Just in case you are worried that I’m going all biblical on your asses here – no, that’s a paraphrased quote from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” .Magenta actually says “I ask for nothing” and that had sort of described my approach to well, approaching. Let me explain – two weeks ago I went to see the beautiful and wonderfully talented Icelandic singer Hafdis Huld. After the show, she sat at a wee table, signing CDs and chatting. Did I go up and talk to her? No. I wanted to, I really wanted to but I was feart. And I have this funny thing where I feel that once an artist, be they singer, writer, comedian or whatever, has finished their show, they deserve to chill out and not have me hanging about bothering them. It’s daft, I know – in my brief stints as a stand-up comedian and actor, I have always enjoyed chatting to people and getting feedback but I have felt anxious and somehow unworthy when the boots on the other foot.
However, this great book by Amanda, for whom there is in my opinion no superlative quite worthy to truly describe her, has made me change my mind. So much so that, while reading early on about her adventures in couchsurfing and encounters with her fanbase, that, when I saw a tweet from Billy Pettinger (who I was due to see for the first time supporting Against Me!) asking if there was anyone willing to offer a couch for her and her driver. I hummed and hawed for a bit, okayed it with my lover and teenchild and posted a reply in the affirmative. The next day, Billy messaged me back to say that she was going to stay with the band on their tour bus instead, which was cool. But at least I did it – I offered (and the offer is always there Billy). And I did go and have a wee chat with her after the show – she was lovely and not at all scary. However, much to my regret I wimped out of hanging around to see Laura Jane Grace – baby steps, baby steps.
I would possibly have girded my ample loins when I had the privilege of seeing Amanda play in Edinburgh last summer and stayed post-show to chat but I genuinely had to leave for the last train home and didn’t relish the prospect of wandering about all night with my then 16 year old in tow! But having read this book, it was like the hug I never sought out, never asked for but still received. And in abundance – thank you Amanda.
I was going to review the book wasn’t I? – well I’m not going to say much beyond it’s bloody marvellous and go and read the fuck out of it! It’s everything – and nothing – that you’d expect from such a generous and open artist, and now writer, such as Amanda. Its foreword by the fabtastic Brené Brown (whose book “Daring Greatly” helped me so much last year) is a huge bonus.
I am so lucky to live in this rock on the same rotation as such beautiful, powerful and amazingly talented women like Amanda, Hafdis, Laura and Billy. Bless you all and thank you for bringing what you do to my wee life. But prepare yourselves because next time you come to Glasgow, there will be hugs. And cake. Oh yes, definitely cake.