Fatima And The Reluctant Movie Producer

IMG_0590Fatima was a woman who lived a thousand years ago. Just when her life was stable, something would happen to it like a shipwreck or being kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery. Each time she acquired a new life she acquired a new skill. But it all turned out okay in the end because all the skills she’d acquired enabled her to make a tent for the Emperor of China and she lived happily ever after.

I’ve never been shipwrecked or kidnapped by pirates but I do feel my life is  like Fatimas. I’m embarrassed at the number of things I’ve done: acting, singing,  writing songs, being signed up by Warner Brothers, being dropped by Warner Brothers, being signed by Sony, being dropped by Sony, running a kung fu school, publishing a book, producing 15 kung fu DVDs, writing 2 novels (that are hiding in my loft).

DSC_0427

Maybe it’s the nature of life these days, that many creative people have to do numerous random things in order to survive. But I often feel like a shipwreck. Bits and pieces scattered all over the ocean.

IMG_3533When I was shuttered in the kung fu school with the gang trying to break down the door, my mum was a bit worried about me, and I said, “It’s meant to be.” I don’t know where those words came from but I really meant them. She said,  “I don’t believe in that, how is it meant to be?” Panic creeping into her voice.

I didn’t know the answer at the time but now I realise it was meant to be because all the skills I’ve acquired are enabling me to make my version of Fatima’s tent: a feature film.

IMG_0618

Some people are reluctant fundamentalists and I’m a reluctant producer, going on crash courses at Raindance to learn about tax breaks for investors and SEIS and film tax relief. The only difference between Harvey Weinstein and myself is I don’t have an office with pot plants, and as I write this my daughter’s balanced on my lap chewing a rubber giraffe.

Baby & Giraffe

Frustration is building up inside me because all I want to do is start creating the soundtrack, learning my lines and making the film. But frustration is a good thing because it’s like a damn, building and building so when the gateway opens there ‘ll be a flood.

Click here to find out more about the film or pre-buy the soundtrack

LIKE  FOLLOW

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In My Next Life I’m Going To Be Gay

Last October I went to see Dan in New York. I stayed in his loft apartment and slid into his life for a week: gallery openings, dinners with fashion designers, lunches with TV producers followed by a weekend at The Hamptons. We stayed in an interior designer’s house, the marble had been shipped from India, the wood paneling from an old library in London. How much better was it than my  cramped mice infested London flat. Did I mention all of these people were men? Did I mention they were gay?

Nut the singer It was only when I was swimming laps in their pool that I finally came to terms with the fact that I couldn’t have a baby. Ten years ago, I’d been told by my doctor I had a 1% chance. I was distraught at the time but these men didn’t have kids and look at their lives. They were as close to heaven on earth as possible.  This would be impossible if they had kids. Kids stole your sleep, spent your money, snatched your freedom and generally created chaos wherever they went.

Cat Goscovitch aka nut

Before I left, Yan lei told me I had to run 5k everyday. In London, I’d been training with him six days a week. I’d run four miles to his gym, do twenty, three minute rounds followed by half an hour of Qigong. So a 5k run was a walk in the park but I was struggling to do this. In the private gym of the New York apartment with only a security camera for company, I closed my eyes for a second –  chips and German sausages flew before them.

baby

It was only when I got back to London that I discovered why I was dreaming of German sausage. The training coupled with the strict diet I’d been on must have triggered something in my body and I ‘d achieved the 1%.

I’d been training hard to become Lena Jones, a singer – like myself  -who loses her record deal and ends up living in a kung fu school – oh, I did that too -.  It was hard to write a film so close to real life.  Things that were important to me were not important to the story or Lena and it took awhile for me to differentiate between the two. Each draft went through an acid test of script editors and  screenwriters until finally I achieved a draft where the only feedback that came back was positive.

The Turtle & The SeaToday I start training to become Lena Jones all over again , write her soundtrack, raise money for the film, do battle with mice and look after a cute little baby. There’s a 20% chance of a film actually making money but as I’ve already achieved the 1% that’s pretty good odds for me.

If you’d like to help us make this film, please click here to watch the trailer and pre-buy the soundtrack or the film.

And if you have any tips on how to get rid of mice, please let me know.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

伴你走天涯 – Tears & Thunder Mean The Same Thing When Sung Out Loud

My Kung Fu Shifu is great at translating songs. Last winter, after 6 am training, my hair smelling of sweat because it was too cold to wash it, I’d sit in his office munching an apple while he translated Everywhere You Go.

He’d ask me things like,

“What does put your hair down to touch the ground mean?”

I’d squirm and say,

‘Well there was this boy and this girl and they got… intimate.”

Every now and again he’d go outside to bash a student in the stomach with an iron bar or break a stick over someone’s arm then come back and continue with the translation.

“I want to be outside your window, I want to be outside your door?”

“She’s in love. She wants to spend every moment of her life with him.”

After he finished the translation, I recorded him speaking the Chinese, and spent any loose time I had learning the words; on the bus, on the tube. I relished queues because it took away the guilt that really I should be doing other things than learning a song in Chinese.

Each morning,  I’d be kicking a bag and Shifu would wander up to me, pen in mouth, translation in hand. He would change a line here or a word there, perfecting it like a poem. He used the same concentration he used for his kung fu. I guess that’s why his translation is so good. But I was pretty pissed off because just as I’d learnt an impossible to pronounce word , he’d swap it for an equally impossible to pronounce word and I had to start all over again.

My friend, Yonghu ( his name means Brave Tiger) came to the recording studio to make sure I was pronouncing it correctly. It usually takes about two hours for a lead vocal but this took six.

And do Chinese people understand? Chinese people understand about 75 % of what I sing without reading the lyrics, which I think is pretty good innings for my first Chinese song. Even if I was native Chinese,  Chinese people wouldn’t understand some of what I sang because when a person sings there are no tones so the words can mean different things.  For example, my boyfriend’s name is Yan Lei. His name means thunder but it can mean tears depending on the tone.  One day I was listening to a Chinese song and I recognised the word ” Yan Lei” and I said “that’s you” and he said “no it’s not, it’s tears.”

Listen to Everywhere You Go

Listen to The Chinese version

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

No Sex Please, I’m A Chinese Movie

The inspiration for this song comes from two films made by my favourite director, Wong Kai Wai.

In “Chungking Express”, two people go to a hotel room, the girl sleeps, the guy eats a lot of chips, watches TV then washes the sleeping girl’s shoes. In “In The Mood For Love” the two main characters write kung fu comics, eat noodles and give each other smoldering looks. It’s because the characters never have sex that the viewer’s attention is held.

I wanted to create the same erotic tension in this song. A seductive verse and a chorus which builds but only happens once right at the end of the song before fading out into a change of tempo and sound.  The song watches and wants but its desire is never consummated.

Hotel was nearly scrapped from the album because I couldn’t get it to work. But then Joe Watson came down and played that haunting piano riff,  and Andy added a drum machine, only putting Howard’s drums in the outro where they go mad as if frustrated by the tension of the verses. It was only then that it had the mood and atmosphere I wanted to invoke.

Listen & Download

HOTEL

My body is your hotel, it’s on the 42nd floor
Take the lift, I’m waiting inside for you, I’m hiding in your bedside drawer

And I love the way you do
And I love the way you do

My body is your hotel, I hear you knocking on my door

And I love the way you do
And I love the way you do

Cos I know that I am not beautiful
And all you really want is a friend
But I want to put my arms around you
I want to touch my fingers to you
I want to rest my head on your shoulders
Cos you are my weakness
My worst habit is you
I want to put my arms around you, touch my fingers, rest my head, my worst habit is you.

My body is your hotel, I feel you walking through my door

And I love the way you do
And I love the way you do

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Breaking Up With You Is The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me

I’m releasing my album today on Bandcamp. The cover and back shot was taken in the bedroom I was sleeping in when I visited China last month. The layer of dust over everything, and the telephone numbers written in chalk on the concrete walls intrigued me. It was when everyone was preparing for a dinner party that I feigned sickness, snuck into the bedroom, put my dress on and quickly shot some photos.

Doing a self-release I’ve had to embrace snatching time whenever I can and having zero budget for videos and pictures. I’ve put my money into what I think is the most important thing: the music. I hope you enjoy the result.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jewish Proverbs, Buddhist Wisdom & Pop Promos

For my first ever music promo, a crew of twenty people flew up to the Northumberland countryside where I come from. There was a director, producer, makeup artist, someone from the record label who had irritable bowel syndrome, a seven year old girl who was supposed to be me as a seven year old, the seven year old girl’s mum…. We spent the weekend shooting. My dress was made from paper. The glue from my false eyelashes made my eyelids swell like mushrooms. The video looked like a smug advert for a car. It was shown on breakfast TV. Once.

For my first video for Kata, I wandered into the woods behind my mum’s house with a bendy tripod, digital camera, couple of memory cards, and my iPhone. The video was shot to the sound of woodpeckers drilling into trees. My mum’s dog kept getting into shot so I lost valuable shooting time putting my wellingtons back on, sprinting him across the burn (or stream as it’s called in the south), over the fields and back to the house. Roddy – who kindly edited my amateur footage – complained that I kept stopping in the middle of my performance and fiddling around with my phone (it’s true I did). “The show must go on,” he reminded me.

I don’t know why I chose to make a video for this song. Maybe it’s because my album moves in quick time through each stage of a love affair. Count 2 Three is my favourite stage. The heady desire of I want to be with you every minute of the day. I want to see you when you sleep. When you wake up. I want to witness every moment of your life.

But then there’s the chorus.

My dad used to quote to me a famous Jewish proverb: “Life is exactly like Motke Chabat’s blanket. Motke Chabat’s blanket was too short, draw it up to his neck his feet are cold, draw it to his feet, his chest gets it, that’s human beings for you, the blanket’s always too short.”

It’s similar to the Buddha saying there’s always a hair in the butter. Nothing outside ourselves can make us truly happy. Nothing is ever enough. There’s always that desire to have just a little more.

To shoot the video I got up at 5.30 am, three mornings in a row, hoping for golden hour. I wanted the video to be bathed in light so I could do lots of flaring and back lighting. But the sun never came. Eventually I had to accept that I had no control over the weather so I pretended it was summer to stop me shivering in my dress and looking cold on camera.

Count to Three

I’m creeping through your house but you don’t know, you don’t know

I’m opening your door but you don’t know, you don’t know

I’m crawling in your bed but you don’t know, you don’t know

I’m disturbing everything but you don’t know

It’s a wonderful night

It’s a wonderful day

It’s a wonderful life

But this won’t go away

I’m colouring the sky but you don’t know, you don’t know

I’m casting my net wide but you don’t know, you don’t know

I’m hurling into you, but you don’t know, you don’t know

I love everything you do, but you don’t know

And if you all I want

I would ask you to hold my hand

And count to three again

It’s a wonderful night

It’s a wonderful day

It’s a wonderful life

But this won’t go away

This song is from my album: Breaking Up With You Is The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me. Release date: 9th May 2011.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kung Fu Fighting

The sheep’s head  I bought for my boyfriend has now been boiled with herbs for two hours. Yan Lei holds one of its eyeballs between his chopsticks. ‘You want?’ He pops it in his mouth, chews on it for awhile  then we have an argument about me doing music again.

It goes like this:

Yan Lei: Doing music is like going to the bookies and betting on a horse.

Me: You can’t compare music to gambling.

Yan Lei:  You gamble your life and hope something happen. You don’t know if you win or lose.

Me: I’m not doing it for a result. I like music. It’s what I used to do… it’s just you’ve never known me as anything else but someone who runs your fucking martial art’s business.

His mouth is full of sheep’s brain when I accuse him of having a farmer’s mind. In the West, I tell him, we make money from ideas, not work.

After the argument, we have a kung fu fight.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments