18 Feb 2011

This Much I Know Is True - An interview with SirenofBrixton

Hey everyone! Welcome to tonight's interview - and in an exciting twist - we're *not* on my virtual l-shaped sofa. For this interview with the very lovely blogger + author, @sirenofbrixton, we actually met up, in real life and headed out for some tapas + frozen margaritas in our little bit of south london! In fact a few of you may remember a few of my tweets *after* consumption of said margaritas. Anyway before all of my drunken shenanigans and giggling, I did manage to interview la Siren......

So to set the scene, we're sat in bar 19, on a comfy leather sofa, sipping our icy cold + completely perfect cocktails (best I've had in London folks). The bar is kinda quiet which makes it perfect for the interview. Siren is uber-glam + stylish, texting me so that I recognise her when she walks in wearing a purple furry coat, a leopard print cardy + funky retro red lippy. I know straight away that we're going to get on well :)

Me: Sooooo, let's start with a hard one (fnarrr) What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
Siren:  I was going to visit my grandmother in Wales and she insisted on paying for our accommodation. I was annoyed: I didn’t think it was right for a pensioner to pay for us. My mother-in-law said to me, “She’s a grown up. She knows her own mind. Respect her wishes.” It may sound stupid but it was an epiphany for ma at the time and it transformed my relationships with all my relatives. I let them be, I don’t ever assume I know what’s best for them.

Me: That's a very interesting point, and one I think can apply generally across relationships. I like that! So, moving on to less philosophical topics, what's is your favourite book?
Siren: I have to cheat slightly and pick a trilogy in five parts: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy books are my bible. So much wisdom: eg

"on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much - the wheel, New York, wars and so on - whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man - for precisely the same reasons"

Me: That brings us neatly on to your special subject - writing and blogging! Can you tell us a bit about your journey as a writer+ how you came to start your blog!
Siren:  I did write as a kid. I guess these days you’d say I wrote fan fiction: I wrote sequels to novels I liked; friends at school and I wrote a musical based on the TV show the ‘Kids from Fame’ – and we performed it! I wrote to ABBA once and suggested they write a musical based on their songs. The plot I suggested was very different from Mamma Mia but I like to think I warmed them up to the idea. No letter of thanks yet though.

I’ve always dreamed of being a writer and the blog is part of my finally taking that dream seriously. Now I realise that the writing is a reward in itself but the blog means that even if I never get published by anyone else, I at least get the satisfaction of knowing some people have read my words and been affected by them.

Me: I think that resounds with a lot of bloggers - it's hard to write without at least considering your audience, so actually what inspires you - in writing - and perhaps in life generally?
Siren: Without wanting to sound right-on, it’s the amazing diversity of life. That’s why I love living in London – and Brixton especially. The miraculous variety of humanity and their astonishing, infinite creative capacity: I’m insanely greedy to taste as much of it as possible.

Me: I have to ask - as I do most writers - what do you like best/worst about writing?
Siren: Best: getting lost in it, suddenly becoming aware of your surroundings again and realizing you’ve been laughing and frowning and crying along with your characters. And that hours have passed.

Worst: When you try and try and try but the words just won’t quite come that capture the idea as it is in your head.

Me: Finally, tell us about your ambitions/plans for your writing + the blog.
Siren: I have two screenplays in progress and I’ve banned myself from starting anything else until I finish a draft of one, but I have a special notebook for project ideas because I have dozens. I think I must have been storing them up for the ten years I wasn’t writing. But I’ll wait and see what seems the right thing to do next. Once I finish a bloody draft.

Me: Wow that all sounds super exciting! Let's finish up with some fun final questions. Firstly, aside from tapas + frozen margaritas with moi, what would be your last meal?!
Siren: If I was awaiting execution I’d be trying to delay as long as possible, so maybe a twelve course degustation menu with matched wines. Or an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Me: What is your favourite song?
Siren: I am hopeless at picking favourites but I’ve always said I want I Go to Rio by Peter Allen  to be played at my funeral. That song never fails to lift my mood. (PS I picked this clip because it has that spectacular karaoke video cheesiness to it.) Best singalong song and my no. 1 karaoke choice is I’ve never been to me by Charlene 

Me: What really annoys you?
If you’ve read my rants, pretty much everything! On a personal level, being blamed for something I didn’t do. I’m ree-al thin skinned about that. I may draw blood.

Me: Tell us a secret about yourself
Siren: Don’t tell anyone but most days I think I must be one of the luckiest people alive. Gotta count your blessings

Me: What is the nicest thing you have done?
Siren: I get a lot of credit for giving Mr S. a trip to Europe and tickets to a Liverpool game for his 40th birthday but I made him bring me so it wasn’t entirely selfless. 

Me: Aaaaaaand finally, finally What do you know to be true about life?
Siren: Nobody really knows anything much; everyone’s pretty much making it up as they go. But you better enjoy it as much as possible, because you only get one and it can end any minute.

Damn straight Siren! So folks, hope you liked that interview - do check out Siren's blog and you can also follow her on twitter @SirenofBrixton.

Next week I'll be featuring an interview with the fabulous @emlynchand but also, excitingly, she'll be twitter-viewing yours truly. Follow hashtag #emlyn from 9pm UK time on Tuesday 22nd to check it out and ask me questions live online!! 

Meantime I have got the most *awesome* photo essay coming up tomorrow from guest blogger Graffiti Living so be sure to stop by and check it out, plus also my top 10 works of art on sunday. Thanks again for all the reads, recommends, comments, tweets and RTs - much appreciated and keep on enjoying the blog.

Thank you and goodnight

Stupidgirl has left the building


  1. Interesting insights. Nice examples and illustrations taken from family and personal experiences. Tell us more about Brixton. People in US only hear that its a 'dangerous area' and so they avoid it. But I get the feeling that isn't true anymore. Tip on the screenplays....you gotta get a really good recommendation. Sometimes it seems like its not about what you can do, but just a question of 'who's your uncle?'...I'm stretching, but not by much. An interesting conversation

  2. Thanks for making me the star of your blog for a day! I almost sound...smart! Must have been the margaritas xx

  3. Fab interview ... am jealous of the frozen margaritas ;)

  4. Will - Brixton's not dangerous per se. It's a bit crazy though and there are general safety rules but I think they apply in any big city :) Glad you liked the interview though + thanks for taking the time to comment as ever - you star!

    Siren - pleasure! You are smart lovely!! We must do margaritas again soon but your side of the road!

    KT - We'll have to have a blogger meet + you can try them :) Anyway I so <3 your blog, it is the funniest thing I have read in a long time xx