Paper Bee

Enchanted by a Lisa Hannigan-like voice wafting in from the venue space next door, I nevertheless persist at my drawing table at SAW. The music is unbearably sweet. I must go see her sing. No, the art gods are watching. The angelic music is fuel for me to work more, not interrupt it. An instant later, Ms. Alisha Burrito walks in casually  and invites me to the concert. ‘I organised it,’ she says. A special invitation from the art gods, then. I go. The voice is still singing. I walk in, I sink in, I drown. Three angelic musicians.  The singer is the petite girl in a cap and denim jacket. The drummer is a Ronald Searle drawing with long sharp arms and legs. The tall bass guitarist is half a norse goddess, complete with red dress and blonde hair. The venue is unusually relaxed. The crowd is lounging on the wooden floor. That music. That singing. Gentle, childish, impish, sad, funny. You could kiss the air here and feel the static electricity.


This was Paper Bee, I came to know. Her last song was for ‘all the strange people,’ assuring them it was totally ok to be strange. I came back with my sketchbook and tea. Now the members changed positions. When the bass guitarist beat the drums, when the drummer began to sing and the sweet girl in the cap stopped singing and played the keyboard, it became Loon. These were transwomen bands. The best I’ve seen so far. I talked to them afterwards. Nick, Noel and I didn’t ask Norse Goddess her name. Their album covers and merchandise art, vinyl covers and audio casettes, in pen and ink and watercolour, drawn by themselves and by an illustrator friend, were gorgeous, so much like their music. I preferred Paper Bee’s music to Loon’s, and I liked Loon’s cover art more.

Somehow, though, the people I talked to downstage, weren’t the same people that were up there singing. They were normal people now.

Thanks for the concert, Alisha.


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