Mermaid Overseas: Las Vegas to Phoenix

The soundtrack to a Mermaid making music across three continents.

Where: Las Vegas to Phoenix

When: 10/04/2015 – 14/04/2015

Lesson: Stick with the group

Achievement: Managed to not lose hundreds of dollars in casinos

Lyric: I’m an introverted extrovert

Quote: “This is America”

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1. James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream

“I don’t know about my dreaming anymore”

I’ve found one of the most admired current English musicians is James Blake. Of course I brag that he attended the same course as me at Goldsmiths and I lie that we are best mates. The Kiwi lads listened to him a lot during our week and any music lovers I have met adore him too. I have heard his music playing in bars across California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Colorado. A huge amount of respect for such a talented musician representing the UK across the world (alongwith the lesser Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith)(although I am a sucker for Sam Smith).

He was blasted out at various points in our swanky hotel room in MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. The time spent in the hotel on the first night included gambling and watching little people dress up as Mario and Bon Jovi drinking 16 dollar gin and tonics with Sean, the latest Kiwi addition who lives in Denver. Ross joined later until all four Kiwis and I passed out in a toasty 2 bed set up.

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The days in the gorgeous sunshine were spent eating fast food on the strip and lazing by the pool. Here is me getting my burn on and reading Patti. By the pool I attempted to listen to soothing James Blake but he was drowned out by terrible dance remixes of songs booming over the drunkards.

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2. The Killers – All These Things That I’ve Done

“I got soul but i’m not  soldier”

Saturday night was our big night (despite me wanting a big night every night) and we drank gin among other spirits in our hotel room, playing blackjack and listening to songs including this one. My mind is a fog after the penultimate band photo was taken. I did not actually recall listening to this song but in my phones notes I have scrawled “IvE GiT SOUL BUT I’M bitA SOLDIER”.

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My friends in England will be glad to know I have not changed one wee bit in America as I never actually managed to get out of the hotel on our big night. After polishing off my bottle of gin and slurring to some people in the lobby, I somehow managed to find my way back to the room and pass out vertically across the bed. I was absolutely gutted in the morning to discover I had missed out on the strip club and losing hundreds of dollars in the casinos.

3. Fleetwood Mac – Dreams

“Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions. I keep my visions to myself”

I was also gutted that Fleetwood Mac were playing in our hotel that night and if I had managed to stay awake I legitimately could have bumped into my idol, Stevie! I managed to power through the next day by the pool drinking my Margarita slushy and eating, once again, fast food. Not only did we eat a lot of fast food but I somehow managed to choose a shitty option every time I ordered! Piling on the pounds and not even enjoying the reason is not good.

4. Michael Jackson –  I just can’t stop loving you

“My life ain’t worth living if I can’t be with you”

 We watched the Bellagio lights listening to “My Heart Will Go On” and “Viva Las Vegas” and I escaped the strip to the hotel to watch Friends quite early.

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Behind the light display that happens every 15 minutes was one of the many street performers on the strip. I never saw any particularly talented street performers in Vegas but these 2 people were particularly bad. They blasted out Michael Jackson songs whilst standing relatively still dressed vaguely like Wacko Jacko. This track is what I used to sing on my little bluebird bike with stabilizers up and down my drive back in Menston. I would spend hours screaming out every word, most likely  sounding like shrieking with no listener believing I would grow up to be a singer.

The Kiwi lads returned to the room after their final gambling fix and they rose at 5 to leave my side and head to Austin. A group of such genuine, kind and funny fellas who I am going to try my hardest to visit in New Zealand at some point when I am working in Australia.

5. John Mayer – Free Fallin’

“I’m a bad boy ’cause I don’t even miss her, I’m a bad boy for breaking her heart”

Day 4 in Las Vegas and I was crawling the walls. My beautiful Kiwis departed and I escaped to spend the afternoon in the Cinema watching Get Hard as it was the only thing on. Pretty enjoyable and features John Mayer which reminded me of eating delicious Falafel in San Fran with Gol, Logan and Leah and the guy behind me in the queue going crazy because this track was playing.

I got the chance to record some new ideas before checking out the hotel. I wrote about my introverted behaviour during the week and I thought of my song “Calm In My Head”. This track formed after a chef I worked with (another French man) in London kept asking me “why are you so calm all the time Clare? Why are you so calm?” and I told him i wasn’t calm in my head. I don’t feel like people I meet decipher me correctly and this was a prime example. The same chef did proceed to follow me home that night and try force his way into my house, I kept my calm and he did not succeed.

“Never leave a tinnie behind” has been mine and my chums motto for all my drinking years so I gathered all the leftovers from the hotel room before catching a night bus to Phoenix, Arizona. Unusually there were thorough security checks and naive little me did not realize you’re not allowed alcohol on Greyhounds. The guard kept pulling more bottles and tins out of my Mary Poppins bag looking dissapointedly at me saying “Ooh shit, I would never have known. You seem all quiet and shit and you all drinking and shit. Shit”. Oh, the shame.

Quick stop off in Phoenix before heading to Tucson, Arizona…

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Mermaid Overseas: San Francisco to Yosemite to Death Valley to Flagstaff to Grand Canyon to Las Vegas

The soundtrack to a Mermaid making music across three continents.

Where: San Francisco to Yosemite to Death Valley to Flagstaff to Grand Canyon to Las Vegas

When: 06/04/2015 – 10/04/2015

Lesson: People from New Zealand are called Kiwis because of the bird, not the fruit

Achievement: Having a hell of a lot of car naps in three different states

Lyric: I want the struggle, I need to learn

Quote: “My name’s Ross, I’m from New Zealand” (Ross Hogue) / “Fuck we’re losers” (Mitchell Webb) / “I do this thing called whatever the fuck I want” (Tom Latty)

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1. Fly My Pretties – Bag of Money

“Have you seen my bag of money?”

I cruised out of San Fran in the most basic Jeep (but still a Jeep) available with three strapping Kiwis. Latty was the designated driver, Mitch was the DJ and Ross and I took the backseat eating peanut butter M&Ms. Mitch chose Fly My Pretties as the soundtrack to the beginning of our road trip who are from New Zealand and pretty darn good. This track particularly took my fancy as it reminded me of my chums Charli and Sam off their faces running around festivals and asking anyone who would listen “have you seen my bag of cash?”

Many conversations revolved around the differences and similarities in England and New Zealand, including accents. Mitch has a pretty good Landan accent and a common reaction to anything I said was “you fackin’ what mate?!”. Despite my fabulous American accent, I cannot nail the Kiwi.

2. Bon Iver – Holocene

“and at once I knew I was not magnificent”

Mitchy listened to some pretty sterling music including Bon Iver. This track stalked us on the road trip as it was chosen for the car soundtrack and also playing in a bar we were in one night. I love the way Bon Iver can capture nature’s imagery in sound, as if you can see where he was when he wrote these tracks. I aim to channel the incredible sights we saw in Yosemite and Death Valley into my writing.

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As this road trip was not in my initial plan I was less than prepared for the rain and snow in Yosemite. I donned a fluorescent yellow poncho which resulted in my name for the day being Condom. Here we are looking soggy, but happy.

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I felt like a child again on the first night in the hostel in Yosemite as it was “quiet time” after 11 and I had to creep into a pitch black dorm full of agitated French women groaning at my disturbance. A slightly different environment to the party hostels I have been embracing!

3. America – Horse With No Name

“The heat was hot and the ground was dry but the air was full of sound”

Latty, the machine, powered through the long drives and we arrived in Death Valley just in time for sunset. During the course of the road trip I managed to somehow slip back into being 8 years old and all I seemed to do was eat fast food, eat snacks, fall asleep, and repeat. Obviously not the best car companion to have and to top it off I felt like I was acting quite introverted for the majority of the time, spending the hours gazing into the desert, humming this song in my head and pretending I was Walter White at the wheel.

I felt a little naked not playing my guitar as much as I would have liked to but played a few songs around a campfire where we slept in Death Valley, sipping tinnies and wine. We rented a large tent and slept on what can only be described as hospital stretchers in sleeping bags. Despite Death Valley having the hottest temperature in the world, in the middle of an April night, cold is the only word that could escape my mouth.

We set off at 5am to watch the sunrise. Definitely worth the early waking for such spectacular sights and engulfing silence. The silence was broken by grumpy, tired Mitch spitting and farting, the sounds I got used to, me being one of the lads. Here he is in the glorious sunrise, probably burping as i took the shot.

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We carried on to be in blistering heat reaching the lowest point in USA. We took a selection of different moody band photos in each place we visited and here are my favourites.

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Badwater Basin

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Hoover Damm

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Yosemite

4. Tyler The Creator ft. Frank Ocean – She

“During sex, I overheard, a sword sliced the air, I pulled out the na-na”

The first night I met the Kiwi lads Mitch and I compared music libraries and although featuring a lot of similar artists his all time love is Tyler The Creator. Rap is not usually my cup of tea and my bestie Lottie has tried to get me into him before but I have included him in my soundtrack now and I am growing to really like him.

Mitch blasted Tyler in our room in Flagstaff before we had some delicious Thai food and one dollar beers at a College bar, eyeing up the Arizonian shorties and swiping through Tinder. I do enjoy being one of the lads as I always have done.

For our last leg with the Jeep we listened to the soothing Stephen Fry read the first 2 Harry Potters which was thoroughly enjoyable but bizarre when juxtaposed with the Desert surroundings. We also played 20 questions with Ross starting with the impossible “pocket lint”. One of mine was Deidre Barlow and I was very impressed of Latty’s vast knowledge of my beloved Corrie, which I am missing so much.

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5. Chet Faker – No Diggity

“Baby never act wild, very low key on the profile”

Chet Faker heavily influenced the week’s soundtrack. This track was featured in the Golden Gate Park jam with Adelaide and Shane and this version was played in the Jeep, came on in the Flagstaff bar and when Sean (another Kiwi fella) joined us when we arrived in Las Vegas he also whacked it on the speakers.

We went to see The Grand Canyon which was bloody grand. I went to the Grand Canyon with my parents and did a similar route across the desert when I was at an age when I did not appreciate the experience at all. These vague memories and my childlike behavior in the car, creeped me out as, naturally, I feel I am a completely different human being since then. Perhaps that was why I was not acting completely myself during this amazing week and perhaps not representing England as wonderfully as I could have. I am still pretty sick though as this photo proves.

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Checked into MGM Grand Hotel now with the 4 fanfuckingtastic Kiwi lads and ready to gamble my dignity (or what’s left of it) away…

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Mermaid Overseas: San Francisco

The soundtrack to a Mermaid making music across three continents.

Where: San Francisco

When: 01/04/2015 – 05/04/2015

Lesson: Never feel like a prostitute

Achievement: Recording session with Arnaz

Lyric: The secrets I want to scream out loud, write it all down.

Quote: “Pineapple, pineapple” / “Clur”

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1. Suzanne Vega – Luka

“I guess I’d like to be alone, with nothing broken, nothing thrown”

The musicians I have met post performances in San Fran have all been really helpful with advice on good venues to play and music I may like judging from my sound. Mario at Ireland 32 told me to listen to this track saying I sound like her. Other comparisons have been to The XX and Adele (pretty sure just because i’m English).

I have to revise my notes on my phone each morning or when writing this which often make no sense at all as I’ve just written down random words. These include such phrases as “510 Bad Smut”, “Mighty”, “Hop Munk” and many more. Considering I also use my phone notes to write lyrics they are all getting rather jumbled.

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2. Bob Dylan – Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright

“I’m walking down that long, lonesome road, babe. Where I’m bound, I can’t tell
but goodbye’s too good a word”

Arnaz, who I met when he played at Green Tortoise Hostel, performed this track and I sang along loudly with red wine teeth, probably ruining his lovely rendition. This is one of my Dylan faves and relevant to my soundtrack as I am ultimately chilled, not thinking twice and definitely alright.

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Mario was introduced to me through Arnaz who I recorded some backing vocals for in a session for his current project. It was great to get back into a studio environment with Mike engineering, both fellas oozing creativity and professionalism. I loved listening to Arnaz talk about the intention of the lyrics relating to the intensity of using the voice, as I felt we think about music in a very similar way. My favourite day in San Francisco with a nice balance of music, pizza and giggles. I also got to listen to Patrick recording violin for a couple of tracks which was a blessing. This is a video from the day, I’m really looking forward to hearing the finished tracks in July!

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3. Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk

“Got to kiss myself i’m so pretty”

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In the hostel we formed a crew for a few nights of a mixed bag of nationalities. The longest standing members of the boozey crew were myself, Ben (Australia), Kinden (Canada) and Pia (Argentina). Pia is the greatest girly and I was so sad to say bye as she headed off on an adventure down the coast with some guys she met in a shop who bought her a funky jacket.

We partied at a Motown night full of locals where me and Pia had a bit of a wild one and the notes on my phone written to her in the back of a car recall the events and form some very amusing lyrics for a song coming soon. We went on a bar crawl with Leafy from China, both the girls having the boldest personalities in the best way. One American lady did not agree with my loving admiration for Pia as when watching a band in The Saloon she kicked off an argument and called her unspeakable insults, trying to kick her out the bar.

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Me and Pia jammed in the hostel after a few too many vinos but here is a snippet of the result.

On Ben and Pia’s last night we went to a bar where Uptown Funk came on and we head bopped and discussed how Pia would like nothing more than to have an English accent, be pale with freckles and have ginger hair. Pia is insanely beautiful with dark olive skin and dark hair so that is the most hilarious wish to pastey me and ginge Ben. We sat for hours repeating the word ‘Pineapple’, comparing the intonation in accents and creating a dance beat tune. I now send Pia voice notes on whatsapp when I get good enough WiFi so that she can be reminded of my accent.

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4. Patti Smith – Gloria

“My sins my own, they belong to me”

Easter weekend Saturday I sat reading Patti Smith’s book in Dolores park, listening to some great jams. It was paradise and the combination of the city’s ambiance, the music and Patti Smith’s words filled me to the brim with inspiration and I managed to get a lot of writing done.

This song takes me back to secondary school when I starred in Return To The Forbidden Planet, a musical version of The Tempest. I panicked before making my entrance trying to work out whether my radio mic was on or off. I managed to switch it off and sang half of this song with no amplification. I wasn’t embarrassed because of the audience but more so when telling the music technician that I had turned it off myself seconds before entering the stage. I had an unbelievably large crush on Ross, the music technician, and one night in San Fran I had a vivid dream that we finally got together and woke horrified to find it wasn’t true. Perhaps a touch ridiculous to be dreaming about him on the other side of the world five years out of school.

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I recorded some demos in my room and also met Florian a blogger from Switzerland who interviewed me (on the same Zoom recorder I have!) and gave me my 300th like on Facebook. Here is a new demo and I think on my return to this fabulous city I will try book in with Mike to get a proper track down.

5. Vanessa Carlton – A Thousand Miles

“It’s always times like this when I think of you and I wonder if you ever think of me”

I met Elicia when I first arrived at Green Tortoise Hostel as she is working there, although she is from New Zealand. I spent a lot of time with her and she is one super angel. One night we went out with the other people working at the hostel and her three Kiwi friends beginning their month trip across the states. As all the bars in California shut by 2am I was very happy to hit an underground club and party till 6am, the  kind of party I am used to. I spent most the time learning about peoples lives in the smoking area and having some really interesting conversations about music.

Fortunately, this track was not playing in the underground club but one of the crappy choices blasted out in the hostel ballroom by an incredibly irritating group of skaters who took over the place for Easter weekend. This was one of the better songs they played compared to the other crap.

Pia agreed that you need a daily dose of music in life and one of my days exploring San Fran with my soundtrack blasting was spent around the Castro district listening to Prince and looking at all the pretty rainbows.

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One thing I am surprised not to be missing is television, although growing weary at the thoughts of not being able to easily laze with Gub watching new Game of Thrones. I did watch the majority of Mrs Doubtfire, if only to look at street names and know where they are in San Francisco! I have noticed Robin Williams to be stalking me a bit the past few weeks, RIP.

Spur of the moment I decided to head out of San Francisco with Elicia’s three Kiwi friends Mitch, Latty and Ross. Currently in a car commencing a road trip to Yosemite, Death Valley, Grand Canyon and Las Vegas… I shall be back San Fran…

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Mermaid Overseas: San Francisco

The soundtrack to a Mermaid making music across three continents.

Where: San Francisco

When: 27/03/2015 to 31/03/2015

Lesson: At no point is a bathroom floor a good place to nap

Achievement: Silencing the ballroom and jamming for hours all over the city

Lyric: I’ve got a man in each city and each one knows my name

Quote: “You are hella sexy”

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1. Talking Heads – Making Flippy Floppy

“Set someone free, break someones heart”

When I first moved to the Green Tortoise hostel which is a great place to stay, particularly for any musician or nocturnal being, I didn’t manage to actually sleep in my bed for a number of nights. One morning I woke up in a different hostel entirely where a guy wearing magenta towels, one on his head and one around his waist, was blasting out this track in the Saturday morning sun. He told me there is a lyric about breaking someones heart to set them free and this stuck in my thoughts for a while. Talking Heads are commonly heard in my soundtrack but I am not so familiar with this track. The loud music obliterated any confusion or regret the hungover morning could have brought and I danced up San Fran hills back to my own bed.

This particular morning was post Beer Pong Olympics (which I sat out and chatted with Aussies and Kiwis as any competitive sport is not my forte) and dancing in a Motown bar. My last recollection is smashing my double G&T at the top of some stairs in the bar and receiving rapturous applause.

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2. Local Natives – Cubism Dream

“I had changed into the certain kind of man that could break your heart with his own hands”

I freshened up blasting out Local Natives, a band who suit my Californian surroundings soundtrack and this track is my favourite as the name relates to the incredible buildings in this city. I started boozing early with Heather, who I met in Santa Barbara and lives in San Fran! We had such a great time sharing stories, all a touch inappropriate for sharing on here, sipping margaritas and shotting Fireball. Fireball is a liquid often shoved into my face and that horrible cinnamon whiskey taste remains in my mouth always. Heather is so full of life and beautiful, I shall be meeting her again somewhere along the way!

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I was not so beautiful or full of life when I woke up to the first American barman knocking on the bathroom door, on the floor of which I was asleep. The bar was closing and somehow I had once again looked at the tiled floor of a loo and decided it was going to be the comfiest sleep I will ever have. A different evening I went for some drinks with the fabulous Bess who I met in Amsterdam Hostel and we discussed our spiritual beliefs. I also shared some of my stories which I myself sometimes struggle to believe are true. On Bess and Heather’s advice I think I will have to begin an anonymous blog to share those bad boys.

On one of my first days in San Francisco I had gone into an Irish bar looking for WiFi (the bane of my life) and despite the bar not having it I stayed for a Guinness. I chatted to Shane, the Irish barman, who is also a musician and lives in the city! He invited me to go for a jam with him and some others in Golden Gate Park and I looked forward to it all week.

Sunday came and in the sun and we jammed, listening to Adelaide B from Belgium singing, Shane on guitar and Sol on cello who is from Santa Barbara but currently living in a tree. I could listen to Sol playing his cello or spouting wisdom oozing his amazing outlook on life all day. He filled me with inspiration and I hope to meet him again and write some music together someday. Here he is with Shane too.

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3. Moldy Peaches – Anyone Else But You

“Kiss you all starry eyed, my body’s swinging from side to side”

There were so many people in the park soaking up the sun and listening to the massive drum circle constantly vibing. A group of people also staying at The Green Tortoise formed a circle and I played for them and Laya from Bordeaux also sung Anyone Else But You. Joining in for some backing vocals I was reminded of covering the song at Goldsmiths and it made me happy with the progress I have made as an artist since those days.

4. The Little Mermaid – Under The Sea

“Darling it’s better down where it’s wetter, take it from me”

I met Gol, an effervescent lady from Montreal, in my room at the hostel and she came with me for the park jam and a clown play we watched that evening. We went with three San Franciscans who, we realized about half way through the play, had drunk far too much whiskey and had lost a few too many marbles to be around small children in an audience. It was Sol that took us there and I just found out that he was attacked in the park that night and someone stole his cello which has broken my heart to remember there are still shit people in the world. The clown show was a bizarre experience to be shared and Gol and I hurried home after. My favourite clown was a girl who Sol “fell pretty hard in love” with and she ended up as a mermaid in the finale with this track playing!

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Mermaids followed me and Gol around (which I am used to being one myself) as I bought some knee high mermaid socks and watched the Hook mermaid scene in a shop before putting a deposit down for my mermaid tattoo. Gol got her heart balloon on her ribs and was very brave as I held her hands and chatted bollocks to keep her mind off the pain. Here the beauty is and I am so sad she has gone back to Vancouver and is not by my side!

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At our hostel, full of fabulous people, Arnaz performed in the ballroom on the Monday night. His style and voice is right up my street, reminding me of Neil Young. Some people got up and joined him on drums, piano and electric guitar but I still haven’t conquered the art of jamming with confidence, so I sat it out. I approached Arnaz and Keith (the sound man) afterwards and asked if I could play a couple of songs quickly before a group of us were going out on the lash. I played and everyone in the ballroom fell silent and listened intently which is more than any performer can ask for and it was really appreciated. In the days to follow I was branded the English singer girl.

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5. Patti Smith – Because The Night

“Come on now try and understand the way I feel when i’m in your hands”

On Gol’s advice I went to the famous City Lights Bookstore just by our hostel and spent hours perving on the books and deciding I had to buy one, especially as I have become some kind of technophobe and cannot make my kindle function. I was tempted by a Tom Waits book, Charles Bukowski, Philip Roth and more. I remembered my good old mermaid Abs raving about Patti Smith’s book ‘Kids’ so I bought that and my goodness, it is a fabulous and inspiring read.

Liam, who I met when I arrived in San Fran, had advised I read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas so I think when I get to Vegas i’ll hunt that down for my next book. This track is the one I know best by Patti, although I am broadening my knowledge and appreciation everyday, as it was written with my Brucey.

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I performed at an open mic night at Ireland 32 alongside Joel, Maya and Ethan who I met at Bazaar Cafe the week before. Here is Maya performing her song at Bazaar which is precisely my cup of tea.

I ended up staying for a lock in at the bar, jamming with Mario including Bruce covers among others and my own songs too. People buying me beers and lack of sleep made my performances even more subdued than normal and here is some of it.

I learnt this cover intending to perform it at my Grandpa’s funeral but never actually did. It always reminds me of him and my Nana now and I know they would be very excited for me on my adventure.

A fanbloodytastic adventure still continuing in Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco and more to come…

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Mermaid Overseas: Santa Barbara to San Francisco

The soundtrack to a Mermaid making music across three continents.

Where: Santa Barbara to San Francisco

When: 20/03/2015 – 26/03/2015

Lesson: Vodka causes inhumanly deep sleep and severe memory loss (A lesson I learnt many years ago)

Achievement: Busking in Santa Barbara and Bazaar Cafe open mic

Lyric: Don’t restrict us for the breasts we’ve grown, don’t stop us because we are on our own

Quote: “Fackin Brits abroad”

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1. The Do – Dust It Off

“If you hold onto the past, don’t you lock yourself inside”

I spend quite some time (and money) in coffee shops gathering my thoughts, writing and when unplugged from my earphones listening to whatever music is playing. The original of this track was playing in Starbucks when I planted myself there after busking at the Farmer’s Market in Santa Barbara. These live session videos were shown to me by Harri, a great chum who I recorded my EP with, and these videos are what made me fall in love with The Do. They have been part of my soundtrack everyday since. Me and my main Mermaid Abs went to see them live in London and it was incredible. As flawless as her voice sounds on their albums, to hear it live it is almost somehow more perfect.

Despite only making a few dollars and a bag of almonds busking, I thoroughly enjoyed myself and also heard some other musicians playing such as these little chickens raising money to get to camp. I’m not sure if my beer fund is quite as worthy of donation.

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2. David Bowie – Let’s Dance

“If you say run, I’ll run with you”

After a manic departure from San Diego, life was swell once more when I arrived at my hostel in Santa Barbara. I don’t think you can really call The Wayfarer a hostel judging how dead fancy it is (it also costs double the price that I have ever paid for a bed). When I arrived there was no one in my room – kitted out with amenities, a TV and comfy beds so I immediately blasted out this track and went for an evening dip in the empty pool. Privacy is an expensive bonus and definitely worth it every now and then.

I made the other two girls in my room uncomfortable as they walked in to find me with my guitar writing and recording, so that came to a swift ending. One of the girls was Heather who was on a Tinder holiday which inspired me for extra activities for my three week stay in my next stop San Fran, where she also lives!

I’m not sure what is going on in California but I keep being given the most ridiculous compliments that I am growing concerned I may return to England as a massive twat. Two people stopped me on the street within one hour in Santa Barbara to tell me how amazing my vibe was and how much they loved me.

I waited for a 1am Greyhound bus in a bar where “Let’s Dance” came on as I wrote a hell of a lot of lyrics. The running theme through these tracks seems to be dancing so I think I should aim to write a song relating to boogie. The bar closed so I then waited on the street, looking pretty homeless until the sweaty and uncomfortable night journey began. I didn’t receive quite as many compliments when I fell off that bus in San Francisco.

3. Angel Olsen – Dance Slow Decades

“Thought I had an answer, it was just a sigh”

I’m still obsessed with this album and this track has been the favourite for striding up and down the sunny hills of fantastic San Francisco. I have walked all over the city to Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, Haight Ashbury, Castro district, Union Square, and more with my tunes blasting.

I find these lyrics relative to the big questions floating around my head on these walks and I’m so grateful to my brother for introducing me to her. Whilst sat in a coffee shop writing this I just watched unfucktheworld in Angel Olsen’s Tiny Desk Concert and tears are rolling down my cheeks.

I find the music that has been on my phone for the past few months feels foreign now as I walk around new places so I’m looking for a whole new library and I ask the hundreds of people I’m meeting to advise me on their soundtracks.

One of my favourite days has been sitting on Hippie Hill with my guitar writing songs and then walking down Haight choosing which tattoo artist to have do my Mermaid, soon to be on my forearm.

I met three English fellas from dan sath and an Aussie couple from Melbourne to party with on the first night in Amsterdam hostel. Bottles of three dollar voddy were sneaked into bars and in one we found these two guys playing piano and taking requests to do funny covers. Someone happened to request “Otherside” which was the cover I did in Paris with Joe which means my superpower to control my soundtrack still functions despite being blindly obliterated.

The Aussie couple, Jeremy and Greer, had been on an adventure and definitely loved to party which is the kind of relationship I will be in when I finally settle down with some dashing chap. This dashing chap could potentially be living in America and we could potentially carry on these Vodka dreams for eternity as one.

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4. The Eagles – Hotel California

“Some dance to remember, some dance to forget”

All Americans seem to be so proud of whichever town they are from and they have no shame in this song playing in the majority of bars I’ve been in throughout California. I did a glorious trip across Golden Gate Bridge to Sausilito in the blistering heat with Harry and Ryan (all proud to be English) where we were stranded for a couple of hours. So naturally, we British splashed out on some drinks with some incredible scenery. On the way back to our hostel a motorcycle dude drove past blasting out this track.

A memorable bartender served us overpriced beers and said “I used to date a musician, she was broken. Are you broken?” A rather bold question to ask but surely being fixed makes life much more boring?

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Blinding vodka obliteration reoccurred the following night with the people I was sharing a dorm with. Unfortunately I passed out, as I am known to do, into an un-wakeable slumber and only the night after was I told of the awful experience the other girl in my room had suffered with two disgusting guys.  An eye-opener reminder to be careful. A couple of days later I discovered this in my lyric book, a small token of kindness and mystery to come out of a horrific night that I slept through.

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I performed at Bazaar Cafe which was a great opportunity to meet other musicians in the area. I met many including Maya and Joel whose music I thoroughly enjoy. The night was completely acoustic in a small space which was intimate and bohemian, reminding me of The Grove open mic in Leeds. Here’s some of the performances I heard.

5. St Germain – Rose Rouge

This cracking tune has returned to my ears after blasting in my ears a while ago when I was seeing a charming french man. From Heather’s inspiration I went on my first Tinder date and the chap  reminded of this charming frog as he looked a lot like him. The date was nothing to write home about but a bit of fun on a sunny afternoon.

The songs I’ve been writing tend to sway topically towards men I have met although none of them French which seems unusual. Here is a rough demo of a song i’m working on, recorded in Golden Gate Park in between hobos popping out of bushes to give me more compliments and just be their general loony selves.

Still in San Fran staying in the super (super is a word I hear every 5 minutes) cool Green Tortoise Hostel, building some musical ties and having a ruddy good time…

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