I wanted to write this as a letter. I realised that if I did this, it might never reach the person I’m writing to/for. I’m sending it out into the ether, hoping it finds its way. I think it will. I trust it will. The person I think it’s for, by the way, might not be the person it is actually for. I’m just trusting that if I shove this out there, the absolutely right person to read it will read it. So that’s good.
I nearly didn’t click publish. I just re-read this and thought: ‘Oh. It’s too gushy. Oh. It’s too open. Oh. It’s too fangirly.’ Then I thought: ‘Fuck it! Boo lady. Woman up.’ and I hit publish.
But, just in case. I’d like to state for the record that I am not a stalker. I am far too lazy for that. Remember, my spirit animal is a sloth.
I am still reading Amanda Palmer’s ‘The Art of Asking’. It is waking up all kinds of stuff in me that I’m not really sure what to do with yet. I have honestly never read a book in my life that has affected me as profoundly as this one has, and I am only half way through it.
This morning I watched the TED talk which inspired the book. You can watch it here. It made me cry. I watched it with tears rolling down my face. It was amazing. I am not the first person to say this. I doubt I will be the last.
When I was young I liked fairly predictable chart music. I had a massive crush on the bass player from Frankie Goes to Hollywood. I was moved to tears by the beauty of Morten Harket from A-Ha, his voice and his face (he has aged well, I note). It was all very mainstream though, and by the time I was about 16 I had decided that music was fine, but that was about it.
Then a boyfriend came back from a drunken party and threw a battered C90 cassette tape at me. He said: ‘I’ve found you a present. In a hedge. I think you’ll like it.’
I had never been found a present from a hedge before. I was pretty amazed, slightly bemused, but willing to go with it. Side A had a bootleg copy of The Wonder Stuff’s ‘Eight Legged Groove Machine’ album on it. Side B had a bootleg copy of The Stone Roses’ eponymous album on it. I listened to it. It blew my tiny mind. It changed the way I felt about music forever. No word of a lie. I felt like the whole world had ripped down the middle and everything I thought about how life should be was different. It was pretty visceral.
Reading Amanda’s book is having the same effect on me. It sounds ridiculous, but I’ve spent most of my life with people thinking I’m ridiculous. I’ve pretty much perfected the art, so saying this is hardly sticking my neck out.
I discovered Amanda through her husband Neil Gaiman. It was about the time Theatre is Evil was launched. I bought the album. I loved it. I started to follow her on Twitter, read articles about her, follow her blog. When she moved to Patreon, I thought about it for a while, and then became a Patron. I am literally investing in Amanda Palmer. More than money. I’m investing hope.
I have realised that what I love best about Amanda Palmer, and I use the word love advisedly, is pretty much everything. It’s not that I wholeheartedly agree with everything she says or does. I don’t like all her songs just because she wrote or performed them. I am not uncritically adoring. What I love is the fact that she is the living epitome of that bloody annoying phrase; ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’ What I love is that she is strong because she allows herself to be vulnerable. What I love about her is that she allows herself to trust that what she is doing is o.k. and that people are o.k. I love that she is making choices that make her world a good one, despite all the crap the world throws at her. By crap I mean the everyday stuff of living, loving, dying, not the rock star crap. I have no idea about the rock star crap. Not my forte. I love the fact that she is not neat or perfect or manageable. I love the fact that she can be messy, crabby, unpredictable, wrong. I love the fact that she owns this as much as she owns the bits of her life where she soars.
I love the fact that to me, her existence is one long exercise in saying: It is absolutely alright to be human. The best thing about me/you/us is that we are human. Stop trying not to be human. Let go. It will be alright.
I need to hear that. I need to believe that. We all do. The way she says it/does it/lives it speaks directly to me in a way that makes me feel utterly connected to life. That’s pretty powerful. I feel like she sees me, and she has never met me and probably never will.
I have a gigantic girl crush on Amanda Palmer, is the basic summary of this blog post. I am a 43 year old housewife and she is a free living rock goddess lady person, which is an unusual pairing, but I think it could work. I’d like to think I could invite her round for tea and she’d come, and it would be extremely excellent, especially if Tilly made the biscuits.
I’d like her to come and talk to Tallulah, my beautiful, talented daughter who sings like an angel and wants to be Taylor Swift and spends hours every day trying to make herself look more beautiful. I want her to tell her what we tell her; that she is already a star, that she is already beautiful, that she doesn’t need to be Taylor Swift or Zoella (good people though they surely are), because being herself is always good enough, and if she wants to be a rock goddess then she can do it on her own terms. It always comes better if you hear this stuff from people who aren’t your parents. Then they can play the ukulele together (Tallulah is mastering Back in Black by ACDC), and it will be cool.
Then I’d like to give Amanda an enormous hug, and say thank you and tell her that everything is going to be all right, because she’s had a shitty year so far and everyone needs to hear that everything is going to be all right, especially if they’re hearing it from people who aren’t their parents.
And that’s not going to happen in real life, but it can happen on here because that’s the awesome power of the Internet.
Thank you Amanda. I quite absolutely love you.