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!

Heather

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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