It's time for my monthly clothes exchange and I'm sitting in Oranaise Cafe in Hyde Park, gate-crashing a City Social meet-up. The host of today's rendezvous is an old teacher-training friend and is complaining about a recent “CS” event.
I've read interviews with Kate Nash justifying her change in musical direction and brief entertainment news items, reporting how disaffected her fans have become. She recently played Brudenell Social and apparently a large chunk of her audience up and left well before she was done. At lunch, it's joked that the CS member who misplaced her ticket was lucky to have missed this gig and some speculate Nash has suffered some kind of breakdown. The passion of their debate leads me to carry-out some of my own research. Although I'm all for kooky, I've never been a huge Nash fan and have never listened to a whole album.
Back at home enjoying the brief sunshine with another friend, I tell her about the animated lunchtime discussion and she recalls hearing one of Kate's earlier songs and her disgust and amazement. Up until now I've managed to avoid Caroline's A Victim and once we've sniggered through the video, I'm surprised Nash ever made it. I can't help but wonder whether the Caroline the song is based upon is a real person and if she's flattered to be the song's inspiration:
After reacquainting ourselves with early Nash, Caroline reminds us both of the legendary Leigh Bowery's insane and short-lived 90s' experiment, Minty. I never saw their scandalous live antics but remember being amused by their single That's Nice being played on Mark and Lard's show:
Having made this bizarre journey through time, we quickly skip to some of her recent tracks and even find a live video of the offending Brudenell gig:
My grungy roots mean I actually prefer the new Nash and agree she has every right as an artist to experiment with her sound but if you compare the above videos to tracks like Mouthwash, it's easy to see why her fan base feel alienated. The late John Peel would have championed such experimentation and her brave move away from a more commercial sound but whether she manages to replace old fans with new ones remains to be seen.