Let me tell you a story…

Let me tell you a story…

When I was a little girl, one of my favourite possessions was a shoebox that I filled up with bits of paper, envelopes and leaflets gathered from wherever I could find them. I called it my Post Office, and every now and then I’d take the box from under the bed and pour my treasure out on the floor. I’m hazy on the details, but I remember loving to “play Post Office”, which I imagine meant sorting the assorted paper into different piles and then putting them back in the box.

Later, somehow, I ended up writing letters to children I’d never met, who lived far away – Svetlana in Belarus and Alastair in Derbyshire. It was utterly magical to send my closely written pages to people I would never talk to in person, carefully copying the unfamiliar Russian words onto Svet’s envelopes well enough for her to receive my missives.

It was to Alastair I first proudly declared my aim to be a songwriter when I grew up, having never written a single song, and knowing nothing whatsoever about how to do so. Letter writing predated those heady days when I started to discover my favourite bands by some years, but both activities were a youthful statement of independent thought at an age where actions were dictated by adults.

As I grew older I gathered more people to write to. My family moved every three years, so there were always friends left behind, and in my early teens I wrote to kids I met on school trips, boys at other schools, even friends at the same school as me. We challenged each other to fill up more and more pages and somehow still had enough left to say to talk on the phone for hours in the evening. The freedom I found to express myself in letters is one of my fondest memories of childhood.

On my journey into adulthood, switching to email and blogging and Twitter felt intuitive, but my love for words written by hand on paper never left me. As I released music over the years, getting to “play Post Office” more and more regularly, my role as the maker and sender of things became clear. Writing songs and dispatching them into the world, in whatever format, is a natural progression from the innate desire I had to connect with others from a young age.

I’m delighted to invite you to watch this short video. See you on the other side x

Photo by Carol Jeng.

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Have a lovely day xo

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  1. Paul McGreal says:

    Yay, it’s here!!!!

    Congrats on the new endeavour. Love the new moniker, and the concept. And good luck!

  2. Neil Larrisey says:

    Exciting stuff. Lockdown has been hard, but I’ve had a shining light to look forward to. My day has been made.
    The Only Way Out Is Through is brilliant and just what is needed.
    “Gonna get out of this” indeed.

    Thanks Laura.

  3. chris pinchen says:

    Wow, this came at just the right moment, in so many ways. Love the way you’ve done the launch process Laura, can’t wait for more of the good stuff 😉

  4. Andre Hill says:

    Yay the ‘new’ Laura is here. Loving the name and the fact that I now feel like I’m a teenager in a fan club again. Can’t wait for your ‘debut’ album and the continuation of your wonderful blogs.

  5. Rob Blowers says:

    I love this Laura. Good luck with this amazing new journey. I look forward to following the path of penfriend x

  6. Darren Jackson says:

    Hi Laura. I love the new name and the story behind it, and you’ve done a brilliant job of launching your new project – the website looks great. Of course, I’ve signed up and I’m looking forward to the journey ahead. If ‘The Only Way Out Is Through’ is anything to judge the project by, then it is going to be an amazing journey! Stay well and speak soon x

  7. Porta says:

    My dyslexia kicked in
    I read it as ‘penfield’ then had to reread it as letter writing didn’t fit…

    NOW I get it, good luck

    • Laura says:

      WELL, my computer took a really long time to stop autocorrecting Penfriend to “panfried”, so if you ever see that word you’ll know something’s gone amiss 🙂

  8. James Mallabone says:

    Best wishes Laura for this new project. I’ve always wanted to write songs and play in a band. I’m 47 and started playing in a band 2.5 years ago and left it last year. I’ve still yet to write a song but I will keep trying. You’re inspiring. Keep up the hard work.

    • Laura says:

      Do it, James!! It’s so satisfying, they’re like little puzzles. I find I have to sit there and make myself try and figure out the next bit or nothing really happens…you can do it!

    • Laura says:

      Thanks Derek! My bass-aspiration for this one was “White Wedding” by Billy Idol, funnily enough. The verse bassline in that song is so fun to play.

  9. Neil Mitchell says:

    Having rewatched the videos, re-read the blog posts and re-listened to “The Only Way Out Is Through”, that sounds familiar, still Laura, but also new and fresh, timely and for these times in the best way.

    It’s a wonderful start to the Penfriend journey!

  10. Sarah Osborne says:

    I’m so happy right now. This all feels so new and fresh, not to mention courageous! I feel inspired to take brave new directions in my own life. Love the name and the website looks amazing – it’s so quintessentially YOU!
    Been playing The Only Way is Through on repeat like its a cassingle in the 90s… LOVE IT!!!
    Also I have made the decision to leave Facebook very soon so am looking for online places to hang out, this is perfect!
    Love Sarah
    P.S One of Ramona’s post lockdown wishes is to meet you in ‘real life’

    • Laura says:

      Sarah! Thank you! Cassingle is *such* a great word, love that. Watch out for invite to the new forum, I think that’s going to be a lot of fun and far less hectic than the other sites… 100% down for hanging out with Ramona as soon as it’s possible, say hi from me please x

  11. Tony Grist says:

    Hi Laura,
    Signed up for the year, bought a T-Shirt and loving the new track too. Look forward to more in the future.
    Hopefully you will be gigging again before Christmas!



  12. Matt Castanier says:

    Congratulations, Laura! I am very happy for you to be able to join you in your new musical adventure.

    Quick question: is “pen friend” the term used in the UK? In the US it is “pen pal.”


    • Laura says:

      Hi Matt, thanks for being here! “Pen friend” is a phrase that’s used a bit I think, but mostly people would call it “penpal” here as well. I wanted to make up a word of my own (like “Radiohead” did) so you might find if you try to type “Penfriend” your computer or phone will correct it to “Panfried”. At least I know what my tribute band will be called!

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