Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Happy Christmas / "The King & I " !!!!

Very sorry for my belated greetings, I'd just like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas !! I spent Christmas in the beautiful city of Edinburgh which was unusually mild for this time of year. I even saw a few hardy people in tee-shirts ! I was there to see my brother Ramon appearing as the king in the 'King & I' at the Festival Theatre [link]. I had forgotten what a stunning musical the 'King & I' is, it has some great songs, a strong plot & a slightly batty sequence in the middle which in it's own way rivals the completely batty Halloween sequence in the film  'Meet Me in St Louis'. I was very proud of Ramon - he makes a great king & I think his co-star Josefina Gabrielle is a great Anna. It's  refreshing to see a musical that isn't a parody of a musical. A lot of modern musicals, as much as I enjoy them, end up being an in-joke on the conventions of a musical or are structured around already popular songs. So even though this is a classic musical it felt new. If you have the chance (and I promise, this recommendation is not for reasons of nepotism !!) it is well worth catching, love tt

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Cesaria Evora

I was sad to hear that the wonderful singer Cesria Evora has passed away. I once saw her in an airport lounge & was too shy to approach her and tell her how much her music meant to me. 'Miss Perfumado' is one of my favourite albums and seeing her live one of the highlights of my concert going experiences. She will be greatly missed, love tt

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Blue Gardenia

The song I sang in the recent scene I shot in the French film 'Goodbye Morocco' is 'Blue Gardenia'. You may be familiar with the lovely Dinah Washington and Nat king Cole versions. I felt very nervous about this - as I sang the song live in the nightclub scene & also it isn't the kind of song I am used to singing. However, I guess it's good to try new things ! And I was  thrilled to be on set with my friend actress Lubna Azabal who plays the film's main character - and to watch her working. I'll let you know when the film is released - but in the meantime please enjoy the awesome Nat king Cole ! love tt

Monday, 28 November 2011

Andrew Roachford / Singer-Songwriter

This weeks TT Test is taken by the wonderful Andrew Roachford [link]. His band Roachford formed in 1987 was the biggest selling UK act on Columbia records for ten years including the hits 'Cuddly Toy' and 'Family Man', as a writer he has been approached to write for everyone from Michael Jackson to Chaka Khan, and recently he has also co-written and sung lead vocals on the new Mike & the Mechanics album. His new solo album 'Addictive' has just been released & you can catch him live mid-Decmber at the Jazz Cafe in London [link] !! What is your wake up song at the moment ? I really love Adele's song "Rolling in the deep" it's actually quite refreshing to hear something new with some blues influence that still sounds contemporary at the same time. Which work of art or single event has most influenced you in your chosen profession ? My family are all quite musical, so I grew up with my uncle and my dad practicing in the living room which was great, but the first time i was old enough to hear my Uncle(Bill Roachford) playing his saxophone at a gig I was completely blown away and I knew from them there was no other profession for me but music. If you could travel back in time, which period would you most like to visit and why ? I think there was something special happening in music in the early seventies and so much of my big influences were at their best (in my opinion) at that time. I would have loved to have seen Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix and Sly & the Family Stone live at that time :) I love eating out and discovering new restaurants, can you please recommend one to me ? My mother lives in Barbados and i go there as often as possible, one of the best restaurants there has to be 'The Cliff' [link] It is on the west coast of the island and of course it is situated on a cliff by the sea. It's the second best food on the island after my mums cooking!! What is the best advice you ever been given relating to your professional/creative life ? The best advice i think i have ever been given as far as my professional and creative life would be... "Don't be afraid of making mistakes". Tell me about your new album. Personally, every time I make a new album I have to feel the sound or the songwriting is evolving - even if, unfortunately, it turns out not to be true ! Do you feel that you are still discovering & revealing new sides to yourself on 'Addictive' ? I think a lot of people think that once an artist has done a couple of albums then that's as good as it's ever gonna get. I love all the albums I've done in the past, however I think that making albums are a learning process and as you grow as an adult your music grows with you. When I'm in the studio now I think the main challenge is to not put myself in a limiting musical box, which can easily happen when your first album does really well and people think that it is what defines you as an artist. But now im on tour and I'm playing some songs from my new album, they work well and bring a new energy to the shows.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Bandana Splits / Sometimes

This week's wake up song is the very chirpy 'Sometimes' from the American trio 'The Bandana Spits'. It's the perfect feel good track for this late Autumn weather we are enjoying. I have a terrible confession though, close harmonies do slightly scare me, I'm not sure if this is because I don't know how to sing them or because at one point in a song with close harmonies I feel as if I have overheard some music spill from the basement ballroom in 'The Shining'... I guess this is my own musical neurosis & please just enjoy this totally wonderful tune without my aural baggage & besides the harmonies aren't that close!! love tt

Monday, 14 November 2011

A Round Heeled Woman

Saw 'A Round Heeled Woman' at the Riverside Studios [link] this weekend. It's based on the true of Jane Juska who placed an ad in the New York Review of books which read ' BEFORE I TURN 67 - next March - I would like to have a lot of sex with a man I like. If you want to talk first, Trollope works for me.' This is a very brave thing to do especially when you consider that she had not been touched for 30 years. She received 63 replies, from men aged between 32 and 84. She doesn't meet all 63 men ! However, the play does depict some of her more interesting encounters. Sharon Gless stars in the play... if anyone knows me they will know how exciting it was for me to see her performing in a theatre as I am a huge 'Cagney & Lacey' fan !! She is terrific in the play & it is well worth catching. And can you believe this ?!! Tyne Daly will be appearing in London early next year playing Maria Callas in 'Master Class' [link] !!! I've already bought my tickets :) love tt

Saturday, 12 November 2011

A Little History of the World - E.H.Gombrich

My most amiable companion for the recent gigs has been the 1935 classic 'A Little History of the World' by Austrian born art historian and writer Ernst Hans Gombrich. It's a book that was aimed at young readers - & in Gombrich's kindly, avuncular tone events from long ago seem much closer & connected to us. This humanity & warm-heartedness is touching & it leaves me dreaming of a world where people express their ideas before their egos. Perfect for any one who wants a satisfying read but may only have time to read in snatches - as every one of the forty chapters is self-contained - and of course for any one who loves great story telling! Strongly recommended, love tt

Thursday, 10 November 2011

A quick note...

Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed the recent gigs in Lodz & Basel. It was a lot of fun to play Lodz with the different duo of double bass & clarinet/sax & flute - and Basel was slightly nerve-wracking. I hadn't realised that the performance space was going to be so big ! Thank you again for all those who came to the shows, hope to see you again soon ! Also, thanks to Agata Borowiec for taking this lovely photo which with her kind permission I have posted here ! love tt

Friday, 14 October 2011

Etienne Daho / Dani - Comme un boomerang

My wake up song this week is Serge Gainsbourg's 'Comme Un Boomerang' in this classic version from Etienne Daho & Dani. It's the song I always return to when I feel a bit Rock 'n Roll in a Euro way... the guitar solo prompts me to get up & dance in a slightly Euro way too, moody & not entirely committed to the dance at all ! Hope you enjoy : ) love tt

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Union Chapel !

Here are more photos from the Union Chapel ! Love tt


Saturday, 8 October 2011


So sorry I have neglected my blog !! I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who came to my recent gigs. Me, Mark & Luke were so touched by the attentiveness, appreciation & openness of the audiences. It was a real thrill to be playing live again & I look forward to more concerts. Here are some lovely shots that photographer Sylvie Bardet took before the show at the Union Chapel. I'm very giggly because I am chatting to friends, usually I'm quite solitary before a show. I'm never sure what is the best preparation before going on stage, to be chatty & social or to be quiet & mediative. Although, with such fine musicians as Mark & Luke my only real worry is my performance - trust me when you are in a band this is not always the case ! I will post more photos soon from the concert. love tt
Getting ready...

Friday, 9 September 2011

The Skin I Live In

I'm spending a lot of time in my music room at the moment in preparation for my upcoming gigs [link]. However, I did slip out to see Almodovar's new movie 'The Skin I live In'. The friend who I saw it with was perplexed throughout (I'm perplexed that this is the first Almodavar movie she's ever seen-can you imagine not having seen 'All About My mother' or 'Volver' ?!). I was happier, mesmerised by Antonio Banderas' quiet elegance & beauty - even if he plays a very bad man. I suppose most people's enjoyment will rest on how surprised they are by the film's twist. However, maybe this is not the best film to begin an Almodovar education, the crazy plot lines & melodrama which amused me just irritated my friend. I'm very excited about Almodovar's next project, it will be a film about the great Italian singer Mina ! [link] lotsoflove tt

Monday, 29 August 2011

Deolinda-Sem Nocao

I thought it would be nice to have a Portuguese song for this week's wake up song a country I have recently visited. I've chosen the excellent quartet Deolinda. I love the concept behind Deolinda it isn't just the band's name but also a fictional character, as their Wikipedia entry states: "Deolinda is both a band and a fictional 40-year-old spinster who observes her neighbourhood from her window. This 'character' is merrily unmarried, in love and out of love, born in Lisbon, and she inhabits a ground floor apartment somewhere in the suburbs of the capital, Lisbon. She writes her own songs by peeking through the curtains of her window, drawing inspiration from the old gramophone records that once belonged to her grandmother and by the bizarre and strange life of her neighbours." Their song 'Sem Nocao' is delightful, I hope you enjoy ! lotsoflove tt

Friday, 26 August 2011

Avo Session, Basel Switzerland

I am pleased to announce another live date on my Acoustic Sessions tour. It will take place on 8th November, Basel, Switzerland and is part of the Avo Session Festival. Tickets can be purchased through these links : [link1] and [link2]. I hope to see you there !!!! lots of love tt

Loulé Portugal

Sorry, I have been a bit neglectful of my blog I have been busy learning my songs for the live shows. Recently I took a few days break in Portugal. One evening I discovered a very cute small town called Loulé, which must have been in Summer celebration because in one of the charming squares they had set up a sound system. There was a young woman singing & playing an accordion to a rhythm track & some very sprightly older people dancing & drinking lots of coffee. I would have danced myself except I didn't know the dance steps ! I'm not sure of the town's history but the old part of the town with it's narrow streets & tiled walls is magical. I spotted this very polite graffiti on one of the walls, I have this strange attraction to cats even though I don't have a cat... maybe it's because my mother is from Kuching ('Kuching' means cat in Malay )! Lots of love, tt

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Dean Chalkley/Photographer

This week’s TT Test is taken by Essex-born photographer Dean Chalkey whose vibrant work ranging from famous musicians to youth subculture will no doubt be familiar to you. Dean’s website is full of great photos & short films from his exciting career so please check it out [link] !! He also finds time to host two great club nights a week .His answers are fascinating & contain some addresses in London that make me feel like I’m in a Julian Maclaren-Ross novel ! What is your wake up song at the moment ? ... the one that springs up like a motivational soundtrack when walking to the tube in the mornings is 'Turning My Heartbeat Up' by The M.V.P.S. It is a record that is just so up lifting… and dynamic... it really is magic! Which work of art or single event has most influenced you in your chosen profession? I went to a lecture by Richard Avedon at the National Theatre in May 1995, it was such an incredible moment. Avedon was energized bouncing around the stage not your usual 72 year old man, his nervous energy charging the room. Here before a packed auditorium this legend of Photography gave a wonderful insight to his work, life and influences… it was the whole collection of these things that made the most impression on me… How he was immersed in it all... It was HIM. I have always loved Avedon's work and still do to this day. He is transcendent with work that crossed the boundaries of social document and fashion. Although at times he chose to flatter often his camera would be incisive and cut straight to the soul of the people he photographed, avoiding the 'mask' or publicly projected facade of his famous subjects. If you could travel back in time, which period would you most like to visit and why? I live very much in the ‘now’, however I think it would have been great to roam the streets of Soho in the late 1950's and early 1960's this was the time when the Modernist or as it was later abbreviated Mod culture was growing up, to go to the Flamingo club's all-nighters or the archetypal Mod hang out the Scene Club would have been great. I think this was a period that was very expansive in all art forms though; it really seems like the moment when the gearshifts of culture went into overdrive... I love eating out and discovering new restaurants, can you please recommend one to me? I like coming across places that offer something interesting even if it is more the atmosphere etc. So my top recommendation to you is this great little place I've found… it ‘s called The Soho Secret Tearoom [link] upstairs above the Coach and Horses pub on the south side of Greek street. The Coach and Horses has a great history... the famous play 'Jeffrey Bernard is feeling unwell' was based around this bar, originally staring Peter O’Toole. (About a month ago I was standing in the bar and Peter O’Toole actually came down the stairs from the Tearoom he had been interviewed there for an editorial. Wow it was as if royalty was in the place...). The now sadly deceased Norman Bilon was one of Soho’s big characters and would often shout at people that stepped out of line in his drinking establishment publican (reputed to be the rudest Landlord in London).. He had a fierce reputation… It’s also where Private Eye magazine have their weekly meeting editorial meeting... Anyway the Tearooms are upstairs .. Call the Pub in advance to reserve a table or ask the barman / lady if its possible to go up and dine. Assuming its ok you are invited through the bar counter and led upstairs the creaky narrow stairs then you enter the Tearooms. Lovely tablecloths and bone china, the record player in the corner has sounds from the 40s or sometimes it is quiet..It feels like a portal to another time and place, far removed from the Pub environment actually. A very particular atmosphere… The floor is wood creaky and slopping but perfect. They have a great selection of teas including my favourite the very pungent 'White Monkey’, from 3pm til 6 pm it is the Tearoom and then it is a Restaurant in the evening... There is no real change to be honest apart from the food on offer, less tea and cakes and heartier but honestly Meal selections. Its a great place and one of the windows looks out towards Ketners big blue neon sign, if its dark outside and you are sitting in the tearoom it is really like being in a film set of say. ‘Absolute Beginners’. What is the best advice you ever been given relating to your professional/ creative life? ... photographer Brian griffin told me to try to do at least one great piece of work every year, of course every thing I do I endeavour to make great, but what he meant was make one body of work stand out as your signature...I think this is a good bit of advice.... I really enjoyed your new short film 'Young Souls [link] the music, dancing & look of the film is wonderful. I know that as young man you identified yourself as a Mod & the aesthetics & music of that culture have shaped you so it's not so surprising that you made this film. So I was really intrigued to see another of your films ' Serge ' which is about a body builder! What inspired that & is there any connection between the two films? I'm glad you liked the film, it spins around the world of Northern Soul a culture of rare soul that has a very danceable beat. The scene has been in the public consciousness for many years and yet remained to a large extent an enigma to most outside of the scene. There is a connection between the two films, quite simply the passion and the dedication that individuals exercise in order to follow their hearts. The 'Serge' film is accompanied by a haunting piece of music, 'odi et amo' by Johann Johannsson, based on an ancient poem by Catullus. The Poem is recited in the piece essence it proclaims... I love I hate why do I do you ask… It’s tearing me apart... I think this says so much about our inner drive passion and need to create in whichever way we chose... whether in the gym sculpting our bodies or on the dance floor. However, we choose in order to follow our passion it takes heart.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Cate le Bon - Sad Sad Feet

This week's wake up song is the gorgeous 'Sad Sad Feet' from Welsh singer songwriter Cate le Bon [link]. A song so under my skin that it's lines ' Well, I like what I like & I like what I know ' jump out at me in all kinds of situations. Like in a cake shop for instance or reading a good book or any number of random events that are better punctuated by that line than any I can think of. This recording's yearning quality is also most addictive. Hope you enjoy ! love Tanita

Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Acoustic Sessions Tour

I am very pleased to announce more dates from my forthcoming 'The Acoustic Sessions Tour' in Amsterdam at Amstelkerk on 23rd September and Milan at La Salumeria Della Musica on 24th September, in addition to the previously announced London date on 4th October. Tickets are available from : Milan: [link] / Amsterdam: [link] / London: [link] or from my facebook page : [link] lotsoflove tt

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Irma Thomas & Soul Rebels Brass band

Saw a wonderful gig at the Barbican on Sunday. First on were the truly infectious grooves of the New Orleans brass combo 'Soul rebels Brass Band' [link], I've never heard a funky tuba before !! It was impossible not to move to their playing & by the end of their set the whole room was on their feet. Then the legendary singer Irma Thomas, a contemporary of Aretha Franklin & Etta James she is known as the Queen of New Orleans Soul. It was so exciting, she has no set list ! She invites the audience to shout out requests from a career that spans over 50 years & if she can't remember the words she looks them up in a huge tome of all her songs & if the band don't know the requested songs she sings them a cappella ! And what a voice, even though she is 70, it's still thrilling and in fine health. In fact, it actually sounds richer live than than on some of her recordings. I mean this in the best sense, because her band is a little raggedy & not over polished & because I'm not that familiar with her material watching her performance that night was like stumbling upon a great bar, where you discover the most soulful singer with a raucous band & feel more alive for it, lotsoflove tt

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse's death rounded off a grim weekend for news. She was one artist who everyone, whatever their age or taste, agreed was very special and I believe she was as great as her musical heroes. This is the original demo of the classic 'Love is a losing Game' and a fitting tribute to her extraordinary abilities as a writer and singer. Lotsoflove tt

Sunday, 17 July 2011


I've just returned from a short trip to Munich. I went to the opera & saw a production of Mozart's 'Don Giovanni'. The modern staging, consisting of stacked metal warehouse containers & modern dress, including Donna Elvira in a pink office suit & hiking boots left me scratching my head but the music was wonderful. I closed my eyes or looked up at the theatre's chandelier & let the orchestra and voices transport me. I also cycled through the city's parks, explored the great outdoor market 'Viktualienmarkt' and ate the most honest and hearty food I've tasted in a long time. How can a simple potato salad be so heavenly ?! I found Munich to be a truly convivial city & it is well worth a visit, love tt

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Album Teaser # 2

The new album teaser # 2 is on line on the new home page !! love tt

Monday, 4 July 2011

Bonnie Guitar- Candy Apple Red

This week's wake up song 'Candy Apple Red' is from an artist I've recently discovered with the coolest name Bonnie Guitar (born Bonnie Buckingham she also played session guitar hence the name change) & an amazing voice. She's a contemporary of Patsy Cline and her music has a similar early pop-country cross over sound but because it is less familiar to me than Cline's it takes me to this strange twilight place & a not unpleasant sense of yearning & loss. I wonder if it's the diction & clarity in her voice against the mellow background that helps to create this feeling? Bonnie Guitar is well into her into her 80s now and still going strong, follow the link to hear a great 2007 music session [link] lotsoflove tt

Friday, 24 June 2011


I saw the French film 'Potiche' ( Trophy Wife ) last night. It was silly & charming & idealistic & features a deliciously cheesy soundtrack. My favourite moment was the last scene, when for some unknown reason Catherine Deneuve bursts into song. 'C'est beau la Vie' ! love tt

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Joan Miró

Yesterday evening I went with some friends to the Tate Modern exhibition [link] of the Spanish Surrealist painter Joan Miro. We were all very moved by this retrospective. I was particularly affected by one room in which there were six larger single colour paintings. I had a very strong feeling of positivity & a great energy for life. In fact this is probably the most optimistic I've ever felt leaving a gallery ! This exhibition runs until September hope you can catch it, love tt

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Album Teaser !!

The new album teaser is on line on the new home page !! love tt

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Mary Gauthier / Singer-Songwriter

This week's TT Test is taken by the great American singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier [link]. Her songs have been covered by many artists including Tim McGraw & Candi Staton & her albums have all been highly praised culminating in the masterpiece 'The Foundling' which tells her own story of being abandoned as a child,the struggle for her own identity & birth mother & ultimately the triumph of love. What is your wake up song at the moment ? 'Lorraine', by my dear friend Lori McKenna. Which work of art or single event has most influenced you in your chosen profession? I got sober from drugs and alcohol in 1999, and songwriting followed. I would never have become a songwriter without recovery from from my addictions. If you could travel back in time, which period would you most like to visit and why ? I'd go back 40-50 years in Nashville, to the time when the songs coming out of this town were great, and I'd hang out with the my songwriting hero's when they were in their prime... Harlan Howard, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Marijohn Wilkin, johnny Cash, Tom T Hall et al. I'd find my way into their scenes, and they'd make me a better writer just from being around them. I love eating out & discovering new restaurants,can you please recommend one to me ? Margot's Cafe [link], in Nashville,TN. My favorite restaurant of all time, The chef is the owner, and she is in the kitchen every night cooking fresh local ingredients with passion and love. No one can cook fish like Margot, and she changes the menu every day to reflect what's fresh in the market. I am a huge fan. What is the best advice you ever been given relating to your professional /creative life ? Unless they are giving you a big check, don't sign anything. BONUS QUESTION: I am intrigued that you also teach songwriting - what sort of guidance are students looking for ? And what is it that you try to bring out of them? I teach songwriters to look for their own voice, and look inside themselves for the truth of what they are trying to say. I can teach the craft (song structure, chord progressions, rhyming patterns) but I can't teach the art, the art being the subjects which the writer is called to write about. I try to teach the students to listen to the voices in their heads and hearts, and reveal what's being said in there. I try to teach them to allow themselves to be vulnerable, and expose their hearts. I try to teach them that songwriting is more about re-writing than anything. and most of all, I try to teach them to connect with themselves and their listeners. I let them know that if they are not connecting, it's not the listeners fault. Basically, I give them a ladder, show them the rungs... and it's up to them to do the climbing.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Psapp - Sad Song

This week's wake up song is Psapp's 'Sad Song '. The song sounds so crunchy it always makes me smile & even if the refrain is 'I don't want to live no more' it's not sad at all ! Listen out for the great line 'Peter, just called to say, he saw a slug eating a chip...' That has to be some kind of genius :) The video I'm posting is a fan video, I don't think a band video is available for this song, anyways, hope you enjoy, lotsoflove tt

Saturday, 21 May 2011

A Monster Calls

Just finished reading 'A Monster Calls'. The book's own history is worth telling. Siobhan Dowd was a children's writer who died in 2007 from cancer. At the time of her death she had left some details of the story, the characters, a detailed premise and a beginning but sadly did not have the time to write it. Her publishers commissioned author Patrick Ness to complete the book & Jim Kay to illustrate it. The young boy's struggle to accept a terrible loss is a universal one & the illustrations are so powerful that it's worth buying the book for them alone. It already feels like a classic to me, love tt

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Marie Knight & Mary Gauthier

I have developed a bad habit of not setting time aside to really listen to albums in their entirety. I tend to hear a new song I like & add it to an ever expanding playlist of favourites & if I do listen to any albums they are probably familiar & trustworthy & at least 20 years old! However, I recently discovered two great records - if not exactly new releases Marie Kinght's 'Let Us Get Together' [link] was released in 2007 and Mary Gauthier's 'The Foundling' in 2010- they are new to me & just as thrilling as any of my older beloved record collection The recommendation from Madeleine Peyroux 'This record has gotten into my soul,spirit... & I cannot stop... music that infects one with joy...' on the cover of Marie Knight's 'Let Us Get Together' made me curious. I'm not religious & it's a gospel record but Knight's voice, at over 80 years old, still so powerful & authoritative & perfectly partnered with multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell moved me deeply. Sadly, Knight passed away in 2009 but along with her earlier recordings including her work with Sister Rosetta Tharpe from the 40s leaves us with a great musical legacy. The other record, Mary Gauthier's 'The Foundling' [link] is astounding. I can only urge you to find the time to discover it's rare & haunting beauty.You can hear acoustic versions of the songs from 'The Foundling' on this channel [link]. Hope you enjoy, lotsoflove tanita

Alberta Hunter/ Darktown Strutters' Ball

This week's wake up song is performed by the legendary Alberta Hunter. The beautiful 'Darktown Strutters' Ball' was written in 1917 by Shelton Brooks & inspired by a ball at the 1915 Pacific-Panama Exposition in San Francisco. It is one of the earliest traditional jazz songs to become a standard. Alberta Hunter's version recorded when she was actually in her 80s (how is it possible to be so vocally fit at that age ?!) makes you want put on your most glamorous clothes & dance the night away ! Hope you enjoy :) love tt

Monday, 9 May 2011

Jammy Dodgers !!

London is so beautiful & sunny at the moment, I am spending a lot of time outside, discovering new places especially the markets which come into their own at this time of year. One of the most charming I visited during a quieter week day is Brixton Village Market with it's beautiful covered Arcade & very good coffee ! Broadway Market [link] is also worth visiting, I found a stall with the best home made Jammy Dodgers I've ever tasted !! love tt

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Sarah Waters / Writer

This week's TT Test is taken by Sarah Waters [link] one of Britain's best loved novelists. Her first novel 'Tipping the Velvet' marked the arrival of a writer who has the rare gift of creating popular & critically acclaimed fiction - much of her work has been adapted for television & film and 'Fingersmith', 'The Night watch' and 'The Little Stranger' have all been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for fiction. With so many accolades her modesty is refreshing. Her answers are great too :) What is your wake up song at the moment ? The last CD I bought was The Resistance, by Muse, and the track I keep playing from it is Uprising.I listen to music mainly when I'm walking through London, and Uprising is a great track to go striding across the city to; it's got revolutionary lyrics, a thumping beat, and makes you feel like Rosa Luxemburg. I do love Muse. Their music is camp and epic at the same time - quite an achievement. I'm longing to go to a Muse concert, but I'm too embarrassed: it would be me and ten thousand teenage boys. Which work of art or single event has most influenced you in your chosen profession ? There are a few authors whose work really inspired me to start writing - most notably Angela Carter, Philippa Gregory and Jeannette Winterson. In very different ways their books have taken on history, tradition, the canon; they've teased new stories out of the past, or invented new, fantasy histories if they didn't like the ones already on offer - I suppose that's what I've tried to do, too. But the single biggest influence on me probably came from a novel called Street Lavender, by Chris Hunt. It's the adventures of a rent boy in late Victorian London - a shamelessly rompy, sexy, romantic story, but a really intelligent one, too. It was published by Gay Men's Press in the mid 1990s: I read it and thought, 'Wow! This is brilliant!' Tipping the Velvet was really my attempt to do something similar, for lesbians. If you could travel back in time, which period would you most like to visit and why? I've written so much about the Victorians that I guess I'd have to choose the nineteenth century. I'd love just to be able to eavesdrop on a few ordinary conversations, on the street and in people's homes. As a researcher, ordinary domestic and emotional life is the hardest thing to get hold of, because it tends not to find its way into the history books. But it's what fascinates me most about the past: the mundane details of people's lives; how they thought about their bodies; what they dreamt about; what satisfied and disappointed and frustrated them. I love eating out and discovering new restaurants, can you please recommend one to me ? To be honest, I'm not at a big restaurant goer. I find food and eating and all that a bit tiresome. My ideal restaurant is one that's cheap and quick, but with a bit of personality - somewhere like the India Club [link], on the second floor of the Strand Continental Hotel, London. It's a wonderfully quirky place where the food's all right, service is sometimes huffy, but you can slope off afterwards to a cinema, a theatre or the South Bank. What is the best advice you ever been given relating to your professional/ creative life ? When I was struggling with an early draft of Tipping the Velvet, my friend Sally, to console me, said, 'But Sarah, you were never going to get it right first time. It would be a miracle if you got it right first time!' I've always remembered that - and I think of it, particularly, when my writing feels stuck, or the words on the screen before me look more than usually awful. Yes, it would be a miracle if you sat down at your desk and wrote, straight off, a perfectly finished novel. But by plugging patiently away at it, by being ready to edit and re-draft, you can make it better. BONUS QUESTION : Is there any truth to the rumour that 'Tipping The Velvet' is being adapted into a stage musical? Can you tell us any more details about this ?! There is indeed some truth to it... But I'm afraid I can't say any more right now, because the project is still in its very earliest days. It's a great idea, though, isn't it? Tipping is such a theatrical book. I'd love to see it bounce into life on the stage.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Congratulations !!

London is super loved up today !! This morning there was not a sound in the park or on the roads, everyone was watching the wedding. It's a good excuse to post this Shirley brown classic ' Long As You Love Me'. Lotsoflove !! tt

Sunday, 24 April 2011

17 Hippies - Frau von Ungefahr

This week's wake up song is from the German band 17 Hippies (actually, there are only 13 of them !). I've recently discovered this band & it's hard to choose one song because their music is so diverse & vibrant , however, I've settled upon 'Frau Von Ungefahr'. 2.27 minutes into this live performance there's a lovely moment that only really makes sense in front of a live audience & you can feel the audience's excitement as the band builds the crescendo. Hope you enjoy ! lots of love, tt
17 HIPPIES Frau von Ungefähr par schlowarzel

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

George Shaw

I caught the exhibition 'Last Days of the Comet' at the Hayward Gallery last week. This is number 7 of the British Art Show Series, which also visits other UK cities over the next few months [link]. I was really touched by three paintings by the artist George Shaw featuring the Coventry council estate he grew up on. The Art show's website mentions that Shaw started these paintings 'as a kind of mourning' for the person that he used to be, and are 'as much about what has been forgotten, lost, swept away, as about what is remembered'. Maybe, that's why I had such a surprising feeling of nostalgia when I saw them. It's a different town,but they reminded me of the housing estate of the first house my parents owned in Basingstoke. I never expected to walk into a gallery & have that memory rendered so powerfully ! Until the 15th of May there is also a solo exhibition of his work at the Baltic Centre in Gateshead [link] love tt

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

In a forest, Dark & Deep / Clybourne Park

I saw the Neil Labute play 'In a Forest, dark and deep' last night, basically because a friend of mine has a crush on the actor Mathew Fox who was starring in it (as did most of the young audience!). Perhaps, this is not the best reason to go to theatre - the general critical reaction that the play is neither dark nor penetrating is fair, and I was disappointed by how psychologically lazy the writing was i.e dodgy stereo-types that were difficult to believe in. The weaknesses of this production reminded me of how great the current London production of another contemporary American play Bruce Norris 'Clybourne Park' is. It's possible to make an audience uncomfortable (not exasperated), deal with incendiary topics but still be engaging & entertaining. 'Clybourne Park' does this brilliantly. It runs until early May, love tt

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Jolie Holland - Mexico City

This week's wake up song is the gorgeous 'Mexico City' by Jolie Holland. I'm embarrassed to admit, although I was transfixed by this song from the beginning, it wasn't until I googled the lyrics that I actually understood them. And they are beautiful. I guess this is the perfect road song & for all it's melancholy as soon as I hear the opening guitar strums I have a strong desire to be on the move & travelling. Hope you enjoy it too ! lots of love tt

Thursday, 7 April 2011


Saw a great movie last week 'Incendies' an adaptation of the acclaimed play by Wajdi Mouawad, and directed by French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve. 'Incendies' is really a modern day Greek tragedy with as many unexpected twists & shocking family secrets. It is profound and compelling I find myself haunted by this film. Lubna Azabal's performance (TT Test link) deservedly won the Best Actress Award in the recent Canadian Jutra & Genie Film Awards. Strongly recommended, lots of love tt

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Joanna Briscoe / Writer

This week's TT Test is taken by the writer Joanna Briscoe [link] whose novels have received great critical acclaim for their psychological insight & Joanna's skill in creating suspense. Most important of all they are impossible to put down ! Her first, 'Mothers & Other Lovers' controversially won the Betty Trask award, and a third novel 'Sleep With Me' was adapted for television by Andrew Davies. Her new novel 'You' will be published by Bloomsbury later this year. She is also a regular contributor to 'The Guardian', 'Independent' & 'The Observer'. What is your wake up song at the moment? It's a surprising choice... 'Gush Forth My Tears' a 16th Century song recorded in the early 1990s by a band called Miranda Sex Garden. I only listened to it because the pianist & violinist who also teaches my daughter piano used to sing with them. Though I find the band gimmicky (the teacher isn't!), the song sticks in my mind & I return to it. Which work of art or single event has most influenced you in your chosen profession? I have to say 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles' by Thomas Hardy. I read it at 16, & not only did it make sense of the wild countryside in which I lived, but it affected me profoundly. I had never loved a novel so much, so passionately. I couldn't put it down & was haunted by it from first reading, & the combination of amazing plot, lyricism,romanticism & tragedy filled me with an admiration that only becomes deeper with time,it left me reeling. From the age of 15, I'd committed to being a writer, and here was a work of art that I could dip into whenever I wanted to. I think it also made me want to write about the countryside in which I lived. If you could travel back in time, which period would you most like to visit and why ? Here's the Tess influence again. It would have to be the Victorian era, as that novel started me widely reading within the period. It's accessible enough for us to understand, or think we understand -just a matter of a century and a half or so- yet intensely different. I've just re-read 'The French Lieutenant's Woman', which so cleverly analyses the differences between the 19th & 20th Centuries. As a teenager, I always fancied being a Victorian milk maid, of course, and putting my Laura Ashley frocks to good use. Now I can see that the reality would be pretty ghastly, but I'd still like to dip into it & take a Tess tour for the day in a suitably lush Dorset valley with some docile cows to help me. I love eating out and discovering new restaurants, can you please recommend one to me? Jin Kichi in Heath Street, Hampstead, an unprepossessing looking place but the food is just amazing. Also, I love the Vietnamese restaurants on Kingsland Road, Hackney especially Viet Hoa [link] & Loong Key Cafe. In Ireland I love the Ballymaloe Restaurant [link] restaurant in County Cork. What is the best advice you ever been given relating to your professional/creative life ? Basically, all the times other writers have agreed that the only way is to get on with it. No faffing around, no waiting for inspiration, no making neurosis for inactivity! It took me a long time to discover this for myself, & most professional writers are in agreement. The inspiration follows... I was told by one editor to put in more plot. This was years ago. She was right. BONUS QUESTION : Last year I read 'Mothers & other Lovers' which I found quite shocking (and a great read) not for the central love story but the toe-curling behaviour of Eleanor's liberal middle class family & their friends. I never told you because I was sort of shy about it but I really did squeal with recognition & embarrassment (this is not a reflection btw of my family they are not really English & it's my conceit that having a foreign background sets me apart from this kind of behaviour!!). Do you have an allergy to bourgeoisie hippies or is the book more compassionate to the idea that as people get older they don't necessarily get wiser & we all just continue to flounder in our insecurities & weaknesses ? Eek! I'm a bit embarrassed that you read this, as it's very much a first novel, but pleased as well. Other people have reacted as you have - I think I have to make myself unembarrassed when writing, to get to some sort of truth. But I sometimes squirm at my own writing later. I did indeed have an allergy to the hippies, and still do, to be honest. I agree that we all continue to flounder to an extent - that's universal - but there's a particular sort of culture and aesthetic that drives me mad, I'm afraid! It's because I grew up with it - I went to school in Totnes, Devon: hippie/New Age epicentre - and we were surrounded by slow-talking beardies reciting mantras, and I became very urban, careerist and impatient in spirit as a teenager, in direct reaction. On the rare occasions I hear a slow Mockney-mixed-with-West-Country accent to this day, I come out in hives. It's just a childish attitude that's based in inevitable rebellion against everything I was surrounded by. Hey, cheers, man. I really really hope you have no issues around that...

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Mama Rosin - Le Two step du Motorcycle

If this week's wake up song doesn't wake up you up there is no hope for you ! Mama Rosin are a Cajun band from Switzerland (which sounds a bit wrong but is so right !), & their music is truly infectious. I hope this track 'Le Two Step du Motorcycle' has you dancing ! Love tt

Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Last Tuesday Society

On Sunday I visited the most peculiar shop in London (ok, maybe I exaggerate and that honour should go to 'Blustons' in Kentish Town High Street, a shop whose ladies' fashion and displays don't seem to have changed since the 1930s, not for some retro cool. I think it's actually been open since the 1930s & the stock hasn't moved on but that is it's charm). 'Vicktor Wynd's Little Shop of Horrors' [link] part of 'The last Tuesday Society' [link], is quite terrifying. You feel like you have stepped into another time where things are more gory and very dusty. If you are squeamish like me, you should definitely visit because I think squeamish people secretly get a big kick out of being scared! The Last Tuesday Society also has an intriguing lecture series and me & friend still faithful to the resolution of trying out things we've never done before attended a story telling event there hosted by Giles Abbott [link]. It was lovely because you so quickly revert to childhood and get lost in the stories, a real find, lots of love tt

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


If you have a free afternoon to catch a new movie I recommend 'Howl'. It tells the story of the events which shaped Allen Ginsberg's seminal poem 'Howl' and the obscenity trial that followed it's publication. As someone who had always found 'Howl' impenetrable, the film completely drew me into the poem & also made me more open to the way that people were trying to live, think & feel differently during this period of American history. Some critics are iffy about the animation, I'm not sure if they object to the quality of the animation or the idea of accompanying a poem with animation. It worked for me as it contributed to the overall hypnotic quality of the film and because I didn't have strong ideas about or a strong attachment to the poem. James Franco is perfectly cast. love tt

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

New photos !

There are a few new photos at the 'Recent Photos' section [link]. Hope you enjoy! love tt