HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!
We all made it through 2019!
Probably one of the best years of my life rounded off with the hardest 4 weeks of my life.
In The Court Of The Crimson Queen continues to do incredibly well. Bev Bevan of ELO has nominated the album as his November Pick, which means the world.
I’ve just seen INVASION PLANET EARTH on the big screen, as Jonathan Ross tweeted “support this movie” to his hundreds of thousand followers and even though my role is a cameo, the film is stunning when you think it is made by one man who crowdfunded it almost in its entirety. The outro song STEP INTO THE NEW WORLD is perfect.
2020 is bringing some very well timed surprises, especially as I am gearing up to tour with Hazel O’ Connor, in fact quite a few surprises are coming over the following year for my fans and record collectors.
Hazel, myself and the band rehearsed last month to make sure we are all on the same page and BLOODY HELL…..IT WAS SO RIGHT, IT WAS BLOODY MARVELOUS!
I have only sung standing next to Hazel once before. It was 1980 (I believe) and we were at the Rainbow working with The Stranglers when Hugh Cornwall was a guest of Her Majesty’s Service. It was a loud, riotous event and I couldn’t really hear anything other than the guitar amps.
So last month in our rehearsal it was a treat to actually hear Hazel. Her timing, phrasing and notation are spectacular and in addition to enjoying our spring tour I know I am going to learn a lot from her, I can’t wait.
Another learning curve has been the introduction of the slightly electro acoustic line up to the UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL shows. This consists of Mike Nichols on Double bass/electric bass and Andy Doble on keys….. grand piano too if the venues have one on site. We introduced this line up at Pizza Express Birmingham and I loved it…it might be the future of The Humans. Mike built these wonderful electro backing soundscapes that were really exciting to work to and reinvented the early songs, almost placing them back in their original sequencer orientated setting way back from 1978…….. we are definitely taking this further, the next time we can do this looks like Norwich Arts Centre on the 26th Feb.
As for 2019 the shows have been the best ever and the Toyah Band have been exceptional.
I AM GRATEFUL AND HAVE GRATITUDE TO YOU ALL.
Robert and I managed to get to Seattle to see Bill Rieflin, my fellow Human and Robert’s fellow King Crimson buddy. It was a precious four days with the most influential people in my entire life. We celebrated an early Christmas with him and Susan Silver who has been a rock to us all in the past year. Susan has been an angel, whilst managing Alice In Chains she has contributed so much kindness to others.
Bill lost his wonderful wife last March and we were desperate to be with him.
We made a huge fuss of him and he made a huge fuss of us.
For the last four weeks I have been on a film called GIVE THEM WINGS. This is a true story about Paul Hodgson, who as a young boy contracted Meningitis and became paraplegic. Paul was cared for by his mother until she had a stroke and he became her carer. I play Alice, his mother.
Paul is a remarkable man, he has co-written the script, produced and given us his loyal support.
The film is intense and at times funny. Other times it is plane brutal.
But the reality of making it has been BLOODY HARD!
The good and the great of this film is the entire team have given blood, literally. The camera crew, from Norway, are groundbreaking, the cast fabulous, the director and the production team all giving a 150 per cent.
Even though the clock has worked against us all the way and the weather has been wet and sub-zero in Darlington, what has been captured on camera is excellent, but I will always remember the cold, the discomfort….. there is no money in the pot for dressing rooms or artist lounges and if six scenes need to be shot a day then the overtime was gruelling.
Add to the equation I was booked for gigs too then situations such as driving overnight from Darlington (leaving at 11pm to drive 260 miles) to Great Yarmouth for a show at 10am made life backbreaking.
On this shoot I have slept in the car four nights, add having the novo-virus on the 1st Nov in all I have slept in the car 5 times in the last 6 weeks! As a result my back is in spasm, I am out of my box on muscle relaxants and desperate not to see my car for at least a month.
I have always said I will never retire……I certainly will not have two jobs at once ever again!
Last month I was a judge on the YolanDa Drake Song Writing Awards. The event comprised a team of 5 runners up writing and recording a new song in one evening. The talent in the room was breath taking. Upcoming producers working alongside they’re creative teams with a live audience observing the process. It restored my faith in the future of the industry to see such talent all in one space.
The producer Fez won the award with his magnificent co-writer Megan Lara Mae…….god bless this team of future stars.
And on top of this I’ve made a wonderful new friend in Yoland Brown and her husband T….the most adorable couple in musicdom.
I am almost ready for Christmas. My husband will have loads and loads of pressies. He loves anything to do with self-adornment. So there’s lots of fashion items in his stockings.
When we were in Birmingham last night to see Invasion Planet Earth I tried to lead him into, lets say, a rather specific male orientated sex shop to buy him some revealing manhood support leather straps……Hubby is surprisingly gullible and very trusting of me and when he realised I was going to take him in there and run off he was having none of it….. he is so cute I know the shop would have loved to have served him.
As for Christmas feasting we find we are eating less and less so the fridge is almost empty. This has got to be age, I have no appetite. I am finding I am happy with a sprig of broccoli and a sweet potato for the day, with a few marshmallows at tea time.
What I am most looking forward to is stepping away from the office and all the tech stuff and re-evaluating the last spectacular 12 months and thinking how to up the bar in 2020.
THANK YOU EVERYONE, YOU ARE ALL SO VALUED AND ALL SO SPECIAL.
BE LOUD, BE PROUD, BE HEARD