Ros Bell

Beginner sewist and pompom obsessive

I’m Ros and I started sewing at the beginning of 2020. I’m a lockdown sewist, but I’ve always been interested in making my own clothes. As a fat woman, I’ve had to adapt my style to whatever is available in my size, so the possibility of making something myself has always appealed to me. I have a bright, loud aesthetic, and it’s been hard to find clothes that I feel like myself in, and that has messed with my sense of identity. For a long time, clothing for fat people has been limited to dull tunics or skinny jeans, so anything that wasn’t that, I would buy immediately, even if I didn’t love it. I wasn’t able to buy clothes I loved, so I settled for buying stuff that I didn’t hate, and that was a win for me. If you’re a straight-sized person, it might be hard to understand what that feels like, but try imagining it. 
Now, there are a lot of places doing lovely clothes, but I’ve spent too much time and money on clothes that aren’t right for me, and I’m excited to be in charge of what I wear. 

What influence does music have in your life as a creative?:

I really love to sing, so when I’m making something, you’ll often find me singing along to an album or a playlist.

If I’m trying to read words, I can’t listen to music with lyrics, so if I’m working, I usually have electronic, instrumental stuff on, but the second I’m sewing, I can be heard throughout the flat, belting my faves.

Tell us about your playlist:

So, I’m going to take you though my playlist track by track and write down what I’m feeling as I play each track. I’m sorry, but I really am that obsessive about playlists. I have taken (certain parts) of High Fidelity to heart. This is going to be an eclectic experience if you’re listening along. You’re going to hear pop, hip hop, metal and a load of music I don’t know how to categorise. Enjoy!
1. The first track is A Sky For Shoeing Horses Under, by why?. I love why?. I don’t think I can accurately describe how their music makes me feel, but if you ever get the chance to see them, please do yourself a favour and go. For me, this is the perfect starting song. It’s got an amazing introduction and I can’t help but think of the music video, which is recorded in one take and well worth a look. Yoni Wolf, the vocalist of why? writes such incredible lyrics and this song is perfection to me. 
2. Next up is let gO Og my egO by NNAMDÏ, my friend James got me into this album and it’s been a firm 2020 favourite. I’m listening to the playlist as I write this and I’m having to stop every couple of lines to have a dance break. I think that sums up how I feel about this track. Layered, rhythmic, danceable.
3. Speaking of danceable, here’s Robyn with Missing U. We’re gearing up to the ‘night out’ part of my playlist here. This is such a sing-along banger. 
4. Strangers by Sigrid is up next. I’ll never forgive myself for not trying to get tickets earlier for her last tour. This another sing along pop anthem. A joyful, uplifting song that is guaranteed to get stuck in my head for days. 
5. We take a step into a song that makes me feel determined as hell next, it’s Look by Leikeli47. This song has a driving intensity which has got me through many a tricky moment. It’s also a great ego boosting song, “I’m booked for the year, you heard”. 
6 I was completely obsessed with Fake ID in 2019 and it’s stuck with me. It’s dancy and fun and it always puts me in a good mood, which is sometimes necessary if I’m trying to master a new or difficult technique. 
7. Shout out to my friend Califia for getting me into Angel Haze, who is an amazing rapper and lyricist. It’s the claps that make this one for me. I love a hand clap.
8. Open Mike Eagle is one of my favourite rappers/thinkers. His lyrics are hilarious and this song is no exception. I love his self-referrential, wry vibe. It was really hard to choose one song, but Qualifiers is catchy as hell. 
9. Siren 042 takes the energy down a little bit. I love the interplay between Lala Lala’s and Yoni Wolf’s vocal lines in this song. 
10. Pretty Ugly is off Tierra Whack’s 2018 album Whack World. All the songs on the album are 1 minute long and catchy as hell. 
11. We’re moving into more guitar-based songs now and next up it’s Martha with Into This. A heartbreaking song. This is a bittersweet track for me, because Martha was one of the last bands I saw live, supporting one night of The Hold Steady’s weekender in early March 2020. 
12. The same goes for ARXX, who supported The Hold Steady on the last night of their weekender. I love how this song builds and falls away again. ARXX are so great live, I love how they get such a massive noise for just two people. 
13. It had to be a Hold Steady song next, right? I love a narrative and Craig Finn, the singer and lyricist of The Hold Steady, is an absolute master of the narrative. He creates scenes and stories and characters with depth and humanity in such a short time, it’s really incredible. This band has been a major part of my life since I saw them on their first UK tour in 2006 (I think! don’t @ me). I’ve since seen them so many times – I haven’t counted, but it’s a lot. It sounds like a cliché, but their music really has been there for me for most of my adult life and it has a huge emotional resonance for me. 
14. I truly believe that culturally, there’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure. So with that in mind, I present, without apology: If She Would Have Been Faithful by Chicago. A band with about 20 members (it’s actually 10, but with two extras for touring, apparently). This song and a lot of Chicago’s songs appeal to me because of their truly epic harmonies, and dramatic vibe. This song will always remind me of driving around with my sister when I was 14, singing at the top of our lungs and belting out as many harmonies as we could. 
15. Elton John is next to take the stage and I did tell you this was going to be eclectic. Listen, say what you like about him, but he can write a song, and the way Someone Saved My Life Tonight builds is so brilliant. The backing vocals are great, but I’m not here to persuade you. It’s okay to skip it if you don’t fancy 6 minutes 45 of Elton though, I understand. 
16. So Emotional by Whitney Houston is the reason I feel the need to apologise to my neighbours when I see them. 
17. Manchester DJ babes Good Afternoon turned me on to this remix of this Pointer Sisters classic Dare Me. It’s pure 80s disco funk goodness and I’m here for the sassy lyrics (“Looks like you’re looking for trouble, and I’d say you found it. You’ll have to come right through me, there’s no way around it”) harmonies (as always). The Pointer Sisters are a force to be reckoned with and this song is a timeless classic. Fight me. 
18. We’re veering back into guitar-land now with this Car Seat Headrest. I love how loud and… chunky the guitars sound on this track. I’m not sure if that’s the correct word for it, musically speaking, but it fits. Another song with ace harmonies and amusing lyrics, which is a winning combination for me. 
19. This was the first Les Savy Fav song I ever heard, so I had to put it on this playlist. If live music ever comes back, I’ll do virtually anything to see this band live again. You never know what’s going to happen, I’ve had vodka poured into my mouth from a kettle by Tim Harrington (the lead singer), I’ve watched as he almost fell off a balcony in Liverpool, and I’ve seen him gradually shed his furry tiger onesie live on stage, amongst many, many other things. An incredible band and a great song. 
20. Up next it’s another loud as hell two-piece band, JOHN. Shout out to my friend Ben who has amazing taste in music and get me into JOHN. Ghost Printer is 3 minutes of epic, guitar chugging, punk goodness. Get stuck in.
21. Continuing the epic guitar-ness is Solitary Traveller by Torche. There’s something glorious transcendent about this song, and the lead guitar at 1.15 gets me every time. 
22. We’re picking up the tempo a bit again with Mask Maker by Liars. This song is relentless and lyrically pretty weird. 
23. Todd Terje brings us a slice of musical joy with Inspector Norse, which will likely get stuck in your head for ages. I wish I was sorry, but I’m just very much not. 
24. Next up is Nautilus by Anna Meredith. I first heard this song in the soundtrack for the amazing film Eight Grade. It features in a truly iconic moment of the film and I’ve been obsessed ever since. I love me some brass and some weird, unexpected rhythms, and this track has both. What time signature is it in!? I DON’T KNOW! And I never will. It’s evocative and imposing and I absolutely love it. If you’re into it you should watch her Tiny Desk Concert. 
25. This Battles track is an absolute classic. There’s not music to add. It makes me happy every time I hear it. 
26. We’re into the final part of the playlist now, we’re taking the energy right down with David Bazan, a truly beautiful song writer. Dave has done so much live streaming during the pandemic and I’m deeply grateful. I miss live music of course, but the next best thing is having one of your favourite artists sit in his room, in front of a rack of socks drying, playing a song you’ve requested. If you like this song, you should listen to Pedro the Lion, which is Dave’s band. Trouble with Boys is such a beautiful track and has some resonant lyrics. I love the continuous synth that runs throughout it. “Either way, you are worthy of love”.
27. It’s the return of beautiful harmonies again with Body Love by IDER. This song’s sparse harmonies really get me and the countermelody part towards the end is just perfect. I could listen to this on repeat for hours. 
28. The voice on this Headphones track might sound familiar to you. You heard him but one track ago. It’s David Bazan again. Sorry for almost doubling up, but it’s actually amazing that we got this far into the playlist without his input, to be honest. This song is so lyrically devastating. Like Craig Finn who I mentioned earlier, Dave makes worlds with his music. I love how simple this song is, the synth repeats throughout the song and the drums provide just enough punctuation to let the lyrics really hit you. 
29. Whilst we’re talking about devastating lyrics, here’s Craig Finn with one of his solo tracks, God In Chicago. I really have a thing for repetitive piano parts, and I love how the piano in this beautiful song really lets the lyrics take the focus. This song is especially dear to me because I was lucky enough to play the piano and sing backing for Craig when he played this song live on stage at Manchester’s Albert Hall. I feel so lucky to have been able to do that with such a great guy on such a beautiful song. It’s truly one of my happiest memories, and one I’m going to hold on to for as long as I can. 
If you’re still here, thanks for sticking with me on what was, at least for me, an absolute emotional rollercoaster. 

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There's nothing incidental in this song

  1. A Sky for Shoeing Horses Under – WHY?
  2. let gO Of my egO – NNAMDÏ
  3. Missing U – Robyn
  4. Strangers – Sigrid
  5. Look – Leikeli47
  6. Fake ID – Riton, Kah-Lo
  7. New York – Angel Haze
  8. Qualifiers – Open Mike Eagle
  9. Siren 042 – Lala Lala, WHY?
  10. Pretty Ugly – Tierra Whack
  11. Into This – Martha
  12. Call Me Crazy – ARXX
  13. Ask Her for Some Adderall – 2018 – Remaster – The Hold Steady
  14. If She Would Have Been Faithful… – Chicago
  15. Someone Saved My Life Tonight – Elton John
  16. So Emotional – Whitney Houston
  17. Dare Me (Hot New Remix) – The Pointer Sisters
  18. Destroyed By Hippie Powers – Car Seat Headrest
  19. Meet Me In The Dollar Bin – Les Savy Fav
  20. Ghost Printer – JOHN (TIMESTWO)
  21. Solitary Traveler – Torche
  22. Mask Maker – Liars
  23. Inspector Norse – Todd Terje
  24. Nautilus – Anna Meredith
  25. Atlas – Battles
  26. Trouble With Boys – David Bazan
  27. Body Love – IDER
  28. I Never Wanted You – Headphones
  29. God in Chicago – Craig Finn