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Nina Smith

February 2012
My Nottingham

I’VE come full circle in terms of the place I call home. Although I grew up in Bakersfield, I was born in Sneinton and last month I moved into a flat just by Sneinton Market with my twin sister Katie.
Before that I was in Colwick and West Bridgford, which I loved because I could spend hours just sat by the river daydreaming.
Where I am now is an ideal location because it’s opposite a recording studio I use, near to a friend who makes my videos and I was always in the city centre anyway, either playing gigs or with friends, so it was a no-brainer to move there.
I’ve played all over Nottingham in the past few years: Rock City, the Rescue Rooms, The Bodega, Nottingham Playhouse, Nottingham Contemporary and the Royal Concert Hall. That was my biggest show yet, supporting Belinda Carlisle.
It was a bit of a last-minute panic, as I was only asked to do it the day before but it was an amazing experience.
I had to race into town to buy a new outfit and I found one in Ark. That’s where I’ll usually do my clothes shopping. Either there, H&M, Topshop or Mimm in Hockley.
The gig was incredible. The audience seemed to enjoy it and even Belinda was dancing in the wings for a few songs. She was lovely and told me how much she liked my voice. I sold loads of copies of my EP, Lonely Heart Club, afterwards.
It’s a far cry from a show I did a while back at a community hall in Sherwood. It was a charity gig and we were half way through our set when the organiser stopped us and took the microphone. I thought it must be an emergency but she said: “Whoever ordered a sausage sandwich, it’s now ready for you to collect.” So funny. We had to laugh, then just carried on.
I hope to play Splendour again this year. I’d say it’s my favourite event of the year. Not just for playing. I went last year just to see friends playing in bands. It was a really good day. And night – we were literally the very last people to leave Wollaton Park. We were playing football with a milk carton and even the security staff joined in.
It’s odd I know but I don’t actually go to many gigs. I never have. When I was a teenager I was always out clubbing but I rarely saw bands playing.
I think the last one was at the end of last year when Swimming played Broadway. It blew me away. It was an audio-visual event where we listened to them from the next room through headphones. That was a bit special.
Other local bands and musicians I’m into are Just James, Cecille Grey, Parks – they’re proper men playing proper music – and Rob Green. His voice makes me melt. Ronika is a real ball of 80s hotness. I’m determined to touch her wild mane of blonde hair.
When I’m out it’ll usually be in Hockley, at Broadway, Bad Juju and Jam Cafe, which feels like a second home. I’ll tend to drink spirits. Vodka and Coke is a regular order but I do like cocktails. There’s a really nice one at Bar JuJu called Porn Star. It’s huge! It looks nothing like a porn star but it’s really strong. Which is how I like my men.
It was in Hockley that I last saw a comedy show. I don’t normally go and watch comedy, my sister Katie fills that void. She’s all the comedy I need. I did see Alan Carr at the Arena last year and he was quite good but a couple of weeks ago I did find myself at a comedy night in the Lord Roberts. It was actually really good. Quite camp and a bit stupid – which is also how I like my men.
I eat out a lot because I’m always on the move but it’ll be sandwiches mainly. If not it’ll be a fry up. I’m craving them at the moment.
If it’s a takeaway then it’ll be the nearest one to whichever bar or club I’ve crawled out of. Don’t ask me to remember which ones.
I know, I eat a lot of junk food. I should be rolling on to the stage but I’m always on the go so never put any weight on.
I did try a gym once when my friend got me a free pass for Virgin Active. But I just ended up going on the sun bed and using the pool.
I was a bit of a feral child so when I was growing up in Bakersfield I spent a lot of time in Colwick Woods. But my favourite outdoor place is the Arboretum. I love it there. Especially in the summer, obviously.
In fact, when the sun’s out I’ll tend to move out of the Hockley bars and head for Saltwater in The Cornerhouse. The roof terrace there is perfect for a sunbathe with a cocktail. And it attracts quite a few hotties. Which is really how I like my men.

Nina Smith plays The Pearl in West Bridgford on Tuesday as part of a Valentine’s Night special. For details:
The Lonely Heart Club EP is available on iTunes. You can find her on Twitter @NinaSmithMusic and Facebook

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