There are times in one’s life when there is nothing for it but to lie on the bed and listen to Joan Armatrading. Her eponymous album is my favourite record and would without a doubt be my first Desert Island Disc choice. As a teenager, I would listen to the LP over and over, loving the sssssh of the needle on the vinyl followed by the opening strains of the first track, Down to Zero. Back then her lyrics spoke to my condition even if she sang of experiences beyond my sphere of understanding. Her worldliness was something I admired; here was a woman, I thought, that had been around the emotional block a few times. One day, I imagined, I would have those encounters too, dreaming of some naively vague romantic future.
And here I am. Battered, bruised, surviving, healing. It’s not easy, but life is more extraordinary than I ever could have imagined. When you get down to zero, there’s only one way out of it: upwards. Plus knowing that Joan’s been through it all before too is comforting.