Mermaid Overseas: New Orleans

The soundtrack to a Mermaid making music across three continents.

Where: New Orleans

When: 23/4/2015 – 29/4/2015

Lesson: Fucked

Achievement: Fucked

Lyric: You make me know who I am when you’re around

Quote: “Fucked” / “She’s a singer-songwriter and you’re a drug addict” / “I’m all about that” / “Miami” / “Are you going to the hospital or Jazz Fest?” / “what do you mean the witches aren’t working because of the weather? get on your broomstick it’s only a tornado man”

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1. The Animals – House of the Rising Sun

“There is a house in New Orleans they call the Rising Sun”

There is a hostel in New Orleans they call India House and it’s been a ruin of many a poor boy, in Beau I know I’ve won. There is a lot of blanks to fill in for this soundtrack whether that be due to memory loss or that I would not want my Dad to read the content.

I arrived in New Orleans and managed to soak up some culture on an extensive walk in the rain around the French Quarter pausing in a park with the hobos to write some lyrics to reflect my love for Denver. I returned to India House hostel and from then the downward and magnificent spiral began.

This track was everywhere in the blur of watching, listening and performing music during the 5 day massacre and, quite frankly, I could not pin point where and when if my life depended on it. The first gem I met was Beau from Canberra (where I now know is the capital of Australia) who had arrived from 3 weeks in Miami, a city he is head over heels in love with. We purchased our first of many bottles of Vodka and perched with Rick and Jeff who are a hilarious couple from Maryland. Rick is from planet Glutonite (celiac) and shared some delicious snacks as I watched an Irish girl named Kit wolf down some spagbol. It was in this moment that I realised we were born to find one another.

The dream team of myself, Beau and Kit hopped in for the most bizarre car ride around what seemed like the entire of New Orleans and the suburbs with two poor German girls attempting to get to the bus station and the anti-feminist male driving, supping on beers at the wheel and quite clearly having no idea what was going on. We got out the car momentarily as I turned to Kit and asked “did he just piss on his own car?”. Eventually we arrived back at the hostel to polish off more voddy and expand our group before heading to Bourbon and Frenchmen Street to see some live music and be all round wreck-heads.

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photo (17)Have a twinkle while you tinkle in NOLA

The Spotted Cat bar has this piano in the loo which I had a few plays on during my visit. I managed to find Ben, an Aussie I met in San Fran, in the same bar for a catch up before he headed to Mexico. People partnered up and dwindled apart until the wee hours of the morning were spent  with Kit, a homeless guy and Charlie on the Mississippi river. Charlie is an Aussie from Melbourne 11 months into his adventure who scored high on the “most off your tits” scale. It is a funny sight to see someone so tall incoherent and unable to walk.

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2. Nick Drake – Riverman

“Oh how they come and go”

Charlie and I breakfasted on red wine and Supernoodles and we played Gin Rummy with Gitte from Denmark, who was hostel bound with a broken ankle and Luke from Knoxville who wasn’t actually staying at the hostel but joined the parties. I was shit at the card games but we also listened to some great music (Nick Drake) and shared our own songs. Here is Charlie and Luke jamming just before the storm.

I could hear my brother’s voice laying into me as I ranted away about Nick Drake’s latest film “20,000 Days on Earth” and how great it was, only to capture a sober second and click that I was referring to Nick Cave, a mortifying mix up that you are annihilated for in the Kelly family. We also heard some music from Tetsu Mineta and I did a CD swap with him in hope of being big in Japan.

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During the day I believe we made 3 trips to the run down liquor store on the corner, one with Charlie bare foot and incredibly alike to Mowgali. Over the course of the NOLA whirlwind we had “the usual” order of Taaka Vodka bottles and fruity chasers and fruit flavoured voddy for Beau. Here’s Mowgli in the rain probably a couple of bottles of Taaka down.

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All sorts of additions joined and lost the booze infused crew such as Taurean, Peter, Grace and many more all probably there the night before just not to my recollection of points of arrival and departure. We grouped and managed to get the Streetcar down to the French Quarter when Charlie and I bailed and went straight back to the hostel and somehow lost each other in the space of 10 minutes.

3. The Who – Who Are You

“Who are you? Who Who Who Who”

Who are we? Every one of us questioned ourselves as morning came and we tucked into more Taaka and wine preparing for a day in the rain at the Jazz Festival. The air was humid and we were hot messes as we managed to get to the festival eventually, losing some stragglers along the way.

Kit and I managed to catch The Who after slipping and sliding in the mud and love and here’s the photo to prove my attendance, and also my dire yet fabulous state.

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It came to the point where too many people were kindly whispering in my ear, “getting a little late isn’t it?” which translates to “GO HOME LOVE” so I found a magic coach which dropped me right at India House’s door and I hopped in the pool, covered in mud to rediscover Rick who had been avoiding us for 2 days, believing he had done something unforgivable on the first night. This was far from the truth and we floated around in each others embrace as Charlie returned after being taken by the police to hospital for being too drunk, bragging that he had tested negative for HIV.

We believe it was around this hour that Charlie fell down the stairs from the pool and onto a previous wound he had suffered in Ecuador thee weeks earlier. I had also slipped on the wet wood and Rick had cleaned up my bleeding, swollen knee. There was a moment where Charlie, Gitte and I were hobbling in a line down a path and we realised we may never make it out of New Orleans alive.

Charlie quickly returned to Mowgli state and was carried to bed and I was to pass out a close second later. NOLA got the best of us and we missed the night out which was special as it was then my partner in crime Kit’s birthday at midnight! I let her down but kudos to her being an even bigger trooper than me.

4. Nick Cave – Into My Arms

“I would kneel down and ask him not to intervene when it came to you, not to touch a hair on your head, leave you as you are”

It was the Sabbath day, a stormy Sunday, Kit’s 23rd birthday and the day when the serious question was raised – “are you going to the hospital or Jazz Fest?”. Charlie is a Hemophiliac and his fall the night before had resulted in excruciating pain and a bottom cheek double the size of the other. He was shouting out in pain and offering me money to bring him some water but it took me a while to understand the severity of the situation. We still managed to fit in another daytime drink session and a denim photo shoot before we headed to the hospital in the evening.

Here I am with my two favourite people I have met. One thing I have learnt is how I thrive surrounded by other functioning alcoholics. Kit is the Irish, Brunette, brassier version of me. Charlie could be the male parallel to my life from the other side of the world except for he writes blues music about chickens and, as crazy Grace from the hostel told me, I write songs that cut out a section of my soul. Think I’ll start a song about chickens.

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I stayed with Charlie in the hospital listening to more music, Nick Cave’s “Into My Arms” accompanying our old married couple scenario quite fittingly. We watched crappy American TV, shared hospital food and the next day got a wheelchair to get outside for crafty fags. I’m almost certain everyone in the hostel thought we were homeless people looking for a bed for the night as I tottered around in a cropped top and Charlie’s ripped items of clothing covered in bruises and bites. Aside from Charlie being in tremendous amounts of pain, the nurses not giving him strong enough painkillers for hours,  a moaning man post knee surgery named Mack in the same room and doctors entering every 15 minutes, I actually had a fabulous time. The calm after the storm in New Orleans literally and metaphorically from the weekend antics. He also had a lovely window view to watch the tornadoes.

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Everyone in the India House fucked up family was concerned for Charlie. Benoit another musician from Canada kindly drove me to the hospital with Charlie’s bags and told me stories of his NOLA experience including finding his soul-mate which is dead nice, init? They look pretty soul-matey. I don’t really believe in soul-mates but I feel there is a reason I met such a great group of people in New Orleans and I feel blessed to have had such an amazing time and to have survived until the bitter end.

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5. The Cure – Common People

“‘Cause everybody hates a tourist especially one who thinks it’s all such a laugh, yeah and the chip stain’s grease will come out in the bath.”

My true love Kit was the first to depart and the goodbye was devastating for all (but particularly me). Kit, Rick, Jeff, Sarah and I visited the Hurricane Katrina memorial repeating the word “fucked” as we looked at the still apparent ruins. We drank drive through Daiquiris, ate tacos, ran through the buckets of rain and partied briefly on Frenchmen Street. I played some songs in the hostel as more liquor topped us up for the final hurrah.

We went to some bars but my last hours with Kitty-Kat were spent on the street screaming “Common People” and dancing like lunatics. I serenaded her and Jeff and obnoxiously signed a CD for him and Rick to sell when I am famous. Kit did not enjoy the music as much as she said “I thought you were just a mess like me but you had to go and be talented”.

Sarah, another Aussie, was on top form all night and hilarious entertainment along with Beau’s final serenade for Kit. I was heartbroken as we waved goodbye at 5am to our Irish sweetheart but nothing could compare to Beau shouting “I’M GONNA MISS YOU KIT”, chasing the shuttle bus down the street and getting his arm stuck in the door as the bus pulled away into the distance, returning Kit to New York where she is working.

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Mind boggled as to why I am the last man standing in New Orleans as every crackhead companion has departed.. Sat on the Mississippi attempting to write songs reflecting the time of my life…

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Mermaid Overseas: Colorado Springs to Denver

The soundtrack to a Mermaid making music across three continents.

Where: Colorado Springs to Denver

When: 17/04/2015 – 22/04/2016

Lesson: How to smoke properly

Achievement: Open mic at Meadow Lark

Lyric: I kiss your ink to taste the sound in your veins

Quote: “You’re cosmic” / “How do ya feel about it, what are your thoughts about it?”

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1. Wild High – Dip

“We may never know each other ’till the end”

I spent a few hours in Colorado Springs where a taxi driver told me his favourite place to visit in the entire United States was his “mom’s” house and a homeless female known as Bat-Girl took a shine to me and attempted to sit next to me on the bus up to Denver. I rudely bolted to a seat on the other side and fell asleep before the engine had turned on.

Magnificent Mimi took me under her wing and into her home. I met her giant group of friends such as Gustavo, Isaac and Austin, who refreshingly enlightened us with passionate and positive views on male birth control. We drove to see their friends’ band Wild High perform at Lost Lake.

There were a few acts on the bill including an electronic musician in a spacesuit rocking the crowd. Wild High were highly entertaining with some incredible songs and stage presence. The guitarist Clay jumped into the crowd near the end of the set and everyone was dancing and having bloody good fun.

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The venue and the warmth of everyone knowing each other, if only by a loose connection, reminded me of The Montague Arms back in Peckham which was lovely. I met so many people that I cannot recall all their names but all seemed like fabulous human beings with whom I want to be best friends with. The lead singer Cody professed his love for his girlfriend on stage as it was turning her birthday at midnight. Pretty much the dream for any girl and I await such an affair at some point with my future husband.

We went for some post gig drinks with Reed at Moon Magnet which is a house/studio bursting with musicians and instruments. I originally was going to stay at Moon Magnet where Mimi commented that I was not ready for that experience, but I believe I would have been in my element.

2. Chromatics – I’m On Fire

“At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet and a freight train running through the middle of my head”

The night before I arrived in Colorado I sang this song with James in Mesa. We also watched the Bruce video that I hadn’t seen before which is hilariously cheesey. Mimi had Chromatics cover version on in her car as we drove to Coors Brewery for a tour. Here we are before our delicious free beers looking so frickin’ sexy.

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I love this version and it remains on my soundtrack daily. I listened to this as well as Wild High’s album ‘Sdreams’ as I wandered around South Broadway where we had eaten a truly gorgeous brunch earlier with my first ever mimosa (it’s just Bucks Fizz). I came across a book store with a guy playing music to a large crowd of skaters, bleeding all over his banjo as he yelled about how angry at the world he was. Pretty entertaining.

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Isaac came to Mimi’s house and we played some of our songs to each other and this track (reminding me of my bestie Bonnie back in Yorkshire) remained in my mind for a long time as we partied at a Hip Hop night at Meadow Lark. Too many beers and tequilas later I recall being in the boot of a Smart car with Isaac while Gustavo and Shelby sat in the front and I struggle to recall much after that. I have a vague recollection of Brandon (another triplet!) coming over and having shark’s teeth drawn all over his crotch.

3. Milky Chance – Stolen Dance

“Stoned in paradise, shouldn’t talk about it”

I met up with Kiwi laddy Sean (from Vegas) and his friend Michelle in the British Bulldog (i’m really embracing new culture) and then to a Vodka distillery for a fancy cocktail. The barman made me a Slimey Bastard and then acted like a slimey bastard and wouldn’t let me pay for it, insisting that he thought I was super cute. In hindsight I should have tipped him the amount of the drink but my English roots forgot and I jetted off. Oops.

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I returned to Moon Magnet for a late night jam with Reed where I croaked out some tunes, he played some accordion and then we sat back and listened to James Blake loudly. I feel Denver is the American New Cross scene that is going on in London at the moment which I think is pretty darn delightful. I showed Reed some NX artists who I am friends with and adore their sound and he played me the Moon Magnet compilations including his music under the name Decollage.

I got back to Mimi’s with an extensive list of music to listen to, Milky Chance being the best addition to my soundtrack. I love this song and bouncing around cities in the sun to this is sheer bliss. It reminds me of “ONE DAY BABY WE’LL BE OLD”, a track by Wankelmut that people would always put on at parties in London which resulted in my jumping up and down on tables.

4. The Rembrandts – I’ll Be There For You

“Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s DOA”

Alarmingly Mimi has only just begun watching Friends so she was hooked during my entire stay, which was no problem with me as I could sit and watch every episode for the 100th time any day. We watched at every available chilling opportunity including mine and Shelby’s return from The Colorado History museum on 420 visiting a 1968 exhibition. I happen to have struck a lot of luck in my whereabouts for holidays such as being with an Irish man on a party beach for St Patrick’s, Easter Sunday in Dolores Park in San Fran and Denver for 420!

Once recovered from the afternoon frolicks I drank red wine with Mimi, Gustavo and Austin at Sputnik which led to Gustavo and I going downtown to meet Brandon and Jeff. We had some spicy vodka shots (I was almost forced to eat a scorpion) and I finally got to listen to Brandon play after hearing many wonderful things. His solo work has me mesmerized but I don’t think it’s available for public consumption (I totally have some tracks). Here is his band Set Sail who stormed Australia and I hope to follow in their footsteps when I get over there.

Gustavo and I skipped the strip club (much to my dismay – still on my bucket list) and went back to the house to eat chocolate cake.

The next night I played Meadowlark’s open mic which resulted in selling some CDs and receiving some incredible compliments. I half jokingly agreed to play the Friends theme song and dedicate it to Mimi but I bottled it and just recorded it for her instead!

So grateful to Mimi, Gustavo, Brandon, Pablo, Sean, Michelle, Ian and Shelby for coming to support me. I also saw Random Temple perform who dedicated a Laura Marling cover to me (not many people know her over here) and I also saw a cracking Ukelele version of Willy Wonka’s ‘Pure Imagination’ which I had been randomly singing to Mimi earlier that day… my superpower to control music is overwhelming. Here Random is, followed by some other snaps of the beautiful people who came.

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_DSC8558Gustavo

_DSC8565Brandon & Mimi

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5. Kurt Vile – Wakin on a Pretty Daze

“It’s hard to explain my love in this daze”

After the open mic I joined such lads as Pablo, Isaac, Karl and Gustavo at The Spot which led to a quick jam at Moon Magnet which led to red wine with Pablo and Gustavo which led to staying up all night with Pablo and driving into the mountains in the morning sun and snow.

We spoke about a lot of subjects including positive energies being drawn to each other and how this could relate to me not having met too many bad eggs directly on the journey so far due to their negative energy.

This was my favourite 24 hours to date on the adventure and it included driving in Pablo’s car listening to his soundtrack, a lead feature being Kurt Vile. Here he is in the magic (as seen above as Wild High’s bassist)

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Deliriously tired and drunk on goodness, I managed to get to the airport in more than enough time thanks to Pablo who gave me a red nose and sent me on my way.

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Arrived in Houston, Texas with Friends on the telly in the bus station en route to New Orleans, Louisiana…

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Mermaid Overseas: Tucson to Mesa

The soundtrack to a Mermaid making music across three continents.

Where: Tucson to Mesa

When: 14/4/2015 – 17/4/2015

Lesson: Never turn down a threesome

Achievement: Open mic at Sky Bar & recording at chez Fair

Lyric: It’s not about the place, it is all about the people

Quote: “Are you Dobby’s mom?!”

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1. Alanis Morisette – You Oughta Know

“It was a slap in the face how quickly I was replaced. Are you thinking of me when you fuck her?”

My friend Mimi who lived in the same block in Halls at Goldsmiths put me in touch with Ashley who lives in Tucson, Arizona who offered me a place to stay during my trip! Ashley is the kindest and most welcoming lady. She told me to let myself in to her home and I chilled in her bohemian apartment with her amazing pooch Dobby! Dobby and I became best friends in a flash.

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When Ashley arrived home from work she made me delicious grub and we got dolled up as she told me of her kareoke go-to which is this Alanis track. It takes me back to car albums from long family holiday journies with me and Loz belting out the aggressive slur. Ashley and I danced and recreated this.

We went to a great gig downtown with a band whose lead singer looked like Harry Potter and I believe were called Halcyonaire. I met her friends Alex, Emy, Lauren and Lexy who are all equally as incredible as Ashley is! It’s amusing to switch from being one of the lads for a week to a group of girls where the conversation more often than not diverges to sex, relationships and the menstrual cycle.

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A guy approached us trying it on and was told he hadn’t got a chance with any of us. He mistook my stupid English politeness to my being interested as he stated he had a chance with me. Need to be a bit more of a bitch.

2. Ezra Furman – My Zero

“I’ve gone away forever, the wrong side of the tracks”

Ashley told me many incredible stories and one was when she went o a small concert and met the musician playing and ended up spending some time with him which resulted in her calling in sick to work the next day and spontaneously going on a road trip to LA and having an incredible adventure with him. This musician was Ezra Furman who I went to see a couple of years ago in London with Gub! This story very much impressed me and she also had the most wonderful postcard he sent her from Oakland talking of their hopes of being successful artists, or at least happy ones.

Ashley and I spoke about different artist’s methods and how they can translate into any medium of art. Ashley is art director for the installations in the shop Anthropologie which sounds like a great job and she oozes creativity and style. Here she is in a Snapchat I sent to Gub to make him jealous.

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3. Mumford & Sons – Awake My Soul

“Lend me your eyes I can change what you see but your soul you must keep totally free”

When Ashley was at work I went on walks around Tucson, downtown for a Margherita in the sun and some nachos when taking Dobby for walkies. When Ashley got home we headed for some delicious grub of chowder in a bread bowl and croissant sarnies. We made happy hour by 1 minute and the second I got my G&T I managed to launch it all over myself which was embarassing but I was replenished immediately, which I feel would not happen in England.

I also cannot think of many groups I know in England who would take in a complete stranger as warm and welcoming as Ashley and her friends did! I am so grateful and appreciated being involved in their everyday lives in Arizona.

I played at an open mic night at Sky Bar which was a cool venue with delicious whiskey gingers and all the girls came to see.

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We went to a couple of other bars and I met more of their group of friends and spilt more drinks. I spent a long time in a heated discussion with one gent about his adoration for Mumford & Sons and my observation of their distinctly average music. This same gent and his girlfriend gave me a lift back to Ashley’s house later on which resulted in me being 99% sure that I was invited to their house for a threesome in their pool. Naive little me hopped out the car to snuggle with Dobby only quite clicking what they had meant a moment later.

4. Tame Impala – ‘Cause I’m a Man

“Lost in the moment for a second time, each fucking doubt I make and cry. I’m just pathetic, that’s the reason why In desperation, all that you can do is ask me why?”

This is a band I keep hearing about and their music is growing on me more and more. Emy played them in her car as she drove us for lunch with Ashley in a posh shopping plaza where she works. We ate burgers and discussed periods. Here they are, I am particularly jealous of Emy’s fabulous mermaid hair! She bought me some delicious gelato which was real good.

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Emy is a pet sitter which added to my dog filled days in Tucson. Here are a few of the fabulous animals I met.

_DSC8517Dobby & Chunk in Ashley & Alex’s yard

_DSC8518Homeless Beyonce on the streets of Tucson

_DSC8542The biggest dog I have ever seen

_DSC8520Gross homeless & hairless chihuahua

photo (5)One of the many family pooches in Mesa

5. Ryan Adams – Wonderwall

“Maybe you’re gonna be the one that saves me”

Not only did Ashley take me in, she then found me a home for the night with her family in Mesa as my flight was early in the morning, transport was expensive and they live near the airport I was flying from. I am still overwhelmed with the generosity people have shown me. One of Ashley’s sisters Megan (they’re triplets!) made a delicious dinner and I was filled to the brim with wine, Megan’s boyfriend James gave me a guitar tuner as I lost mine in Tucson and Ardeth (mum) gave me a fabulous vintage poncho for the snow and rain in Denver as I had no coat!

Megan and James work for a music promotion company and James is a musician himself. I told them of how every person I’ve played to in hostels has requested I played Wonderwall which I do not know on guitar as it makes me think of 3am club closings between sweaty beery Yorkshire boys yelling out “YOU’RE MY WONDERWALL”. If I did learn this cover I would do it like this version by my love Ryan Adams.

James and I played some of our songs to each other which led to some late night recording in their studio in the basement. I’m really looking forward to hearing the outcome as they are adding some extra layers to the guitars and vocals we laid down. I felt on a similar music plain to James and enjoyed our conversations about our intentions and influences. Here’s a video of us recording Dancing In The Dark.

Not only was I transported, fed, watered and treated like a queen by Ardeth that evening, she woke up at the crack of dawn to take me to the airport and I am just filled with joy with how incredible people can be.

Flying from Mesa, Arizona to Colorado Springs…

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