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March 2021 Archive
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.