Mermaid Overseas: London to Los Angeles

The soundtrack to a Mermaid making music across three continents.

Where: London to Los Angeles

When: 10/03/2015 – 14/03/2015

Lesson: A pastey white girl needs stronger sun cream than 20 SPF

Achievement: Blasting through ‘Jolene’ on Karaoke

Lyric: I don’t really want to talk to anybody before I have anything to say

Quote: “Clare”. “Clara?”. “Clare.”. “Cla?”. “Clayeeer”. “Aah, Clare.”


1. Van Morrison – Caravan

“We can get down to what is really wrong. I long just to hold you in my arms”

As songs stalk you in UK life, they can still travel and stick with you in the USA. Either that or my superpower of soundtracking my own life still functions overseas. I thought about this as I blasted Van Morrison in my ears during the 11 hour plane journey. It takes me to the cellar with Paddy playing pool deafening ourselves and screaming “I CAN HEAR THE MERRY GYPSIES PLAY!”. I decided that If i’m alone, above the clouds, looking down on the world and a song can make me feel as if I’m with my Dad on the lowest floor of the house which I’ve grown up in since I was 3, then surely I won’t feel lonely at all for the next 15 months.

I listened to Van the Man in between balling my eyes out watching Interstellar, longing to be a Hobbit, deciding I would win the Hunger Games and hoping I’ll meet Liam from Nashville (Michiel Huisman) on a street after hiking for weeks and he will want to have sex with me too. I suppose I would have to go on a hike for the last one to happen which is extremely unlikely after Paddy once made me endure the blistering heat of the Bryce Canyon hike when I was 10, fat, burnt and lazy. That will not be happening on this trip.


2. Prince – I Wanna Be Your Lover

“I wanna be the only one who makes you come for”

In films music can affect the audience’s perception of a scene and it’s meaning so what if your soundtrack remains recognizable but you are in a completely different scene set in, let’s say, California? In rainy England I can lift myself out of any sadness without fail by blasting Prince through my Bose earphones and I am engulfed and happy once more before he has screeched the first “I wanna be your lover”. All my music stalkers will be in California with me – there will be Prince, I imagine David will make an appearance, as he often does, and Bruce will absolutely be accompanying many journeys in solitude.

On my first proper night in LA I went on a hostel bar crawl in Hollywood. I get abuse all the time in London for introducing myself to people that I have met at about 5 previous parties and still I have no recollection of their name. This terrible trait of mine does not bode well for me in hostels and I have spent many conversations with people looping their name, where they are from and key fact in my mind to prevent such abuse abroad.

On the bar crawl I met Kad (Kad, Grenoble (France), PHD in Computer Science) who I agreed to do Karaoke with once we had drunk enough Margheritas. About 7 later he steamed through “Mad World” (which I almost missed from some Mexican guy incesantly kissing me – didn’t ask his name) and I stepped up to do “Jolene”. I actually stalk “Jolene” more than the song stalks me in my life’s soundtrack. I first performed it stood on a table in the middle of a pub full of approximately 50 Kellys in Ireland and one of my angel’s face (Charli, Keighley, best friend since we were 14) was on the telly in her role of Emma in the Channel 4 series “No Angels”.

I’ve performed this track, along with “Son of a Preacherman”,  whenever intoxicated and a group asks me to sing and also when I was busking in Leeds at Christmas last year. Kad explained that “Jolene” had been the soundtrack to his trip when he had been travelling around Ireland with his friends a couple of weeks before arriving in LA. He and Melinda (Melinda, Lyon (France), Fashion design) proceeded to call me Jolene for the following days which was cute or maybe they just couldn’t remember my name. We drank Hoegarden and rose and made this video with some help from Alan (Alan, Michigan USA, comedian). I played some more tracks in the hostel garden also.

One day Kad happened to be listening to “Otherside” by RHCP when I was passing through our dorm room so in the end, he brought me the song from my Paris soundtrack (see previous post) and I brought the song from his Ireland soundtrack. Spooky.

3. Marvin Gaye – Sexual Healing (Kygo Remix)

“I’m hot just like an oven, I need some loving”

I love hostels and learning about so many different cultures from people on different adventures. I went to Venice beach one day with Kad, Melinda, Stuard (Stuard, Holland, parents owned a company that fly horses across the world) and two girls from Denmark (Marie & Line, Denmark, 20 so couldn’t drink but had a car for cruising) and listened to this Norwegian’s remixes on my fabulous Boise speaker that my gadget lover brother got me for my travels. I forgot I was British for an afternoon and burnt to a crisp.

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The only time I have alone to sing and progress the lyrics I have been scribbling constantly is in the shower. Unfortunately guitars don’t play well in water so I am struggling to get any demos recorded as of yet.

4. Angel Olsen – unfucktheworld

“I have to save my life, I need some piece of mind. I am the only one now.”

My brother (Tom, Leeds, Electronic Engineering nerd) not only buys me cracking gadget gifts every year but has given me music for my soundtrack all my life. From long car journeys with Radiohead on repeat, the Nirvana Unplugged album and giving me 2 of his guitars when I went to Uni, he continues to advise me on new artists I should listen to. I had been sent Angel Olsen’s song before,”Windows” by Niall (Niall, Sheffield, old band mate from Squabbling Otters) a while ago and her latest album sent to me from Tom, including that track, is divine.

Tom told me to always listen to an album as a whole piece of work and not just single tracks. I do this but I often have my favourite song which I stick on repeat and dissolve in, which is this opening track from “Burn Your Fire For No Witness”. I fell asleep to it looping one night post sunburn after watching a comedy night and being the butt of a joke as I was informed I looked like a heroin addict slipping under.

5. Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney – FourFiveSeconds

“I’m trying to make it back home by Monday morning”

I listen to this song and I am in my bedroom in Leeds with my best friend (Lottie, Bingley, the most amazing gal in the world) dancing around naked while she makes a playlist for one of the many leaving doos last month at my house. It was playing in a bar one night and in the 2 Denmark girls car on the roasting journey back to the hostel from the beach.

I spent all day in Beverley Hills with Mousab (Mousab, Saudi Arabia, living in Michigan and looks like Emile Hirsch from Into the Wild) whilst not being able to remember his name, despite partying with him all of the night before. A true faupar on my behalf but we had fun and ate some fancy chocolate on Rodeo Drive as I explained I would feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman if I actually entered any of the clothes shops. He reminded me of his name that evening and after he heard me sing he was amazed that my voice sounded like that compared to my “mouse-like” speaking voice. This is something I need to work on during my adventure.

I met Alan after the Karaoke night as we chatted to some southern English boys who were arseholes. He told me he loved Elusive Yusef and purchased the EP listening to it as he drove to Malibu to watch the sunset. On my last night we saw an incredible Jazz Funk band in a bar who had a flutist who mesmerised me by mastering the look of not giving a shit and being so into the music at the same time.

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Getting my first Greyhound Bus to San Diego, CA.


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