How We Met: Alison Moyet & Emma Kennedy: 'I knew we'd be friends because she was happy to make a prat of herself'


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The Independent Online

Alison Moyet, 52

One of the most enduring pop stars of the 1980s, first as part of Yazoo, then solo, Moyet (left in picture) last year returned with a new album, 'The Minutes'. A mother of three, she lives with her husband in Brighton

I first met 'Ma on Twitter. I have a terrible memory, but she tells me I was in the middle of a conversation with Clare Balding, and she interrupted with a joke. It must have been a good one. I liked, straight off, that she was an arsehole, and I say that as an arsehole myself. She didn't take herself seriously, despite being very clever, an Oxford graduate and all the rest of it.

We eventually met a few months later at Clare's book launch. I knew almost straight away we'd be friends because she was happy to make a prat of herself in person, just as she was online. When I first spotted her, she had her back to me. I went up to her and pushed her knees forward so she almost fell over. She turned around with this beatific smile on her face. I knew then that she was the kind of person you could hang out of a window and she'd still laugh.

To be honest, I wasn't very aware of her beforehand; I hadn't read her books. I knew she had been on television a bit, but that was about it. And I don't think she had been a fan of my music, which suited me just fine.

I was going through a transitional period in my life at the time. My children were all grown up and I wanted to socialise more, to find a group of women to hang out with. I've always been quite remote, and because I was in the music industry, which was male-dominated, I'd never met very many women. That said, maybe there were lots of women in the music industry and I just never met them? Anyway, the point is, I was determined to make female friends, and I found them. Specifically, Emma.

She's helped me come out of my shell, and helped me manage my social anxiety. I need very clear signals in order to communicate with someone, and she is very good at that.

About six months into our friendship, it suddenly dawned on me that she might be right for my manager, Georgia. I'm not saying either was on the look-out for a partner, but I did think that they might be suited. Neither of them are players, both are straightforward. So I arranged a double-date, me and Georgia, Emma and her friend Sue Perkins. They spent the evening not really talking to each other, both too shy, but there was still a spark. And now they're getting married.

We still talk all the time, only now we are more a three than a two, and I love that. Emma came with us on tour; we had a terrific time.

She's been writing this animated series for CBBC, Strange Hill High, and she let me do one of the voices; I'd always wanted to be the voice of an animated character. How generous is that? But that's Emma all over. She is funny, sharp, and the most generous person I know.

Emma Kennedy, 46

The bestselling author of books including 'I Left My Tent in San Francisco', Kennedy is also an actress and stand-up comedian and one of the writers behind the CBBC series 'Strange Hill High'. She lives in London

MoYo – sorry, I can't call her Alison; she's MoYo to me – has this terrible memory, so she doesn't really remember our first meeting. She was tweeting with Clare Balding – this was a couple of years ago – and I did that irritating thing people do on Twitter: reading someone else's conversation, then interrupting. When she replied, I felt a flush of real excitement. Within minutes of us chatting, I knew we were very much on the same wavelength.

I have to be honest, though: I was never a fan of her music. Not that I didn't like it, just that it passed me by. I must have been about 14 when Alf, her big album, was in the charts, but I paid a lot more attention to Simple Minds, the Pretenders and Eurythmics. I'm sure I snogged a lot of people while her music was playing somewhere in the background, but I never actually owned any of her records.

I knew we'd be friends when I invited her to Emma Freud's house to watch the final of Celebrity MasterChef in 2012, which I had won. I hadn't told anybody the outcome, but she wheedled it out of me, as she told me she wouldn't bother watching otherwise. So she turned up to Emma's house with a tagine, which happens to be my favourite food, though she couldn't possibly have known, and a Congratulations card. When I opened it, a fiver fell out! Just like your nan would do! I must have laughed for 10 minutes straight.

We have a lot of fun together. We went to a park once and she ended up pushing me up a tree, physically, hands on bum, and far too high. I got stuck. Another time, she took me to Thorpe Park for my birthday because she knew how much I liked rollercoasters. Thing is, I hadn't been on a rollercoaster in 20 years, and this one looked huge. We had to build ourselves up to it, doing the teacup rides first.

It's like having a school friendship in middle age, which means I found the perfect person to hang out with – like, ever – at the age of 46. That's not something you expect, is it?

Then she interfered with my love life, too. Everybody was baffled that I didn't have a long-time partner. MoYo wasn't baffled; she thought it was all completely understandable. But she introduced me to Georgia, and now we're engaged. The wedding's next July.

Because I write during the day, I don't have much to do in the evenings, so I ended up going on tour with her over the past few months. I must have seen her show 30 times, and I didn't get bored once. I think that when you are a creative person yourself, and you hang around with a creative person, it inspires you to be better yourself. That's what MoYo has done for me.

The new series of 'Strange Hill High' begins on CBBC from 29 April