Apologies for the lateness of this piece - I went to the BT Digital Music Awards on Tuesday night and consumed more than my fair share of free wine. But more about that later...
Earlier on Tuesday found me wandering through the rainy streets of Fitzrovia, A-Z clutched tightly, on my way to a music video casting. I haven't been on many castings for a while because I've been a bit too busy playing gigs, but I'm considering starting to push for more just for the sheer randomness of the experience.
A few weeks ago I went up for a part in a very expensive watch advert and found myself having to pout and play guitar in front of a videocamera. The guitar was out of tune and there was no distortion pedal - it's hard to 'rock out' under those circumstances but I tried my best. A quick glance of the treatment after I'd finished made me giggle - Sexy Guitarist Woman totters through the streets of a sleeping city in stilettos and a glamorous dress while, in Pied Piper fashion, she is followed by more and more pairs of old drab slippers who follow her down the road. She reaches the edge of a cliff and the slippers jump off pair by pair until she kicks the last ones over to their certain destruction. Needless to say, I never heard from the casting company again, though I would be very interested to see the finished ad.
This week's casting was as random, but not quite as cheesy. I was up for the part of 'Punk Dominatrix'. Interestingly, my casting agency described the part over the phone as 'Punk Girl', so there I was in a mini skirt, fishnets, legwarmers and a t-shirt. Not quite Mistress of the Night attire. On entering the room I was handed an orange juice carton on a little stick, sprayed black. This was apparently my dominatrix equipment. Fine, fine. I was then required to 'smoulder' for the camera, use the fake paddle in some way, show my profile and sing. Then it was all over (these things are remarkably brief). After a brief chat with the director where I laughingly accused him of taking the casting videos home to watch for his own amusement, I was on my way. I was surprised to hear the next day that I had got the part, but then the shoot was cancelled!
Straight after my casting I went to meet the rest of the band in preparation for the BT Digital Music Awards at The Roundhouse. It was an exciting evening, not only was it my first awards ceremony but I'd never been inside the venue before. I was aware of its hallowed past - Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, The Who and Yoko Ono being among the many seminal artists who have played there over the years - and was impressed too by the structure itself, which has journeyed "from engine shed to gin warehouse to cultural mecca".
Walking down the red carpet was very funny. I wasn't exactly expecting to have the paparazzi asking me who I was but I didn't bank on being moved 'out of the way' by security guards then having to stand for ages at the other end to get up the stairs to our dressing room, trying not to block all the celebrities walking through. Ahh, the life of a session musician. At least the band walking down the carpet allowed the photographers to have a couple of minutes' rest.
The awards ceremony was just what you'd expect an awards ceremony to be - tiny posh food served for dinner, loads of free booze and hordes of prosperous looking business people. There were some musicians too, of course, and I caught up with some friends and acquaintances from other bands backstage. Edith Bowman and Alex Zane were presenting and were very friendly and other performers included Nate James, Captain, Sandi Thom and Lorraine.
Before I got smashed on free white wine I managed to smuggle a load of fruit from the quite elaborate baskets laid out backstage, come face to face with Peter Gabriel and became utterly starstruck for the first time in my life (rooted to the spot, eyes wide, no sound coming from mouth, the whole shebang) and eat some lovely puddings.
After I got smashed on free white wine I managed to steal all the white wine off the rest of the tables while encouraging the rest of the band members to drink it all with me, have a go at someone from the NME (he turned out to be one of their web designers but never mind), do the same to someone from Kerrang!, fall over a bit and, when I got back to my young man's house, wash my phone. Yes. I washed my mobile phone. With water. Vigorously.
But back to more serious matters. The highlight of my evening was surely Peter Gabriel's acceptance speech for his 'Pioneer Award'. Ignoring the tables full of record labels, distributors, PR and other media, he emphasised the importance of artists owning their own name, their own music, their own website, using the record industry as a service industry rather than as a worthy owner of copyright. The polite silence started to dissipate as all the A&R guys shook their heads and said "Ahem, anyway..."
This Week's Five
1. Sledgehammer - Peter Gabriel
2. Frontline - Captain
3. The Message - Nate James
4. Plum Colored - Chelsea Wolfe
5. Drink Your Milk - Open Mouth