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29.12.21   >   The Adventures of Bad Katie - Episode 20

episode 20

Bad Katie was sat in Sumit’s office with her feet up on his desk. She was munching a mince pie and washing it down with sherry. Sumit was busy sifting through his emails. Bad Katie stared at his jumper which had written on it “All I Want For Christmas Is A Number One”.
“Bathroom’s down the hall,” she said.
She pointed at his jumper.
“Oh. Ha ha. Now look, I think I’ve got you a last-minute booking to turn on the Christmas lights.”
Bad Katie’s eyes widened. “Ooh, I love Christmas. How much are they paying?”
“Never mind the fee, it’s an honour to do something like that.”
“Yes, yes, it’ll be fun. So long as I’m paid well. Where is it? Kensington?”
“Ah. No. Adele got that one.”
There was a low rumbling sound.
“Katie, are you growling?”
“Where then? Knightsbridge?”
“Er… Dua Lipa’s doing theirs.”
Bad Katie growled again.
“What is it with you? You should be supportive of your sisters in music.”
“Why? What have they ever done for me? Anyway, where am I turning the bloody lights on then?”
“Bognor Regis.”
“Do what?”
“Bognor Regis.”
“Sounds like a retirement home for civil servants.”
“It’s a lovely little seaside town. You’ll like it.”
“What makes you so sure of that?”
“It’s near where you filmed the video for ‘Wonderful Life’. You loved doing that didn’t you?”
“Oh. Well, I’ll buy you fish and chips and sticks of rock, and we can play crazy golf. It’ll be a fun day out.”
“How old do you think I am? Twelve?”
“Yes. So, you’ll do it then?”


“Here’s a heartwarming little Christmas song for you. Santa Baby. Feel free to sing along!”
Bad Katie channelled Eartha Kitt as she treated the residents of Bognor to her rendition of the Christmas classic. Many of the assembled crowd did indeed join in the singing, evidently either unaware of or unperturbed by their complete lack of singing ability. Bad Katie rewarded them with a classic showbiz smile–the one that seems to convey how great everyone is but actually means what a tedious bunch of useless fuckers they all are. At the end of the song she stood and silently milked the applause, infused with cheers, whoops and wolf-whistles.
“Thank you so much, Bogroll,” she said at last.
Bognor!” hissed Sumit from somewhere behind her.
“Whatever. And now…. it’s time! Are you ready to see the lights?”
“YES!!!!” roared a handful of people.
“I didn’t quite catch that,” said Bad Katie. “I said, are you ready to see the lights?”
“YES!!!!” roared the same handful of people.
“Well, I hope you get the Christmas you deserve! Let’s count down then. FIVE… FOUR… THREE… TWO… ONE…”
Bad Katie slammed the giant red button in front of her and threw her arms wide open dramatically.
Nothing happened.
The crowd groaned impatiently.
A council official behind her urgently spoke into a walkie-talkie. “Ron, Ron, what are you doing? Throw the switch for god’s sake.”
A sheepish voice crackled back at him. “Sorry mate, thought she was gonna do another number and I needed a slash. Should I do it now?”
“Yes, do it!” urged the official.
“Da Do Ron Ron,” said Bad Katie.
The Christmas lights suddenly burst into life and filled the town with much needed glitz. The crowd roared. A squirrel shrieked and fell out of the Christmas tree. Bad Katie began to tell them that her new album was out now and that her brother Zurab would be handing out free vouchers for 10% off on her online store but she was quickly drowned out by cheesy Christmas music that had now been piped into the PA system.
“Thanks very much Miss Melua,” said the official. “Nice job. Never heard of you myself, but they all seem happy.”
“It’s all right, I’ve never heard of you either. So this big button doesn’t actually do anything then?”
“No, of course not. Our insurance won’t cover a celeb electrocuting themselves. But you’d never have known if Ron had crossed his bloody legs and paid attention.”
An assistant to the official appeared from out of the shadows and nervously handed Bad Katie a large bouquet of flowers. “A little token of our appreciation,” said the official.
“I prefer the larger token you’re putting into my bank account. Mind you, these will make a good Christmas present for someone. Thanks. Right then, are they having mulled wine and chestnuts and stuff down there?”
“I would think so,” said the official.
“Good. Z! Whack these in the car, there’s grub and booze on offer down with the commoners….”


As Christmas drew closer, Bad Katie’s mother was trying to keep her mischievous daughter as busy as possible to minimise the mayhem she would likely cause. She decided to let her children sort out the tree, source the turkey and send them off Christmas shopping at the local mall for a day…


“Sis,” said Zurab. “Where are we going to get a tree from? The nearest place I can find is miles away and we won’t get a very big one in your car anyway.”
“My car!” said Bad Katie indignantly. “Sod that, I’m not having some bug-infested giant plant in my lovely car.”
“Then what are we to do?”
“Don’t worry, I have a plan. Stick your coat on and go and grab that big saw from the garage, then meet me out front.”
“What, now? Isn’t it a bit late? Everywhere will be shut.”
“Just do it, hurry up.”
Zurab plodded downstairs. By the time he collected the saw and left the garage Bad Katie was waiting for him at the front gate, flashing a small torch at him.
“Come on,” she said. “Let’s do this.”
Bad Katie set off walking down the street.
“Do what?” said Zurab, scurrying after her. “Are we walking then? Is it far?”
“Here we are,” said Bad Katie, stopping so abruptly her brother almost bumped into her.
“But… we’ve only gone three doors down.”
Bad Katie quickly flashed her torch into a front garden to reveal a pine tree in the centre of the lawn. “There! Isn’t she a beauty? Must be at least ten foot tall. Quick, get sawing.”
“What? We can’t take that, what if someone sees us?”
“Don’t be so wet. The couple that live here bugger off to Spain every winter and all the other neighbours will be slumped on sofas munching crisps and watching ‘Home Alone’.”
Zurab sighed. “What will they say when they get back?”
Bad Katie chuckled. “I know. Would be nice to be here for that. Oh well, get on with it, it won’t cut itself down.”
“What if a police car drives by?”
“More chance of seeing the RAC fixing Santa’s sleigh.”
Zurab exhaled slowly and approached the tree. As he began sawing, a couple of startled pigeons clattered all their pots and pans as they buggered off to find another roosting place. Zurab shrieked.
“Quiet, you flaming fajita!” hissed Bad Katie.
“Sorry, sis. They scared the hell out of me.”
“Pigeons are idiots. They always insist on making a racket.” She looked around to see if any curtains were twitching. “All clear, get on with it.”
A few moments later, there was a creak and a crack and the tree fell to the ground, the top of it brushing past Bad Katie’s hair with a whoosh.
“Oi, you malignant mollusc, you nearly took my eye out! You’re supposed to shout ‘timber’ or something.”
“I was trying to stay quiet,” said Zurab.
“Well, it’s down now. Come on, let’s haul it back home. Oh, and if Mum asks just tell her you had a mate drop it off.”


Bad Katie was tired. And very grumpy. She’d been traipsing around the local shops and butchers for hours trying to find a large turkey. All she’d been able to get so far was a corn-fed bantam and a pheasant. She’d just been making progress on a new song about enchanted wind chimes when her mother had rudely shoved her out of the house on this thankless mission to locate a big dead bird.
Now she’d had enough. It was beginning to get dark so she decided to take a short cut through a small patch of woodland. As she was stumbling along, humming to herself and trying out different lyrics about wind chimes she suddenly spotted something at the side of the path ahead. As she drew closer she could make out in the dim light that it was some kind of dead animal. She wasn’t sure what it was but it didn’t stink so it must still be fresh, and, most importantly, it looked about the size of a turkey.
“Well,” she said to herself. “No idea what the hell it is but it’s close enough. Mum’s Georgian, she can cook anything.”
She stuffed the carcass into her rucksack and hurried on her way.


“Oh, there you are Katie!” said Bad Katie’s mother as her bedraggled daughter mooched into the kitchen. “I was getting worried. Did you get the turkey?”
“Ah, yes, well, you see, no.”
“Look, I’ve been round a million shops. No one has any of the stupid things left.”
“Oh Katie…”
“Don’t worry. I haven’t come home empty-handed.”
She opened her rucksack and fished out the pheasant and plonked it on the table.
“A pheasant,” said her mother. “Well, it’s something I suppose.”
Bad Katie then took out the bantam and plonked that on the table.
“A tiny chicken. I suppose I could make soup with that.”
“Wait!” said Bad Katie. “There’s more…”
She turned the rucksack upside down and the dead badger thudded onto the table.
Her mother screamed.
“Ha!” said Bad Katie. “No one’s going hungry in this house this Christmas!”
“Katie! What the hell have you brought a dead badger into the house for?”
“Is that what it is? The light was gloomy. Well, it’s a fat bugger, must have a bit of meat on it.”
“We can’t eat a badger.”
“Why not?”
“Because… because it’s a bloody badger.”
“Are they poisonous or something?”
“I don’t know. It’s just, well, nobody eats badgers.”
“Well, we used to eat rabbit back in Georgia.”
“That’s different. People eat rabbits. Who ever heard of eating badger?”
Bad Katie shrugged. “Oh well, not to worry. You and Dad can have the pheasant and chicken, me and Z will just have nuggets. There’s always a bag in the freezer.”
“Oh Katie. You’re a famous person, surely you must know some top chef that could maybe help us out?”
“I know quite a few chefs, yes. Been on several cooking shows.”
“There you go then.”
“Just, I can’t think of one I haven’t offended. They do tend to faff about with food.”
Her mother sighed. “Nuggets it is then.”


The next day, Bad Katie and Zurab went to the mall to do some Christmas shopping. After a few hours, Zurab was getting fed up traipsing around laden down with bags so Bad Katie took him for a milkshake and donuts. As they sat by the window, slurping and munching, Bad Katie spotted a queue of children across the mall outside what appeared to be a festively decorated shed.
“Ooh, Z, you stay here and have some more donuts, I won’t be long.”
“Where are you going?”
“There’s a Santa’s grotto over there.”
“But sis, you’re way too….”
Bad Katie was already out of the door and heading for the queue. She looked at the kids in front of her and tapped her foot impatiently. “Hey kids!” she shouted. “They’re giving away free donuts over there. Hurry up. I’ll keep your places for you.”
Zurab looked on in puzzlement as a horde of children charged towards him.
“Heh, heh,” chuckled Bad Katie.
A small child stomped sulkily out of the grotto.
“Hey, what’s the matter with you, kid?” said Bad Katie.
“I wanted a Playstation not a bloody yo-yo. And Santa smells like a cat’s bum.”
“Fair enough.”
“Next!” boomed a voice from inside the shed, or rather grotto.
Bad Katie shot inside and sat on Santa’s knee.
“Ho, ho, hang on young lady, aren’t you a bit big for this? You’re supposed to wait outside while your daughter comes in.”
“I don’t have a daughter, moose-flaps. Anyway, I’ve been a really good girl this year.”
“Is that so?” said Santa dubiously.
“I’m sure you can find something nice in your big sack for me.”
“Look, lady, this is supposed to be for the kiddies. Now if you don’t mind, you’re giving me a dead leg.”
“You’ll get more than that, goat-breath. I’m not leaving here until….”
Bad Katie stopped mid-sentence and peered more closely at Santa. She sniffed a couple of times. “Hang on a minute. I know you. I’d recognise that smell anywhere. You’re Mr. Tompkins, the butcher.”
“Shhhh!” said Mr. Tompkins. “The kids mustn’t find out.”
She yanked his false beard off. “Ha!”
Bad Katie whipped her phone out and took a quick selfie of her sitting on Mr. Tompkins’ lap.
“What are you doing?”
“Making a deal.”
“What kind of deal?”
She fished a notebook and pen out of her jacket pocket and scribbled something down, then tore out the page and gave it to Mr. Tompkins.
“What’s this?”
“That’s the address you are going to deliver one of your finest turkeys to this evening. If you don’t, I’ll post that selfie on my Instagram and name tag you. I’m sure Mrs. Tompkins would be very understanding if she saw it…”
Bad Katie leapt off Santa’s knee, patted his cheeks and lifted his false beard back into place.
“You know what to do!” she said, and left the grotto.


“I still can’t believe it, Katie,” said Bad Katie’s mother, staring at the massive turkey on the kitchen table. “How did you manage to get it?”
“Oh, just called in a favour.”
“Well, you’ve saved Christmas, thank you.”
“Ah, it was nothing. Are you coming carolling with us?”
“No dear. Off you go.”
“Z!” shouted Bad Katie. “Come on, let’s go. Don’t forget your guitar case.”
“Why does he need a guitar case, Katie?” said Bad Katie’s mother.
“To stash the dosh in of course.”
“Oh Katie, you shouldn’t be taking money off people. It’s Christmas. You should do it for the joy of it.”
Bad Katie looked at her mother in consternation. “Would a plumber come out and fix the toilet at Christmas for the joy of it? We’re professional musicians.”
“Yes, dear. Well, go and do your thing then.”


Bad Katie was pleased with herself after a couple of hours of knocking on doors and singing carols. Having had some rude encounters the previous year, she’d made meticulous notes and this time only visited houses where the tips had been generous. As a result, Zurab’s guitar case had filled quite nicely.
“We’ve done all right tonight, sis,” said Zurab.
“Yes, not bad at all. And it was an inspired idea to put the ten per cent off vouchers through the letterboxes before knocking. Giving them something first no doubt made them feel obliged to return the favour. I’ll treat you to mini-fillets for that.”
“Nice. Can we go home now?”
“One last stop to make. Sumit’s house is round the corner…”
As they reached the doorstep of Sumit’s house, Zurab was about to shove a voucher through his letterbox.
Bad Katie stopped him. “Don’t waste them. He won’t buy the album, even with ten per cent off.”
“Right then. Just play the chords of Jingle Bells. Leave the singing to me on this one.”
She pressed the doorbell. The hall light turned on and there was the sound of the door being unlocked. As it opened, Bad Katie nodded at Zurab, who began strumming. Sumit stood grinning at them. Bad Katie began singing.
“Jingle bells, Sumit smells, like a bag of poo. It sounds just like, a motorbike, when he farts inside the loo, Hoo!”
Sumit folded his arms. “Lovely. Very Christmassy.”
Bad Katie fished a small wrapped box from her pocket and handed it to him. “Merry Christmas, Sumit.”
“Aw, thank you. You shouldn’t have.”
“I know.”
There was an awkward silence.
“So,” said Bad Katie. “Where are ours then?”
“Oh, yes, of course. Just a sec…”
Sumit disappeared for a moment before returning with a carrier bag of presents. “There you go. Have a lovely Christmas both of you and give my best to your parents.”
“Yeah, whatever,” said Bad Katie, peering into the carrier bag. “I guess you’ve gone for quality over quantity. Right then, see you next week.”
“Not if I see you first!” said Sumit.
“You won’t.”


’Twas the night before Christmas. All was still in the Melua household… Apart from a shadowy figure creeping down the stairs…
Bad Katie tip-toed up to the Christmas tree and carefully fished out the presents for her and Zurab. She carefully unwrapped a couple of them. Then she re-wrapped an iPad that was meant for Zurab and a weekend health-spa voucher meant for herself and swapped the labels on them. She chuckled quietly and crept back upstairs to bed.
On Christmas morning, Zurab yawned, stretched and got out of bed to find the pillow case he’d left out filled with presents.
When Bad Katie got up she found the empty duvet cover she’s left out was still empty. Vexed, she fished around inside it and found a scrap of paper on which was scrawled “greedy girls get nothing”. She looked up at the ceiling and shouted “Santa, you f…”
“Fooled you!” said Bad Katie’s mother, popping her head round the door. “Now come downstairs and get your presents.”
“Oh. Right.”
Bad Katie traipsed downstairs and began tearing into her presents. Zurab was sitting with a huge grin on his face clutching his health-spa vouchers. “Look what I got! How awesome!”
Mother and father looked at Zurab holding the vouchers and smiling, then they looked at Bad Katie eagerly tapping at her iPad, then they looked at each other in puzzlement.
“Something doesn’t seem quite right here, Katie,” said her father.
“Hey, you got happy children,” said Bad Katie. “Quit while you’re ahead.”
Her father shrugged. “I guess you’re right. Oh, and thanks for the bouquet of flowers. They’re lovely.”


A few days after Christmas, Bad Katie was sat in Sumit’s office again.
“Did you like your present?” said Bad Katie.
“I didn’t dare open it,” said Sumit.
“Why not?” said Bad Katie.
“Thought it might be a bomb or something, knowing you. I remember last year when you got me those Calvin Klein briefs.”
“They were expensive!”
“I’m sure, but did you have to sprinkle itching powder in them?”
Bad Katie cackled. “Must have been an issue at the manufacturing plant.”
“Go on Sumit, open it.”
“Oh, very well.” He opened his desk drawer and took out the small wrapped package. He carefully opened it. Inside was a small box. He opened the box to find several VIP Meet and Greet tickets to one of Bad Katie’s concerts.
He looked at her in puzzlement. “What’s this? I’m your manager, I meet you every week. And I can go to any of your shows.”
“Ah yes, but I thought you could flog these on the fan forums for hiked up prices.”
“Well, I dunno, just a suggestion. You could give them away to homeless people if it makes you feel better. Though just arrange for them to have a bath on the night if you’re going to do that.”
Sumit sighed. “I need coffee. Back in a sec.”
As soon as he’d left the room, Bad Katie whipped a present out from her rucksack and placed it on his desk, scribbled a quick note, then slipped away out of the office.
“Ah, that’s better,” said Sumit, sipping his coffee as he returned to his desk. “Katie?”
He put her coffee on the desk and took another sip of his own as he looked around the room. “Katie?”
He shrugged and sat down. Then he saw the present in front of him and picked up the note. It said “To make up for all the pranks! Love Katie x”. With understandable suspicion and hesitation, he picked up the present and gingerly unwrapped it. It was a special vintage edition bottle of his favourite whisky. He smiled. “Merry Christmas, Katie.”

27.12.21   >   The Detail - Episode 7

"In This Episode, we speak with Award-Winning composer Errollyn Wallen about being an explorer when creating, Errollyn recently bought a lighthouse to write from so we discuss how space and environments can really affect the creative process, we discuss her brave reworking on "Jerusalem" for the BBC's last night of the proms, as well as what it's like collaborating with an astronaut and having your work played in space. "

25.12.21   >   Craggie's Christmas Thoughts

Last Christmas we were all venturing into the unknown with covid and lockdowns and all the fear and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. This year feels rather different. Many people seem to be pushing ahead with Christmas as though everything were back to normal despite the number of covid cases hitting new daily highs. The ultra-cautious mindset seems to have been replaced with a world-weary defiance. To hell with the virus. We want our lives back. It is understandable–the early stages of the pandemic were something new to all of us but now the novelty has long since worn off and we are tired of restrictions that stifle the freedoms we once took for granted. I want to be in a room with 1500 spellbound people as Katie weaves her magic on stage in front of us. It seems so long since that has happened. Yet below that surface of anger and denial there lies the hardening resignation that covid is here to stay. What has changed since last year is that most of us have now had jabs and boosters and for many of us catching covid would likely be pretty much like catching a cold. It is no longer a new form of the Black Death but an inconvenient week or so of feeling grotty. It is worth thinking for a moment about how it has all played out–if the world had been faced with a truly deadly virus, as could easily happen, then the global pandemic could have meant millions, perhaps billions, of deaths. The reality is we’ve actually gotten off fairly lightly. This has been a wake-up call, a gentle reminder from Mother Nature than whilst we’ve been busy plundering and destroying the planet we’ve been blind to the dangers that could wipe us out. There is reason for hope–we are growing in our awareness of climate change, pandemics and other potential disasters like asteroid hits–but as our understanding of our fragility as a species grows it is beginning to dawn on us what a monumental challenge we face to overcome these problems. But human beings tend to work best together when their backs are against the wall fighting a common enemy. Covid has proved that we can come together as a planet to push boundaries and overcome enormous obstacles. I hope that in the year ahead we take heart from our fight against covid and begin to work together to tackle climate change. On an individual level, I hope you all take care of yourselves, your family and friends, and be kind to everyone and all living things. Kindness is a superpower we all possess but not enough of us take advantage of.

20.12.21   >   The Detail - Episode 6

"In this Polly Scattergood and Katie Melua speak with revered musician Tim Harries, who is an absolute master of his craft, a man whose every gesture on the instrument is meaningful. We discuss Artistry with him and asked what shaped him as a musician, as well as asking questions like why does anyone do anything creative? The lure of stardom, playing in Brian Eno's band, as well as imposter syndrome dealing with the inner critique and how to turn criticism into something positive."

14.12.21   >   The Detail - Episode 5

"In This episode, we speak with pioneering musician and producer Imogen Heap about the various tools and technology being developed to make the life of an artist easier. We delve into a day in the life of both a working musician and mother, as well as discuss how and why Imogen invented the incredible MiMu gloves, as well as our hopes for the next generation of artists and the future of music."

07.12.21   >   Katie talks to the BBC about Homelessness

Katie investigated the issue of homelessness for BBC Sounds: England Unwrapped. Listen to this excellent mini-documentary by clicking the pic below to go to the BBC Sounds web site.

06.12.21   >   The Detail - Episode 4

"An honest three-way conversation between Polly Scattergood Katie Melua and Bruce Woolley. How to remain interested and inspired as a writer, how the music business can affect your writing process on a practical and also spiritual level, being adaptable in a changing industry, running your own label, having a hit song, and what happens after that."

05.12.21   >   Dance to Katie?

How would you feel if Katie were to release a dance album? If you're anything like me you might want to go into hibernation but some of you younger souls might still fancy throwing the odd shape (my shapes are extremely odd). But this is not mere idle speculation–would I do that to you? (okay, I admit, I do have form in that area, but not on this occasion)–no, in a recent interview Katie herself suggested she would like to do a dance album. I'm hoping she was high on weird mushrooms but you never know. Anyway, how about a proof of concept? Ha, ha, happy to oblige. There is a dance remix of "Wonderful Life" by Romanian DJ Mentol on YouTube and Spotify. And guess what? That's right, you can hear a snippet of it right here right now as soon as you get to the end of this sentence!

04.12.21   >   Katie Performs "Joy" for ZDF in Germany

Katie performed "Joy" on television a couple of mornings ago for ZDF in Germany. She began with an interview and then joined Simon Goff and Zurab for an exquisite performance promoting the wonderful Acoustic Album No. 8. Click the image below to go to the ZDF site and watch for yourself.

katie with simon goff


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