Saturday, September 24, 2016

Thursday, September 22, 2016

New Album

I have just finished mastering my new album, which was recorded over the summer. There are 11 tracks, some acoustic, some electric; I'm still waiting on a title, a sleeve design and a label to release it on!
Massive thanks to Jono Bell who patiently engineered and mastered it. I was a wreck when I started it in May, and it must have been a pain in the bum working with me.
I am proud of the finished songs, especially of the Whitby dream one where I dreamt that I was recording a song in a studio in spite of not knowing either the song or the band I was recording it with, then woke up and realised that I'd actually written a new song in my sleep, and sang it into my phone before breakfast.
It's not about Whitby, I'm afraid.

In The British Library Bookshop

It took a bit of time to get them there, but here are copies of The Lost Women of Rock Music in the British Library bookshop, surrounded by Viv Albertine's and Chrissie Hynde's autobiographies. What great company to be in.
As a young punk musician, I would never have imagined that life would have turned out this way. I like to think that McMum and McDad would have been proud; I have discovered that they spent a lot longer telling other people what I was up to, than letting me know they were even interested!
Such is Presbyterian parenting....

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


I filched this from Facebook, via Paul McGeechan's Mum's scrapbook!
Please excuse the lack of detailed postings, I have been working very hard on other people's music, and I'm working on my own today. Those 9 hour days take a toll, but it's been a really enjoyable experience so I'm not complaining.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sunday, Bristol

I should be on at around the 5-ish mark. I was delighted to be invited to perform at this benefit because I wholeheartedly support the work of Crisis. Please support this gig if you can by coming along- there are some great bands and artists playing.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves

I wanted to be a truckdrivin' girl after seeing a titchy French woman emerge from an 18-wheeler in Lewes to use the public loos. Never did it, in spite of being offered training and a job, because the music (Helen and the Horns) took off. But I did write a truckdrivin' song and I used to love this song, though this is an extra-rough version of it:

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Hofner Tree of Berwick

The beautiful fruit of this tree in The Music Gallery is just about ready to be harvested. I did have a play on one of them, I must confess, although I already have a couple of Hofner guitars. My acoustic Hofner (a President) gave me a great song and then sulked and got grumpy, so I think I might sell it soon. The other is a beaut and will never sail from these shores.
I used to play Hofner basses in The Chefs- I had a violin bass which I hated because the neck was heavier than the body and it used to slip into an irritating diagonal all the time; Martin has the other one, which he has given a good home to because he likes the sound of it, and he has given it a lot of tender loving care. It did it's work for me and the band, and now has a more loving owner who makes much better use of it than I ever will. He gave me a Fender Precision Bass, which I love the sound of and which will be making its debut soon: watch this space (or perhaps listen!).

Thursday, September 15, 2016


60 driving hours, and only one mishap: the glove compartment jammed shut forever with the satnav in it when we were lost in the fog in windey Northumbrian back roads.
The glove compartment now closes with gaffa tape.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Glasgow Proms and More

So we drove to Glasgow and checked into the most plastic hotel in the world, hose-down Ibis.
Luckily we were a mere cough away from one of Glasgow's most convivial and characterful restaurants, Sarti, where I've been before with a friend, a long time ago.
Malcolm McMaster, the legend of pedal steel guitar, and his lovely wife Roseleen, met us there for a coffee and handed over a real treat: two tickets for the Glasgow Proms with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. This was a lovely surprise and gave us something to look forward to.
Before that we headed down to Mono Records for a vinyl record fair; on the way there we passed a large cafe with glass windows behind which sat a full jazz band: double bass, guitar, drums and brass, who were playing for a surprisingly glamorous mid-afternoon Sunday tea-dance, whose dancers looked as through they'd just stepped off a cruise ship. The cafe was packed, and so was the Russian Café a few doors down. A Sunday afternoon subculture, no less.
The record fair was packed too, and was being held in a brewery, but I browsed in the record store next door and couldn't resist some fresh reggae, and a Zombies CD to see me through the winter.
In the evening, we walked down to Glasgow Green and spread out our waterproofs on the grass amongst the foldy nylon chairs. As dusk began to fall and the moon played hide-and-seek with the dark blue clouds, the orchestra started tuning up and were soon powering through Shostakovich's Festive Overture.
Then lo and behold, K T Tunstall popped up and sand Suddenly I See and one of her new songs, backed by the orchestra; she was in fine voice, and held her own magnificently (that's her in the blue dress in the middle). I went to the chip van when Collabro were singing:they sounded just a little too sweet for me, although Offsprog One enjoyed them. Karen Cargill's opera section was fabulous.
Drunk on fresh air and music, we treated ourselves to a taxi back to the plastic palace and conked out to the mellifluous tones of Andy Williams on BBC 4, his fake tan glowing through the gloaming of the Ibis bedside lights.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Rockcliffe Conveniences

'I counted 27 daddy longlegses in there!', exclaimed the elderly man outside the Gents at the Rockcliffe public conveniences.

Friday, September 09, 2016


I have taken an amazing photograph of rock pools studded between grass hummocks, something I've never seen before. The pools are full of whole and crushed cockle shells, seaweed, feathers and small granite stones; when you walk on the grass you can feel the almost-sand that the grass is embedded in crunch slightly underneath it's thick carpet. In todays's damp and windy light, there was a bright, eerie glow to the grass that contrasted with the forbidding grey basalt stone outcrops by the beach.
The rain and wind are relentless; this feels like the back of beyond. Nobody is about. Electronic things don't work, clothes are damp.
I look at the photograph, and the way the dense grass spills right into the salt water; it seems simultaneously to be a throwback to a prehistoric age, and a harbinger of times to come.
I shudder.