👉🏻 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!
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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
30.04.21 > Gig Alert! Jazzopen 2021
Oh Germany, you lucky, lucky country! As we crawl bleary-eyed out of lockdown and into a musically barren 2021 landscape, Katie has announced a seventh gig in Germany this summer, adding the Jazzopen 2021 festival in September to her existing dates in July and August. In these uncertain times, nothing is set in stone but keep your fingers crossed for her that restrictions ease enough for these events to go ahead. And keep anything else crossed you can think of that we finally get to see her live in the UK again in 2022. It has been too long...
For more information toddle off to HERE
29.04.21 > Playlist: Katie's Dreams
Is Katie a bit of a dreamer? Well, that’s not for me to say, but here is a playlist of her songs that mention dreams. And yes, there are 26 of them. Perhaps if you listen to this playlist in bed you’ll sleep well. Sweet dreams…
- Better Than A Dream
- Sometimes When I'm Dreaming
- Dreams On Fire
- Scary Films
- Tiger In The Night
- Pictures On A Video Screen
- Just Like Heaven
- Downstairs To The Sun
- Love Me Tender
- Piece By Piece
- Deep Purple
- A Love Like That
- Shy Boy
- The Closest Thing To Crazy
- Kozmic Blues
- Wonderful Life
- A Time To Buy
- Toy Collection
- English Manner
- Bridge Over Troubled Water
- This Year's Love
- Looking For Clues
- Turn To Tell
Listen to Katie's Dreams on Spotify via the link below:
26.04.21 > AAK Gone A Bit Quiet?
I don’t think anyone has noticed, but just in case you have, yes, AllAboutKatie is a little quieter this year. There are several reasons for that. One is that I have now returned to full-time work and so have less disposable free time to spend on it. Another is that we have caught up with Katie in terms of her back catalogue, for regular features such as Track Notes and Lyric Cards. Finally, Katie herself is between albums at the moment and not touring due to Covid restrictions so there is very little news to report.
This combination of factors has resulted in the reduced flow of new content for the time being. But, rest assured, AAK remains alive and well and is going nowhere and whenever anything newsworthy occurs in Katieland it will be reported here! AAK remains the number one source for all things Katie!
25.04.21 > AYMHM 15: A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night
Another album you may have missed... (see them all HERE)
A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night
Many of Katie’s fans live in hope of her releasing an album of Great American Songbook covers. After all, she’s a big fan of the GAS and whenever she’s tackled it in the past she’s smashed it right out of the park. So surely it is just a matter or when rather than if? She’ll probably be thinking she won’t do it until she can do it justice. but we all know she could do it in her sleep right now. Guess we just have to remain patient and hopeful. At least we have a few gems to glitter in the darkness, such as Stardust and Deep Purple. But as I cast a wistful eye at Bob Dylan’s Triplicate on my shelf–the old growler’s triple album of GAS covers–I can only wonder if I’ll live to see an offering from Katie keeping it company.
Anyway, you might be thinking, restless lot that you are, what all that has got to do with my latest recommendation for an album you may have missed? Well, dear reader, do let me explain. The thing is, if you are going to tackle the Great American Songbook you should probably be aware that it has been done to almost immaculate perfection by Harry Nilsson. Who he? He was an American singer-songwriter who hit the heights in the early seventies. His version of Badfinger’s “Without You” gave him a UK and US number 1 in 1971 (coincidentally, the same track Katie sang on her television debut!). You may also have heard him sing “Everybody’s Talkin”, made famous in the movie Midnight Cowboy. Nilsson was also known as a drinking buddy of John Lennon and Ringo Starr.
A Little Touch Of Schmilsson In The Night is neither Nilsson’s most successful nor most critically-acclaimed album. Yet it is a stunning piece of work. His interpretation and delivery of some GAS classics is absolutely second to none. And he is backed up by breathtaking orchestration that constantly morphs and misleads you into thinking you’re in a different song entirely. It is done in such a cleverly considered way that the entire album flows like an elegant maze through the Songbook, revealing dead ends you know you’ve seen before and then leading you down an alternate path. It is just a sonic delight from start to finish, and I personally don’t think the GAS has ever been represented better. Yes, artists like Sinatra and Fitzgerald were amazing, but it is the utter cohesion of the songs on this album that are a constant delight. And it also leaves me wondering why Harry Nilsson wasn’t a bigger star, although perhaps his reluctance to tour was a factor in that, and maybe also some dubious song choices on his other albums. He died in his fifties, but left behind a decent body of work, and this is one album I don’t think will ever sound dated.
Listen to A Little Touch Of Schmilsson In The Night on Spotify via the link below:
16.04.21 > The Adventures of Bad Katie - Episode 15
Eric, the cabbie, was taking Bad Katie to school. She had accepted, mainly out of boredom, an invitation from her old headmaster to give a talk and mini-concert to the girls at the school where she had her fondest memories of mischief-making.
“Can’t imagine you ever being at school,” mused Eric.
“Why, Arnie?” said Bad Katie. Arnie was her pet name for Eric, who she had indeed become to regard as something of a pet. “Because I’m so elegant, refined and sophisticated?”
“What?” said Eric incredulously. “Have you even met yourself? No, it’s just I’d expect you were expelled on the first day.”
“How very dare you, Arnie! I’ll have you know I was a model student, loved and admired by everyone. I was perfect!”
“You mean prefect?”
“That too. No, it was only when I got to Brit School that I turned a bit rogue. There were some bad influences there.”
“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, eh?”
“You have to be a chameleon to get on in this world, Arnie. Change and adapt to your circumstances, go with the flow, ride with the tide.”
“Very philosophical, ma’am. Not much flow at the moment though, I’m afraid.”
They ground to a halt in traffic. Bad Katie opened the window and gazed wistfully at the park opposite. Then her nose began to twitch involuntarily. She instinctively looked to one side and spotted a policeman walking along on the pavement. “Ooh,” she said to herself, and quickly fished out a plastic takeaway container from her bag. “Oi, copp… I mean, officer!” she called out.
The policeman checked the traffic was in no danger of moving, then approached her. “Everything okay, Madam?”
“Oh yes. I was hoping I’d catch one of you lot… I mean, one of you fine boys in blue. Here, I’ve baked you some chocolate chip muffins. Just a little thank you for the sterling service you provide!”
“Oh thank you, Madam. We aim to please. That’s most kind of you.”
Bad Katie winked at him. “You’re whelks. Keep the tub, I had an Indian last week. Reuse and recycle, that’s the way forward!”
“Indeed it is Madam. Thanks again!”
The policeman stuffed the container into his jacket pocket and went on his way. Eric looked suspiciously at Bad Katie in his rearview mirror. “Not like you ma’am, being nice to a copper.”
“Pay it forward, Arnie, pay it forward.”
“You didn’t offer me one. I’m partial to a nice choc chip muffin.”
“Not those ones,” said Bad Katie, grinning.
“How come?” asked Eric. “Oh god, you haven’t poisoned them have you?”
“Arnie! What do you think I am?”
“But I did use laxative chocolate for the chips. A whole bar in each muffin.”
“Ma’am, you are one *bad* lady!”
Mr. Stenkelbaum, the headmaster of the school, gripped his lapels officiously and gazed out over the top of his half-rimmed spectacles at the sea of young females before him. “Now then girls, we have a rare treat for you this morning. First lessons will be cut short because we have a special visitor, none other than one of our most illustrious alumna, Miss Katie Melua.”
There was a general low chorus which could either have been “ooh” or “who?”
“In a moment, Katie will perform a couple of her songs for you, but first I thought it would be nice if she could give you an inspirational overview of her career so far and some reflections on her time here at the school, so please give a warm welcome to our very own Katie Melua!”
One or two whoops and whistles from the back of the hall punctured the generally polite applause as Bad Katie strode on to the stage, grinning impishly. “Hi everyone!”
She was greeted with a with an overwhelming wave of indifference as hundreds of gormless faces tried to work out if they were better off listening to some random old woman rant on than missing a history lesson. But a tough audience never fazed Bad Katie.
“Thanks, Mr. Stenkelbaum, for letting me loose on your young ladies,” she said, winking at him. Then she faced the pupils. “Do you still call him Old Stinkybum?”
The hall erupted into laughter, apart from a rather unamused Mr. Stenkelbaum. Even the teachers standing along the sides of the hall were struggling to remain passive.
“In a minute, I’ll do a few songs for you. Before that, Stinky wanted me to talk about life as a successful musician. Well, I can tell you–it’s bloody brilliant! You don’t have to work, you get tons of money, and you even get your own slaves called roadies.”
There was a general murmur as the girls looked wide-eyed at each other and giggled, clearly liking the sound of this career choice.
“But you shouldn’t see it as a career choice,” said Bad Katie. “The thing is, it’s easy for me to look at you all and think I was once just one of you, but in truth I wasn’t. I was talented, intelligent and gorgeous. Some of you may be lucky enough to tick one of those boxes but my bet is most of you are none of those things.”
A general air of unease descended amongst the audience.
“Don’t let anyone ever tell you you’re special. You’re not. You’re all bang average. Most of you will become mums and housewives and have an utterly tedious life bringing up your own sprogs. None of you will end up being me. You might as well get that through your tiny skulls now.”
A few bovine boos began to reverberate around the room. The teachers started fidgeting nervously.
“Now I’m sure there are lots of things you’d like in life. But you can’t have things just because you want them. I’m sure you’d all love to tie up Old Stinky and throw eggs at him. Life doesn’t work like that. You can’t sit around waiting for good things to come to you. If you want something, you have to make it happen!”
The teachers began applauding wildly. Their clapping had been a pre-arranged signal for her to begin her musical performance, but having just heard something vaguely positive they’d decided to quit while they were ahead before the mischievous Miss Melua could cause any more unrest amongst their minor madams.
Mr. Sidebottom, the music teacher, appeared from off stage and sheepishly handed Bad Katie her guitar.
“Oh,” said Bad Katie. “Well, I did have a few more pearls of wisdom to impart but maybe later, eh? Time for some music. And if you really do want a career in music then you should pay attention in Mr. Sidebottom’s classes, though to be honest he had sod all to do with my success.”
Mr. Sidebottom stared sombrely at his shoes.
“Anyway, in a moment, I’ll sing a few of my hits. They may have been from before some of you twiglets were born, but the cheques are still rolling in, heh-heh. But I want to begin with a special song I wrote on the way here today. It is called ‘Ode To Old Stinky’.”
Mr. Stenkelbaum put a palm over his face…
Bad Katie sat in her manager’s office with her feet up on his desk. She was surreptitiously trying to carve her initials with her heels.
“So, how was your trip to your old school?” said Sumit.
“Oh, you know, usual stuff, applause, adulation, sycophantic comments. Bit dull and uneventful to be honest.”
“Is that right? Well, I heard you caused something of an insurrection!”
“Uh? What are you on about?”
“A hundred girls tying up the headmaster and pelting him with eggs. Wherever would they get such an idea?”
Bad Katie threw her hands in the air. “Nothing to do with me. That was long after I’d left.”
“One of the girls said that Katie told them if they wanted to tie up the headmaster and throw eggs at him then they had to make it happen! So they did.”
“Well I can’t help it if my words get taken out of context.”
“Hmmm. Anyway, I’ll go and fetch the coffee. Do try to behave yourself, you’re not at St. Trinian’s now.” He got up out of his chair.
“Ooh,” said Bad Katie. “You’ve got a new seat cushion!”
“Yes. My daughters made it for my birthday.”
“Aw, sweet. What’s the green blob in the middle?”
“Oh, it’s meant to be a cactus. Their idea of a little joke.”
“An actual cactus might have been funnier,” said Bad Katie.
“Unlike you, they know where to draw the line!”
Bad Katie shrugged. Sumit headed off to the coffee machine. As soon as he left the room she fished a whoopee cushion out of her pocket, inflated it, and slipped it underneath his seat cushion. Then she sat back down and got her phone ready to video the action. “Heh, heh. The girls are gonna love this…”
15.04.21 > Katie Bite: Voices In The Night
09.04.21 > The Adventures of Bad Katie - Episode 14
“Here you go Z, I made you breakfast,” said Bad Katie, handing her brother a bowl of blueberries.
“Erm, they’re blueberries,” said Zurab.
“And? You love blueberries. Knock yourself out.”
“But, they’re just blueberries. Nothing else. No yogurt, no honey, no granola…”
“Do I look like a chef?” barked Bad Katie.
“Okay, okay.” He popped a handful of berries in his mouth and chewed sullenly for a moment. “They taste a bit funny.”
“They should be blueberry flavour.”
“They’re a bit… fragrant.”
“I expect that’s because of the washing.”
“Yes, it says on the pack you should wash before serving. So I popped them in the washing machine on quick cycle.”
“Sis! They mean rinse them under the cold tap.”
“Sod that. There’s hundreds of the buggers, I’m not washing them individually.”
“You just tip them into a colander and rinse them.”
“Oh well, if you’re such a bloody expert you can cook your own breakfast next time.”
“Hardly cooking, is it?”
“Ungrateful little sod.”
Zurab nibbled a few more berries solemnly. “You used fabric conditioner, didn’t you.”
“What? I don’t know, don’t ask me technical stuff. I’m a superstar, not a maid. I just did what I’ve seen mum do. Cup of white powder, half cup of pink liquid. God knows why. Like cars–I know I have to put petrol in when it beeps at me but don’t ask me what it does with all that petrol.”
Zurab shook his head forlornly and put the bowl down.
Bad Katie rolled her eyes. “Oh come on then, grab your coat, let’s go get chicken dippers from Kensington Fried Chicken.”
“Look,” said Sumit. “I’m going to fetch the coffees. Promise me no pine cones, super glue or salt waiting for me when I return?”
Bad Katie held her hands up and smiled sweetly at him. “Nope, nothing like that at all.”
He looked at her suspiciously for a moment then left the room. Bad Katie took her feet off his desk and ran round to the other side if it. She quickly logged in to his laptop, having easily guessed his password, and had a quick fiddle around before returning to her chair, putting her feet up and checking her social media on her phone.
A few seconds later, Sumit returned. He sat down cautiously, half-expecting something unfortunate to happen, and almost seemed surprised when it didn’t. “So, things are quiet again at the moment?”
“Yup,” said Bad Katie. “Sod all happening. I’m bored shitless to be honest.”
“No musical projects tickling your taste buds then?”
“Well, I flirted with an idea for a musical…”
“Yeah, about a family of tap-dancing meerkats that find fame and fortune touring Europe. No one would take it seriously though.”
“Wonder why,” muttered Sumit.
“I had the plot outlined and the songs would have been a doddle but then I realised meerkats can’t actually sing and act and we’d struggle to find a bunch of tiny humans to play them instead.”
“They could have been normal humans playing giant meerkats,” suggested Sumit.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” scoffed Bad Katie. “Giant meerkats indeed. Leave the creative stuff to the professionals, eh?”
“Oh. Right,” said Sumit. “Well anyway, if you are really bored, I did have an enquiry from the BBC asking if you’d like to guest on Saturday Kitchen.”
Bad Katie raised her eyebrows. “Really? Have they forgotten what happened last time?”
“Probably. That was a few years ago and they have different presenters and production crew now. Besides, they are desperate. Even Rick Astley turned them down.”
She folded her arms and gave him a stern look. “So why would I want to do it then?”
“Exposure? Gets your face on telly, chance to worm your way into the nation’s consciousness.”
“Nah, I’m already a national treasure.”
“Hmmm, well, they pay a lot more than they used to.”
Sumit rolled his eyes. “Right. Let me just confirm the day for you.”
“Saturday?” suggested Bad Katie.
“Very droll,” said Sumit. “The date.”
He logged in to his laptop. “What the…”
Bad Katie suppressed a snigger.
“Katie, why is my computer wallpaper now a picture of Mike Batt in a mankini?”
“Is it really?” she said innocently. “Whatever floats your boat, Sumit…”
Bad Katie was in a taxi on her way to the television studio. The taxi stopped at some traffic lights that had just turned red. A moment later, a policeman on a bicycle rolled up alongside them. Bad Katie wound her window down.
“Morning, Miss,” said the policeman.
“I know,” said Bad Katie. She fished a little box of drawing pins from her coat pocket. “Ooh, what on earth is that in that tree?” she said, pointing upwards to the side of the road.
The policeman looked up, whilst Bad Katie dropped a handful of drawing pins around his bicycle tyres.
“Can’t see anything, miss,” said the policeman.
“Oh. Think it was a squirrel,” said Bad Katie, and smiled at him.
The lights changed to green and the taxi pulled away.
“Heh, heh, heh,” chuckled Bad Katie.
“What have you got against policemen, ma’am?” asked Eric, the cab driver, who Bad Katie insisted on calling Arnie.
“Long story, Arnie. Long story.”
“We’ve got a good few minutes yet,” said Eric.
“Not now, Arnie. I’ve got to text a Georgian restaurant about a delivery…”
“So Katie,” said smarmy TV chef. “Is it true, I hear you once did a concert in the ocean?”
“About half my life ago, yes. Get with it, grandad.”
“You must have got pretty wet!”
“It was under the sea, not in it, caper nuts.”
Smarmy TV chef laughed nervously. “Did you sing sea shanties? Heh, heh.”
“Oh. Right, well..”
Bad Katie picked up a fork and began tapping it impatiently on the glass table. “Where’s my breakfast, I’m *BLEEP* starving.”
“Er yes, just coming… Here we are Katie!”
Smarmy TV chef placed a plate in front of Bad Katie. “Tuck in Katie, and don’t hold back!”
He turned to face the camera. “So, I’ve made Katie braised donkey livers with charred baby shallot gravy, swede and turnip mash, feta crumbs, and a spinach, fennel and garlic puree.”
There was a retching noise behind him. He turned round in time to see Bad Katie spit a mouthful out on the floor. “You okay there?” he said, grinning awkwardly.
“That’s gross. Tastes like a tramp’s underpants.”
Bad Katie beckoned to someone off camera. A delivery boy walked sheepishly up to her with a large, shallow box.
“You ordered pizza instead?” said smarmy TV chef.
“Not pizza, you melon ball. This is proper food. Khachapuri.” She opened the box, grabbed a slice of cheesy bread, and began munching furiously.
“Have to admit, that does look good…” said smarmy TV chef.
She gestured for him to try some.
“Oh my god. That is so good,” said smarmy TV chef.
“Innit though?” said Bad Katie.
“I almost forgot the wine!” said smarmy TV chef. “Our expert, Quentin, has chosen a cheeky Australian chardonnay with hints of bilberry and ginseng, and creamy overtones of macadamia nut.” He poured some into Bad Katie’s glass.
She looked at it suspiciously, then took a sip. She instantly pulled a face like a demented lizard. “Ugh. What’s this? Rat’s bile?”
“But… it’s supposed to be a bargain at only seventeen pounds a bottle from Waitrose,” said smarmy TV chef.
Bad Katie beckoned the delivery boy back. He returned with a dark bottle.
“This is proper wine,” she said, emptying her glass over the donkey liver. She filled her glass with the new wine and took a hearty glug of it. “Ah. That’s more like it. Kindzmarauli.”
“Didn’t know they made wine in Georgia,” said smarmy TV chef.
Bad Katie scoffed at him. “We invented the stuff, you blubbery oaf!” She poured him a glass.
He stuck his nose into the glass and inhaled deeply.
“It’s for drinking, not sniffing,” said Bad Katie.
He took a sip. And then a mouthful. He looked at her quizzically. “Actually, this is rather good.”
Bad Katie rolled her eyes. “Of course it is, you f…”
“and sadly that’s all we have time for this week!” said smarmy TV chef. “Big thank-you to our studio guest, Katie Melua. See you next week, bye!”
Smarmy TV chef drained his glass in one go and turned to the delivery boy. “You brought any more of this?”
“Well Katie,” sighed Sumit. “I think you may have got yourself on the BBC’s blacklist again.”
“Isn’t that racist?” said Bad Katie. “Anyway, it’s their loss. Serves them right. It’s supposed to be a food show. Mule kidneys, or whatever dross they tried to serve me–that isn’t food. Good thing I had the foresight to order my own or I’d have starved.”
“Hardly,” said Sumit. “What about the stuff in your dressing room you asked for in your rider? Monster Munch, Wotsits, Crunchies, Curly-Wurlys, Jaffa Cakes and a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts?”
“Got to have snacks. You can be in those places for hours, waiting around, people fussing over your face and so on.”
“Yes, well, you know Offcom have already received complaints, mostly about you telling the host what to do with that courgette.”
“Oh, he asked for it. I’m sick of people asking me to change the lyrics to Nine Million Bicycles because they think it’s wrong. I mean, who has ever actually gone round counting them anyway? And it wasn’t even my song. Ignorant bunch of wallaby-worriers.”
“Still,” said Sumit. “On the bright side, at least you’re trending on social media and you’ve already got two albums back in the top twenty sales on Amazon.”
“Whatever. Anyway, do I get a coffee or what? I’m parched.”
Sumit gazed at her wearily. “Very well, but no tricks this time, okay?”
“Why do you always think the worst of me?” said Bad Katie.
“Because I know you,” said Sumit. He left the room to fetch the coffees.
Bad Katie grinned. She got up and loosened the height adjuster on Sumit’s chair. Then she sat back down and put her feet up on his desk and began checking her phone. “Oh I do love being me,” she muttered to herself.
08.04.21 > Sketch Effect
02.04.21 > The Adventures of Bad Katie - Episode 13
Bad Katie’s manager returned to his office with two cups of coffee and warily put them down. He looked around nervously, trying to assess if everything was just as he left it. Bad Katie was watching him with a bemused expression, her arms folded, her feet planted on his desk as usual.
“Something wrong, Sumit?” she asked innocently.
“There’s always something wrong when you’re around,” he jibed.
“How hurtful! After all I’ve done for you!”
“After all you’ve done to me, you mean.”
Satisfied he seemed to be in the clear, he sat down and rubbed his hands purposefully. “Right young lady, what’s the latest from Katieland? I see you’ve booked some studio time next week. What’s cooking?”
“Oh, just a little lockdown side project. I’m recording an album called ‘Katie Covers Bob Unplugged’. Should be able to whack it out in a couple of days, with my talent.”
“Who the hell is Bob Unplugged?”
Bad Katie rolled her eyes. “Dylan, you elongated nugget.”
“Oh. Well, maybe on the album cover you should put ‘unplugged’ lower down, as a strap line.”
“Ah yes, I’ve thought about that. I’m going to recreate his ‘Infidels’ cover. It’ll be me, but with dark sunglasses and a false moustache and beard. See if anyone notices.”
Sumit looked dubious. “I’m sure having ‘Katie Melua’ in big letters across the top will give people a clue. They’ll probably just think you’ve let yourself go a bit.”
“Bloody cheek. I’m a master of disguise, you know. I nailed Charlie Chaplin for the Mary Pickford video. And you should see my Winehouse.”
“I’d rather not.”
Bad Katie shrugged, then necked her coffee before getting out of her chair and having a good stretch. “Well, my stomach is asking questions my mouth is struggling to answer. I think a Grand Big Mac with fries, onion rings and chocolate shake should keep it quiet for a bit.”
Sumit groaned. He opened his desk drawer and looked miserably at his soggy egg and cress sandwich wrapped in cling film. “Sod it,” he said. “I think I’ll join you!”
He tried to get up from his chair, but couldn’t move. “What the…”
Bad Katie put her hand in her pocket and tapped the little bottle of superglue appreciatively as she fought to suppress a guffaw behind her mask of fake concern.
“What’s the matter Sumit, you getting old?”
Sumit pushed against the chair arms with all his might and sprung to his feet, accompanied by a mighty ripping sound. He turned round to find a big circular patch of his trousers had decided to remain on his chair.
“Oops!” giggled Bad Katie.
Sumit decided to pop into the studios to see how the recording was going. “Hi Katie, just thought I’d drop by and see how you were getting on with the new tracks.”
“Smashing it, as usual. Only a couple more to go.”
“Wow, that’s great. Erm, should I even ask why there’s a man on the floor and you are standing on his chest?”
“A man?” said Bad Katie. “Oh, you mean the roadie. Well, thing is, the microphone was set too high for me, left like that by whatever selfish beanpole was in here last.”
“So, er, why didn’t you just lower it?”
“Couldn’t be arsed, to be honest. Besides, it is probably covered in manky germs. And my roadie kindly offered to help.”
“I suspect he probably meant to lower the mike for you, not to be a human platform.”
Bad Katie shrugged. “Whatever. Sure he doesn’t mind.”
Sumit looked down at the poor roadie, who gazed back at him through soul-less eyes. “Are you all right mate?”
“Yeah, great,” wheezed the roadie, through gritted teeth.
“See?” said Bad Katie. “He’s loving it really. Gets to admire me all day.”
“Please tell me you haven’t been standing on him all day,” said Sumit.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” said Bad Katie. “We had a half hour break for lunch.”
“Katie, you can’t treat roadies like furniture. They have rights you know. You may find the roadie community blackballs you.”
Bad Katie chuckled. “Actually, I made a fairly similar threat to him, which is why he isn’t complaining.”
“To be fair, mister,” strained the roadie. “She does pay me well.”
Sumit looked at Bad Katie with surprise. “Do you?”
She winked at him, and whispered “Course not. I just told him that. He hasn’t got the wit to check.”
Sumit rolled his eyes, then lowered her microphone six inches. “There you go mate, now you can have the rest of the day off.”
Bad Katie stepped off the hapless roadie and glared at Sumit. “Honestly Sumit, you have no sense of fun!”
Sumit looked down at the roadie. “Go on mate, scarper before she finds another use for you.”
The guy looked at him helplessly. “I don’t think I can move!”
Sumit grabbed his arm and helped him to his feet.
The roadie rubbed his back, wincing. He looked nervously at Bad Katie. “Same time tomorrow, Miss?”
“Of course!” said Bad Katie. “I’m sure I’ll find something to do to you.”
She caught Sumit’s questioning eye. “I mean, for you to do.”
“Very good, Miss,” said the roadie, and he trudged slowly away.
Bad Katie grinned. “I love being me.”
Nora the makeup artist made the last few delicate dabs to Bad Katie’s face, then took a step back to admire her handiwork. “Wow. That’s bloody impressive, if I do say so myself.”
“Well,” said Bad Katie, “the beard and moustache are spot on, and the shaggy wig looks the part, but the eyes give it away. There’s no hiding my stunning golden jewels. Not remotely like Bob’s squinty, world-weary pigeon eyes.”
“Oh, of course they’ll be hidden, silly, you’re forgetting the glasses!”
Nora fished a pair of completely black sunglasses out of her pocket and delicately applied them to Bad Katie’s face.
“Yesssss!!!” squealed Bad Katie as she stared in wonder at the mirror and saw Bob Dylan staring back at her. “Awesome!”
“Am I good or am I good?” bragged Nora.
“Okay Nor, don’t get too up yourself. The nose is passable but not a hundred per cent. Keep working on your game.”
“Oh,” said Nora, slightly deflated. “Well, it’s good enough for your photo shoot anyway.”
“What photo shoot?” said Bad Katie.
“For the album cover. I thought that’s why you wanted this makeover?”
“Yes, yes, it is. But I’m not forking out for some pretentious wally with an overpriced camera just for an album cover. I’m going to take a pic myself, in the mirror.”
“I could take it for you,” said Nora enthusiastically. She grabbed her phone eagerly.
“Don’t be a lumbering heifer,” said Bad Katie. “It has to be done with style, flair, panache, skill, perception and spatial awareness. There’s only one of us possesses all those attributes and it ain’t you babe.”
“Oh,” said Nora.
There was a tap at the door. Sumit entered. “Hi Nora. Oh, hi Bob, didn’t know you were in town! Don’t suppose either of you have seen Katie have you? I was told she was around here somewhere.”
“Er, no man,” growled Bad Dylan in a raspy voice. “like, who’s this Kady lady anyway, man?”
“You okay Bob? Sounds like you’ve got a cold or something,” said Sumit.
“Yeah man, I’ve got like a cold… something. Bummer, ain’t it?” said Bad Dylan.
“British climate for you! Get some vitamin C and you’ll be good as new in a day or two. Right, I need to find Katie.”
Bad Dylan guffawed and took off her sunglasses. “I’m here, you dithering numpty!”
“Oh my god!” said Sumit. “Nora, you’re a genius! How have you done that?”
Nora smirked at Bad Katie.
Bad Katie stuck her tongue out at her. “Actually, I think you’ll find it is my vocal talents that sealed the deal.”
“Hats off to you, Katie, you’ve done it again!”, said Sumit. “Another top ten album.”
“What can I say?” said Bad Katie. “You’ve either got it or you haven’t. And I’m dripping in it.”
“Yes, well, a little modesty wouldn’t go amiss.”
“Modesty schmodesty. I’m not going to apologise for being awesome.”
Sumit looked at the CD on his desk. “Katie Covers Bob, Unplugged. It really is brilliant work, young lady.”
“Just a pity Dylan is suing us for copying his album cover.”
“Oh, he’s dropping that,” said Bad Katie.
“Really? How come?”
“I phoned him yesterday and cut a deal.”
“Deal? What deal?”
“I’m sending Nora over to work her magic again. He’s going to appear as me on his next album cover.”
“Sweet merry Jesus in a jumpsuit,” said Sumit. “That I have to see.”
Bad Katie chuckled. “Innit?”
“Okay, I’m going to fetch the coffees. Please sit there quietly like a good girl!”
She gave him her best ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ smile.
He scowled at her and left the room. Bad Katie jumped out of her seat and sprang into action. Moments later she had carefully taped a stink bomb underneath one of the castors of his chair. She sat back down and rubbed her hands gleefully. “Heh, heh, heh….”
01.04.21 > Katie Bite: English Manner
27.03.21 > Katie's Playlist: What I'm Listening To
If you're interested in finding out what music Katie is listening to these days then she has kindly made a playlist for you! Eclectic is the word you are looking for. Obviously, most of us would rather be listening to Katie but bear in mind she doesn't have the luxury of listening to herself (well, she could, of course, but she wouldn't hear it the way we do–she floors us but not easy to floor yourself. Imagine a boxer trying to knock himself out by punching himself on the chin. Can't be done!)
Click the pic to hot foot it over there...
and here is the Spotify code for those of you who know what to do with such things...
26.03.21 > The Adventures of Bad Katie - Episode 12
Bad Katie was sitting in her manager’s office, with her feet up on his desk, checking her Instagram. Sumit had popped out to get the coffee whilst she fiddled with her phone. The moment he left the room, she leaned forward and picked up the little pot of sugar he kept on his desk. She got up and emptied it out of the window, confusing the merry hell out of a pigeon that was pecking around on the pavement below. The she took a little bag of salt from her pocket and refilled the pot, placed it back on his desk, put her feet up, and began checking her Twitter.
Sumit returned a moment later, put the coffees on the desk, sat down and sighed. “Really, Katie, I wish you’d show my desk some respect. It’s antique, made from Brazilian mahogany. Your heels are starting to distress it.”
She gazed at him soporifically. “Distressed? It’s a lump of dead tree. Get over yourself.”
Sumit shook his head as he stirred a couple of spoonfuls of not-sugar into his coffee. He carefully wiped the spoon with a napkin, then started to drink. He promptly sprayed his mouthful over the desk. Bad Katie quickly moved her feet out of the way and sniggered. “Careful Sumit, you’ll ruin your antiquated desk.”
“For god’s sake Katie, will you ever grow up? Salt in the sugar pot. Seriously?”
“How do you know it was me?” said Bad Katie, trying to look innocent.
“Because the only other person it could have been is my secretary and she’s like, you know, an actual adult.”
Bad Katie shrugged. “Whatever.”
Sumit muttered under his breath, something along the lines of wishing he’d signed Jedward instead, as he set about wiping his desk clean. Bad Katie looked on in silent amusement. Eventually, he sat back down and blew out hard. “I need something stronger than coffee when you’re here,” he said, mostly to himself.
“Aw. Poor Sumit,” mocked Bad Katie.
“Anyway Katie, how’s the yoga going?” said Sumit.
Bad Katie stared at him blankly.
“I thought you were doing yoga these days,” said Sumit.
“Do you even know me?” scoffed Bad Katie. “Whatever gave you that idea?”
“You told your fans that on social media.”
“Did I? Oh well, take no notice of that. I’ll tell them anything to impress them.”
“There’s my Katie,” said Sumit.
Bad Katie grinned. “I once told them I eat raw seaweed every morning. I knew full well they’d all be trying it, he he.”
“Innit though? Mugs.”
“You’re utterly incorrigible.”
“So, I’ve been looking at a web site all about you this morning.”
“Oh. Well, there must be loads of them. What’s it called?”
“All About Katie.”
“Not much thought gone into that.”
“It’s not that bad actually. I was almost impressed. You should take a look, you’re more of an internet person than me.”
“Yeah, maybe later, when I’ve got nothing better to do….”
AllAboutKatie was sat in the front row of the theatre. He was getting nicely settled, with his Katie Melua Notebook and pencil for jotting down the set list and a camera for snapping those all important concert photos. He also had his bags of fruit pastilles and chocolate buttons. All was well with the world. He even found himself humming mindlessly to the needlessly irrelevant background music being piped to the waiting audience.
Some of the band members sidled onto the stage in the dim light and began readying themselves and their instruments. AllAboutKatie took a few pics of them just to make sure the camera was working. Then a timid-looking young woman in glasses crept along the front of the stage and looked at him tentatively.
“Which seat number you looking for?” said AllAboutKatie cheerily.
“Er… no…. I’m not. Are you All About Katie?”
AllAboutKatie quickly glanced left and right, then whispered “I might be, but don’t tell anyone!”
“No, indeed. I won’t. It’s just, well, Miss Melua would like to meet you after the show.”
The colour drained from AllAboutKatie’s face. “Oh. Er. Oh.”
“I’ll be waiting for you by the exit after the show and I’ll take you to her dressing room. Thanks. And good luck!”
“Oh, yes, great, thanks. Why good luck exactly? She won’t bite will she?”
The woman giggled nervously and departed hastily. Her nervousness was catching. AllAboutKatie turned his attention to the stage once more but felt a tsunami of nervousness washing over himself.
Bad Katie stood nonchalantly at the side of the stage as she waited to go on. She should have gone on five minutes earlier but keeping fifteen hundred people waiting was one of the perks of the job and she fully intended to milk it. She looked at her brother, Zurab, who was waiting patiently with his guitar and staring aimlessly into space.
“Hey, Z,” hissed Bad Katie. “Stop picking your nose with your thumb pick. That’s not what it’s for.”
“I was just scratching an itch,” protested Zurab.
“Half those oiks have cameras pointed at you, at least until I arrive. You don’t want to end up on Instagram, do you?”
“No, sis,” mumbled Zurab.
The timid-looking woman in glasses tiptoed up to Bad Katie. “It’s nearly ten past, Miss Melua. We should probably be getting underway now. I mean, if that’s okay with you?”
Bad Katie waved a hand at her dismissively. “Vamoosh, mouse-face, I’m getting into the zone.”
Timid-looking woman drifted back into the shadows. Bad Katie twitched her nose, then realised she hadn’t got a tissue handy. She blew her nose into the sleeve of her glittery golden dress and strode out into the limelight to rapturous applause…
Timid-looking woman with glasses shuffled along the corridor like a reticent hedgehog. A now equally-timid-looking AllAboutKatie shuffled along behind her, lost in thoughts of a similar trudge to the Headmistress’s office on his first day at Junior School many years earlier.
It hardly seemed possible, but the pace dropped even further as they approached a door that had a sign with “Katie Melua” written in gold glitter blu-tacked to it. Timid-looking woman gazed at the sign in trepidation for a moment, then cleared her throat rather like a hamster that had tried to swallow a tic-tac. She tapped gently on the door. Had Siri been listening she would probably have said “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that.”
Bad Katie, however, has the ears of a bat. “Shemodi!” she shouted. She always liked to determine if a visitor knew any Georgian. Timid-looking woman and AllAboutKatie looked at each other in panic, trying to work out which of them had the least clue what they were supposed to do.
“Come in!” shouted Bad Katie.
Timid-looking woman opened the door and peered around it. “Miss Melua, AllAboutKatie is here to see you.”
She gave AllAboutKatie a look of pity and whispered “all yours” before running off down the corridor. AllAboutKatie gulped, adopted a cheery grin, and wandered reverently inside.
“Hi Katie!” said AllAboutKatie.
Bad Katie ignored him at first as she dabbed her face with a towel. “Close the door,” she said.
AllAboutKatie complied, then waited in awkward silence for a while whilst Bad Katie continued to erase all trace of her show face. Eventually she got up and gave him a quick visual assessment. “Oh. I thought you might be a bit more interesting,” she said. “You know, tattoos, quirky hat, that kind of thing. Isn’t that how writer’s dress?”
“Erm, no, not all of them. I don’t think.”
“Oh.” Bad Katie had already slipped into some comfy jeans. She stepped into a pair of killer heels to give her a height advantage, despite it already being obvious this was a match of a lioness against a rabbit with a gammy leg.
“You were so amazing tonight!” said AllAboutKatie.
“Of course I was. I’m always amazing. Hadn’t you noticed?”
“Oh, yes. You are. Definitely. I often say that on the site.”
Bad Katie approached him and bored into his brain with her piercing eyes. “Yes, about that. Why do you do it?”
AllAboutKatie shifted awkwardly. “Erm, do what?”
“The web site. All About Me. Why do you put all that effort into it? What’s in it for you?”
“Oh. No. Nothing. I just, well, really like you and your music. I thought you deserved a nice site to tell the world how wonderful you are!”
Bad Katie didn’t blink. Her gaze alone made him feel like she had her hands around his throat and was squeezing ever harder.
“Nobody does all that work for nothing,” she said, suspiciously.
“Well, it’s in return for all the music you’ve given me. I’m just trying to repay you.”
“I don’t give you my music you know. You pay for it.”
“Yes, of course, and I’m glad to. It’s more than the music. You’re just such a sweet girl. I’m sure I’d do anything for you.”
“Don’t insult me,” said Bad Katie, with the hint of a guttural growl. “I’m not sweet at all.”
“Sorry,” said AllAboutKatie.
Bad Katie continued to scrutinise him for a moment, then appeared to lighten her mood a fraction, just like a shaft of golden evening sunlight bursting through a chink in the storm clouds. “Anything, you say?”
Bad Katie smiled sweetly at AllAboutKatie for a couple of seconds before delivering a swift knee to his nads and shoving him to the floor. AllAboutKatie lay on his back groaning. Bad Katie planted a foot on his chest to keep him pinned. She folded her arms.
“Right then. Here’s what’s gonna happen. From now on I have full control of the site. Nothing gets posted without my approval. Is that clear?”
“Yes, Katie,” said AllAboutKatie breathlessly. “I’m fine with that.”
“Good. And I want new sections on there. One for my art, one for my photography, one for my poetry.”
“Shouldn’t be a problem,” wheezed AllAboutKatie.
“My own blog page, of course, so I can rant about stuff to the fans. Maybe a page about stuff I’m reading. Movies. Nature. Ooh, a travel diary, yes, that might be fun. Perhaps a section on Georgian cuisine and wine…”
“Yes, well, I’m sure in time you can have all that,” panted AllAboutKatie.
Bad Katie glared down at him. “Not in time, numbnuts.” She dug her heel in harder. “When I tell you to do it I expect it to be done!”
AllAboutKatie grimaced. “Whatever you say, Katie. You’re the boss!”
“You’d better believe it you gibbering coot.”
He forced a weak smile.
“Oh, and I also want a little shop page so I can sell stuff I make. You know, like hard boiled eggs with faces drawn on with a Sharpie, or pebbles from the beach that I can sign, that kind of thing. There’s always someone that will pay for that kind of tat. Shoes too. I buy them in bulk from the factory, the slight rejects, for a bargain price. If I describe them as ‘slightly worn’ the fetishists crawl out of the woodwork and pay through the nose for them.”
“No doubt,” said AllAboutKatie, grimacing at her unforgiving heel. “Yes, you can have all of that. Whatever you want on the site, just say and it shall be done.”
Bad Katie grinned at him and removed her foot from his chest. “So glad we have an understanding. Up you get!”
AllAboutKatie struggled gingerly to his feet.
Bad Katie smiled at him sweetly. “It’s been so lovely to meet you at last, All About Katie. Thank you for the fine work you do. You’ll be hearing from me in due course regarding the new content.”
“Always a pleasure Katie, never a chore,” said AllAboutKatie. “Erm, I don’t suppose you could autograph my….”
“No. Go on, sod off.”
“Right, yes. Thank you Katie, lovely to meet you.”
AllAboutKatie trudged to the door and left the room. Bad Katie chuckled and shook her head. “Muppet.” He wandered down the corridor rubbing his sore chest, and thought to himself, “that went quite well…”
Bad Katie was sitting in her manager’s office, with her feet up on his desk, checking her Instagram. Sumit returned with the coffees. He dipped his finger in the sugar pot and took a wary lick to make sure it really was sugar. Bad Katie suppressed a snigger as he added a couple of spoonfuls to his coffee and stirred it. He pulled his chair out and sat down, yet again failing to notice the pine cone was once again missing from his window display.
20.03.21 > Deep Peace
Here's the latest lockdown treat from Katie. This is "Deep Peace" by Donovan. Okay, so my Prodigy suggestion didn't happen, but this is a nice little number from the somewhat enigmatic and reclusive Donovan. No, not Jason Donovan, just Donovan. He was a fairly big thing for a while back in the late 60s and early 70s. This is a song about peas, I think.
19.03.21 > The Adventures of Bad Katie - Episode 11
Eric, the Cabbie, kept glancing at his regular passenger in his mirror.
“Don’t think I’ve seen you in your glad rags before, ma’am,” he said. “Must say, you scrub up well!”
“Eyes on the road, Arnie,” said Bad Katie.
“It’s Eric, ma’am.”
“Whatever. I’m way out of your league, you gibbering cab monkey.”
“Hardly recognised you at first. Been to some posh do have you?”
“I have, as a matter of fact. Just been presented with this necklace for my services in promoting Georgia,” said Bad Katie. She ran her fingers over the large, glossy beads. “Apparently, they are known as the Georgian Marbles. A national treasure. They were given to me because I’m a national treasure too.”
“What, just because you warbled on about how many bikes the Chinese have got?” scoffed Eric.
“I’ll have you know, mutton-head, I’m the second most successful female recording artist in the country after Kate Bush.”
“She weren’t much better, bleating on about bloody Heathcliff and running up and down hills. Give me the Quo, any day. Now them’s tunes.”
Bad Katie rolled her eyes. As the taxi stopped at a red light, she gazed out of the window. She watched as a workman lifted a manhole cover in the pavement and then went to his van for some tools. Then her eyes lit up as she spotted a policeman approaching. She got her phone ready and wound the cab window down.
“Oi! Copper!” she yelled.
The startled PC looked round. She pulled a face at him, then filmed the action as he disappeared down the manhole.
Bad Katie chuckled. “Yes!!!! Sweet! Did you see that, Arnie?”
“National treasure?” said Eric. “you’re a bloody national hazard, you are!”
“Aw, thanks Arnie.”
The cab pulled away from the lights. The policeman was already getting likes on Instagram.
Bad Katie had wanted to show off her Georgian Marbles necklace so she’d decided to go clubbing. The music was thumping. The lights were strobing. She may have had the odd gin. And maybe some vodka. There’s a fair chance some tequila sneaked in there as well. You could say she was merry. And she was throwing some wild shapes on the dance floor. It was all going so well…
“Ow!!” yelled Bad Katie. Some oafish bloke had trodden on her foot. “Watch where you’re going, Shrek!”
Shrek turned and smirked at her. “Shouldn’t play with the grown ups, little girl.”
The red mist descended. Quick as a flash, she used a patented technique (which won’t be described here in the interests of public safety) to shove the bully to the ground. She straddled his chest and set about punching his lights out. A ring of revellers quickly formed around them, chanting “Fight! Fight!” in time to the thudding music. Shrek hardly knew what was hitting him. He’d been drunk to start with and now he was punch drunk. He managed to wriggle an arm free and flail at Bad Katie. He yanked at her necklace and the Georgian Marbles scattered in all directions across the dance floor and into the crowd. Bad Katie was just about to dislodge some of Shrek’s teeth in return when she spotted a pair of burly bouncers forcing their way through the crowd towards her. She got up and wormed her way through the cheering hordes and legged it out of the back entrance.
Bad Katie slept most of the next day. Her head hurt, her knuckles were sore, she had no recollection of how she’d got home and she realised her Georgian Marbles were missing. She refused to budge from under the duvet. The bacon bap and coffee her mother had brought her lay cold and untouched on the bedside table.
When she did eventually surface that evening, she wolfed down the cold bap and coffee, dived into some jeans, and slinked downstairs in search of more food.
Her brother Zurab was in the kitchen munching khachapuri. He grinned at her. “Hi sis. Look at the state of you!”
“Sod off,” barked Bad Katie.
“Still, you look better than what the cab driver dragged in last night. Bit of a wild one, was it?”
Bad Katie growled, then proceeded to neck an entire bottle of milk.
“By the way,” said Zurab. “This came for you earlier.” He handed her a formal-looking letter.
She ripped it open and studied it. “Oh god!”
“It’s from the Georgian Ambassador. They’re inviting me to a special function at the Georgian Embassy. They want me to sing.”
“That’s great! You love performing at that sort of thing. Why the long face?”
“They want me to wear the Georgian Marbles.”
“I lost the Georgian Marbles.”
Once again, Bad Katie had wowed Eric the Cabbie with her appearance as he drove her to the Georgian Embassy. She nervously fingered her necklace.
“Still admiring your Elgin Marbles then?” said Eric.
“Georgian Marbles, you clot,” said Bad Katie. She was reassured they had fooled him but knew a much stiffer test was coming up. She’d had Zurab rummage through his toy collection to find his old bag of marbles and had him drill holes through them so she could make a replacement necklace.
The moment she arrived at the Embassy she knew she was on a sticky wicket. The Ambassador greeted her warmly but then displayed a look of surprise as she admired the necklace.
“They look different. Not how I remember them,” she commented.
“Ah, yes, well, they were a bit grubby to be fair. They are quite old after all. I had them cleaned and polished. Come up sparkling, haven’t they?”
“Amazingly so,” said the Ambassador. “Considering they are made of stone.”
“Um… er… must dash, your excellency, I have to prepare for my performance…”
Later on, Bad Katie was mingling and basking in the praise for her singing. She sipped her Prosecco and noticed as an aide approached the Ambassador and handed her a velvet pouch, then whispered something in her ear. The Ambassador looked around the room until their eyes met. She beckoned Bad Katie over.
“Katie, apparently the Georgian Marbles have just been handed in at reception.” She held out the velvet pouch in her palm. “Apparently, they were discovered on the floor of a night club. Luckily, the owner was Georgian and recognised them for what they were. Can you shed any light on this mystery?”
“Oh there they are! Thank god. Yes, well, you see the thing is, I didn’t want to alarm you, but a couple of nights ago someone broke into my house and stole them. They must have been trying to sell them in the night club and dropped them or something.”
“How awful! Well at least you are okay, that’s the main thing, and now the marbles have been recovered.” She handed Bad Katie the pouch. “Please try to keep them safe in future. They are so valuable you know.”
Bad Katie’s eyes widened. “Really? Are they?”
“Priceless. I imagine there are a few oligarchs who’d pay a small fortune to have them in their collection.”
“That’s useful to know. I mean, no, of course, I’m glad you’ve warned me. I’ll have a special safe fitted straight away.”
“Good girl. Best if they are kept hidden away for a while.”
“Yes, absolutely. Thank you, your Excellency!”
As the Ambassador floated away to greet other nobles, Bad Katie made her escape and headed home. She fired up her laptop and logged on to eBay. She took off her fake necklace, snapped a pic of it with her phone, and uploaded it. Then she started typing. “For sale. Priceless Georgian necklace available to highest bidder. Would suit oligarch collector. No time wasters please.”
16.03.21 > AYMHM 14: North Of A Miracle
Another album you may have missed... (see them all HERE)
North Of A Miracle
Boy bands are, of course, nothing new. In recent years the hysteria may have centred around One Dimension, or whatever they’re called, but they are merely the latest pretenders to the crown going back through JLS, and of course the previous generation of Take That, Westlife and so on. In the 80s, you could say the closest to the phenomenon was a group called Haircut 100. This bunch of clean cut boys with Arran sweaters and cheesy grins, for a mad couple of years at least, managed to make mothers swoon almost as much as their teenage daughters. Technically though, they weren’t a boy band. Why? They played instruments. I know it isn’t an official definition, but for me ‘boy band’ means a group of boys that sing but don’t play instruments. So, The Beatles weren’t a boy band either, they were just a band. Well, not *just* a band, obviously, but you get my meaning. (You could argue that Take That weren’t because Barlow can tinkle a mean ivory but they did primarily perform as four singers.)
Anyway, back to Haircut 100. For a while they were flooding the charts with insanely catchy pop numbers like “Favourite Shirts”, “Fantastic Day” and “Love Plus One”. What put them a cut above the mass of other bands at the time was a combination of tight musicianship, which, unusually for a pop group, included a saxophonist, leading to a full and exciting sound, as well as a very talented songwriter in Nick Heyward.
It didn’t take the industry long to notice Nick’s songwriting skills, and he was very quickly prised away from Haircut 100 and encouraged to go solo. This was probably a bad move for all concerned, not just Haircut 100. The problem was, Nick’s songwriting for his solo albums was just a bit too sophisticated for the predominantly under-15 fanbase of H100. It was no doubt assumed he’d just automatically carry all those fans over but that didn’t really happen. And though his songs deserved to win over a more mature, adult audience, that never happened either because he was already firmly associated with H100 and screaming teens. He found himself adrift in a kind of fan void, a no fan’s land, where his wonderful music wasn’t finding any ears to appreciate it. His first solo album was a success, and acclaimed too, but I suspect ultimately disappointing to the record label in terms of sales, and his next album sparked a rapid decline. Within around five years he seemed to vanish from the scene. In fact, he never stopped writing and performing but merely remained at a level below the radar of general public awareness. You could draw parallels with Katie’s career after the success of her first two albums, but the difference is she has remained enough of a force to get all of her studio albums into the Top Ten even if she hasn’t quite replicated the dizzy heights of “Call Off The Search” and “Piece By Piece” (okay, and “Pictures” made it to number 2, though without any killer hit singles). Nick began with a masterpiece that didn’t have the right audience to hear it.
North Of A Miracle is a brilliant album. Had it been his second solo offering then maybe he would have become a superstar; in the end it peaked at number 10 but deserved better. The problem was the tone of the songs was altogether more moody and melancholy than those cheeky hits of H100. His young fanbase weren’t ready for it. I should stress that it is by no means a morose album; we’re not talking The Smiths or The Cure. It’s just that the songs are grown up rather than adolescent. Tracks like “The Day It Rained Forever”, “Whistle Down The Wind”, "Club Boy At Sea" and “Blue Hat For A Blue Day” weren’t aimed at 13-year-old girls but they were the ones that had is poster on their bedroom walls. In fact, I probably shouldn’t have used the word ‘melancholy’ since it might suggest a dreary album when it is anything but. The insane catchiness of his H100 songs is still in evidence, but the full band sound has been reined back at times and the songs are dripping with a class and sophistication that sets them apart from Haircut 100 offerings. It is such a shame really. A halfway house kind of offering might have better paved the way and prepared his fanbase for something of this quality but it was too big a step too soon. I considered it an instant classic. I remember being blown away the first time I heard “Whistle Down The Wind”. When I heard the full album I loved every track ("On A Sunday" is so catchy!) and was convinced Nick was going to be a major star. But nothing in life is certain, as they say, except death and taxes. North Of A Miracle remains one of my favourite albums and it’s a travesty it isn’t better known.
Listen to North Of A Miracle on Spotify via the link below:
14.03.21 > The Meticulous Thinker with the Inquisitive Mind
It is fair to say that most people discover Katie through her exceptional music. Her songs stand out by their sense of being built to last, which is something of a rarity in this 21st century throwaway culture. When you hear the great songs of the 60s, 70s, 80s, you realise how they can still say something to you and move you even if they were recorded before you were born. Just take a look at the current Top 40 and ask yourself how many of those songs will be moving people forty or fifty years from now. If you come up with any answer greater than zero then I’m sorry, I don’t believe you. I may be an old cynic but it seems to me the music industry is purely driven by financial greed rather than artistic integrity. Chart songs are formulaic: Find out who is buying songs/work out what they want to hear/give it to them/take their money/repeat.
Thankfully, there are still plenty of musicians who value music over money, the most obvious example being, of course, Katie. Now, some of you might say “it’s all very well for her, she’s minted” but I would make two observations about that–firstly, I’m convinced that if Katie was struggling on Universal Credit and working a graveyard shift in Tesco she would still be in love with her music, and secondly, financial security may have led many musicians to fade into obscurity and abandon their music for the high life but it is patently obvious that Katie is more dedicated to learn about and hone her craft than ever before. She is driven by music.
It is exactly this insatiable drive, the relentless pursuit to understand what makes a great song and the diligent effort to try to achieve her goal of making wonderful music that makes her so appreciated by the fans that understand what she is trying to do. Over the past year or so, mainly because of lockdown, she has embraced social media, in particular Instagram, more than ever before. She has even recently described herself as “a proper internet woman”. I’m not really sure if I know what that means, to be honest, but what has been a joy is observing how she has become comfortable engaging with her fans and begun to realise that they’re not merely a bunch of psychos but (mostly) normal people with everyday lives that just happen to have a particular love of her work. This has resulted in her feeding her fans with regular video clips giving insights into her songwriting process.
One thing it is easy to forget, or perhaps not even realise in the first place, is that English was not Katie’s first language. She grew up with Georgian and Russian until her family moved to Northern Ireland when she was 9. Listening to her speak, you would never believe that. She always comes across as a smart, meticulous thinker. I know I have an above-average IQ yet Katie always gives me the impression she is orders of magnitude beyond me. She engages brain before mouth and hence only tends to say things worth saying. There are certain people that you could just sit and watch talk for hours like, for example, Sir David Attenborough, Stephen Fry, and Joanna Lumley, and for me Katie is definitely on that list. If you are lucky enough to get to talk to her yourself you quickly realise what an inquisitive mind she has–she isn’t merely making small talk, she genuinely wants to know all about you and your life. When you see her videos about songwriting it becomes apparent how much effort she puts in to learning more about her craft, even enrolling in fiction-writing courses and devouring books on poetry. She seems to have an insatiable appetite for knowledge, and appears to be able to absorb it like a sponge. It is this never-ending desire to learn and better herself that has led to Album Number 8, surely one of the best albums of this century so far. I may be showing my age in admitting I couldn’t name you a single track in the charts at the moment but I’ll tell you this–if I’m still around in thirty years from now I will definitely have all ten songs from AN8 on speed dial in my brain, ready to comfort and console me like old friends whenever I need them. Katie is building songs to last.
12.03.21 > The Adventures of Bad Katie - Episode 10
Bad Katie was bored. Her manager, Sumit, had flown to Uzbekistan to check out a promising boy band he’d heard about in a Tashkent school, though it would turn out to be a fruitless mission because, due to something getting lost in translation, it was actually a group of boys that had been banned from their school. Meanwhile, her brother, Zurab, had ensconced himself in the summerhouse in order to learn “Stairway To Heaven” in the hope his sister might decide to include it on her next album. Bad Katie had spent the day watching bank heist movies, and it had given her an idea. She grabbed a notebook and pen and began making plans…
A few days later, Bad Katie was on a video call to her friend, Perfect Polly.
“Yes, Poll, I agree knitting little beanie hats for chickens would be something to do to alleviate the boredom, but you’re forgetting, I can’t knit,” said Bad Katie.
“I could soon teach you. It isn’t that hard and you pick things up quickly,” said Perfect Polly.
“Nah. Knitting is naff. It’s for girls.”
“But you are a girl!”
“Doesn’t mean I have to behave like one.”
“Well, we could write some songs together?”
“You know how that always ends.”
“True,” sighed Perfect Polly wistfully.
“No, I’ve had a much better idea,” said Bad Katie, grinning wildly.
“How do you fancy a bank job?”
“Me? Get a job in a bank? Do you even know me? And it definitely isn’t you either!”
“No, no. I mean let’s rob a bank!”
Perfect Polly laughed hysterically. “You nutter….”
Bad Katie stared at her solemnly.
Perfect Polly stopped laughing. “Oh, you’re serious.”
“Why not?” said Bad Katie. “It’ll be a hoot.”
Perfect Polly looked aghast. “Katie! I can’t be involved in a crime. They don’t call me Perfect Polly for nothing you know.”
Bad Katie looked at her quizzically. “Yes they do.”
“Oh. Well, anyway, I don’t fancy the idea of going to prison, thank you very much.”
“Grow a pair, Poll. We won’t get caught. I have it all planned out. There’s a little bank around the corner from me. I’ve been casing the joint for a while. The secret door at the bottom of our garden leads out into the alleyway the bank backs on to, so when we make our escape out of the back door we can just nip straight across into our garden. Simples!”
“Surely they’ll have a security camera over the back door?”
“Thought of that. I can shin up one of the trees at the bottom of the garden and splat it with paint. I’ve still got the paintball gun I used to torment Z with. I’m a crack shot, he’ll tell you.”
“Erm, okay. So you have an exit strategy. But won’t breaking in be the difficult bit?”
Bad Katie chuckled. “Child’s play. I was walking past the other morning when the manager was opening up and I heard the tones as he entered the alarm code. I memorised it easily, it was part of a riff from ‘Tiny Alien’! All we have to do is force the door open and I can disable the alarm.”
“And how exactly are we going to force a door open?”
Bad Katie winked at her friend. “One of my ex-boyfriends had a, let’s say, colourful past. I learned a few useful tips off him.”
“Hmmm. Remind me never to ask about any of that.”
“You’d be surprised at some of the things I can do.”
“Actually, I’m not sure I would. So, let me get this straight, you want us, a pair of successful recording artists, to rob a bank? What could possibly go wrong? Oh, and one other thing, why, exactly, would we want to do this?”
“It’ll be a laugh.”
“And would doing time be a laugh too?”
“Oh ye of little faith. You know what a meticulous planner I am. We’ll get away with it. Whoever would suspect us of such a crime? Like you said, we’re respected recording artists.”
“I said successful recording artists.”
“You in or not?” said Bad Katie.
Perfect Polly rolled her eyes. “I guess so. You can’t be trusted on your own.”
“Well, I could always rope Z in. But he’s not as agile as us. We’re like cats.”
“Aren’t we just.”
“Right then. One more thing, have you still got your Baby Spice latex mask?”
“Of course, why?”
“Good. Bring it. I’ve still got my Scary Spice one. Perfect disguises. I knew they’d come in handy one day, though I never did get why they thought they were a good gift to put in a VIP Goody Bag. That Spice Girls gig we went to was pretty creepy. God knows how they felt looking out at a sea of themselves.”
“Actually, I’m surprised you never tried that yourself at one of your gigs.”
“Oh, I intended to, back in the day. But there was a mix up with the interpreter from the Chinese import company and we got sent a container load of Mike Batt masks. They’d asked for a photo of me to create the masks but he thought they wanted one of him, thought they were Wombles fans or something, so he sent a pic of himself with a zany grin. All the crew were wearing the masks when I got in to the studio. It was like V for Vendetta. Freaked me out big time. Still have nightmares.”
“Oh, I got my own back. While they were all at lunch I put a few drops of superglue inside their masks. They didn’t realise until the end of the day. They all spent the evening in A&E. When the nurse came along and said ‘Mr. Mike Batt’, seven of them stood up. Heh heh.”
It was a clear, moonlit night. The dull orange glow of an old sodium street light across the road cast an eerie dim light over the door of the bank as Scary Spice and Baby Spice, almost invisible in their black tracksuits, crept up to it. Baby Spice kept lookout as Scary Spice fished out a jemmy from her holdall and set to work on the door. Within seconds, the alarm system began beeping urgently. Scary Spice calmly hummed a bar of ’Tiny Alien’ and tapped on the keypad. The alarm was silenced.
“Baby,” hissed Scary.
Baby Spice was still doing her meerkat impression, looking up and down the street.
“Poll, I’m talking to you, you nugget!”
“Oh, sorry. Forgot I was Baby.”
“Get inside quick and shut the door. No one will suspect a thing is happening then.”
Baby Spiced followed Scary inside and they shut themselves in.
“Well, that was easy,” said Baby.
“No time for gloating,” said Scary. She turned her phone torch on. “Let’s find some swag.”
“Do we really need to?” said Baby doubtfully. “It’s not as though we’re hard up or anything.”
“We can always give it to a good cause,” said Scary.
“By which you mean your offshore account, I suppose?”
“Polly! That’s a stake through my heart! I do tons for charity.”
“Remember who you’re talking to Katie! I know all about your schemes.”
“Oh. Anyway, look, this must be the vault. Big metal door. Must say, I was expecting a more impressive lock. I could pick this bugger in my sleep.”
“You can pick locks too?” said Baby. “No, I don’t want to know any more.”
The door swung silently open. Scary Spice grinned and tried to high-five Baby, but Baby was having a quick check of her Twitter and left Scary hanging. Scary shrugged and entered the vault.
“Gosh, why is it so cold in here? And where’s the cash? Just seems to be trays of these little pots everywhere.”
Baby followed her in. “Maybe that’s how they store precious stones these days, stop them tarnishing or something.”
“No matter. Must be valuable if they are in here. Let’s just fill the holdall with a few trays then scarper. To be honest, there’s so many they probably won’t even miss them.”
They stuffed the holdall and zipped it shut, then left the vault and locked it again. Then they made their way to the back door and into the dark alley beyond. A startled cat screeched and scared three shades of shit out of them before darting into the bank. Scary Spice slammed the door shut and sniggered. “That’ll give the bank manager something to ponder on tomorrow!”
Scary Spice crept across the alley and did the secret thing that opened the door in her garden wall. Once safely inside, they ripped off their masks and grinned at each other. “Easy peasy lemon squeezy,” said Bad Katie.
“Sugar and spice and basmati rice,” said Perfect Polly.
Bad Katie frowned at her. “Not sure that’s a saying. Anyway, come on, let’s get this swag inside and see what we’ve got.
Up in Bad Katie’s studio they knelt either side of the holdall and fished out one of the trays.
Bad Katie picked up one of the little pots and shook it. “No noise. Not gemstones or jewellery then. How odd.”
Perfect Polly picked up a pot. “Why are they kept so cold?”
“Dunno,” said Bad Katie. “Go on then, open it. Put us out of our misery!”
Perfect Polly carefully prised open the lid of the pot. Suddenly, she turned a whiter shade of pale.
“Oh my god, Katie.”
Perfect Polly threw the pot back into the holdall. “We’ve only robbed a bloody sperm bank!”
The two girls stared at each other in horror for a moment before simultaneously leaping on to the sofa.
“Yeeeeeuuuuukkkkk!” they screeched in unison.
“Oh my god!”
“Oh my god!”
“OH MY GOD!!”
They stared at the holdall in disgust.
“What the hell are we gonna do with them?” said Perfect Polly.
“Don’t suppose we could sell them on eBay?” said Bad Katie. “I mean, they must be worth something to someone.”
“No doubt. But how are you going to present them? Take a photo of the little pots? What about the product description?”
“Okay, okay. I hadn’t thought it through.”
“Seems to me you haven’t thought any of this through. How could you not know it was a sperm bank?”
“I don’t know, I never paid that much attention to the sign. I just saw the word ‘bank’. Assumed it was one of those shady little foreign ones.”
Perfect Polly sighed. “Let’s just get rid of them. Go get a bin bag.”
“Seems a shame,” said Bad Katie. “All those little lives….”
“Fine. Which bin will they go in, green or black?”
Perfect Polly glared at her. “Well, I don’t think they can be recycled can they!”
“But the pots are plastic, they could be.”
“Well if you want to rinse them all out, go ahead.”
“Landfill,” said Bad Katie. “But don’t blame me if a load of mutant zombies grow out of the ground and go on the rampage.”
“Biology was never your strong point, was it?”
Bad Katie was sitting in Sumit’s office with her feet up on his desk. He walked in, put the coffees on the desk, pulled his chair out, checked to see there were no pine cones on it, and sat down.
“Thanks for my present from Uzbekistan,”said Bad Katie. “I’ve always wanted a teapot stand made from knotted yak’s hair.”
“Knew you’d like it,” said Sumit. “Anyway, what have I missed?”
“Oh, nothing much. Been quite dull around here.”
“Really? Hadn’t you heard about that incident just round the corner from you?”
“Yes. Apparently, Scary Spice and Baby Spice were caught on CCTV breaking into a sperm bank. They’ve denied it of course. Rum thing is, one of them had a large holdall but the only thing the manager noticed when he arrived next morning was a cat had been left there.”
“I have to say, I’m disappointed in them. Actually, I can believe it of Scary, but I never thought Baby Spice would break into a sperm bank and leave a cat there. What is the world coming to when things like that are happening?”
Bad Katie had a slurp of her coffee. “Well, you’d never catch me doing anything like that!”
09.03.21 > Official Video: Voices In The Night
For those not on social media, a quick heads up that Katie has released another video. It is for "Voices In The Night". No sweeping cinematics this time, but an artful montage of stills and clips from the "Making Of Album No. 8". You can find it on her official YouTube page but if you don't know how to find it then click on the pic below and you will be Craggiemagically transported there! Isn't it all just splendid!
05.03.21 > The Adventures of Bad Katie - Episode 9
Bad Katie was mooching around in Sumit’s office. He’d gone to fetch the coffee but found his secretary had used the last of Clooney’s complimentary pods so he had to go down to the next floor to use the vending machine instead. Bad Katie took a large pine cone from a display on the windowsill and placed it carefully on Sumit’s chair, which she then slid under his desk. She slumped down in the other chair and put her feet up on his desk and began checking her Instagram.
A flustered Sumit returned holding two plastic cups of cheap coffee.
“Those better be recyclable,” growled Bad Katie.
“Really? Didn’t think you cared about the environment.”
“How very dare you! I care deeply about nature and the planet.”
Sumit raised an eyebrow.
“It’s just people I don’t give a shit about,” added Bad Katie.
Sumit grinned, pulled back his chair and sat down. He immediately yelped and stood back up again. Bad Katie sniggered.
“Katie! How old are you, seven?”
She laughed childishly. “Never too old for the pine cone on the chair. Classic.”
Sumit walked gingerly to the window and put the pine cone back where it belonged, then returned to his chair, double-checking this time. He took a sip of coffee and pulled a face like a toddler trying beetroot. He scribbled a note on his pad to call George about more coffee pods.
“So anyway, Katie. we’re still in a bit of a creative lull aren’t we? Had any bright ideas about new music?”
“Well now you mention it, I have actually.”
“Ooh, pray tell.”
“I had this brilliant idea for an album blending country and rap.”
Sumit looked dubious, and rightly so.
“But then I realised people would call it Crap.”
Sumit chuckled. “Ain’t that the truth.”
“But I think I might just have a go at rapping.”
Sumit continued chuckling. “You kill me, Katie.”
Bad Katie gazed at him solemnly.
“Oh dear god, you’re serious,” said Sumit.
“What? I’ll have you know, a good fan of mine once told me I could sing anything.”
“Your fans are a bunch of ass-kissing morons. They’ll tell you whatever you want to hear.”
“How can you say that? My fans love me. And I love them.”
“You mean you love their money.”
“That is very wounding, Sumit. Offering them slightly over-priced items of merchandise to purchase gives them a sense of being part of the family. Hugging one of my notebooks makes them feel like I’m there in the room with them.”
“They’re better off with the notebook, believe me,” said Sumit wryly.
Bad Katie stuck her tongue out at him.
“So you actually think you can rap?” said Sumit.
She leaped out of her chair and tossed her hair back dramatically. “I can do whatever I put my mind to,” she said, and sauntered out of the room.
Bad Katie bought a big packet of gold sequins on her way home. As soon as she got in she fished her gold tracksuit out of the laundry basket and spent the morning gluing sequins on it to give it some extra sparkle. Then she spent the afternoon watching YouTube videos on how to beatbox. Then she ordered a pizza and went on to eBay…
Bad Katie staggered in to Sumit’s office and plonked a massive retro boombox on to the table, sending a small floral decoration flying.
“What the hell is going on?” said Sumit. “And why are you dressed in that ridiculous outfit?”
She jiggled her bling at him and winked.
“And where did you get all that jewellery?”
“Mum’s at work. She won’t miss it.”
Sumit shook his head. “Are you on something?”
“I’m giving you an exclusive performance!”
“Really? Where’s your guitar? And what is that monstrosity?”
“This is a boombox!” She grinned at him gleefully. “Got in on eBay. Bargain. Mind you, I had to fork out almost as much again for batteries. It eats the buggers.”
Sumit rubbed his forehead nervously. “I’m almost afraid to ask, but why do you need that thing?”
“Backing track of course! I’ve been beatboxing. Made a cassette of it. Remember those?”
“Dear god. First, the coffee machine exploded and now this. What have Mondays got against me?”
Bad Katie pressed play and shuffled into the middle of the room. “Never mind all that. You’re about to experience the K8ee Rap.”
“The K8ee Rap?” said Sumit. “Oh no…”
Bad Katie winked at him and adopted a pose meant to suggest attitude.
“Why are you standing like that?” said Sumit.
“Getting in the zone.”
“You look like a constipated gibbon. And what’s wrong with your fingers?”
“Shush…. it’s about to begin….”
A series of clicks, bumps and heavy breaths emanated from the boombox.
“Hello…. Testing, testing, one, two, three….”
“What?” said Sumit.
“Quiet. I hadn’t used cassettes before, it’ll start in a sec…”
Suddenly, the boombox burst into life with Bad Katie’s beatboxing. Sumit rubbed his eyes wearily. Then she begin making jerky movements in time to the, for want of a better word, music.
She pointed straight at him and began rapping…
I was walkin’ down the street just the other day
when I saw this guy, he was heading my way
as he got real close I was feelin’ kinda wary
he was lookin’ pretty mad and it was just a little scary
I was thinkin’ to myself “this guy looks shady”, not the real slim shady!
he was eyein’ me up cos’ I’m quite a pretty lady
he said “hey there dear, how’s it going?”
I shrugged and said “I guess I’m just glad it ain’t snowing”
then I added “don’t call me dear, you could be my brother,
but I sure as hell couldn’t be your mother”
he took a step back and held his hands up high
“don’t kill me sister, I’m too young to die”
I punched him on the arm just to show I was jokin’
he had a nicotine patch, he was tryin’ to quit smokin’
he said “I gotta go, I’m late for my dinner
and my ma texted me, said she’s gotten me a tin o’
tuna steak, and don’t ya know that’s my fave?
and I also want to catch up with Q.I. on Dave”
I took a shine to the guy so I gave him my number
I said “give me a call if you fancy some slumber”
he looked kinda freaked and he ran away
and all this happened just the other day
Bad Katie silenced the boombox and grinned at him. “Well? What do you think?”
Sumit sat there in shock, his jaw hanging down. “I have no words.”
“I know. I’m so amazing aren’t I. Deffo a number one incoming.”
“More like a number two outgoing….”
“You’re already thinking about how you can promote it, aren’t you?”
“I’m actually thinking about how I can unsee it.”
“There you go. It’s unforgettable!”
“I wish it was forgettable. I’ll be having nightmares for months now. I may even need therapy.”
Bad Katie slumped in a chair and put her feet up on his desk. She gazed at him moodily. “I could run through it again if you like.”
“I don’t think I could survive that.”
“Oh don’t be such a drama queen. It wasn’t that bad.”
“Yes, it was.”
Bad Katie stuck her tongue out at him. She reached forward and grabbed an elastic band off Sumit’s desk then fired it towards a shelf across the room. It knocked over a little china ornament which promptly broke in two. “Oops.”
“Look Katie, I appreciate you wanting to explore different avenues, but we have to keep giving the public what they want.”
“Actually, you made a great suggestion just now.”
“Yes. Unforgettable! Perfect. You haven’t covered Nat King Cole before.”
Bad Katie sighed. “Back to the day job then.”
“You’ll smash it!”
“Yeah, I know. Hey, you don’t wanna buy a boombox do you?”
At that moment there was a knock on the door. Sumit’s secretary opened it and popped her head around. “Sorry Sumit, but there’s some guy called George Clooney in reception carrying a massive box of coffee pods. He’s asking for you.”
“Oh right, great.” He leapt out of his chair. “I’ll just be a sec Katie…”
Sumit left the room to go and bung George a twenty. Katie got out of her chair and grabbed the pine cone from the display on the windowsill and placed it carefully on Sumit’s chair, which she then slid under his desk. She sat back down and put her feet up on his desk again.
A short while later, Sumit returned clutching a couple of steaming mugs. “Finally!” he said. “The day is starting to get better at last. I knew old George would come through for me. Now, where were we?” He took a sip of coffee, sighed with pleasure, then pulled back his chair and sat down. He immediately yelped and stood back up again. “KATIE!!!!”
03.03.21 > Katie Bite: Voices In The Night
02.03.21 > Althea
Here's the latest Instagram treat from Katie. This is "Althea" by The Grateful Dead. You see, she will tackle anything! Tune in next week for her rendition of "Firestarter"... (just joking guys) (or am I?) The beautiful thing about this video is the obvious joy she's getting just from performing. There's nothing quite like the feeling of doing something you love. I feel the same when I'm writing and a character takes on a life of their own. It always puts a smile on your face.
28.02.21 > An A to Z of Katie
If ever you find yourself needing to describe Katie to someone, then AAK as always is here to the rescue! This is my little Katie thesaurus. Learn it by heart and you'll never be stuck for words!
27.02.21 > The Adventures of Bad Katie - Episode 8
Bad Katie almost meant it when she told her mother she was going out for a run. It was such a beautiful morning, and she was wearing her expensive new golden tracksuit with matching jewel-encrusted trainers, which she was hoping would wow onlookers. She had been given it by a wealthy admirer and thought an Instagram pic of her wearing the outfit would bump the price right up before she put it on eBay. But by the time she had jogged to the end of the street she had already muttered “sod this” and hailed a cab.
The cab pulled in beside her and she hopped in.
The driver looked at her in the rear-view mirror and groaned. “Oh no, not you again.”
“Hi Arnie, how are you?”
“Why are you calling me Arnie?”
“Cos’ you keep coming back.”
Arnie sighed and wondered if the job at the fish-gutting factory was still going. “Where to miss, I mean ma’am?”
She decided a leisurely stroll back through the park would get her home at about the right time. “Oh, far side of the park. Drop me off at the North Gate.”
She sat back in her seat and gazed out of the window. It had been raining hard overnight and there was a huge puddle of standing water in the gutter ahead. Then she spotted a policeman was approaching it on the pavement. “Hey Arnie, drive closer to the kerb.”
“It’s Eric,” said Arnie. Or rather, Eric.
“Whatever. Just do it. Quick, or I’ll get you to take me to Bognor Regis for a day trip.”
Eric swerved in towards the side of the road and his cab ploughed through the standing water, soaking the poor policeman with a blanket of cold water.
Bad Katie took several quick fire photos and then shrieked with glee. “Wicked! Nice one, Arnie.”
Eric shook his head. “Have you considered getting help, ma’am?”
“Actually, I have,” said Bad Katie. “I’m getting someone else to write the lyrics on the next album. Might even get someone to write the music as well.”
“I thought you liked to write your own songs?”
“Oh, I’d take the credit for them, obviously. It would be in the small print of their contract to say it was my work. No one ever reads the small print.”
“You are one wicked lady, ma’am.”
“Aw, thanks, Arnie. Now get a move on, I’m feeling peckish and that café in the park has a special on bacon triple cheeseburgers before eleven.”
Crispin and Annie were sat on their usual bench in the park. They spent so much time there they called it the ‘crispie bench’. Crispin was a retired writer who had fallen on lean times. Annie was a former academic with a keen interest in everything that had suddenly woken up one morning and decided she could no longer be arsed to do anything. She was never able to really explain what had changed in her life, though it probably is no coincidence it happened the day after a dead squirrel fell out of a tree and hit her on the head. Crispin met Annie in a soup kitchen and they discovered they had a shared passion for sitting in the park all day doing nothing, so they began doing nothing together.
“Wonder what the time is,” mused Annie.
“Quarter past ten,” said Crispin.
“How do you know?” said Annie. “You haven’t got a watch.”
“Here comes Shrek.”
Crispin nodded towards a fat, middle-aged guy jogging towards them, panting heavily.
“Why do you call him Shrek?”
“Cos of those massive headphones he wears. Like big ears.”
“Oh. But why does that mean it is quarter past ten?”
“He runs past here same time every morning. Just after the church clock has chimed quarter past, and the bells rang ten times on the hour.”
“How observant you are!”
“Curse of being a writer. You just observe everything. Like the fact that Shrek probably won’t run past tomorrow.”
“Because that kid on the bike coming at him from the side is too busy staring at his phone to notice him. There’s going to be a pile up.”
Moments later there was general mayhem at the path crossroads. A solitary bike wheel rolled past them and passers-by ran to the scene in order to get pics of the carnage for their social media accounts.
Crispin sighed. “Like I said, a curse. Wish I could just sit here for once and not notice anything.”
“Well, you don’t seem to have noticed Golden Girl,” said Annie.
Annie gestured to a young woman in a glitzy gold outfit ambling towards them from the opposite direction.
Crispin took a long drag of his spliff and handed it to Annie. She passed him the bottle of finest Georgian red wine in a paper bag in return.
The woman drew level with them and stopped. “Ooh, do I whiff ganja?”
“What, undercover policewoman are you?” said Annie/
Bad Katie laughed raucously. “Couldn’t afford this outfit on those wages! I’m a singer. Mind if I join you?”
Annie eyed her suspiciously. Crispin shrugged and shuffled along the bench. Bad Katie sat down between them. She pointed at the spliff. “May I?”
Annie was still eyeing her suspiciously. Bad Katie removed the spliff from her fingers anyway and took a long drag, then offered it to Crispin in exchange for the wine. She gave the top a cursory wipe with her sleeve before taking a few deep gulps. “Wow! Saperavi! You old goats have taste.”
“Singer, eh?” said Annie. “What’s your name?”
“Never heard of her.”
“Well, you wouldn’t have done if you spend your whole life here getting paralytic.”
“I’ve heard of her,” said Crispin.
“Really?” said Bad Katie.
“Really?” said Annie.
“Yes, she used to be a singer for that Womble bloke.”
“It wasn’t for him, Grandad. I was his prodigy. And I still am a singer, and a very respected and sought after one at that.”
“And very easy on the eye too.”
Bad Katie eyed him warily. “Don’t get any ideas, Gandalf.”
Annie sniggered. “Don’t worry, he hasn’t had a good idea in years. He used to be a writer you know.”
“Really. I like reading,” said Bad Katie. “Or is it Reading? Always get the two mixed up. Anyway, you write anything I’d know?”
“Maybe,” said Crispin half-heartedly.
“No,” said Annie emphatically.
“Oh. Well I had Nine Million Bicycles. Surely you’ve heard that?”
“What on earth for?” said Annie. “Why did you need so many. Couldn’t you have bought a car instead?”
Bad Katie frowned and studied her, trying to decide if she was a couple of fleas short of a circus.
“Just ignore her,” said Crispin, and handed Bad Katie the spliff. “I’ve found it the best strategy.”
Bad Katie had another long drag and washed it down with a glug of wine. “Well, I could get used to this life….”
Half an hour later, Bad Katie and her new friends were sat munching on the bacon triple cheeseburgers that she’d kindly decided to treat them to. And she was still up on the deal, having paid with a twenty pound note she’d found outside the café. Crispin had rolled a couple more spliffs while she was fetching the burgers and Annie had fished another bottle of red out of her moth-eaten bag for life. It seemed like the three of them were settling in for a chilled afternoon.
Then Bad Katie’s phone pinged. She fished it out of her pocket and swiped it, leaving a nice trail of melted cheese. “Bugger,” she said, and gave the phone a quick wipe on Crispin’s sleeve.
“Kids today,” bemoaned Annie. “Can’t go five minutes without beeping at each other with their little gadgets.”
“Sugary shards,” cursed Bad Katie.
“Trouble, dear?” said Crispin.
“Oh, I forgot I’m meant to be baby-sitting for a friend this afternoon. I was hoping to have a good mooch around the art gallery. There’s this hot guy works there as a guide on Mondays.”
Bad Katie stuffed her phone back in her pocket, folded her arms, and stared into space moodily.
“Never mind,” said Crispin, and offered her a spliff. Bad Katie gratefully accepted the offer, and graciously received the wine Annie offered her. She sat in silence for a while, broodily puffing and guzzling. Crispin and Annie joined her in melancholy contemplation.
Suddenly, Bad Katie perked up. “How long will you guys be parked up here for?”
“Usually till they close the gates at dusk,” said Annie.
“Excellent!” said Bad Katie. She leapt to her feet. “Have to go. Thanks for the wine and weed. Take care. See you later!”
She set off walking purposefully, leaving Crispin and Annie to their normal state of lethargy.
“Did any of that actually just happen?” said Annie eventually.
“Any of what?” said Crispin.
A couple of hours later, a glamorous lady in a sparkly dress and high-heeled boots walked up to Crispin and Annie. The woman had a small boy with her. He was clutching her hand dutifully and looked bored shitless.
“Hi guys, it’s me,” said the woman.
“Me who?” said Annie.
“No, Melua. Katie Melua. Remember, we met this morning!”
“Did we?” said Annie, confused.
“Course we did,” said Crispin. “The hot girl in the gold outfit. Bought us lunch. Used to be a singer.”
Annie frowned. “Nope.”
Crispin rolled his eyes and shook his head. He gazed at Bad Katie, all made up and dressed up. “You’re even hotter than I remember.”
Bad Katie winked at him. “And I’m still a singer. Look guys, I need a favour.”
“Anything for you, Casey,” mumbled Crispin.
“What’s in it for us?” said Annie.
Bad Katie handed her a carrier bag. Annie grabbed it and peered inside. It contained a couple of bottles of Georgian wine and and a small packet of something probably rather dubious.
“Deal,” said Annie.
“What do you need, Kerry?” said Crispin.
Bad Katie lifted the small boy up and sat him down on the bench between the grizzled old-timers. “This is Connor. I just need you to look after him for a few hours. I’ll be back for him later, thanks.”
Crispin gazed at Connor. “Your mum is bloody lovely,” he said.
“I’m not his mother, you goon,” said Bad Katie.
Connor started sobbing.
Bad Katie pulled a bag of fizzy fishes from her purse and shoved them into the boy’s hands.
“Be a good boy Connor, these nice people will look after you,” lied Bad Katie. “Right guys, must dash, thanks a million!”
Connor started laying in to his sweets.
Annie ruffled his hair vigourously. “Don’t you worry lad, Auntie Annie will take good care of you.”
When Connor’s mother returned home she found her son lying on the living room carpet pointing at the ceiling and chanting “my god, it’s full of stars”. Bad Katie was asleep in an armchair, her lipstick smeared and hair a mess.
Bad Katie slowly woke up. “Oh, hi Paula. Did you have a good day?”
“Well, better than you by the looks of things. You look like you’ve been dragged backwards through a hedge, poor thing. Has Conn given you a hard time?”
“Oh no, no. He’s been good as gold. Little angel!”
“Really? That’s not like him. And what is he doing? Why is he saying the ceiling is full of stars?”
Bad Katie shrugged. “No idea. He’s been doing that since we got home.”
“Got home? Have you been out?”
“Oh, just took him for a walk in the park, you know, feed the ducks and stuff.”
“Ah, well, maybe that explains it. He’s not used to fresh air. Spends most of his time playing computer games.”
Paula crouched down beside her son. “Hi Conn, are you okay?”
“Far out, man,” drawled Connor.
“What? Why are you talking like that?”
“Chill, man. Auntie Annie showed me a real good time.”
“Annie?” Paula looked at Bad Katie. “Who’s Annie?”
Bad Katie laughed. “Oh, we’ve just been role playing, that’s all. He’s been calling me Annie and I’ve been calling him Crispin.”
“Uncle Crispin’s a cool dude,” said Connor.
“Uncle Crispin?” Paula looked at Bad Katie again.
Bad Katie shrugged. “Kid’s got some imagination, I’ll give him that.”
Paula sniffed. “What’s that strange smell?”
Bad Katie looked innocent. “Dunno. He was fooling around near a choisya bush. Maybe the scent rubbed off.” She leapt to her feet. “Anyway, must dash, I’m doing a livestream in an hour.”
“Oh, okay. Well, thanks so much for looking after him. You’re an angel. Don’t know what I’d do without you!”
Bad Katie grinned. “No worries. See ya then. Bye Connor!”
“Bye Katie! Can we go see Auntie Annie again soon?”
“Yes, yes, we’ll play again soon…”
Bad Katie shot out of the door. Paula looked after her in puzzlement.
“Mummy,” said Connor. “What’s a spliff?”
26.02.21 > Lyric Cards
Just a quick reminder! If you like the lyric cards you can find them all, over a hundred of them, in the Gallery section. Click the menu link on the left, or, if you are even lazier than me, you can click here. As you were.
25.02.21 > Lyric Card: Wonderful Life
19.02.21 > The Adventures of Bad Katie - Episode 7
Bad Katie was having her weekly chinwag with her manager in his office.
“Katie, do you always have to put your feet up on my desk?” said Sumit.
“Yes,” said Bad Katie.
Sumit pulled a face like a meerkat sucking a sour cola bottle. “Gross. You’ve got a lump of chewing gum stuck inside your heel.”
“Thanks for reminding me. Proper handy place to store it. I put it there yesterday. Should still have a bit of flavour left.”
“Please tell me you’re not serious.”
“Hey, you never know when you might need a little minty refresh.”
Sumit buried his face in his hand and rubbed his eyes wearily.
“Anyway,” said Bad Katie. “I was jogging through the park the other morning...”
“Whoa, wait, what? You? Jogging?”
“Yes, of course, I’m very health-conscious you know.”
“No. I didn’t know. This comes as an utter shock.”
“These looks and this figure don’t come next day from Amazon, you know. It takes dedication and a special diet.”
“Yeah, gin and fags.”
“You have a very dim view of me, don’t you?”
“Well, I’ve started a new fitness regime. High intensity training. I walk for seven minutes then jog for seven seconds.”
Sumit looked doubtful. “Not quite sure that’s an optimum routine.”
“Yeah, might drop the jogging down to three or four seconds. Don’t want to overdo it. Anyway, the thing is, I was just walking along minding my own business when this bloke in a manky mac leapt out of the bushes and flashed at me.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Of course it wasn’t Jesus.”
“What happened? Did you call the police?”
“Police? What on earth for? No, but it was lucky I had my phone in my hand though. I grabbed a pic of his chipolata and stuck it on Instagram.”
“Katie! It’s a serious matter. The guy could have been a psycho.”
“Well so could I!”
“Good point, well made. But you should probably carry something with you, for protection. Pepper spray or something.”
“Ooh, yes. I know a guy can get me something a bit better than that…”
Next morning, Bad Katie was walking in the park again and the very same pervert leapt out in front of her for the second time.
“Ha!” he said and flung open his mac.
Bad Katie looked at him quizzically. “Why have you got all that Lego taped across your privates?”
“It’s pixellated, in case you try posting it online again!”
“But if I can’t see your withered tiny todger than what’s the point of flashing?”
The pervert looked peeved. “Oh. Hadn’t thought of that.”
He trudged back into the bushes, though not before Bad Katie had managed another snap for Instagram. She quickly posted it, with the caption “just encountered old Lego nuts again…”
By the next morning, Bad Katie had had enough of him. He leapt out once more and stood there, gyrating his Johnson with a silly grin on his face. She put her hands on her hips for a moment and patiently watched him, rather like Indiana Jones, then pulled a taser gun from her pocket and tasered him in the Cairngorms. The flasher yelped and hobbled back for the cover of the bushes. Bad Katie grinned and continued on her way, whistling “Nutbush City Limits.”
Later that day, there was a knock on the door. Bad Katie answered it.
“Who are you?” she said.
“Are you Miss Katie Melua?”
“Might be. Depends. If you’re selling something then my name is Norah Jones.”
“I’m Inspector Plodd from the Metropolitan Police.”
“Inspector Plodd, eh? Been promoted then?”
Plodd’s expression suggested he’d heard that one before. “Might I have a word with you about an incident in the park reported to us earlier today?”
“Ah, yes. That old biddy with the blue rinse was feeding the ducks again, wasn’t she? I did warn her, though to be fair, she does give them multi-seeded wholegrain. Can’t be that bad for them, can it?”
The Inspector harrumphed. (If you have any idea what a harrumph is, good for you. I don’t, personally.) “I’m afraid this is a more serious matter, miss. An individual has come forward and made a complaint about you. He claims you tasered him in a sensitive area.”
“How do you know it was me?”
“The person in question has admitted indecent behaviour towards you. He claims to be an admirer of yours and said he’d deliberately targeted you. ”
“Oh, him. He was asking for it. Been leaping out at me all week flashing his tiny todger, the perv. He’s obviously got a screw loose. And a couple of nuts,” said Bad Katie. She giggled.
“This is a serious matter, miss. I’m afraid you can’t go around tasering testicles on a whim.”
“Don’t be afraid, PC Plod…”
“Whatever. If he’s admitted stalking me and flashing, why haven’t you arrested him instead of standing here like Inspector Clouseau, bending my ear? I was only acting in self-defence.”
“The individual has been arrested, miss, and remains in custody. But we are obliged to investigate his claims as well.”
“Why? I was just doing your job for you. Throw the bugger in jail. He can flash all he wants there. See where that gets him. Anyway, don’t you know who I am?”
“Actually, miss, I do. You’re my mother’s favourite singer.”
“Oh really,” said Bad Katie. She beamed at him. “How’d you like a signed copy of my new album for her?”
Plodd’s eyes lit up. “Really? You’d do that for me?”
“Sure. As long as you sod off and never threaten to darken my door again.”
The Inspector looked troubled. “I don’t know, miss. Allegations have been made against you, and now you are attempting to bribe a police officer.”
“You can have a selfie with me as well.”
Bad Katie was sitting in her manager’s office nibbling a Kit Kat and reminding herself that other products are available. Sumit was dipping his Oreo into his coffee and reminding himself that that is most definitely not a euphemism.
“Ooh, new mug?” said Bad Katie.
“Yes, my niece bought it me for my birthday.”
“With your face on it.”
“A mug shot!” cackled Bad Katie.
“That’s quite an expression on your face.”
“Well, I’d just sat on a cactus she’d sneaked on to my chair.”
“Heh, heh. Nice one. But why does it say ‘your text’ underneath it?”
“Ah, she’s not the greatest with computers. Apparently, it said on the web site ‘Enter your text here’, so that’s what she did.”
“Oh. Takes after her uncle then.”
“Bloody cheek. My IT skills are second to none.”
“Yes, second to nun.”
“So anyway, I understand you decided not to press charges against the perv in the park?”
“And you’ve even given him a job as a roadie?”
“Yup. I believe in giving people a second chance.”
“Really? Not like you to even give people a first chance.”
“That’s very wounding, Sumit. I’m a caring soul.”
Sumit snorted coffee through his nostrils and had to quickly fish out his hanky to wipe down his laptop.
“Besides,” said Bad Katie. “The courts would only have given him a slap on the wrist. As my roadie I can make sure his life is a living hell.”
“There’s my girl, back in the room.”
“He’ll be wishing he’d volunteered for community service once I start finding uses for him.”
“Ab-uses, you mean.”
Bad Katie grinned. “It’s only karma. Shouldn’t have jiggled his Johnson at me, should he?”
“Well, no, of course not, but to be honest I am actually starting to feel a bit sorry for the guy. And haven’t you got enough roadies?”
“You can never have enough roadies. Useful things, but not very durable.”
“Yes, you put two in hospital last week, didn’t you?”
“Not my fault if they’re weak. They should work out more.”
“Talking of which, how is your new exercise regime going? Your high intensity jogging thing?”
“Oh, I’ve finished that. I mean, just look at me. I look amazing. If it ain’t broke…”
“But I thought you had to do exercise regularly?”
“That’s right. Three times a year. Every year. It’s exhausting, but I’m done now for another year. Back to the cakes and khachapuri!”
Bad Katie leaned back in her chair and put her feet up on Sumit’s desk.
He groaned. “Katie! That chewing gum is still under your shoe.”
17.02.21 > AYMHM 13: The List
Another album you may have missed... (see them all HERE)
When Rosanne Cash was 18, her father, the legend that was Johnny Cash, gave her a list. It contained 100 songs that he considered to be an essential base of knowledge if you wanted a career in country/folk music. Like any rebellious teenage daughter trying to find her way in the world in the shadow of famous parents, Rosanne did her own thing, wrote her own songs, and forged a very successful and impressive career for herself. But, as wise old Joni sang, "you don't know what you've got till it's gone". Johnny died in 2003. Rosanne poured her grief into her next album, "Black Cadillac", in 2006, but not long after that she began thinking about his legacy, and remembered The List. She went through it, picked out a dozen songs, and in 2009 released "The List" in homage and gratitude to her dad.
Rosanne isn't riding along on her Daddy's coat tails. She has an amazing voice and has earned her reputation as a singer/songwriter on her own merits. On this album, she proves she can interpret as well. For some reason, she chose to duet on four of the songs—notably, with Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello among others—but I'm not entirely sure why; she could have handled the songs perfectly well alone. Still, if you can get guys like that to duet with you then, why not?
For Katie fans, the most notable track here is "Girl From The North Country". Written by Bob Dylan, and covered by Katie recently. Both versions are gorgeous. Katie's version captures fond reminiscence of a time from the past; Rosanne's more plaintive interpretation hints there is still some rawness to the lost love. Don't ask me to choose, I refuse.
Listen to The List on Spotify via the link below:
14.02.21 > Bad Katie: All The Adventures!
I know some of you are enjoying the shenanigans of Katie's alter ego, Bad Katie. I just want to remind you that you don't have to trawl through the blog to find them because Bad Katie has her very own page! Every episode will appear there in chronological order so you can binge on BK (if you can handle her). You can use the sticky link above, or click on the pic to the right to go there. And do you know what? I'm feeling so generous that even clicking the graphic below will whisk you away to BK's parallel Universe. Why am I so good to you? I don't know, I just can't help myself.
13.02.21 > Free Online Event: Katie in Conversation
📆 Friday 26 February 2021, 18:00 GMT
Hearing Katie talk about her life is never anything less than pure joy. It is hard to think of anyone in the industry more intelligent and articulate and with such a fascinating background. So you really don't want to miss her chatting about her life to the artistic director of Georgia's Fantastic Tavern, Maya Jaggi, on February 26th. To find out more, head to:
👉🏻 Georgia's Fantastic Tavern
12.02.21 > The Adventures of Bad Katie - Episode 6
Opportunities for publicity appearances were proving few and far between for celebrities during lockdown. Bad Katie’s manager, Sumit, was trying his best to find ways to keep his top girl in the spotlight. He called her to sound her out about his latest thought.
“South Kensington Sunshine Home for the Terminally Bewildered,” answered Bad Katie, in a soft Scottish accent. “We care for the confused so you don’t have to.”
“What?” said Sumit. “Katie, I know it’s you.”
“Oh. Hi, Sumit.”
“Why do you always try to make me think I’ve got the wrong number?”
“It’s not for you, silly. Sometimes fans manage to get hold of my number. It’s a good way of deflecting them.”
“Right. Okay. But could you just add me to your contacts so you can see it’s me calling?”
“Can’t be arsed to be honest.”
“Oh. Well, anyway, just a quick idea,” said Sumit, tentatively. “I thought maybe you could do Cash In The Attic?”
“Yes!” enthused Katie. “Brilliant idea. I’ll start preparing for it right away.”
“Really? Oh, well, in that case I’ll go ahead with the booking. Are you sure, Katie?….Katie?”
Katie had already hung up and was leaping up the stairs.
Sumit put the phone down and looked puzzled. “That was too easy,” he thought to himself. “I thought she’d bite my head off at the suggestion of a meaningless daytime television appearance.”
“Come on, Z, I need a hand clearing the junk out of the attic,” said Bad Katie.
“Why do we need to do that?” said Zurab, without looking away from his computer screen.
“I’m turning it into a recording studio.”
Zurab sat back in his chair, closed his eyes and took a deep breath, then started making slow, Zen-like movements with his arms.
“What the hell are you doing?” said Bad Katie.
“What are you on about, you mutton-headed geek?”
“You’re clearly in ‘busy’ mode. I can’t handle you in that state without first finding my inner calm, centring my chi and aligning my chakras.”
“I’ll soon align your chakras for you if you don’t get your butt out of that chair and into the loft in the next five seconds!”
“Oh sis! You’ve already got a studio, why do you want another one?”
“That’s for writing, and, well, getting away from you lot. But the acoustics are rubbish for recording. The attic is going to be my recording studio. All that insulation makes great soundproofing. Don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before.”
“But what’s wrong with actual recording studios? Joe’s never gonna lug his drums up there.”
“It’s not for the band, you tame galoot. It’s for me to do solo acoustic stuff.”
“Oh. What about me?”
“We’ll see. If I need your accompaniment you’ll have to sit on the floor. Your own fault for eating like a horse when you were growing.”
“I was a good boy, I ate my greens. Not like you, living on Monster Munch and Red Bull. Sometimes I think all that Monster Munch turned you into an actual monster.”
“How very dare you! After all I’ve done for you. I could cancel your comic subscription with one call to the newsagent you know.”
Zurab hung his head. “Sorry sis. Didn’t mean it. You know I love you really.”
“Of course you do,” said Bad Katie, grinning. “How could you not? I’m a model sister. Haven’t I always looked out for you? Who else would have smuggled Snickers bars and Fizzy Fishes into your lunch packs and removed the fruit when Mum wasn’t looking?”
“I used to wonder about that. What did you do with all that fruit? You didn’t eat it did you?”
Bad Katie scoffed at him. “Yuk. Course not. I sold it to that Vegan goody two-shoes girl in my class. Good little supplement to the pocket money, that was. Mind you, I never did believe she was from Vega.”
Zurab looked at her quizzically.
“Never mind,” said Bad Katie, “let’s get cracking. This attic won’t clear itself.”
She leaped up the steps into the attic and pulled the dangling string to turn on the light. “Light’s a bit dingy, but the skylight blind is down. Soon yank that off and it will be much better in here. I’ll even be able to record by moonlight. Right then, Z, I’ll start passing boxes down to you.”
“Where shall I put them?”
“Stick ‘em all in the guest bedroom.”
“Mum will go ballistic!”
“It’s okay. I’ll tell her it was your idea. You can do no wrong in her eyes so you’ll get away with it. Not as though we can have guests anyway during lockdown.”
Zurab sighed, then looked up towards the loft entrance just in time for a box of old dolls to land on his face. He fell in a heap on the landing floor, surrounded by a dozen scary dolls staring at him creepily.
Bad Katie peered down at him. “What are you doing? No time to play now. Get a move on.”
Zurab shook his head. “Gonna be a long afternoon,” he grumbled, and started stuffing the dolls back into their box.
Sumit was rubbing his head and wincing after bumping it on a beam.
Bad Katie was chuckling. “I told you to stay in the middle of the room.”
“This isn’t a room. It’s a loft. There’s barely room to swing a cat in here.”
“Lucky for you. I take a dim view of animal cruelty. I love cats. Ooh, Love Cats. Haven’t sung that in a while. I’ll add it to my list of lockdown distractions. Besides, it’s an attic studio, not a loft.”
“But why record up here? You could afford to build a state of the art studio in your garden.”
“Your missing the point.”
“It’s about the vibe. The ambiance. The mystical sense of cosmic energies aligning themselves with your delta-wave patterns.”
“Bollocks,” said Sumit. “You just want to save on studio fees.”
“I’ll treat that remark with the contempt it deserves,” said Bad Katie. “The sloping roof makes it feel like being in a pyramid. There are magical forces in the air up here guiding my psychic consciousness.”
“I think that’s the ganja.”
“How dare you! That’s the sandalwood and lotus blossom incense sticks.”
“Hmmm. So anyway, why have you dragged me up here?”
“To show you my progress on your great idea!”
“Oh yes, right.” Sumit looked confused. “Remind me again, which idea was that exactly?”
“Cash in the Attic, silly!”
“Ah. Okay. So, erm, what did you find up here to sell?”
“Sell? What on earth are you babbling on about?”
“When you go on Cash in the Attic?”
“Go on? Speak English, Sumit,” said Bad Katie, looking irritated. “This is where I’m recording the stripped-back, intimate acoustic versions of Johnny Cash covers, for my new album, ‘Cash In The Attic’.”
A veil of pained realisation fell over Sumit’s face. “Ah.”
“Katie, I was talking about the television show.”
“What television show?”
“Cash in the Celebrity Attic. I’ve booked you for it now. They’re expecting you at the studio on Monday morning.”
Bad Katie looked aghast. “Are you insane? I can’t be seen on daytime tv. Why on earth did you agree to that, you knuckle-headed bog brush.”
Sumit rubbed his eyes wearily. “You agreed to it when I asked you about it last week.”
“No, I did not. I was agreeing to the Cash in the Attic album idea.”
“That wasn’t my idea.”
“Fair enough, I’ll take all the credit then.”
“You can’t get out of it. I’ve signed the contract.”
“Sumit, you fluffy-tailed baboon! I’m not doing it.”
“It’s for a good cause. Whatever you sell, the proceeds go to a charity of your choice.”
“Then I’m definitely not doing it.”
“You still get a substantial appearance fee, of course.”
“Yes. Pretty lucrative for a day’s filming, I’d say.”
“Oh. So what do I have to do?”
“Just find an old antique or something that was hiding away in the loft or garage and take it with you. They’ll value it and sell it at auction. You just follow the expert around and look suitably impressed when they say stuff. Money for old rope really.”
“Ooh, I think we have some old rope in the garage...”
“I didn’t mean literally. Surely you must have come across something you could sell when you were clearing this place out?”
“Wasn’t paying attention to be honest. Just chucking boxes down at Z. He put them all in the guest bedroom. Mum hasn’t noticed yet otherwise there’d have been a stink. I’ll have a rummage later and see what I can find.”
“Good. You do that. I’ll email you the exact details of the show later. They’ll send a car for you Monday morning.”
“Get me out of the house for a bit I suppose.”
“I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that. So tell me more about this Cash album idea.”
“I hurt myself today,” said Bad Katie.
“Oh, I love that song. His version is so raw,” said Sumit.
Bad Katie looked at him blankly. “No, I hurt myself. I trod on a plug.”
“That must have been a shock,” said Sumit. He laughed at his own joke.
“It wasn’t plugged in, you idiot!”
“No, of course, I was just making a little joke.”
“Well don’t. You’re rubbish at humour.”
“All right. Sorry, I know that stepping on a plug can really make you smart.”
“Can it? Well, I’m smart enough as it is. Made me use some choice words though, which isn’t like me at all.”
Sumit raised his eyebrows. “Have you even met yourself? You have the pottiest mouth I know.”
“Oh fuck off.”
“There you go you see!”
Sumit shook his head. “Anyway, you are going to record some of his songs in this confined space?”
“Aren’t I just?”
“Have you chosen the songs yet?”
“A few. I’m kicking off with ‘A Boy Named Sue’.”
Sumit looked dubious. “Okay…. interesting. Well, can’t wait to hear that, but I’ve spent enough time in this Toblerone box of yours, I’m heading back to my lovely spacious office. Don’t forget to find something old to sell for that television show.”
She winked at him. “If all else fails I can sell you!”
“Hello and welcome to another amazing episode of Celebrity Cash In The Attic,” said the cheesy host. “This week we are joined by the girl from Georgia with an enormous bicycle collection! It’s the incredible Katie Melua!”
Bad Katie looked at him in confusion. “But I don’t own a bike at all.”
“Cut!” yelled the director. “Katie, can you just smile and play along with him?”
“He’s an idiot.”
“I know. But this is television. You need to pretend he’s funny and interesting.”
“I am here you know,” said Cheesy host, hand on hips.
“Yes, luvvie,” said the director, patronisingly. “How could we not know? Now let’s start again from the beginning. And Katie, try to engage with him.”
“I’m not getting engaged to this orange antique,” said Bad Katie indignantly.
The director put his palm over his face. “This is going to be a long day...”
“So anyway, lovely Katie, what special item have you managed to find for us after rummaging around in your attic? Remember folks, whatever Katie’s item makes at auction will go to a charity of her choice.”
Bad Katie opened her Sainsbury’s Bag for Life and pulled out a small wooden box, which she placed ceremoniously on the velvet covered table. She flashed a cheesy grin at Cheesy host.
“Right, so, what have we here?” said Cheesy host. “A little antique box of some kind.”
“Not the box, you bewildered satsuma. Open it.”
Cheesy host carefully opened the box to reveal a set of yellowed false teeth. He squeaked and recoiled in horror. “What on earth? You want to sell someone’s teeth?”
“Not anyone’s teeth,” said Bad Katie. Her eyes widened, and she adopted a dramatic tone of voice. “These belonged to Stalin!”
“St.. Stalin?” stammered Cheesy host. “THE Stalin?”
“No, Bob Stalin from down the road,” sneered Bad Katie. “Of course, THE Stalin.”
Cheesy host picked up the box gingerly and pushed his spectacles further up his nose. He peered at the artificial gnashers with a mixture of fascination and disgust. “So tell me, Katie, how did you come to be in possession of Stalin’s teeth?”
“I’m from Georgia,” said Bad Katie.
“So was he.”
“Yes. Perhaps a little more detail?”
“Oh. Well, you see, my grandfather knew him.”
“Really? In what capacity?”
“Ah. Thing is, there’s something of a veil of secrecy surrounding the whole business. Grandad didn’t like to talk about it much. He was proud of the teeth but deliberately vague about how he acquired them.”
Cheesy host frowned. “Well, without provenance I’m not sure we can place a great deal of value on them.”
“Provenance?” scoffed Bad Katie. “You have my word. And I’m Georgian. Georgians don’t lie.”
“I’m sure,” muttered Cheesy host, doubtfully.
“I could sign them if you like. Well, print my name at least. Katie along the top set and Melua on the bottom ones.”
Cheesy host looked mortified. “No, no. We’ll just take them along to the auction and see what we can get for them. You never know, on the day there might be a collector of famous false teeth in...”
“Well,” said Sumit. “I have no idea how you pulled that off.”
“Pulled what off?” said Bad Katie.
“Getting ten grand for those fake false teeth at auction!”
“How dare you! How do you know they weren’t Stalin’s?”
“Erm… I’ve met you. Whose were they, really?”
“Haven’t the foggiest. But the box they were in belonged to my grandad and he didn’t have false teeth so they weren’t his. Bit of a mystery. Could have belonged to anyone. Including Stalin, I might add. And it was pretty lucky my number one fan attended the auction.”
“Wasn’t it just? He must have happened to see your Tweet mentioning the time and location of the auction and the fact you’d have a selfie with the highest bidder.”
Bad Katie shrugged. “No harm in maximising potential.”
“That poor woman must have been gutted to lose out to your number one fan though. She pushed him all the way to that 10k.”
“Wasn’t a woman!” sniggered Bad Katie. “It was Z in a blonde wig and dark glasses.”
“Katie! Poor Zurab. Honestly, the things you make your brother do.”
“He did okay out of it.”
“I let him keep the wig.”
“Anyway,” sighed Sumit. “You got a decent appearance fee. And your nominated charity will be over the moon with the ten grand. What was it again?”
“South Kensington Sunshine Home for the Terminally Bewildered,” said Bad Katie.
“Shouldn’t do. I only set it up a couple of days ago.”
Sumit buried his face in his palms. “Don’t tell me. You’re the treasurer, aren’t you?”
Bad Katie grinned at him. “Somebody has to bank that cheque...”
06.02.21 > Blackbird
I hope Bad Katie is giving you a laugh in lockdown but in the real world, Real Katie is giving us a string of beautiful covers that continue to soothe our souls and make us believe everything will be all right. And now Bob makes way for the Beatles...
05.02.21 > The Adventures of Bad Katie - Episode 5
Bad Katie was slumped in a chair in Sumit’s office, her feet up on his desk. She was fiddling with her phone.
Sumit entered, carrying a couple of mugs.
“That better be gin,” said Bad Katie.
“Sorry. Coffee only here, you know that. We need to stay on our toes!”
“Your coffee tastes like rat’s bile.”
“How would you know?”
She screwed her face up at him.
“So, I heard you helped a little old lady across the road the other day?” said Sumit.
“That’s right, I did indeed.”
“Good Katie?” Sumit looked at her suspiciously. “Doesn’t sound much like you.”
“Ah well, I do have a good side you know. Besides, I noticed she’d dropped her purse in the gutter. Once I saw she was safely on her way I was able to nip back and claim it. There was nearly seventeen quid in there! Result.”
“Wait, it gets better. Her address was inside so I was able to send Z round to return it to her, tell her he found it. She was so grateful she gave him twenty quid as reward.”
“You really are a monster, aren’t you?”
“What do you mean? I let Z keep a couple of quid for doing it. That left me thirty-five quid up on the deal in total!”
“That’s probably a week’s food for the poor dear.”
“Nonsense. At that age they only eat gruel and broccoli.”
Sumit shook his head and slurped his coffee.
“So, you found me any gigs yet?” said Bad Katie.
“Fraid not, there’s not much going on at the moment, what with lockdown and everything.”
“There’s still chat shows on.”
“Most of them have black-listed you for past behaviour.”
“Oh for god’s sake. It’s not my fault if they ask inane questions that deserve an appropriate response.”
“Well, there’s always the One Show. They’ll take anyone.”
Sumit looked philosophical. “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
“If life gives you lemons tell it to shove them up its arse.”
Bad Katie sat at her desk, staring dreamily out of the window. She was nibbling pistachios, skilfully extracting the kernels with her tongue and spitting the shells out on to the floor. The carpet was strewn with them, but she knew her mother would sort that later. She had more pressing concerns. Lockdown had caused all her nice little earners to dry up. All those lucrative appearances at weddings, funerals, children’s parties, corporate functions and the like, where she could roll up, belt out ‘Bicycles’ and one other, dependent on the occasion, pocket a grand, and be back in time for dinner. She was having to come up with new ways of generating income. Sales of merch on her online store had been disappointing of late, especially the new range of signed ashtrays and poop scoops. She would have to go old school...
“Hey, Z! Pack up your guitar, we’re going busking,” said Bad Katie.
“Oh no, I thought those days were long over,” groaned Zurab. “I was just about to play ‘Call Of Duty’.”
“Tough titties. You have a duty to answer my call.”
“Do I have to?”
“Yep. I’m your big sister don’t forget.”
“But I’m much bigger than you now.”
She gave him ’the look’.
“Okay, okay, I’ll get my guitar.”
Bad Katie and Zurab were sat outside Kensington station. Bad Katie had propped up a sign saying “Please help my poor mute brother pay for his operation”. Lots of people were passing by and there were several coins and a few notes in Bad Katie’s guitar case.
“Why do we need to go busking, sis?” said Zurab.
“I like to perform. Put on a show for people. Let the world see how talented I am.”
“It’s about the money, isn’t it?”
“Well, if people want to show their appreciation of my gift it would be rude not to accept their gratitude. Now be quiet, someone’s coming. Crazy, quick.”
They began playing ’The Closest Thing To Crazy.’
A woman stopped and listened to them for a while. “Aw. He plays beautifully. Is he dumb too?”
Bad Katie scowled at her. “He’s mute, not deaf. Hasn’t been able to speak since a traumatic event when he was young.”
“Oh dear. What happened?”
“None of your business. Anyway, I still don’t think it was my fault. I get blamed for everything.”
The woman gave a half smile, dropped a few copper coins in the guitar case and moved on. Bad Katie shook her head slowly and extended a digit towards the woman’s back.
“Sis,” said Zurab. “Why won’t you let me talk in public?”
“Shush,” said Bad Katie. “Someone might see you. This is a lucrative little earner.”
“But you’re worth millions! You don’t need this extra few quid.”
“Of course I do. It all adds up you know, and besides, I’m saving for something.”
“Saving for what?”
“To buy Batumi.”
“Anyway, just think of all the comics you can buy with your ten per cent.”
“Why do I only get ten per cent?”
“I’m the star, obviously. Just be grateful. You wouldn’t make anything on your own, being mute.”
“I’m not mute though!”
“The public don’t know that. Anyway, I always buy you chicken nuggets for lunch on the way home. What more do you want?”
Zurab sighed. “This is so humiliating. Sitting on this dirty pavement waiting for people to throw coins at us. And why can’t I have a little folding stool like yours?”
“Because I’m the singer. I have to have the correct posture to project my voice properly.”
“It’s so you can look down on me, isn’t it?”
“There’s that too. Look, I could do this on my own you know. You should be grateful I’m giving you a job.”
“I could have been a doctor, just like Dad,” grumbled Zurab.
“What, and work twenty-three hours a day poking around in places we really shouldn’t see?”
“It’s noble work—saving lives and making people well.”
“Singing is noble work—making people happy. And making lots of money.”
“Is money all you care about?”
“How dare you?” said Bad Katie, looking wounded. “Music is my passion, my life. It’s all I care about. Hey, grab that 5p in the gutter. Some people couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo.”
Zurab reached for the coin and dropped it in the guitar case.
“All adds up,” said Bad Katie. “Anyway, just you listen to your big sister and you won’t go far wrong. Look at the life you’ve got now. You hardly ever have to do any work. Sit around all day, playing your ‘Call of Ducks’...”
“Call of Duty!”
Bad Katie then spotted a lady in a fur coat strutting towards them. She was carrying a designer bag with a chihuahua in it. “Hey, Z, look morose. This one looks a right patsy.”
They started playing “Nine Million Bicycles.”
The woman stopped and watched them for a while. She seemed clearly moved. “Aw. That’s lovely. Poor boy, he looks so sad. How much is his operation?”
Bad Katie pretended to cry. “Thousands,” she sobbed. “At this rate, it’ll take us years to save up.”
“Oh there, there,” said the woman. “Don’t you worry, my husband’s an oligarch.”
“Sorry to hear that,” said Bad Katie.
“Has its benefits,” said the woman. She fished a cheque book out from under her dog.
Bad Katie winked at Z. The dog stared at her as if to suggest it knew she was a scammer even if her dumb owner didn’t.
The woman scrawled away. “Who should I make it out to?”
Bad Katie had to think on her feet, realising she couldn’t risk using her own name in case the woman had heard of her. “Oh, er, Ms K. Toseland.”
The woman signed the cheque, tore it off and handed it to Bad Katie. “There you go, sweetie. You go get your brother sorted out. You could be the next Carpenters you know. Keep believing!”
She strutted away, her Louboutins clicking on the pavement.
Bad Katie looked at the cheque. “Five grand!” she exclaimed. “Bloody brilliant result. Good job I kept that secret account open. Had a feeling it would come in useful. Right, pack up, that’ll do for today. Give me the notes, you can keep all the coins, I’m feeling generous.”
“Thanks, sis. You’re the best,” muttered Zurab.
“I know. Come on, let’s get you some nuggets.”
A week later, Bad Katie returned to meet her manager. As she walked down the corridor towards Sumit’s office, she quickly finished her banana and went straight inside. “Hi, Sumit.”
“Have you heard of knocking on doors?”
“Dylan, wasn’t it? Why, do you think I should cover it?”
Sumit rolled his eyes. “Make yourself comfy, I’ll go and grab us a couple of coffees.”
Bad Katie sat down and put her feet up on the desk, then whipped out her phone to check her social media.
A couple of moments later there was a yelp and a thud in the corridor outside. Bad Katie quickly opened the camera app and ran to the door. Sumit was lying on the floor, drenched in coffee.
“What are you doing down there?” said Bad Katie.
“I’m admiring the rendering on the ceiling,” barked Sumit.
“Really?” said Bad Katie, looking up.
“Of course not! Some moron had left a banana skin on the floor.”
“Oops,” said Bad Katie. Then she took a few snaps. “Wasn’t fussed about the coffee anyway.”
Sumit got to his feet and made his way to his desk. He peeled off his coffee-stained shirt.
Bad Katie wolf-whistled. “Nice abs. For your age.”
He scowled at her. “What am I gonna do now? I have an important meeting in ten minutes and I haven’t got a spare shirt or time to get another one.”
“Oh, well, you can have mine.”
“One of my ex-boyfriends left it behind in his rush to leave. He was about your size.”
Sumit looked at her doubtfully. “Please tell me you’re wearing a bra under it.”
Bad Katie had a quick peek to check. “Yep.”
She unbuttoned the shirt and tossed it over to him. She stood there grinning as he put it on.
“For god’s sake, Katie, put your jacket back on and button it up, someone could walk in.”
“Nah, I’m the only one that doesn’t knock first.”
“Surprisingly, this shirt fits really well,” said Sumit. “Who was this boyfriend?”
Bad Katie tapped her nose and winked. “That’s for me to know and you to wonder. At least you’ll look presentable in your meeting, even if you do smell of freesias.”
“Yes, well. I just wanted to let you know I’m still trying hard to get you some bookings.”
“Oh, yes, about that. I wouldn’t sweat it, bro. I’ve been busking all week. Raked in over twenty grand.”
“Twenty grand! I’m in the wrong job.”
She gazed at him levelly. “No, you’re not. I’m a legendary, multi-platinum selling artist remember. I’ve heard you sing, it’s like a castrated orangutang. You wouldn’t make twenty pence never mind twenty grand.”
Sumit sighed. “Anyway. The One Show have been pestering me again.”
“Just tell them to stick it up their big O.”
“They are desperate for guests. They say nobody has anything to plug at the moment. There’s a nationwide plug shortage.”
“Well I’m not sitting on that manky sofa for half an hour pretending to be interested in stories about commoners with talking ferrets just to get my three minutes in the spotlight. Wild horses couldn’t drag me there.”
“They want you to do a live performance as well. They’re offering ten grand.”
03.02.21 > Lyric Card: Fields Of Gold