If this is your first time reading a Nerina blog, can I suggest you put the kettle on and make yourself a cup of tea. If this is not your first time, you probably already have your beverage and biscuits at the ready. This is gonna be a long one.
It feels a bit like the old days. 3 AM and I am plugged in, scribbling away while all is quiet and sleepy around me. Except that I will not be breaking off every ten minutes to smoke one of those ‘only five a day’ cigarettes out the back door and have run out of rosé so this should be relatively coherent. It’s been so many, many months since I wrote anything longer than my name that I am periodically clearing my laptop screen for bugs or bits of food that have become stuck to it. It’s akin to firing up a mothballed 1986 Rover Maestro. (Was there ever a car more resolutely pointless? I saw one the other day on the Holloway Road and it made me want to cry. There is little to recommend one – all heft and functionality, constructed by someone who probably dreamt of working for Skoda and bought by people who thought Volvos were safe but just a little on the racy side. They’re like the Anne Widdecombe of cars. Interesting too that the only ones I see on the road these days are in pristine, virginal condition and driven by someone who wishes that nice Jimmy Young would once again rule the airwaves. They are nearly always a metallic mint green in my experience. Please, if you are reading and have one, do not take offence. But I’m right, aren’t I?)
Actually, who am I to cast aspersions on other peoples’ motors? I have been driving a Beetle for the last decade. But hang on a moment. My motor could serve as a nice metaphor for what is to follow. As is the circular nature of this great big messy thing called life (fuck, I sound like Dr Phil) I am now signed once again to the same record label that I started my career with. Thus it’s no accident the only car I have ever bought is a Bug. When 2012 has long been and gone, and Armageddon but a dim and distant memory, it will be a VW Beetle that comes careering over the parched, post-apocalyptic landscape and not a Porsche Cayenne. Which is like me, innit? Of course it is. I can weather a storm. I may look slightly tragi-comic with a melancholy smile that comes from either too many bad drugs or just a general world weariness; I may have quirks and rattle at inappropriate moments. BUT I HAVE A VASE WITH A FLOWER IN IT ON MY DASHBOARD. And well after the novelty of this year’s latest model has faded, I’ll still be here, doing my thing, requiring only the odd oil change but with windscreen wipers that last at least ten years. (I am looking at this paragraph and wondering if what I am really saying is that I am the equivalent of a musical cockroach.)
So, let’s get some housekeeping out of the way, and then we’ll get on to the fun stuff. I’m going to bullet point it because I just discovered I have Word on my laptop.
• Yes that is both my speaking voice and music on the Jersey Tourism advert currently running on UK telly.
• No, I did not cover a Joe McElderry song
• No, I am not Australian, even though I am currently the background-musician-in-residence on Home and Away and Neighbours
• Yes, Kylie is very tiny in the flesh.
• I did indeed have a very lovely little baby boy in September 2010, and he really is called Wolfgang Amadeus.
• No, I am not Canadian
• Since we last met – around the time I released The Graduate on my own label, Idaho, I have found a new home for my next creative excursion with Geffen, a Universal Music label, and am back working with the first A&R person who ever signed me. It’s like we got divorced and are now back together for the sake of the kids.
• The new album is not called Better Than Porn.
• It is called Year of the Wolf.
• It was produced by the brilliant Bernard Butler, and directed entirely by using Arsenal metaphors.
• I’m not just saying this for the sake of saying it, like people do when they are trying to flog you something or getting you to vote for them, but it really was the most satisfying recording experience of all my albums. WE MADE AN ALBUM. I didn’t do it piecemeal, waiting ‘til I had saved a bit more money to do the next batch of songs, or having to beg steal and borrow studio time or musicians, or until I had enough material to finish it. I played Bernard my songs on guitar or piano (I never played him demos if they existed) and we decided which ones to record. Then we rehearsed a band, got the wonderful Sally Herbert to work on the strings; went into the studio and cut almost the entire album in a few weeks. We did a lot of things live, in one take; perhaps most magical of all to me was cutting Grace with everyone in the room the night before I had my son. I was at that point where the excitement of being pregnant starts to dissolve into pure terror and fear of the unknown, and although I wrote the song about someone else incredibly dear to me, singing the words “You’re my blood and my baby and we’re going to fly” completely choked me up. The vocal sounds a bit wonky to me when the strings come in, but we left it coz I know I was having a little cry at that moment since everything felt overwhelming, scary and beautiful, all at the same time.
• I have never seen Avatar and I’m not sure I plan to either.
I promised you fun stuff earlier on this blog and now is the moment where I fail to deliver. I was once a prolific blogger, as some of you may recall, and then the advent of Twitter, coupled with an intense period of (academic) essay writing for my degree, meant the blogging took a back seat until it disappeared entirely. On occasion I would think about blogging but would write a song instead; but really, I fell in love with Twitter and the feeling that it was a two-way conversational street, flowing in real time and meaning that I couldn’t just spout my befuddled pronouncements and not be challenged. I’ve learnt loads from these exchanges – about you, about the world at large, about what music means to you, what film to see, what book I shouldn’t waste time reading, what Simon Pegg has for breakfast and why Kanye West is a bit of a dickhead – and that I don’t need to be lonely unless I want to be. Being a songwriter for so long means I have lived in my head a lot, which is quite an alienating thing when you do it for ages. It also means that you risk being up your own arse a lot of the time if you’re not careful and sometimes I read old blogs of mine back and cringe. Nobody could ever accuse me of having used five words when five hundred would do. (Oh and look! here I am doing precisely that again…)
Or maybe I just condense everything into songs these days. More than I ever did. Since I had a baby, song writing has become a luxury commodity in my world again. It’s like when I had three jobs on the go and my weekends were my only time for dreaming of being a professional songwriter.
So look, I had an idea. I’ll blog a bit more, but only if you help me decide what it will be about. How about you pick one of the following possible subjects and I will oblige:
• Feta cheese is the work of the devil.
• A day in the life of Jordan Katona.
• Are cats better than dogs?
• What do you think really happened to Tony Soprano in that diner?
• How long will we stay a Con-Dem Nation?
• Is Nick Clegg’s hair better than David Cameron’s?
• Where is Lolly?
• 1000 words on the brilliance of ‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA and why it will be played at my funeral.
• 1000 words on the brilliance of the entire career so far of Nellie McKay and why I walked down the aisle to her song ‘I Wanna Get Married’ (true story).
• If Danielle Steele and Dan Brown were to co-author a novel, what would it be called and what would it be about?
• Should Piers Morgan be made illegal?
• Is Julian Assange a scapegoat hero or self-publicist?
• Why was I the only woman in my ante-natal class who did not have a Louis Vuitton handbag and is there something wrong with me?
• Why don’t people use bullet points all the time?
So knock yourself out, kidz. Of course, I’m sure one of you bright sparks will suggest something even more tantalizing and I will not be able to resist, but you get the gist.
Please, under no account, ask me why I decided to dance on The Charlotte Church Show. You will be met with a stony silence.
Love as ever to you all,
P.S. I was meant to tell you formally important things about important things I will be doing but just look on the important news section of www.nerinapallot.com and my official Twitter feed, www.Twitter.com/NerinaPallot and http://www.facebook.com/NerinaPallotOfficial
Bugger me. So many portals, so little time, dahlink.