Monday, November 21, 2011

Tori Amos

A moment’s respite here in my little corner, which seems fabulously comfy when I face the last 15 000 words of NaNoWriMo. I hit a hump last week but luckily escaped to the countryside over the weekend and caught up. I fear the second half of the novel is really, really bad (as opposed to the first half, which is just bad) but I’m feeling inordinately proud of myself for pushing through. I must just not speak too soon. It’s far from over yet.

Last week we went to watch Tori Amos in concert. I have loved Tori Amos since she first appeared on the scene: I desired her red hair and many of my teenage relationships, and more importantly and aptly with her music, break-ups, were set to a soundtrack which featured her songs prominently. In fact, scrap the ‘teenage’ bit of that. Show me a good break-up since forever and I’ll match a Tori song to it. Not only break-ups, though, I love her music for its raw beauty, the piano, her voice, happy parts of my life include Tori Amos tracks too. You can see why seeing her live was such a thrill…

It is seldom that one can say that a person’s live performance is better than the CD. Tori Amos is. We, along with the biggest number of red-headed women I think I’ve ever seen in one place, and a large smattering of gay men, were enthralled by her voice, her piano playing (two, at one time!) I shed tears and, by the looks of some people after the concert, many people bawled. She is emotive, her voice is as raw as her lyrics. Incredible.

Just one thing saddened me. She is plastic-surgeried to the point of actually looking puffy. Botox? Collagen? Whatever. It makes me sad to think that someone so incredibly talented, who writes such real lyrics and puts them to music that can turn a thousand-strong audience into a gushing mass of emotion, should feel the need to “fix” themselves so.

My fandom, however, was only marginally minimised by this, as she sang ‘Precious Things’ and literally sent tingles coursing down my spine. The woman is a musical genius.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I'm still alive, just so busy, with words flowing out of me in a surprising gush of completely trashy chick lit. I'm amazed and feel slightly schizophrenic, like my lead character has taken me over and is making me write. Bizarre, but very pleasingly so. I'm afraid to say it, in case I jinx it, but I'm really enjoying NaNoWriMo.

I fear that probably only 5000 of my (hopefully) 50000 words may, in some future where I really sit down and write a book, be useable in some form but that doesn't matter. At this point, what matters is that I've managed to get over my 1000-word block.

It's a different thing to blogging, and I feel a little tongue-tied here. I wanted to check in, though.

I'll be back. Maybe only in December. Forgive me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


So, I signed up for it, and it's Day 2 and I'm loving it and I'm, surprisingly, on track. Like I said, it is but Day 2. I am, honestly, scared by the trash that is so easily flowing out of me and know that, if I do manage to finish it, there may, if I'm lucky, be about 8 000 usable words, the rest being relegated to the dirty corners of my computer. But I'm loving it.

NaNoWriMo. 50 000 words in November. That's 1 666.66667 words a day. Every day in November. Write a novel, focus on quantity, not quality. That can come later.

I'm tired. Already. I keep waking in the early morning, words swirling around in my head, flying out of me into my dark bedroom, playing movies on the backs of my eyelids. Then, later, the words are gone, and mainly trash falls out onto the page. I'm exhilirated (how do you spell that? It looks wrong) by it, like a fire is burning, somewhere deep within. This will not be a beautiful, prosaic story, but it'll be 50 000 words strung together. All in a row, all together and, hopefully, in amongst it all, will be some bits, a skeleton, that I can flesh out, fill with blood and breath, and bring to life.

If I can just keep the momentum going.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nowhere Boy

There is a moment in the movie where I literally lost my breath. I can’t remember that ever happening before. It’s not like it was some scary thriller perfectly suited to being watched on Halloween night, not at all. It was a sweet, beautifully shot portrayal of the early life of John Lennon, basically his adolescent years, before the fame of The Beatles, when he was just a naughty school boy in Liverpool - Nowhere Boy.

With stellar performances from Kristin Scott Thomas, as his strict aunt Mimi, who brought him up, and Anne-Marie Duff as his all-over-the-place but absent for most of his life mother, it tells a story of a boy discovering his roots, being adolescent, getting into trouble and causing his aunt much consternation and learning to love music.

I just got so engrossed in it that the completely unexpected moment, which I won’t divulge here, in case it spoils the movie for anyone reading this, took my breath away. Just like that.

I was saying to G afterwards that I always find it astounding, no matter how many times I am reminded by stories like this, that famous people, at least initially, are just like normal people. In fact, they are just normal people, famous or not. I hadn’t realised, however, how chequered John Lennon’s early history was. Let’s just say his wasn’t an easy time and a lot of the lyrics to his songs now make sense.

It’s a heartbreaking, interspersed with purely joyful scenes, story that reminded me that everybody, regardless of who they are or become, have amazing stories to tell. We all have our fair share of heartbreak and happiness, it’s what we do with it that matters.

John Lennon called his Aunt Mimi every, single, week, from the time he left home until he was assassinated. He was just a nice guy.