Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Furniture Removal Lady

Tomorrow it's donning the dungarees and check shirt, and a drive to Brighton in my trusty and ever-more-bashed car to do yet another Offsprog removal.
Leeds and back, several times; to and from different student (and afte0r lodgings in Brighton; Portsmouth; Brighton and back, several times.
I have the muscles of a navvy. Sometimes, my arms say 'No', but my head says 'Yes', and off I go again. Sure keeps me fit and grounded. I can't have painted nails, stilettos or floaty garms.
There is space in the loft (a bit) and constant clearing out helps although I could have done more to make space this time around. Never mind; lecturing is such a cerebral profession that a good dose of practicality helps to keep the balance in life.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Country Soul Sessions at The Spice of Life, Moor Street, Soho on Sunday

Please Londoners and others within striking distance- come along to the Country Soul Sessions at The Spice of Life in Soho on Sunday 2nd October!
The Gem Andrews Band will be playing, over from Berlin and playing the last date of their UK tour, Caroline Mary and Drew Morrison and the Darkwood; I'll be on somewhere in the middle and playing a good length set.
Entrance is a mere fiver and there are more details here:

The Primary School Picnic Nightmare

Oh Em Gee, I could have done without this bad dream last night.
I was scrabbling about in the kitchen- the kitchen in my childhood house in Wylam, actually. The Offsprogs had returned to primary school age, and had suddenly informed me that it was the school picnic later that day, and they had to bring food to share.
I could not order my thoughts. There was no food in the house, and what should I put it in if I found any?
My son (where did he come from?) rummaged about under the cooker and pulled out a batch of plastic boxes with lids. But none of the lids fitted the boxes! Time was running short.
That problem would have to wait.
I know! Berries!
I looked in the fridge and brought out a box of raspberries, but they were tiny and shrivelled. I got the Offsprogs to stuff the tiniest ones inside larger ones but they did it so slowly that it was excruciating, and there were so few raspberries. Were they eating them as they went along?
Aha! I remembered the prawns in rice left over from last night's dinner. Phew!
I pulled the plastic container from the fridge, took off the top, and all that was in there was a few shreds of grated orange cheddar, so dry they were transparent.
I would have to go to the supermarket and buy cheese triangles. I turned around in despair. It was nearly time to leave for school, and the Offsprogs weren't even dressed yet.
Thankfully I woke up at this point, but the whole experience was so knackering that I felt like I needed another night's sleep to recover from it.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Loft Diggings

In between planning the schedule for the students for next year, I had to go up into the loft so that Offsprog Two could weed out her belongings. It was very sad; I've thrown away quite a lot of stuff myself in doing that but I did find these little jumpers that I knitted for the Offsprogs when they were babies. Some are quite well-worn and stained. The Elvis one went to Gina's second child for a while and ha music notes on the front and an attempt at a mini shawl collar. I used to   map out the patterns on grab paper first but often got annoyed and just went free-form.
The skull and crossbones are inspired by The Bash Street Kids' Danny, and the blue jumper has an accidental frill around the bottom because I started it too large. I might frame these, but might not because there's no space on my walls. Having two arty Offsprogs plus being arty myself means that the walls are very busy.
I also found a tartan top and tam o' shanter that I made for the very first Music Hall variety that I ran with Lester Square at The London Musician's Collective, which you used to be able to hire for a fiver and a lightbulb (they'd always been stolen). I sang a song about ducks inspired by a Chinese Takeaway menu, playing banjo and accompanied by a Roland TR606 drum machine. Always to the forefront of electronica, eh?
The tartan had been very useful; when I lived in a very cold bedsit in Willesden Green in the 1980s that I thought I would live in till the end of my days, I used it as bed sheets because it kept me warm. In them days, we used to wear hats in bed too, because we didn't have central heating. Yuk.

Musicians Against Homelessness, Bristol

Hats off to Charlie Tipper for organising this event of artists, poets and bands in aid of Musicians Against Homelessness. I had to do it as a day trip and therefore only saw the artist before me, the poet and the band after me. Unfortunately I missed Charlie's band, the Charlie Tipper Conspiracy, but I have a CD to listen to which I will report on next listening day (the pile is getting large).
The gig was organised at The Exchange, which has a great sound engineer, and I really enjoyed playing. After six months of being strangled by unhappiness, my singing voice has finally returned. Oh thank you audience for sounding like a million people when you clapped: this was so confidence-boosting!
I really liked the poet- I'll find out his name and let you know.
Thank you for inviting me Charlie, I hope the evening was busy and bustling!
Bristol is mad. On the way to look for a cup of tea which I never found, I walked past a junk shop where this punk guy with a mohican was playing fabulous neo-disoc music at top volume (fie on you Shazam for now being a complicated service) and who leapt out into the street with a harmonica and played along and danced to the music, without a care in the world and with no audience or pavement-placed hat: just sheer joy. Wonderful! By the time I took a picture his friend had turned up and he stopped.
This evening I'm playing a last-minute gig at The Water Rats with Amy, as a warm-up for next Sunday's gig at The Spice of Life with Gem Andrews and her band.


The Co-op launches its funeral home in Barnet. What this has to do with a Scottish bagpiper I have yet to discover. There were balloons too. Yay.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bristol Exchange Today

I am heading to Bristol this afternoon to contribute my singing pipes and frailing fingers to the Musicians Against Homelessness gig at The Exchange. Please come along if you live in the area; the gig begins at 2.30 and goes on into the evening. I'll be playing at 6 p.m., and also playing are The Charlie Tipper Conspiracy, The Catenary Wires and many other good people.
This benefits Crisis, who are wonderful charity that I have supported whenever I can.
The whole initiative was set up by Alan McGee (formerly of Creation Records) and I am delighted to be able to participate and very much looking forward to it.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Thursday, September 22, 2016

New Album

I have just finished mastering my new album, which was recorded over the summer. There are 11 tracks, some acoustic, some electric; I'm still waiting on a title, a sleeve design and a label to release it on!
Massive thanks to Jono Bell who patiently engineered and mastered it. I was a wreck when I started it in May, and it must have been a pain in the bum working with me.
I am proud of the finished songs, especially of the Whitby dream one where I dreamt that I was recording a song in a studio in spite of not knowing either the song or the band I was recording it with, then woke up and realised that I'd actually written a new song in my sleep, and sang it into my phone before breakfast.
It's not about Whitby, I'm afraid.

In The British Library Bookshop

It took a bit of time to get them there, but here are copies of The Lost Women of Rock Music in the British Library bookshop, surrounded by Viv Albertine's and Chrissie Hynde's autobiographies. What great company to be in.
As a young punk musician, I would never have imagined that life would have turned out this way. I like to think that McMum and McDad would have been proud; I have discovered that they spent a lot longer telling other people what I was up to, than letting me know they were even interested!
Such is Presbyterian parenting....

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


I filched this from Facebook, via Paul McGeechan's Mum's scrapbook!
Please excuse the lack of detailed postings, I have been working very hard on other people's music, and I'm working on my own today. Those 9 hour days take a toll, but it's been a really enjoyable experience so I'm not complaining.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sunday, Bristol

I should be on at around the 5-ish mark. I was delighted to be invited to perform at this benefit because I wholeheartedly support the work of Crisis. Please support this gig if you can by coming along- there are some great bands and artists playing.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves

I wanted to be a truckdrivin' girl after seeing a titchy French woman emerge from an 18-wheeler in Lewes to use the public loos. Never did it, in spite of being offered training and a job, because the music (Helen and the Horns) took off. But I did write a truckdrivin' song and I used to love this song, though this is an extra-rough version of it: