Paula Rae Gibson

'Needy' composed and sung by Paula Rae Gibson

Hanging onto a thread to believe in rare things

"An evocative portrayal of the subtleties of heart ache and yearning, laced with unusual and self-satirising humour. 'THREAD' is an enchanting script that really resonated with me."
    LILY COLE actress, model
"Few storytellers achieve this balance between the real and the unreal, the imagined and the matter of fact, with such ease and such dramatic, often beautiful, results."    
"Her writing is raw, rings true, immediate, without frills. You feel she has lived each drop of what she writes." 
    DAVID BODANIS - Author  

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She walks through London, taking in the world through her widow's eyes for one last time, reflecting on how she has tried it all to distract herself from the pain of losing her love. All except loving again. Turning away from another experimental affair, after a surreal dream proves to her she has moved on, she senses she is ready to believe in life again. And then love falls at her feet.

This novella is Paula Rae Gibson’s final take on losing her husband film director Brian Gibson (Blue Remembered Hills, Poltergeist II, Tina – What’s Love Got To Do With It) and shows her moving on and back into loving.

Paula Rae Gibson was born in London in 1968. A photographer, singer-songwriter, author and filmmaker, she is the widow of film director Brian Gibson.

She travelled extensively before finding her way to survive was poetry, writing, photography and music. A book of her poems with photographs, Vision of More, was published by Forward in 1996. An album of her piano music Feeling the Cold soon after. These were followed by Diary of A Love Addict in 2006 and I'll Always Walk Away in 2007.

The poems turned into song and No More Tiptoes happened in 2004, with pianist Tom Pilling and Maybe Too Nude the year later, with Will Gregory of Goldfrapp and Martyn Barker of Shriekback. More recently 'You Gather My Darkness Like Snow Watch It Melt.’ with Jim Hart and Ivo Neame of the Loop Collective.

Her video ‘The Poet Without Tragedy’ won the prize for Best Music Video at the 2009 London Independent Film Festival.

This novella is her final take on losing her husband film director Brian Gibson and shows her moving on and back into loving. A play of the same name - taking an extract of the story – is scheduled to be read as a monologue at the Trafalgar, London, in 2012.

Paula now lives in Paris with her daughter and partner and continues to write.

Selected work:

Photographic work

Rae Gibson, Paula (2006). Diary of a Love Addict. Heidelberg: Kehrer Verlag. pp. 120. ISBN 3936636761. OCLC 65768388.
Rae Gibson, Paula (2007). I'll Always Walk Away. Heidelberg: Kehrer Verlag. pp. 240. ISBN 3939583510. OCLC 175648046.


Rae Gibson, Paula (2007). No More Tiptoes. 33 Jazz
Rae Gibson, Paula (2008). Maybe Too Nude. Babel. OCLC 275979432
Rae Gibson, Paula (2010). You Gather My Darkness Like Snow Watch It Melt. Babel
Thread 2011 Babel


Hanging onto a thread to believe in rare things

Paula Rae Gibson

ISBN 987-1-907401-54-1

£8.99 + P&P

90 pages

She catches my eye, triggering my smile. First smile of the day. I watch as she stretches her graceful fingers to caress the first drops of rain. She’s pushing an upright Dutch bicycle with yellow flowers weaved in and out of its basket. The fresh puddles seem to part for her. She seems not to have a care in the world. Because she once cared too much?
 Her long grey hair has been pushed into a woollen beret and a vintage stripy raincoat hangs open to reveal a hippy floral skirt. I slip into the space between my thoughts, stepping in between the raindrops.
There she goes, passing a few words with a reluctant policeman who acknowledges her with a shaky smile. Somehow it’s a crime to be talking to someone so innocent, or as old maybe?
She’s so beautiful. What she must have looked like when she was young. Though I know such beauty takes a long time cooking. Takes being knocked off your pedestal tens of times, even if your pedestal is just the way you think life is, life will always wink at you, shove you into seeing some way else, until you end up believing in nothing. And in everything? Does she live off the love of the man in her life today? Or the man of her life yesterday?
  A gush of air, a passing bus. I find her smile at my lips again. I want to pass the smile around. Up the mood wherever I go.

      you gather my darkness
  like snow watch it melt.

Something makes me think of my husband. My late husband. They must call it late as everything feels too late when they are gone. That’s not really true. I have purged so much emotion since he died, into my photography, into my music, compulsively. It’s what has kept me going. The theme of everything has been death of course. Death in all its colours. Life in all its helplessness. It’s been therapy of a kind, I guess. I wish I hadn’t stepped out of that world at all.


It was the unlikely surroundings of the Foyles’s bookstore on Charing Cross Road, at one of their regular in-store music performances, in London that I first encountered Paula – performing in a duo crouched down among the racks of CDs and records – pouring her heart into the microphone, eyes shut in the intensity of the emotions she was divulging. This kind of emotionally charged performance was something I grew to expect from this most fearless of singers, not to mention artist, filmmaker, novelist and playwright.

Yet on meeting her I was struck by just how down to earth, earthy in fact, and warm-hearted she is in person – not away with the faeries but with feet planted on solid earth. It’s a remarkable combination of a wildly imaginative mind with this rooted, yet driven, attitude that makes Paula such a vital and exciting artist, whatever form her creativity takes.

What always strikes me about her lyrics and her vocal performances is the sheer fearlessness – that’s mixed with bittersweet emotions and the most acerbic and assertive turn of phrase. This can take the form of extreme vulnerability or the sharing of her inner most desires, hopes and fears – or a more aggressive and powerful use of words that cut to the quick and instantly disarm the listener. The flow of ideas is also remarkable, and the fluency of their manifestation, that is
also deeply inspiring and motivating as a creative partner either in the studio or on stage.

Perhaps what’s most striking about Paula’s alchemic abilities with words and melody is to create a haunting world that’s completely her own – one that flies high on the euphoria of love and lust, but also delves deep into the insecurities of life head on, fearlessly leaping into her own sonic space. This is all tempered by her own sharp observations of the world at large, of people and places, and her own personal relationships that once again brings an earthiness to every syllable and sigh. Few storytellers achieve this balance between the real and the unreal, the imagined and the matter of fact, with such ease and such dramatic, often beautiful, results.


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