Saturday, November 18, 2017

Finborough Arms Tonight (and The Railway, Southend last Thursday)

Tonight's gig is at The Finborough Arms with The Flatmates, Lucille and Lonely Tourist. Four acts for a fiver can't be bad! It is a small venue and it's probably a good idea to get tickets in advance. The Flatmates are on tour and there will be a lot of people there:
https://www.ticketweb.uk/event/the-flatmates-the-finborough-arms-tickets/7662605
The gig in Southend on Thursday was great. Sundown Arts used to promote a lot of gigs but have cut down recently which is a great pity. I met them at an event a couple of years ago at Metal in Chalkwell Park, then played the Leigh Folk festival last year, which was massive fun. Offsprog One came with me and after the gig in the Scout Hut, we wandered through the festival, stopping to listen to sea shanties, watch Morris Men, eat fish and chips, plodge in the mud and just generally hang out in the atmosphere. Southend has a unique take on music that is very welcoming to outsiders like myself. Here's a link to some photos from the festival: https://mccookerybook.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/more-leigh.html
Jo and Ray from Sundown started the evening off with their wry poetry, followed by Simon Blackman, and then Cherry Scott, whose poetry is sharp and perceptive. After that Tom Cusack played a set of acoustic songs (his guitar sounded gorgeous: a Martin, I think) and then Tumbledryer Babies, who are a guy called Andrew who plays short songs on an Omnichord, which is an electronic autoharp hybrid. There was something emotionally affecting about the sounds of an instrument that has now been superseded by all sort of fancy technology, singing out into a room full of gentle people with no agenda apart from to support live events and enjoy what they were watching and listening to. I loved it.
At one point, sitting on a comfortable old wing chair between Zoe (thankfully out and about again after her accident) and Dave (who plays trombone for Helen and the Horns), with Rob filming to one side and the fairy lights and standard lamps twinkling warmly, it felt like being in another dimension, far away from the stresses of normal life. This was the birthday celebration of the organisation (and also of Shangri-La), and all that was missing was a cake, but I baked one of those for them in my imagination.
It was a shame to miss the headliners, Diamond Family Archive, but I will definitely go to see them in London because they play here a lot, apparently. Big thanks to Jo and Ray, and I hope to see you soon; also to Rob Ellen for filming it, and of course to the audience, especially for their lusty seafaring singing!
Finally, just in case you were wondering about Omnichords: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omnichord

Friday, November 17, 2017

I Have Got A Website

This went live this afternoon. Thank you to Ross Barber-Smith for designing it:
http://mccookerybook.com

In The Mojo Playlist!

Thank you Wendy May for letting me know about this- I subscribe to Mojo, but it was still in it's wrapper on the side.
I am now officially an ex-pun, and very proud to be one!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Tonight at The Railway, Southend


Listening to Ari

We are starting to work on the documentary again, by picking up where we left off, reviewing what we have and working out where the gaps are. Yesterday Gina and I listened to the interview that I did with Ari for the book- so this would be probably around 2005 or 2006. The interview was done in the back room of the 12-Bar (that's a bit of history in itself) and in the background you can hear the venue gradually filling up as the afternoon progresses into evening.
Tessa and Nadya are there too, and Ari's replies gradually become more thoughtful as the hour passes. She talks about how helpful the guys in the punk scene were- but also how dangerous it was to walk around in public dressed the way they were. It took The Slits a long time to get a deal that would give them control over the way they looked and the sound of their music, and by that time they had evolved sonically away from punk and more into the dub reggae influences that they later became so famous for. Keith Levene was heavily involved in the production of their first Peel session.
Revisiting the interviews is going to be very interesting in the context of the absolutely deafening silence from women in the music industry about bullying, both sexual and otherwise. You have to feel very stable and powerful to call out bullying from people who can destroy your career either directly, or through whispering campaigns. One of the best things about writing music history and documenting it on film is allowing female performers and producers to have a positive voice and speak about their own history and experiences. Some of the people we spoke to for the film have well-documented pasts, but others who have maybe retired from the music business still have interesting stories to tell. We didn't even touch on the harassment issue, actually. Who wants to be famous only for being a survivor? People have a right to thrive.
It still fills my heart with joy just to think about her: I feel like laughing out loud at her sheer defiance and originality. Ari was a fantastic person.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Old Helen and the Horns Poster


Historical Teeth

I took a group of students to The Wellcome Collection this afternoon. They have a really interesting free exhibition on medical graphics with a particularly interesting section on smoking propaganda and anti-smoking propaganda; it was also fascinating to hear how Florence Nightingale had so much to do with the understanding and promotion of statistics in the treatment of soldiers' infections.
My favourite thing, however, was Napoleon Bonaparte's toothbrush (up in the first floor permanent collection).

Telephone Box Library

Paul Eccentric came round to pick up some books last night. He and his wife Donna have bought a village telephone box that was about to be removed, cleaned out the ivy that had taken over, given it a coating of new red paint, and are setting up a miniature library for the local community. A local school is going to help out, and it's a wonderful idea. Wishing them great success, and lots of users and lots of books!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Pet Plant

I bought an Arum Lily in the market today. I love them; they are so evocative. I imagine Moses floating in the water surrounded by bullrushes and the lilies growing between them, and I think of the road between Treviso and Venice, where they grow wild in the ditches alongside the houses, bustling and bursting to be the liliest lily of them all. My lily is just small, in a plastic pot. It hasn't flowered yet; I gave it some water and put it on the windowsill at work to keep me company. It's still rolled up and not ready for the sun.
My next song has got lilies in it (don't worry, I haven't turned into a hippy), which is probably why I noticed them on the stall. There were bigger, bushier, greener plants, and plants with flowers that shouted in extremely loud voices, but the lilies looked calm and collected all lined up and ready to go. They were irresistible.
I was thinking about when I go to Southend on Thursday to play at The Railway and something made me want to take the lily with me to keep me company. I wondered if I could get hold of a little red trolley, and trail it along beside me like people do with a dog on a lead. That would be nice.


Playing 'Oh Bondage, Up Yours!' at The British Library, Summer 2016

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Rumble and Jamboree

The Doc'n'Roll film festival is one of the highlights of the year; it allows you to see the inner workings of the music industry by exploring the lives and backgrounds of a hugely diverse range of musicians from just as diverse range of perspectives.
Last year I came away from the Ramones documentary feeling simultaneously sad and exhilarated by their story. I went with Gina and she had met Dee Dee back in the day and said he was as sweetheart. he was very perceptive, although obviously off his face on some substance or other. Personally, I fell in love with Joey, who seemed slightly astonished by their success right up till the end. He demonstrated that it is possible to be a successful musician and remain genuine, in spite of the pressures to embrace a false persona and perform it to the cameras.
Yesterday I went to a showing of Rumble, a documentary that traces the origins of Native American heredity in US rock and folk music genres. Link Wray's music introduced the film and we saw the shack where he was brought up, and heard archive interview recordings where he described the spontaneous creation of his musical style. There were a few talking heads affirming Wray's influence, but mostly it was left to the music to speak. As the film unfolded, we met many different musicians: Robbie Robertson, Rhiannon Gittens (of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and more), a group of women who presence Native American singing styles, Buffy Sainte Marie, Jimi Hendrix. As each person spoke, their tribe appeared on the screen beside their name.
When the English invaders flooded the continent, they sent the male members of the tribes away- to Africa, Haiti (and probably massacred as many as they sent away). As they 'imported' slaves from Africa, relationships formed between these (mostly) men and the Native American women, and many mixed heritage people in the USA can trace their lineage back to those days.
The significance of the Dockery Plantation to music is explored: Charley Patton worked there for a while and honed his guitar playing skills in the musical catalyst of the Dockery environment. Charley Patton was a showman and gave it everything he'd got as a performer (interesting stuff about the Dockery Plantation here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dockery_Plantation).
Somewhere further down the line, Native Americans began to wonder if they needed to hide their origins. During the 1960s, musicians felt comfortable enough to 'come out'. Taj Mahal's guitarist, Jesse Ed Davis, was around at this time and there's some great footage of him playing. Wow. What an incredible man.
I can't tell you much more except to go to see it if you possible can. It's an amazing documentary and the festival is on tour at the moment. Details here: http://www.docnrollfestival.com
I'd been feeling under the weather and not sure if I was up to doing the gig at Jamboree, but after seeing the documentary I suddenly remembered why I'm doing all this. The tubes were completely f*cked but I marched down to Embankment and met my Bruvs at the venue. There was not time for a sound check, alas, but I enjoyed playing even if the sudden influx of 50 people halfway through put me off my stride. Note to self, next time play The Sea and get them to sing it! For no real reason I was giving that song a rest last night, and you're always wiser after the event but it would have been a good thing to do.
Balothizer, the headline band, are a Cretan electric folk rock band who play traditional songs in a rock style. Their bass player plays a Rickenbacker and the bass lines sound almost punky. He also sings the bulk of the vocals, which soar over the energetic and busy music with a wistful and melancholy feel. Instead of the guitar they have a Cretan lute, a Lauto. All three musicians are ace instrumentalists and the crowd loved them. Hats off to Neil Jones for organising yet another successful event and I'm looking forward to reading the zine he gave to me, Fishin' Rod Reel Handle.
Jamboree is such a unique venue. It reminds me of Time Bandits and I have never seen a boring band there. They have a big money problem and there is a fundraiser benefit to help them out at Jujus just off Brick Lane on Saturday 18th November between 4 p.m. and 11.30 p.m.
I have a gig at the Finborough Arms with The Flatmates that night but will try to get there beforehand. More details here: www.jamboreevenue.co.uk

Friday, November 10, 2017

Website Soon...

Finally, after ten years, I'm having a proper website built. It hadn't been much of a priority before this year, but I'm doing a lot more gigs than I used to and although it's been a busy time, gradually things have been coming together and it's almost ready to go.
It will make things a lot easier when people ask for information. It has taken ages to decide what to put on it and what not to, because sometimes it's best to be as simple as possible. General life can seem chaotic and the site itself looks a lot more damn peaceful than I feel a lot of the time, rushing between gigs, lecturing and other stuff; then writing lectures, organising gigs and writing and rehearsing songs rather than doing the laundry and the shopping when I'm at home.
We are going to restart working on Stories from the She-Punks: music with a different agenda next week after an extended break- of almost a year, actually. It's imperative to get it finished and out there so people can see it, and making the decision to keep it's DIY feel was a sensible one. I think it has already stimulated a lot of discussion, creativity and also renewed respect for some of the participants, which is very positive. No, it's moving, actually. Bugger the corporatespeak!

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Past Times


Reviewing

I have started worrying about reviewing gigs, after someone asked me to be kind in a review. I was just out for the night, enjoying the music and not being a critic.
A couple of years ago I decided never to review anything that I didn't like. It can be fun to be nasty, but not for the recipient, and I accidentally said something about someone that upset them. On the other hand, sometimes a review here is a person or band's first ever write-up, and sometimes people are very happy about that.
I saw Penetration the other week, and enjoyed them too much to want to write about the gig: just wanted to be there in the moment and love all 360 degrees of it all.

Late Addition Gig

Jamboree is a fab venue and Neil's DJ-ing got me straight up and spinning about on the dance floor last time. Looking forward to seeing the headline band, Balothizer, too. This is an East London gig; Wets London gig next Saturday!


New Song from the Kitchen: At The Bathing Pond

Katy Carr invited me to the Hampstead Ladies Bathing Pond in the summer. I hadn't been freshwater bathing since I was 14 years old; we decided to write songs about the experience. She saw this chap too (without giving too much away). I missed the kingfishers, but Offsprog One met them when she went there. It's a unique place, but I think they need to block up the hole in the hedge.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Busy Times

These are busy times, but good times. A group of Creative Entrepreneurship students are selling their art on eBay (that's the musicians) or their music on Bandcamp (that's the artists), all in aid of the charity Crisis. Because it's unfamiliar territory, everything's #outsiderart and I will put the links up to their stuff, once it's all there.
At the other university, the songwriters are writing in response to Paul Sng's film Dispossession, which is a heartrending and truthful exploration of social cleansing and what it means to real people in real homes in real communities. The contrast is stark between the meaningless jargon of the officials both in business and in local and national government, and the warm-hearted ways that the people speak in Nottingham, Glasgow and London about their love for their neighbourhoods.
The students are writing thoughtful songs and have clearly been very affected by the documentary.
Meanwhile, I'm trying to see as much live music as possible, as well as playing as much as possible. This is because I think you have to be able to be in an audience watching and listening, as well as being on stage; not just to learn from other people, but because it stops you from thinking that your world is the only world. When Helen and the Horns split up, I couldn't cope with the vacuum; somehow I had got used to performing to at least 200 people applauding what we did night after night. You have to understand where you fit in the greater scheme of things: we're not NHS doctors, we're entertainers. Necessary, yes, and possibly vital to some people, but we're not in possession of the secrets of the Universe. I love the idea of a river of creativity which you jump into and join in the flow, alongside other people doing similar and different things. It flows throughout history and has lots of small fish as well as lots of big'uns; there is room for us all and it's better to be in it than on the banks wishing you could join in. That's what I think, anyway.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Sour and Sweet

Like some sort of poisonous fumes, the tendrils of political scandal seep under our doors and pulse at our ankles in a horrible fog. The Government is held up by nothing; they have as much meaning as the Pardoner's relics. The worth of politicians as super-people who have the right to rule us conferred on them by our votes has become completely undermined by things we knew already but had to have spelled out to us. I have been working every day for ten days, and today is the first thinking day there has been. With friends, a discussion about it all can't change anything, but it helps to hear some sensible conversation and there is some sort of catharsis in conversation.
Strangely, I feel happy.
Thursday had looked like it would be a disaster; the tube to work that day was incredibly slow because someone had been taken ill on a train further down the line. It seemed I would be late, and of course I had sent an email to the students underlining the importance of never being late about two days beforehand. I did get there on time, but one of the speakers who was supposed to come didn't turn up. However, Colleen Murphy of classicalbumsundays.com did turn up, and the students loved her talk. Colleen was mentored by the late David Mancuso, whom the students had been learning about in their cultural studies class, so they were well impressed.
In Paddington Station there was a band of soldiers in busbies playing poppy-day music; men in business suits with laptop bags lounged about waiting for their trains. Chris Bryant, the Labour MP, whisked past with a sense of purpose.

The gig at The Thunderbolt was really good. The Charlie Tipper Conspiracy had a clutch of strong new songs; Karen played a punchy set of catchy indie numbers with some wild guitar punctuation; the sound was really good for my set and that always feels good. There were lots of people there, and we finished with Femme Fatale, played challengingly slowly, but people seemed to like it anyway! Many thanks to Jane Barnes for being a fab promoter and also for giving me a lift back, with her husband. Jane has uploaded a whole load of vids of the evening to Youtube.
The next morning, Bristol was beautiful and the maze of roadworks, pavement works and bridgeworks that had baffled me the night before made perfect sense; the station was a mere sneeze away, and the journey home was easy peasy lemon squeezy thank you, and goodnight 😊.






Saturday, November 04, 2017

These Streets, Filmed at the Thunderbolt, Bristol, 2/11/2017

Filmed by Jane Barnes at Bristol Thunderbolt, a cautionary tale about serial dating:

Sketches from Scaledown

Scaledown was packed last night and the quality of artists was amazing. I have to work today so no words, but here are a couple of sketches instead:



Thursday, November 02, 2017

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Autumn


In Transit


The Atlantic Baptism

The sand was buttery and grainy, yellow. There was no breeze and the waves lapped quietly at the shore.
The sky was a deep blue, but not a hot blue.
It was a dreamland beach.
Oh, but the water was cold. It hurt her feet; it really hurt them when she tried to paddle.
She ran back to the cotton sheet they had spread out on the beach.
Her feet felt alive.
Fifteen minutes later, she tried again. This time, the water reached her knees before she had to escape and run back to the warmth radiating from the autumn sand. Her legs tingled.
A Norwegian couple strode into the water and started to swim, but they couldn't stay long in the water; once their costumes were wet and their hair soaked, they abandoned the gentle swell and lay down together.
But she couldn't stop.
Waist-high, the water numbed the lower half of her body completely; she tried to stand there as long as she could to beat the pain, challenged by the Nordic bathers.
It was too cold. The water fought her legs as she strode back on to the sand, but the feeling was exhilarating.
Next time, the water reached her her shoulders, and the time after that she swam tentatively, forcing her arms and legs through the bitter cold of the water that threatened to drag her into its icy embrace.
Less than five minutes, but when she lay on the beach again it seemed as though her entire body had woken; the grey, sticky cobwebs that had clung to her for the last year had finally been washed away.
It was time to go, but there was one last thing that she had to do.
As the strength of the tide increased, she walked taller into the Atlantic, fighting the fear of drowning in the numbing cold. She stood as part of the sky, the sea and the sand, a creature made of atoms; she sunk her entire body into the ocean, her head, and her hair.
She let the sea take her, cleanse her, refresh her, recreate her. She let the sea take the dust of despair away from her and wash away the chalk marks that had damned her, and take away the oil streaks left behind by broken machines long ago.
'This is the beginning', she said.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Thursday Night at the Thunderbolt, Bristol and MyEighties Broadcast

On Thursday, I'll be playing at The Thunderbolt with The Charlie Tipper Conspiracy and Karen. Tickets from bristolticketshop.co.uk (cheaper in advance though there will be tickets at the door).
Charlie Tipper will join me on the stage at the end to play our version of Femme Fatale, which we recorded last year in aid of Refugee Action:


Also on Thursday night, there is a Wasp Radio broadcast by Sarah Lewis, where she interviews people who were active in bands in the 1980s about their five favourite tracks; this starts at 9 p.m.
Sarah writes a lot of books about the 1980s music scenes; many of them are interview-based and give you a great insight into the people behind the music. He website has a list of what's available: https://www.my-eighties.com


Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Desperado Housewives at The Harrison

So much happens, it's hard to keep up, but in a good way. I have spent a large part of today writing a lecture and wishing I knew more about philosophy, but at the same time feeling glad that I don't, because of a suspicion that it might make me argue my way out of doing anything apart from sitting in front of the TV with a tub of vanilla ice cream. Only just catching up with last week, and this picture is of Kath Tait at the Desperado Housewives gig on Thursday evening. It was a very low-key affair but there was something very heartwarming about it all the same. We sit in a row and take turns to sing a song, so the mood changes gear every three or four minutes. Jude Cowan, the other one of the three, has a new repertoire of songs about animals in India. I particularly liked the one about seagulls following the boat across the sea; all of them stimulate your imagination, and you can picture the heat and the atmosphere as she sings them. Kath's songs are poignant and witty; it was seriously worrying to hear about the diminishing count of old-lady-sisters at the 252 bus-stop as winter progressed. I almost cried with relief when she sang the punchline: they had been hibernating! Phew!
It's an intimate venue, so the audience were close by and gently heckled and sang. Lovely to see Snezhina and Karen and friend, and quite a crew from Scaledown too. All three of us left with a  glow in our hearts, and some idea of doing a small tour of Ireland next year. Yes, let's.

Slap!


Writing, Barnet

I have just put on my grey lecture-writing jumper.
Somehow, I am going to trace a line from Chaucer's Pardoner who sold fake pardons to gullible pilgrims, pretending his cache of animal bones were the bones of saints, to Jean Baudrillard and his idea of hyperreality.
Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Walking, Hove

Sometimes the only way to escape the tyranny of the computer is to leave the room, leave the house, leave the town and leave the city. Living is not interacting with a screen: it is walking, looking, listening and being in the real live world.
On a still evening on the Hove seafront, peculiar things happen. Busy Lizzies lie in obedient lines, awaiting the compost vehicle; people get married; a crow tries to balance on a lamp-post before being frightened off by a cyclist ('Sorry, I scared the bird away', said the mobile scarecrow; but I'd managed to take the photograph before that happened).
The sunset! 
The sea was like a huge slab of sapphire toffee being melted by the setting sun.
And then I went for a delicious Thai meal in a pop-up restaurant, and then I went to Lewes, and then I went home.
And here is the computer, sucking me in again....







Penetration

I never saw them back in the day (washing dishes in a French restaurant to make money for art materials) so this was an absolute joy. Pauline, what a singer you are! The venue was sold out and the band sound proper punk. Rob has a great, strong bass sound (a bit like Andy Warren's from the Monochrome Set), the drums were sharp and punchy and the guitars made a wall of sound behind Pauline's fierce voice.
'We're going down the front to listen to our girl!', said someone in the girls' bogs.
Yep, she does us all proud. Go to see them, you must. They are playing Bristol, Derby, Sheffield, Edinburgh and Glasgow and they are absolutely storming.
(Couldn't resist taking a snap of the punk dog)
Sorry for short review, knackered but happy.



Thursday, October 26, 2017

Tonight at the Harrison Bar

Gigaholics presents Jude Cowan Montague, Kath Tait and Helen McCookerybook at The Harrison Bar, King's Cross. An informal evening of women song writers working if different styles:
http://harrisonbar.co.uk/event/gigaholics-3/?instance_id=1940

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Sleeping Barbers Shop


Supporting The Nightingales and Ted Chippington



Wednesday was drizzly and dull, the perfect night for pickpockets and n'er-do-wells and the perfect night to play an East London pub down an alleyway. Round the table sat various Nightingales and Ted, examining menus and waiting to sound check. Oddy, there was a slight Gentleman's Club air to the pub lounge: something to do with the wing chairs, perhaps. The hanging about before the gig bit was nice. I like talking to them. Luckily, the three bean salad had more than just three beans in it; there must have been around 50 in there, which was a good omen. The venue manager even conjured up a cup of tea in a beer glass. Now that's keeping the artist happy!


Downstairs through a warren of corridors with mysterious black doors, the sound engineer was setting up; in the box, the sound was good, the lights were snazzy and it looked like it would be a good night. Upstairs, it was filling up: Katy, Wilky, Andy, Jaime, Cheri, lots of people who like Peel-scented artists had come out to play, or rather to listen. I finished the chilled chips that the guys had kindly guarded, then went down to play.
You know, I had such a great time. On one side of the stage were Fliss, Cheri, Dolly, a little crowd of grrrls, and on the other was Katy, singing away at the top of her voice. It can sometimes be unnerving playing to a lot of people you know, but other times you just get swept away by the energy, and its massive fun. Thank you for being so supportive, audience!
Ted came on next, and actually made me yell with laughter at his description of the neighbour who is so scared of him that he wouldn't come out of his car after his shopping trip, and who phoned the police because the frozen food he'd bought was going to melt. And the slugs! Everyone has a slug story, but only Ted tells them on stage; nobody else values slugs enough. The little slug, patiently making it's way through the cat flap across the hostile carpet so that it can eat the cat food, that's everybody's kinda slug. Bless!
So, to The Nightingales. What a power-packed quartet. They just get better and better; their songs are the aural equivalent of rockets shooting across the stage from one person to the other, ricocheting from Robert to Andreas to Fliss to Jim. Robert rediscovers his lyrics anew every time he sings 'em; he raises his arm to each band member in turn, and fishes a Swanee whistle and a kazoo out of his pocket at just the right moments. Andreas and Jim fire riffs at each other at astonishing speed, and Fliss: what can I say about Fliss? She is just incredible, and she is quite possibly the best drummer in the UK: she is a proper musical drummer.
Fireworks! They had new songs, even a rockabilly one, and they actually stopped playing after one song: this is unheard of. The audience clapped after they had got over the shock.
Bang! The gig was over. Dazed, we went home.
Tonje and Peter were on the train home, and we shared stories of snails, of course.
I have taken the liberty of posting some of Peter (Tainsh's) photographs. The Nightingales moved too fast for my camera, although I did manage to take a pic of Fliss's cymbal!

Jim Smith; Fliss Kitson; Rob Lloyd; Andreas; me. All by Peter Tainsh











Friday, October 20, 2017

Thank You Kenji Kenji

I am looking forward to seeing Friedrich Sunlight playing at The Lexington on Sunday 19th November.
I met Kenji Kenji a couple of months ago at The Lexington when a door to a whole new music scene continued to open- and to welcome me in. The Lexington is like the new Moonlight Club.
This is a link to his interview from Super World Indie Tunes; and thank you Kenji Kenji for saying such nice things about The Sea!
https://superworldindietunes.com/2017/10/20/super-world-interview-time-kenji-kenji-drives-us-bananas/
And listen to this; it's gorgeous:

Review of The Nightingales/Ted Chippington tomorrow; been taking time out nursing a bit of a cold tucked up in bed with a Scandi Noir paperback. Rather a nice relaxing day, actually.
Meanwhile I have fallen for this gorgeous dog, who I met the other night at The Sebright Arms and who dragged his owner over to say goodbye after I made a fuss of him earlier on.
Awww.




Stop Press! Stoke Newington Music Festival

I did this one last year- and look at the line-up of Sunday. Frank Chickens! Helen and the Horns supported them at The Fridge years ago.
Do please check out their website because there are some fantastic acts playing- Tall Poppies and even Janet Kay (what a coup: one of the best voices in the UK!) and of course, Hank Wangford, Fran Isherwood and John Hegley.
Someone has been very persuasive to get this lot to come out to play!
It's a charity event, see here: https://stokenewingtonmusicfestival.com