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Anita Jardine, photograph © Adam Piggott

Anita Jardine Album Sweet Sharp Heart and Bet U wish U were hereAnita Jardine’s musical twins

At The Jenny Lind back in the summer, local singer songwriter and musician, Anita Jardine launched two albums simultaneously: ‘Bet U Wish U Were Here’ and ‘Sweet Sharp Heart’. Local writer, Steph Drayton, interviewed Anita and affectionately remembers the launch night. Anita explained that she writes prolifically and there were too many songs for one album.

Luckily Anita’s musical collaborator, Keith Osborne – together they make up The Stupid Fonts – was happy with both quality and quantity of songs, so the collection grew into two complete albums, both arranged and produced by the multi-talented Keith and recorded at his own studio in Pett.

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The Stupid Fonts at Mrs Yarrington’s Music Club, November 2016

On stage Anita exudes warmth, wisdom and wit – most especially wit. Introducing her opening song, ‘My Heart’s A Twat’, she promises us: “by the end of this you’ll know me much better than I know you” – and sure enough, after hearing it I couldn’t disagree. Find out for yourself on ‘Sweet Sharp Heart’.

Second up, the song ‘A Little Bit Gypsy’ – “Everyone in Hastings is a little bit gypsy, we’ve all landed here from somewhere else” – called for enthusiastic audience participation, a welcome theme at Anita’s performances, who soon had the audience eating out of her hand with ease, being so down to earth. Comparisons have been made with Joni Mitchell, PJ Harvey and Patti Smith, which I wouldn’t refute musically but she is so much less scary than Patti Smith – her performance is both engaging and authentic.

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The Stupid Fonts play a Peaky Blinders private party in deepest Kent!

The mood grew more serious into the middle of the set. I heard a bloke nearby comment: “She’s gone retrospective”. If he meant ‘introspective’, which I think he did, I couldn’t agree more, proving there’s real backbone and depth to Anita’s songs and some real growers in there. These will be two albums that keep on giving the more you listen – and I’ll bet there’s a song in there for absolutely any situation you’ve ever found yourself in.

The set concluded with ‘She’s Gonna Love You Like A Cat’ – this is not a compliment apparently – and audience participation was once again called on to make our best cat noises. You just can’t see Patti Smith doing this!

Afterwards I caught up with an elated Anita and posed the burning questions that have been troubling us all. Her favourite song performed that evening was ‘Everywhere And Nowhere’, one the audience visibly loved, clapping along and even participating in a little quiet ravey dancing. Support act, Smiling Jacks, were also on stage for this song, which Anita felt brought a lot to the performance; she likes the change of pace in the song, describing it as ‘barnstorming to tender in a few bars’.

I asked if there was anyone Anita would secretly like to be compared to… “Beyonce, perhaps?”, I suggested, somewhat tongue in cheek. She considered this and said that she had absorbed musical influences since the ’70s, and felt that this had inspired her without being derivative of any one style or person. I’m happy to stand by my smiley Patti Smith: trust me it’s an irresistible combination.

00drawerofknivesFinally, I asked about her song ‘Drawer Of Knives’, originally written in 2005 on the subject of people’s general insecurities with themselves, be it how they look or feel. Anita made a video of the song in 2011 with Stuart Miller hoping it might be shown in schools and youth projects as a discussion point.

I was interested in a particular scene of Anita playing and singing with a breathtaking view of the sea behind her, yet in front of her there is litter strewn everywhere. I asked if that had been intentional, as litter is a particular bug bear of mine in the area since relocating here a year ago. Anita was interested by the question saying that the director had originally started clearing the litter away, but she asked him to leave it. She felt this was apt as “the song is about the human condition and all its difficulties – and litter is the detritus of human nature”, adding “that we just need to love ourselves and each other more”.

During the interview, Anita mentioned that she has been involved in songwriting and music-making for well-being in the local community for many years and is hoping to continue this work, also offering song-writing and performance mentoring to individuals and groups.

Anita at St Leonards Festival

Anita at St Leonards Festival

I was lucky enough to catch The Stupid Fonts at a somewhat rainwashed St Leonards Festival. The organisers closed the stage after their set due to the weather – making Anita and Keith the headlining act! I was pleased to see that Anita kept smiling through the rain, putting a little cheer in our hearts and delivering a family-friendly set in deference to the little ears who were listening. There’s a time and a place for cutting edge protest songs like ‘Designer Vaginas’? (Want to hear this? You can on ‘Bet U Wish U Were Here’.)

Anita concluded by telling me that she had sold her house and left her job in order to travel the world with her music. I asked her if this was invigorating or terrifying – a silly question as surely it is both, which she confirmed. Her parting comment, “There’s so many people in the world who are all the friends I haven’t met yet” might, from anyone else, sound a cliché of eye rolling proportions, but from Anita, you know it’s actually genuinely meant.

‘Bet U Wish U Were Here’ and ‘Sweet Sharp Heart’ are produced and arranged by Keith Osborne. A second pressing is now on sale in time for Christmas – they are available for £6 for one or £10. You can buy copies from Anita at Stupid Fonts gigs – or email her direct on anitajardine33@gmail.com

Find out more via the following links:
www.facebook.com/anitasingstheblues
www.soundcloud.com/anitajardine
www.reverbnation.com/anitajardine

Posted 15:31 Monday, Dec 12, 2016 In: Music & Sound