UK … Thank you! For everything. New York … I am back! The trip was incredible, from wolf moons and castles in Scotland to Chelsea and everything in between. Billy was met by (nearly) all and thoroughly approved of by everyone he met. Sadly, he missed the party that my oldest brother had organized for him because he got sick. But thank the lawd above he made it for my gig because he got to meet some of them there, plus it was amazing to have him. His playing is so organic and real. You can feel it propelling you from the bandstand. It’s like he’s excavating his soul from the depths of the earth. So beyond mere technical brilliance. As a musician sharing the stage with him, it feels like you’re surfing a giant … earthquake.
And speaking of commanding the elements, although it rained for the first 11 days every single (blimmin’) day, the day Billy arrived, the sun came out and stayed out for the rest of the trip.I loved showing him the London of my childhood. We stayed in Chelsea to be near the venue but were able to walk to my old ‘hood (Knightsbridge) from when I was a child and just generally revel in the neighborhood, which is absurdly beautiful.
We rode on top of a double decker bus on the front seat. We had a romantic dinner at an Italian right across from us. We had multiple delicious breakfasts and dinners with friends and family. It was particularly amazing to have people meet my husband and discover that he is a real person! VIz: not Maris from Frasier – 15 years is a long time to be with someone and them not meet your family and friends … although he did meet Resnais and Greg when they came to NYC for something (I wasn’t there) and my son and granddaughters when they came, and my nephew Daniel who stayed with me in NYC on his way to school in Nebraska. Anyway, it was all fantastic. AND we got two lovely reviews one in Marlbank HERE and one in LondonJazzNews HERE.
But next up! Can you make it to …
WHAT Early Valentine celebration: “My Brazilian Heart” All Brazilian music
WHERE Jazz Forum, 1 Dixon Lane, Tarrytown, NY 10591, Tel: (914) 631-1000
WHEN Sunday, February 12, 2023 Sets at 4PM & 6PM
COVER £20 general admission/$15 students)
4PM TICKETS CLICK HERE
6PM TICKETS CLICK HERE
DIRECTIONS Get the Hudson Line on Metro-North Railroad from Grand Central Station OR from 125th Streeet Harlem to Tarrytown
Get the train schedule with all the stops HERE
Scroll for pictures and captions
L-R: Renee, Greg, Byron (my son who is older than me) and Elspeth. I stayed with Greg and Renee so often that I added Greg’s last name to mine and forced myself upon their children who are my godchildren. I also spent many weeks staying at Elspeth’s over the years. She took care of me when my arm was broken, brushing my hair and generally fastening me into my clothes and spoiling me – even after she found the instructions from the hospital that “light housework” would be good for me. I’ve known Elspeth for so long (since I was 20) that she has tasted my recipe for Brussels Nest – the apogee of terrible British cooking, a sort of take on bubble and squeak (google it!), made of potatoes and brussels sprouts mashed up together and baked in the oven with four eggs. I got the recipe from a dial-a-recipe thing when I was a married 16-year-old. I never killed anyone with it, your honor (to the best of my knowledge).
Me and Nick used to work together at Elle magazine. His first week at Elle he invited me to his 29th birthday party and I went, even though I didn’t know a single other person there. I was shy (yes me!) and was unable to move from the kitchen all night and his lovely dad came in and saw me and said “You’ve been stuck to that fridge like a magnet all night!” Which of course meant I was even more stuck. Shyness is a disease I am so glad I recovered from. Nick stayed with me in San Francisco and we sang at an open mic (where I got my start!) although first I spent the entire weekend in bed recovering from severe alcoholic poisoning due to being a greeter at the SF Film Festival and we were told not to eat the food. So I had to have six martinis you see (for the olives!) and Nick couldn’t find me after everyone else had gone home. After searching for me everywhere else, he burst into the ladies and saw my bright green shoes poking out from under one of the stall doors (my unconscious body was attached to them). Then I threw up some more while he held my hair and then we somehow managed to get a cab home and I threw up out of the window (because I am polite) all the way home. He said I was still elegant! (dear friends say things like that!) Then the next day he got up in the morning, put a bowl beside the bed for me and went off into the Castro and every now and then called to check up on me. PS One glass of prosecco and I am trashed so I feel lucky to be alive after that episode. Billy and I had coffee with Nick and his handsome and witty husband Ashley on our last full day.
From bottom left: My brother Simon, cousin Heather, sister in law Fiona, son Byron, cousin Alastair and Billy, who was regaling them with stories of driving in my mum’s car. My mum is 90 and still driving but hasn’t quite worked out how to turn off the radio so she drives with loud hip hop music accompaniment, which can’t be good for concentration – and might explain a lot.
The amazing Jim Watson (piano) and Conor Chaplin (bass) at the Pheasantry
My husband on stage with me, photographed by my son.
Me with Billy and my mum and yes I did say 90! Unbelievable!
Riding upstairs on the Number 137 bus to Hyde Park Corner from Chelsea
Outside my childhood home at 75 Knightsbridge. We weren’t posh but mum has amazing housing karma! She found this massive flat which was on three floors and we had tons of lodgers, including Philip Rose who was my first love. He was 29 and I was 7 and we used to go away for weekends together. Parents! Luckily he wasn’t a you know what. He was my best friend, aside from my brother. We lived just down the road from the Joe Lyons which became Pizza on the Park and is now some kind of hotel. My brother Simon and I used to play in Hyde Park just across the street (in nice weather) or spend all day at Harrods if it was raining (the toy department, the pet department, the police exhibition on department 3) while our parents were at work. Parents did stuff like that before helicopter parents were invented in the 80s. I was an early adopter of helicopter parenting when I had my son who, when he had his bicycle stolen at age 18, called me to say “You will be pleased to hear that my bike just got stolen!” I was (yes) thrilled!
Walking through Peter Jones we bumped into Zoe Francis (a wonderful, not just saying it, singer) and her lovely handsome husband who is a great guitarist, Jim Mullen. So nuttily random! They were going to come and see us on Saturday but we were sold out and they couldn’t even squish in walkins, although I managed to get one cousin in.
Pascalito took some fab pictures with one of those phones you can fold in half!
My amazing band! Billy, Conor Chaplin and Jim Watson
Me with my son (who is older than me) and my cousin Alastair
Debbie, Neville (who usually plays bass with me in England), me and Billy
Me and Pascalito who came all the way from Paris! Are those caterpillars on my forehead!
The in-laws meet Billy. Cousin Alastair, Billy and brother Simon
My half Trini, half German cousins Marc and Sandy. Sandy took tons of videos which I need to go through (preferably with someone holding my hand, because who can cope with watching or listening to themselves!) and Jackson, the lovely son of our friends the Siricas.
What it feels like to share a stage with Billy behind you: Bigger than you! Of this earth. Deep. Exciting. Hoping to God you can stay on the board! Amazing.
At my brother Simon’s party. Clearly a hum dinger! With cousin Alastair and Daddy David
I met my sister in law’s horse, Sid. He is 17 hands high! Huge. I was a little bit scared of him, even though he was very gentle. But I was very brave and I brushed him and my brother said I was the horse whisperer. I even fed him some carrots – from my hand! (yes, that brave!) It reminded me of when I was four and mum said what did I want for Christmas and I said an elephant and she said we didn’t have room for an elephant. And then when I was 7 we went to Dublin zoo and somehow they said I could meet the elephant there, which had an injured foot, and I was scared because it was at least ten times the size I thought it would be,and mum said “But you love elephants!” And I thought, “But you said they were too big!” Proving that parents are sometimes right.