Sunday, October 31, 2010


This picture is from Dave Peacock's Facebook album.
He has loads of photos of Brighton punk bands in their earliest forms- the Piranhas and Joby and the Hooligans in particular. This must have been at the end of the gig- I'm saving the set-list and I've stuck the guitar lead in my mouth to stop it from dragging on the floor. The suit belonged to the boyfriend at the time who had a matching guitar: cream with white scratchplate. It was a joke- a total coincidence that we managed to find two guitars the same in second hand shops in Brighton.
A bit later on I hit on the wheeze of writing the set-list in black felt pen on a strip of masking tape and taping it along the top of the body of the guitar. We always used to play the songs in the same order so I never had to change it.
My small plaits were coloured blue with crazy-colour. Because my hair was curly I didn't feel like a proper punk until my tutor at art college patted me on the head one day after he 'advised' me not to be a punk rocker any more and just settle down and get on with my work. I was so annoyed that I cut my hair off to about an inch all over, bleached it blonde and started to look quite tough. I can't work out which venue this was; I don't remember playing any venues that were posh enough to have curtains, and it seems as though there is a monitor there too and that's quite fancy for a gig back then. I wonder if it was Canterbury University? Joby tried to nick the telly from the Students' Union (he was a naughty chap) but I think it was chained on to its stand. We took the Piranhas there with us, I think.

Green Cake

This is the cake I made for McSis's birthday- chocolate, supposedly with green peppermint icing ('tastes like toothpaste' says her youngest son) but I couldn't find the peppermint essence so I used vanilla instead. It looked good with green and white candles; so many, it must be said at the the risk of exposing the fact that McSis is (like me) unfeasibly old, that I had to hold the cake at arms length as I paraded it into the room in case I singed myself.
Brother Tobias was there with his charming family; he is the funniest blogger on earth but has been taking a six month sabbatical due to the acquisition of a new dog. It was a cheery do, with assorted teenagers popping out to the yard for a fag and their dazed-looking parents thinking about the future with empty nests, no piles of unwashed socks and unlimited access to the bathroom.
Tomorrow I'm off to the quacks to see if I have glandular fever. I have been utterly knackered ever since I had 'flu, even when I'm not doing anything knackering, and it's horrible cancelling gigs for that reason especially since it is the gigs that keep me on an even keel. It's just about a year since I moved here and I love this house and I am happy in a lot of ways but the anniversary of moving itself is not happy at all, because selling up and moving was so awful: the old house had become like a prison and and it seemed to be thwarting any attempt to get out, move on, and start afresh. It's still unbearable going to the storage place where my albums and boxes of papers are (ILEA Childrens' Musical lyrics and scores, anyone?). Playing live is life-affirming and is a perfect antidote the the gloomy thoughts associated with all this.
The date is soon to pass, and I will celebrate that with candles and crisps (salt and vinegar of course).
Martin is very busy with gigs all up and down the country; he passed through London on Friday and we managed to see each other and play a few chords in passing; I found that I am able to accompany his ragtime pickin'. Learning how to play the Chefs songs has tidied up my style. I am going to Dublin to play a few songs at The Daintees' show in Whelans on November 12th so I'm revving the rusty voice up as we speak.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Kitchen Floor

I am having some lino put on the kitchen floor. The flooring guy is humming along to Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick- you know, that song with no melody.

Graffiti by Roa

I went to a meeting at The Premises studio in Hackney on Wednesday. It's an eco-studio that uses solar power in the main studio, and has beehives on the roof.
The Belgian graffiti artist Roa has been beautifying scruffy bare walls in Hackney with his extraordinary animal paintings, one of which decorates the side of the studio building. The council has told them to remove it (the rabbit, below), much to their consternation. If they don't the council will paint over it and send them the bill. The beaver is in a nearby car park.
There is an article in the Guardian about it here: ROA's graffiti rabbit faces removal by Hackney council
A petition has started up, which now has 1000 signatures.


Sorry about the mini-break; I needed to collect my thoughts for a while after a big bounce downwards, but the upwards bounce has started.
I won't moan about stuff!

Some ups...
I have just written to the BBC to get a license to make a Chefs compilation. I am not sure exactly what will be on it and some of that involves money things which as everyone knows, are difficult at the moment. But it will happen.

The book has come back from being scanned (although unfortunately I have been given someone else's managing/teaching workload to do which I didn't feel I could refuse due to impending cuts, which means I'm working full time at the moment)

There are some nice illustration projects in the pipeline for later in the year/early next year. Roberto Cassani is planning a childrens' songbook and has asked me to illustrate it, and The Gluts have challenged me to an online graphic song-story duel, Arctic Roll (theirs) versus Baked Alaska (mine) to be published at Christmas.

The illustration below has gone back to the drawing board, as I've been asked for a detailed explanation which I don't want to give because art is 'open', but I can understand why: academic writing is 'closed' because it needs to prove things (after asking questions, of course).

I have started to send the CD out for review. It is laborious but also fun, because if the DIY task involved. It feels direct, like a little dig at the big guys!

Now where's that guitar? I need to write songs: that's the surest way to change the mood!

There are lots of blogs and e-conversations about Ari's illness, death and the inspiration she was. 
I have realised that because I knew her (later rather than earlier) my memories are almost domestic and probably best kept private for now. 
I do join all of the people who knew her in a feeling of overwhelming grief about what has happened.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Deleted Postings

I have taken down some recent postings about Ari Up; thank you to those people who left comments, they were read and appreciated.

La Lectrice Gourmande

This story is for a US publication. They may need a disclaimer.
Oh, it's horrible: one of my students this year is writing a thesis about the glamour of dying young and how it affects the myth and marketability of rock musicians. What awful irony.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Hand

I have always written on the back of my hand, all the time: layers and layers of writing, especially when I am busy and over-stimulated.
I then transfer the contents to scraps of paper, which then kick about on my desk until I do something about them- transferring them to a notebook, acting on them, or simply throwing them away (my favourite).
Here are what today's handy scribblings are about:

Rob, the MD of Voiceprint, promised to drop off some Poetry and Rhyme CDs yesterday. I hadn't got any left to sell at gigs. He texted to say he might be late, and suggested he should drop them off later in the week instead.
I told Offsprog 2 not to worry about answering the door, and went to bed. Next morning, there was a pile of CDs and a half-box full in the house. Apparently he'd started posting them through the letterbox one by one very late at night when she was watching the late film on TV so she'd opened the door and taken them in from him!

The scan of The Lost Women of Rock Music has arrived. This reminded me that the subject librarian at the University of the East told me on Thursday that the University Library copy has been stolen. How mean!
There are three copies in the University bookshop. Will anyone be able to afford them?

I am trying to find out the name of the girl group who made tracks using the iPhone app Multimedia Groovemaker. Who were they?

There is a cosmetic dentist in New Barnet called Mona Lisa Smile. Do their patients realise that Mona Lisa smiled like that because her teeth were in an appalling state and she needed to keep her mouth closed? Is this what they are promising to their unsuspecting clients?

I heard that years ago, the band Madness used to go to see Brighton band the Piranhas regularly in London and beg their manager for a support gig, which he would never allow them to do. If you listen to the Piranhas early material and Madness's early output, you can hear a definite similarity and influence there.

Are London's bendy buses the equivalent of stretch limos but for poor people?

And so on, and so on....

Friday, October 22, 2010

Boy Racer

'Wheeee!' I thought as I whizzed down the gradient on the M25 in my small but perfectly formed car, the road clear for miles ahead and the Autumn sunshine lighting up the Essex countryside.
Was that immature of me?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rant Warning: This Posting May Damage Your Health

Well, I suppose I'm wondering when I'm going to lose my job.
Not being a Science, Mathematics or Business lecturer, the fees for potential students on the courses I teach on are going to rocket.
Some young people will decide not to be educated in particular ways, the ways that teach them to question what is around them and try to make things more interesting. We call it culture.
Yesterday I did a lecture for students at the University of the West about technology bias; men tend to operate machinery: a 'skill', and women not: an unskill. And this causes a difference in their earning power.
Angela McRobbie notices this in pop music; of course there a lots of very rich and famous female vocalists, but at grassroots level they are often seen as disposable and replaceable 'unskilled workers'.
Really, I was talking to the students about how I would go about researching a presentation about hip hop producers and the women who sing on the recordings.
And remember Amy Winehouse texting Mark Ronson?
It's common for women to walk into a studio with a song they have written, and the (male) producer makes a backing track for it because he has technical knowhow that she doesn't, and then claims half the song-writing royalty.
Of course, this can happen to men too.
But a student of mine around ten years ago did a fantastic piece of research called Why Men Twiddle Knobs and Women Don't that involved finding out what male and female students learned about music technology in their schools. I do not have to tell you the results.
'We need you', whispered a female student on the way out of my lecture. There had been a lot of grumpy-young-man challenging during the talk, and I don't think anyone had yet articulated to her the unwritten and unchallenged rules of music production.
It's not just me they need, of course. I think every young adult should be educated beyond school: I value Science (McDad was a scientist), Maths and Business, but there need to be people who are educated in other disciplines for society to 'work' properly. There is something sinister in those who place no value on the imagination.
In the 1980s when the Tories were up to their tricks, their activities seemed like an attempt to emulate the school history-book Middle Ages when merchants traded across the seas, nobles sat in their castles counting their doubloons, and serfs scurried about being paid groats for doing everything else that the others couldn't be bothered to do.
So for the second time in my life, I contemplate becoming a cleaner.
Are the smug toffs at the top blaming the bankers, who caused this financial meltdown?
Nope, they have scarcely been mentioned!
Sir Alex Ferguson

Monday, October 18, 2010


My friend from North Carolina, Daniel Coston, is a brilliant rock photographer and took some really good photos of myself and Martin a while ago. He uses real cameras and photographs real people and makes them look real, an increasingly rare skill.
He is also a writer and historian  and a big Carter Family fan (and also a Zombies fan!).
A week or so again he sent me this link to a site where I am quoting Holly George-Warren talking about Maybelle Carter's style (in my context I was taking issue with Chrissie Hynde's comment that there had been no female guitarist innovators with the impact of someone like Hendrix; actually, I would now add K T Tunstall's loopmaster {loopmistress?} skills to Carter's):
Holly has the most amazing CV and has just brought out a book about cowgirls which looks absolutely essential for anyone with Wild West daydreams:
She has also written a lot of other interesting stuff about music as well as curating Western Wear shows and putting together compilation albums of female- generated music. A very interesting woman, with a natty line in cowboy shirts!

No Thanks, I'm Waiting for My Boyfriend

First person I bumped into in the street was Al, who had been the sound engineer for so many of those early Brighton gigs. Immediately, he offered to pay for my bass guitar, whose neck had got broken in the Piranha's van on the way back from a gig. Bless him! I told him it had gone to Jimi Hendrix's guitar mender in Worthing, and had had a lot of adventures since then. It lives near Invergordon with Martin now.
Al didn't have a ticket but luckily Bruv had spares so we got him in. Mufti and Sara were just down the road, and Sara lent me some propolis to squirt down my throat. I went to check in with the Punkdaddy himself; Phil was working away, pleased to see everyone as they arrived.
The first set of the afternoon was actually two songs by the Lillettes; Barb was looking incredibly glamorous and they launched into Air Conditioning (?) and Nervous Wreck. They sounded well-rehearsed- I'm sure they'd swear they weren't- but they were actually better than before and suddenly I had that weird feeling of the past catching up with the present that was to be a feature of the whole afternoon. Everybody (almost) was there: Darris from The Golinski Brothers, recovering from being very ill but still looking incredibly dapper; Johnny from Johnny and the Lubes, once a huge Joby and the Hooligans fan; Mark and Sue from The Reward System; Julie Blair, former partner of Rick, who started Attrix Records; Pete Chrisp and Lisa, Pete with his original badges decorating his t-shirt; and of course the bands. Fortuitously, Zoot was over from New York and the Piranhas were well-represented for their later set.
After the Lillettes, the Mockingbirds played a set of two songs; |(the name of the next band escapes me but I will find out and put it in).
 The came the Parrots, ably assisted by Nick Greenwood on bass (brother of The Chefs' Russ Greenwood, who very sadly, died a few years ago) and featuring Rick's eldest son on vocals. They sounded absolutely brilliant and it was exceedingly weird to see how  Rick's son looked and sounded so like him, and even stood with his head slightly tipped to one side the way Rick used to when he sang. It was very sad, very eerie: my hair stood on end.
Afterwards, Phil, who was buzzing by now as the atmosphere was amazing, went off to buy 30 cans of cider for Peter and the Test-Tube Babies who were playing in the evening. He asked me to wait till he came back before playing, so I headed to the bar for a pint of cold water and met a chap who told me that at Hurstpierpoint Boarding School when he was fourteeen, he'd played The Chefs track Thrush constantly and him and his pals found it very exciting! Ha ha! I do think that's funny! He was a nice bloke and he bought one of the new CDs off me.
Meanwhile, a bearded fellow came up and said 'You don't remember me. do you?'
'SMELLY!' bellowed Bruv, and verily, it was Smelly, formerly shop assistant in Attrix Records Shop in Sydney Street. He had a box of Vaultage 79s to give away and asked me to announce it from the stage when I'd finished playing.
Phil was back and it was time to get up and go for it. The audience was lovely and it felt fine; I did four Chefs songs and three 'now songs'. Phil had said to play anything, but while I have been ill over the last month I have just sat there and played my guitar, so I worked out Let's Make Up (I was thrilled when Offsprog One told me later that she thought it sounded like Link Wray), Records and Tea (which sounds like a folk song when you play it on guitar), Northbound Train ( a combination of The Chefs' bass line and the Helen and the Horns version), and 24 Hours (just the bass line). Did I miss having the rest of the band? Yes, of course.
It was fun though to have a go at the songs and nobody seemed to mind the occasional hiccups, though I am sorry, Peter, for missing out the punchline of Records and Tea!
At the end, there was Smelly with his box of records, handing them out to everyone who wanted one. He had found them in the bathroom when the shop closed down and just wanted to share them.
At the bar, Johnny Piranha was getting nervous. His son was guarding him in case he ran away and he told me that his wife had forbidden him to go to the cashpoint in case he escaped! He needn't have worried: the Piranha's set was amazing, right from the start. What good songs they had! Jilly (yes, I remember her, she was a real girlfriend), T-t-tension, I Don't Want My Body, Saxophone, Peter has listed them in his Facebook album and he took much better photos of them than mine, above.
They played a loud, exciting set. Bob was his old, wry self... 'Getting beaten up is part of growing up' and Zoot did some fantastic tootling, all the more so since he told me he'd only picked up his sax again two weeks ago. And Johnny launched into it as though no years had lapsed between this and the last gig they played. Wonderful.
A lot of us were having problems recognising each other. 'Just imagine them all with hair', someone said to me. That was not what I found difficult: it was when people had grown a beard that threw me. But some people just looked exactly the same. Heather from The Objekts, and Sue from the Reward System, hardly seem to have changed at all.
Anyway- who cares? We packed the afternoon out. I couldn't stay for the evening but it looked like that was going to be just as much fun.
Hats off to you Phil for organising a really, really good day that was at once cathartic and rejuvenating.
The Brighton punk scene was unique and quirky; everyone was involved, whether in a band or watching  in the audience, and Sunday recaptured that feeling of all being part of something extraordinary and creative and unique in quite an unexpectedly emotional way
Rick would have been proud to see it, and I was definitely proud to be part of it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Palatine

We had a room downstairs, and a nice group of people who came specially: Jim-the-fiddle and his partner came, Razz and Xochitl, Sarah the photographer, and a selection of poets and general bohemians. Razz had made a banana cake, and our subject was journeys and our special guest was Frog Morris; one of the audience members was called Morris (or was it Maurice?) which was diverting for an unfeasibly long time.
The evening was gentle and relaxed; Frog did a poem midway through about his previous job as a transporter of pig semen. We challenged him to translate it into another language, and he did: HTML!
The other Morris couldn't get a grasp of this at all (being far into his cups by then), and his loud expressions of incomprehension became part of the evening's entertainment.
Kath and Jude were in fine voice, there were candles, there was chat: we did Old Ned, with Jude singing the dreadful story, Kath playing harmonica and me sobbing. It was a lovely night, and we managed to do it in spite of the loud disco music coming from upstairs.
We finished with an encore of our shortest songs and smiled away into the night....

Tomorrow: the Punkbrighton Alldayer, which I have just returned from- what a day!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The F-word: another article from Cazz

Cazz Blaise has sent a link to the next of her articles for the f-word, with interview material from Gina Birch, Lucy O'Brien and myself plus lots of interesting videos at

Tomorrow- Desperadoes in Stoke Newington

The Desperado Housewives are ready to entertain you and brighten up the dark, cold and rainy Saturday night at The Palatine (it's the launch night of the new pub) 97 Stoke Newington Road, London N16 8BX

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I was going to bore you with an angst-ridden description of my stressful journey to work, but instead here is a link to Sandie's film of myself and The Daintees doing the Airship Song. Thank you Sandie!

Six hours teaching today; no voice tonight. I haven't had a chat on the phone with my sister for weeks.
I have made a cereal packet with a different brand on each side to show the students that all is not what it seems....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Musical Prosody

Irritating. The Robert Dyas jingle is firmly embedded in my head and won't go away.
It's clever music... Ro-bert Dy-as, Ro-bert Dy-as, all played on a dingly thing (there are no lyrics really, you just imagine the shop name along with the music) that's slightly Christmassy without offending other times of year.
I used to teach my students about that, using the theme music from that old TV series The Sweeney as an example:
The Sween-ey, The Swee-ney, da da da da-da da da da da

Time to rehearse my Chefs songs, silently miming and getting the words just as wrong as I do when you can hear them!

Surreal Animal Things

Offsprog One reported a strange day on the Sussex Downs.
A Chinese woman was there with a large blue Macaw on a leash.
Later, Offsprog One and her friends approached a farm to photograph a sign (a college project) and a swarm of barking pugs appeared to see them off.
She then went home and cut the tip of her finger off by accident.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Two Dogs

Dog One was waiting for its owner outside the supermarket (that's not its tail: it's the lead tied to the wall from a funny angle). What a drama queen! Look at that desperately sad face!
Dog Two is the naughty dog at Bargain Buys, the best shop in Barnet, that sells everything, and if not, an imaginitive compromise. 
Dog Two had a toy sweeping-brush that it had chewed to bits: it's sticking its toy up a customer's posterior in an attempt to get the man to play tug-of-war. The customer is trying to be a polite customer and not yell at the dog, while simultaneously trying not to look like a fool in front of other customers (me), and also trying to be a customer and buy something.

Cookery Joke

Which TV chef puts LSD in the apple crumble?
Psychedelia Smith.

The Tears of a Machine

After three weeks of not being fit to do any housework, I bit the bullet today and opened the housework cupboard, plugged in the vacuum cleaner and pressed 'go'.
Good grief! I have never heard a Dyson cry before! How distressing!
I upended it, and there, trapped in its rotary brushes, were almost the entire contents of somebody's room, all bound together by mountains of hair, woven into a cunning detritus trap of impressive design (yes, Mr Dyson, I'l pass the plans on to you!).
Wire, thread, wool, dust, bits, a large ribbon-shaped offcut of material, all were wedged tightly in an impenetrable stodge that looked like some kind of eco-insulation.
Bloody hell, if the dirty dishes could have been sucked up instead of washed, I swear they would have been there too!
I got the Strong Kitchen Shears and poked about, cutting little slits in the accessible parts of the stodge, until I could tear clumps of it off and dump them in the bin.
Eventually, the brushes were still  congested, but at least they were visible. A huge and frightening pile of dusty stodge pulsated in the bin; the vacuum cleaner was actually smiling with relief.
When I switched it back on, it sighed happily and slurped dust like never before.
I now have a newly-found respect for what I thought was a simple machine; I hadn't realised that it had feelings.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Just got back from Nottingham, where I was with Martin yesterday. I often play a short set with him, but last night it was very short as by the fourth song I had almost completely lost my voice. I have a gig at The Poetry Cafe on Thursday which I think I will have to let the other Desperadoes do as a duo; the gig follows two three-hour teaching slots that day at the University of the East, and last Thursday I could not speak at all by 4.30, and then I had to teach again on Friday morning and just gasped and gurgled my way through that one. The problem is I seem to be doing twice as much lecturing as I did last year. I have already decided not to do any more gigs on Thursdays until Christmas and I do want to do the Saturday and Sunday gigs next weekend (Desperadoes Saturday which I should be able to do if I don't talk all day, Punkbrighton on Sunday afternoon, the same). Meanwhile, I am on a constant diet of throat lozenges.
The Guitar Bar in Nottingham is in a big quirky building run by a guy called Rob who specialises in themed restaurants and bars- Mickey and Minnie were standing on the stairs to greet visitors, peeking out from the banisters like the children saying 'So Long, Goodnight' in The Sound of Music. Scary, ain't they?
Martin did a lovely show last night with lots of more unusual songs from the Airdrie Album, and also from The Lilac Tree. And he did one of my most favourite of his songs, I Can See. 
For him it was a straight sort of gig, less joking and story telling, more singing, and he was in really fine voice. He has been doing some recording in Winchester with Jimmy Cole and Jim Morrison on banjo and fiddle/mandolin, and it seems to have made him look through his back catalogue for songs for his set. He was crooning like a... well, crooner, and his guitar playing was absolutely ace too, helped by the very good PA system they have there. The chap sitting next to me was quite overcome by it all and decided to ask him to play for his fiftieth birthday.
I sold and autographed the first of the new CDs, for Mike Whitfield who with his wife June is one of Martin's greatest and most loyal fans.
By the way, I have been so ill that I have let a lot of stuff slip- work stuff and social stuff too and there are loads of emails I haven't replied to as a result. I have had to go to bed as soon as I get back from work and just leave everything. I am going to try to catch up this week, so please don't be cross if I haven't replied to an email that you've sent!

Friday, October 08, 2010


If you find a voice lying around about the place, please let me know. I have lost mine.
After six hours of teaching yesterday and three today, I have all the vocal prowess of a gawping goldfish.
I hope no-one phones tonight!

Thursday, October 07, 2010


Someone had already run it over, but I had to swerve to avoid it, because its beautiful tail was still aloft and luxuriant, riffling in the evening breeze.


If you take cod liver oil, don't burp.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Off The Rails

'We'll get these trains back on the road as soon as possible'
London Transport official, interviewed on BBC Local News

Le CD Est La

It has arrived and I am checking it through, it sounds good but scary- I have not recorded songs so simply ever before. There's lots of fret buzz, a few duff notes, an occasional gasped lyric, but the idea was to record simply and spontaneously. Sean at the The Cluny Studios in Byker (Newcastle upon Tyne) was the engineer, Martin was the producer and I was the singer/songwriter. Genre? Pop baroque? Who knows!

Track listing:

1. Three Maple Men: written for the Ramble My Rose Song Circle, as a response to the word 'memento'.
My three maple sugar men are white with age; I've had them since I was 14 when I went to New England with my American grandmother and saw the state of Vermont through her kindly and rose-tinted spectacles.

2. The Song of the Unsung Heroine: another song circle song. We were supposed to be writing about a heroine. I think unfamous people are the real heroes, especially the artistic ones, so I wrote this. It is dedicated to everyone who makes art, music, poetry, crafts, whatever, for the love of it. There's a live video made by Gina Birch on Youtube

3. Two Little Girls and Me: another song circle song. All four of us have odd relationships with our mums, and this was written to describe the moment of birth and the feeling I had of bring part of a chain of life, all the way back to... where?

4. Gotta Have a Heart: inspired by working by someone who pulled out of doing something kind on point of principle. Kindness has to come from the heart as much as from duty.

5. She Will Fly: I am going to make an animated film for this track. There was an aeroplane made of Nottingham lace in the 1940s. So many artists and musicians seem to have been mocked by their school contemporaries who disliked anyone 'different', and this is a celebration of 'different' people, whether their differences are physical, mental, spiritual, or whatever.

6. The Song of the Landsman's Soul: dedicated to my late father, McDad a.k.a. Robert Ian McCallum, the planter and gardener, and Doctor of Industrial Medicine. At work he cared for sick people, at home he cared for his family and in the garden, he cared for the plants.

7. Daisies: the song circle word was 'summer'. I thought about the terrorism of weeds and decided to write a song to cheer myself up. It worked.

8. The House on the Hill: lots to show, but nothing inside. Another song circle song, this time inspired by the word 'buildings'.

9. On New Year's Eve: I got the tube to a gig on New Year's Eve. Everyone was wildly excited, but not very happy, I thought.

10. Little England: this is a true story for lots of people, I have found.

Anyway if you fancy a copy, look to your right and you will find a Paypal button! For anyone without Paypal, please email me at and I will tell you how to get hold of a copy.


True But Strange

1. While I was ill, I put some scraps on to the compost heap.
I pressed it down as it was beginning to overflow.
A toad that had been hiding there jumped on to the back of my hand. I
2. I went to yoga in an attempt to feel better.
The clock in the room was going backwards.
We started at 9 p.m. (the finish time) and finished at 7.30 (the start time).
3. That's it,

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Some Listening for Thursday

Thursday is National Poetry Day; last year my contribution was a letter 'H' for a gigantic knitted poem; this year it's as a member of the Desperado Housewives, singing my song London live, with Jude Cowan and Kath Tait also participating with some truly excellent poets.
It was a really interesting experience to be involved in and next year the Desperados are going to do a series of seasonal broadcasts with Reel Rebels Radio to follow it up.
It is being netcast on Thursday this week:

Time: 10:30AM Thursday, October 7th

Monday, October 04, 2010

Gurning and Not Bearing It

Waking up after two weeks of hibernation, I'm surveying the damage.
I looked in the mirror. I have aged 50 years: it's dirty and I'm not going to clean it in case I discover that I've aged 100 years instead!
In one last (I hope) unwitting idiocy, I left the handbrake off when I went to the Post Office to collect the unknown things I'd sent away for while delirious with fever the last couple of weeks. I looked with incomprehension at the gearstick for a while before pulling on the handbrake just before I whacked into the car parked just down the hill.
My mind is still playing funny tricks: I am misreading the newspaper (what's all this about Indian bowels? I wondered while reading an article about the bowling tournament in Delhi), but that's been quite entertaining so far.
While watching a daytime TV programme about property, I suddenly realised what makes our current political leaders so unnerving.
They are Estate Agents! Osborne, Cameron, Clegg and Miliband of Middle-England would like to present an undervalued and oversold version of Maison UK.
Can't you just smell the Duty Free aftershave? (almost said Off Licence there).
And the shirts ironed by Mum (wife won't do it, as she's a professional herself).
And the pasty from the Independent Bakers for lunch, washed down with a can of Irn Bru (the funky edge).
Oh dear, I can't bear it!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Bit premature, that Fotherington-Thomas moment. I went to my car and I'd forgotten to lock it on Wednesday (the day I left my keys in my office).
So the Satnav and my ancient light-up iPod have been nicked by some arsehole. That's lots of early demos lost for good. Whether they were good demos, well, I'm not so sure (they got lost from my computer somehow).
That's the last time I go to work with 'flu!


The sun is shining, it's a lovely day, and even though I'm heading for the third week of this horrible 'flu, it's hard to be miserable. Autumn is just such a beautiful time of year, made all the more poignant by the fight it has with Winter during these early weeks.
Rain tomorrow? Pah! Enjoy today's sunshine, get out swishing through those leaves and picking up conkers even though you are too old to string 'em up and thwack 'em.
I am roadying today and looking forward to a sunny drive North; to poorly to play any songs (throat) or even go to gig (crowds-urgh!) but not to cruise up the M1 to Huddersfield.