I am born in the eighties,after they have been married for years and accumulated a loft space full of vintage soul records.I hear the sound of black America,brass and big vocal.I am born with a full head of black hair.My dad and uncle have thick black hair and pale skin. My first memory ?my mothers design studio in my pushchair.Purple mannequins.why is that man Purple?she dangles a tape measure around the neck,I clutch my neck in empathy.My grandfather is on the 1984 miners strike.He never returns to work.Who is Margaret Thatcher?is she really a witch?can she really turn the country to stone?He takes me for long,long walks.I see dogs.We have a dog at home.I put my hand through the letter box and he bites me.I am rushed to hospital.I am given white chocolate for my bravery from the Nurse. Milky Bar Kid.I have one grandfather who smokes a pack of Benson a day and goes to Doncaster Workings Men Club.He takes me once.I eat chips and am surrounded by spitting,smoking,swearing old men.I am only about 3 then.I start seeing my Mums name on peoples shopping bags in Sainsbury.My brother has just been born.My mother has to give up design and teach.Too many personal commitments.I have two Grandmothers.Domesticated grandmother [Grandma] and Spiritual grandmother [Nanan].My widowed Grandma cooks and cleans with military precision,she is Northern.She is fiery.She is confrontational and talks of that bitch Thatcher as though she were some home wrecking neighbour to be cautious off.My other Nanan is dreamy,ditzy and ethereal,buys crystals and doted on my permanently tanked up Grandad.She drinks Guinness,tells me stories of a magic porridge pot and talks to me of all the dead people she has seen recently.She is Irish.
One night I wake up and see an old man sitting on top of the stairs with silver hair,holding a baby that has a cheap looking face.Before we moved in to the house an old man died there,in his chair,asleep,his wife had a nervous breakdown and ran the streets in her dressing gown as a result.We move to a new house.I go to school with my black hair and pale skin.My families descent is Irish-Italian.Big green eyes.Pale skin.Thick black hair.Genetics
I have a recurring dream that I am in my crowded lounge,full of people,no one notices me. A bear like Gentle Ben from TV appears and consumes me but I can see through his stomach and he takes me away from the party of ignorance and upstairs to my parents room where they are sleeping and he delivers me safely to them.Fear turns to relief.>p>Aged 7 I put my Mums tights on my head and she makes me a black dress.I am Wednesday Addams.My handwriting is illegible.My primary school teacher publicly labels me "thick" and requests my Mum sends to special needs school.What???They don,t read WHAT I write because they can,t.I stay at normal school.Sniggering classmates stare at my rubber pencil grip.Dyspraxia! Can,t catch a ball or write properly.Later I am taught by a woman named Mrs Smith who finds the previous years teacher`s suggestion of special school ludicrous.She gives me books to read about Moonface,Saucepan Man and a far away tree.I am quiet.I have an advanced reading age so she gives me the seniors books.I am asked to read to the class on afternoons .Dyspraxia is not Dyslexia.My Mum sends me to dance classes to improve my hand eye coordination.I see men in tights.My hand eye coordination improves.My life improves.I see the Shaeksespears Sister video Stay and am bewitched by what comes down stairs in the middle eight,breaking up the ambiance.how rude.how fabulous!.Years later I meet Siobhan Fahey in a club in London,I don,t dare tell her how I mimicked her rolling eyes as a boy.I get into the Sylvia Young school Marylebone London.My singing teacher is THE Jay Aston [!!]and I study dance with a permanently smiling,empathic Northerner Peter King.He is loved by all.He dances like lightning as they say.He teaches me for two years.He looks at me and knows,I know he knows but its alright.He looks at me through the mirror in dance class and informs me he is going to New York to teach dance but will return.I never see him again.Two years later I learn of his death.
I go to art school and roll around naked in paint.I also learn how to take ownership of my own creativity.I read a 2003 issue of The Face and they talk of a nightclub called The Cock.The most fashionable club in London.There are no clubs in Doncaster.I want to live in London for good.Tired of smiling in dance classes,tired of bottom drawer hip hop,tired of Grange Hill auditions,stage school sausage factory.
Later I meet more established and confident pop/dance production teams and take my songs to them for the remix treatment.We work on new material.I write a song called In The City.Another called Love Song about loss of power in a relationship fuck up and one called Curious George about a man who is having several affairs with other men behind his girlfriends back.Inspired by a Frenchman I once slept with whom I later discover is married.He wears his ring during sex.
I have female dancers with me on stage because they can relate to my lust,love, loathing and mutual mistrust of men and because I like watching girls dancing on stage.I mock objectify them and dangle tape measures around their necks.But they will survive...
They say my songs are pop but my shows are confrontational.Boyz Magazine declares my gigs to be "something quite spectacular",BBC Radio plays my tunes,I support Kelis,I play in front of politicians,rugby stars and the cast of Coronation Street and to crowds of 12,000 reverlers and I perform with Pam Hogg during the height of Pam Hogg mania in London.I am over awed by her talent in design and on stage.Music industry bible Music Week run a photo of me looking nervously into a mirror in the men's lavs.I'm loitering with intent.I end up posing for the September issue of mens mag reFresh.I start designing and making the clothes for my videos and stage shows because I am scared of it all looking like everyone else and I feel I can,t really achieve the looks I want for my characters on the high street.I perform at film festival parties , fashion clubs ,indie venues.Packed out.BBC Radio calls it "deluxe entertainment"I meet Daniel Craig,Barbara Windsor,Angelica Houston.A label signs me to deliver a cover version of Pet Shop Boys hit Rent,while we work on the track I do a gig in Soho and they come down.How did I get here,where am I going.?Sleepless nights of the soul and a never supply of adrenelin...I earn little money from all this fabulousness though.Pop art on a budget.
I persevere because I am Northern apparently.Because we survived the miners strike,the blitz,booze,dog bite through letterbox horror,purple mannequin raped by tape measure,rubber pencil grips,,bed rats,married men,bulldozers on dance floors,ghosts.Lets go go dancing.I manoeuvre and persevere.