Be Your Own Fairy Godmother
Hello Dear Reader
I’ve been waiting to be in the mood to write to you. I’ve been waiting to be in the mood to do anything, to be honest, and it’s not looking good. Whole tectonic plates might shift before that happens and then when my newsletter finally arrives in your inbox, you and I won’t exist. The only things to exist will be Donald Trump’s toupée and the IKEA Billy bookcase I bought from the Croydon branch in 1992 for a tenner.
It’s hard to be in the mood these days isn’t it? I don’t think the internet helps either. I know things are bad because I just watched Kim Kardashian advertising chicken nuggets that aren’t made from chickens but plants - isn’t Botox a plant really? - and she was wearing full makeup to put them in the oven and I almost felt sorry for her. Now that Kanye is down to his last billion those very dinky children they had someone else incubate for them are faced with a precarious future. There are, however, twelve thousand comments reminding Kim that she does actually have a personal chef so it’s unlikely she’ll be stuck listening to an easy listening version of I Predict A Riot while on hold to the CSA any time soon.
I’m going off the internet just as my mother has remembered all her passwords and never misses the opportunity to post out-of-date emojis and un-ironic aubergines. It doesn’t suit my nature, the net. I might ask myself when did I become such a bitch but the truth is I was born one and shade being my middle name it’s best I don’t leave social media receipts.
Here, like gigs though, I feel safe. I am among friends. Friends who will appreciate my current List of Things I Find Insufferable. It’s always being updated, so feel free to send your own suggestions and if they pass my muster of insufferableness, I shall amend the list accordingly.
Sir (ha ha ha) Gavin Williamson - let him trot on back to selling his knock-off fireplaces and never darken the door of the House of Commons ever again. (Watch the arse become Prime Minister next week.)
Matt Hancock. The clue is in the name. Having f**ked the NHS, he is now f**king unsuspecting Antipodean invertebrates and that nice man Oliver Bonas’ wife, probably both at the same time because he is a Tory.
Claudia Winkelman’s fringe. Enough already.
The way Natasha Bedingfield mispronounces the word hyperbole in These Words. Jesus Nerina, I hear you say, that song is eighteen years old! I know. If this is how long I can bear a grudge against a song, just imagine how long it would take me to forgive you if you left the milk out, never mind ran off with my husband.
Pumpkin patch photo opportunities. Second only in the insufferableness charts to photos of entire families in matching Christmas pyjamas.
I shall stop now.
And now for the good news.
Fellow myWaitrose members will be overjoyed to hear they have reinstated our free in-shop coffees, and I have over £50 saved in my Tesco Christmas Savers account. (Not as good as last year’s, I should confess, when I was much more diligent about matters but as I am not hosting this year I’ve let things slip somewhat.)
Like a little Christmas elf, I have commenced work on gifts for those of you coming to lunch at the Christmas Extravaganza on December 11th in London. Lunch sold out in mere moments I’m afraid, but there are still tickets going for the evening show. I’m pleased to tell you Lucy May Walker will be kicking off the evening part of the proceedings - those of you who heard her open for me at the Cottingham Folk Festival show this summer will remember how great she is.
I’m also thrilled to announce the first of my shows for 2023 - and this is a very special one. I’ll be playing songs and in conversation with the fantastic Gary Crowley at The Exchange in Twickenham on March 5th. I’ve never done a show like this before and it will be an honour to chat to Gary, who has been playing my new record on his Radio London show loads. He’s seen it all, has Gary, but is he ready for me to go off on one about tea towels or preferred toilet cubicle choices, I wonder.
We are nearly at the end of this newsletter - well done if you got this far, it’s taken almost as long as being on hold to Yodel Customer Services - but before I go I just want to say a huge thank you if you came to one of the shows on the recent UK tour. It was a total joy to play for you, and I just wish it had been longer and Avanti West Coast hadn’t been involved in some way.
Finally, I want to say something I feel is very important. I began this newsletter lamenting my lack of good mood. Usually, these moods come and go and experience has taught me that all moods shift. But I sense a collective mood - something far more damaging than mere ennui or resignation; I sense a bleakness that if we are not careful will consume us to a point of hopelessness. We have been battered, it’s true. Not just in the UK, but globally. The economic news is unrelentingly grim and culture wars and real wars are raging. I ask my friends and family, ‘is it just me, or is this the weirdest time you have ever known?’ and always now they tell me, no, it is not just me. This is the weirdest time they have ever known. Even my favourite 87 year old concurs.
So what do we do?
I think we do this together. We will ourselves out of this. Maybe we start with half hearted whispered epigrams. Maybe we say them through gritted teeth. Maybe we don’t say anything at all - we could just take one thing each day that is not f**ked, that is not broken - a houseplant we managed not to kill, a passing squirrel who holds our gaze for just long enough that we presume a moment of understanding. A letter in a brown envelope that isn’t a bill. I dunno. A train journey that starts and ends on time. And we remember that we know how to make things work. Not politicians, not oligarchs, not monarchs - we did this. Ordinary, everyday humans. We have done it before and we can do it again. We have just enough faith, just enough belief to see a broken present and will it into being a better future.
Against all odds - because every breakthrough happens against the odds - we can do this, but more urgently we must do this. We may feel we are literally pissing into a hurricane at the end of a ghost pier but if there was ever a time to be our own Fairy Godmother it is now.
We can start small.
Maybe just start with ‘all is not lost’ and go from there.
The season of festive cheer will soon be upon us, so ta-ra for now and look out for my Christmas message in coming weeks.
With much love as ever
In latest retail news, we have taken delivery of more NFCC patches, but are almost out of vinyl of the new album - literally down to the last twenty or so - and are currently sold out of clothing but will seek to remedy this hopefully in time for all your festive shopping needs. Got plenty of mugs, though, so knock yourself out.