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This Ain't LA, Baby...
Nope, this is Notting Hill, adopted home of certifiably sensitive songbird Tori Amos. Laundromats, burglar alarms, toffee apples and Thanksgiving all hold their
special problems for the kookstress. No wonder she's "bummed"...
Mon. Nov 21
Thinking of sounds to sample on the piano - Pumpkin smashing pweek sound in the
left hand. Fan on the strings - air. Bass string layed across bottom octave
Flying. Almost down
long flight thinking of piano things to do I always feel better when I do
that. I stop thinking of things that
wake me Screaming inside. Enough. Piano things to do
….long flight changed planes 2 times in America
I love flying the food is always terrible and I think of pasta that I've had
before and it tastes Better when I remember then I think I thought it did at
the time. That's ok.
I sat next to 2 lawyers on the plane
"what do you do?"
"I'm a lawyer"
they Both say that.
"what kind of lawyer?"
you know when you're really in a chatty mood and they stopped talking but they're
throwing back 2 double martinis and you go this is gonna be easy.
"So, like are you involved in an intense case because your martini seems to
like going down your throat and into your body and making you stare at the
carpeted wall and I don't mean to invade your thought space but what's up?"
So he offered me some of his popcorn which was low in salt. "Actually my client who has a small business in Wisconsin where 150 people work is going under because this young hot shot
lawyer in Washington has decided to make a name for himself and illegalize how
the business imports parts and it doesn't look like anyone is going to stop
And I go "so what about the governor from Wisconsin?"
And he goes "he's trying but it's very involved."
And I go "what about Ice-T?"
And he goes "Ice-T what?"
And I go "you know Ice-T. I got a
friend who's good friends with Ice-T and he's got friends and I think young hot
shot lawyers sucking over the people would piss him off."
And he puts up his hand and goes "Look lady I shouldn't have troubled you - here
have the rest of my popcorn."
Off the plane. Show my four-year stamp, no hassles at immigration. "What are
you doing, Miss Amos, while you're here?" "Nothing I'm not supposed to,
officer." This lady tried to cut in line like I wasn't gonna notice and she
slid past a load of other people and they didn't say a word (you know they
weren't from NY) and I'm or interested in those sneaky events so we had a chat
and she acted like she didn't know what I was talking about so my voice had to
get really loud and she sulked away like an asp and I hate doing that ‘cos I'd
much rather stand in line with a peace vibe but I got no problems putting on my
Olaf The Viking approach when somebody's sliming around.
Go over to see Cindy P. I have an argument with somebody on the phone. It's
stupid. Me and this person both handle it badly. Cin takes me for a hot
chocolate and talks to me about Cathedral thinking, and how intention is
everything and if my intention in any facet of my work is not about making the
world a better place, whatever she says that means to me, then I'm basically
just wasting trees. She calls me a cab and sends me home. I get home, go up the
steps, see the spider that's been by the door now for six weeks. I've been away
for three; it's good to have consistency somewhere. And I can't get the keys in
the door. There are three locks and I'm not good with locks and I start
screaming and kicking the door. I've been up two days. The door and I negotiate
terms. I get inside. The alarm goes off. I don't know the alarm code. I call my
friend Karen and I start crying, Karen's from Brooklyn and she says not to
move, she's coming over. The whole neighbourhood is yelling at me to do
something and I can't find the landlord's number. Twenty-five minutes later,
one of the neighbours gets me the number. I call, get the code and turn it off.
I was freaked to go outside because, when the police came, if I went outside
they'd put these guns to my head and Karen shook me and said, This ain't LA,
baby, chill. Let's push through this moment of horror and get some mushroom
polenta. So me and Karen and Matthew leave after we turn on the heat. We come
back and the place is an igloo. Matthew says my heat's broken. We split and I
crash on their couch.
Tues Nov 23
I haven't washed clothes for six weeks. I tried but the washer broke. I don't
mind dirty clothes. Dirty clothes is a subjective thing. Underwear is the problem
because if you wear them twice that's OK but after that it can get gross. So I
go find Mary at the Laundromat and she helps me sort it out. Eric flies in from
the States to finalise the masters. We want to make some changes.
Wed Nov 24
I can't move. Why does the phone have to ring in such a horrible tone? Oh God,
not again, I always do this. I get bummed when I can't figure out solutions but
I was never good with getting from A to B because if A is here and B is there,
I'm not quite sure where here and there is. So if the ship was sinking and you
only had a little boat to put only a few people in, I'm really not the one you
should make sure is in your boat, because I'll never be able to get us to A and
B, although once you get there I could maybe figure out a good thing to do with
the marshmallows. So why do we have to make videos? My brain is drained. No
matter. My attitude could improve, I think I'm having a hard time wrapping my
head around this. I'm going to play scales.
Thurs Nov 25
Nine am: the phone rings. My sister is calling from Maryland. "Happy
Thanksgiving," I go. "What are you doing up this early? You woke me up." She
goes, "I put the turkey in the oven and there's nobody else I can call." I go,
"What about all your friends who are putting turkeys in ovens?" She says,
"They're all comin' over here." Then she tells me we have something to discuss,
so I say, "Hold on," and I go get some Raisin Bran (she can afford the call,
she's a doctor). I come back on the phone and she goes, "So, are we gonna do
what we always do? It's gonna be Kit's turn this Christmas." And I go, "Of
course. Don't worry, I'll sort it." She's got five kids and every time it's
time to fork over the cowboys and indians set we buy three times as many
indians as cowboys just so there's no way to confuse the issue.
I go do some interviews
then go to a friend's house. She's making toffee apples for her son. Anyway,
when it's time to lick the pan, and there's loads in the pan, she gives me and
the son each a spoon. He has the pot in front of him and he isn't giving any
over and I love toffee apples more than I can express. So I go, "If you put the
toffee on your finger, it's really fun." And he goes, "You do it." So I get my
spoon, stick it in the pan, put it on his finger and he becomes very involved
at this point -- and so does my spoon. Hey, we were both very content in the
Fri Nov 26
I hate today. I really don't want any part of it.
Sat Nov 27
I'm still kinda depressed. Another friend has AIDS. So many have died in the last
few years. I have no idea where some of the guys I worked with in DC have gone
to. I heard one of them that I really loved has died too and I see his face and
it makes me giggle. They would take me in the back on my break when I played
the piano bar. I was 16 and they taught me how to give head on a cucumber and
if I left any teeth marks I wouldn't get the customary ice-cream soda. And he
loved flowers. He could arrange flowers ordinary into something extraordinary.
He was extraordinary.
Sun Nov 28
I took a bath. The flat's a mess but I have clean clothes. I'm feeling a little better. Sad isn't a bad thing. Sad needs friends too, I think, and once you're friends with sad, you don't have to be afraid of her any more. I'm going to see the movie The Piano. Everybody that's seen it says it takes your breath away and not too much seems to be able to make us feel like that any more...
[scans by Richard Handal]
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the World of Tori Amos