Being a judgemental angel – singing Mozart’s Requiem

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The last time I sang in a choir I was pregnant, and I stopped because the little fucker inside me star jumped at the high notes. He’s ten now, and although he might still star jump it’s not going to make a difference to me.

Mozart’s Requiem is the music I fall back on when I need it. It’s been with me on a walkman in shitty, cockroach infested hostels in Fiji, it’s nursed me through heartbreak and miserable times. For me, it’s uplifting and optimistic so when I saw the advert for Bristol Choral Society ‘Come and sing along’ I didn’t hesitate to get tickets.

Three of us turned up and waited half an hour for coffee that we didn’t have time to drink. John would have slept with one of the Colston Hall waitresses to get us served but there just wasn’t time. Good of him to say he would though, take that bullet for the team etc. We split into Tenor, Alto (my mum) and me, Soprano. I’d looked at the score on YouTube and thought I was more likely to hit the high Soprano notes than the low Alto notes. We collected scores and went our separate ways.

It was clear from the start that I was in the shit. Adverting it as suitable for “Singers of all ages and experience” was a little inaccurate. Loads of people had never read a score before and didn’t know where to find their parts. Loads of other people had sung it a lot in their own choirs. My voice had a range of about 4 notes and I was near some really squeaky Sopranos who were an octave above me and I kept trying to reach their heights. I thought I’d probably just have to sit it out and listen but I kept going and it did get better. Come the end I could hit the top B with conviction.


The conductor was perfect, just the right balance of entertaining, slightly snide, doubtful and encouraging. I realise that looks like criticism but it was just what we all needed. The morning went fast, with us singing (or attempting to) along to a piano. In the afternoon the orchestra arrived and a little later the soloists. Surprisingly it was starting to sound a little better.

We all trudged out at half 4 and were to come back at 6.20 for the performance – to a full house, sell out! Oh pants.

We performed in the audience section (which was dark and hot and rammed full of menopausal women, me included). The audience sat in the section the performers usually go in. There were 700 singers. Plenty enough to cover my silence in the tricky bits.

The performance itself sped past, we hadn’t sung it all the way through before so that was a little nervewracking. I think it was pretty tidy for what it was, which was enormous fun.

It’s two days afterwards now and my diaphram feels like I’ve run a long way, my throat is just about ok. I cannot get the music out of my head. I was expecting to be totally overwhelmed and sobbing my heart out all the way through but it was too much hard work to have time for that.

What a totally brilliant thing to do, I’d do it again but next time I’ll do some scales and learn how to read music again before hand.




Every Record I Own – I is for INXS – X


inxs This reminds me of crazy white Thai beaches and drinking vast quantities of Mekhong whisky, which from memory was totally vile but very effective.
Thailand in the 80’s was a pretty surreal place, contact with home was limited to poste restante addresses or really expensive phone calls so I found out what was going on back home every month or so. I spent a lot of time on long white beaches getting very drunk and moping about my crap boyfriend. I was thin and blonde and brown and hated myself. What a waste.

Mercury ‎– 846 668-1
Vinyl, LP, Album
  • A1 Suicide Blonde 3:52
  • A2 Disappear 4:09
  • A3 The Stairs 4:56
  • A4 Faith In Each Other 4:08
  • A5 By My Side 3:06
  • B1 Lately 3:36
  • B2 Who Pays The Price 3:37
  • B3 Know The Difference 3:17
  • B4 Bitter Tears 3:49
  • B5 On My Way 2:55
  • B6 Hear That Sound 4:05



Every Record I Own – J is for Bert Jansch – Sampler

Bert Jansch ‎– The Bert Jansch Sampler

bert I think this is one record I liberated from my parents. I love this album. Occasionally I’ll actually pick up my guitar and wrestle with some tab. I can usually play bits of a song, never all of one, and never while singing at the same time. Much respect Bert.
There are many versions of Black Waterside, Sandy Denny, Led Zep, Dread Zep (who’s version is rather better than Led) … Bert’s version is the one I hold dearest and the one I love best.

Transatlantic Records ‎– TRA SAM 10, Transatlantic Records ‎– TRASAM 10, Transatlantic Records ‎– TRA/SAM 10
Vinyl, LP, Compilation
  • A1 Rabbit Run
  • A2 The Wheel
  • A3 Go Your Way My Love
  • A4 Come Back Baby
  • A5 Angie
  • A6 Needle Of Death
  • B1 Wishing Well
  • B2 The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face
  • B3 Nottamun Town
  • B4 Blackwater Side
  • B5 Veronica
  • B6 Running From Home

Every Record I Own – J is for Grace Jones – Living My Life

Grace Jones ‎– Living My Life

grace When I was 16 or so this was the record that held me together when I did mushrooms. Everything else, I mean everything else, freaked me out. Leaves, the pavement, buildings, the sea, people, especially people. The only thing I could cope with was a locked dark room and this album. I knew how to have fun.

Island Records ‎– ILPS 9722
Vinyl, LP, Album
  • A1 My Jamaican Guy 6:00
  • A2 Nipple To The Bottle 5:55
  • A3 The Apple Stretching 6:45
  • B1 Everybody Hold Still 3:10
  • B2 Cry Now, Laugh Later 5:00
  • B3 Inspiration 4:35
  • B4 Unlimited Capacity For Love 5:45

Every Record I Own – J is for Joe Jackson

Joe Jackson ‎– Look Sharp!

joe Discogs says that “A hole was die-cut into the gatefold cover to accommodate a 1” button with the words “LOOK SHARP!””
My £1 version of this has the button missing but that’s fine.
“Is she really going out with him” brings back very vague memories of being in the 3rd year at a particuarly nasty convent school. I still feel guilty every time I see a nun. A girl in my year was sexually assaulted by the music teacher but we were told to keep quiet about it and he stayed out his contract.
Catholic education is the reason I hold no truck with religion whatsoever, it’s all bollocks hiding corruption and abuse in the name of Jesus. Fuck that.

A&M Records ‎– SP-3666
2 × Vinyl, 10″, Album
  • A1 One More Time
  • A2 Sunday Papers
  • A3 Is She Really Going Out With Him
  • B1 Happy Loving Couples
  • B2 Throw It Away
  • B3 Baby Stick Around
  • C1 Pretty Girls
  • C2 Look Sharp!
  • C3 (Do The) Instant Mash
  • D1 Fools In Love
  • D2 Got The Time

Every Record I Own – J is for Jethro Tull – Orginal Masters

Jethro Tull ‎– Original Masters

original I really have to stop buying compilations. This has bits of the most brilliant Aqualung on it without the whole story of the other tracks which is frustrating.  Actually I have the cover to Aqualung, but not the record. I think my uncle John reclaimed it with a lot of the others. I’m pretty sure it was his anyway.

There are some stonking tracks on Original Masters though, Witches Promise is a favorite too.


Chrysalis ‎– JTTV 1
Vinyl, LP, Compilation
  • A1 Living In The Past
  • A2 Aqualung
  • A3 Too Old To Rock ‘N’ Roll, Too Young To Die
  • A4 Locomotive Breath
  • A5 Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day
  • A6 Bungle In The Jungle
  • B1 Sweet Dream
  • B2 Songs From The Wood
  • B3 Witches Promise
  • B4 Thick As A Brick
  • B5 Minstrel In The Gallery
  • B6 Life’s A Long Song

Every Record I Own – F is for Fairport Convention – The History of..

Fairport Convention ‎– The History Of Fairport Convention

fair Predictably fol de lol good, consistently gallant in execution, Fairport Convention hold it all together in the History Of.
This was a few quid and is missing its ribbon but I really don’t care. It’s what it is, and it’s fine.

Island Records ‎– ICD 4
2 × Vinyl, LP, Compilation
  • A1 Meet On The Ledge
  • A2 Fotheringay
  • A3 Mr. Lacey
  • A4 Book Song
  • A5 A Sailor’s Life
  • B1 Si Tu Dois Partir
  • B2 Who Knows Where The Time Goes?
  • B3 Matty Groves
  • B4 Grazy Man Michael
  • C1 Medley: The Lark In The Morning / Rakish Paddy / Foxhunter’s Jigs / Toss The Feathers
  • C2 Now Be Thankfull
  • C3 Walk Awhile
  • C4 Sloth
  • C5 Bonny Black Hare
  • D1 Angel Delight
  • D2 Bridge Over The River Ash
  • D3 John Lee
  • D4 Breakfst In Mayfair
  • D5 Hanging Song
  • D6 The Hen’s March Through The Midden / The Four Poster Bed

Every Record I Own – I is for The Incredible String Band – Liquid Acrobat

Incredible String Band, The ‎– Liquid Acrobat As Regards The Air

isb ISB played a lot at home when I was young, but not this album as much as the others which I don’t yet own. My favorite is Changing Horses and it’s on my list to get. I would have liberated it from my parents but my little sister got there before me. Curses!

This album came a few years after the story of a magical childhood that is Changing Horses, it’s got influences from all over the world, with sitar, guitar, rock, folk songs, Caribbean salsa, reels and jigs all mixed up together. I love Licorice’s voice. I think she might be the reason (bad choice of word) my mother originally wanted to call me Lettuce. Fucking hippies.  Licorice was last heard of at a Scientology benefit gig (fucking Scientologists) and seems to have vanished.

I saw the String Band about 15 years ago at some folk festival. Robin Williamsons wife was singing. Love is clearly deaf, she was awful, people left the gig and complained in that nice middle class way that ex fucking hippies complain.

This album is a gatefold, with lyrics on the inside. The poetry is really rather gorgeous. This is Tree:


I had a tree
in the dream hills where my childhood lay
and I’d go there in the wide long days
and my tree would listen to all that I’d say
and the sun was shining brightly and the sky was smiling

then one day when the world had put me in its tomb
and my life was just an empty room
I went to my tree and I sat there in my gloom
and the light was fading dimly and the sky was crying

then my tree bent its branches low down to the ground
and its green leaves shrouded up my mind
and I left the world somewhere behind
and I didn’t not know what I would find
and the sun was shining brightly and the sky was smiling

Island Records ‎– ILPS 9172
Vinyl, LP, Album, Gatefold
  • Talking Of The End 5:31
  • Dear Old Battlefield 3:08
  • Cosmic Boy 3:51
  • Worlds They Rise And Fall 3:28
  • Evolution Rag 4:44
  • Painted Chariot 3:45
  • Adam And Eve 2:33
  • Red Hair 2:10
  • Here Till Here Is There 3:07
  • Tree 3:00
  • Jigs & Reels 2:44
    • Eyes Like Leaves
    • Sunday Is My Wedding Day
    • Drops Of Whiskey
    • Grumbling Old Men
  • Darling Belle 10:54

Every Record I Own – J is for Janis Joplin – Greatest Hits

Janis Joplin ‎– Janis Joplin’s Greatest Hits

janis I’ve had this since I was 14 or so. I used to be able to do a pretty good impersonation of Janis then, thankfully I didn’t keep doing it because it ripped my throat out every time.

What can I say? Great album, great voice, nice screetching scratchy guitars, a rockin’ brass section and it reminds me of hot sunny days hanging around Plymouth Hoe, and bawling out ‘Cryyyyyyy’ in subways that made it a whole lot louder. Those subways are no longer there, clearly the sheer strength of my voice resonated deep into the concrete cancer and made demolition needed all the quicker. Hmm.

Weirdly, at the time I was hanging out with a male Janis and his very young mother who was sleeping with his best friend. Plymouth eh! They were both bright young things with genius brains, we’d stay up all night speedily stoned, discussing Mandelbrot sets and arguing about the value of an integer. Conversations then, that I didn’t know were practice for the sort of conversations I have with my 10 year old now. I don’t know what happened to Janis, good things I hope. His friend died of misadventure, I don’t know details but he did have a taste for the hard stuff so I assume it’s something related. Nice bloke. What a waste.

CBS ‎– S 65470
Vinyl, LP, Compilation, Stereo
  • A1 Big Brother & The Holding Company – Piece Of My Heart 4:19
  • A2 Big Brother & The Holding Company – Summertime 4:01
  • A3 Kozmic Blues Band – Try (Just A Little Bit Harder) 4:02
  • A4 Full Tilt Boogie Band – Cry Baby 3:57
  • A5 Full Tilt Boogie Band – Me And Bobby McGee 4:30
  • B1 Big Brother & The Holding Company – Down On Me 3:07
  • B2 Full Tilt Boogie Band – Get It While You Can 3:24
  • B3 Big Brother & The Holding Company – Bye, Bye Baby 2:36
  • B4 Full Tilt Boogie Band – Move Over 3:40
  • B5 Full Tilt Boogie Band – Ball And Chain 8:01