Thursday, 16 April 2015

Changing Lanes

The journey of my career path so far... 

(my thoughts on how to change career... many times, and whether it matters)

I went to a talk the other week at The School of Life by John Gray (Straw Dogs) and Alain de Botton (The School of Life). In it Alain asked John what he thought about the two great myths of our time - The myth of career, and the myth of love. John answered that the career was dead, but both "Work & Love are not entirely dissimilar - both show we are of value to other humans".

When i look back on my myth of a career so far, it doesn't make sense in any standard bureaucracy. I can imagine companies receiving my CV and thinking: 
1) Who the hell are Earache Records? 
2) What does this girl want from her career? 
3) How has she worked at all these festivals and done all this stuff, she must be lying? 
4) She clearly doesn't know what she wants to have tried all these different things. 
5) This is not the standard, reliable background / formation I would like our employee to have, lets go with someone with more consistent experience.

(Here's a photo of me giving a weird motivational speech at Uxfest, 
Islington Academy (now o2) in 2006)

(Not in any particular order) I've worked as a youth worker, i ran projects at a children's charity, I've presented rock radio, i have run a french hip hop club, a rock festival, i have a degree in french and European studies, i have managed bands, i have a degree in theatre from a french university, i have presented on Japanese TV, i have been a TV researcher, I've worked in a theatre box office, I managed publicity for a record label, I've worked on festivals in all sorts of places, I've been an artist liaison, I've been a backstage manager, I've done crowd management, i worked at the Olympics, i made a film about graffiti artists that was never seen, i ran social media campaigns, i went back to school again, i discovered a love of painting, i went freelance...

A lot of these things seem similar to me. They have different job titles, but to me, as i was the same person when i was doing all these things, the skills have all been mine and I look at it as just a normal progression. 
I don't want to make this blog about CV writing because honestly there is nothing as galling as writing and rewriting your bloody CV, let alone reading a blog about it. I still find writing a CV the most mind numbing thing on the planet apart from maybe listening to party political broadcasts, BUT i have learnt a few things about having a myth of a career that goes across 'different industries' - 

1. How people like CVs to look is really personal to them. You cannot anticipate the way people like CVs laid out.
2. People do check LinkedIn (even though it is super annoying)
3. Seeking help is important - i was so lucky with two people in particular (Thank you Ewa and Jon) helping me out over the years trying to gather my thoughts, find the right language and to...
4. Break your work experience down into skills
- The skills will really tell you where you're at, where the gaps are and where you can go next...

Anyway, enough about CVs, what i wanted to get to is a lot of people are still surprised that i left Rival Sons last summer (Isle of Wight Festival 2014) and then 2 months later started working for the Zoological Society of London. It seems like a big change... but is it really? If you look at the skill set to me there is a lot of overlap... because i am the same person!

You may already know how much i love Rival Sons. Without overstating it, these guys have supported me, been grateful for my work, been my true friends and generally done a lot more than most bands would for their publicist. So you can imagine that it was a very difficult decision to say goodbye to working with them after being there from day dot. 
John Gray was right, when he said "Work & Love are not entirely dissimilar - both show we are of value to other humans" - I have always felt immensely valued by Rival Sons, but my myth of a career path needed to go a different route. 

Here are Rival Sons on the set of Letterman last year, wishing me Happy Birthday. What a band.

My heart has never really been with music publicity, my heart was with the Rival Sons, with the music, with the creativity. Truth be told at times i disliked doing music publicity. I fell into it and it was never really a career choice i made. After 6.5 years at Earache and 2 years freelance, the other stuff i did over and above publicity, was more important to me than being between rock (n'roll) and a hard place in the no-win game that is music PR. That's not to say i didn't have a lot of fun, and i am very grateful for many of the opportunities i got, but for a long time, for myself, i needed something else.

It seems to me that there are few places to progress to from the role of a female music PR, and i can't understand why anyone would want to be a music PR forever. Even if you are working with the best bands, your existence is dependent on their choices as if you are living vicariously through them. Maybe you switch sides and become a journalist, maybe you tour, maybe you do film PR or similar. None of these options appealed to me.

I needed time to find my own creativity, and to get to what i really wanted and needed. After i left Earache Records in 2012 i began to realise how much i love all forms of art. I was lucky that although my strange myth of a career path was too diverse for many HR managers, it did allow me a spectrum of experience in the Arts, enough that through my skill set i could apply for the job i now have a the Zoological Society of London running their Arts & Culture programme.

What i want to say to people with a real range of talents who have worked in lots of different creative sectors, is - don't think you have to take the direct route in your chosen job. Having multiple strings to your bow actually affords you a strange kind of freedom outside the bounds of the 'myth' of the career path, and a perspective that is so useful to a future employer - and if a career itself turns out to be a myth in future years, as predicted by John Gray and Alan De Botton, then you will be in a much stronger position.

Rely on yourself and your hard-won skills, because whatever job you're in, you're still the same person. After all, your job isn't your identity.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Absence makes the blog grow fonder?

You know how they say in music the absence of sound is as important as the melody – the rests are as vital as the tune? Or in art how the negative space is what makes the painting – well it’s the same with blogs right? Hence the past year without a blog – is as important as the blog itself… right? SURE.

... in any case - Tadaima! I'm back!
And about to head to India for 3 weeks, so expect lots of musings on Indian culture, and trying to get back into the swing of blogging regularly, it was something i enjoyed immensely (rather like talking to myself in public)


Friday, 25 June 2010

Live without Fear

I wrote most of this blog over 4 months ago... but i haven't felt able to post it 

You may have noticed, that i haven't blogged for quite a while
because of ongoing issues... but here goes

- - - 

I recently read an interview maybe in the evening Standard with a lady who i can't remember the name of now who would be termed by E! Entertainment channel as a cougar.
Her famous boyfriend is 20 years or so younger than her, and she’s just very happily, become pregnant.
I’m sure if I googled it I could find out who she was.
It wasn’t so much the fact she was a cougar and dating a younger man that resonated with me, and has made me type this little missive, although of course, it did strike a chord, but it was that she said her main motto and plan has always been to live without fear.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot. To live without fear. Fear of getting older, Fear of going out with someone younger. (That’s just in terms of the context of this article) But fear can permeate so many things. Fear is anxiety, fear is worry, fear is stress, fear is in some ways guilt. And all of it is pretty much unnecessary. I’m sure my Dad being infinitely practical and pragmatic would say “Talita, fear is a natural defense” and that “Fear would save neanderthal man from the beast” Yes, its true that fear can give you the edge you need. Like performers going on stage. Or broadcasters getting behind the mic. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that to live without fear is an admirable goal I think, and something that makes me admire this lady (who I can’t remember the name of) who tries to live her life without it.
I once read a Buddhist monk say “My religion, is to live, and die, without regret”
I think this is very similar to living without fear.
Recently I’ve come up against a situation that made me scared, having fear of something is a horrid feeling. And that’s over and on top of the normal anxieties and fears you get as a PR i.e. “Will I get this album’s press sorted in time” and “How the hell am I supposed to fit all this in?”
Fear, like anger, really being scared of something is a horrid feeling that seems to swim in your gut then pop up in your mind. I don’t like it. And what’s more, I’m not the kind of person who would shrivel, I like to summon up courage and go and deal with it.
Is it possible to live without fear?
Sometimes I think I have too much fear and hence safety in my life. When I got mugged last year and they got away with nothing, I think it helped that I’m to a degree always on my guard and that I wasn’t too coy to shout loud, and that I wouldn’t let go of my stuff. Arseholes.
I like to think I don’t put myself in harms way too much.
But surely all these “security” measures enable me to live without fear? Or are they just the opposite?

Anger is always the first emotion that is thought about when it comes to talking about destructive emotions. But I think sometimes that fear is just as bad.
Fear of rejection for example, and fear of what other people think. I wonder if people didn’t feel burdened by these things how much more they might achieve, and how much closer to their dreams they may reach?

After all, if you don’t ever try, then you’ll never know.

My aim is to live without fear.
But I think that I’m still practising.

- - - - - -

I think I'll finish with some awesome Iron Maiden lyrics and say how excited i am about seeing them at Sonisphere this year...

I am a man who walks alone
And when I'm walking a dark road
At night or strolling through the park

When the light begins to change
I sometimes feel a little strange
A little anxious when it's dark.

Fear of the dark,fear of the dark
I have constant fear that something's always near
Fear of the dark,fear of the dark
I have a phobia that someone's always there

Have you run your fingers down the wall
And have you felt your neck skin crawl
When you're searching for the light ?
Sometimes when you're scared to take a look
At the corner of the room
You've sensed that something's watching you.

Have you ever been alone at night
Thought you heard footsteps behind
And turned around and no-one's there ?
And as you quicken up your pace
You find it hard to look again
Because you're sure there's someone there

Watching horror films the night before
Debating witches and folklore
The unknown troubles on your mind
Maybe your mind is playing tricks
You sense,and suddenly eyes fix
On dancing shadows from behind.

Fear of the dark, fear of the dark
I have a constant fear, thought you heard
Fear of the dark, fear of the dark
I have a phobia that someone's always there.

When I'm walking a dark road
I am a man who walks alone

Friday, 5 March 2010

Amadou and Mariam

My new found love for Amadou and Mariam

I just thought I would note that although I love metal I love many other types of music and my current new love is Amadou and Mariam. They remind me of a cassette tape I used to have of Habib Koite. And I think they’re fab.
Here’s a youtube:

Thursday, 4 March 2010



Last year I aimed to go to Buenos Aires, Istanbul and Tibet.
Its nearly a year ago now that I made it to Buenos Aires, and its nearly 6 whole months ago that I made it to Tibet… but I didn’t make it to Istanbul – but this year 2010 I did! And I have already. Tick!

No, really, I don’t think about countries and cities as something to tick off some never ending list. Cause in reality once you’ve visited them once they’re not “done” and you never can see everything - in my whole life in London i've never "done" London and Tibet, for me, will never be “done”- it's a love affair! And Bhutan, so beautiful I will long to go back to for a long time I should think (its very expensive!)
But there’s a lot more to discover! And when an opportunity to go to Istanbul came up with my boyfriend (travelling with my boyfriend and not alone… shocking, I know!) I of course said YES!

Istanbul is a very interesting city, not only because of the geographic setting at the very cusp of Europe and Asia, and of course because of the fascinating architecture and Iznik art, which I did a lot of looking at – but because of the history of the place and for me, the historical religious mixture and the changes between Christianity and Islam, and the relationship between the two.

We were staying right near the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sofia that sit almost opposite each other, and are both mosques, although once the Hagia Sofia was a Basillica.
Hagia Sofia and Blue Mosque

The Hagia Sofia is fascinating, it is grand, and magnificent and very impressive. With mosaics of Jesus and Mary still on the walls, but crosses that have been removed.

I can't see those crosses

Mihrab in the Hagia Sofia

 This is where you get to look out of if you're a girl! So lucky!

There is one angel with a face, whereas the other angel’s faces have been covered over as I believe in Iznik art you cannot represent people or animals.

Which is why you end up with such lovely tiles, which I saw quite a lot of!

The Blue Mosque is not as impressive inside as the Hagia Sofia, but still very beautiful. Unfortunately its surrounded by carpet salesmen claiming the Mosque is closed, and so you have to visit their shop. Errrr…

We visited lots of wonderful places The Hagia Sofia, Dolmabahce Palace, (çe_Palace )The Architectural museum, The Roman cistern, The Chora Church and i sat through a call to prayer in one of the mosques which was captivating and lovely.
Roman Cistern
Mary and Joseph having a snog on the wall of the Chora Church 14th C

I said no no no no no - early backing dancer breaking out the attitude, 14th Century religious pop video. Bling.

I was particularly interested in The Topkapi palace and their “The sacred trusts” rooms. In those rooms was not only some very interesting panels explaining some of Koran and the Muslim Old testament beliefs (I have never finished reading the Koran myself, although I intend to one day!) but also Abrahams saucepan, St John the Baptists arm, Somebody else’s turban (sorry! Joseph's! As in he had a coat of many colours!) and The Prophet Mohammed’s cape (sorry, its a blessed mantle). Or at least lots of boxes that may have housed his Blessed mantle.
I like this idea of religious artefacts. Its fun. Humans need tangiable things to look at. But I do think that it was one of the 10 commandements something about idolatry. Oh no wait false idols. So does that include statues of Jesus, St John the Baptists arm, a splinter of the cross, the Turin shroud and the Prophet Mohammed’s cape? Or does it just refer to Pop Idol, Golden calves and the Pantheon of Greek gods in painted marble?

Out of all the religious artefacts I’ve seen I most like St. John the Baptist’s arm at the Topkapi, and the idea of St. Therese’s bones (these are in Liseux) cause they have magic (sorry, not magic, holy) powers that can heal!
Hell yes!
I mean Heavens yes!

I am the worst kind of sceptic. A sarcastic one.
Oh maybe I am the best kind of sceptic. An interested one. 

The Topkapi treasury is very impressive too, talking of golden idols, the jewels the sultan wore are amazing!
I especially was a fan of the Topkapi dagger with the HUGE emeralds.

We took a ferry and crossed over to Asia for a few hours. (It takes 20 mins) but I enjoyed the “other side”, it had some interesting markets, and everything seemed to be a bit cheaper than the European side.

Also the view of the hazy skyline of Istanbul that is so recognisable because of the hundreds of Mosques, maybe even thousands is great from the ferry.

The weather wasn’t that great, as it was February, But it was warmer than snowy England which was a welcome break, and it felt like I hadn’t seen the sun in forever! So I was very happy to drink apple tea with my face in the sun by the Bosphorous!

Oh, and I suppose I should mention that Apple tea has to be one of my new favourite things and I think I’ll go and make myself a cup right now! 

p.s. Please note my little cats of Istanbul photo diary:

Cat on photos

Cat chased up tree by dogs who look very proud of themselves
Two cats, and lots of fish

Friday, 26 February 2010

Paris Paris

Paris Paris

I do have a love affair with Paris. I love affair with the people there that I adore (I am vehemently against this sentiment of a lot of British people “Oh I love France, but unfortunately it’s full of French” 1. Generally speaking I find French people lovely 2. Some of my family and best friends are French 3. The snooty French are hilarious! Loosen up!) and with the Paris that I see through films like “Les amants du pont neuf” and “Subway” and “Amelie”, and also with the great memories I have from Paris. Plus of course the general French culture and the specific Parisian culture, that is oh-so-more-impressive right? Paris Paris
Anyway, its rare that I have a band play in Paris, for all its delights, it doesn’t attract metal bands all that often, especially not those under a certain level… and that level is generally very different in France to in the UK as French metal culture is a really strange fish.
I’ve been trying to study French metal culture for… a long time now. Probably at least 10 years.
I used to think that for a metal band to work in France they used to have to be beautiful, artistic, or politically active.
That’s what I used to think. And to a certain degree it still holds true, but it’s so much more complex than that. Taking into account the French laws about airplay of songs in French and the national support of French bands before those from abroad, the whole approach is different.
I would like to theorise that it’s something to do with the influence or lack of influence of the 1950’s teenage confidential style rebellion that happened in the States. Unlike in the UK or the US the parental power structure didn’t seem to be undermined to such and extent and the respect for your elders, and the natural chic obeissance seemed to continue unabashed with the new rock n roll / beatnik / free thinkers being acceptable by the artistic French rather than repelled.
But that of course would be too huge of a generalisation, and it’s to a degree an unfounded hypothesis.
I have thought about these things and wondered though. The 80’s seemed to be missing the impact in France that it had in the UK. No Maggie Thatcher. And their best attempt at Heavy metal was … Trust?
You’d think some industrial town like Le Mans or something could have produced a Black Sabbath? Or as opposed to actually going on strike the French workers could have voiced their dispute through thinly veiled satanic references and slowed down, heavied out blues rock?
Come on then you french readers – tell me what happened? What went wrong in the evolution of French heavy metal culture?
Wrong you say? Wrong? There’s nothing wrong with French Heavy metal culture…
Well… it’s true recently there’s been Gojira who’ve risen over all other French heavy metal bands to make it onto the world stage. But still the evolution of Heavy metal culture in France is a puzzle to me.
One that I don’t know any of the answers to, and will continue to make half cocked theories about.
And so the advent of Hellfest comes around. The first proper metal festival in France. And it goes from strength to strength every year. But its not in Paris, its in Clisson. Because there really couldn’t possibly be a heavy metal festival in ParisParis is way too chic!
But really – I think metal is regarded a way more provincial than it is in the UK with only bands like Ulver really hitting the target with a French Parisian crowd. (Are they metal at all these days?) With their arty political beautiful ex-black metal musings they are perfect for a French audience.
And I was lucky to see them at La Cigale in Paris last week.
And I was lucky to see Evile. One of my first thrash bands to play Paris ever. I had to go and try and get French press there to see them. Ulver and Evile, you couldn’t get two more different bands. One at Glaz’Art – a small venue near Porte de la Villette on the Wednesday night, the other at La Cigale in Pigalle on the Friday night (in a sit down theatre).
Thrash is apparently coming back in France.
I wonder where it went in France.
I know it disappeared into Metalcore and grunge and all sorts in the UK.
I don’t really know where it went in France, because sometimes I’m not sure it was ever there in the first place. As thrash per se.
I’m sure that Metallica could sell out shows in secondes in France, but I suspect they may be termed “Hard Rock” and not metal or thrash at all.
Anyway, the French metal scene will remain a conundrum to me.
Not to mention the appearance of the dreaded hippy. (and I mean with dreads and dogs who juggle)

So, I spent 4 days in Paris last week, flying the thrash (which is pronounced trash in French, which makes it sound like glam and/or rubbish) banner and once again trying to work out
What is French metal culture anyway?

Evile in Paris

Hellfest meets Terrorizer and Gallimard in Paris

Joel birthday celebrations in Paris, bless him - 1st Evile tour, becomes a dad for the first time on the first day of tour, then celebrates his birthday in Paris!

Recent travels

So we’re already well into February and I still haven’t written down any new year’s resolutions, and I haven’t written a list of places to visit in 2010 either… not that that’s stopped me travelling – I’m writing this from my second plane journey this year on my way to Istanbul!
My first holiday of the year, and my first holiday since the Himalayas, I’m very excited! And very unprepared! I haven’t done my research!
All I can tell you is that Istanbul was on my list of places to go last year along with Argentina and Tibet. And that I achieved the other two. So when the opportunity came up to go to Istanbul with my boyfriend and his family I said yes please!

But firstly let me tell you about what I’ve been up to so far this year.

I went to Dublin for 1 day in January! How extravagant! I left very early one Saturday morning and came back late the same night for a Gama Bomb photoshoot and interview for Kerrang magazine. It was the preference of the photographer to do the trip all in one day, and the flight to Dublin is under an hour, so I didn’t mind, although travelling is really exhausting and so I felt pretty wiped out the next few days after that.
All I saw of Dublin really was the airport, a cafĂ©, a pub, another pub, the cold, the river and the airport again. Which was a bit rubbish as far as writing about travel adventures go. It was the second time I’d visited Dublin though, the first time having been with school to take part in the “Model United Nations” conference where I was representing France on the issue of Nuclear Disarmament (I think I was 17). All I can say about Dublin then, was it involved drinking, and snogging two boys, one Irish and one Brazilian, and passing hundreds of notes around the conference which contained suggestive national pastimes of the French to delegates from other schools / countries.
I would like to think my notes worked, as I did end up improving international relations through kissing.
Anyway, my experience of Dublin was limited both times and I apologise to Dubliners for that, as I know your city is beautiful and I was woefully sidetracked both visits.

Anyway, Gama Bomb – the photoshoot was for a Kerrang feature on them after the release of their new album “Tales from The Grave in Space” which we (Earache) firstly released for free last November (2009). The day was very cold! Our photographer was the lovely Ashley Maile, and everything went very smoothly I’m delighted to say. Gama Bomb are one of those bands who I’m lucky to work with, as they are a right bunch of characters and Philly is a real card, who knows the difference between a trilby and a fedora, and could tell you how best to cut a figure in a waistcoat. Which maybe aren’t the normal traits you would associate with the frontman of a thrash band?

Anyway, first trip out of the UK in 2010 done and dusted.