+ Christof van der Ven
St. John's Church
Kenilworth Literary Festival
Not so long ago, nothing much happened in Kenilworth – a pretty Warwickshire town traditionally the residence of Warwick University academics and high ups in the automotive industry. I know, cause I lived there for nearly a decade and nothing. happened. I mean really. nothing. Well, sometimes I would watch a fox that lived in the bushes.
However, now I’ve migrated to Birmingham where a surprising amount happens if you seek it out and yet I found myself on the low slow milk train back to Kenilworth to see American singer/songwriter Jesca Hoop in, of all places, a large church. Jesca Hoop was raised Mormon – or as she quipped on the night, ‘I was raised Mormon till I was 16 and then I fucked off’.
After a stint in downtown LA (best song of the night ‘City Bird’ was about this time) she’s spent the last ten years or so living in Manchester and honing her indie folk craft.
Her banter is good, her voice is ethereal, her guitar sounds great etc etc. Mostly captivating – just one or two songs which seemed much less good. But I forgive her.
Besides I was just so relieved that she enunciates – the opening act, Christof Van der Ven has a beautiful voice and guitar sound as well but man, we didn’t catch a word he was saying. Lucky for him, I’ve found a solution.
Jesca Hoop's Memories Are Now LP is available from SubPop Records
Meave Haughey is a short story writer based in Birmingham. Recent stories have been published in Comma Press’s The New Abject, and Forecast: New Writing from Birmingham, Doestoevsky Wannabe’s Love Bites: Fiction Inspired by Pete Shelley and Buzzcocks and in Birmingham, from the Doestoevsky Wannabe Cities series. Meave's story The Reservoir featured in The Best of British Short Stories 2021 compiled by Salt Press
Find more of her writing at her blog Worth the Coming Home.
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