Vixen Of The Violin: The Anna Phoebe Column (No. 22)
Did you think she’s forgotten us? No chance, because Anna Phoebe’s back, updating us on her hectic life. Trips to Lebanon and Jordan, hanging out with multi-millionaires, getting her dog castrated…it’s all part of the wild and wacky Vixen’s life! Oh, and she reveals which legendary musician she’s about to work with! Check out all Anna’s previous columns. here.
The weeks have once again flown by! It seems just yesterday that I went to Lebanon to play at the new Cadillac car launch – you can see a short promo clip of the event here – (fast forward to 1.03 for some fleeting Vixen action). Beirut was as wonderful as ever – stayed an extra few days and chilled out on the beaches. My fabulous agent out there, Tarek, took my partner and I to some amazing restaurants – I have never eaten so much delicious food. Fresh fish, humous, tabouleh, and my new favourite salad – Fattoush. It’s made with fresh vegetables, mint leaves and fried pieces of pitta bread – you can find the recipe here.
After a week of over-eating I decided to chill out in Berlin for a week and detox. I went to see my grandmother in Hamburg who has dementia – very sad to see someone you love who has always been strong and full of life become a shrunken version of their old self. As a child I used to show off about her to my friends – I thought she was the coolest grandmother in the world because she went to Egypt and rode camels when in her 60s.
She still remembers who I am and we sit and talk. She repeatedly tells me the same old stories from the olden days – or obsesses over a particular photograph and the events surrounding it…. it’s sad when she gets confused about where she is or who’s in the house with her – worst is the fact she is still at the stages where she is conscious of her confusion, and undoubtedly finds that embarrassing (and frustrating!). But then still has the wit to comment, “Ah well, the fact that I am conscious of being confused is a good sign that SOMETHING in my brain is working!”. My dear Grossmutti.
The following week in London I decided to go through with an operation I would never wish on any male. My puppy Wallace was castrated. It is incredible the reaction I have gotten (yes, mostly from men) via Facebook and Twitter while I reported on the various stages. It is also very telling that although my boyfriend drove me to the vet and accompanied me inside to the waiting area, he was looking increasingly uncomfortable about the impending doom, and made some excuse why he couldn’t stay for the appointment. (I was told that many men actually call up a few days before, behind their partner’s back, and cancel the appointment).
Wallace, completely unaware that his life was to change forever, trotted quite happily into the arms of the vet. Later that evening my boyfriend summoned all of his inner manly strength to come with me to pick up the ball-less pup, who was heavily drugged, drowsy and wearing the white cone of shame. As he carried Wallace out he was whispering sweet nothings in his ear to soothe him – including, “See what she did to you??! This was her idea not mine! This is Anna’s fault!” .
The first few days were terrible – he wouldn’t eat, drink or move and just sat there looking like an IKEA lampshade. I guess if you are any male and you get taken to a weird smelling hospital where you get put to sleep and you wake up with no balls and looking like this, you would feel pretty sorry for yourself too. The good news is, after one week the cone is off, the scar is minimal and he is back to his usual self (minus the obsessive peeing/humping).
Last week I did another trip out to Jordan – no royal wedding this time, but instead I performed for the Young President’s Organisation which is basically an international networking community for young and extremely successful businessmen and women – criteria include an annual turnover of $8 million and annual assets worth over $160 million.I don’t see myself or my friends joining any time soon.
They were, however a lively and lovely bunch of 500 men and women – mainly Americans but also British, Cuban, Spanish, Japanese and others. The show went exceptionally well – they wouldn’t let me leave the stage! The highlight of the event were the whirling dervishes – it is such a beautiful and mesmerising sight – these big white circular robes lifting off the ground as the men spin continuously. It’s a deeply spiritual Sufi tradition, and the music combines chanting with low chords and beats – really haunting.
I came back to London refreshed from the healing waters of the Dead Sea and spent the weekend getting excited for a very special meeting I had yesterday with Jon Lord (as in the Jon Lord from Deep Purple). We spent yesterday in a North London studio with Hammond organ and violins at the ready, but actually spent most of the day talking and getting to know each other.
What an exceptional man – deeply humble, intelligent, witty, gracious and all round lovely! We talked about all aspects of music including our inspirations and influences, but also touring experiences and the routines we have when on the road. Despite his legendary status and a few decades head start, we actually have a lot in common with one another – not least with playing instruments which straddle the classical and rock world, but also in our attitude and approach to music.
The result of all this is that we have decided to embark on a musical project together! It will combine aspects of my solo music, as well as his orchestral compositions and also some Deep Purple songs…and some entirely new material which we will write together. The project will combine all of our musical influences and experiences into an exciting new sound…will keep you posted! Oh – and any ideas for a band name will be much appreciated!
Right – before I sign off for the week – one final plug! I will be performing will my full band at The Barfly in London on October 31, as part of a goth/industrial/electro night. We’re onstage at 9pm, and you can get advance tickets here.
Inspiration Track For The Week:
Deep Purple Child In Time