Monday, June 29, 2009

Those Days Are Gone

Amy and Hazel Rigby, Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, 1994. © Ted Barron

I went to a music class with my 2 year old goddaughter Daisy and her mom, our friend and ace designer Karen the other day. It was all little ones and their mothers with the ages from about two to four. The teacher was this brilliant woman Charlotte, who sat on a rug with everyone and kept pulling things out of a basket: crocodiles, sea creatures, stretchy fabric. I felt a little embarrassed because I got so caught up in the songs and clapping and stuff, I was worried I was being too enthusiastic.

It was fun, and it was sad, as I looked back at those days of two to four year olds from almost two decades. I guess it’s a little bit what it must feel like to be a grandparent? I’ll probably get a bumper sticker made up: Grandma In Training. (Note to Hazel: Not that I’m in any rush!)

I snuck glances at all the lovely mothers, willing them to enjoy themselves as much as possible and not spend their time worrying, like I know I often did. I wanted to tell them how this is the best time you’ll ever know (just like every time is the best time you’ll ever know) but I think they would have thought I was a mad woman.

So instead, I just clapped a little harder and sang even jollier, with Daisy and Karen.

Friday, June 26, 2009


"If all the other kids went and jumped off a bridge, would you do that too?" I remember my mother asking, when I wanted to get my ears pierced.

I've been resisting for months, smug in my insistence that I wouldn't/couldn't get involved in any more social networking tomfoolery. But yesterday, I caved. I don't know why - it just seemed like a good idea all of a sudden.

So now you can, how do you say, "follow me" on Twitter.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

This Is England

Thanks to Mark Riley for having us on his show on Monday - what a devil! The gig at Manchester's Night and Day cafe was a little on the hot side (or maybe it's just good practice for the US) but the hooligans dancing at the front by show's end made it all worthwhile. The Buffalo Bar in London was great fun last night, but we've had to cancel tonight's show in Bristol.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Just when I think I've made great strides in integrating and learning a new language, all that, there are those little moments that remind me - I'm an alien around here.

Yes, we're all flesh and blood etc but so are we also decades of cultural references, shared experience, goddamn TV shows.

This hit me again last night - we were sitting around having dinner with a group of friends, some French, some English, me the only American.

Someone had made a cake for dessert and brought along a can of whipped cream and the can was making its way around the table, with everyone taking a turn anointing their cake. Some people did very basic squirting, some hearts and flourishes, and as everyone expressed themselves with the can we were each scrutinized by the rest of the table and judged and applauded for our creative efforts.

"It's like a Soul Train line, only with desserts," I said, thinking back fondly to the parties of yore when eventually things would disintegrate to the point where two rows would form and anyone on the dance floor would have to strut their stuff for a few seconds.

"Quoi?" I realized no one at the table had any idea what I was talking about. Not that it mattered, but all of a sudden I was trying desperately to explain, in fractured French, about how once there was this TV show, and there was dancing, oh and this guy Don Cornelius, and they'd form these lines either side, and you'd have to dance down the middle, and...and...

By now most of the table had moved on to something else. Eric stayed with me supportively and Emmanuel seemed to catch on to the very slight joke I'd made way back what felt like two months before.

And I suddenly felt very tired.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Proud Sister

If I could have a bumper sticker printed up today, it would say "Proud Sister Of A Sartorialist".

Anyone who knows my brother Michael knows his impeccable style. I don't think I've seen him wear jeans since he was a little kid. His band wear matching gabardine shirts, trousers, ties, coats - and never the same outfit twice. He even dresses vintage to play softball.

Someone told me they thought they spotted him on this website dedicated to great dressers and sure enough, there he is. Scroll down and look for the rogue in the striped socks.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Nothing To Wear

I've been in an eBay frenzy the past few days after realizing I have nothing to wear on this tour. And then I went to find some new glasses and the guy in the eyeglass place had to give me some water when he revealed what two pairs of progressifs (or varifocals) will cost. So how to find something to wear for practically nothing? New clothes are out of the question, and the depot ventes aren't much cheaper.

First I thought I could try to whip up a few items myself. Only I don't have a sewing machine. I got started laying out a pattern, just in case there might be time to run over to a friend's house and sew, but it's been such a long time since I sewed anything, even the laying out part is beyond me at the moment.

So, eBay. I've been hard at it - searching, watching, bidding, forgetting to bid, and finally winning a few low priced items. French eBay is hilarious with over the top descriptions ("Magnifique robe d'été!!"), and has the added benefit of increasing my vocabulary with each item. (Genou? Knee. Mollet? Calf) The harvest is just starting to roll in and (why is this surprising?) the first item is a bit of a dud. A cute red top in the photo, a good brand, nice fabric, but as I put it on the thing seemed to expand, growing until it was almost more of a knee length tunic with an elasticated hem. In other words, a red bubble. As I examine the photo, I can see very clearly how I screwed up - I should have gauged the distance from the armhole to the hem...and now, rereading the description, it clearly says "tunique".

Ah, well. Not that big of a loss for six euros including the postage, but I still don't have anything to wear.

A beach coverup! It makes a perfect beach coverup!

Only when, exactly, will I be going to the beach?

But there's always tomorrow's mail. I'm still waiting on a skirt, a dress, and a pair of trousers. I'm thinking if one of them actually fits and works as anything other than a "beach coverup" or something to cut the grass in, I'll be doing alright.

And if not, there's always the Red, White & Blue thrift shop in Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I'm going through severe Ripley withdrawal today. Last night I reached the last page of The Talented Mr. Ripley, the first one in the series. I've done it kind of backwards, having read all the others first. Maybe it's a way to make it possible to go back and read the rest of the books again, then work my way back to the first, and on and on, so the ride never has to end.

I always feel like I need some kind of counseling when I've finished a Patricia Highsmith book, but particularly anything from the Ripley series.

With Tom Ripley, anything is possible! If someone pisses him off, or stands between him and what is rightfully his, or just acts like an oaf, there's always a very good reason to kill them. In the softest leather gloves.

Like I said, counseling...

I tried to get into this Alan Bennett book, The Uncommon Reader, this morning, and I know it's a good one, but it's too whimsical for me right now. I need some kind of chaser.

I found these books at a vide grenier the other day. Lord knows what any of them are about but I love those early 70's fabric covers. I think Ripley would approve.

70's books

Monday, June 8, 2009


I almost cheated today.

Eric and I made a vow, after the shows in Holland, to cut out the treats, the sweets, the pastries, and try to get in fighting shape for our summer touring.

Maybe it was a photo someone showed me of myself on stage, practically popping the seams of a dress that fit me ten months ago. Yes, I could blame it on the dryer - but we don't have a dryer.

We've been very disciplined, the last few days. I eyed the chocolatines in the bakery yesterday morning, then chastely looked away from the moist golden pastry with dark-hued chocolate peeking out. I know, if we were really serious about cutting back we'd avoid bakeries altogether, but we have to be realistic. It's France, and that means bread. But, bread alone. No butter, no sugar.

It's nice to have another person to keep tabs on, and vice versa. But today I slipped away, to "get some copies made". Yes, it was a flimsy excuse. But I felt like I would go insane without something special in my life, like an apple tart or an eclair.

It's Monday - the bakeries were shut. The moment of crisis passed.

I took a few pictures instead.

for sale


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lazy Sunday

The perfect day to tune in to Wreckless Eric's new weekly radio show!

Friday, June 5, 2009

This Moment

There are those rare moments in life when everything seems to come together. When all the hard work and insecurity pay off. When you can finally say "I've made it."

I had one of those times last week. We were packing up to leave for Holland, and a call came - someone wanted me to sing on their session.

But they were in New York. Luckily, Eric was able to fire up his studio and in no time I was pouring my heart and soul into three different numbers. By 2 AM the results were winging their way back to the studio on the other side of the Atlantic.

You're wondering who. Was it Elton John, and if so why couldn't he have just come over here to do it? Or maybe David Bowie? Robert Plant and Alison Krauss deciding to make it a trio?

No, this was quality.

This was a series of diaper commercials.

I don't know if they'll actually use "my work", but I want to hold on to this moment for as long as I can.