As the new waitress at a large Melbourne restaurant in 2011 Julia was sent every night to polish cutlery in the stinky, hot bin room. There was a lot of cutlery and it took many long dull hours. The boredom led to some woeful singing and out of the drudge came a song. Cutlery Shed was recorded for Julia’s debut album in late 2012 with full band.
This new release is an acapella version arranged for Eko, a vocal trio made up of Julia Turner, Lauren Bradford and Isolde. After larking about with cutlery and choreography they thought it would be fun to make a music video. Thanks to Ben at The Old Bookshop the trio were able to use his beautifully quirky bar as a backdrop – he even makes an appearance in the film as evil restaurant manager, though this is entirely fictional and Eko think Ben is one of the nicest people they’ve ever met. Created by Dan King this music video is comic and well crafted with vocal harmonies that will raise the roof. A must see for any Old Bookshop veteran.
There will be live music from Isolde, Lauren Bradford and Julia Turner from 7:30pm. The 5-minute film will be screened at 10pm.
Online social networking can often be a real drag but it is a necessary part of business these days whatever your trade. On the plus side being part of an online community also has lots of perks and it’s when you make real face-to-face contact with like-minded people that all the twooting and friend-facing pays off!
I first met Daniel King in person in Bedminster just before xmas. He had contacted me a few days before asking if there were any gigs that I’d like photographed. I was putting the finishing touches to my plans to organise a vocal extravaganza which involved three vocal groups that I am involved with singing at SouthBank Christmas market. He agreed to come along and I was thrilled at the thought of having this event that I’d put so much time into documented. I’d checked out Dkingp‘s portfolio online and liked what I’d seen but was blown away by the photos he took at the the market. Until looking at these pics I hadn’t quite appreciated how beautiful the building was. I also love the way he has used colour to enhance the subject.
As she stepped out into the blustery afternoon she wondered why she hadn’t found another mode of transport. Pulling the trolley along behind her was made more difficult by the wind, which periodically swept her suitcase into the air. Attached by a string, it never quite got away but as gravity re-rooted it the trolley invariably toppled over and she was constantly having to readjust the load in order to keep things moving. Her other issue was her rising temperature. Due to the acrobatic dance being played out by the trolley and the wind, with which she was being forced to interact, she was now running late. It really was a very gusty day and the wind carried with it a frosty chill. Knowing that she would be outside at the mercy of this gale for some hours she had adorned herself with several extra layers of clothing and now moving at such speed and with such a heavy and unpredictable load the woman began to sweat. She had no time to stop but as she walked she began to peel off layers, piling the trolley higher still with scarf, hat and coat. Intermittently the wind would hurl passing showers into her face. When she finally arrived at the market she was bedraggled and sweltering.
She began unpacking her things and as she worked she noticed the heat leaving her skin and being replaced too soon by an infiltrating chill. Having set up her stage she paused before, one by one she began piling her earlier discarded layers back on. Finally she went into the bar behind her and asked for a steaming cup of hot water to warm her hands and her lips. As she sipped she looked around at the stallholders and felt glad that she had slightly more cover than some. Positioned next to the wall she was shielded at least from the intermittent rain, which was sometimes thrown horizontal by the wind that carried it underneath the covering towards the bookseller’s stash. She wondered if he was worried about the damp that must be penetrating much of his collection.
Her lungs like the tunnel in which she stood, her breath like the wind rushing her cheeks, she began to sing. Giving as much as she had to the wind and to the rain and to the people who, running, began to slow as they reached the welcome shelter of the market and could let their defensively raised shoulders start to relax. She was vaguely aware of the sound of coins collecting like water in small pools at her feet. She didn’t expect that she would make much money today. Anyone with any sense would be inside, safe and warm. Out here singing into the face of the weather she wasn’t warm but she certainly felt alive.
Since being back in Bristol I’ve not had much spare cash to spend on busking paraphernalia but recently it all seems to have come together pretty nicely. Here’s how it happened.
I felt like I’d done the ‘granny trolley’ look in Australia and this time I wanted to go a bit more upmarket. I typed ‘vintage suitcase’ into Gumtree.com and found that somebody on my
road was selling a beautiful leather ‘piece’ for £10. Too easy. But when I loaded up the suitcase with busking amp, leads and all the rest it was pretty bloody heavy.
Hmmm…Perusing the charity shops on North Street in Bedminster I came across this trolley. It was only £4 and I just couldn’t resist.
Not quite the look I was going for…
But it did give me an idea. When I’d wheeled it home I detached the tartan print bag and
balanced my suitcase on top. After tying it all together with some old shoelaces I ventured out onto the Bristol streets feeling pretty happy with the way things were going.
My smile soon turned to a frown though. Towing my trolley behind me, I hadn’t got far before I began to feel the whole load shifting. When I looked back the suitcase was hanging dangerously by a string. Oh.
I Rebalanced things and carried on but it became annoyingly apparent as I continued on my journey that this was not going to work.
There was only one thing for it. I would have to invest
in a couple of bungee hooks. A very useful and fairly cheap solution. In the hardware store over the road I bought these two beauties for £2.50 each. They worked really well and these days the whole thing feels much more sturdy. Perfect.
This Thursday I will be hosting my Bristol Album Launch at The Birdcage on Clare Street. The Australian launch of City Synchronicity was eight months and 10,000 miles ago and it feels it. Alone on stage with just my guitar for company I felt good in a room of smiling Melbournians. Most of my time in Australia was spent busking and gigging alone and though I recorded the album with a full band, we never gigged together. Playing on my own gave me a real opportunity to develop my skills as a solo musician and the headspace to write and write and write. I loved it. But after two years of this I felt a real urge for some collaboration.
Arriving back in Bristol this spring I was struck by a sense of time opening up. With a strong feeling that this might be where I remain for quite some time came a calmness and the idea that I could just let things happen at their own pace and wait for the right musicians to materialise.
As chance has it (and chance really does) a few weeks ago Tom bumped into an old friend of mine from our Yorkshire days. He passed his number to me and we were soon having a jam. Rob York is a fantastic guitarist and jazz musician and as we reminisced about our Leeds music making days and played the soundtrack to accompany it I felt sure his playing would compliment my music. Rob was keen to get involved and hooked me up with Pasquale Votino a new and exciting double bassist on the Bristol scene. Pasquale then brought in Roberto Nappi (drummer extraordinaire) and before I knew it we had a band.
Some time earlier, actually within weeks of being back here I was at an open mic night by the arches when I heard a hauntingly beautiful voice. The voice belonged to Vanessa Hartley a very talented musician and songwriter and happily we soon began working together. I booked the gig at Birdcage with only Vanessa and myself in the line up. I wanted something to aim for and reasoned that this gig could be anything from just the two of us to a larger collection of musicians. A few months, gigs and copious amounts of tea later we have arrived here with a full band and a feeling that things are just getting started.
City Synchronicity: Bristol Album Lauch
Thursday 12th September, 7pm @ The Birdcage.
Last weekend I played a few gigs with my old Leeds pals Matt Holborn and Ben Danzig. Having recently returned to Bristol with as yet only a few musical allies to call on I sometimes feel impatient to find musicians who I feel really compatible with. Back in Leeds I had a whole community of musicians I knew well to call on but here I’m still getting my bearings and finding the right people takes time. So whenever Matt and Ben come to Bristol to play (and fortunately they seem to be here a lot at the moment) I bombard them with all the reasons that they should move here. Helpfully, Bristol seems to be on board with my campaign, turning on the sunshine whenever my targets are in town. Last week the guys were here and we spent much of the weekend playing together on my parents’ back veranda where, sheltered from the wind the sun felt particularly delicious. All part of the plan.
On Saturday night we played for a friends wedding down in London. The bride and groom are soon to move back to Bristol and in a speech they expressed their wish for their London friends to do the same. Throughout the day I heard my fair city painted in gold by various guests and found myself getting on side and urging people I didn’t even know to move here.
‘There’s just so much going on in Bristol at the moment…yes, so much cheaper than London’
Back in good ol’ Brissle the guys and I played at a friends’ pub in Totterdown. Tommy, part of a group of friends that I used to wait tables with back in the early 2000s hugged me.
‘It’s so good to have you back’ he said, ‘we’ve just got to get the rest of them back here now’
Matt gave me a look, disbelieving and almost disgusted.
‘You people are obsessed. You can’t stop talking about how great Bristol is. What’s your problem?’
Tommy and I looked at each other, taken aback.
Maybe I am obsessed. It hit me that Matt might be the kind of person who will want to do something less the more he is hassled to do it. So I decided to stop obsessing and try my best not to big up Bristol in a sentence for at least a week…It’s hard though as it’s a really great ci…oops.
Today was The Day. Waking up and seeing the sun beaming down as forecast I knew there was no way of getting out of it. I must make my first appearance on the Bristol busking stage. It’s strange but the thought of busking in my own home city was really daunting. Surely the thought of seeing some friendly faces should have been comforting but it definitely wasn’t. I’ve busked in Australia, Malaysia, Japan, China and in none of those places was the prospect more terrifying than when setting out from the house I grew up in.
I think it comes down to the fact that nobody knew me in these other places. I really could have just disappeared if anything had gone wrong and I wouldn’t have to see any of the passersby again. Back at home it’s a different story. I know a lot of people. Friends and family, people from the schools I attended, old work pals, my parents’ friends, friends’ friends, people I just really recognise from somewhere that I can’t put my finger on straight away… Here I can’t run away because I’m a ‘real person’, not a transient being with no ties. I’m a relatively permanent fixture and I’m setting up again from scratch as a freelance musician. I have a reputation on the line and in a city where practically each time I leave the house I see somebody I know there’s not much chance of hiding if I mess things up.
These were the thoughts that plagued me as I walked up the hill laden with busking paraphernalia. Luckily I really do know better. I know that the hardest part is thinking about it, finding a spot, setting up while people look on curiously and wondering if I’ll be moved on. When I’d done all that and started to sing my first notes life looked so much better. I was glad to be singing regardless of who might be listening. I revelled in the fact that I had as long as I wanted to sing whatever I wanted. I could take as many breaks as I felt I needed to chat to some of the locals or figure out some new chords. Nobody would care if I messed up a few notes or got some words wrong. They were just glad to have some free entertainment to add to the novelty of a beautifully sunny day. And as one woman exclaimed excitedly, ‘Isn’t it Continental!’
As a freelance musician today the list of skills you must possess are endless and what’s more many have nothing to do with playing music. This week I have been mainly brushing up on the art of web design. Fun, fun fun. I would like to introduce my new website www.juliaturner.co.uk It’s still under construction but the basics are now live. Hoorah.
I am also excited to be able to announce that I am available for singing lessons in Bristol. Lessons are based in Clifton. Please check out the teaching section of the new website for details!