I'm going to have to blame Christmas this time... belated blogging is pretty common around the festive period... and mine just lasted until today!
I do actually have lots of reasons for not blogging - all of them are amazingly exciting. It has been so busy at camp GY... busy is an understatement!
I might have to start a new blog to discuss music things - album releases, press features, reviews, writing, gigs etc. as I feel like I shouldn't gabble on about such things on a styleblog.
Instead, today I am going to talk about one night: a night that pretty much changed everything for me, that led me down new, wonderful paths, to a glimpse of what the future may hold.
I am talking of course of my favourite gig of last year:
22nd October - 'Alltogether now' -ALBUM LAUNCH @ BUSH HALL, London
This was a early start to preparing for a gig. Jennifer Nash arrived with makeup and fake hair at around 8am and the fun began! Our little flat was soon brimming with band members, friends and my manager sorting things, unwrapping CDs, decorating dolls houses, making giant butterflies out of tights and wire (Jen was by FAR the best at this!) We loaded into the van with fake plants, grass, flowers, TREES, birds, boxes of our new album and about six of us... was it a squeeze?!! haha... it definitely wasn't legal!!! Luckily the police had better things to do and within 40 mins we pulled up outside Bush Hall to meet the rest of the band and mammoth crew that we pulled together to help us.
Bush Hall is a beautiful venue. You could easily drive past it (I have about 3 times already!) on the Uxbridge Road, Shepherds Bush (west London) but the moment you get inside you won't forget it! Once you're through the entrance, past the bar into the main hall you can't help but gasp! BEAUTIFUL - It was an Irish Dance Hall built in 1904 (good ole' google!) and has chandeliers and a wonderfully grand and romantic decor. I chose this as my album launch venue very easily after playing there in May.
There were a lot more people to meet when we got there as tonight was something I have been plotting for a very long time - I had invited friends, people I met at fairs and found on the net to come and set up stalls, pop up shops and exhibitions of their work and items for sale - from food to full on dresses! I will be telling you more about them very soon... (in about 5mins reading time!)
We then decorated the hall and turned it into a giant dreamlike garden with fake trees either side of the stage - littered with the giant butterflies (the one I had made was hidden somewhere at the back!!) And brightly coloured feathered birds! We laid down a roll of synthetic grass on the stage and wrapped flower garlands and fairy lights over the mic stands. It looked amazing - the band did a great job at making it look beautiful - I'm admit I was busy at work sitting still whilst having a beautiful bird painted onto my arm...
(Jen's work! Might make it permanant!)
So the stall holders set up, we soundchecked and then I was whisked off upstairs to the lavish balcony for a photo shoot. This was for a project called A-Z London Songwriters being put together by the talented photographer Dylan Walker ... it was FREEZING and I was outside in hotpants and a tiny top - made by the sublime Rosa Bloom but I think it was worth it:
Here are a few choice picks- after I melted back inside we also got these:
As the flash went off for this one I saw a worried looking man in the corner of my eye - it was my manager, Brett informing me that we were about to be open and I cannot be seen before I come on stage... I half like this- on one side I love to make an entrance (who doesn't?!) but on the other it does tend to get quite lonely backstage I wanted to shop at the stalls and mill around meeting people... actually having said that I was WAY too nervous to do that so I think its better I was hidden away this time!!
So I was shuffled back into the 'green room' and the night began. I heard voices- people popped in and out looking happy and excited, especially my dad who had a constant chesire cat all night long! I guessed from the expressions running in and out of the dressing room that things were going well. I got vague responses of 'yeah- all is fine out there' and 'don't worry about anything just relax' ... RELAX????!! I was practically nailess!
Whilst everyone was filtering in they were greeted by the DJ Tricity Vogue and a band of STEEL DRUM players from Battersea Technology College:
(Photos by Joseph Lee)
The support band, Magic Lantern, are friends of ours and sounded amazing through the doors, so did the applause - this was getting exciting.
I did have a panic moment - tears, sweats etc etc. Its a girl thing to do when you have spent so much time on one night and the fear of it not going exactly to plan!!
Soon it was time to go on stage - we were ready, the band was giddy with excitement and after one of those cheesy hands in the middle go team go moment (which of course I lead much to the dismay of some people!!) I had to wait for the band to go out start the first few bars of 'Umm' (we were doing the whole album in order!) then I walked out- parasol in hand, fairy lights in my hair and nearly fainted.... because...
the hall was PACKED... I can't describe that feeling but I know that I LOVED it - everyone was screaming and going mad- our band was VERY well received and I could hardly start the song with lack of breath and tears in my eyes! I would describe the gig but I honestly can't... it was a wonderful blur of colours, dancing, wild costumes, the lovely sight of the popup shops surrounding us and people, lots of people- some familiar but most suprisingly not.
I do remember running offstage in the middle whilst the band was still playing... don't worry I wasn't ill I was about to do something I have dreamed off for a very long time:
A MID GIG COSTUME CHANGE!!!
I went from this:
Both outfits - headpieces & gloves included were bespoke pieces specially for the night made by the beautiful and amazingly talented Miss Rosa Bloom I LOVE THEM! Incredible to wear such beautiful handmade clothes!! Thankyou Rosa!
Needless to say the gig was a success- it was punctuated by one unique special moment where the steel band crept in front of the stage to join us for Lipsink!!
The stalls were a different matter all together...
I loved them all and am so thankful for their time and energy.
had a craft table, led by Lloyd Ellis - where you could gather together materials, glitter, glue, paint etc to make your very own mask or whatever you wanted...
had her own stall of beautiful homemade bloomers, hairclips, jewellery and pasties (these are nipple cups not the cornish steak snack!)
NICKY YOUNG (my sister) and MERCH CORNER
My talented sister was selling her own T-shirts which she designs with amazing abstract prints and postcards - inspired by the supernatural and definitely SUPER!
My parents were heading up the merch area which was not a table but a grand piano!! We had brought along a dolls house complete with furniture and in each room was merchandise - the album won centre stage of course and there were dolls house picture hairclips that I made (with my own bare, gluey hands!) also pocket mirrors, tshirts and posters. The highlight of our merch table was an exclusive sale of collaborative bespoke pieces with Hungamunga's own Vicky Sennett there was a handmade Skirt, shoes, a gorgeous little clutch bag, a fantastic hat and a butterfly encrusted fascinator - I considered buying them all myself but I wasn't allowed to!! All of these items will be on sale online very soon! (I sadly don't have a picture but it looked great!)
was a very popular stall run by a friend I met through Twitter! It featured knitted wonders and animal ears!
LAURA MACLENNAN and STEPHANIE LAING
brought their own designs of amazing jackets and dresses all the way from Edinburgh - they were lovely girls and I am in love with their clothes!!
set up the most professional, spectacular stall of incredible jewelery - I think our audience were maybe feeling the credit crunch a bit that night but everyone walked away from her bedazzled and inspired.
OF CABBAGES AND KINGS
had an awesome collection of pretty brooches, bags and keyrings!
My lovely friend Alice Hoddell came up from Cornwall with her incredible handknitted hats -perfect for this time of year or just being snuggly - I love my bespoke Fidgit hat!!
their fluffy little things were extreeemely tempting and I could easily fill my house with them!
There was also art from Crystal Brook, cakes and headbands from Christie Carter and her friend Amy and facepainting/balloon making by our very own extraordinarily talented Jennifer Nash.
Thankyou to all involved... you all worked so hard and and were so selfless in putting time and energy into this event - you have no idea how much you have been integral part in my life.
Lots has come from this gig- to start with there was a Sunday Times journalist there, David Stubbs who I met with days later for an interview that became my first national press feature and made the FRONT PAGE of the music section in the Culture Magazine in the Christmas Edition...
AGHHHHHHHHH!!! I am still over the moon to see this!! Imagine my face when I first saw this... my jaw was nowhere near the rest of my face!
I leave you with a final selection of photos from the night by our wonderful (yes, really running out of words for 'amazing' now - which apparently I say all the time!!) photographer JOSEPH LEE:
Thankyou Joe and thanks to all that came- what a wonderful lot you are!
a truly magical night.
And MANY more to come...
DATE FOR THE DAIRY - 4th MARCH = Single launch @ Bloomsbury Ballroom
more dates to come - throughout THE WORLD!!! :)
Sooo much more to say...
photo, video shoots, V. exciting collaborations etc etc etc but that will just have to wait until next time!
I love you all my pretties