Label Editor, Katie Wilson, and Assistant Editor, Leanna Kightley, met up with Lorraine Bowen before her live performance on the Room One stage and she was just as loveably mad as you would imagine; this is a must-read!
What made you go on BGT?
What a good question! I got scouted for BGT, but no mainstream people had ever seen me because I’ve performed at really quirky places to really small amounts of people. I’d been up to London a couple of times before for auditions but they had gone really badly and I said I would never do one again. I have a friend who knows one of the producers and said “please go on, just for me!” so I went for it and I’m so pleased I did. I had a plan A and B though, plan A was just to go for it and do really well, but if they laughed at me I just wouldn’t have been able to live so I’d have left the country and gone to live in Italy, that was plan B.
You’d never go on X Factor then?
It’s really serious, isn’t it? It’s all about young orange things, it’s not about entertainment. I just thought BGT was for acrobats and small dancers, I didn’t think they’d want people like me so I’m thrilled to bits.
So who would you say is your favourite judge?
Oh it has to be David Walliams. Getting on that cross [on the stage]really is quite frightening, and by that point you’ve been there for 12 hours. I’d been asleep in the corner actually, that’s why I was so floppy and relaxed when I performed, and someone tapped me on the shoulder and said “You’re on next!” It’s the most surreal experience, looking at people you’ve seen on the telly there in real life.
With your newfound celebrity status, is Celebrity Big Brother on the cards?
I actually did Celebrity Big Brother’s Bit On The Side the other week. Somebody down my street wants me to do the jungle programme [I’m a Celebrity…] but I like insects, I don’t want to eat them.
What about Strictly Come Dancing?
Oh, I’m not that much of a celebrity, I’ve got my feet firmly on the ground. I did a gig on Saturday in studio where David Walliams was filming his new TV show, I blagged a ticket and he got me to bring down my organ so I ended up entertaining people during the sketches and I sensed people didn’t know me at all. It is weird, I think London is a funny one actually because people are so transient in London and yet I’ve done a lot of Pride festivals up North and people are so passionate.
Have you got any new songs?
I have got 5 albums of songs, which people didn’t realise when I went on BGT. The Crumble Song has always been popular, I have had to put it on each of my albums at least once or else people wouldn’t buy them. I’ve had it translated into lots of different languages *sings the chorus in Italian, then Japanese*. I’ve got a karaoke challenge on one album where you can translate it into your own language and add in your own foods and if it’s good I’ll put it on my next album.
We’ll have to have a go at that in the Media Office! If you were a fresher, what would be your dream night out?
I’ve been a fresher, I did a music degree! If I was a fresher now I would be dead scared because I would have £40,000 of debt, but I would be so happy because it’s three years to just totally get out there and discover; you won’t ever get that opportunity again! Use your time wisely and join as many ridiculous clubs as possible. I used to do morris dancing, jazz club, fox hunting, folk club, loads of political stuff. Just keep meeting people because it’s the people you meet at university that will stay with you through your whole life.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
The comedy of the everyday. If you look around there is so much comedy, but people don’t see that and get miserable about life. I got the Sprint bus earlier and it was hilarious, fantastic. I want to do a song about a little badge the driver had by the wheel, it was so sweet.
Well, we’re sure Loughborough would be flattered if you did! Now a question you’ve probably heard loads of time before, what’s your favourite type of crumble?
Cherry, because in Lidl you can get these jars of cherries and whack them in.
Custard or cream?
Both! Cream one side of the bowl and custard the other, preferably clotted cream because that’s so nice.
Where do you get your inspiration for your outfits? We are quite intrigued by them!
Oh really?! I love A-Line dresses and I notice yours is really nice, Katie. I just love the materials of the 60s. I used to have a space suit myself because I love space, in a silly way, and I like that sense of wonderment, thinking “wow, are there going to be palm trees on the moon?” But I think we should be protecting our own planet really, not going out into space!
Do you do many student venues?
No but I feel really privileged to be here tonight! I do Bestival a lot and that is a post-18’s festival; they really liked what I did. The world is becoming so conformed and clonish it’s nice to see someone doing something a bit different. I wouldn’t want to sing a songs about love, its been done too much. I don’t understand why people don’t sing about cats and dogs, everyone has one of those! I could have waited for a record deal but I didn’t want to wait for a man to own me. The gamble is real life and it’s quite exciting.
Well, thanks for speaking to us Lorraine! Make sure you take a look at Lorraine’s website to get your fix of her wildly entertaining and unique personality, just follow this link – lorrainebowen.co.uk
Photography by Paul Johnston and Liam Cooke