Tuesday, May 03, 2016

From the Camps in Calais- Kurdish Improvisation

I think they are looking for a proper Kurdish translation of this song, if there are any native Kurdish speakers reading this. Film project by Ed Emery, SOAS.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Photo from Lucie's Lounge by George Venus

Lucie's Lounge is a low-key event that is held monthly at The Bloomsbury Tavern in central London. Saturday's Lounge was a Scottish artist event and even had a female bagpiper, Hilary Knox, and great songs from Lucie Sieger and Adam Beattie, plus photos from Marieke McKenna. Such a friendly night- especially the way the audience joins in the songs- now that's a rare treat!

Sunday, May 01, 2016

The Eye Of The Pigeon

Offsrog Two's birthday pigeon looked at me wherever I was in the room, even when I turned it with it's back to me, because it has those eyes on the sides of its head that look for predators creeping up from the rear.
It has remarkably healthy looking feet for a feral bird, but otherwise it's so realistic it gave me the creeps (in a good way).

Friday, April 29, 2016

Botticelli Reimagined At The V&A

I took Offsprog Two to this to celebrate her birthday. What I liked best were the paintings by Botticelli's student assistants, because you could see which bits they liked painting the most.
One Madonna had an intricate gold halo; some had lovely hands and feet and the rest of the painting was a bit humdrum. Many had disproportionate arms, heads or odd perspective.
The charm of imperfection wins hands down.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Working in a Press Office

Many moons (and many suns) ago, I worked in an independent music press office, and one of the clients was Billy Ocean. He was a tremendously nice man who used to wear shirts with microscopic prints on them and enormous rounded collars. I learned today that he used to be a tailor, which probably explains his unique style.
His hit song Go And Get Stuffed was one of the most memorable songs of the time- a proper pop song with it's own sound, a great groove (how did they make that funny grindy noise?) and a memorable motto, even if you remembered it wrongly.
We also did press for Depeche Mode (or Depressed Mood as they were known) and later, Yazoo, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Associates, The Stray Cats (yes, reader, I kissed Brian Setzer), The Birthday Party (yes, reader, I scratched Nick Cave's back), Misty in Roots, Gaspar Lawal and Hugh Masakela.
And Samantha Fox; I still have the Sam Fox picture disc with her photographed in studded leather, across a fold-out wallet with three discs in it.

Other jobs I have done include typesetting and printing tablet envelopes for veterinary surgeons in Lewes, Sussex; processing x-ray films in a hospital darkroom at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne; working for the Labour Party in Walworth Road circa John Smith (bless him, he was a sweetheart); and of course the usual pub jobs (bum nipped by clients), hotel and guest house jobs (disposing of used condoms tucked behind the dressing table: ugh), washing up in a restaurant in Brighton (garlic butter all the way up the arms), working in a shop (therein lie many stories), cleaning old people's homes (lost two diamonds from my old engagement ring), being a youth worker in Peckham (no-one would sit next to me on the bus of the way home after I picked up a chicken at the city farm), and assorted other mad occupations.

It always amuses me when students speak to me as though I have always been a musician/academic and somehow led a charmed life. Many parts of my life have been rough-and-ready to say the least, and I always have a nagging fear that the big claws attached to the scary bits of my life will come up and grab me and take me back there.
I am sure there are many people who feel like this; often, I completely forget, but this week I met someone who didn't believe that I used to live in a squat. I felt like going to look in the mirror, because I thought you could read the whole of people's lives in their faces, but obviously I am wrong.

From the Cinema Museum, Southwark. Scary Place.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Grainger Market, Newcastle

The Grainger Market in Newcastle is an amazing place. I feel in my bones the it's going to be gentrified and Costa, Next, Monsoon and all that lot will soon take over. Until then, enjoy a proper Italian ice cream from Mark Toney's, buy some coffee at Pumphrey's, get a hi-vis vest from the workwear shop, be disappointed at the rubbish that the Marks and Spencer outlet sells, and top up your knitting supplies with as much nylon wool as you possibly can. There is a peculiar shoe shop that sells Dr Martens, a health food shop, lots of fish- and bakers-shops and a patisserie called Pet Lamb (you have to be a Geordie to get that one).

Friday, April 22, 2016

Thanks Adbusters

I was contacted by Adbusters a while ago because they wanted permission to use a photo from this blog in their latest issue. I said yes, and they have given me a year's subscription to say thank you. Hats off to them for (1) asking and (2) paying in kind, and (3) being an absorbing and well-designed magazine!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Academic Book Review: 'Feminism, Digital Culture and the Politics of Transmission', Deborah Withers

Deborah Withers is a catalyst; she is a veteran Ladyfest organizer (Cardiff branch), musician (guitarist in the punk band Drunk Granny), archivist (she was the driving force behind the archive https://womensliberationmusicarchive.co.uk/music-liberation-exhibition/ and writer. Feminism, Digital Culture and the Politics of Transmission (Rowman and Littlefield) is an important stage in the development of her thinking, as she develops what could be described as Feminist Postmodernism approach to the process of archiving. I have found this to be an intriguing book; after romping through Postmodernism in the 1990s, like many women I screeched to a halt when I realized that to a large extent it functioned a little bit like Lynton Crosby’s dead rabbit on the table: while claiming to be visionary, it was actually looking backwards and not forwards, largely because what was in view in front of us all was Feminism.
As an archivist, Deborah pulls the past straight into the future with an understanding that the present is experienced so subjectively that to dwell on it is fruitless. Digital technology has given us all the opportunity to collapse history and make lateral links that would have been near-invisible in a traditional archive. All she asks is that we are aware enough of our own gender history as music makers, to understand that we are part of a constant radical flow.

This is an enjoyable book, and I have a feeling that there will be more from Withers’ virtual pen as she continues her exploration of the archiving  of forgotten lives and activities.

Cheese Stratocasters