Rediscovering…Kate Nash

Ok, I know, this post is a little bit off topic. But it is about rediscovering something, and it is about a feminist, so it kind of fits.

For those of you who don’t know, Kate Nash is a British singer/songwriter who in 2007(I think) was brought to fame with her song Foundations( It was in the charts the same year Rhianna’s Umbrella( brought a summer full of rain, and The Way I Are by Timbaland( I spent a lot of time that summer at my best friends house drinking tea and watching music channels, so got to know these songs very well indeed. Foundations in particular is the only “break-up” song I’ve had, and the album – Made of Bricks – also helped a great deal, especially the song “Dickhead”( I also went to see her in Bristol when she did her album tour, and I have a burned CD made for me by that same best friend of some demo stuff that hadn’t been released yet.(FYI I no longer download music or burn CDs, in the same way I don’t watch illegal copies of films/tv programmes. Kind of think of it as biting the hand that feeds you.)

Anyway, a year after that album, I went away to drama school, and Kate Nash went off my radar a bit, which was possibly a mix of her not having another song chart as high as Foundations(I think) my being veery busy studying, and that I started listening to Radio 4 rather than Radio 1. Yes, I’m that cool. My student house had a library. 

Aaanyway, as I said in my last post, I went to Glastonbury Festival at the weekend. Which was bloody fantastic. I was performing with my other company, the pieces went really well, saw the Rolling Stones and had a generally awesome time. Part of that was the discovery of the Leftfield Tent, which is the politics tent. There was also some great political comedy from Josie Long in the Cabaret tent, which had Radio 4 pictures on the wall, which made me very happy. So anyway, back to Leftfield which says on its logo “Mixing Pop and Politics” Because of our show times I couldn’t get to any of the talks which included one on austerity by Owen Jones, a journalist in the independent, and another on feminism by UK Feminista. But I did get to see some music there – which had a bit of a political edge. We went to see Dizraeli and the Small Gods – who I had never heard of but my boyfriend loves – and they were fantastic. As stated in the Glasto program they mix “hip-hop and folk” which works really well. They also had one of those keyboard things that you blow through which I really want!! 

Aaanyway. So back to Kate Nash. She was the end to our weekend at Glastonbury, as we needed to travel back on the Friday night, and didn’t feel like battling with the traffic if we waited until after Mumford and Sons. I spotted her in the programme, saw she was on at Leftfield AND they referred to her being feminist, and the timing was perfect. And I had so much fun!! She did three songs from her first album, the two I’ve mentioned plus Mariella( Some from her second album which I didn’t realise I already knew, and some from her third Girl Talk, which I didn’t even know existed. I’ve spent a significant time since then trying to find my copy of Made of Bricks, which isn’t in the box, and wondering if I can justify buying the other two when I don’t have a huge amount of money and am supposed to be saving to move out. I think I’ll relent eventually. And will keep checking to see the next time she performs down my way 🙂 You can follow her on Twitter @katenash and her website is

I promise I’ll write about Jane Austen on my next post!

Phoebe 🙂


We’re getting close…

Hi everyone! I’ve just got back from a fantastic weekend performing with the other company I work with – Natural Diversions – at Glastonbury Festival! And slowly getting my head back around everything Austen.

Had the lovely surprise of another backing over the weekend – just £5 but every little helps! If we don’t reach our total, we have to pay 9% of what we make to Sponsume, the website that hosts us. Our first mini-aim was to get to £300 as that would cover the hire of the rehearsal space, and we’ve just inched over it so should now be able to cover the 9% on top of that. We’ve been lucky enough to have someone offer to loan us the costumes for this short run, so that is one short term issue we don’t have to worry about – however, we hope to do a longer run in the autumn, so will need to find the money for that at some point. The biggest cost of the show – and what is the biggest outlay in any business – is our salary. We are aiming for Equity minimum – £410 a week – but any money we gain now should hopefully be divided three ways. If it at least covers our expenses, that would make a massive difference to us. It can be quite disheartening to lose money on a production. We will give it our all no matter what, and acting is a career you choose for the love of it, not for the money, but the aim is to make a living at it. That this is hard to do has always been the case, but since the recession it has got harder. The Arts Council’s budget has been cut and cut in this climate of austerity and while there are a number of philanthropic trusts out there, often what they support is very specific. Some prefer to support capital projects, some specifically those that are participatory, and some prefer to donate to the bigger companies such as the RSC and The National. The politics of the arts cuts is not something I want to go into, and obviously philanthropic bodies have their own criteria of who they support, which I’m not going to argue with.

It is these reasons, plus the time period between the first production in April and the next few in July, that I suggested crowdfunding as the route to focus on for the project. I was hoping to engage people who have a love of Jane Austen, and that our rewards would be very exciting! However, there are some that I expected to be popular which haven’t been so far – such as the drawings of you in Regency dress, and copies of the DVD and script. So now I am turning to you, readers of this blog, to ask you what you think would inspire to back a project, if some of our prizes interest you but you think are priced to high, or if its just harder to get behind something UK based if you are based in the US? If you could comment below on what you think that would be a huge help – and don’t worry, I have no expectation on you to donate if you suggest something! I just think it might be worth a change up to see if we can drum up more interest, and as I know a lot of the readers of this blog are Austenites, your opinions would be a huge help. Please comment below! The page is here

I’m going to be relearning my lines this week, before we go back into rehearsals, so I’ll be keeping you updated on how both of those are going – and obviously how it all goes on the tour! 

Phoebe : ) 

Wrapped up in a £10 Note

I’m not sure how many UK based readers I have on this blog, or how many of you have been following the controversy over the next £5 in the UK. Basically, on the back of every note, there is a picture of a historical figure whose made a contribution to British Society. Currently, there is only one woman(bar the Queen, who is on the front of every note) on a note, and that is Elizabeth Fry a social and prison reformer from the 1800s. However, its time for that note to be changed, and Winston Churchill has been picked to replace her. I have nothing against Winston Churchill, and he is obviously a key figure in our history, but I completely understand the uproar. It seems completely fair to replace a woman with a woman, especially as all the others are men. In fact, I think the treasury should be moving towards a 50% split of important women in our history – there is a huge amount to choose from. And it would be such a simple way of making sure those women are in peoples conciousness, and to show women have contributed equally to society.

The most recent news in “Notegate” is that the next note due for a change – the £10 – will feature Jane Austen! No date as yet, but in the next few years she’ll be in lots of peoples wallets and pockets! Hopefully a trend will follow and lots of other women will appear on notes in the future.


Phoebe x

The Militia

By militia, I specifcally mean that of Jane Austen’s time. You know, the ones that don’t go anywhere, or fight anyone. Or as when Isabel explained to me when I asked in rehearsal “they’re kind of like Dad’s army”

An Evening at Home with the Austens is set in 1792, just before Henry Austen was about to set off to join the Militia – one of his many, many different careers(keep an eye out for when the Austen facts on our Twitter are about him! @RuffledUmbrella) People in the Militia are often mentioned in many of her books, at the forefront of my mind while I’m writing, is George Wickham. 

So I took it upon myself to do some research – the Jane Austen Centre in Bath has a factual one here, so for the facts you may as well read this: I won’t have anything factual to add, just my own rambling thoughts. That what the Militia are is never explained in the books, so they must have been intrinsic in every day society. That it can function as social mobility for men, as seen in Persuasion(please correct me if that’s the Army and not the Militia!). And thirdly, you seem to get paid for not doing a whole lot, and that they as a group are often painted in an unfavourable light, interestingly as Jane’s own brother was a part of one.

I realise I may have said some sweeping inaccurate generalisations in this, so please correct in the comments! I haven’t had time to do much research, so these are just my general musings 🙂


Pride and Prejudice – Re-read complete!

Sorry I’ve not posted for a while. I was away with work at the weekend, and have not been feeling particularly well the last couple of days. However, I have now FINALLY finished my re-read of Pride and Prejudice, part of the challenge set by Little White Dove(I very much recommend her blog, if you don’t already follow it:

Here are some of my thoughts:

Mr and Mrs Gardiner – how did I completely forget about them? They are definitely the nicest – and I expect happiest – of the elder generation in the novel. And I also didn’t remember how important they are to the plot in meaning Elizabeth runs into Darcy again. Do they feature in any of the adaptations?

Arg. I wrote much more than this but WordPress has deleted it! I’m afraid I’m going to leave it at that one thought for now as I’m not feeling 100% still – will add more thoughts either later or tomorrow!

Which Jane Austen Character are you?

I discovered the Jane Austen Heroine quiz this week on someone else’s blog(can’t remember who now though – really sorry!) and thought I’d share it in case any of the readers of my blog hadn’t spotted it! I came out as Catherine Morland – now must reread Northanger Abbey to see if I agree…

If you take the quiz comment below your results and if you agree!

Costume and body shapes

Quite a few blogs ago, I shared some pictures of the cast at Jane Austen’s House Museum, when we were performing scenes from Pride and Prejudice.

We had lovely, accurate costumes loaned to us – however that does not mean it was easy! I very soon realised that my body shape is not particularly suited to the empire lines of Georgian and Regenct dress. As you can see in this photo: the style of my dress(on the right) and Izzy’s dress(on the left) is quite different. Izzy’s is the kind of dress you would be used to – undo the buttons, put it on, and do up the buttons. Mine was rather more complicated! 

I would step into the skirt which was fairly simple. Then there was a flat – almost like you get on the top of dungarees – which would button on to the shoulders of the section with the sleeves. Similar to dungarees this then left a gap at either side. The section at the sides then needs to get held together to be tied, and then attach the flap – and I am slowly realizing this is very hard to describe as a blog post! Needless to say, I understand why people in Regency times would have needed help to get dressed! And I don’t think they were particular designed for women who are that little bit curvier! I will try and get a photo of the dress with all the different sections up at some point so you can see what I mean. I hope you’re able to make some sense of what I’ve written so far 🙂


To our secret gift giver…

At 9.17pm yesterday an anonymous backer donated us a whopping £100 pounds on our crowdfunding campaign! They gave no name other that “Secret Gift Giver” and requested no reward. None of us know who that person is – if its somebody here, we cannot thank you enough! That money means we are just £20 away from being able to cover a weeks rehearsal space for “An Evening at Home with the Austens”. Thank you so much!! 

Phoebe x