Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Independent Instagram and Noted Noise

I set up an Instagram account a couple of months ago, but abandoned it because I realised that I couldn't use it without an app on my phone and I don't want apps and have also forgotten my password to the app store; a new password gets sent to an abandoned .mac account that I've forgotten the password to.
You see.
It's sweet though: the account seems to be going on without me. I'm completely unnecessary to it, which is a relief. Happy travels, Instagram account!

On another note, ever since I moved here ten years ago, neighbours on all four sides have been bashing things, drilling things, constructing things, or yelling at each other and making ominous thumps. All the time. I'd quite like to do some recording today, but there's a constant low-level gritty whine coming through the walls. The most irritating one was on a Sunday morning when I was trying to oversleep. The drilling started at nine a.m. next to my bedroom, and finished for the day at eleven.

Luckily, they can't stop me from singing (does that irritate them?) and I've got a song to finish off.

Noise backatcha, drillurz! 🙂

Saturday, February 16, 2019

300 Daylight Musics

Daylight Music is always a joy even if you're not one of the artists playing. I go there because there isn't a better way to spend a Saturday in London, whether you're an early morning walker-along-the-canal, or an afternoon-spent-in-front-of-Come Dine With Me-ist. There is a bit in the middle of Saturday, a bit of spare weekend, that can be used to re-fuel in the best way by taking a punt on what might be on offer with a cup of tea and a slice of home-made cake at the Union Chapel in Islington, one of London's bets venues.
At this special anniversary, the founder of Daylight Music, Ben Eshmade broke up the flow of awful jokes (yes, they are part of the package and some might argue, one of the best bits) by mentioning that the event started in Myspace days. Since then, they artists have travelled from as far as New Zealand to appear, which makes High Barnet seem rather slight in comparison, but on the other side of things, makes you feel that you are in exceptionally good company. This day was divided into three: Theme Tunes, Tea, and Torch Songs. I was delighted to see that The Perfect English Weather were playing, and they did the theme from Father Ted, with Wendy in really fine voice. Terry Edwards played an Alex Harvey song, The Boston Tea Party, and we talked Foreign Cats and Top of the Pops tiptoes Delilah in the dressing room. Piney Gir was there, playing an absolutely incredible sharkalike guitar that she bought in Kansas for something like $20. Fay Hallam's ensemble played You Only Live Twice, and Sarah Angliss and Sarah Gabriel played a Kurt Weill song that made me punch the air involuntarily- with a Cymbalom to accompany them that had only just been created from a Lithuanian recipe, I believe. After fourteen acts seamlessly changing over and playing one song each, the whole shebang ended with a finale featuring a three-piece horn section suddenly blasting from the balcony with The Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra.
With waving phone torch episodes and a crowd that applauded to the rafters, it was ALL standout moments, just a fantastic thing to be part of. Here's to more music, cake and love for the next twenty years or so!


A tomato ricocheted on to the floor just now and there are seeds all over the place.
The maple sugar has burnt, and is dribbling out of the bottom of the cake tin.
Hungry moths are circling in the kitchen.
Four in a Bed is spiteful, and is not funny like Come Dine With Me.
The Green Goddess is not fixed yet (I was demonstrating Gretsch's poor craftsmanship, and the switch fell inside it).
I left today's paper on the train so there's nothing to read.

I don't mind.

From Far Off

Here on antibiotic island, I am cooking.
It's probably not wise. Different grades of macaroni are clumped together in a pan on the hob and I'm trying to make a Tarte Tatin with some leathery old pastry that's been hanging around in the fridge for a while, and a dried up cooking apple, ditto.
I've just floated back from Daylight Music, which was wonderful as always, and had some real highlights amongst the high. I need to check names before writing more.
Alas, my hands did not obey my brain today (they still aren't) but my head is in the clouds with a few seagulls, a drone or two and a paper dart. A fearbomb got me halfway through.
The whole event was amazing, though, and I punched the air when one of the acts did a Kurt Weill song. And the chocolate cake was to die for!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Somethink For The Weekend

And relax.

A Day Trip To Liverpool

To kick-start writing the chapter on Oh Bondage! Up Yours, I took a trip to Liverpool today, to look through Falcon Stuart's archive of X-Ray Spex materials at John Moore's University library.
Last time I went to Liverpool it was to play at the Cavern along with Charlie Tipper in 2017, which is a great memory to have. It's such a lovely city and the sun lit it up like a Parisian film and I hope to be doing another gig there soon, too.

A very large group of children were on the steps of the town hall chanting and campaigning for change in Government policies on global warming. They are so brave and tough and exactly what we need, because everyone has stopped listening to adults who care about the environment.
I hope they do more.
There is no point in education if there is no world; they have chosen to educate themselves by fighting for social change and civil rights. The more they annoy the authorities, the better.

The archive librarian had put two big boxes of cuttings and fanzines on the table. All I had time for was the cuttings, but they told a very interesting story. Poly had such a lot of opposition from patronising journalists who tried to outsmart her intelligence. I felt ashamed of them (I doubt very much that they felt ashamed of themselves). En masse, the journalists come across as a bunch of controlling, patronising and vicious misogynists. Poly comes across as a genius who knew exactly what they were doing but who kept going anyway.
I feel a wave of love for her, and what she achieved against such opposition.

I've come away with masses of review quotations, and I hope I do the song justice as the article develops. It was interesting to find articles in The Daily Mail and Cosmopolitan as well as the music press, and oddly they were more measured and fair in their coverage.

Back home now, and I've been rehearsing a solo version of Records and Tea by The Chefs for.....
We have all been sworn to secrecy but nobody reads this anyway, do they?

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine's Day Message

According to pigeons, other pigeons are beautiful birds. Let's not be jealous of their enthusiastic sex lives!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


Magnificent printing job from UEL printers. These will be sent to Coventry (ha!) later this week.


For some unfathomable reason every song I'm writing at the moment sounds like a Disney song. No matter how serious the lyrics- the environment, Fascism, homelessness- out comes a tra-la melody.
I have no idea whether to go with this or not. In my head, I am a snarling Lou Reed.
I probably need to go on a writer's retreat which I cannot afford.
Maybe less pretentiously, I think I need a holiday!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Oh Bondage

I have been asked to contribute a chapter on my favourite punk song to an anthology.
There are loads of good punk songs but this is my favourite. It's got the whole lot: the way we were told we had to behave as little girls, and then the way we grew up to be big wild things making horrible noises and not caring about all that dainty flowery pink feebleness that everyone wanted to impose on us.
On Friday, I'm off up to Liverpool to read press cuttings in the X Ray Spex archive.
The kitchen table is piled high with books.
I'm thinking about emotion as much as gender politics, and about childhood/adolescence/adulthood and how annoying it is when you realise you're going to have to grow up and try to fit into a world that already has a shape for you, when its much more fun to be shapeless.
Good on yer Poly.
This song is a hymn for disobedient girl children, and an anti-fairy-princess rallying cry!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Housework with Betty Everett

Nothing like a bit of Northern Soul to energise you to wash the kitchen floor! You can't sit down when this music is playing. One of my friends described the production on one of these tracks as 'tinny'. Yes it is, and the bishy bashy sound is part of the deal. Plus some WILD horn arrangements which are almost impossible to untangle if you're trying to work out how (and why) they wrote them.

Friday, February 08, 2019

Threatening Threesome

So that's solo versions of:
Records and Tea by The Chefs for next Saturday (shhh! gig);
Thrush by The Chefs for The Tin in Coventry on 10th May
(once only and never again!;
Veteran's Day Poppy by Captain Beefheart for Liverpool in June (details soon).