Written by Standard Issue


Getting to Know You… Hazel Davis

If you’re a regular visitor to Standard Issue, you won’t need telling that we’re lucky enough to have a cracking team of contributors who we love dearly. We thought it was about time we let them introduce themselves properly. Allow us to introduce our assistant editor (and home ed columnist) Hazel Davis.

Hazel DavisName: Hazel Davis

Age: 39

Location: West Yorkshire

Official job title: Freelance writer and assistant editor at Standard Issue (yay!)

What was the first thing you wanted to be? Always a writer. Or folk singer.

When did you know you wanted to be what you are now? From the moment I presented my uncle with a “novel” at the age of about four.

What’s your strongest memory from school/education? Mandy-Mae Miller, five, and Kim Bromley, five, screwing up tissue paper and me telling them it was naughty and then THEM telling the teacher I did it and ME being told off for lying. I’m totally over it though.

When you’re not working, what else do you like to do? I sing in a gorgeous (and lovely) chamber choir called the Hepton Singers and I am a sporadic member of a folk duo with a very patient and long-suffering chap called Mark. I also love music festivals and movies and (obv) my two little girls (aged three and four). But it’s moot because I AM ALWAYS WORKING.

What has been your proudest creative moment to date? Not sure if this counts but staging successive folk gigs in my back garden (good ones at that) for the last few years is pretty cool. With each passing year I feel more Eavis.

What was your favourite day at work? Years ago I worked for a horrible publishing company. We all hated it and it was mostly awful. But one Christmas when both the bosses were away we all took a line from Do They Know It’s Christmas? and had an office-wide sing-song. Everyone joined in, even the too-cool-for-school ad-sales guy. It was ace.

“My favourite animal is my grumpy dog, Hank. He’s greedy and emotionally manipulative and a massive bellend and I adore him.”

What would you like to erase from your past? Pretty much all sexual encounters between the age of 16 and 20.

What brings you the most joy? Singing with my choir. I’m probably supposed to say children though, so take that as a given and go with standing in a roomful of people with Tallis’s Spem In Alium (not a euphemism) swirling all around me.

What makes you angry? Political extremism. On any side.

Professionally, who has been your biggest inspiration? I have always loved Julie Burchill’s writing and balls-out attitude (even when I disagree wholeheartedly) and I have also been lucky enough to be on the receiving end of some of her personal encouragement and support. She’s a smasher, professionally and personally.

Have you ever met someone who made you go weak at the knees? Oh yes. The trembling kind.

What advice would you give a woman who wants a career like yours? Say yes. A lot.

How do you define success? Not having a boss. Not having to sit at a desk (well, someone else’s) for eight hours a day. Being able to go for a quick swim at 11am on a weekday. That pretty much does it for me.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever had? We learned more from a three-minute record than we ever learned in school” – No Surrender, Springsteen.

Hazel's old band The Duncan TrainWhat’s your favourite photograph of yourself? I love this one (above) from when I was in a short-lived (for a variety of logistical reasons) country band called The Duncan Train. It was such fun and Stuart, the lead singer, SO looked the part. I have a fringe and I am blurry. But I love it.

I also love the ridiculousness of the pic (below) of me and my friend Hattie when we went to see Jessie J in Scarborough. We were doing it like dudes in the campsite. Far too many un-rock-and-roll aspects to the situation to mention. Happy times.

Hazel and HattieWhere did you go on your favourite holiday? Me and my friend Alison went on a January photography holiday to Galloway when I was three months pregnant. I drove all the way because she had a “headache” and it was sub-zero the whole time.

Galloway was basically closed and there was nowhere to eat or even buy food to pick at. Our hotel had rats and appeared to be run by children. But somehow, it was bloody lovely. She and I have been all over the world together and I have been to some cracking places but I will never forget the frosty sunrises and open spaces of that trip.

Who can’t you live without? I’d be pretty sad without my children’s goony faces.

What can’t you live without? John Steinbeck books. I have several copies of some of them in case I need one urgently. God I sound like a right twat but it’s TRUE!! Also Lush perfume.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? I’m kinda proud of all the articles I wrote while simultaneously breastfeeding. Pretty happy also with forging a career in the nationals while also living in a West Yorkshire village and it not mattering. But if I am being sappy, I’m pleased I managed to learn to like looking at myself in the mirror after about 25 years of not really knowing how to.

Who is your favourite person? Bob Melling. Simply one of the very best people there is. Follow him on Twitter to (a) freak him out and (b) receive daily devolution updates that will make your eyes bleed boredom.

Cheer up, HankWho’s your favourite animal? It’s got to be my grumpy dog Hank. He’s about 11 or 12 and he’s a lurcher-Airedale cross (we think). We got him from the RSPCA and he’d been hugely neglected in early life.

He’s greedy and emotionally manipulative and a massive bellend and I adore him. We have another, much more well-balanced and agreeable dog called Eric but Hank is my first love, despite his (MANY) flaws.

Which song could be used to soundtrack your life so far? I want to say Born To Run because, well, but Vienna by Billy Joel is probably more accurate.

What are your favourite three articles at Standard Issue? Nat Luurtsema’s STD piece, Hannah Dunleavy’s pencil piece and ALL of her Donkeys and Elephants columns. I want a book of them.

Which question would you have liked to have answered in this questionnaire, but weren’t asked? Did Goldie Hawn EVEN BOTHER ACKNOWLEDGING your fabulous article about how much you loved her? Would it have hurt?

Click here to read all of Hazel’s writing for Standard Issue.


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Written by Standard Issue