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31.07.20   >   Airtime (Acoustic)

If the previous entry has made you as morose as a badger on crutches then Katie has just the tonic for you, naturally. We've all swooned and melted into a puddle watching the official video for 'Airtime' with its sensuous and classy production but I would have been quite happy to pop along to Speaker's Corner and inform anyone who'd listen (pigeons, mostly) that Katie could still kill the pants off you performing it alone acoustically. Thankfully, the pigeons may go about their business undisturbed because Katie has kindly made a video of exactly what my passioned oration would have described. She really does seem to be oblivious to how dingo-bewilderingly good she is. Click the pic below to check it out.

airtime

31.07.20   >   Covid-19 Latest

Further easing of restrictions have been temporarily cancelled today. This was due to include theatres. Although Katie's UK Tour dates are still some 90 days away some notice would need to be given and therefore it seems cancellation is looking more likely than ever thanks to the selfish muppets that have decided they are above isolation and lockdown. It ain't over till it's over, as they say, whoever they are, but we should be prepared to accept that we may not get to see our beloved Katie until next year at the earliest. Given that socially-distanced concerts are not really viable we may have to wait until a vaccine is approved and widely available.

30.07.20   >   Track Notes 101: What A Wonderful World

Album:  

Writers:

Bob Thiele & George David Weiss

Length:

4:19

Notes:

Oh Satchmo! What a wonderful song! Written for the irrepressible Louis Armstrong in 1967, though it feels like a Great American Songbook tune from the 30s, this classic was not an initial success in the US but motored to number 1 in the UK in 1968 and went on to become the biggest selling UK single that year. It has since been recorded a ton of times as well as being used in advertising, television and films.

Katie's version is, of course, a duet with the amazing Eva Cassidy. It takes something special to cover this song after the exuberant original but it doesn't get more special than putting Eva and Katie together. Although Eva died in 1996, technology allows such trickery to be accomplished fairly seamlessly; obviously, Eva's recording is set in stone but Katie could record her bits as often as she liked until she and Mike Batt were happy with the blend. The CD single was released on December 3, 2007 and gave both artists their first, and only, UK number 1 singles. The "B-side" (in quotes because we are talking about a CD) was "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", the subject of the previous track notes (you see—I don't just throw this stuff together you know!)

YouTube:

A few versions of this knocking about, including one where she is accompanied by pianist Lang Lang. But here is a lovely example for Radio m80, accompanied by guitarist Luke Patashnik (who was involved with Katie's latest single, "Airtime". You see, I don't just...)

What A Wonderful World live

Lyrics:

What A Wonderful World 

29.07.20   >   Katie Bite: Airtime

Airtime

28.07.20   >   The Beauty Of Symmetry?

Following on nicely from yesterday's piece on mirrors, there was quite an interesting item on Q.I. (which is, I guess, how it got it's name) regarding facial symmetry, mirror images and so on. The general consensus was that the myth of a perfectly symmetrical face being more beautiful is exactly that: a myth. Now, you know me—well actually you don't but no matter—I don't believe I've seen many faces more beautiful than Katie's so I was curious to find out if symmetry could indeed make her even more pulchritudinous. Are you ready for this? (Warning: it may mess with your head!)

katie pic

Katie, as we know her...

Gosh, isn't that weird? And fun. Those are three beautiful girls, but I'll take the middle one all day long (and indeed, into the early hours of tomorrow) thank you very much. That's hypothetical of course, since they are all a million miles out of my league, and two of them don't exist, but you know what I mean.


27.07.20   >   Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall

Who is the fairest of them all? Katie is, of course. Obvs. But I want to say a bit about mirror images. During lockdown, Katie has been gracious enough to devote a lot of her time engaging with fans online. This is because behind the mask of a sublime singer and accomplished musician there lies a beautiful human being. For this we should all be thankful and grateful and feel lucky to spend our brief moment of time on this planet in parallel with someone like her.

Having said all that, I’ve noticed that during many of her recent live appearances a lot of people have been chuntering away in the comments that she appears to be in ‘mirror image’. The biggest giveaway of this is if there is any writing in the image, such as a poster on the wall behind her. (There are a couple of other small things to look out for if you’re observant enough, but I’m not telling.) What I’m struggling to get my head around is why this mirroring is upsetting so many people, and some do bang on about it repeatedly. For heaven’s sake, this amazing multi-million selling artist is speaking to you live from home and you’re bothered that she’s mirrored? Deal with it! If she was upside down it might be a justifiable gripe, though even then I’d probably just hang upside down from the chandelier to watch her.

So what is going on with all this anyway? Well, please allow me to explain. Katie does not have a BBC Outside Broadcast Unit on speed dial to come and film her. She uses the same tech as us—most likely an iPhone or iPad. Now, as many of you will be aware, these technological wonders have both front and rear cameras that can film video in surprisingly good high definition, so there actually isn’t much need for expensive and cumbersome video recording equipment if you just want to say ‘hi’ from your living room. But although both cameras are capable, they do work slightly differently in how the software processes the images. The rear camera is designed to be used like, well, a camera. You point and shoot. Simples. The front camera though, had the boffins at Apple scratching their beards. This is because the Psychology Department told them that humans are used to seeing themselves in a mirror and since the front camera was intended for taking ‘selfies’ the display should act like an actual mirror so that people don’t get all confused and panicky thinking that their mole has slithered across to the other side of their face during the night.

Flipping the image isn’t a problem but when you come to print it out you don’t want that clever slogan on your t-shirt to be back to front. So, whilst the rear camera just takes straightforward as-you-see-it images, the front camera *shows* you a mirrored image but secretly saves it unmirrored. You can test this: go to take a selfie on your iPhone and note that it looks like you are mirrored on the screen. Take the pic, then look at it and you will see it is suddenly the right way around! Magic! (Not really, just simple software, but hey, I’m a programmer—to some it really is magic.)

Now then, here’s where it gets funky: this ‘flipping’ of the image back to ‘normal’ occurs in post-production. For a still photo this effectively means instantly. But for *video* it means that during recording the image will appear mirrored and it is only when recording has finished that the entire video will be ‘flipped’. SO, if Katie pre-recorded a little performance she would appear the ‘right way’ round when playing it back. But since she is using the camera live, in real time, for social media then the camera feed is the mirrored image instead. Is there a solution? Of course, if you really consider it to be a problem, which most level-headed people don’t. She could turn the phone around and film with the rear camera. But then she wouldn’t be able to monitor herself, would she? So people would be griping that we can only see her chin or something. With some people you just can’t win whatever you do. Katie doesn’t need my advice, which in any case would simply be to keep doing what she’s doing because the majority of her fans are loving it. (Although I might add that she should try to be as close as possible, preferably in the same room, as her wifi router to minimise signal degradation during live streaming.) Well, I hope that has cleared the matter up once and for all. So next time you see comments about mirror images during Katie’s live interactions you’ll know they are people that haven’t read this blog and you have full permission to look disdainfully down your noses at them and make a noise somewhat approximating "phnufph".

26.07.20   >   Crossword No. 2

A brand new song deserves nothing less than a brand new crossword puzzle to celebrate it! If you hate crossword puzzles then by all means toddle off and celebrate "Airtime" any which way you want—race snails, grout tiles, whatever. Knock yourself out. But if you are tickety-boo with a crossword then do enjoy, though I should warn you that if you know nothing at all about Katie Melua then (a) you'll find it a tad difficult, and (b) what the hell are you doing at this site anyway?

If you want to print it out to fill in just click on the puzzle to open it in a separate window and hit CMD-P (Mac) or CTRL-P (Windows).

crossword puzzle 2

Across

2. Me, when trying to compile a crossword!
3. A song fit for a Queen
6. Left hood?
14. Katie speaks English, Georgian and ...
15. A song that deserves plenty of itself
19. She used to eat roses
20. Lend wife flour
21. An album that reveals Katie's inner wit
22. Halt, Katie love!


Down

1. Mostly unforgettable girl
4. City where Katie was awarded the Georgian Medal of Honour
5. Like you find on a washing machine
7. A little reggae living amongst the spirits
8. God on the drums...
9. An album with hidden orchestration?
10. A permanent type of carbon
11. Which one would you save?
12. Katie's first record label
13. Perhaps I had a vision while I was sleeping
16. Inner thigh, get it?
17. Bobbie Gentry cover as sweet as French fondant
18. I ate UK male!


25.07.20   >   Album No 8 - The Story So Far

We’ve heard 30% of the new album now following the release of “A Love Like That” and “Airtime” (we’ve known about “Maybe I Dreamt It” for some time already). It is still a bit premature to try to judge the whole album but I think we are beginning to get a flavour of it, and it’s a taste very much to my liking.

I’m going to resist the urge to award marks out of ten for the three tracks on the grounds that you all know what they’d be and I don’t wish to be seen as a sycophantic and obsequious toe-licker when it comes to Katie but rather an informed, thoughtful and educated follower of intelligent music. (In truth, I am, of course, the former, but let’s just keep that between you and me right? No need for anyone else to know.) You are perfectly entitled, naturally, to award your own scores to these tracks if you deem that to be an in any way useful exercise, which it isn’t.

airtime

Maybe I Dreamt It

We first heard this track back in the winter of 2018 so although it was the first taste of Album No 8 it almost feels like an old song already. We haven’t heard the studio version yet but when you listen to the live version now in context of “A Love Like That” and “Airtime” you can feel a thread linking the three songs together even though they are all different. “Maybe I Dreamt It” is one of those blockbusters that starts slowly and lulls you into a sense of calm before building to an almighty crescendo. You can imagine someone like Shirley Bassey throwing both tonsils at it back in the day. During the live performances it gave The Gori Women’s Choir chance to unleash their full power and they were mind-blowing—it’ll be interesting to see how the studio recording compares—but the fact that Katie had to wait patiently for thirty seconds for a standing ovation before she could deliver the final line was the first indication that Album No 8 (which at the time was only known tentatively as the eighth album) might turn out to be really rather good.

A Love Like That

It’s less than a month since Katie blew us away with this sublime track, and most of us haven’t yet recovered. It only took a few bars for you to be thinking ‘Bond theme’ and that’s exactly what social media and then the actual media latched on to. I have no idea if Katie finds the comparison a massive compliment or whether she was aiming for something altogether different and was a bit miffed we didn’t get it—either way, the simple fact is that it is a gorgeous song and had it been a Bond theme it would have been hailed as one of the best in decades. If you can get Daniel Craig out of your head for a moment—which I can—and look at the song from another perspective you see a slick, sophisticated, cinematic take on adult love—the kind we all dream of: you know, beautiful people saying everything with looks and glances, expensive clothes, posh cars, beautiful scenery, dreamy sunsets and so on. (Contrast that with the love most of us actually know, which involves sharing a soggy bag of chips at a wet bus stop in Wigan.)

Airtime

Katie unleashed this one on us in a surprise sneak attack when all our defences were down and we were ill-prepared for such a blinding new song. I said a while back we were going to need sunglasses because Katie was threatening to go supernova but I had little idea how true that was. This song is more reflective than “A Love Like That”. The former was asking the question how do you make a love like that last, whereas “Airtime” seems to be saying perhaps you can’t. The video is cinematic and achingly beautiful, following on from “A Love Like That” like the second act of a movie. And it is a movie that I have no doubt the fans would love to see a two-hour cut of. I don’t know how many more ‘episodes’ there are to come, if any, but it would be nice to see them all spliced together at some point into a mini-movie—perhaps even a Director’s cut that could be released as a DVD of the album. When you look at the track listings for Album No 8 you see that “A Love Like That” is the first and “Airtime” the ninth, with only “Remind Me To Forget” after it, so it does hint at telling a story across the album and scanning through the song titles seems to reinforce that impression. We’ll have to wait until October 16th to find out but one thing I am already convinced of is this: Album No 8 is going to be something truly special, perhaps even a work of art.


24.07.20   >   Airtime

New song alert!

Katie has a new song out as of RIGHT NOW! 😎 😍 called "Airtime". It is sumptuously decadent, classy and simply breathtaking. My god, she is on fire with this album. If A Love Like That is like a sophisticated Bond theme then Airtime is more like Cleopatra bathing in full cream milk whilst sucking on a Cadbury's Flake, surrounded by a thousand scented tea-lights. This is the work of an accomplished songwriter that knows exactly what they're doing and is really getting into their stride. Katie has spent years honing her craft and now it is paying off; she is producing works of art that will stand the test of time. We've had to wait for Album No 8 but boy is it going to be worth it.

The official video premieres on YouTube at 5.00pm UK BST. Click on the pic below to visit the page.

airtime

23.07.20   >   Update on Asteroid Katiemelua

I just thought I’d update the astronomy geeks among you (which may be just me) about the current location of Katiemelua. She is currently around 1.3 AU from Earth. No, our favourite singer hasn’t been abducted by aliens, I’m talking about the asteroid named after her. If data gets your blood pumping then head off to Katiemelua’s page at the JPL Small-Body Browser. (Apologies if you spend most of your day there anyway—and why wouldn’t you spend your day browsing small bodies?)

Fact of the Day: The asteroid Katiemelua was discovered in 1998, some 5 years before the singer Katie Melua was discovered. Whoever names these things is clearly clairvoyant.

asteroid katiemelua

22.07.20   >   Album No 8 Goodies! Support Georgian Red Cross!

Katie is donating the profits from her 2020 store merchandise to The Georgian Red Cross. Which is another very good reason to pop over to her online store and order everything (the first reason being that it’s all stuff you know you want—I mean, plantable pencils for heaven’s sake: the writing says “how do you make a love like that last?”, and the answer is you plant it and let it grow into a forget-me-not. Genius.) Okay, it’s only pre-order at the moment but if you do it now you’ll forget about it and have a lovely surprise when the goodies eventually land on your doormat in October.

album no 8 merch

21.07.20   >   AYMHM 2: The Songs Of Distant Earth

The second in my occasional series of Albums You May Have Missed reflects my penchant for instrumental music. If you utter the name "Mike Oldfield" you'll normally get one of two responses: "never heard of him" or "oh yes, Tubular Bells". Like Katie, Oldfield recorded his first album, Tubular Bells, at 19. It was a bit of a punt for Richard Branson's new Virgin Label to have an instrumental epic by an unknown teenager as your launch album. But after a slow start it gradually turned into a phenomenon, aided when the movie sensation of 1973, "The Exorcist", used part of it as a soundtrack. The trouble is, the more sensational your first album is, the more difficult the "difficult" second album becomes. Few could name Hergest Ridge as Oldfield's second album, though bizarrely it actually hit number one in the album charts before Tubular Bells. The Public move in mysterious ways.

the songs of distant earth

The Songs Of Distant Earth

Mike Oldfield

He may have drifted into the background after the initial storm of Tubular Bells, but Oldfield has been active ever since and has 26 studio albums to his name. The better ones include Incantations, Amarok, Tubular Bells II & III and Return To Ommadawn. But if I had to pick one for recommendation it would be 1994's The Songs Of Distant Earth.

The Songs Of Distant Earth was inspired by the Arthur C. Clarke novel of the same name. It isn't considered one of his better novels, though it's not bad, but the title always resonated with me. When you're far away from home and longing to be back there, thinking about the things you miss, it is always poignant—but I wondered how that might feel for future generations of space explorers searching the galaxy for a new home, perhaps having been born in space and never even having set foot on Earth. Much of their impression of The Blue Marble would be formed from listening to the music in the ship's data banks. Imagine exploring a place in your mind just through the music of that place. That's pretty much what I did with Georgia before I got to visit that beautiful country. Is there life out in space? I feel certain there must be. But do they have music? That's a trickier one. Music is such a very special human thing and the deep way in which it connects with our emotions suggests we are genetically wired to respond to it at a primal level. Perhaps alien cultures will have some form of music but we might not recognise it as such—it could be one note with constantly changing amplitude, or even at a pitch beyond human hearing—who knows?

For me, The Songs Of Distant Earth captures the feeling of travelling through space with optimism and excitement tinged with a sense of lament and longing for a past long lost, never to be returned to. I love this album to bits. Mike himself has described it as "very ambient", though I think he's selling himself a bit short there; there's too much energy and diversity for it to be classed as ambient. I prefer to think of it as "futuristic classical". You may consider it to be a "pile of pants", but you won't know until you listen.

Play on:

spotify

20.07.20   >   Track Notes 100: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Album:  

Writers

Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane

Length:

2:23

Notes:

Look, don't give me a hard time, I know it's the middle of July and this is a song with the C-word. I feel like an absolute bonzo for even mentioning it but the thing is I've been working through these track notes in a methodical manner and this little pot of Yuletide treacle just happens to be welded on to the end of B-Sides so we all just have to deal with it. Actually, if anyone can get away with a Christmas song in July, Katie can. Her voice is just too irresistible for you to care.

As Christmas songs go, this one is rather charming and has a more warm, reflective sentiment than many others of the ilk, such as White Christmas, that can sound a little twee in twenty-twentee. The song was written in 1943 for Judy Garland to sing in the film "Meet Me In St. Louis". In its original form it was deemed a little too depressing for sensitive American audiences so the lyrics were tweaked to be a bit more positive for the movie. Even so, the mighty Frank Sinatra deemed them to require even further jollification for his "A Jolly Christmas" album, and since no one dared argue with ol' blue eyes, twas done. And it is Frank's version that Katie delivers here. It is a matter for you alone to decide if you prefer "hang a shining star upon the highest bough" to "until then we'll have to muddle through somehow". The latter resonates more with my vapid existence but I must grumpily admit that the former is a lovelier Christmas line.

YouTube:

You're not gonna believe this—there's actual video footage of Katie performing the song. Not only that, but she is introduced by none other than the legendary Two Ronnies. Shut up. I know. Yes, it's ancient and hence embarrassingly low-res but Katie looks and sounds stunning, even if you do suspect she had to wrestle with a hedge on the way to the studio.
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas on The Two Ronnies.

Lyrics:

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 

19.07.20   >   Seven Second Challenge 9

Press the play button and guess the song. Click "Show Me The Answer" when you think you know it or if you're stumped.

Seven second challenge: intro 9


18.07.20   >  Subliminal Messages

t-shirt front t-shirt back

So look, I was just sitting at the computer minding my own business when I suddenly sat bolt upright, eyes fixed into space. Then a woman’s voice was speaking softly in my head. I got the feeling it was originating somewhere in North London. She quietly commanded

		❝ Thou shalt design a shirt of appropriate message and colour.
		Thou shalt have said shirt made and hastened to your abode. 
		Thou shalt don said shirt and go out into the world and,
		mindful of social distancing, be sure that all do see the shirt 
		and all inquire of its meaning and all are made to 
		understand its importance. ❞

I came to my senses and realised I had somehow lost fifteen minutes. Then I got a confirmation email from a T-shirt company for an order I have no memory of making. I tried to warn you all. I knew something like this would happen. If one song can do this then the whole album will be deadly…
Still, there are worse fates than being a Ketezombie I suppose.


17.07.20   >   Lyric Card: Looking For Clues

Looking For Clues

16.07.20   >   Dedication. That's What You Need!

Today’s title is a line sung by Roy Castle in the opening titles of “Record Breakers”. (Yes, I know that's going back a bit.) But it applies to anything in life, not just Guinness World Records (though, as I’m sure you’ll know, Katie has one of those too). In this reality-tv age where young people believe they are owed success handed to them on a plate in fifteen minutes I thought I would say a bit about what it really takes to reach the top in the music industry, and stay there.

Even as I was thinking about this, Roy Castle’s catchy jingo was running through my head. It sums it up rather nicely though: dedication. Decide what you really want to do in life and then dedicate yourself to being the best at it you possibly can be. Which is exactly what Katie has done. She has spent half her life in the album charts; before that all began she’d already spent more than half her life learning to play violin, piano and guitar (the singing ability came pre-installed). So as she rightly gets plaudits for her latest song, “A Love Like That”, young wannabes should realise that it has been around three decades in the making. That’s dedication. Katie is the perfect role model for girls who dream of following in her footsteps. Don’t be showy and full of yourself, just wonder at what you see around you, ask questions, be interested, keep learning and striving to explore new pathways. Love what you do and work hard to keep doing it to the best of your ability. Doesn’t sound particularly easy, does it? It isn’t supposed to be. Why would it be? We’re talking about being the best you can be—of course it’s a challenge.

We've had to wait four years for Album No 8. It seems quite a while, but actually it isn’t unprecedented for gaps between albums to grow as an artist gets older. I want to now add some perspective on Katie’s career by comparing it with two other female icons of the UK Album Charts—Kate Bush and Enya.

Have a peruse of the following table. When Katie releases Album No 8 in October it will be her… hang on a sec, I just need to work this out… eighth studio album. That’s level with Enya and just two behind Kate Bush. (Personally, I have Katie on 9 because I consider “B-Sides” a studio album even if those whose opinions matter don’t). But look at the years each artist has been active—Katie has plenty of time to add to her total. Katie reached seven albums even quicker than Kate, and much faster than Enya. And look at that average time per album!


  Katie Melua Kate Bush  Enya 
Studio albums 8 10 8
Years active 17 42 33
First 7 albums 13 yrs 15 yrs 21 yrs
Av. per album 2.13 yrs 4.2 yrs 4.1 yrs

Katie is still young and loving what she does so there’s every reason to expect that at some point she will become the UK’s most successful female artist ever. How she hasn’t been given more credit for what she has already achieved mystifies me.

There’s one other *very* noticeable difference between Katie, Kate and Enya. Kate rarely tours or performs live, Enya almost never, whereas Katie seems to love performing live more than anything. The fact that she does that and yet is still more prolific in the recording studio is testament to how hard she works. My mum once said to me “a beautiful garden isn’t made by saying ‘how lovely’ and sitting in the shade”. Those impressive stats underline Katie’s dedication. I don’t actually know if she wants to be the best, better than the rest, but the way she’s going it’s hard to see how she can avoid it.


15.07.20   >   Playlist: Katie's Going Places

If "A Love Like That" is anything to go by then Katie is certainly going places. (As if she hasn't been to enough places already!) But here are fifteen songs in which she refers to particular places so why not flop in your armchair and let her take you on a journey around the world, imagining being in the places she sings about. What a wonderful way to spend a damp July day. Oh, and I'm not telling you the places, you'll have to listen out for them (and some songs have more than one!).

Spotify: I'm not a big fan of the streaming giant simply because they do not pay the artist a fair price for their track plays. But I know many of you live out half your lives in it so I'm adding a playlist link for you but my hope is that if you like the music on playlists you'll do the right thing by the artist and buy their albums. (If you haven't already bought all of Katie's albums then utter dog-faced shame on you!)

Katie's Going Places

  1. Crawling Up A Hill
  2. My Aphrodisiac Is You
  3. Belfast
  4. Nine Million Bicycles
  5. Halfway Up The Hindu Kush
  6. Blues In The Night
  7. Market Day In Guernica
  8. Fancy
  9. A Happy Place
  10. Heartstrings
  11. Too Long At The Fair
  12. Where Does The Ocean Go?
  13. Sailing Ships From Heaven
  14. Mad, Mad Men
  15. Plane Song


Play on:

spotify

14.07.20   >   Katie Bite: A Love Like That

A Love Like That

13.07.20   >   Track Notes 99: Looking For Clues

Album:  

Writer:

Robert Palmer

Length:

4:31

Notes:

We're getting towards the end of B-Sides now but the quality remains top drawer. I can't tell you how much I love this album. Actually, I can, and I have many times, but you know what I mean. It has everything. It's like a box of chocolates where you like every single one. What do we want? Gatefold double album on vinyl. When do we want it? Like, now. A lot of Katie's fans are pensioners and don't do 'downloads'; they need a good old-fashioned way to hear this gem of an album.

Anyway, Looking For Clues. This track is a perfect example of how Katie takes a song, makes it her own and improves it beyond recognition. It was a single for Robert Palmer back in 1980, with a typically cheesy video from the Brown Age of Videos. You can find it on YouTube, but I wouldn't bother. Now, I liked Robert Palmer, and songs like 'Addicted To Love' were great, but the original of this song is pretty insipid, especially when you compare it to Katie's dynamic and catchy version. In fact, I'm surprised it ever got on the radar. I suspect it must have been because of the title—the track was recorded as part of the soundtrack for the 2007 movie "Nancy Drew" about the famous teenage detective. Well, whoever came up with the idea of Katie resurrecting the song was a genius because, not surprisingly, she smashes it out of the park.

YouTube:

No video for this, but you can listen to it on YouTube. Or you could watch the movie "Nancy Drew" and listen out for it.
Looking For Clues

Lyrics:

Looking For Clues 

12.07.20   >   Call Off The Word Search!

I'm just spoiling you now. Well, it's still the weekend, why not? Here's a word search puzzle for you. Somewhere in this jumbled grid of letters all 12 tracks from "Call Off The Search" are hiding. Your job, should you choose to be bothered, is to find them all. They could be across, down or even diagonally down. I've called it "Call Off The Word Search". See what I did there? I'm not just a hideous face you know.
If you can't remember all twelve tracks from the album then shame on you, but hit the "clues" button to show them. No one will know you had to do it. But you will, and guilt is a powerful emotion ;-). If you need putting out of your misery then click 'reveal all' to expose those sneaky tracks.
If you want to print it out to play just click on the puzzle to open it in a separate window and hit CMD-P (Mac) or CTRL-P (Windows).

word search

11.07.20   >   More Site Tweaks

Right now I'm like a terrier with its teeth in a rats backside, which is to say I'm still trawling through the site looking for ways to enhance and improve the experience for all you lovely people. No need to applaud. Oh, you weren't. Anyway, there's now a new menu option "Puzzles" for things like, well, puzzles. (There are more in the pipeline so watch this space.)
There's also a new page where you can keep tabs on Katie's Twitter and Instagram messages in case you don't have accounts for them. You can take a look at Katie's Social Media by clicking the pic in the panel on the right.
Talking of the panel on the right, I've added my own Instagram feed, just to annoy you, but the panel was beginning to get a bit cluttered so I've taken out the "Wisdom of Bob" and "Song Title Generator" widgets. I'm not sure anyone uses them, apart from me, even though they are genius, if I do say so myself. If you were a closet fan then fear not—they can still be found on the "Miscellany" page.
Finally, the left and right info panels are now consistent where they appear across the site. That's something I've been meaning to do for a long time. I'm still leaving the right panel off certain pages, like lyrics, for the time being at least. That's for aesthetic reasons, but I may decide to change them at a later date. If you now loathe the site please do tell me and I'll try my best to ignore you. Thx C.

11.07.20   >   Can-Do Attitude

As part of The Drum's Can-Do Festival, Katie collaborated with with a band of musicians from the marketing industry. Click the pic to watch (Katie's performance begins at 8:25).
What can we learn from it? Well, it's a bit of an in-house thing not really meant for us mere mortals but the one thing that does come across is that Katie certainly "can do" anything. She could walk into any band in the world and instantly improve it. Thankfully, she chooses to do her own thing and lavish her full spectrum of talents upon us but this is a nice little reminder of just how versatile she is.

Can Do Festival

10.07.20   >   Never A Crossed Word!

Do you love crossword puzzles? If so, I have a real treat for you for the weekend! I say weekend, but I expect you to blaze through this in five minutes. I'm a kind chap so I've provided a 'solve' button but if you need it you'll have to don a dunce's hat and spend the weekend swotting up on Katie. (That's how I spend most of my weekends anyway; it isn't much of a punishment tbh.) If you want to print it out to fill in just click on the puzzle to open it in a separate window and hit CMD-P (Mac) or CTRL-P (Windows).

crossword puzzle

Across

9. How do you make it last?
11. Penguins and cats?
13. There’s no better magic than this city
16. Critter found living in Katie’s ear!
17. Katie’s proper name
18. All over the walls of the…
20. Beautiful country that gave the world wine and Katie Melua
21. Bicycles in Beijing?


Down

1. Singer that inspired Faraway Voice
2. Painted by a third album
3. Children needed this song
4. Katie and Polly let them go
5. Now that I’ve found you I’ll buy the first album
6. Kid brother plays a mean guitar
7. How I’ll let go of you
8. Katie singing is just like a Cure
10. DJ that got Katie under way!
12. Album No. 7
14. I have become…
15. City where Katie was born
19. Alien size?
20. Women’s Choir

09.07.20   >   It's In The Handwriting?

handwriting

Any graphologists out there care to expose some of Katie’s dark secrets for us? Does her handwriting smack of a desire for witchy world domination? Does it scream a deep mistrust of seafood and an incessant yearning for log fires? Is she a neat and orderly goody two-shoes or a scatterbrained daydreamer? Does she fidget with her fingernails? 😉

The fact that nothing is corrected or crossed out suggests to me that this was written once the lyrics were finalised. As do the dots showing this was done on June 30th. (Look, I notice things. Smack me.) Can we have a pic of the bin in the corner full of and surrounded by bits of scrunched up paper? 😂

08.07.20   >   Search Me!

I've finally got around to implementing a feature that none of you have been requesting for a long time: a site search. Be still your beating hearts!

Some of you may be asking "why?". Why not? It won't do you any harm will it? The thing is, some of you may come here and be vexed by all my incessant waffle and just want to see the lyrics for "A Love Like That". Well, now you can just click in the search box, top right, and type "A Love Like That", click "search", and you'll be shown a list of all the places where I've waffled on about "A Love Like That", (including right here), but on that list will be the lyrics page and you can tap the link and go straight to it. Simples! Or you might remember that once, many moons ago, I mentioned flatulent gibbons (I didn't, until now: that's just by way of example) and you'd like to check who I was referring to.

Tips and Caveats

07.07.20   >   Part 1, Behind the Scenes: Making Album No. 8

This is simply splendid. A lovely insight into the J.K. Rowling of music making her magic happen.

(NB: Due to YouTube copyright policy the video won't play right here—clicking the pic above will take you to the YouTube site to watch it.)

07.07.20   >   Seven Second Challenge 8

Press the play button and guess the song. Click "Show Me The Answer" when you think you know it or if you're stumped.

Seven second challenge: intro 8


07.07.20   >   Refreshing The Site

Right then, I've made some cosmetic changes to the site over the last few days. This may have caused it to look a complete mess in your browser. I appreciate that you are not all tech whizzes so here is a brief explanation of what is going on:

Browsers use something called a "cache" to store everything on a web page. This is because it can take an age to fetch images and stuff over the internet. It is much quicker if they are already on your computer! So, when you revisit a site the browser only needs to fetch the new stuff; anything that hasn't changed can be grabbed from the cache instead. This is well and dandy but sometimes the browser doesn't realise some supporting file has changed, like a stylesheet for example, and just uses the cached version instead of the new one. And it is stylesheets that govern the appearance of the page. Doh!

Some of you may know that you can force a page to reload by holding down the shift key while you press the little reload icon in your browser. But I've decided to make it even easier. There is now a button in the panel on the left below the "light" and "dark" buttons that will refresh the page for you! So, if something doesn't look right with the page then click the button to reload it and it should fetch all the latest files. You don't want to do this too often because it can take a while to download all the whizzy images of Katie on this page! If reloading the page doesn't fix the mess then the problem is most likely that I've cocked something up and put something in the wrong place. If that happens there's nothing you can do until I spot it and fix it, other than label me an utter world-class pigeon-faced buffoon of the first order.

06.07.20   >   Lyric Card: This Year's Love

This Year's Love

05.07.20   >   How DO You Make A Love Like THAT Last?

This is the rather non-trivial question Katie has posed us. Who has an answer then? Well, I can’t hear any of you and I’ve had my hand up for long enough now so I’ll just jump in.

The thing is, being in love is an artificial state. It *feels* real but it is an illusion. Your body is drugged up by chemicals and hormones triggered by some deep, subconscious programming in our DNA. It is all part of the primal urge to reproduce and continue the species. When we find a suitable partner, the programming is triggered, the cocktail of chemicals is released and suddenly our emotions and feelings get taken over completely. We are no longer rational, logical beings but rather driven by love and desire. We are no longer really in control of our emotions. Our brains have switched to auto-pilot. This is meant to get us to the point where offspring are on the way. Then the self-drugging stops so that we can return to being rational and productive in order to be effective parents.

The thing is, we have evolved into such intelligent creatures that we can often override this programming if we are motivated enough so that we stop being ‘in love’ before the offspring stage has succeeded. When that happens we may find ourselves loving someone but no longer being ‘in love’, and it is that ‘downgrading’ of intensity that can often begin to reveal the cracks and flaws in people to which they had previously been oblivious. Habits and foibles that previously went unnoticed or were even considered charming suddenly become annoying and grating. It is the gradual returning to harsh reality from the fantasy bubble of being in love that causes the breakdown of so many relationships. That’s often when people meet someone else, find themselves attracted and begin to crave another fix of the ‘love drug’.

To answer the question “how do you make a love like that last?” I think the answer lies in being able to see the bigger picture. To understand that the fairytale whirlwind at the beginning cannot last and that you will have to accept a gradual reduction in intensity over the months and years. Unsurprisingly, a lot of people don’t want to settle for a lifetime of diminishing returns, full of arguments and compromises. It will usually end up with the thought “you’re not the person I married”. But this is true of almost everyone. If you get married when you are young and in love then you will definitely be different people ten years down the line, both of you. We are not finished products at 20—we keep evolving and changing until we die. Making love last is about realising your partner has changed, and that you have, and deciding you can live with that. For some people it is enough, for many it isn’t. The (probably disappointing) answer to “how do you make a love *like that* last?” then is that you can’t. It would involve tricking your body into continuing to produce those magic chemicals to intoxicate your brain. Even if that could be done, would you *really* want to live your life permanently in that state? No doubt you might be saying “yes”, but seriously think about it—we’d become a planet of lovestruck zombies moping around gazing into each other’s eyes and sighing. How would anything ever get done? Who would produce the food? Keep services running? A “planet of love” might sound like Utopia but it could never function. In fact, this was pretty much what H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine was about. All we can do in reality is hope that “a love like that”is something we experience at least once or twice in our lives and when it is over retain the memory of what it felt like. And then perhaps write a song about it. 😉

I never thought I’d be quoting Tennyson to anyone, but hey, you know, it seems relevant to this mighty question so here goes:

"'tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all"

05.07.20   >   I've Been Decorating...

The more observant among you may have noticed I've made a few visual tweaks to this page. Most are subtle, apart from the first ever change of header along with a shiny new matching menu—resplendent in its blood red new "A Love Like That" video theme. Personally, I love it and think it is even clearer than the old menu. If you hate it then please feel free to write a letter of complaint to your local M.P. about it. It won't do much good but it might make you feel better. I won't bore you with the other changes but they are designed to streamline the page, just in case you happen to view it in strong winds.

Note: If the menu doesn't look any different you may need to flush your cache. It isn't as painful as it sounds! Just hold down the shift key while you refresh the browser page and it will force the new pics to load.

04.07.20   >   Yabba Dabba Duh Dud Duh Do Do...

Katie likes to keep her fans hungry so that when she throws them a fish they swallow it whole. It is a decent strategy—if they were too well-fed they might give a new morsel a half-hearted lick and then go back to sleep. But she's thrown us a real whopper this time. Unfortunately, I have a problem with “A Love Like That”. It's this. I can’t stop listening to it. I can’t stop thinking about it. I can’t stop hearing it in my head. Katie has released a ravenous earworm into my brain that I’m pretty sure is eating me alive and won’t stop until I’m a gibbering wreck. If you’ve ever read Mark Twain’s short story “Punch, Brothers, Punch” you’ll understand what I mean when I say “A Love Like That” is turning into my own living nightmare.

I’m joking, of course. I love the song to bits. But I really am worried I’m going to hear it to death. With over a hundred days before Album No. 8 is unleashed, I’m going to have to get it out of my system soon. You know that thing when you go to a party and you only know one person there and spend the entire evening talking to them? Oh, that’s just me then. Well, imagine it. When the new album does arrive I want to be able to hear it as a whole, a collection of ten new songs as opposed to one good old friend and nine complete strangers (eight actually, since “Maybe I Dreamt It” and I have already been introduced.) Whilst there is never the remotest scintilla of danger I could ever tire of hearing any of Katie’s songs I don’t want over-familiarity with one to colour my feeling for the flow of the album overall and how the songs fit together. So for the next week or two I will allow “A Love Like That” to consume me like a raging bush fire and wait for it to burn itself out before trying to drive it to the back of my mind by hammering Katie’s back-catalogue again until Album No. 8 finally swaggers into town like John Wick on a mission. But if that plan fails and the song shows no sign of dying down after a couple of weeks I may have to resort to walking around singing “yabba dabba duh dud duh do do” until I hear someone else starting to hum it, at which point I will finally be released from the spell and able to function normally once more. I don’t know—Hermione Melua and her Musical Book of Intricate Incantations. Will I ever escape her sorcerous talons? (Let’s hope not.)

03.07.20   >   Ketevan, The Dragonslayer

I’m forever saying that Katie doesn’t need bells and whistles in the form of backing bands and orchestras. She could walk into your kitchen, mesmerise the merry hell out of you with her voice, pinch a Dairylea triangle from your fridge and leave you standing wide-eyed and rooted to the spot in wonder. But when I say she doesn’t *need* them, that’s not the same as saying she’s no good with them and that is demonstrated perfectly by “A Love Like That”, with its decadent arena-filling wall-of-sound curtain of symphony completely enveloping you like a vermillion velvet blanket. Yet if you wanted proof that I’m right then the Deluxe Edition CD will contain an acoustic version of the track 😉

It slightly worries me how good “A Love Like That” is. Why? Well, it hints that Album No. 8 is going to be something truly special. That isn’t a bad thing, obviously, but when normally quiet, unassuming people start doing special things then giant slumbering dragons begin to open an interested eye. And that does spell trouble, for dragons are bad news. The likes of Dylan and Springsteen barely escaped with their lives before returning to their respective “Shires” to recover. Many others have been lost, consumed by dragon flames. However, let us not hang our heads in despair just yet. Katie has fought dragons before and come back stronger. She is no gibbering Gollum; she is Arwen Undómiel, Evenstar, The Lady of Rivendell, Queen of the Reunited Kingdom and no dragon would underestimate her. With an army of loyal Ketefans (an ancient Georgian word for “Hobbit”) behind her she could march into the very jaws of Mordor and lay waste to it with her magnificence. Okay, that’s enough of that nonsense. But you get my drift—after Album No. 8 is unleashed Katie may not be returning to the sleepy Shire for some time.

I suspect there’ll be a lot of people hailing Album No. 8 as Katie’s masterpiece. I’m sure it will be, *for now*. But that’s a retrospective judgement and she is only in the middle of her career. Katie’s laurels don’t get squashed. She is always learning, questioning, experimenting, improving and above all, maturing. And like a good wine, her voice just gets better with age. Call Off The Search was very good, extraordinary in fact, for a teenager, but if she recorded those songs today you would hear the difference. (I’m quietly hoping something along those lines might happen to mark the 20th anniversary of her debut album in 2023). All of which means that Album No. 9 will be amazing, and Album No. 10 will be amazing, and Album No. 11… you get the idea. (Actually, Album No. 11 might stink a bit—11th albums generally do.)

Let me just wrap this all up with a bow by returning to the talk of dragons. The most legendary slayer of dragons was, of course, Saint George. The very same Saint George, indeed, who happens to be the patron saint of both Georgia and England, as symbolised by the red George’s cross on the flags of both countries. If only I could think of someone else who links those two great countries together…

02.07.20   >   Katie Bite: A Love Like That

A Love Like That

01.07.20   >   A Love Like That

a love like that

(Click the pic to go to the video!)

Class is permanent. And Katie is class. Pure class. Her latest single, “A Love Like That”, aired yesterday morning on BBC Radio 2 and it is sumptuous, seeping song-writing pedigree from every pore. After just ten seconds I thought it sounded like a Bond theme (which was echoed by many during the video premiere), and a good one at that, and absolutely shows Katie could write one of those if asked. [May I refer you to what I wrote on March 4th 2020!] We’d been afforded a glimpse of what the next album might look like as far back as the winter tour of 2018 when she performed “Maybe I Dreamt It”. If that song gave us assurance that we could be in for something special then “A Love Like That” is really going to ramp up the excitement.

After parting ways with long-time mentor and collaborator Mike Batt following the album “Ketevan”, Katie demonstrated with “In Winter” that she knew what she was doing. Her apprenticeship was well and truly over and she had clearly become a skilled and professional singer-songwriter. But since it was a themed album it didn’t reveal any particular direction that Katie’s music was taking. It was something of a one-off. The new album, Album No. 8, (no, that’s not a working title, that’s what it’s called—I guess she was so busy writing the songs she didn’t leave time to come up with a title 😉 ) should give us more of a sense of where she is at. Her live performances from home during the lockdown have been well-received but of necessity have been intimate and acoustic and not necessarily indicative of the direction her career is heading. The video for “A Love Like That” gives us a glimpse of the the kind of music the new album will bring, and it is hard to see any fan being disappointed. It is beautifully crafted, which should come as no surprise, and immaculately performed, which we have come to expect. Is it going to be a massive hit? It deserves to be, of course, but recent years have shown the demographic of Katie’s fans as not being particularly big singles buyers. What it should do is get decent radio exposure and return Katie to people’s consciousness once more. When the new album does arrive in October I don’t have any doubt it will be a strong performer in the album charts. I’m wary of going over the top before I’ve heard the whole thing but I have a good feeling about it and I think it could well become an instant classic. Those of us that have followed Katie from the beginning have observed how she has gradually grown in confidence as a songwriter. As a performer, she was world class from day one, but now she can stand shoulder to shoulder with any songwriter. It is joyous to witness her become the incredible artist many of us suspected she would and this album will enhance her reputation even further. In spite of all the upheaval and weirdness of 2020, it is going to prove a very special year for an extremely class act and, of course, her doting fans.




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