A Fan Letter to Kate Nash
Dear Kate Nash,
I saw you recently. At Village Underground in London on the ten year anniversary of Foundations becoming a superstar pop hit. Dancing around with women who all love you as much as I do, who knew the words to every single song, was joyous. I’d forgotten your songs are short stories peppered with kisses, heartache and daydreams.
I don’t remember when I first heard Foundations but I do remember watching the video. I liked you straight away because, like a toddler picking a favourite Disney princess, you had not–quite–curly but definitely–not–straight hair like me. And from the opening piercing notes, I wanting to step inside the world the romantically disappointing world which you’d created using 1960s shift dresses, brightly coloured tights and everyday charm.
I grew up in West Yorkshire, surrounded by lads in bands singing songs that said nothing to me about my life and drinking Martell because The Cribs wrote that one song about it. Everything which you sang about in Made of Bricks felt like my world: cheap vintage dresses, best friends, crushes and disappointing boyfriends.
Some of your songs I associate with people I don’t speak to anymore. My best friend from Sixth Form was a whirlwind, she lit fires in the dark crevices of my boring suburban teenagedom with Chet Baker, toast smeared with salted butter and cackling laughter. I used to listen to your poem, a love letter to your best friend Laura Dockrill, Pistachio Nut and think of her: Yeah, I know you think she’s cute and funny / But, actually she is not an I, she is a we. Even now when I watch the recording of you reading it, my fingers itch to message her.
I still think that Nicest Thing is one of the most heartbreaking songs I’d ever heard. When I would stomp around my new University campus listening to that song on repeat you knew what that searing pain in my stomach and felt the clench of my heart when you sang: I wish that when I said two sugars you knew that actually I meant three. When I’d stopped crying over boys who prefered to kiss other people instead of me Merry Happy eulogised my sadness and told me it would be OK.
My love for you didn’t dampen as we both grew up. I loved the snarl of My Best Friend Is You and the victory rolls in Girl Talk; I loved that one of my new friends turned to me during one of your sets in Glastonbury as declaring you the best pop star of our generation; and I love that everything you do from your all–women band to setting up an after school rock camp for girls, to proudly declaring next to your Brit Award that female is not a genre is staunchly, screamingly feminist.
Kate, I really wrote this to tell you you were the the first writer who made the inside of my brain, made up of EastEnders, glitter, Harry Potter, pop music and love, feel important. When I first heard you sing about dancing at discos and eating cheese on toast in Mouthwash, it felt like you were holding out a hand in encouragement asking me to show you my favourite places, my heartbreak and my ambition. Over the last ten years, I’ve held onto the moments of embarrassment, the twirling in vintage dresses and the cups of tea because you showed me that you can twist words around these experiences and make them magical.
And, really Kate, you were the first person who made me think that I could write all these things down and turn them into something beautiful, funny and true just like you did.