Gig: Felix Hagan and The Family.

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Spent a very nice (sober) night in Camden Bar Fly watching a great set by Felix Hagan and The Family. K (who has seen them before) encouraged me to go – I wasn’t sure about going out at all as I had work in the morning. Work is about to get really busy so I thought I should get an early night. But then I got some (other) work at a gig down the road which finished just before the set at Bar Fly.

So I decided that even though sleep is important, it might be a nice way to mark the end of the week and blow off some steam.

I really enjoyed watching the performance. The music was very cool, really upbeat but dirty and dark – very sexy. There were some gorgeous solos from keys and guitar, and a particularly dirty bass riff which made me very happy. The lead vocalist had great charisma. He was joined by two lovely ladies who provided backing vocals and moved in fun little routines to the music. Their outfits were lovely too. The whole thing had a great stage presence and there was a deliciously theatrical element to the show – these guys know how to entertain a crowd. There was a nice nod to a campy-horror film/goth aesthetic, in the lyrics and in presentation – lots of black clothing, lace etc on the ladies. Sort of debauched, dirty glam/goth/rock showmanship from the entire ensemble. Think Rocky Horror with massive sex appeal. Then the ladies got into the crowd and waltzed with us. That was pretty cool! The band also looked like they were enjoying themselves too. It was a very fun night.

Then I ran for the last tube to Elephant and Castle. I downloaded their EP (launched last night at Bar Fly) to listen to on the night bus home. Really good. I’d like to see them live again, they bring a fantastic energy to live performance, really liked it.

I’m so glad I ended up staying out last night!

Felix Hagan and The Family’s EP ‘String Up The Entertainer’ is available now on iTunes.

The List.

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Its September.

For a large portion of one’s formative years, September is a bearer of new starts, change and adjustment. Until I was twenty one, September was the start of a new academic term. New pencil cases filled with biros, highlighters and uniform-length HBs. Unblemished notebooks, ready for their first mark. I’ve been out of education for three years now, but September still has that feeling of new starts for me. The remains of Summer are still shining, coupled with the sense of new beginnings and fresh purpose. I love September. After a year after graduating from university, I moved to London (in September) for a new job. I work freelance in the arts and I constantly having to begin again in news jobs and seasonal work. Each year I spend August in Edinburgh (at The Fringe Festival). Its a skewed version of normal. Coming back to the solid reality of a new job is a lovely feeling, I’ve been fortunate enough to have a new one each time I come back to London. In some ways I do retain that sense of Summer; the month in a different city and then starting work again, meeting new people, new challenges. And new notebooks.

September is also a time for personal change and adjustment. August in Edinburgh is full of temptations – for me that’s mostly booze and comedians. I am truly helpless when faced with a man who can make me laugh. For the most part, I would consider myself gay (ladygay, but we’ll get onto that matter in due course) but there is something about someone who can make me laugh that I find irresistible, regardless of gender. It gets me into trouble. This Edinburgh was no exception. I refuse to count the number of whiskey-fuelled evenings misspent in the company of some very funny men.

So back to London I go, with a few more (hazy) memories and a few more (unwanted) phone numbers saved into my mobile. And for me, September seems as good a month as any to start things afresh and cast off any unwanted habits/masculine entanglements. This year I’ve gone one further and written down a list of resolutions.

(Aside: I never make resolutions in January. Its not that I’m without room for improvement, but my birthday is on the 6th and I just like cake and booze way too much to start giving anything up. My birthday would either be boring as sin, or I’d have broken everything I had just vowed by the first week. Not a good way to start the year.)

So there is now a piece of paper in my kitchen detailing all the things I should [or should not] accomplish this month and beyond.

The list is as follows:

  • No booze in September.

After a particularly heroic liver-bashing in Edinburgh this year, I decided that keeping a clear head, and giving my poor body a rest, would be a wise course of action. Not to mention the added benefits that a ginger beer will ALWAYS be cheaper than actual beer.

  • Find a day job.

To support the freelance work I actually want to do, to pay the rent, basic rationale.

  • Feel better in body – so you can tattoo body.

Back to the gym with a vengeance, I’m thinking of getting a tattoo on my torso, so toning this area is key. I just also want to feel better physically. I love my curves [I am a curvy lady, I have boobs and hips and an arse and I like it] but want to feel more toned, and generally healthier and more energetic. The tattoo is a powerful motivator for this one.

  • Design tattoo.

I have a tattoo on my wrist, which is my own design and I’m very proud of it, and what it signifies. I would like this next one [another signifier of a proud achievement in my life] to be my own design too. I know the image and style of it, I just need to translate it onto paper to communicate to the tattoo artist.

  • Make flat feel more like a home.

My housemate and I have been living in our flat for nine months now. We’re both really busy and have a tendency to use our flat as a base camp, rather than a home. I truly consider it [and London] my home, and it looks pretty homely, but I just want it too feel a bit more like a home. So I’m going to put up a few more pictures, take a little more pride in its upkeep and invite friends over for dinner.

  • Stop sleeping with men – and comedians.

This one requires a bit more elaboration than the rest, this was technically the first written and of highest importance.

As I have said, I am powerless against a man who can make me laugh. Whether they have a way of telling stories in the pub, or can stand in front of a crowd of people in Scotland and make them [and me] laugh, I find it incredibly sexy. And if they’re interested in me at all, there is no hope for either of us! I will hit anyone in this world that I find funny, regardless of age, appearance, gender or marital status.

The thing I’m coming to realise, more and more with each relationship, is that while I find men very attractive, I don’t feel right in heterosexual relationships. My own sense of self feels compromised, or his neuroses about dating someone who is openly attracted to both genders becomes an issue. Other times I feel uncomfortably conscious of and obligated to either rebel against or conform to the male/female dynamic in our relationship. These always threaten whatever we’ve built together. It’s a constant factor in the breakdown of my relationships with men. I have wondered in the past if these things would manifest themselves in reverse while in a relationship with a woman, but this hasn’t proved the case. It has lead me to question how I identify myself, and whether having relationships with men is even something I want in life. If this is becoming a pattern – my pattern – I should try to stop. Its not good for me – or the men I date.

I do find it very easy to interact with men, and enjoy their company. Though a theory I’ve been considering is that I find it easy to interact with the opposite sex because I don’t care if I get rejected by them. It would explain why I’m genuinely fearless when it comes to flirting with men. Its a different story when it comes to flirting with women [basically I can’t] because I probably am more aware of the possibility of being rejected.

An immediate consequence of this theory is that I’ve decided that blindly running into relationships with men is a destructive course of action. I find it happens disturbingly frequently – I’m good at it, but its bad for me. So I have placed a full male embargo upon myself to address this. No sleeping with men. You don’t want to be in relationships with them. Try living like an actual lesbian for chrissakes!

My friends are in favour of this plan. My housemate, E, watched me draw up the list, offering her own ‘helpful’ suggestions. She’s also declared she will take it upon her to draw a big, black line through any I fail in, which sounds harsh and unsupportive, but I’m now accountable to her for these things, as well as myself. My friend K is also supporting me in this endeavour. He’s showing solidarity in other resolutions too, by cutting out booze and he’s taken up running. And he isn’t sleeping with men either. It might be because he’s straight – and engaged. But I like to think he’s showing a united front on the matter.

The Ladygay x