In 2007 when we both attended secondary school in Ireland, I text my best friend one evening and asked if she’d burn the new Kate Nash single ‘Mouthwash’ onto a CD for me. I met her the next morning around the ‘smoking corner’, where she handed me a CD, no box or plastic, just the CD itself with ‘Kate Nash – Made of Bricks’ written on it. “You need the full album”, she said, and I didn’t know how right she would later turn out to be.
The album guided us through our teens in so many ways. We sang ‘Dickhead’ to the dickheads, ‘The Shit Song’ to the bitches & the bullies, ‘We Get On’ to cheer up our freshly-dumped girl friends, and ‘Foundations’ to each other in our worst English accents. We related to it so much that I still think somehow it was based on our lives, written specifically for us & us only. It became the soundtrack to our lives, and we spoke to each other in our very own little Kate Nash language. We literally danced at discos, ate cheese on toast & made each other so very ‘Merry Happy’.
‘Birds’ was our song. We got tickets to see Kate Nash in Dublin, a gig for which I’m pretty certain Birds was not on the set list, until mid-show when there was a break in the music and we screamed our hearts out for it to be played, and Kate Nash happily obliged. We are lucky enough to have little moments in our lives of pure, undisputed happiness. These euphoric moments are what it’s all about, and belting this song out with my most special of friends is undoubtedly one of mine.
In February 2017, after fighting with all of the remarkable strength in her body, this special friend of mine lost her battle with mental health. Missing her and learning how to live without her is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, and I’m still trying to figure it all out, but she lives on in a small yet significant way through the music she held so close to her heart. She was ‘Mariella’… unique, independent, vulnerable. She was ‘Little Red’, spontaneous & brave, the bravest person I’ve known.
Without this music, I wouldn’t have these nostalgic pavements to embark on, or these mixed up memories to try and make sense of. I thank Kate Nash especially for Made of Bricks, and I thank my best friend for introducing me to the music that would keep our friendship alive even after she no longer was.
A few weeks ago, I contacted Kate Nash and told her my friends story. I was aware that Kate had her own struggles with mental health which she continues to speak publicly about, and that she has devoted much of her time to campaign for positive change as a mental health activist. I was fully confident that if the story reached her, she would listen. Exactly 10 years after the album’s release date, Kate Nash announced an anniversary tour to celebrate the successful album, and after reading my email she kindly promised to dedicate the whole tour to my friend. On Friday August 4th 2017 at the Ritz Manchester, we danced and sang and cried our little hearts out as Kate Nash spoke about our beautiful friend and honoured her with a song about mental health.