Each album holds its own piece of magic in my heart, and is associated with times of growth - making the transition from girl to woman; learning abut myself as a university student; forging friendships with people I'll love forever, over bottles of red wine (you know who you are); giving my Discman a heavy workout on red double decker buses, the London Underground, Melbourne trams and Sydney trains.
Her music is warm and burns with intensity. Sometimes it crackles, sometimes it roars. Listening to her voice, her words, and her music is like having a large fireplace, glowing and bright, in a corner of my soul. Her more mellow tracks warm my insides like a smooth wine; the raw songs burn on the way down, like rocket fuelled whiskey.
She's an enigma to me, and I'll never forget the evening I saw her perform live: An unusually balmy night in Melbourne. The beautiful Forum Theatre. A small figure in a one-shouldered red dress and red cowgirl boots. A guitar trapped to her. A huge voice. Tears in my eyes, a lump in my throat. It had been one of the most stressful weeks in my life and I was alone, but for a few hours, I floated.
Years later, when J and I were deciding on a middle name for Miss Pie, we realised she would have the same initials as this amazing artist. It was a total coincidence, but a happy one. Little PJ.
This week, PJ Harvey won her second Mercury Prize. No one else has ever done so. When I read that news, I realised I'd been neglectful and needed to hear her latest offering... so that's what I've spent the last few days listening to.
I can already feel it entering that large fireplace in my soul, clearing out the cobwebs, and settling right in.
Welcome back, PJ.