Could This Be The First Ever Author Band?

OK, so this is the reason I made a giant fake ice cream cone last week.

I’m in a band.

Bear with me. Last year I did an author event at the Wychwood Festival and LOVED it. This year, I practically begged Barbara, the organiser of the literature bit, to invite me again. OK, that’s a slight lie: I did beg. In fact, I threatened to climb over the security fence if they didn’t invite me. (I could have just bought a ticket, I know, but I wanted to MAKE A POINT.)

I wore her down eventually. And THEN she said, ‘There seems to be a lot of musical-type authors coming this year. Fancy forming a band?’ and I fell for it. Hook, line and sinker. I know, I’m hopeless. Can’t resist a crazy idea, especially if it’s something no one has done before. So what did I say? I said, ‘What a brilliant idea! Do you want me to organise it?’


I admit it, there have been several moments I’ve regretted volunteering. But, as with all the best crazy untried ideas, I’m having too good a time to mind. I’ll be playing keyboards and flute and ukulele and singing – not all at the same time – and we had our first rehearsal just over a week ago and it was BRILLIANT. I mean, we were pretty good. Need practice 😉 but gosh it was FUN to play with other musicians again! I can’t remember the last time I did that. It may be back in my touring theatre days, which is WAY back.

So who are we? We’re called FIRST DRAFT (ha!) and we are:

John Dougherty on acoustic guitar
John Dougherty on acoustic guitar
Helen Stickland on electric guitar
Helen Stickland on electric guitar
Paul Stickland on bass
Paul Stickland on bass

and me on keyboards (and other sundry items) – sorry, I sort of forgot to ask anyone to take a photo of me…;-)

We’ll be singing Paperback Writer (natch), I’d Like To Teach The World To Read (words by a local primary school) and Thank You For The Stories (words finally agreed on after a tussle between me, John and Barbara) along with John’s Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face Song (which you can watch on YouTube here) and two of my own songs.

And now we come to the reason I made a giant fake ice cream cone. One of my songs is about how much I hate editing, but the other is called 99 Reasons and is about ice cream and life and being thankful. I wrote it on the ukulele whilst sitting in my hotel room, and I never thought it’d be performed in public, but on a whim I suggested it to John who said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it!’ and now it sounds totally awesome with extra accompaniment and harmonies and everything and I’m SO excited about singing it at Wychwood. And the others told me I should make a giant ice cream cone and attach it to my microphone stand. So I did. Because that also seemed like a crazy never-been-done-before idea.

There will be LOADS of other authors there that day too, and some of them are also taking the plunge and stepping bravely onto the stage to perform their own songs.

So if you’re coming to Wychwood, you MUST MUST come to the Waterstones author tent at 6.30pm on Saturday 30th May (eep!! Not long to go!) and sing along and cheer and clap. Because although we’re so excited and thrilled and loving the whole making music thing, we’re also faintly terrified because we’ve only had one rehearsal and this isn’t what we actually do professionally, so please come along and shake maracas and smile at me while I’m singing 99 Reasons and give me yet another reason to love the life I have 🙂


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