Over the course of one month I travelled through wind, rain and snow to visit 18 members of the all girl choir Gaggle in and around London. Sarah McLean, was the 7th member to be visited.
I found myself in Deptford on a Sunday at 9am, and it was freezing, so entering Sarah’s cosy flat was a blessing. Sarah moved into this place with her boyfriend, a few months ago. Born and raised in London, she is a Press and Gallery Manager at Peckham Space – when she sings with Gaggle, she is also known as McLean.
When and how did you join Gaggle?
I joined through another Gaggle, Katy M whom I met through friends and used to come to my flat in Dalston for weekend-long parties, leaving lipstick smears everywhere! One Bank Holiday Sunday in 2009, we were drinking prosecco in the park when she told me what she’d been up to on the previous Friday night – she’d done a gig with this new choir of weird and wonderful women and it was brilliant fun. I’ve been in choirs all my life and I instantly knew I wanted to join in. She put me in touch with Deborah who invited me to the George for a rehearsal. I went along, and no one told me not to come back so I just kept turning up every Tuesday. And it will be four years in May.
What does your bedroom mean to you?
In the past, my bedroom has been so much more to me than the place I sleep – when you live with your parents or in shared houses; it’s the only place that you can really make your own. Growing up, my bedroom was a total expression of my personality filled with photos, posters, things I collected. I spent a lot of time creating and perfecting it. Now that I have a whole flat to fill with that stuff, it’s very different. My bedroom is just part of what makes the flat I live in the home I share with my boyfriend Joe. In many ways it’s much more utilitarian as a result, but it’s still a cosy, private space that we share.
Is there an object in your bedroom that particularly means something to you?
The Damien Hirst autograph that I got for Joe at Lily Allen’s first gig at Bush Hall in July 2006. I went to that with a friend of mine who bought the tickets even though neither of us had heard her music! It was a sweltering hot day, and I was eating an ice cream when I spotted Damien in the crowd, hanging out with his friend, Lily’s dad, Keith Allen. At the time, Joe was at art school and a huge fan of Damien’s work. I knew I had to try to get an autograph, so gingerly approached him and asked him to sign a page in my notebook. I was thrilled when he also drew his signature shark. I framed the print the next day to give to Joe as a surprise, even though people I knew we’e trying to convince me to sell it instead. Joe was over the moon with it. I still struggle to even think of a better present for him, I don’t think I’m ever going to top it.
What makes you happy?
Lie-ins, Arrested Development, singing.
When did you last cry and why?
Last week while I was watching the documentary The House I Live In.
What song do you always go back to?
Hymn to the Cigarettes by Hefner, Cantique de Jean Racine by Faure,No Children by Mountain Goats, Real Live Flesh by Tune-yards. Oooh and another song for my already over-long answer about music… Love and Affection by Joan Armatrading.
What is your favourite word?
If you could invite anyone into to your bedroom who would it be and why?
David Lynch. My hero.
What keeps you awake at night?
Various existential crises.
More of Sarah here – Find her on Twitter @_sarahrose