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Women are vicious. Can we please stop?

I haven’t written a blog for ages. Weeks. Not because I haven’t had the time or haven’t wanted to but whenever I have gone to write one I haven’t felt like I have had anything relevant to say.

I like my blog to be about the sort of things I think are truly important. Certainly this subject is something I struggle with continually.

Before I go on, I have a statement to make;

I do not, in any way, believe that I am better than anyone else. Nor do I believe I am flawless as a human being. I make mistakes. I say hurtful things. Sometimes I say them and mean them. Sometimes I say them and hurt people without ever meaning to. I try to be a decent human. I don’t always manage it.

I make that statement because I don’t want people to read the rest of this blog and believe that I don’t think it relates to me too.

Recently I have had personal experiences of women attacking me. Not physically, but the kind of snide attacks that leave you questioning your character and feeling worn down on the inside.

I am blessed to have many friends. A lot of these friends are male. There have been several incidents in the last few months where I have had to distance myself from those friends because their girlfriends see me as a threat. That probably sounds arrogant, but I can tell you from personal experience in earlier years that when you decide to hate your boyfriend’s friend who happens to be female and you don’t know the first thing about her, it’s definitely not because you know she is the devil incarnate. It’s because somewhere deep down inside you are allowing yourself to feel insecure and inadequate.

It’s taken me a very long time to realise that if I was with someone and they cheated on me, be it with their friend, my friend or a complete stranger, that person would not deserve me anyway. Equally, choosing to dislike someone who is a friend of your partner will put strain on your relationship and unless that friend really is actually trying to get in your partner’s pants and they are letting it happen, that strain is YOUR FAULT.

A lot of the viciousness between women often comes from some sort of jealousy or assumption, and it usually involves a love interest or something similar.

Take Monday night for example. I went to a charity event. Watched some bands. Managed to get my friends and I into the after party. Met some of the musicians. All great fun. At one point I was chatting to a beautiful girl – perfect hair, amazing style, the most beautiful eyes. One of the musicians (male) came and stood next to me. His arm brushed mine. He had the softest skin EVER! I mentioned this. I am very open and honest and have no qualms with complimenting someone as and when I see fit. The girl I am chatting to lunges forward, turning the musician away, exclaiming rather loudly that I should stop trying to get into his pants as his girlfriend would not be happy about it…. Talk about embarrassing! Cue me trying to explain that I simply stated the facts – he had soft skin, end of, before quickly realising this chick wasn’t going to change her mind so I wandered off to find more beer and other people to chat to that weren’t so crazy. Needless to say her beauty seemed to fade before my eyes. A real shame.

I’ve also met some little girls recently at some of my gigs who are bullied. One in particular related to my song Little Big Mouth and even sang it at a girl in school as a way of getting her to stop being nasty (apparently it worked).
I was bullied at school. Called buck tooth, big foot, likened to a boy for having no boobs or hips, called a geek, suffered verbal and physical abuse… Women can be nasty!

The flip side of this is that women – ALL WOMEN – have the capacity to be motherly, nurturing, caring, considerate, beautiful people. If women could put down their insecurities and connect with each other on that level wouldn’t the World have so much more beauty in it?

I wrote a poem with all this in mind. The first part inspired by one of those friend’s girlfriends. The second part inspired by like minded people I have been blessed to meet and become friends with in recent months as well as the beautiful friends I have already.

Before I pop it here, I will sign off with this: For those of you ladies who are reading this and getting instantly vexed, ask yourself why. Is it really because you don’t agree, or is it because on a deeper level all this is ringing true and you don’t want it to?
Those of you nodding your heads and hopefully smiling, thank you for being the ones I seek continually and come back to for inspiration, guidance and love.

Guys – I am without doubt that some of this can be attributed to you too, be is the positives, the negatives or both. You lot could do with sharing more love too. 😉

Here’s my poem

“Girls”

Girls. Who have em eh?
But I get it,
Being erratic
Attacking other women
Because really, you want to be them

And I know you’re gonna read this
And say who the fuck do you think you are?
I’m not insecure, I just hate you, that’s all

But I’ve been there.
Not wanting to change who I am
But being threatened by who you are
Wondering if the man I have
Would rather be linked with your arm

It’s a prehistoric, inbuilt mechanism
We all have it there
But as we grow we make choices
Can I really be bothered to care?

Not not care about you
But not care about who’s better
I’d rather get on with my lot and love myself
So I can love you, whatever

Yeah I can love you
Through all of your spite
Because these days I just see another human
Not a competitor to fight

And this won’t change your mindset
It’s not gonna make us friends
But I’d like to say bless you
I hope love follows you, right to the end.

Women are strong. Beautiful. Motherly.
If we loved each other more I wager the World would be less ugly.
If only we could stop all the jealousy.
Stand together and spread love recklessly!

I reach out to my sisters, to those broken and torn
To ones with hidden scars as well as the physical ones worn
And I give you my hand, my head and my heart
Forgive me my trespasses. I am ready to be part.

Part of a sisterhood, part of a revolution
That will encompass our brothers, our parents, our children
To take back the power of that lost love and light
And to stand strong, together as each heart we ignite.

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Does It Still Hurt?

She screams silently into the back of her mind
Reaching out to the pain

A morbid bubble ripped open like a womb after birth

Open and fresh the tear is fingered over and over

Does it still hurt? Yes. Does it still hurt?

Her memories form twisted and charred
No longer the truth but a long line of guilt

Taunting and grabbing at each of her limbs and knocking on the echoing chambers of her heart
Tortured by the torture she lies in the dark

self pity and blame her blanket

It’s her fault he did it. Her fault.

Manipulation catapults her from hate for him to loathing of self

A merry go round never slowing

She scratches at her skin. Physical pain to numb the other.

Not the first. Won’t be the last.
She hasn’t learned to love herself

So she waits for the cycle to start again.

And so it does. And so it does.

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It’s not a complaint, it’s a celebration.

I’ve slept less than 6 hours a night and haven’t eaten a cooked meal in over a week. My bedroom resembles a car boot sale and I’m pretty sure my cats think my flat mates are their actual owners.

This isn’t a complaint, it’s a celebration.  I am so blessed to be so busy doing what I love.

However, I feel it’s time to lay bare some home truths about following your dreams as a musician.

I often get the impression that a vast majority believe that being a musician is having an elaborate hobby supported by full time work or generous and well off parents.

I gave up my 32k job to become a student. This gives me just enough in the form of student finance to live on. I spend the majority of this on rehearsal rooms, travel, accommodation and per diems for my musicians, advertising and other musically related expenses.

At my level playing small pubs and clubs with the occasional small festival thrown in for good measure, payment is sporadic at best. I am lucky to get expenses and when I do it rarely scratches the surface of the actual expenditure that made it possible for my musicians and I to play.

Again, this is not a complaint. Yes, it would be wonderful to be paid and make money from the music I lovingly create and play. The industry as it is does not allow for this. I am merely pointing this out and I am 100% grateful to those promoters and venues who do pay me, however much, as every penny goes back into doing what I love and goes a long way to make what I do possible!

I think it is important that the impression people have of following dreams is a real one. It’s not writing a few tunes and suddenly being a rock star. It’s working for years from the bottom up, hoping you’ll be able to pay your rent again this month and afford to get to the next gig while possibly NEVER being a so called star or being out of part time work and in full time music.

It is hard graft. Blood, sweat, tears… I’ve shed all of them to follow my dream. I’ll continue to do so. I love it.

Writing songs and booking gigs is just the beginning. It’s also sitting up til 6 in the morning sending emails to more promoters, blogs, magazines and radio stations asking for exposure then getting a few hours kip before packing a bag and getting a train to who-knows-where to play a gig or do a radio interview for 20 listeners because any airtime is worth the exhaustion. It’s working a part time bar job every night after a full day of rehearsals on minimum wage and thanking God for that £6 in tips because that’s your bus fare back to the studio the next day. Thick skin and determination is essential. Passion is everything.

Apart from my sheer love for the music, the other huge element to keeping me in this is the people. I now have many people who support me continuously by sharing my music, promoting me in venues, turning up to gigs, playing my music on their radio stations… They are my heroes. One person singing along propels me forward. To have as many people as I have to call friends, fans or colleagues is a huge gift.

Rather than waiting to have an album to credit people, I’m going to list some of the important people I have around me so far and thank them whole heartedly for their amazing support. It isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last. If I have forgotten to list anyone, please forgive me.

Twitter Fam:
@MrPeepsSays
@BoltonAddick
@TrustFox
@SqrPig
@MusicForiTunes
@JonpPenny
@DaveyHub
@ryan_Unsigned
@krystaljonjo
@SpeedOfSoundUK
@GBH68

Blog Fam:
www.nijimagazine.com
www.thepunkarchive.blogspot.com
www.thebartonquandry.com
www.musicvstheworld.wordpress.com

Radio Fam:
Coral Rose Radio, Lancaster
Shoreditch Radio, London
Krystal Radio, Essex
BBC Intro, Norfolk
London Unsigned/Unsigned Gig Guide
#RKC, Paris

Promoter Fam:
Elena Katrina
Nick Jaques
Wayne Samways
Zaid Zarathustras
Cheeky Promotions
JakRock Music
Dan Littlechild

My Musicians:
Nzoyi – guitars, keys, MD, brother from another mother
Jeff Cramer – guitar
Ben Witherstone – guitar
Frankie P – bass
Sophie Lord – bass
Michael Osborne – drums
Shakira Malkani – drums
Paolo Gravanti – Cajon
Amanda Brown – drums

Band Fam:
Ghouls
Riskee and the Ridicule
Banjaxeld
Gifted Circus
Nakisha Esnard
Facio

Fave Venues: (for hospitality, promotion, and friendship)
Golden Lion Hotel, Carmarthen
The Kings Arms, Salford
Bar Vinyl, Camden
The Blueberry, Norwich
Milgi, Cardiff
The Tram And Social, Tooting Broadway
The Aquarium, Lowestoft
The Worlds End, Finsbury Park

Special thanks to www.archstudios.co.uk for their friendly, very accommodating and generous team. You look after me and my team so well!

Also, I humbly thank every friend, fan and family member near and far who have given me a couch/floor/bed to sleep on, a meal, come to a gig, chucked me a tenner in times of trouble… Too many to name but you all know who you are and I hope you know how much I love you.

May my struggle carry on and bear fruit to be given back to you in abundance.

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For Mum

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It’s Mother’s Day! Which is why my blog is dedicated to my favourite Mum in the World – MINE!

My Mum only ever asks for one thing on Mother’s Day from each of her children. A letter. She always says she wants for nothing, so for us to take a minute, or an hour to write a letter to her is the most thoughtful thing we could do, and seeing as I have started this blog I decided that this year I would publicly write mine because she’s wonderful and I wanted to let the World know. Or at least anyone that decides to read my blog 😉

This last year has been a mental one for me and I am pretty sure I gave her a fair few new white hairs as a result, if not a load of heart burn to boot!

At the beginning of last year I decided in the space of a week to apply for Uni, move house and quit a 32k job to throw myself back into education in order to have the time to be a full time musician or at least be pursuing music full time!  Mum was understandably scared. Her very stable daughter was deciding to turn her life upside down, reduce her incomings by drastic proportions and go into an industry where sales are continually dropping and is saturated with hopefuls more than ever. She supported me through it any way regardless of her misgivings. Don’t get me wrong – she believes in my abilities (like every proud Mum she thinks I’m the best singer songwriter in the World) but in realistic terms, no matter who you are or how good, chances of being successful in music are slim. It’s a tougher industry than ever!

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My Mum is my hero. She has faced so many tough challenges in her life and has managed to come through without an ounce of bitterness to become a strong, fiercely independent woman who above all else loves her children, her husband and God. She has fed us with next to no money, raised us with dignity and respect, provided us with the ability to learn music, dance, horse riding or whatever else we wanted, sometimes at the risk of her own health to pay for it.  As far as I am concerned, she is the most amazing mother, friend, confidant and advisor.  I won’t tell you too much – she doesn’t know I am doing this and I have no idea how much she would be happy with me saying! 

At the end of last year my Mum watched me get my heart broken. Not for the first time, but definitely the worst. She felt my weight loss, my night terrors and my depression as though it was her own.  She had seen it coming, but never judged my choices, advised but never ‘told me so’ and never got frustrated with my tears. She just sat and held me, listened and comforted me in any way she could. Over and over.  I know that she would still sit and listen to me for hours going over the same unanswered questions now too.

My Mum never asks for anything from us, but would give everything she has to see us happy and healthy. I know you’re going to read this Mum, because you subscribed to my blog and your my biggest fan.  I just want you to know how much you mean to me.  I could never wish for a better mother or friend. I love you so much. Thank you. For last year and all the years before it. For your protection, support, love, friendship, advice. All the hugs AND the tellings off that have shaped who I am today.  Thank you for being my biggest PR and Publicity person by telling EVERY person you meet that they have to listen to my music. Thank you for believing in me when I don’t feel like I can believe in myself. For all of this and everything I have forgotten to mention here. Thank you.

Happy Mothers Day Mum. You rock my World.

xxx

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