👉🏻 All About AAK
Welcome to All About Katie. This site is an appreciation of Katie Melua - the beautiful and talented singer-songwriter with the caramel eyes and sublime voice, and the finest interpreter of a song I have ever heard.
It is also a repository of information about her music, DVDs, videos, tour dates, images, and anything else of interest to her fans. I have put my heart and soul into this project. Katie has given me so much and this is my way of saying thank-you. I hope Ketefans all over the world will find something interesting here about our favourite artist. Enjoy!
Any opinions expressed here are mine, not Katie's. And if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter remember this: I am NOT Katie!
You can collapse the blog entries to just their headings by clicking on the Craggie's Blog banner. Click again to expand them. Click on an individual heading to hide/show it. Click on the heading above to hide this blurb!
29.11.21 > The Detail - Episode 3
"In this episode, we discuss how to begin writing, dealing with sudden success, Writing with Mel C from the Spice Girls How to look after your own mental health in a competitive industry, the pressure of being signed to a major label."
27.11.21 > Acoustic Album No. 8
Less is more.
Okay, three-word reviews probably don't cut it in this day and age. First though, I want to say a massive thank-you to Zurab Melua for a monumentally stunning effort in the production of this album, both on the recording side and for his divine guitar playing–delicate, intricate and perfectly weighted to complement Katie's vocals rather than compete with them. I simply want to thank Katie for releasing this album at all. For years, I have been saying that I prefer her voice with just acoustic accompaniment rather than a full band or even orchestra, and this album finally gives me the opportunity to directly compare the songs in both stripped back and full-blown recording studio versions.
Every listener may have their own opinion on which version is best, but for me, as I suspected, the acoustic version wins hands down. That's not to take anything away from the original album at all, which I gave five stars to when I first heard it and I will always stand by that. I will continue to listen to those studio recordings, not least for things like the Gori Women's Choir and the church bells on Heading Home, but this acoustic re-imagining really brings the magic of the songs to life. Somehow, I think a little soul gets lost in the recording studio. All of the tweaking and polishing to attain perfection in a way sanitises the heart of the performance. Yes, the studio versions of songs like A Love Like That, English Manner and Voices In The Night sound amazing and I wasn't sure if they would stand up to having that complex soundscape ripped away from them, but they all survived perfectly well, thank you very much. It is interesting to wonder how that can be. Perhaps it has something to do with these performances feeling real and in the moment. The ambience of the recording puts me in mind of somewhere like the Rivoli ballroom when empty, as though Katie and Zurab are performing on the stage and you are sitting alone at a table near the back, in the shadows, just melting away into the sonic world they are creating. Close your eyes and it feels like Katie is singing live, just for you, and it is that personal connection between the performer, the listener and the song itself that really makes the music and lyrics so potent in stirring feelings in your mind. But it is better than a live recording because you don't have the annoying distractions of all the whoops, whistles and clapping of an actual audience.
Interestingly, the running order of the tracks on the new album has been modified. I wonder if this has anything to do with the needs of the artist being put before the needs of the marketing people for once. At any rate, the new path through the album works beautifully. There is also the welcome addition of No Better Magic, which slots seamlessly in with the other songs and blends in perfectly with the overall theme of love. The end result is an expertly written story in eleven chapters, beautifully told by the deftest of storytellers.
In short, Acoustic Album No. 8 is a treasure. The pinnacle of Katie's work to date. I'm sure there will be some people who bought the original CD and will look at this and wonder why they should pay for it again with a load of stuff taken off. My answer would be "because it has been improved". Less is more.
25.11.21 > AN8a. 26.11.21
It's almost here! So close you can almost, but not quite, touch it. Tomorrow is the day we can finally get our paws on the much -anticipated acoustic version of Album No. 8. Same great songs, with fresh, new, stripped-back performances. An absolute essential for any Ketefan. If you haven't ordered it yet then I'm not speaking to you. But you can click on the pic and be automagically transported to Katie's online store where she's willing to trade a pristine copy of the CD for just a few numbers on a bit of plastic. What are you waiting for? Go....
23.11.21 > The Detail - Episode 2
Here's the blurb on Episode 2:
"A Conversation between Katie Melua Polly Scattergood & Jim Sclavunos, in this episode we have an insightful conversation about feverish New York in the late ’70s , the No Wave movement, The start of cult magazine “No Magazine” Creating music scene, Lydia lunch’s strong concepts of identity and purpose, Being a key member of Nick Cave and the bad seeds, Sonic Youth Working on the iconic Boatman’s call album."
22.11.21 > The Adventures of Bad Katie - Episode 19
Bad Katie sat in her manager’s office, with her feet up on his desk, nonchalantly fiddling with her phone.
Sumit eyed her warily and looked at his coffee suspiciously as he cautiously took a sip.
“Something wrong?” asked Bad Katie, glancing up at him momentarily.
“No, no,” said Sumit. “Apart from not trusting you as far as I can throw you.”
“Why do you have such a low opinion of me?”
“How long have you got?”
“My feelings are bruised,” said Bad Katie, sulkily.
“Yes, well, there’s no part of me that hasn’t been bruised by your antics.”
“Anyway, have you packed for the Georgia trip yet?”
“Oh, yes,” said Sumit. “Though I’m still not sure why you want me to come with you this time.”
“You normally only come with me on official music business. I just thought it’d be good for you to join me purely for fun. You know, take in the sights, experience the real Georgia, have a few laughs.”
“Then why do I have such a bad feeling about it?”
“Because you’re a naturally grumpy sod?”
At that moment there was a polite knock at the door. Sumit’s secretary entered and placed a parcel on his desk in front of him.
“This just came for you,” she said, and quietly retreated.
“Oh,” said Sumit. “I wasn’t expecting anything.”
He unwrapped the parcel to reveal a wooden box. He lifted the lid and there was a little bang followed by a sudden cloud of white dust. Sumit’s face was covered in flour.
“Oops,” said Bad Katie. “That was unfortunate.”
As the seat-belt sign dimmed, Sumit unbuckled and called for the air stewardess.
“Thank god that’s over,” he said, as the plane levelled out. “Now I need a drink. How about you?”
Bad Katie was staring out of the window.
“What? Oh, sorry, I had my head in the clouds. Literally.”
The stewardess floated up to them and gave them a smile that could accelerate glacial melting. “Hi, I’m Nino, what may I do for you?”
“Could I get a double whisky on the rocks, please,” said Sumit. He looked at Bad Katie.
“Lemongrass, passion flower and ginger herb tea, thanks,” said Bad Katie. “With a drizzle of acacia honey.”
Nino’s smile flatlined. “This isn’t Fortnum and Mason madam. I can probably rustle up a Lady Grey.”
Bad Katie screwed her face up, then scowled at Nino. “Yuk. Just bring me a Coke Zero then.” (Other calorie-free cola sodas are available.)
Nino reinstated the smile, nodded slightly, then floated away again.
Sumit got up from his seat.
“Where you going?” said Bad Katie.
“I need to point Percy at the porcelain.”
“Already? We just took off. Couldn’t you have gone before? Anyway, they don’t use porcelain on planes. It’s probably metal.”
“Well, I need to show Steven the steel.”
“Come to think of it, in this day and age it could even be carbon fibre.”
“Then I need….” said Sumit, then he paused and frowned at Bad Katie. “No, I got nothing.”
He shuffled off, leaving Bad Katie to study his seat and wonder if there was any way she could booby trap it.
The stewardess returned. “Scotch on the rocks for the gentleman, and a Happy Cola Lite for his charming daughter,” said Nino, with her smile ramped up to eleven.
Bad Katie gave her the level stare that anyone who has been the victim of could have warned Nino to be very afraid of.
Sumit came back just in time to save Nino’s bacon. He was grinning like a schoolboy as he sat down. “Thanks, Nino,” he said, and took a sip of whisky. Nino nodded and floated off again.
Sumit looked at Bad Katie. “We have a VIP on board!” he said, excitedly.
Bad Katie shrugged coyly. “Oh, don’t make a fuss about me. I can’t be arsed signing autographs.”
Sumit frowned. “Not you, you heifer. The Bublé is on board!”
“Michael Bublé. On this very plane. Jesus.”
“He’s not Jesus. Just some American Sinatra wannabe.”
“He’s Canadian, not American,” said Sumit.
“Oh well, then I take it all back. Jesus,” said Bad Katie sarcastically. “Anyway, why the hell is he going to Batumi?”
“He says he’s been told it’s the Vegas of the Black Sea. But much cheaper. He’s thinking of filming his next Christmas Special there.”
Bad Katie rolled her eyes. “God help us all.”
Some time later, Sumit had had enough of Bad Katie’s incessant snoring. “Wake up, Katie,” he hissed.
Bad Katie opened her eyes. “Fried chicken. Eh? What? What’s happening?”
“Nothing. Just a little turbulence. No doubt caused by your snoring.”
“I do not snore,” said Bad Katie indignantly.
“Try telling that to the rest of the passengers,” said Sumit.
“Then why didn’t you put on headphones and watch the in-flight movie?”
“Snakes On A Plane? I don’t think so.”
At that moment, a little chime prepared them for an announcement. “Hello ladies and gentlemen. This is your stewardess, Nino, speaking. Just to let you know, we are making really good time, and there is absolutely nothing at all for you to be concerned about. Thank you.”
Bad Katie and Sumit looked at each other in puzzlement.
Then Nino continued. “Oh, and if anyone happens to know how to fly a plane could you please make your way to the front and see me. Have a nice day!”
Mayhem, panic, bedlam, and general screaming ensued.
Bad Katie stood up and clambered over a startled Sumit.
“Where the hell are you going?” he said.
“To fly the plane!” she said, rubbing her hands purposefully.
“What! Do you even know which end the cockpit is?”
“Oh, grow a pair. I’ve had a few lessons.”
Bad Katie set off down the aisle.
“Other way,” shouted Sumit.
Bad Katie turned and strode back past him. “I knew that.”
Sumit looked to the heavens. “We are all doomed!”
By the time Bad Katie made it to the nervous-looking Nino, they could hardly hear themselves speak because of the chaos around them. She put two fingers in either side of her mouth and let out a piercing whistle. Everyone fell silent and looked at her.
“Right you lot, sit down and shut up. We got this.”
There were a few mutters and mumbles but things were generally calmer.
“Can you teach me that?” said Nino.
“Oh, well you just…” began Bad Katie.
“Hey guys, you dudes need a hand?” said Michael Bublé, swaying up to them.
“Bugger off, Bubble,” said Bad Katie.
“Hey, aren’t you that K.D. Mellower?”
“No. Now sod off, cheese dick.”
Bad Katie turned to Nino. “What’s the problem anyway?”
“It’s the pilot. He’s fallen unconscious. We suspect it might be linked to the prawn cocktail he had for lunch.”
“Why? You didn’t have it too, did you?”
“Yuk, I wouldn’t eat that fish vomit.”
“Hang on, isn’t there a co-pilot?”
“Oh yes. But, well, he had the prawn cocktail too.”
“Serves them right.”
“Aw, don’t worry ladies. I think I can land this little bird,” said Bublé.
“Why are you still here?” said Bad Katie. “And it’s not a little bird, it’s a passenger plane.”
“I’ve had a couple of lessons. Jeez, how hard can it be?”
Bad Katie scoffed. “Leave it to the pros, honey.”
“Look,” said Nino, “I think you will both be needed.”
Bublé’s eyes lit up. He looked eagerly at Bad Katie. “Hey babe, we could do a duet together!”
“I really must go,” said Bad Katie.
“Baby, it’s cold outside,” sang Bublé.
“It’s starting to snow.”
“Baby, it’s cold outside.”
“I wish I knew how…”
“Your eyes are like starlight now.”
“To land this plane.”
“I think you’re driving me insane.”
“The passengers will start to worry.”
“Beautiful, please don’t hurry.”
“Flight control will be pacing the floor.”
“Listen to those engines roar.”
“I’m opening the cockpit door.”
“You’d better make this airplane soar.”
“Right, I’m taking control.”
“Oh but it’s cold outside!”
Nino glanced awkwardly between the two of them. “Ahem. Perhaps you could get a room later but…”
“Anyway, who’s flying this baby now? We seem to be going along nicely,” said Bublé.
“Autopilot. Duh,” said Bad Katie.
“Come on, I’ll let you into the cockpit. Put on the headsets and Batumi Flight Control will talk you through it,” said Nino. She opened the cockpit door and ushered them inside.
“Where are the bodies?” said Bublé.
“They’re not dead,” said Nino. “But you couldn’t really sit in their laps. We’ve moved them to a private place to rest.”
“Which is the Captain’s seat?” said Bad Katie.
Nino pointed. Bad Katie leapt into it and buckled up.
“Hey, I should be Captain,” protested Bublé. “I’m the man here.”
“You’re the idiot here,” said Bad Katie. “I’m Batman. You’re Robin.”
Bublé slunk into the co-pilot’s seat. “Well, just shout if you need me to take over.
Bad Katie punched him in the face and put on the headset.
“Now then,” said Bad Katie. “If I remember correctly, you just push this button and shove this stick thing forward.”
She did both. The plane fell into a serious nosedive. In the cabin, there was mass hysteria once again.
“Oh god, we’re going to die. Oh god, we’re going to die. Oh god, we’re going to die,” chanted Sumit.
“Oops,” said Bad Katie. She reversed her actions and the plane gradually returned to smooth flight.”
“That went well,” said Bublé.
“Shut it, willow warbler, I’m just familiarising myself with the controls.”
“Say, why don’t we just let the autopilot land this thing. It seems to know what it’s doing.”
“Because it can’t actually fly the plane, numb nuts. It’s basically the plane equivalent of a brick on the accelerator.”
“How come you know so much?”
“Because I’ve spent my life learning instead of swaying.”
“Hey, don’t knock the sway.”
At that moment, another voice joined in the conversation.
“Flight BAT666, this is Batumi Air Traffic Control, do you copy?”
“I never copy anyone,” said Bad Katie indignantly. “My work is always my own.”
“He means can you read him,” whispered Bublé.
“I can’t see his face, how should I know what he’s thinking?”
Bublé shook his head. “We copy you good buddy. Loud and clear.”
“Good, my name is Amiran, and I will be talking you back down. Just remain calm and follow my instructions carefully and everything will be fine. Who am I talking to?”
“I am Katie Melua, გამარჯობა, you’ve probably heard of me,” said Bad Katie, patting her hair.
“No,” said Amiran.
“Oh,” said Bad Katie.
“But the rest of the guys are freaking out right now.”
Bad Katie looked at Bublé and winked.
“Keti, it might be better if we talk in Georgian,” said Amiran.
“Negative. Bubble wouldn’t understand us.”
“Who is Bubble?”
“I just haven’t met you yet…” sang Bublé, annoyingly.
Bad Katie glared at him.
“Ah. სულელი,” said Amiran.
“Exactly,” said Bad Katie. “His name is Michael Bublé.”
“What!” gasped Amiran. “Not THE Michael Bublé!”
Bublé looked at Bad Katie and winked.
“Stay with me, sway with me…” sang Amiran.
Bad Katie face-palmed. “Okay Amiran, can we just focus on the job here.”
“Yes, Keti, of course, of course. So, you should see a bright orange button flashing on your left.”
Bad Katie reached towards the button.
“Under no circumstances should you ever push that button,” said Amiran.
“Oh. Er, maybe we should just concentrate on the things I should do…”
Half an hour later there was a loud squeal of tyres on tarmac and an even louder squeal from Sumit in the cabin.
A sweat-drenched Bublé uncovered his eyes. “Oh my lord, I can’t believe we’re actually on dry land.”
“Piece of piss,” said Bad Katie nonchalantly.
“We’re not quite done yet, Keti,” said Amiran. “You’re going a bit too fast. Cut the throttle back and go harder on the brakes, but gently.”
Bad Katie ignored the last bit and everyone in the cabin head-butted the seat in front of them, apart from those in the front seats, who head-butted their own knees instead.
“Watch you don’t swerve, Keti,” said Amiran.
Bublé screamed. “Jesus Christ, look, there’s a cow on the runway ahead.”
Bad Katie grinned. “Welcome to Georgia!”
She swerved the plane to avoid hitting the cow.
“He said not to swerve,” yelled Bublé. “You should have just hit the stupid animal.”
She glared at him. “This is Georgia. We do not hit our cows.”
The plane was now heading directly for the terminal, which was growing larger in their view by the second.
Bublé covered his eyes again. “Oh god, we’re still going to die.”
“Reverse throttle, Keti,” said Amiran calmly.
The plane gradually slowed down and was only doing a couple of miles per hour when it gently smashed through the glass wall of the terminal and finally came to a halt with the nose just touching the counter of Burger King on the first floor.
Bad Katie fist-pumped. “Yessss! Result.”
“Good job, Keti,” said Amiran. “Nobody died. You are a hero!”
Bublé exhaled slowly, then whistled. “Jeez, that’s a real shame.”
“What do you mean?” said Bad Katie.
“If you hadn’t swerved for that cow you’d have made a perfect landing.”
“It was perfect, goat-breath. I was aiming for Burger King.”
“I’m ruddy starving. And that was the greatest queue jump ever!”
She quickly grabbed a clipboard and scribbled “bacon double cheeseburger and fries” on it, then held it up to the window to the slightly startled girl behind the Burger King counter.
“Oh sorry, Bubble, did you want something too?”
A couple of days later, Bad Katie was chilling out in her downtown apartment, reading all about her heroism in the local papers. Sumit knocked on the door.
“It’s open,” she shouted. “Unless you’re selling something, in which case there’s a ravenous Rottweiler standing right behind it.”
“Only me,” said Sumit, letting himself in. “It’s been non-stop this morning. We were meant to be here for a quiet vacation but now everyone wants to interview you, both here and back home. You haven’t had this many bookings in years.”
“Bugger them. They can all wait till I’ve had my holiday.”
“They’re offering silly money to get you.”
“Right, that was a lovely holiday. I’m free this afternoon.”
“Oh, and I hear the Mayor of Batumi is going to give you the keys to the city!”
“Really? I didn’t even know they locked it. Where’s the keyhole?”
“Yeah, I think it’s more of a symbolic thing.”
“It gives you certain rights. You know, like being able to lead your cattle and goats through the streets.”
“Everyone does that anyway.”
“And I think there’s a restaurant that is offering you free khachapuri for life.”
Bad Katie’s eyes lit up. “Now you’re talking!”
Sumit shook his head. “Good job with the plane, by the way.”
“No worries. Though I still have a bit of tinnitus from your screaming.”
“Oh but hey, you should check out the view from the balcony there.”
Sumit wandered over to the open doors and stepped out onto the balcony. There was a brief shriek as he fell through the rotten wooden slats of the floor and landed in the pool below.
“… but mind yourself, some of these Georgian balconies are quite decrepit. Oops.”
A vexed voice rang out from below. “KATIEEEEE!!”
16.11.21 > The Detail - Episode 1
And here it is! Episode 1 of The Detail with Katie and Polly features Travis front man Fran Healy. It is a fascinating listen for anyone interested in songwriting. You can listen to the whole thing right here, without leaving the site, just by clicking the big white PLAY triangle above. Or click SUBSCRIBE to find a link to the podcast in your favoured player. If you are into QR codes then here is one for The Detail:
13.11.21 > The Detail
Katie has announced she has teamed up with her friend Polly Scattergood to create a new podcast called The Detail. You can find it on Spotify and iTunes, or other podcasty places you may poke around in. In the first edition, next Monday, they'll be chatting to Fran Healy of Travis. Hope they've got their umbrellas ready....
09.11.21 > The Adventures of Bad Katie - Episode 18
“You don’t look well, sis,” said Zurab.
“What do you mean?” said Bad Katie.
“Your face. It’s bright green.”
Bad Katie rolled her eyes. “It’s makeup, you tepid turnip. It’s Halloween, and we’re going trick or treating. I’m transforming into a wicked witch.”
“Not much of a transformation,” muttered Zurab.
“I heard that.”
“But… aren’t we a bit old for that kind of thing? It’s for little kids.”
“What? Free sweets on offer from every house—you think I’m going to pass on that and let a load of snotty sprogs scoff them all?”
“You could actually afford to buy your own sweet shop, sis. Doesn’t seem fair.”
“Sod fair. I’ve worked hard to get where I am, why should I fork out my own dosh when people will be dishing out delights for free? Enter into the spirit of it, bruv.”
“Stop moping and get ready. Your costume is in that box. Whack it on. I’ll paint the stitches on your face when I’m done adding these hairy warts to my cheeks.”
“Stitches? What am I going to be?”
“Frankenstein’s monster. Seemed like the least work. Oh, and go clean out the recycling bin too.”
“We’ll need it to stash our haul in.”
“Oh. But most people have little bags.”
“Bugger that. If we’re going to do this it needs to be worth our while. Now hurry up, Poll will be here soon.”
Bad Katie and Zurab were in the kitchen when the doorbell rang. They continued carving their pumpkins whilst their mother answered the door. A few moments later, Perfect Polly joined them.
“Hi guys,” said Perfect Polly. “Ooh, carving pumpkins! Can I do one?”
“Of course,” said Bad Katie. “That one’s for you. Knock yourself out.”
“Aw, thanks,” said Polly.
Bad Katie stared at her in puzzlement. “Poll, why are you dressed as a unicorn? This is Halloween. We’re meant to be scary.”
“Oh, yes, I know. I’ve left the scythe outside by the door.”
“Yes. You see, I’m the Unicorn of Death!”
Bad Katie continued to stare at her, though her expression had changed to a blank one. “And that is a thing, is it?”
“Well, no. But unicorns are supposed to be all goodness and light, so one with a scythe, that’s like well scary.”
“But unicorns have hooves. How the hell are they supposed to wield a scythe?”
“Oh for heaven’s sake, Katie, don’t read so much into it. It’s just a metaphor.”
“For what, stupidity?”
“Don’t be like that. It’s a representation of the latent hatred within the purest heart, the sinister dark side that we all have within us that can lie hidden and dormant for decades and then erupt like a supernova when the right trigger conditions are met.”
Bad Katie sighed. “Why couldn’t you just be a witch too?”
“Why couldn’t I be a witch?” moaned Zurab. “My neck hurts.”
“Katie, why has Z got a G-clamp on his neck anyway?” said Perfect Polly.
“He’s Frankenstein’s monster, obviously.”
“But didn’t he have a bolt through his neck?”
“I couldn’t very well use a real bolt, could I? Duh! I thought it was a clever solution. Looks just as frightening.”
“Except I can hardly breathe,” muttered Zurab.
“Then don’t waste air grumbling,” said Bad Katie. “Finish carving your pumpkin. What’s that meant to be anyway?”
“A demonic ghoul arguing with Satan’s sister,” said Zurab.
“Interesting,” said Bad Katie. “What about you Poll, what are you carving?”
“Mine’s a possessed fairy with spiders for eyes.”
“Of course it is.”
“What’s yours? That looks like writing. What does it say?”
“BUGGER OFF, WE HAVE COVID”
Bad Witch pushed the doorbell button and turned to Perfect Unicorn Of Death and Frankenstein’s Zurab. “Remember, leave the talking to me. Just act scary.”
The door opened and a little old lady was grinning at them. “Ooh, my first scary zombies. How exciting!”
“Yeah, we’re not zombies, gran. I’m a wicked witch and this is the Unicorn Of Death,” said Bad Katie.
“How lovely! And who’s the big chap behind you?”
“Oh never mind him, he’s just here for training purposes.”
“So, anyway, you got sugary treats for us or are you prepared to suffer the consequences?”
The old lady smiled. “Of course I have… but...”
“But what?” said Bad Katie impatiently.
“You’re rather big children aren’t you? How old are you?”
“Thirty-” began Zurab.
“Thirteen,” said Bad Katie. “We eat all our greens.”
“Very well,” said the old lady. She picked up a bowl of sweets from her hall table and offered them to her visitors. “You can each pick your favourite.”
“Z, open the cauldron!”
“The what?” said Zurab.
“The bin,” hissed Bad Katie.
Zurab stepped aside to reveal the wheelie bin behind him. Bad Katie had painted flames around the bottom of it. He opened the lid.
Bad Katie grabbed the bowl off the old lady and tipped the entire contents into her “cauldron”.
“Hey,” said the old lady. “What about all the other kids?”
“The early bird gets the worm. Be a good life lesson for them. Thanks, dear.”
Bad Katie shoved the empty bowl back at the bewildered old lady and strode purposefully back down the garden path. “Come on guys, we’ve twelve streets to get through…”
An hour later, Perfect Polly and Zurab were flagging.
“Are we nearly home yet?” asked Zurab.
“If I whinny demonically one more time I think I’ll rip a vocal cord,” said Perfect Polly.
“Quit whinging you two,” said Bad Katie. “We’ve half filled the bin with goodies already. We’re on a right roll here and we haven’t even got to the dental belt yet.”
“What’s the dental belt?” said Zurab and Perfect Polly in unison.
“It’s a posh road not far away where half the residents are private dentists. Word is they give away sweets by the sack load at Halloween. They bank on cashing in later by repairing the teeth of the sprogs they give them to.”
“You do realise that means you, don’t you?” said Perfect Polly.
“What rot,” said Bad Katie.
“I mean I have perfect teeth. Probably because I pay fortunes to one of the plier-wielding leeches from the dental belt. Time for some payback.”
“Sis, what are we going to do with all this haul anyway?” said Zurab. “We can’t possibly eat all of it.”
“Ah yes, well, I’ll cherry-pick the good stuff, obviously, but you know that youth centre near us?”
“Oh, you’re going to donate it to the kids there?” said Zurab.
“Don’t be a muddled meerkat, of course not. I’ve ordered an old vending machine off eBay. We’re going to install it there and fill it with this stuff and milk the little buggers of their pocket money.”
“That’s genius, Katie,” said Perfect Polly.
“Right then,” said Bad Katie, some time later. “The bin is nearly full of loot. What’s the trick count, Poll?”
“Well, we’ve got through two dozen eggs, dropped seventeen wiper blades down drains and let down thirty-one tyres.”
“Plus what we did to Mr Winklebottom,” added Zurab. “I’m pretty sure he’ll get the police onto us for that.”
Bad Katie chuckled. “I doubt he’s even got free yet.”
“That was a classic, I must admit,” said Perfect Polly.
Zurab shook his head. “Remind me never to cross you two.”
“What, you only just figured that?” said Bad Katie. “Anyway, there’s just one more house I want to call at and then we’ll call it a night.”
Bad Katie folded her arms and tapped her foot impatiently as they waited outside their final door.
“Perhaps there’s no one home,” said Zurab.
“The place looks dark,” said Perfect Polly.
“He always does this, he told me,” said Bad Katie. She stabbed the doorbell several more times.
At last, a light appeared in the hallway and the door opened. “What do you lot want?” asked Sumit.
“Duh? Halloween? We’ve come for our sweets mister,” said Bad Katie, forgetting to disguise her voice until half way through the sentence.
“Katie, is that you?” said Sumit.
Bad Katie cackled. “Ha, ha, ha. Who is this Katie you speak of? I am the wicked witch of the west end and I demand to be showered with sugary surprises or you will suffer my most sinister spells!”
“Bugger off. Get a job and buy your own sweets,” said Sumit.
Bad Katie looked at the car on the driveway. “Ooh, nice wheels, mister. You must be nervous of anything happening to them.”
“You threatening me, you little witch?”
“Noooo!” said Bad Katie, waving her arms around wildly. “But karma works in mysterious ways…”
Sumit definitely was nervous. “Look, I haven’t got any sweets.”
Bad Katie squinted inscrutably at him. “I’m sure you have something stashed away. A witch knows these things.”
“No sweets, I swear. All I’ve got is a box of luxury chocolates from Harrods. They are for my wife, for her birthday.”
“I’ll take them,” said Bad Katie.
She glanced at his car again. “Such a beautiful paint job.”
Sumit sighed. He shuffled off and returned a moment later with the chocolates.
“Thank you kindly, mister,” said Bad Katie, snatching the chocolates from him.
“Be gone, thieving rascals,” muttered Sumit as he closed the door.
Bad Katie grinned. “Z, it’s time to deploy the spud.”
“What spud?” said Zurab.
“The one I stuffed in your pocket.”
Zurab fished the potato out of his jacket pocket. “What’s this for?”
“I need you to shove it up Sumit’s exhaust pipe,” said Bad Katie.
“That’s not a euphemism,” added Perfect Polly.
“But he gave us a treat,” said Zurab.
“Not willingly,” said Bad Katie. “Now spud his car and let’s go home.”
“Sorry I’m late Katie. My car wouldn’t start this morning. Had to get the AA out.”
“Really? I thought you were cutting down. Didn’t know they did house calls.”
“Not that AA, cheeky sod, the car one. Turns out some evil sprog stuffed a spud up my exhaust pipe.”
Bad Katie sniggered. “Ooh, matron!”
“It isn’t funny!” fumed Sumit. “If I knew who it was I’d have them arrested. I bet it was that trio of big kids.”
“Yes, the witch, the unicorn and Frankenstein.”
“Is that a sequel to the one with the lion and the wardrobe?”
“I actually thought the witch was you at first.”
“Me? Don’t be ridiculous. I’m a multi-million selling recording artist. And it was Frankenstein’s monster, by the way.”
“Frankenstein wasn’t the monster, he was the mad scientist that created him.”
“Oh. Well, there was something fishy about the three of them anyway. You know, the more I think about it, that witch really did look like you.”
“How very dare you, Sumit! Besides, I was in my home studio last night practising my acoustic take on ‘Anarchy In The UK’.”
“Yes, well, anyway. We need to wrap up our meeting quickly this morning. I have to get out to buy a birthday present.”
“For your wife?”
“Yes, how’d you know that?”
“Oh, I remember from last year. I’m good with dates. It’s not like you to leave it so late.”
“I didn’t. I had some lovely Harrod’s chocolates for her but I had to give them to those pesky trick-or-treaters last night.”
“They were so good,” said Bad Katie.
“I’ve heard they are so good.”
“Hmmm. Well, I’m going to get the coffees. Please, no tricks this time, okay?”
“Whatever do you mean?” said Bad Katie. “Tricks? Halloween is over.”
“Like you need an excuse for mischief!”
Sumit left to fetch the coffees. Bad Katie whipped out her phone and dialled. “Z, are you in the car park yet?”
“Yes, sis,” was the reply.
“Good. If you check your coat pocket you’ll find another spud…”
07.11.21 > Katie Bite: Remind Me To Forget
30.10.21 > Other Voices Live Event
Katie was flawless as ever last night performing four songs live with Zurab and Simon Goff, as well as joining Saint Sister as a guest member. If you are not a fan or Irish or folk music then you'll have to trawl through the two hour show to seek out Katie's bits. However, I would advise against that since all the acts are amazing and it is a wonderful way to while away a couple of hours. Katie performed Joy, Heading Home, Remind Me To Forget and Leaving The Mountain.
You can click the pic to watch on YouTube
28.10.21 > Playlist: Halloween
Yes, it's that time of year again when I drag out the old Halloween playlist. I make no apologies for it–I love the whole autumnal spookiness vibe and frankly, this playlist is one of my favourite ever so even if I'm merely indulging myself and no one else then I'm happy enough. But just look at that track listing–how can you not get all witchy-tingly with such ghoulish gems?
24.10.21 > The Adventures of Bad Katie - Episode 17
“Guess what!” said Sumit eagerly.
“I dunno. Er… you’re having the snip?”
“No. What? Why would you…. never mind. No, you’ve been asked to attend the Royal Variety Performance.”
“What do you mean, ‘oh’? It’s a pretty big deal you know.”
“Yeah, yeah. Thing is, I can’t imagine any of them have talent. I’d rather watch a bunch of monkeys performing tricks.”
“The Royals aren’t performing you dullard! You’ll be performing for them. It’s a great honour.”
“Is it a great fee though?”
“Ooh, you mercenary little minx. Never mind the money. The Queen is a big fan of your music and you’ll get to speak to her afterwards.”
“I’d rather meet Queen, to be honest. Still miss Freddie. They’ll never be the same. Don’t know what they’re thinking trying to replace him with some random bloke from an American talent show.”
“Yes, he is a lamb’s butt. Anyway, where’s our coffee?”
“Should be here any minute.”
“You did order it from that stall across the street, didn’t you? The one I recommended.”
“Yes. At least I’ll know you haven’t tampered with it.”
There was a knock at the door.
“Come,” shouted Sumit.
A curly-haired old man shuffled in. “Here’s the coffees you ordered.”
“Nice one, Bob,” said Bad Katie.
“Here’s your usual, miss Katie,” said Bob, handing Bad Katie a large takeaway cup. He placed the other one on Sumit’s desk. “And a special for the boss man.”
“Thanks mate,” said Sumit.
Bob winked at Bad Katie and shuffled back out of the room, closing the door behind him. Bad Katie took a sip of her coffee. “Ooh, just how I like it!”
Sumit picked his up and removed the lid. “Well, I hope this is as special as you say it is.”
Bad Katie suppressed a snigger. “I’m sure you’ll be surprised…”
As Bob left the building he screwed up the empty sachet of Acme laxative and dropped it into the nearest bin.
Jason Manford milked the applause to within an inch of its life.
“Right then you lovely lot!”
He glanced at the Royal Box and added “… and your Majesty.”
“Have we got a treat for you now! It’s a wonderful life, isn’t it? Unless you’re a Man Utd fan, heh, heh.”
There were a few half-hearted chuckles from the audience accompanied by a few whistles and jeers. Her Majesty remained unamused.
“Well, here to sing all about it is the delightful angel—or should I say Angel Delight?—miss Kay-tea Mell-you-are!”.
The audience applauded politely. The Queen whooped and hollered. Bad Katie ambled nonchalantly onto the stage. When she reached Manford she gave him a sweet smile and whispered in his ear.
“It’s Meh-loo-uh, Gay-son Man-food. And I’m singing ‘What A Wonderful World’ not ‘Wonderful Life’, you clueless bag of broken biscuits.”
Manford, somewhat taken aback, stepped back. He addressed the audience once more.
“Well, this is the closest thing to crazy I have ever been, that’s for sure. She’s all yours!” he garbled, then bolted off the stage.
Bad Katie stepped up to the mic and soaked in the rapturous applause for a moment. There was a massive wolf-whistle which appeared to originate from the Royal Box, though Buckingham Palace later denied it categorically.
“I see trees of green….”
After the show, the performers were lined up backstage. Sumit stood proudly beside Bad Katie and nervously adjusted his bow tie. “Now then Katie, best behaviour.”
“What are we standing in this stupid queue for? Couldn’t you have ordered drinks beforehand? And who is that old biddy sidling towards us and pawing people with her silk gloves? Better not be scrounging for money.”
“Katie! Keep your voice down. You are about to meet the Queen. Remember to curtsy.”
“For Caucasian women everywhere it is an honour for Katie to meet you, Your Majesty,” said Sumit, as the Queen suddenly stood in front of them.
The Queen ignored him and held her hand out for Bad Katie to shake, just as she was attempting to curtsy, with the result that Bad Katie head-butted the Queen’s hand.
“Oops,” said Bad Katie. “Sorry, Your Royal Queenness. We don’t have all this pomp in Georgia.”
Sumit closed his eyes and wondered if people were still thrown in the Tower.
The Queen cackled like a witch on helium. “Don’t worry, my dear. One is a big fan of yours.”
“Oh. I didn’t think you’d have heard of me.”
“Of course one has, my dear. All of you performers are here by one’s choice. One follows your career closely thanks to a web site that is all about you.”
“Ah…. yes, about that….”
“One even sings your songs in the bath.”
“Bit too much information….”
Her Majesty unexpectedly burst into song. “This is the closest thing to crazy one has ever known, one was never crazy on one’s own…”
“Yeah, I wouldn’t quit the day job yet,” muttered Bad Katie.
The Queen winked at her and changed tune. “Who-are-you-one’s-ti-ny-a-li-en…”
Bad Katie’s mouth fell open, but for once no sound escaped from it.
Her Majesty looked at Sumit. “And who is this handsome chappie then?”
“I’m her mana…” began Sumit.
“Man-servant,” interrupted Bad Katie. “I took him in off the streets, gave him a job you know. His English isn’t great but he’s loyal and obedient.”
The Queen eyed Sumit again. “Well, look after your mistress and she’ll look after you,” she said, in a slow and raised voice. Sumit nodded solemnly. Her Majesty sidled on to her next victim.
“I’ll look after you later, young lady,” Sumit growled into Bad Katie’s ear.
“Oh don’t be so sore, Sumit,” said Bad Katie. “She’s of a certain era you know, colonial and all that. When you mix in different circles you need to know how to blend in. Oh bollocks, I forgot to ask to have a selfie with her.”
Sumit buried his eyes in his palm and shook his head.
“I can’t quite believe this is happening,” said Sumit, a few weeks later. He flicked a speck of something off his tuxedo jacket. “Do you know how big a deal this is, Katie? A private performance at Buckingham Palace?”
“No, I don’t,” said Bad Katie. “But she’d better be paying top dollar for it. I’m missing the premiere of the latest Star Wars movie for this gig.”
“Paying?” said Sumit, incredulously. “Not many artists get an opportunity like this. It’s a real privilege.”
“For her, maybe. And she’d better leave the singing to me—she’s got a voice like a possessed cat.”
“And it’ll be lovely for you to work with Mike again. Be like old times.”
“Wait. What? What you on about? Batt’s here too? Oh for fox sake.”
“Yes, I mentioned it in the email I sent you with all the details about tonight.”
“Ah, yes, well I never read your emails.”
“Oh. I see. Well, he’s here to conduct the orchestra.”
“What orchestra? Thought it was just going to be me and Z with acoustic guitars.”
“The Georgian Philharmonic. They’ve flown in from Tbilisi especially for tonight. Mike’s been rehearsing with them all day. In particular, that new arrangement of one of the Queen’s favourites, ’September Song’. I mentioned that in the email too—I take it you haven’t learned it then?”
Bad Katie shrugged. “How hard can it be? You go and get the sheet music off Mike while I look for the song on Spotify.”
“Why is nothing ever straightforward with you?” said Sumit. He shook his head and strode off.
“Oh, and be a dear,” shouted Bad Katie after him, “grab us a flat white on the way back.”
As Bad Katie stood and soaked in the polite applause, loud wolf whistles rang out. The Queen’s Lady-in-waiting leaned over and whispered in her ear, “Your Majesty, that is not a seemly thing to do.”
The Queen removed her fingers from her mouth. “Sorry, one gets rather carried away when one hears this young lady warble.”
Mike Batt sidled up to Bad Katie, shaking his head. “What the hell key was that supposed to be?”
“Freedom,” said Bad Katie. “Nice to see you too.”
“You hadn’t read my notes, had you?”
“Nope. Never could read your handwriting anyway.”
“Well it’s lucky for you that I’m a musical genius and the Georgian Orchestra are familiar with notes that don’t exist outside Georgia. I think we got away with it.”
“Got away with it? They loved it. Her Madge was throwing shapes!”
“Yes, well, she’s probably been on the gin since breakfast time.”
“You could be beheaded you know.”
“Don’t be silly, they don’t do that any more.”
“I mean your impending knighthood. She’s not as steady with that sword these days.”
“Ha bloody ha. Oh, by the way, I thought your last album was mostly fairly acceptable.”
“For crying out loud, Katie,” said a breathless Sumit, “this is no time for a catch-up, the Queen is waiting to present you with something. Didn’t you hear me yelling you?”
“Er, no. I’ve learned to filter out your voice.”
Sumit rolled his eyes. “Come on, they are expecting us. Oh, hi Mike. Bye Mike.”
“What is she giving me?” said Bad Katie. “A stately home in Suffolk? A Rolls Royce? Is she making me a Dame?”
“I don’t know,” said Sumit. “But just remember to accept it graciously, whatever it is.”
“A vase,” fumed Bad Katie, as she paced around Sumit’s office. “A bloody vase. What the hell do I want with a stupid vase?”
“Calm down, Katie,” said Sumit. “It’s the thought that counts.”
“Not much thought gone into that. It was probably the first thing she saw when she opened the Argos catalogue.”
“Hardly. It’s encrusted with Swarovski crystals, you know.”
“Is that meant to mean something to me?”
“It means it was expensive.”
Bad Katie stopped pacing. “Expensive?”
“Do you think she’d find out if I put it on eBay?”
“I don’t know, but the engraving might be a problem.”
Sumit pointed to the bottom of the vase. “Presented to Katie Melua by HRH Queen Elizabeth II.”
“Oh. Can’t we scratch that off?”
“Katie! Just put it on display in your studio. It is something to be proud of, something to show off. Adele hasn’t got one you know.”
Bad Katie grinned. “Well, she can stick her flowers somewhere else.”
“Look, it’s a great honour to get a gift from the Queen. You should treasure it.”
“Suppose. Glad I nabbed the other stuff though.”
“What other stuff?” said Sumit suspiciously.
“Shampoo, shower gel, soap, towel…”
“Oh come on, they know everyone does it. They probably get the stuff in bulk from Poundland.”
“You are incorrigible.”
Sumit shook his head. “Never mind. Anyway, you made the Queen happy. We should have a drink to celebrate! I’ve got some Prosecco on the cabinet there…”
Bad Katie scoffed. “I can do better than that,” she said, and pulled a bottle of champagne out of her rucksack.
Sumit’s jaw dropped. “That’s Dom Perignon P3. Where the hell did you get that? It must have cost thousands!”
Sumit buried his face in his hands. “Actually, I don’t want to know. Let’s just drink it before we’re carted off to the Tower.”
22.10.21 > Look Into My Eyes...
Just a little something to spook you in the run up to Halloween 👻
19.10.21 > Remind Me To Forget (Acoustic) - Video Released!
There's nothing better to beat the blues of a drab October Tuesday than a new release from Katie. The first track from the new acoustic version of Album No. 8 (Album No. 8a?) is "Remind Me To Forget" and you can toddle off and listen to it by clicking the pic below and then choosing your fave platform. For me, it is even better than the original album version. I suspect that may be the case with several, though maybe not all, tracks. Some will be very difficult to choose between. My suggestion is this: don't try, just embrace both versions for the classy, quality music they are. Katie has really spoiled us with this, or rather, these albums.
Acoustic Album No. 8 is released on 26th November and is available to pre-order now. I urge you to order through her own store rather than one of the big guys because, well, because. And check out the lyric video on YouTube for Remind Me To Forget
18.10.21 > Katie in the All Time Top 30!
The all time top 30 female artist albums chart has been released. Naturally, it is a delight to see Katie in there at 25 with Call Off The Search. That may raise the odd eyebrow amongst the younger generation who are thinking 'who she?', but it shouldn't be a surprise to those of us who discovered Katie through her debut album. Let us not forget what a *huge* star she became at the time, and there can't be many households in the UK that don't have a copy of COTS nestling on a shelf somewhere.
What is spectacularly mind-blowing though is that right behind Katie at 26 is Eva Cassidy with Songbird. Eva, as many of you will know, was one of Katie's idols and the inspiration for her song "Faraway Voice", which appeared on the aforementioned Call Off The Search. The two of them also share their only number 1 single, "What A Wonderful World", the duet Katie recorded with a posthumous contribution from Eva, so for Eva to make the list right below Katie is just goosebump-inducing and compelling evidence of a greater force at work in the Universe.
17.10.21 > Acoustic Album No. 8
Here's some news to warm the cockles of your heart, whatever they are. Katie has announced an acoustic version of Album No. 8. During lockdown we've heard her perform some of the songs acoustically so we know already that she does a fabulous job and this album will be as amazing as the original studio version so if you only buy one of them, don't be an idiot, buy both.
We don't know when it will be available yet but check back here because you can bet your Dunkin' Donuts I'll let you know ASAP.
16.10.21 > Other Voices: London Calling
Right then, this one is a little bit out of left field but hey, any chance to see Katie perform live is a chance that should be grabbed with snatching hands. There will be an evening of live music from the Embassy of Ireland in London on Friday, October 29th, from 9pm (GMT). Now, Irish music is wonderful and this whole gig should be a hoot but quite why Katie is involved is anyone's guess—the one tenuous link being that Katie lived in Belfast for a couple of years when she was a kid, but Belfast is in Northern Ireland, which is an entirely different country...
Anyway, stock up on the Guinness and enjoy the craic on the night. You can watch it live on YouTube. For more info, pop along to the Other Voices web site
14.10.21 > More teasing...
She's at it again, teasing us with hints and whispers. Just tell us already. We need good news not vague promises... 🤨
Still, good things come and you put on weight. Or something like that.
10.10.21 > The Adventures of Bad Katie - Episode 16
“Not sure about this makeover to your office,” said Bad Katie. “Bit bland, no paintings, no ornaments, no soul.”
“That’s the price I have to pay,” sighed Sumit.
“For making it you-proof.”
“Sumit, I’m wounded. You know I have the greatest love and respect for all art!”
“Like the fake Banksy you sprayed onto the bonnet of my new Porsche?”
“Thought it would make it ten times more valuable. Just trying to help.”
“Hmmm. Anyway, down to business. I have a potential booking for a gig at Arundel Castle.”
“Ooh, I love castles! I’m thinking of buying one.”
“Yes, well, what? Really? Never mind. You’ve done a lot of castle gigs around Europe, it would be nice to do one here.”
“I know. But they tend to be a bit stuffy about them here, like they are sacred or something and not to be despoiled by grubby musicians.”
“True. But the folks at Arundel seem to be quite progressive in their thinking and are looking to dip a toe into new ventures.”
“They need the money, you mean.”
“Yeah, probably. Anyway, they’ve been fooled by your perceived image of sweetness and innocence and see you as the perfect kind of artist to test the waters. They’ve invited us down for a day to look around, work out the best place for acoustics and to thrash out any other details. They are new to all this and know there are probably lots of things they haven’t considered. What do you think?”
“You had me at castle.”
“Great! This could be a big deal for us, you know. Let’s have a drink to celebrate!”
Bad Katie glanced over at a cabinet with some bottles of spirits on it. Her eyes twinkled momentarily. “Oh, bit early for me. But you go ahead. Be a dear and fetch me a coffee first.”
“Okay, be right back,” said Sumit.
The moment Sumit left the room, Bad Katie took out a bottle of whisky from her rucksack. She knew Sumit’s favourite brand, and her bottle looked exactly like the one on his cabinet. Except hers was filled with cold tea and vinegar. She quickly swapped them and put his bottle in her rucksack.
“Here you go,” said Sumit, as he returned and handed her a coffee. He then went to his cabinet and poured himself a large whisky.
Bad Katie raised her cup. “Here’s to castles! Gaumarjos!”
“Cheers!” said Sumit. He knocked back the contents of his glass, then promptly sprayed it out all over his desk. Bad Katie giggled.
“Sis, why do we have to traipse around these boring gardens? We couldn’t do a gig here,” said Zurab.
“Oh quit griping, you know I love gardens. Look at the colours, smell those fragrances. It’s heavenly. Besides, I need to experience every aspect of the castle, grounds and gardens in order to align my chi with the place, otherwise I won’t be able to perform to the best of my ability.”
“Balls,” said Zurab.
Bad Katie scowled at him, then noticed some pear trees against the wall behind him. “Look! Espaliered pears!”
“Do what?” said Zurab.
“They look ripe. Grab us one, Z,” she said, looking around to see if anyone else was about.
“You want me to steal fruit? Why can’t you do it?”
“I can’t reach the good ones. And they’ll only leave them to rot anyway.”
Zurab sighed, stepped over the low privet hedge and plucked a pear from the tree. He handed it to Bad Katie, shaking his head.
“Wasn’t so hard was it?” said Bad Katie, as she prepared to bite into the pear.
“Oi! You two!” shouted a gardener, who had just stood up after weeding a bed a few metres away.
“Quick, leg it!” said Bad Katie, and took off down the path.
Zurab ran after her. “Sis,” he panted. “One of these days you’ll get me shot…”
Bad Katie and Zurab were sauntering towards the castle entrance to meet Sumit who, like Zurab, had zero interest in gardens but, unlike Zurab, had had a choice in visiting them. Bad Katie took another big bite from her pear.
“Ooh, you’ve got a nice juicy pear!” said a passer-by.
Bad Katie slapped his face hard. “Perv!”
“I think he meant the fruit, sis,” said Zurab, and dragged her onwards.
Sumit was waiting for them at the main entrance. He was pacing up and down, talking on his phone. He wasn’t actually on a call but just wanted to look important, like the half dozen or so other people milling about doing exactly the same thing.
“Hey Sumit!” called Bad Katie.
“I have to go,” said Sumit, to himself, and slipped his phone into his pocket. “So, I take it I haven’t missed much.”
“Only theft and assault,” said Zurab.
Sumit rolled his eyes. “Oh Z, I wish you’d try to keep a tighter rein on her.”
Bad Katie scoffed. “Good luck with that.”
Zurab looked forlornly at Sumit.
Sumit put a sympathetic hand on his shoulder. “I know, lad. I know.”
“Never mind the bromance,” said Bad Katie. “What’s the plan now?”
“Well, the Events Manager is on the way to meet me and discuss the fine print and legal stuff,” said Sumit. “You know, the grown up stuff. I thought it would be better if you two kids go explore the castle and get a feel for the place. There are a few options as to where the actual gig could take place so just see what grabs your imagination. We’ll catch up later in the café.”
“It had better be decent grub in there,” said Bad Katie.
“Oh, I’ve already been in. It’s very nice. They have a Death By Chocolate cake to die for.”
“And it’ll be Death By Katie if you haven’t reserved me a couple of slices when I get there.”
Zurab was in heaven staring at all the swords and suits of armour and gazed in wonder down the dimly-lit passages and slits in the walls for firing arrows through. Bad Katie was less impressed.
“So many paintings,” said Zurab. “And some of them are bigger than my bed.”
“Yes,” said Bad Katie. “But why was everyone so ugly in those days?”
“Bit harsh, sis. Painting wasn’t as advanced back then. It was all done by hand.”
Bad Katie shook her head. “I despair of you at times.”
A castle guide suddenly emerged from the shadows. “Good morning.”
“Jesus!” said Bad Katie.
“Where?” said Zurab.
“May I be of assistance?” said the guide.
“Yes,” said Bad Katie. “Who owns this gaff?”
“The 18th Duke of Norfolk,” replied the guide.
“Oh. Doesn’t he know this is Sussex?”
“The Duke is aware, madam.”
“Could have fooled me. What does he do for entertainment around here? Gawp at those creepy paintings all evening? He should get a hundred inch telly and a Sky dish.”
“The family live in a private wing of the castle.”
“What, so all of this part is empty at night?”
“That’s correct, madam.”
“Oooh, how spooky is that? Best hurry up and get out before they close up. Wouldn’t want to be stuck in here all night.”
“No, you certainly wouldn’t,” said the guide. “Legend has it that the ghost of Lady…”
“Cork it, Wikipedia, I don’t believe in all that malarkey. Come on Z, let’s see what tat they’ve got in the gift shop.”
On their way to the gift shop they passed through the castle library. Bad Katie’s eyes lit up. “Wowzers, Z. Look at this place!”
“Looks cozy,” said Z. “Red velvet chairs, big fireplace…”
“Never mind that, look at all the books. Thousands of the buggers!”
“Yes, and all old. Bet they haven’t got a single Harry Potter.”
Bad Katie ignored him. She was busy scanning the shelves like a thing possessed. “Ooh, The Life Of John Lennon,” she muttered. “This looks like a must read, think I’ll borrow it.”
“It’s not a public library, sis,” said Z. “And anyway, not sure that is about *the* John Lennon. I mean, it looks pretty ancient, and there must have been tons of John Lennons…”
Bad Katie wasn’t listening. She shot a furtive glance at the guide who was keeping a beady eye on them from across the room. “I need a distraction, Z. Go and ask him if they have any books on Georgia or guitars or something. Just keep him talking and looking at the shelves on that side.”
“Why do I always get the dirty jobs?” groaned Z.
“Because I’m your big sister,” said Bad Katie. “Now go.”
Z went over to the guide. “Excuse me sir, I don’t suppose you happen to know if this collection contains….”
Bad Katie quickly grabbed the Lennon book, as well as a book about medieval flatbreads that caught her imagination on a whim, and stuffed them both into her rucksack. She strode purposefully towards the exit. “Come on, Z,” she called.
“But he thinks there is a book on the history of Georgia here somewhere…”
“Then tell him to read it,” said Bad Katie. “Hurry up, we haven’t got all day.”
“Oh,” said Z. “But I thought we had.”
Bad Katie glared at him.
“Right. Yes. Coming.”
Zurab was beginning to get tired and was thinking about the café. “Are we nearly there yet?”
Bad Katie was loving the labyrinthine narrow passageways and secret doors and her sense of mischief was tingling wildly. She spotted a sign and gasped. “An oubliette! I’ve always wanted to see one of those.”
“What’s one of them?” said Zurab.
“A deep pit they throw people into and leave them to die.”
“Sod that,” said Zurab. “I’m not going anywhere near that with you around.”
“Look, you head back to the café and find Sumit. I have to see this.”
Zurab shrugged and set off for the café. “Don’t fall in, sis,” he called back.
Bad Katie took her little detour to see the oubliette then began to make her way back to find the others. As she walked past a bedroom she happened to notice a guy taking a picture of a four-poster bed.
“Hang on a minute,” she said. “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”
The guy turned and looked at her. His eyes became saucers. “Katie!!!”
“Oh god,” said Bad Katie. “You’re the All About Katie guy, aren’t you?”
“Wow, I can’t believe you remember me.”
“I never forget a face. Especially an idiotic one.”
“What on earth are you doing here?”
Bad Katie sighed. “I’m doing a recce for a gig, if you must know.”
“That’s amazing. Can I have an exclusive for the site?”
“No,” said Bad Katie, firmly.
“Oh,” said AAK, crestfallen.
“Anyway, what are you doing here? Are you stalking me?”
“What? No! I’m on holiday. Just taking pictures of the beds here.”
“Oh, well, that isn’t at all creepy.”
“I love this place,” said AAK. “Wish I could stay here forever.”
Bad Katie’s eyes widened. “Have you seen the oubliette yet?”
“No, I didn’t even know they had one.”
“Let me show you, it’s just round the corner from here.”
AAK wasn’t about to pass up an invitation from her and duly followed her to the oubliette.
“Impressive, isn’t it?” said Bad Katie.
“Well, to be honest, I was probably expecting a bit more. It’s just an empty room with a dark hole in the floor.”
“It’s not so much a dark hole as a black hole,” said Bad Katie. “Whatever goes into it never gets out again. Aren’t you curious to see what’s down there?”
“You can’t get close enough. It’s roped off.”
“Nonsense,” said Bad Katie. She unhooked one end of the safety rope. “Go on, stand over it, see if you can get a good picture of what’s down there.”
AAK looked uncertain. “It’s a bit scary.”
“Don’t be a big baby! I’ll give you that exclusive if you get me a good picture!”
AAK took a deep breath and shuffled up to the edge of the hole. He pointed his camera down and gingerly leaned forwards. The last thing he felt was a heel on his backside…
“What are you looking so happy about?” said Sumit, as Bad Katie sauntered into the café.
“I love this place,” said Bad Katie.
“What have you done, sis?” said Zurab.
“Nothing. What do you mean?”
“You only look this happy when you’ve done something bad,” said Sumit.
“Yes?” said Zurab and Sumit in unison.
Bad Katie reached into her pocket. “I just bought this fridge magnet in the gift shop. It’s a memento of a wonderful day.”
Sumit shook his head and pushed a plate of Death By Chocolate cake towards her.
“And now it just got even better!”
Sumit was grinning from ear to ear as they prepared to leave the castle after a successful day. “I’m well chuffed to get that contract signed and sealed. It’s a real feather in your cap, Katie.”
“Suppose. But it’s not all about me, is it? Not any more, anyway.” She grinned.
“What on earth are you on about?” said Sumit.
“Never mind. Hey look, there’s a moat! Why don’t I get a picture of you in front of it with the castle in the background? It’ll look great hanging in your office.”
“Oh, yes, good idea,” said Sumit.
Bad Katie took his phone and and retreated a few paces. “Ah, no, you’re too close. Move back a bit.”
Sumit stepped back a couple of paces.
“No. Bit more,” said Bad Katie.
There was a yelp followed by a splash. Bad Katie clicked the shutter. “Got it!”
A few weeks later, the historic first ever concert at Arundel Castle was proving to be a huge success. Bad Katie was lapping up the rapturous applause as she settled herself down for a final encore.
“Here’s one more song, a new song. It’s called ‘Remind Me To Forget’. It’s about an oubliette…”
09.10.21 > Katie's On The Move!
She may be hard at work beavering away on a new album, possibly for release as early as next year (be still, my beating heart), but Katie has still found time to move her studio. Well, not the actual building, obvs, but the contents. "Where to?" you might be asking. "None of our damn business," I might reply. Now, I know we'd grown fond of seeing pics of her in the old place and there's a hint of sadness about it, but as the saying says, a change is as good as rest. Nothing stays the same for ever, and if Katie felt she needed a new creative space to work in then I for one can identify with that and wish her oodles of luck and happiness in her new studio. For creatives to deliver they need to feel comfortable in their surroundings. Variables like view, lighting, external noise and so on all contribute to the ambience and vibe of the room you are in. Sometimes it is something you can't put your finger on, just a feeling you get in your mind about a place–it is mysterious and intangible. Is it to do with subtle magnetic variations? Ley lines? Do the walls retain some kind of memory from sound waves they have absorbed in the past? Or is it all in the mind, and a room is just a bunch of bricks and mortar that we project our own psyche on to? Well, whatever it is, we look forward to seeing pics of Katie in her new workplace and I don't doubt that much magic will be produced there.
01.10.21 > SongWriter Podcast
The SongWriter Podcast is a series of stories and answer songs, where writers or poets create something and a songwriter comes up with a song in response. In the latest episode, Katie has written a song called "Forever Sunlit" in response to a poem by author Joyce Carol Oates called “Too Young to Marry, But Not Too Young to Die". It is fascinating stuff, and well worth a listen. As always, Katie more than delivers. You can listen to the podcast here or just click the pic.
Katie has become so good at her craft that songs like “Forever Sunlit” seem effortlessly beautiful. But that is the paradox of a real artist–to make something seem effortless takes considerable effort. When the public sees and admires the finished article they have no idea of how much work went into it, and many probably never even think about that. After all, if you are handed a box of artisan chocolates you are too busy enjoying the taste sensation to pay any mind to the craftsmanship that created them. Sometimes, a piece of work can be produced quite quickly and painlessly, almost as if it had been pre-formed in the subconscious and bursting to get out, but even then it is a product of the years of effort you have put in honing your craft. “Forever Sunlit” is the perfect example of an artisan songwriter at work. It may or may not find its way on to a future album, but it deserves to be heard and though it is a lovely song in its own right if you listen to the podcast you will hear the full story and context behind it.
25.09.21 > Making Mischief?
What are these minxes plotting now? They're like a couple of naughty schoolgirls planning to rob a bank. Wait... you're not fooled by those beautiful smiles are you? Seriously though, or not, my bet is they are going to make "Cagney & Lacey: The Musical". Or maybe a duet of The Proclaimers' "500 Miles".
24.09.21 > Playlist: Most Sung Live
I know what you're thinking. You're just sat there twiddling your thumbs and wondering which songs Katie has performed live most often. What do you mean you weren't thinking that at all? Why not? Well, I find it hard to believe you could have been thinking about anything other than that to be honest, but anyway, you need to focus and get your mind back onto things that really matter. Right, so, very little goes unnoticed in this world and somewhere, hidden away in a dark room deep underground, there is a little grumpy goblin that has been keeping track of which songs Katie has sung live at gigs (and no, that grumpy goblin is NOT me thank you very much!). Here, then, is a playlist of the top 20 most performed songs at a major live event in order of number of performances. Oh, I bet you can guess the top two but if you're anywhere near to predicting the other eighteen you are either spookily psychic or a pathological liar.
That's right, those pesky Beijing Bikes come out on top. Poor Katie has felt compelled to deliver that to demanding fans over 150 times. But it is a close thing, with Closest Thing being the closest thing behind it, at just under 150. The only other song to trouble treble figures is "I Cried For You" on 105. You may wonder why nothing from the last three albums makes the cut. Well, for one thing, Katie toured heavily in the early years and also, to this day, some of the old songs still get an airing at gigs. Don't expect those top two to be knocked off their perch any time ever. Poor Album No. 8 barely gets on the list at all, never mind the top 20, thanks to that pesky covid blitzing the tour schedule for it. But in the years ahead I'd hope to see a few of its tracks muscling in to this playlist. They deserve to be on it.
As for the playlist itself, most are live performances apart from the three tracks from "The House" which haven't made it on to any of Katie's live CDs.
Most Sung Live
- Nine Million Bicycles
- The Closest Thing To Crazy
- I Cried For You
- Call Off The Search
- The Flood
- Spider's Web
- Crawling Up A Hill
- My Aphrodisiac Is You
- If You Were A Sailboat
- Kozmic Blues
- God On The Drums, Devil On The Bass
- A Moment Of Madness
- Piece By Piece
- Thank You, Stars
- On The Road Again
- Perfect Circle
- Red Balloons
- Two Bare Feet
- No Fear Of Heights
Listen to Most Sung Live on Spotify via the link below:
18.09.21 > Katie at Jazz Open 2021
Isn't this just the best sight? Katie in stunning regal velvet playing live to a packed audience again, doing what she does best and loving every second. That's one lucky crowd to finally witness her perform the songs from Album No. 8 with her brilliant band.
Pic courtesy of Liliana Lopes
16.09.21 > Happy Birthday Katie!
11.09.21 > Katiewatch: Stuttgart
Katie is in Germany again this weekend, this time with the band! Yay!!! They’ll be performing at the Altes Schloss, a 10th century castle in Stuttgart, as part of the Jazz Open 2021 Festival. Any of you attending are in for a special night, with the band playing Album No.8 to a live audience at long last. In an ideal world it would be recorded for a DVD (but don’t get your hopes up).
Don’t be fooled by the seemingly busy city centre location, it is still a beautiful place. Katie only goes to beautiful places. Though if you study the map you’ll see she’ll be just round the corner from a place called Rathaus. Not sure I want to go there tbh.
03.09.21 > ABBA Voyage
Look, I know this site is supposed to be all about Katie, but I'm pretty sure she won't mind me going off piste now and then, especially when there's a good reason. And as good reasons go, this is a big boy. ABBA are releasing a new album in November, ABBA Voyage. If you are not currently dusting yourself down after having fallen off your chair then you need to go back and read that last sentence again. After 40 years, we are weeks away from ten new ABBA songs. Imagine if Katie decided to quit music today and declared Album No. 8 to be her last, then, in 2061, she suddenly popped up with a new album. *Mind blown*
And it gets better–they are going on tour without themselves. That's right! While their music is on tour, Agnetha, Frida, Benny and Björn will be tucked up at home with a blanket and mug of cocoa watching Homes Under The Hammer. It's genius really. They all, not unreasonably, decided that, being in their 70s, a world tour was probably a tad arduous so they decided to let fresh young digital copies of themselves do it for them. They all donned those silly motion capture leotards with the coloured balls stuck all over them and busted some shapes for an afternoon. Then they let the Star Wars wizards, Industrial Light and Magic, turn them into realistic avatars of themselves, albeit knocking 40 years off their faces in the process. You can't blame them for that–the music industry is in the business of selling records and though the girls still look great it is mostly young people that buy music and they are less inclined to do so if the artist looks like their Nan.
The burning question though is will Voyage be any good? I can confidently predict 'YES'. Benny and Björn are two of the greatest songwriters of all time, up there with Lennon and McCartney, and musicians only get better with age. I've heard one of the new songs and it is proper ABBA–catchy, tuneful and memorable. Since we aren't getting a Katie album in 2021 I have no qualms in declaring ABBA Voyage to be the must-have album of 2021.
02.09.21 > Katie Bite: Heading Home
28.08.21 > European Culture award for Katie!
Katie attended the Europäischer Kulturpreis Gala at Bonn Opera in Germany yesterday.
She was awarded the European Culture award for Charitable Commitment. It is so lovely to see Katie's charitable work recognised. She gives a lot of time and support to several charities and this work often goes under the radar. Of course, this isn't something Katie is shouting about herself but that doesn't mean the rest of us can't shout about it! So... YAY!!!
Naturally, it would have been a sin to drag Katie along to such a venue without getting her to sing for her supper, and she gave a stunning performance of What A Wonderful World.
27.08.21 > Katiewatch: Frankfurt
Katie is in Germany for an acoustic gig with her brother, Zurab, on Friday 3rd September. They'll be performing at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt. As venues go it ain't too shabby, as befits a performer of Katie's quality.
Here's the aerial shot of where she'll be performing, just in case you feel like gazing at it intently in the hope of transferring some positive energy to her. (She'll be amazing whether or not you do that but you never know, your psycho energy transfer may help her sustain a note for an extra hundredth of a second. It all adds up.)
19.08.21 > Ultimate Collection Special Limited Edition Vinyl
Okay, you should already have this album but if you don't then here's a wonderful opportunity–A special edition is being released on silver vinyl. Get out! No, come back, please. You heard right, silver vinyl! (Not solid silver, I hasten to add.) The release is in celebration of women in music for National Album Day. What a thing to celebrate. And just imagine how cool these discs will look on your turntable. Click the pic to pre-order.
16.08.21 > Album No.8 Maturing Like Fine Georgian Wine
It’s hard to believe we’re approaching the first birthday of Album No. 8, but it is just a few weeks away, and we’ve already had more than half of the songs in our heads for more than a year. Never before have I been so blown away by an entire album on first listening so I thought it might muse about my feelings for it now that the honeymoon period has long passed. Has the love gone stale?
Katie doesn’t do weak tracks. Her love of and dedication to music means that every album she makes is carefully crafted down to the last note. Padding them out with sub-standard filler tracks is never an option. Of course, you can’t please all of the people all of the time and every album has its hits and misses–and these will be different for every listener. Her core fans simply love her voice and trust her music whatever direction it takes but more casual followers are often divided, with some hooked on the Batty pop tunes, others cherishing the blues and Great American Songbook standards, and some into her more recent collaborations with the Gori Women’s Choir and Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra. For me, what makes Album No. 8 her best to date is that it combines every facet of her musical experience to present ten songs of such quality it is difficult to pick either a favourite or a least favourite. Furthermore, whatever flavour of Katie you prefer, there is something on Album No. 8 that will appeal to you. It covers every base, ticks every box and spoils you with choice like an assortment of luxury chocolates. Quite simply, it is a masterpiece.
This isn’t a review–I did that last year. I’m not even going to mention individual songs. As I see it, this is a concept album, and the concept is love. It might sound like a simple concept, and maybe one that has been done to death, but it isn’t and it hasn’t. Love is often confused with the far more specific state of being ‘in love’, but there are so many more aspects to it, which makes it such a good subject for songwriters. In Album No.8, Katie gives us ten love stories, each with a different perspective or interpretation of the meaning of love. What makes them so special is that they are not Hollywood tales but rather realistic experiences, both happy and sad, that any one of us can relate to. Love can intoxicate, love can hurt, and love can be invisible, almost taken for granted–it can fade into the background of everyday life to the point where it no longer gets thought about or appreciated, it is just there. And that is often the source of trouble in relationships. Some people are comfortable when love takes a back seat, knowing it has become an underlying rock on which their life is built, but others struggle, believing that love has faded or even abandoned them. That is when doubts, fears and insecurities begin to open cracks in a relationship and drive wedges into them. Love is complex, and it is this complexity that Album No. 8 explores from all angles. Katie has done a masterful job of revealing some of the shades of it and drawing us in to her collection of tales. Album No. 8 is only getting better with time, like a good wine, as each and every song takes you on its own special journey. I cannot imagine life without these songs now and I know they will be my friends forever. I honestly don’t know how she could ever top this work and I just hope she doesn’t feel like she has to. I’m confident that whatever music she gives us in future will be wonderful but as far as I’m concerned it won’t need to compete with this album. Album No. 8 is done and dusted, it is out there forever, and it is a triumph, but Katie now has a clean slate to do whatever she wants with her music. She no longer has anything to prove to anyone.
13.08.21 > Past Peek: Katie at Cheltenham Jazz Festival, 2019
03.08.21 > This Made Me Smile!
Here she goes melting us all again. This is too beautiful. Admittedly, Katie does frown a bit whilst telling us all to smile but that's because she's concentrating on the music, and she makes up for it at the end with a classic trademark beam. The song itself was composed by Charlie Chaplin. Yes, you read that right. The lyrics were added a couple of decades later though and Nat King Cole recorded the first vocal version of it. Other notable versions are by Sammy Davis Jr. and Judy Garland. This is as good as any of them. We all love Katie's own songs but let's never forget how blindingly awesome she is at interpreting covers.
01.08.21 > Katie Bite: English Manner
30.07.21 > Katie’s Accidental Bond Theme?
The very first thought in my head upon hearing 'A Love Like That' was “this sounds like a James Bond movie theme”. (Actually, it was probably the second thought–the first really being how wonderful it was to be hearing Katie sing new material.) At first, I just shrugged it off as me being a bit bonkers but then a quick poke around on social media revealed that plenty of others were using the same word: Bond.
So, the question is why? I can’t really imagine Katie waking up one morning and thinking “think I’ll write a Bond theme”. After all, I may think she’s capable of anything but from what I know of her she’s several magnitudes short of possessing the sheer arrogance required to believe you can just knock out an instantly recognizable movie theme. Katie’s focus with Album No. 8 was primarily on the lyrics and I think her collaboration with Sam Dixon produced a dreamy little ballad called 'A Love Like That’. The Bond vibe must have come from somewhere else. But wait! Who’s that sitting in the murky shadows? Why, it’s none other than producer and arranger Leo Abrahams, and he appears to be holding a smoking gun!
I think we may be getting closer to an answer now. Abrahams is an accomplished musican and composer who has worked on several movie soundtracks. The plot is thickening fast. He has worked with acts like Brian Eno, David Byrne, Jon Hopkins and Imogen Heap and is known for complex arrangements so it can be no surprise that he would bring a new dimension to Katie’s material. I doubt there was ever a deliberate plan to make one of the songs sound like a Bond theme, but I think there was always an intention to have orchestral arrangements involved, probably with the Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra after their collaboration with Katie on ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’. And as ‘A Love Like That’ evolved and staccato strings were added, somewhere along the line it must have just started to sound a bit, well, Bond-ey. It can’t have gone unnoticed–if half the fans hearing it picked up on it then there’s no way it escaped the musicians and producers involved with it. Until such time as we can get a confession out of one of them, I can prove nothing, but my suspicion is that at some point in the development of the track a Bond vibe was felt and then deliberately exploited to give an unexpectedly dramatic and cinematic feel to a Katie Melua track. This was eventually taken even further when Charlie Lightening came on board to create a video for the song that further amplifies the Bond feel with lead man Billy Howle looking like the brooding spy seeking to ease his world-weary troubles with Katie’s dreamily sensual chanteuse.
Oh, yes, and I know I said I have no proof but I will just leave you with Exhibit A. A couple of very brief sound clips. The first one is from 'A Love Like That', the second one is from 'The Man With The Golden Gun'. Case rested.
A Love Like That
The Man With The Golden Gun
23.07.21 > Katie Bite: Remind Me To Forget
21.07.21 > Katie and Zurab at Robin Hill Woodland Sessions
(Pic courtesy of Angela Tester)
Last Friday finally saw Katie performing live again in front of actual people (as opposed to virtual ones), as part of the Robin Hill Woodland Sessions event on the Isle of Wight. Obviously, this was an amazing and wonderful thing for her but it was even more amazing and wonderful for those lucky enough to attend. Imagine being treated to the sight and sound of Katie and Zurab performing a few feet in front of you after you've been cooped up in the house for eighteen months. Witnesses report a stunning performance with a standing ovation–in other words, a normal Katie gig (though without her regular band!). Below is the simply sumptuous set list so that we can all see what we missed and be grumpy for the rest of the day/month/year.
- Perfect World
- English Manner
- Leaving The Mountain
- Nine Million Bicycles
- No Better Magic
- A Love Like That
- Voices In The Night
- Girl From The North Country
- Heading Home
- Here Comes The Sun
- The Closest Thing To Crazy
- Vale (with Simon Goff - from his album)
- I Cried For You
- Remind Me To Forget
16.07.21 > Happy Birthday, Zurab!
Wishing a wonderful birthday to Zurab Melua, a great guitar player with probably the best big sister in the entire world! And what a present! They get to play a gig together tonight on the Isle of Wight, in front of live actual people who can whoop, holler and clap with unadorned gusto. The pic shows them playing at Nottingham in 2018–innocent, carefree days before the world went a bit bonkers.
09.07.21 > Heading Home
If you like melting into a messy puddle of goo on the floor then there really is no better way of achieving such a state than to watch the following little video from Katie. A minute of pure magic from the Hermione of Music.
06.07.21 > Katie Bite: Maybe I Dreamt It
05.07.21 > AYMHM 16: Infidels
Another album you may have missed... (see them all HERE)
Oh, I had to get to Bob at some point. The problem was, with more studio albums to his name than Katie has had years on the planet, which one to mention? Blood On The Tracks? Tempest? Or perhaps one from the early years. Well, there are two sides to this series. The main aim is to raise awareness of great albums that some of you may have missed. A secondary aim is to indulge myself in waxing lyrical about some of my favourite albums. So, when it comes to His Bobness, Infidels covered both bases nicely.
Infidels was released late 1983, a little over nine months before Katie was born (I’m desperate to make some kind of divine connection to this vague coincidence but that would, of course, be silly). The album was critically acclaimed yet slipped under the radar perhaps more than it should have. One explanation for this is that the album followed three evangelical records Bob had released following his conversion to Christianity–albums which divided fans somewhat and led to a general cooling off towards him after the heady days of Blood On The Tracks. But Infidels really does see Bob back to his imperious best, with wonderful poetic lyrics and sharp performances. His decision to hire the ridiculously talented Mark Knopfler to produce the record was an astute one–Knopfler’s distinctive guitar would enhance any song but he also adds a satisfying rock edge to Dylan’s folk roots and oversees a tight musicianship that Dylan doesn’t always pay so much attention to as he focusses more on the lyrics and performance (which is fine, if you are good enough, which he is–on his album Tempest, the title track is basically 14 minutes of simple 3-chord strumming which just gives a rudimentary musical canvas for the 45 verses; he’s pretty much just singing a poem.)
There are only 8 tracks on the album, though it does stretch out to 41 minutes thanks to “Jokerman” and “Man Of Peace” both weighing in above 6 minutes. “Jokerman” is one of my all time favourite Dylan songs, containing one of my favourite lyric snippets:
❝ Resting in the fields, far from the turbulent space Half asleep near the stars with a small dog licking your face ❞
Those two lines alone justify his Nobel Prize for lyrics. They provide me with so much imagery that I’m sure I could write an entire novel based on nothing more than those words. (Please don’t hold me to that–I have so much other stuff on my To Do list.) But don’t take my word for it, go check out the album for yourself by clicking the Spotify link below (other streaming services are available.)
Listen to Infidels on Spotify via the link below:
20.06.21 > Katie Bite: Remind Me To Forget
12.06.21 > Gig Alert! Woodland Sessions 2021
Some spectacular news out of the blue for UK fans–but you'll need to act quick! Katie is doing an acoustic session on Friday 16th July as part of the Woodlands Sessions 2021 on the Isle Of Wight. Okay, it's a bit of a faff to get to involving ferries and stuff, but seeing Katie live is worth it, trust me, so if you think you can get there then I urge you to get booking those tickets. Go to Robin Hill Woodland Sessions for more details and tickets.
11.06.21 > Katie’s German Summer Tour postponed until 2022
As sad and frustrating as it is for Katie and her fans, I don’t think anyone in all honesty can be surprised that her summer tour of Germany has now been put back a year and will now happen in 2022. At the moment, her two festival gigs there in September are *still on* but you have to understand that any dates for anyone anywhere are written in soft pencil this year. These are such unprecedented times, none of us have lived through before, and we are all making it up as we go along. Those that think we are out of lockdown and getting close to a return to normality need a reality check–just look at the holiday fiasco with Portugal, where Brits were given the green light to go but when they got there were told the light was going back to amber and they all had to return home quickly or face expensive self-isolation. I’m sure we all need a holiday but is it really worth all the stress and confusion involved at the moment? My advice would be to accept that this is a year for dusting ourselves down and regrouping, focus on staying safe, make the best of what you’ve got and start making the grandest of grand plans for next year to make up for it all. I’m already thinking about seeing Katie live a few times and returning to Georgia in 2022, but for the rest of 2021 I’m just going to enjoy my garden for the summer, look forward to the magical autumn and then hunker down for another winter. We’ve had a tough couple of years but let New Year’s Eve 2021 be the starting gun for a monumentally cracking 2022!
The updated tour dates are on the On Tour page, but you’ve got plenty of time now so need to rush there.
06.06.21 > Katie Bite: Maybe I Dreamt It
25.05.21 > Gig Alert! Alte Oper, Frankfurt - Fri Sep 03 2021
Germany 8 - Rest Of The World 0
Okay, this scoreline is getting embarrassing now! Katie and Zurab will give an acoustic performance at Frankfurt's Alte Oper on Friday, September 3rd. This is her eighth gig announced in Germany for this year. The wait goes on for the rest of us. What have we done to offend her? Go figure. But if you live in Germany, go see her.
Click on the gorgeous pic to toddle off and purchase tickets (you may need to understand German).
24.05.21 > Who Wrote The First Ever Song?
Now that’s a question, isn’t it? Sadly, if you’re looking for a name you might as well leave now. The short answer is that no one will ever know. It is lost forever in the dark mists of time.
What counts as the first song is open to debate anyway. Some might think it should be the earliest known recording, others might say the earliest written music or lyrics. Others have talked about the earliest known musical instruments being a few thousand years old, suggesting that music has been a part of our lives for that sort of time, though others have pointed out that the materials used to make early instruments made them unlikely to last so we can never truly know when humans started using musical instruments.
However, humans actually have a built-in musical instrument: vocal chords. And studies suggest that humanoids even prior to Neanderthals had vocal ranges that would have made some form of music a possibility, even if it was only humming.
So the first human ever to come up with a song could have lived a very long time ago indeed. It’s a charming image to think of a bunch of early humans sitting huddled around a fire one night and one of them bursts into song. But I doubt it happened like that. Certainly, at some point, someone probably *consciously* created something you could describe as a song in their head but by that point it is likely that musical utterances were not new.
The most likely answer is that music evolved gradually over time, possibly with numerous influences from nature. It seems likely that birds were singing before humans so people would have been aware of melody before they thought of attempting it for themselves. Percussive sounds and rhythms may have been instilled in us by nature sounds such as rumbling thunder, tinkling water or raindrops, whistling wind, and so on. We may even have been mimicking nature sounds before we even developed speech. I think it is safe to say that music came before lyrics!
I also think it likely that the earliest singers were women. Early men were driven by fighting, foraging and fornication (and many still are to this day). The power of song sits far more comfortably with the nurturing and caring of women. In fact, I don’t think it would be that outrageous a claim to suggest the first song may have been a little melody hummed by a mother to calm her baby. That’s my theory anyway–the first ever song was probably a lullaby!
23.05.21 > Lyric Card: No Better Magic
15.05.21 > Track Notes 116: No Better Magic
No Better Magic
Katie Melua, Zurab Melua
There may have been plenty to forget in 2020 but there were a few moments along the way where the world seemed like a pretty good place. Most of those moments were thanks to the efforts of Katie. One of the earliest treats she served us was this little pearl of a song she wrote with her brother, Zurab.
The song appeared on the album City Lights, by Katie’s compatriot, violinist Lisa Batiashvili. City Lights is kind of a dual-themed album, based on Charlie Chaplin’s own music for his film of the same name as well as representing the most important cities in Lisa’s life. Katie’s contribution, not surprisingly, represents London–a city very close to her own heart of course.
“No Better Magic” is nothing short of a love letter to London, and that comes across in her performance. Katie and Lisa are backed by the Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra–the three components giving a blend of Georgian musical brilliance that may have been a one-off for now but it would be no surprise if it was something destined to bring us more magic in future. Just because Katie is always exploring new musical avenues it doesn’t mean she is averse to walking down streets she found enjoyable in the past.
The official video, put together during times of social distancing and restrictions, depicts Katie and Lisa performing apart but joined together by their fans, who provided the Instagram images displayed between the artists. Look out for yours truly at 2:00. (You have been warned!) No Better Magic
09.05.21 > Katie Bite: No Better Magic