Kicked out from Newham academy of music

Cos I got a scholarship to go to Forest School in Snaresbrook

don’t know how my mother did it

4 kids, no dad, innit
Spent school holidays in West Ham park

Having a laugh

Swimming in Stratford baths
Trying not to get told off
No money but we all had plans

To get out of the East End and

Make it to the promised land

While other kids were outside scamming

We were inside crammin

My brother hit the decks

Now he’s DirtyCash jammin

Low key living

Humble but driven

I made it to the city

But bright city lights wasn’t for me

Tried to make my mother proud

But had to stay true to me
Confidence is everything in this industry

I lost mine at University

Black girl surrounded by ivory

Education ain’t always the key
Be who you are more importantly

A song reminiscing  on my ‘Real Housewives of Edinburgh’ Days 

Spend my days

In dull cafes

Eating cake

Sipping lattes

Long for more

Than household chores

Working out

And feeling bored

My head’s 

half dead

From all the beauty mags

I’ve read

Can’t stop

The rot

worthless 

Fellings I’ve got

So I just wanna danca dance dance

To the beat of my electric heart

Don’t care what else is going on

dancing to my heartbeat song

I quit the housewife mafia

I’ll be fine alone

switched off my phone

doing my own thing

Need a different ring

Why be a wife

With no life

When there’s a funfilled path

Where you can dance to the beat of your electric heart

Hate the smell

Of his hotels

He’s not the only one cheating

While the kids and I are sleeping
Tired of all the tacky whores
Trying to get in my front door

They can’t seem to wait

To live the life I hate

Crying all day

Fading away

Scared to leave

Scared to stay

Afraid to sleep

My pain cuts deep

I just wanna danca dance dance

To the beat of my electric heart

Don’t care what else is going on

dancing to my heartbeat song

I quit the housewife mafia

Dull aspiration and fake grandeur

Why be a wife

That has no life

chose a different path

Now I dance to the beat of my electric heart

Not the only one

Amy’s come undone

Eva’s on the run

Layla’s husband’s gone

married life’s no fun

when loving him feels wrong

Electric heartbeat song

Copyright Nnena McKenzie June 2017

Can’t wait to record this song (which started as a rap before becoming something  else entirely). The melody I have in mind is upbeat and fun to contrast the lyrical content. Should have new songs (and visuals) on Soundcloud in July. 

Sometimes my thoughts can get twisted
I see you happy. 

I miss this
Things fall apart

When you open your heart

Hiding your heartache won’t fix this

Sometimes your friends are what save you 

Sometimes those friendships enslave you

To their hopes and dreams

They’re not what they seem

Betrayal’s a cathartic breakththrough
Cos it can take a year of falls

And crashing into every wall

Blocking that elusive path

Leading us to love’s life raft

Even if the water’s cold

And you’re feeling tired and old

What can seem a hopeless past

Can become a dream that lasts
So when you fall

Get up, stand tall

[Instrumental]
Be who you are
Rise up

Be a star

Everything costs

Live strong

Not lost

Everyone falls

[Instrumental]
Copyright Nnena McKenzie June 2017

Waiting in line
Biding my time
No idea loving you was such a crime

Driving fast cars
To cover the scars
That bind us together like coveted hearts

I’m doing fine
Counting what’s mine
Cashing in chips I know aren’t worth a dime

Broken heart
From your poisoned dart
Alone at sea facing reality

That no man’s an island
That my ship has sailed
Riding each storm’s 90 mile hour gales

Copyright Nnena McKenzie May 2017

Something I’m working on (whilst watching series 3 of The unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) #lemonading

I lost 7 years
Crying worthless tears
And I don’t have anywhere left to go
Hiding my sorrow is all I know
Stuck in second gear
For 7 years

Gave up my career
Raised my kids instead
How’d we end up here?
We had everything

Everyone falls
Stumbles and stalls
Heads into walls
Stand tall

Working overtime
To reclaim what’s mine
Anxious all the time
Drinking too much wine

Know that I’ll be fine
Resilience time

Got too much pride
To be a lonely wife
Living a humdrum life
I’m ride or die

Don’t want to live this lie
So get out
Bye bye
I’ll swim not drown
Fix my crown

Started taking pills
Too tired to feel
Rested up and chilled
Reassessed my skills

When your life’s a joke
You’re lost and broke
And your man ain’t your bloke
Be strong
Find hope

When your friends stop calling
And your ex comes back crawling
To what he thought was a sure thing
Get up
Start walking

Cos I got pride
Abundant drive
Know I’ll survive
Rise up and thrive

Copyright Nnena McKenzie 2017

Something I wrote after visiting Copenhagen last month . . .

Broken bottles in my path
Crushing childhood dreams was rough
Fantasies back then seemed daft
Praying my hard work pays off
Focused on the simplest task

I sweep ’em up
I take charge

Haha
and have the last laugh

And I just
Burst
Into rhymes I write
Burst
Into flames, I light
Burst
Into your dull life
Burst
All your stereotypes

My energy is dynamite
I forget the wrongs I write
Stay up late and dance all night
when everything is wrong turn right

Copyright Nnena McKenzie 2017

 

Being single isn’t easy.  Especially in today’s recessionary dating economic climate.

I realised my new Austerity at Home program wasn’t going according to plan when I overheard my son tell a playdate that we didn’t have an X Box because his mum was poor now. “Is that why you live in a flat?” his friend asked.  My son nodded sagely.

I like writing for a living.  Especially in investment management where I get paid to write about debt, risk and the prevailing economic environment.  It’s a challenge to write convincingly about complex  investment strategies designed to persuade a sceptic public of investor skill and human decision-making in an age of technology that frankly, suggests otherwise.

Creative work environments help me formulate my thoughts and crystallise ideas. Writing can be solitary. I enjoy a team dynamic.

It’s not easy being a mum, especially if you try to be a good one.  Being shamed back into your old job by a 7 year old’s perception of your finances is one of my all time top comedic family moments.  It’s also much more prevalent than you’d think.

I started reading Broke by economist David Boyle by chance. The tagline is Who killed the Middle classes?

I once wrote a letter to King’s College Cambridge, requesting a bursary at the end of my first year of university.  I kept my begging letter short and for impact wrote “I am black and working class”.  Five days later I received a cheque for £500 (an enormous sum for someone in my situation).  I subsequently wrote myself out of poverty the hard way enjoying equal helpings of tragedy, luck and tremendous good fortune. I’m still black and working class, but thanks to my own mum’s endeavours I’m also very well educated.

Money earned in a single generation skips the middle classes and so I’m richer than I need to be, but not as wealthy as my children would like.

Broke analyses how affluent middle class families were afflicted by a new austerity for which they only have themselves to blame.  It can’t end well, so it’s up to me to change my narrative.

I don’t know when or how my life became so dramatic – a tragi-comedy of errors and sudden bid for independence that ruined faux, familial idyll, changing everything for the better.  But as a writer I have more perspective now: on other people’s lives not just my own.  I also have funnier anecdotes (every writer’s bread and butter).

I thought it would be healthier for me to write and work from home. Apparently, my kids don’t need me healthier.  They need me wealthier.

Please share this with your network if you think they might enjoy it.

THIS IS NOT MY FLAT

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Setting up a business can be lonely.  Especially if you work from home without a sales team, business partner or life partner to bounce ideas off or tap for friendly advice.

There are good networking events out there but you need to do your home work. Avoid anything that claims an annual membership fee will mysteriously grow sales.  Try anything that allows you to attend on an event by event basis and has great guest speakers.  It’s up to you to make the most of networking opportunities as they present themselves by showing a genuine interest in others and thinking of ways to work productively either in partnership with them or at the very least leveraging their network and contacts to mutual advantage.  Expect to learn something, but don’t expect miracles.  You still need to apply yourself.

This morning’s breakfast briefing run by Fat Buzz and WeDO Scotland on blogging was well worth the £19.10 attendance fee.  I’ve been to these events before and they’re always well attended, great for networking (the central venue, Tiger Lilly, free coffee and bacon rolls ensures no one arrives late so there’s plenty of time to network with fellow attendees and talk to the speakers afterwards).

I blog because I enjoy it, but have also learnt that the process of blogging helps you learn about yourself, understand your audience and the industry you work in and disciplines you to keep up to date.  Blogging also unlocks hidden thoughts and ideas.

I’m no fan of interior design as an industry but I love creating interiors.  Where once I strived for perfection now I embrace doing things differently and going against the grain. If it doesn’t work it’s easy to fall back on standard design rules but often I come up with something unexpected, that’s better than anything I could have dreamed of.

I scour junk shops to find things I love because no ones making furniture or artwork that inspires or excites me.  I love classics because they lend themselves to experimentation.

So I was very excited when my Saudi Arabian lodger suggested I look up the American comic Fluffy on Youtube for his standup tour of Saudi Arabia, courtesy of a Saudi Prince.  Why? Because it inspired me to look at marketing my interior designs a little differently.

I’ve lost count of the number of times interior professionals and photographers have told me my interiors ideas would work well in London, Glasgow or anywhere but where I live in Edinburgh.  “Edinburgh only does timeless classics,” is something I hear all the time.  Georgian property lends itself to modern interior design, vintage classics and edgy, quirky touches so for me the timeless limitation is a missed opportunity.

I’m not sure whether a comic Youtube video on Edinburgh interior design would work.  But I’m willing to give it a try.  After all who needs another droll “How to make or solve an interior problem lecture”?  Far funnier to joke about the difficult business climate, the mistakes you’ve made long the way, the crazy things you’ve done to survive instead of an illusory perfection others struggle to relate to.

How we laughed when my friend opened her interiors shop, powder coated 6 reclaimed radiators only to discover there was no gas coming in.

How she cried when rectifying the problem cost several thousands of pounds leaving no money for stock.  The only reason she still has a business is because we literally raided our houses for items to sell until she made sufficient sales to place a decent Christmas order.  Small failings are the stuff of life.  Doing whatever it takes the new business reality.

Starting a business can be lonely.  Initial mistakes can be hilarious.   How better to gain an audience for your blog than sharing some of them? Everybody laughs at comic failures that make you who you are and somehow, in spite of everything, lead to well deserved success.

PLEASE SHARE THIS IF YOU ENJOYED IT!

IMG_3190Mandarin Oriental Bar Knightsbridge_