Monday, June 17, 2019

Next Gig: Servant Jazz Quarters, Dalston, Wednesday

I'll be playing first and will have copies of the album, badges and things. Here's the ticket link:
https://www.wegottickets.com/event/472560

New Album Out Today!

Out today! Big thanks to Ian Button, Karina Townsend, Gill Wood, Vic Godard, Ruth Tidmarsh, Dave Morgan, Anne Wood, Isobel Reddington and Jane North for their work on this.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

New! Limited Edition Badges and Patches

CD will be available on Monday!
https://helenmccookerybook.bandcamp.com/merch



Upcoming London Gigs: West, South, East (No North)

West
On Saturday evening I'll be playing a set of woman-centred songs with five other female artists to commemorate the Grenfell Tragedy at The Tabernacle in west London. the event starts at 7.30 and ends at 9.30. The other artists are The Grime Violinist, Desta Hailé, Kinetic Minds, Ishani and Judi's Rhythm on Jazz. Free






















South
On Sunday afternoon, I'll be playing the deep south, with Portia Winters, Lara Jones, and the Pandang Food Tigers at Linear Obsessional's regular gig in the Arts Café in Manor Park, five minutes from Hither Green station. The event runs from 4-6 p.m. This is an informal gig, with children welcome, and I'll be playing songs from my upcoming album Green, plus one or two quirky whatsits. Suggested donation £5























East
On Wednesday evening I'll be supporting Deerful and Robert Rotifer at The Servant Jazz Quarters in east London, just next to Dalston Kingsland overground station on the ginger line. I'll be playing songs from the new album and also will have copies for sale, plus badges and (shock horror) iron on patches. £6 in advance. This is a beautiful venue!


Portobello Radio Link to Saturday's Event

https://m.mixcloud.com/Portobello_Radio/portobello-radio-radio-show-ep-191-with-piers-thompson-greg-weir-wellbeing-special/?fbclid=IwAR3wFMghoFSmzzvZSoHbZf5hfnJY4AD4Uv1e_Q81kocy-jg2EO8AXNZNh1A

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The New Album, Green

The box of CDs arrived yesterday, and today I've spent most of the time uploading the tracks to Bandcamp. This takes a really long time because they are AIFFs and not mp3s.
There are more lyrics to write out and upload, and there are also some extra things to add (some merch) before I release it on Monday.
I so hope people like it! I don't know whether to be jealous of my own last album or not. Are these songs as good? I've been playing a few of them out live for about a year but some of them are brand new, and one is an old one resurrected from the past. Because some of them are politically relevant, I have been bursting to release them before now, but it's best to wait until I'm more calm and collected and Monday seems like a good day to release something new. Or maybe Sunday is? Or Saturday? Or Wednesday, when I take copies to the Servant Jazz Quarters?
What should I do?

The cover looks really good though, thanks to Offsprog One's design skills.

McWarhol


Monday, June 10, 2019

My Kinda Pop! Northwich

Kevin and Linda's gig are not just unmissable if you're a punter- they also are if you are one of the bands or artists who are invited to play on one of their charity bills.
This one was in aid of The Samaritans who probably saved my life a while ago.

The New York plane landed at 6.45 and Manchester was shockingly cold and rainy. I put on my hat and imagined that it covered my whole body- this was severely sartorially challenging weather.
Luckily the pub where I was staying allowed me to check in early and the room was warm enough to get two hours sleep (thank you The Hollybush!).

The Salty Dog was fizzing with anticipation and sold out. The BMX Bandits were stranded in Austria, but the show went on anyway, staring with Soda Fountain Rag, a Scandinavian four piece who played a great set of short, punchy songs fronted by a woman on drums and vocals. Fabulous! They were totally refreshing and completely woke me up which was bloody lucky, because I was on next.
It seem like sacrilege to play a Rickenbacker sitting down but I was practically hallucinating, which was rather nice, actually. I don't drink or do drugs so it was pleasant to feel high on tiredness.
My arms got shorter and longer, the guitar grew and shrank, the songs drowned me and then saved me, but in the time zone I was in (probably still the tempo and key of New York City) I had a really lovely and strangely synaesthetic time, almost tasting the songs as they came out of my mouth. I could see people that I knew out of all four corners of my eyes and all was well with the world.
The sound engineer was really excellent which was a massive help, and so was the friendly audience (even if half of them disappeared when I asked them to join in with the Bathing Pond song: What cowardly custards! Huge ruffty-tuffty punk blokes in black leather jackets are much braver!). Somehow, my fingers remembered what to do even after a week off.
Well well.
I saw part of Pete Dale's neat and sharp set (he of Milky Wimpshake) before the swaying got to me and I had to leave. What a pity- I had been looking forward to the rest of it! I played in Hull last year with Nervous Twitch and really enjoyed their songs, Jetstream Pony are brilliant, and so are The Popguns. With any luck I'll be able to do gigs with them all again some time, and I look forward to that.

Soda Fountain Rag; Linda, Julie Sunbather and partner, and Kevin; The Salty Dog from inside out (great venue with brilliant lights and sound); Pete Dale singing; door stop and feet (it's all in the detail); dressing room (ditto).






New York In A Nutshell

 Random photographs: a pigeon nicks the grain meant for the horse in Central Park; Christmas decorations still on patrol in Williamsburg; lovely bronze sculpture in the Subway; massively pervy-looking dog carrying backpack device on the Subway; sunset view across Central Park from the YMCA; school bus outside the YMCA; policewoman eating oysters in Chelsea Market; huge paper mâché Easter Egg in Chelsea Market; tiny enormous diver sculpture thing in Mexican Restaurant at Lincoln Centre; cinnamon rolls for breakfast; small checks + large checks = style.











Sleeping Trucks in Central Park

A starling was having a bath in a puddle just in front of these guys.

Not Going To see Bikini Kill

My finger hovered over the 'buy' button on Twickets. But I simply haven't got the energy; the gig is something I'll have to experience vicariously, and I'm looking forward to reading the reviews.
Lethargy is the downside of hyperactivity. All I am doing today is Sitting. The 'no sitting, no peanuts' sandwich board man at Oxford Circus would have a field day if he was still around!

A Week in New York

It's pouring down with rain and it's cold. There is time to reflect on last week before I leap back into work again...
Thanks to United Airlines food, I spent the first 24 hours either asleep or throwing up into the bin in my room at the YMCA. No sinks, no water vending machine. I hd to ferry cups of water back from the shared bathrooms, which at least weren't too busy this time. I was too sick even to go out to buy painkillers, but thankfully it passed and I was able to start exploring.

First proper day, I got the Subway to the Bronx but it was a desert of sadness like many other deprived parts of US cities. The flip side is always thus. I can see how it is beyond any politician's imagination to make any of this better, but making it worse? That's perverse.

I went back into town and spent the evening in Central Park watching the dog walkers, the birds and the joggers. Park life is universal, and somehow timeless. Change the century, change the location, change the clothes people wear; it's not surprising people find them to be peaceful places.
Central Park is such a huge and beautiful park and it smells heavenly after the rain, which most days happened before dawn.

On Tuesday I met Tom Greenwood for a coffee; we recorded two and a half albums and an EP together back in the day, as well as the Saturday Night With The London Set single last year. Tom's a remix and library music producer now, and also a Dad. He's a good pal and it was great to catch up with him and I'm looking forward to seeing him and his family when they move back to Yorkshire.

One of the things I have come to love about New York is it's wanderability. To my shame (perhaps) I haven't been in a single art gallery there. It's the streets that I love: hopping on the Subway and emerging at random places. That's what I did last year on the first visit and although I had much less time this year, it still felt like the best thing to do. I accidentally ended up at the High Line again and walked it for a while before the mid-day heat became overpowering, and I slipped down into the shady streets.

One day, I decided to go to Harlem to check out The Apollo Theatre, but didn't stay there long.
I walked past a group of men and one of them said 'I like that bitch!'.
That's a great way of getting rid of a bitch!
Next time I'll go there with someone else instead of on my own.

I went to Chelsea Market and bought some socks with Sumo Wresters on them.

My friend Jane Abernethy invited me to sit in on a meeting of women A&R people from both major and independent labels. It was fascinating, and a real privilege to be there; I loved the universal sigh at the '...but my friends say...' response to the artists mixes of songs! We had a good yak afterwards in an Italian restaurant and it was a great spontaneous meet-up. Next time too, please!

Thursday was the work day: a gathering at Fordham University of academics and journalists who have written articles on our favourite tracks. More about it all another time, but what a blast to sit around a table with the chap who started the Hanson fan club, amongst others! It was intense, fun, informative and oddly bonding. We all went out for dinner afterwards and shared rock'n'roll stories, political horror stories and a lot of bonhomie.

Friday, I went back to SoHo and wandered around watching the world go by. It felt too early to be going home but the My Kinda Pop! gig was the next day. Newark International Airport: ugh.
Lifts not working, travelators not working, toilets out of order. But at least there were some rogue sparrows darting about to relieve the tedium.

Both on the way there and on the way back, I sat next to in-plane chatterboxes. This was massively entertaining, but it meant I only got one hour's sleep one the way there, and one hour's sleep on the way back. I am now living proof that you can survive for days on stupidly tiny amounts of sleep, but I think it's sensible to avoid doing anything too important today. I have already made one slip-up, but Work will have to wait until tomorrow, when my soul has caught up with my body.

It's still somewhere in the mid-Atlantic, floating around happily on a burnished cloud.

Saturday, Etc.

This is on Saturday; it has been arranged to commemorate the Grenfell tragedy, and each act will be playing 20 minutes of gentle music to support the role of women in the aftermath of what happened. It is an honour to have been invited to support this night. Thank you Woinkpa X