(pics by Ian Watson)
Wow – I had a brilliant time playing at How Does It Feel To Be Loved? in London on Thursday night. And I was honoured to be on the same bill as Honey Pine Dresser, Cavalcade and Arthur & Martha. All fab bands and lovely peeps.
The gig started off a little bit unevenly – I was trying to tune my acoustic guitar with the tuner pedal but the disco was so loud, the tuner was trying to tune that. So, I tuned up, hit an E chord and… chaos! My god! I finally had to get the bewildered DJs to turn the music down completely and then managed to get it right. Tuning up is one of things you take for granted, it’s almost an irrelevancy. Until it fails and then you realise how utterly boned you are.
After that initial hoo-haa, the gig itself went beautifully. The audience was really attentive and, for such a large number of people, really quiet. I’d almost say they were Swedish attentive!
What made me beam was seeing people singing along with songs that weren’t ‘Your Woman.’ There was a lad right at the front and I swear he knew the lyrics to everything from ‘We’ll Always Have Paris’ to ‘Death In Kettering.’ That’s basically 19 years’ worth of White Town covered! How flattering is that?
I was also pleased because there were sooo many cute girls within my sight. If I’m singing to women, inevitably, I sing better. It’s basically why I keep doing the rest of what I do, for that brief time when I connect with someone like that, look a total stranger in the eyes and open my heart to her. I guess if I was gay, I’d be singing for the cute boys.
Of course, the biggest response was for ‘Your Woman.’ Everyone was singing and jigging about, it was a bouncy, party vibe. Which is always ironic since it’s such a depressing and horrible song! It’s always rather spooky to hear lyrics you wrote in a tiny spare bedroom being sung back at you en masse!
And then, to top the day off perfectly, we even managed to track down a proper Full English at the services on the way home. I could feel my arteries blocking as I scoffed it! Yaaay!
Earlier in the night, Ian HDIF was asking me why I’d never played London before. And I told him the truth: I’ve never been asked! Admittedly, I hadn’t got any kind of proper live thing going back in ’97 when ‘Your Woman’ was in the charts but I probably could have knocked out an acoustic set.
But I also reminded him that when I wrote this rant, he was the only person who got in touch with me to ask me to do something in Britain (HDIF DJing back then). It’s all a matter of having people like Ian Watson or Mattias Jansson around: people who put on nights for all the right reasons and who refuse, steadfastly, to make it easier by putting them on for all the wrong reasons. There aren’t many of these gems around, I know my life would be a lot greyer and sadder without their influence. And I suspect yours would be too. I’ll remember playing that gig on Thursday night, the people I met, the fun I had singing for them, for a long, long time.
And if you’re the supercute, manga-eyed girl I was singing the perviest bits of ‘Death In Kettering’ directly at, sorry but I couldn’t help it – you’re gorgeous!
Just over a month ago, on August 1st, I played the Cosy Den Five Year festival. It was brilliant. This is the line-up for that day:
I recommend you check out each and every one of those bands. They’re all brilliant. I can honestly say there wasn’t a single band I disliked or didn’t enjoy on the day. And I’m quite grumpy when it comes to multi-band all-dayers so that’s not faint praise. Since coming back, I’ve made a little iTunes playlist of the bands from that day, yes, I am that silly.
I first played Cosy Den waay back in 2005. Click here to read about that.
Well, everything I said in that post still holds true. Sweden still feels like my musical home. The audience at Cosy Den last month was fabulous: attentive and involved. I’ve been to too many gigs in Britain where hipsters yammer on through the whole thing. They’re there to be seen, not to see the bands. Not at Cosy Den!
It was a wonderful feeling to be sitting there, just me, my acoustic and this group of people ready to connect, willing to go where I wanted to take them. Well, I say wonderful, it’s actually the best feeling a songwriter can have. I do love getting fan mail and nice comments on videos but there’s nothing to match interacting with an audience.
Because of personal shit I’ve been going through, the gig was intense even by my standards. I had to hold myself back a couple of times as I didn’t want to go mental on stage and start sobbing. After all, the show must go on. Innit?
Mattias from Cats On Fire guested on the second verse of ‘Your Woman.’ He was great as they’ve recently been doing me the honour of covering my song live. Click here to see that. (And, in return, I completely murdered the second verse of ‘Higher Grounds.’ God, I was awful. )
The whole day seems dreamlike to me now. That’s why I’ve waited so long to write about it, I needed to process it all in my head. It all seems too good to be true. The music, the people in bands I met, the people not in bands I met, the venue. Honestly, it was more like watching some beautiful independent film than playing a gig.
Instead of selling my records, I decided to give them away in exchange for secrets. As a result, I got to talk to loads of people and hear their secrets. None of which I’ll ever reveal, of course – a combination of trustworthiness and my terrible memory will ensure that.
I owe Cosy Den a lot. If Mattias hadn’t emailed me all those years ago and asked me to come and play, I wouldn’t have had the best gigging experiences of my life. And I wouldn’t have played with some of the best bands in the world. I find it quite amazing and a little scary how such a simple initial action (an email) can wind up affecting my life so much.
So, thank you Cosy Den! Here’s to five years of greatness and to many more too!