Thursday, 7 October 2010

Self-Portrait in a Joy Formidable T-Shirt

I’m often asked if I am Lottie Biggs. The quick and easy response is NO, I’m definitely not. The more complicated and strictly accurate response is that whilst Lottie is undoubtedly an invention of my imagination, she and I do share certain characteristics. Even though Lottie is only fifteen and I’m not far off celebrating my twentieth birthday (for the second time), we look similar, we speak similar and we both occasionally lose composure in a strikingly similar manner. Although, I’d like to make it very clear that she loses composure a lot more strikingly than I do. Another similarity between us is that we both absolutely love pop music. Passionately. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that this whole book writing thing has merely been a convenient method of introducing pop’s rich heritage to impressionable young minds. So far I’ve worked Jimi Hendrix into my storylines. And Carole King. And Stevie Wonder. And… Oh is that it? I must try harder. I need to get The Smiths in there somewhere. And Aretha Franklin. And Blondie. And…
But musicians don’t necessarily have to be old or dead to make it on to my MP3 player. Admittedly, these days, there isn’t much that I like which can be described as new music – but there is some. A couple of summers ago, I was tucked up on the sofa watching coverage of a music festival on S4C (the Welsh language channel). It’s quite possible that I was actually the ONLY PERSON IN THE WHOLE OF EAST ANGLIA who was watching S4C at that moment. To be fair, not that many people watch it even in Wales. But – like Lottie – I love S4C because I find it relaxing. Being unable to understand a single word makes it far less likely that I’ll get annoyed and start shouting at my television. So there I was, in Norfolk, watching a music festival on Welsh language television when I saw a set by a young band from Wrexham called The Joy Formidable. They stood out amongst all the other festival usuals. They looked clean. They weren’t stubbly blokes wearing check shirts and THEY SOUNDED BRILLIANT.
And last week they were in Norwich, so I bought a ticket. Actually, I bought two tickets because I made my husband come and see them with me. I was worried that we’d be the only sad old people there but actually we weren’t. Standing at a respectful distance from the stage and kitted out with tinnitus-preventing ear-plugs were a number of ageing hipsters like ourselves. And after all, why not? Why shouldn’t we stand alongside the kids and tap our feet to the very loud beat of pure youthful exuberance? The Smiths were young when we liked them. And Jimi Hendrix. And Blondie – although actually, Debby Harry was never really all that young, was she?

Anyway, The Joy Formidable were young, Welsh and fab. And they’ve got an album coming out soon. And I still don’t think they’re signed to a big label or anything. Find out more about them

Now, how can I work them into my next plot?

Loads of people have been emailing me and writing to me recently. Thank you very much. I always love to get your messages and hello to you all. On Saturday (9th Oct) at 2pm, I’ll be in the Norwich Millennium Library so do drop by and say hello if you live nearby.
And yes, mum; I’ve had my haircut.

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