By Toby Rogers
BBC Tyne contributor
Beth is backed by the Hooves of Destiny
Toby Rogers enters the somewhat surreal world of singer-songwriter Beth Jeans Houghton.
"I used to think I was a white witch," reveals Newcastle-based anti-folk singer Beth Jeans Houghton.
"But I sat on my wand and broke it so that was the end of that."
An enchanting performer and gifted songwriter, Houghton has been making waves with her gorgeous leftfield acoustica for some time.
"I can't do anything else," she continues. "I'm really bad at doing things that I don't have a care for. Like education, tidying up, having people show me pictures of their children.
"Those things just don't float my boat, so I never leave the harbour."
Backed by the wonderfully named Hooves Of Destiny, the young musician is beginning to reap the rewards her extraordinary talent deserves.
"Well, they're these guys I found skinny-dipping in Buttermere Lake," she explains.
"They're a good-looking bunch. They're part of this commune back in Buttermere, a free-love kind of thing. Nothing Charles Manson, just a load of guys giving each other happy endings.
The Guardian said Beth has 'a remarkable voice'
"I thought that would appeal to audiences. Especially during the mass degradation of this nation brought about by the current economic climate. Everybody loves a happy ending."
Drawing inspiration from the mundane as well as the fantastical, Houghton's songs are laced with beautifully off-kilter imagery.
"I'm going through a bit of a phase of pain spaghetti at the moment," she says. "I wish that Vincent Gallo would see the light and be the other half of the tango in my child's life.
"I've also got this strange sense of my own impending death sometime about now."
Billed as one of 2009's rising stars by Observer Music Monthly, expect Houghton to be at the forefront of the UK singer-songwriter scene for many years to come - impending visions of doom notwithstanding.
"I'm moving to Brighton to find Nick Cave's moustache," she concludes.
"I heard he shaved it off and that kind of thing doesn't biodegrade so it must be walking around somewhere.
"I figured I'd have a better chance of finding it if I had a base down there. Somewhere I can eat and sleep and keep the blueprints of his house."
Toby Rogers is editor of the North East music blog