... Indubitable proof of the slim talents required to win fame in Kiev came soon after my arrival, when my 'fixer' Sasha -combined impresario, computer-games importer and estate agent - persuaded me to record a song he had composed with English lyrics. The recording took place in a freezing flat in a suburban housing block. In a squeaky schoolgirl voice, I warbled over and over the words 'Dreaming girl/In the sky/Have a ball/ Live your lie'. A few weeks later we were filmed for television. Tucked away in a basement of the sports stadium, the studio had been decked out with bottles of vodka, a tinsel Christmas tree and posters of AEG white goods. I came on after a group called the 'Twenty Verhovinas' - a brand of cigarette. The compere asked me to introduce myself. 'Well, actually' -nervous giggle - 'I'm a journalist.' Sasha kicked me under the table: 'Anna is an artist, a singer from misty Albion!' The result - vodka-flushed face, hopeless lip-synch, novelty camera-work -went out nationwide on New Year's Eve. I was a Ukrainian pop-star...



Weidenfeld & Nicolson London 

1997 Anna Reid