Friday, July 01, 2022

Tomorrow on Whitstable Beach! We're On At New Time Of 7.45


So Close To Completion...

I reckon one more day of tweaking and fiddling, and I'll be there. I had fourteen tracks, which I have edited down to eleven. I've got a title and have decided on a front cover image. I'm working on the running order, and it's beginning to make sense. Oh boy, I've learned such a lot about recording and mixing: none of it theoretical, all practical. I know my songs inside out and have been micro-managing the little in-between noises. There are gigs this weekend: Whitstable seafront tomorrow, and The Spice of Life in Soho early evening on Sunday, both as McCookerybook and Rotifer with a full band. Hooray!

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Delft Tile Arrived In One Piece!

Now I have to try not to break it. One of the most fun things I've ever done, painting this!

Furiously Frumpy

Sometimes it's just great to have a day when you know you're not going to come into contact with a single human being, and on that day you have permission to be totally and utterly frumpy. Oh what a joy! The shapeless dress, the shapeless hair and the shapeless face! Feet stuffed into monstrous slippers, unsuitable food, and the most hideous spectacles you can find.

Then you are ready to do the challenging things in life. The automation of the tracks that you have been leaving till last, because it's so terrifying: making the music move about so it doesn't have to jostle for space like an Oxford Street crowd. But has it moved to the right place? Sooner or later, concrete decisions will have to be made.

It's ironic, isn't it: to have written a truthful book about the way women are dominated in music by the controlling activities of some (but not all) male producers, and therefore feeling obliged to do the whole thing at home by yourself. In the kitchen- that domestic space over which I am not a Goddess! I do feel that the songs sound the way I want them to, though. If I was a hip hop producer I would make them sound wonderfully spacious, like a soundscape of tower blocks and kerbsides. But I'm not, I'm a me, and I can only make them as big as I can get them and as beautiful as I can craft them to be.

I have learned some little tricks and I need to be sparing in their use: if you use up too much space with trickery, there's not enough room for everything else, and that's a hard lesson to learn.

Meanwhile, Wimbledon dominates the between time rest periods. Occasionally the thock, thock of the ball is relaxing, and other times it's not. Silence is the best rest, sometimes.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022


Well, today we had a full band rehearsal for the weekend gigs- Hutstock in Whitstable on Saturday (on at 6.35) and The Country Soul Sessions on Sunday with Drew Morrison and the Darkwood, and Paul Handyside, tickets here 

Full band territory, with Ruth Tidmarsh joining us on bass guitar and vocals. Four people singing vocals! Magic. Here we are having a lunch break mid-rehearsal.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Fleeting Memories Of Amsterdam

So many people- a river of them flowing down Damrak, night and day. A river of chatter in the daytime, a river of shouting at night. I walked for miles; I sat beside canals and watched: the barber shop on a boat, full of black t-shirted men with sculpted (or ready-to-be sculpted) hair; the two young women in hijabs riding identical Vespas side by side, chatting; the coots nesting comfortably in an abandoned boat. I wandered into shops and marvelled at the luridly-coloured 'clog' slippers made of nylon plush, all sizes available, and the woman with a traditional Dutch bonnet who refused to be  photographed and coughed Covidly. I went on a canal trip and saw the stray cats' sanctuary on a boat, and the self-seeded hollyhocks sprouting magnificently from the quayside. I found a good cafĂ© and sat there, watching the world go by, and I waited for a while next to some street people who were sharing touching stories about their families. The bicycles  streamed off the ferries: ting-a-ling! Get out of the way!

Grim men did deals in clusters on the street, their mobile phones clamped to their heads. In the red light district, there is a 24 hour service. The prostitutes, tall, fierce and wary, reassembled their fishnet clothing after a punter's appointment as their eyes darted around looking for more custom. Oh, how terribly depressing it was to see them in the mornings. What an exhausting and mindless occupation. Small groups of men shambled through the streets purposefully, peering into the shop windows at the 'goods'. This was a sobering reminder of the true hierarchy that exists in the not-modern world.

I lay in the tiny hotel room at night listening to the shouting in the alley below, and inhaling the cannabis fumes that percolated through the windows. I met my cousin, who I haven't seen since McMum's funeral, and of course I interviewed punk women at OCCI: but more of that later.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Rehearsing McCookerybook and Rotifer Songs

Today Ruth came round and after a quick lunch we ran through the songs for a week on Saturday in Whitstable, and a week on Sunday at The Country Soul Sessions. She had really done her homework and it was really nice to sit in the kitchen and play at low volume, fuelled by coffee and blueberries, for the whole afternoon. Ruth is replacing Jonathan in the McCookerybook and Rotifer band, and we have a full rehearsal next week. If you'd like to come to the Sunday gig (Drew Morrison and the Darkwood and Paul Handyside are also playing), here's the ticket link:

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Painting a Delft Tile in Delft

Imagine! McDad used to collect these tiles and I have a small collection myself. I went to the Royal Delft Factory to look round (it was fascinating) and managed to enrol on a painting session. We sat on long tables, and some people had charcoal templates of traditional designs. I chose to paint the woman downstairs who was painting a vase. I had taken a photo of her with her permission. We had two different brushes for the two different techniques, and ceramic plates with cobalt oxide to paint with. This will turn blue when the tile is fired. Let's hope it survives the journey back to London when they post it to me! I''m intrigued to see how it turns out. I have been longing to do this for years!

Photos from Women in Dutch Punk Conference


Saturday, June 18, 2022

Women in Punk Conference, Amsterdam

Join us this afternoon at OCCII Amsterdam, where I’ll be showing the She Punks film early on, and you’ll be able to hear from four generations of women punk band members before their gig tonight at the same venue.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Recurring Dream

Last night I had a recurring dream, in which I was trying to solve the same problem that I was attempting to sort out the last time the dream crept into my head. I was in our old house, big and magnificent (from the outside).

There was a corner of the house that was collapsing, though. It was upstairs under the eaves. You couldn't see it from the outside and sometimes even from the inside. I'd been trying to work out what to do for years, but I couldn't. I asked builders and estate agents for help and nobody else could fix it either.

I know now that I'll never be able to fix it, and I never could.