubbery stuff that you find in lots of kid’s toys these days. Hardly sustainably sound in itself, but very fun, even if my shell did bang rather hard against the back of my knees as I scuttled around the exhibits.

Cockroach tour car
Cockroach tour leader

Sample Cockroach talk: “Why do humans eat pizza when the box is so much more preferable?” I must confess that I really wasn’t listening very hard: it was just too damn distracting to gaze upon Cockroach Boyfriend, knowing that I looked equally ridiculous. The tour was indeed funny, but our leader could have been talking total mumbo jumbo and I would still have been chuckling like a mad woman at the looks on people’s faces. Oh how I love to dress up – we spent most of our time trying to out silly each other’s photos. Did we feel like overgrown children? Hell yes, but that’s no bad thing every once in awhile. After a few wrong turnings we arrived at our final destination, with all it’s interactive Climate Change wizardry, where we finally de-Cockroached.

Cockroach man by Sarah Matthews
Cockroach man by Sarah Matthews.

I’d like to turn a totally blind eye to the principal sponsor of this gallery (Shell, cough, greenwash, cough) but there has clearly been a large amount of money thrown at what has now been renamed the Climate Science Gallery in the wake of the Climate Scepticism controversy last year (boo, hiss) – so why not get along and enjoy it? Hell, why not enjoy it dressed as a Cockroach?

Amelia Cockroach from behind
That’s me showing off my shiny cockroach ass in the Climate Science Gallery.

I personally feel I know enough Climate Change Science to last a lifetime, but for somebody who hasn’t got a wide knowledge this would be a really fun way to engage any kids you might have in tow. What’s more, even just this brief visit reminded me just how much there is to see in the Science Museum, which I haven’t really visited since I was a child. And if you need any more reason to get down with the Cockroaches why not check out this very fancy Cockroach Tour video:

YouTube Preview Image

Cockroach tours are being held every weekend until December 2011, and you can find out more about them and book online here. To celebrate the launch of the tours the Science Museum is offering one lucky winner four places on a tour of the weekend 12-13 February – they will be given a hand held camera and their video will be slicky edited into a film for the winner to keep. Oo-er. More information on this link.

I’m quite tempted to go back and visit their Trash Fashion exhibition myself.

CUCARACHA  COSMOPOLITA by Geiko Louve
CUCARACHA COSMOPOLITA by Karla Pérez Manrique.

EL BAILE DE LA CUCARACHA by Karla Pérez Manrique
EL BAILE DE LA CUCARACHA by Karla Pérez Manrique.

Cockroach-tour-Science-Museum-by-Mina-Bach
Cockroach tour by Mina Bach.

A couple of months ago I was invited to visit the Science Museum to dress up as a Cockroach. How on earth could I resist such an invitation? So it was that with trepidation myself and boyfriend strolled up Exhibition Road on a Saturday afternoon. Who would be our fellow Cockroaches? Children? Families? Other slightly bewildered online journos and bloggers?

Cockroach-couple-by-Sarah-Matthews
Cockroach couple by Sarah Matthews

We arrived at the tail end of nibbles in the lecture theatre, viagra order and were hastily whisked off to the Cockroach dressing room – right at the front of the museum so that interested passers by (and slightly petrified children) could watch as we donned our Cockroach regalia.

Cockroach Amelia Gregory
That’s me, more about dressed as a cockroach. Photo by Tim Adey.

Cockroach by Jessica Holt
Cockroach by Jessica Holt.

The purpose of all this Cockroach fun? Well you might ask… the Science Museum has just opened a swanky new Climate Change Science gallery, case all swelling colours and interactive screens that change the digital atmosphere. (Immediate thought: what the hell is powering all this technical gadgetry? I was assured it was green energy).

cockroach tour maria papadimitriou
Cockroach tour by Maria Papadimitriou.

The Cockroach Tour is an art installation commissioned from Danish art collective Superflex – wherein my definition of art is VERY stretched – and takes groups of Cockroaches on a tour of the museum that ends up in the high reaches of the Climate Change Science gallery. The aim being to introduce people to the concept of human idiocy, as viewed through the eyes of a Cockroach, one of the oldest and most resilient life forms on the planet.

Cockroach-boy-by-Sarah-Matthews
Cockroach boy by Sarah Matthews.

For this tour we were led by a rapidly overheating actor. Ah yes, the Cockroach costumes. These are made of fibre glass and that rubbery stuff that you find in lots of kid’s toys these days. Hardly sustainably sound in itself, but very fun, even if my shell did bang rather hard against the back of my knees as I scuttled around the exhibits.

Cockroach tour car
Cockroach tour leader

Sample Cockroach talk: “Why do humans eat pizza when the box is so much more preferable?” I must confess that I really wasn’t listening very hard: it was just too damn distracting to gaze upon Cockroach Boyfriend, knowing that I looked equally ridiculous. The tour was indeed funny, but our leader could have been talking total mumbo jumbo and I would still have been chuckling like a mad woman at the looks on people’s faces. Oh how I love to dress up – we spent most of our time trying to out silly each other’s photos. Did we feel like overgrown children? Hell yes, but that’s no bad thing every once in awhile. After a few wrong turnings we arrived at our final destination, with all it’s interactive Climate Change wizardry, where we finally de-Cockroached.

Cockroach man by Sarah Matthews
Cockroach man by Sarah Matthews.

I’d like to turn a totally blind eye to the principal sponsor of this gallery (Shell, cough, greenwash, cough) but there has clearly been a large amount of money thrown at what has now been renamed the Climate Science Gallery in the wake of the Climate Scepticism controversy last year (boo, hiss) – so why not get along and enjoy it? Hell, why not enjoy it dressed as a Cockroach?

Amelia Cockroach from behind
That’s me showing off my shiny cockroach ass in the Climate Science Gallery.

I personally feel I know enough Climate Change Science to last a lifetime, but for somebody who hasn’t got a wide knowledge this would be a really fun way to engage any kids you might have in tow. What’s more, even just this brief visit reminded me just how much there is to see in the Science Museum, which I haven’t really visited since I was a child. And if you need any more reason to get down with the Cockroaches why not check out this very fancy Cockroach Tour video:

YouTube Preview Image

Cockroach tours are being held every weekend until December 2011, and you can find out more about them and book online here. To celebrate the launch of the tours the Science Museum is offering one lucky winner four places on a tour of the weekend 12-13 February – they will be given a hand held camera and their video will be slicky edited into a film for the winner to keep. Oo-er. More information on this link.

I’m quite tempted to go back and visit their Trash Fashion exhibition myself.

CUCARACHA  COSMOPOLITA by Geiko Louve
CUCARACHA COSMOPOLITA by Karla Pérez Manrique.

EL BAILE DE LA CUCARACHA by Karla Pérez Manrique
EL BAILE DE LA CUCARACHA by Karla Pérez Manrique.


Illustration by Stephanie Thieullent

‘I’m unhappy about my Wellingtons, rxEmma Forrest says as she makes her way through the packed bookshop. ‘I thought it was going to rain and then it didn’t, diagnosis and now I’m a little embarrassed.’ She takes her seat next to David Baddiel, the novelist and comedian who will interview her later. I have to admit I tend to frown upon wellie-wearing not merited by the weather too, but I was going to let that go for Emma the wordsmith. But now it seems not only does she write lovely books full of excellent literary quirks, she has sound wellie-sense too.

Considering she’s here to read from a memoir of manic depression and bereavement, Emma is funny. While unafraid to dig into the heart of the subject matter, ‘Your voice in my head’ is at times a book that makes you laugh out loud. ‘It’s important to include humour, no matter how dark the material is,’ says Emma.


Illustration by Alexandra Rolfe

Clerkenwell Tales, the little independent bookshop on Exmouth Market, was packed to the brim with people wanting to hear Emma read. But if you Google Emma Forrest you will see what she is most famous for, and it has nothing to do with writing. She used to date a certain Hollywood actor, whose name remains hidden behind a pseudonym both in the book and during the reading. But what prompted her to write this book is that just as this all-consuming love affair ended, Emma’s beloved therapist died and left her alone to pick up the pieces. The title of the book is a reflection of her reverence for him, and the book is also a celebration of the good doctor and all the people he helped.


Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

I first discovered Emma Forrest as she published her previous novel, ‘Cherries in the snow’. I loved the book – partially for it being an unusual take on the girl-in-the-city genre (I refuse to call it chick-lit), but also because it is beautifully written with clever turns of phrases and unique metaphors. Waiting for Emma’s next book took five years, before ‘Your voice in my head’ was published a few weeks ago. Born in the UK, Emma now lives in Los Angeles where she’s a screenwriter; ‘There is so much open sky in LA. You really get a sense that your problems aren’t any bigger than anyone else’s, and that things can be dealt with.’


Illustration by Kiran Patel at Illustrating Rain

As the Q&A session wanders from the funny towards the dark, some of the questions, both from Baddiel and the audience, turn incredibly personal. The room grows completely silent as Emma describes the mania. ‘Madness felt like trying to write about music, which is so difficult to describe. Madness and music are a similar place to be.’ And later: ‘It takes a while to be able to choose to leave mania, to choose to get better. But eventually you reach a place where you need to leave it behind, to be part of the world.’ The girl sitting in front of me nods her head gently as Emma speaks, it seems she knows it’s true.

I buy the book and Emma signs it for me; she’s tiny even in her wellie heels. I read it on the train home and miss my stop.


Illustration by Sarah Alfarhan

‘Your voice in my head’ is out now. Read Emma’s blog here.

Categories ,Alexandra Rolfe, ,Bloomsbury, ,book launch, ,Clerkenwell Tales, ,David Baddiel, ,Emma Forrest, ,Exmouth Market, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Illustrating Rain, ,london, ,manic depression, ,memoir, ,mental illness, ,Sarah Alfarhan, ,Stéphanie Thieullent, ,Your voice in my head

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Amelia’s Magazine | Diamond Mine by Jon Hopkins and King Creosote. An interview with Kenny Anderson.

King Creosote and Jon Hopkins by Rosemary Cunningham
King Creosote and Jon Hopkins by Rosemary Cunningham.

In the second part of my attempt to delve into the creation of the amazing collaborative album Diamond Mine, physician Kenny Anderson (aka King Creosote) answers my questions with a frankness and candour that matches the genius of his songwriting. Thanks so much for your wonderful answers Kenny! And if you haven’t heard it yet, viagra you must get a copy of Diamond Mine by Jon Hopkins and King Creosote, out now on Domino Records.

Jon Hopkins and King Creosote by Sarah Alfarhan
Jon Hopkins and King Creosote by Sarah Alfarhan.

How did Jon first approach you and what were your first thoughts about his proposal?

Diamond Mine is the latest instalment of many years of different sorts of collaborations between JH and KC. In 2004 (I think) Jon approached me at a Fence Collective show in Pittenweem and asked if I’d re-record a version of a track called Your Own Spell with him. He’d heard the original on an old KC album, but he asked in a way that didn’t make me question the quality of my version, and I thought ‘what a clever, tactful chap’. 

YouTube Preview ImageYour Own Spell

He remixed a track called A Sad Ha Ha that I recorded with Magnetophone for 4AD, and that made me all teary at the end of a Homegame when I heard it.

YouTube Preview ImageThe Vice-like Gist of It

Next up he remixed The Vice-like Gist of It as a B-side which stopped Janice Forsyth in her tracks, and at the end of 2006′s Green Man Festival he played me And the Racket They Made. I shed real tears and instantly agreed to play at a stranger’s wedding because of it. 

YouTube Preview ImageAnd the Racket They Made

We started on a collaboration album proper late in 2006, and the initial efforts were drafted into Bombshell for 679 once we’d secured the producer’s job for Jon, and in 2008 he worked on a couple of the Flick the Vs songs.  

Even with all that under our collaborative belt, I think Jon felt he hadn’t quite made a true and genuine collaboration with my voice very much to the fore, band and record label concessions very much to the aft. Two years ago he called me back to London – this time there’d be no siphoning off of our labours.

King Creosote. Photo by Steve Gullick
King Creosote. Photo by Steve Gullick.

How well do you think you have both managed to evoke “space, longevity and timelessness”?

As a collection of songs spanning my entire songwriting history, sung in what is undoubtedly my best recorded singing voice to date, for my part I hope that was enough to push the record away from just the period leading up to a 2011 release. There’s everything from the naive views of an impatient student right through to the cynical musings of an impatient middle aged grump. Jon’ll tell you the in & outs of the music content, but most of what you hear is acoustic guitar, accordion, piano and voices – all of them timeless instruments I’d say. Jon’s given the whole thing a fairly light and airy touch.

Longevity … Well, I should be quite a few dozen listens ahead of our most ardent fans, and I still hear brand new sounds with every listen. The tracklisting still surprises me from time to time, and the album can take an hour to pass, sometimes just a few seconds. In brief, we’ve nailed it on all three counts :)

King Creosote and Jon Hopkins by Sam Parr
King Creosote and Jon Hopkins by Sam Parr.

How is middle age treating you? I like the way that you say you intend to make the most your “thinning hair and diet of white flour and sugar” but it can’t be all bad?

I’m enjoying middle age immensely. I’ve resigned myself to most of the physical wear and tear, but in my head it’s not as bad as when I actually see my ageing mush in a mirror. I only have to look at an Ampeg bass rig and my back starts to hurt, and so as a rule I avoid reflective surfaces and load ins.

YouTube Preview ImageJohn Taylor’s Month Away

What’s the best part about growing older?

There’s a certain smugness comes with the realisation that I was incredibly lucky to grow up in the 70s & 80s – not only had national service long ended, but we enjoyed immense freedoms. Being young in the 2010s with all these mobile phones, digital cameras, youtube, facebook and twitter sites tracking your every move has absolutely no appeal. Hahahahahahahaha! And we TREASURED records, making live gigs and the latest album releases real moments of excitement and joy.    

YouTube Preview ImageBubble

Some of these songs were written as long ago as 20 years and more. What did it feel like to dredge them up again? Did you experience lots of weird emotions?

I’ve re-recorded many of my songs for lots of different albums, so I’m used to it. It’s difficult to explain now just what Your Own Spell from 1988 is truly about, so I just say it’s a banal ‘be careful what you wish for’ type tale. I’ve got a better, more emotionally believable voice now than I did back then, so not so hard to get the mindset right. Thankfully there are no real happy songs on Diamond Mine – that’s the one emotion I haven’t cracked yet.

King Creosote by Victoria Haynes
King Creosote by Victoria Haynes.

How do you feel about modern technology?  

On one hand a genius from the modern age can come along and make something that sounds as good as Diamond Mine, but in general I find it a real drag and best avoided whenever possible. If technology results in a machine that drops one back into a pre-technological era, than I’m all for it. I’d punch 1974 into the dial and would probably expire in time for the millenium celebrations. 

YouTube Preview ImageBats in the Attic

You say that “being a dad lights the way out”. How do your family fit into the musical world? Do they join you, and do they take part in your projects in any way?   

My dad, uncle, brothers and cousins are all musical, but quite different in their approach, so it doesn’t feel like competition in any way. My daughter has an incredible ear for melody and a limitless memory for lyrics – she wants to do medicine, so she didn’t get my squeamish gene. I used to play with one of my brothers – Iain – in a bluegrass outfit yonks ago, and I’ve backed up the other brother Gordon on many live sets, but as we get older, the brothers and I tend to avoid interaction with each other’s music as much as possible, and stick to comedy impersonations of our dad, clicking heels and all. I’m a bigger fan of their music than they are of mine, so that helps!

YouTube Preview ImageYour Young Voice

My dad recently organised an Anderson showcase for charity. It was an incredibly surreal afternoon of many different musical styles played in front of a white haired audience, so not a chance of any of it landing up on youtube. 
And relax.

Thankyou so much for your wonderful answers Kenny!

King Creosote and Jon Hopkins by Laura Warecki
King Creosote and Jon Hopkins by Laura Warecki.

Diamond Mine is intended to be listened to in one sitting, so once you’ve had a chance to sample the tracks above make sure you grab a copy of the whole thing. Jon Hopkins and King Creosote will be back on tour in September. Full Diamond Mine tour listing information here. Don’t forget to also check out my interview with Jon Hopkins here.

Categories ,4ad, ,679 Recordings, ,A Sad Ha Ha, ,album, ,And the Racket They Made, ,Bats in the Attic, ,Bombshell, ,Bubble, ,Diamond Mine, ,Domino Records, ,Fence Records, ,Fife, ,Flick the Vs, ,interview, ,Janice Forsyth, ,John Taylor’s Month Away, ,Jon Hopkins, ,Kenny Anderson, ,King Creosote, ,Laura Warecki, ,Magnetophone, ,Pittenweem, ,review, ,Rosemary Cunningham, ,Sam Parr, ,Sarah Alfarhan, ,Steve Gullick, ,The Vice-like Gist of It, ,Victoria Haynes, ,Your Own Spell, ,Your Young Voice

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Amelia’s Magazine | Diamond Mine by Jon Hopkins and King Creosote. An interview with Kenny Anderson.

King Creosote and Jon Hopkins by Rosemary Cunningham
King Creosote and Jon Hopkins by Rosemary Cunningham.

In the second part of my attempt to delve into the creation of the amazing collaborative album Diamond Mine, Kenny Anderson (aka King Creosote) answers my questions with a frankness and candour that matches the genius of his songwriting. Thanks so much for your wonderful answers Kenny! And if you haven’t heard it yet, you must get a copy of Diamond Mine by Jon Hopkins and King Creosote, out now on Domino Records.

Jon Hopkins and King Creosote by Sarah Alfarhan
Jon Hopkins and King Creosote by Sarah Alfarhan.

How did Jon first approach you and what were your first thoughts about his proposal?

Diamond Mine is the latest instalment of many years of different sorts of collaborations between JH and KC. In 2004 (I think) Jon approached me at a Fence Collective show in Pittenweem and asked if I’d re-record a version of a track called Your Own Spell with him. He’d heard the original on an old KC album, but he asked in a way that didn’t make me question the quality of my version, and I thought ‘what a clever, tactful chap’. 

YouTube Preview ImageYour Own Spell

He remixed a track called A Sad Ha Ha that I recorded with Magnetophone for 4AD, and that made me all teary at the end of a Homegame when I heard it.

YouTube Preview ImageThe Vice-like Gist of It

Next up he remixed The Vice-like Gist of It as a B-side which stopped Janice Forsyth in her tracks, and at the end of 2006’s Green Man Festival he played me And the Racket They Made. I shed real tears and instantly agreed to play at a stranger’s wedding because of it. 

YouTube Preview ImageAnd the Racket They Made

We started on a collaboration album proper late in 2006, and the initial efforts were drafted into Bombshell for 679 once we’d secured the producer’s job for Jon, and in 2008 he worked on a couple of the Flick the Vs songs.  

Even with all that under our collaborative belt, I think Jon felt he hadn’t quite made a true and genuine collaboration with my voice very much to the fore, band and record label concessions very much to the aft. Two years ago he called me back to London – this time there’d be no siphoning off of our labours.

King Creosote. Photo by Steve Gullick
King Creosote. Photo by Steve Gullick.

How well do you think you have both managed to evoke “space, longevity and timelessness”?

As a collection of songs spanning my entire songwriting history, sung in what is undoubtedly my best recorded singing voice to date, for my part I hope that was enough to push the record away from just the period leading up to a 2011 release. There’s everything from the naive views of an impatient student right through to the cynical musings of an impatient middle aged grump. Jon’ll tell you the in & outs of the music content, but most of what you hear is acoustic guitar, accordion, piano and voices – all of them timeless instruments I’d say. Jon’s given the whole thing a fairly light and airy touch.

Longevity … Well, I should be quite a few dozen listens ahead of our most ardent fans, and I still hear brand new sounds with every listen. The tracklisting still surprises me from time to time, and the album can take an hour to pass, sometimes just a few seconds. In brief, we’ve nailed it on all three counts :)

King Creosote and Jon Hopkins by Sam Parr
King Creosote and Jon Hopkins by Sam Parr.

How is middle age treating you? I like the way that you say you intend to make the most your “thinning hair and diet of white flour and sugar” but it can’t be all bad?

I’m enjoying middle age immensely. I’ve resigned myself to most of the physical wear and tear, but in my head it’s not as bad as when I actually see my ageing mush in a mirror. I only have to look at an Ampeg bass rig and my back starts to hurt, and so as a rule I avoid reflective surfaces and load ins.

YouTube Preview ImageJohn Taylor’s Month Away

What’s the best part about growing older?

There’s a certain smugness comes with the realisation that I was incredibly lucky to grow up in the 70s & 80s – not only had national service long ended, but we enjoyed immense freedoms. Being young in the 2010s with all these mobile phones, digital cameras, youtube, facebook and twitter sites tracking your every move has absolutely no appeal. Hahahahahahahaha! And we TREASURED records, making live gigs and the latest album releases real moments of excitement and joy.    

YouTube Preview ImageBubble

Some of these songs were written as long ago as 20 years and more. What did it feel like to dredge them up again? Did you experience lots of weird emotions?

I’ve re-recorded many of my songs for lots of different albums, so I’m used to it. It’s difficult to explain now just what Your Own Spell from 1988 is truly about, so I just say it’s a banal ‘be careful what you wish for’ type tale. I’ve got a better, more emotionally believable voice now than I did back then, so not so hard to get the mindset right. Thankfully there are no real happy songs on Diamond Mine – that’s the one emotion I haven’t cracked yet.

King Creosote by Victoria Haynes
King Creosote by Victoria Haynes.

How do you feel about modern technology?  

On one hand a genius from the modern age can come along and make something that sounds as good as Diamond Mine, but in general I find it a real drag and best avoided whenever possible. If technology results in a machine that drops one back into a pre-technological era, than I’m all for it. I’d punch 1974 into the dial and would probably expire in time for the millenium celebrations. 

YouTube Preview ImageBats in the Attic

You say that “being a dad lights the way out”. How do your family fit into the musical world? Do they join you, and do they take part in your projects in any way?   

My dad, uncle, brothers and cousins are all musical, but quite different in their approach, so it doesn’t feel like competition in any way. My daughter has an incredible ear for melody and a limitless memory for lyrics – she wants to do medicine, so she didn’t get my squeamish gene. I used to play with one of my brothers – Iain – in a bluegrass outfit yonks ago, and I’ve backed up the other brother Gordon on many live sets, but as we get older, the brothers and I tend to avoid interaction with each other’s music as much as possible, and stick to comedy impersonations of our dad, clicking heels and all. I’m a bigger fan of their music than they are of mine, so that helps!

YouTube Preview ImageYour Young Voice

My dad recently organised an Anderson showcase for charity. It was an incredibly surreal afternoon of many different musical styles played in front of a white haired audience, so not a chance of any of it landing up on youtube. 
And relax.

Thankyou so much for your wonderful answers Kenny!

King Creosote and Jon Hopkins by Laura Warecki
King Creosote and Jon Hopkins by Laura Warecki.

Diamond Mine is intended to be listened to in one sitting, so once you’ve had a chance to sample the tracks above make sure you grab a copy of the whole thing. Jon Hopkins and King Creosote will be back on tour in September. Full Diamond Mine tour listing information here. Don’t forget to also check out my interview with Jon Hopkins here.

Categories ,4ad, ,679 Recordings, ,A Sad Ha Ha, ,album, ,And the Racket They Made, ,Bats in the Attic, ,Bombshell, ,Bubble, ,Diamond Mine, ,Domino Records, ,Fence Records, ,Fife, ,Flick the Vs, ,interview, ,Janice Forsyth, ,John Taylor’s Month Away, ,Jon Hopkins, ,Kenny Anderson, ,King Creosote, ,Laura Warecki, ,Magnetophone, ,Pittenweem, ,review, ,Rosemary Cunningham, ,Sam Parr, ,Sarah Alfarhan, ,Steve Gullick, ,The Vice-like Gist of It, ,Victoria Haynes, ,Your Own Spell, ,Your Young Voice

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