Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Playing in Camden on Saturday Night 1st April

I'm playing at the Carnearvon Castle, 7 Chalk Farm Road in Camden on Saturday- very early, I'm on just after 7. Chalk Farm Tube is Probably closest but it's withing walking distance from Camden too

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Last Interview for The Book

I think this was the last one- I'd wanted to try to talk to Chrissie Hynde but I think I have just about run out of energy. I went to Brixton yesterday to talk to Rhoda Dakar, and I'm really glad I did. I wanted to know about the Bodysnatchers, and although there's a reasonable amount of press articles about them, I think there were so many of them that everybody encountered a mob and didn't really get to grips with the band very much. It was interesting to hear about the different attitudes within the band. Rhoda was really inspired by the Mo-Dettes, and because I talked to their drummer June Miles-Kingston a few weeks ago it feels as though lots of bits of a jigsaw are putting themselves together.
What else? I'm off to the studio today, I think there will be some more songs to put on to Myspace soon.
I keep getting asked for more Chefs stuff. The BBC should put more sessions on to their site- they have lots of our tracks. And Chuck Warner should release the track I sent him! Apart from that I have a knackered tape of our album that was never released, that needs a lot of money spent on rescuing it before anyone could do anything with it, and some old demos on cassette.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

RIP Mr Cutler

Good old Ivor Cutler. Our mum and dad brought us up on his odd music and somehow I always believed he was hatched in the same hatchery as my dad. Something to do with the pursuit of pointless activities with a ferocious drive. And asking dad for a new pair of shoes when I needed them-'No, you can't have a new pair of shoes, but you can have a new pair of socks'. Very Gruts.
I remember listening to dad when he was by himself in the kitchen, clearing up after pancake day, muttering 'A better bit of batter on a flatter platter'.
Me and my bruv saw Ivor a few times- Sunderland Arts Centre with Phyllis April King who did a poem about squashing the middle bit of white sliced bread into a doughball and eating it, which I thought was pure genius, because I did that too! Also at the Bloomsbury Theatre, where he played his harmonium amongst a whole load of African sculptures, and when somebody heckled him he tapped out lots of different African time signatures on to one of the sculptures just to show them that he wasn't just a batty Scottish primary school teacher- he knew loads about music (and words). He looked great too- best way to be ancient, a wispy ghost!

Saturday, March 25, 2006


I've just got back from the match between Barnet and Darlington- sat there in the rain, but it was worth it for a great goal from the tall bloke with bleach blond hair, and also to see the Barnet goalkeeper eventually get really fed up with the irritating Darlington team and just give one of the a whacking great shove- he got a yellow card for it but it made me laugh out loud! I think Darlington should re-name themselves Fally-downington, I don't think I've ever seen so much crybabyness in one game before. My muscles ache from sympathy-twitching every time Barnet had the ball!
Fact: when I lived in Camberwell I got asked to try out for a ladies team called the Old Fallopians

Friday, March 24, 2006


Well, it's a bit different to normal sewing.
I went to Smithfield Market & they chucked me out the first time for taking pictures without a licence. But I photographed this strange little man in his bloodstained coat, and the upside-down pigs which reminded me of Degas ballerinas in a macabre sort of way. And the gruesome hooks. And I did this embroidery to get my own back at My Weekly and the lady's destiny, and the person who told me I reminded them of Mavis from Coronation Street (remember her?).
Who said anger was about punching holes in the wall?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

New Version of Songbird

I've just loaded the new version of Songbird with BJ Cole's pedal steel part on to
It's much better with a proper guitar solo (although as an ex-punk I am usually against guitar solos in principle, unless it's the one on Boredom by the Buzzcocks, which just consists of two notes as I am sure you are aware).
Oak ash sycamore holly elm.

Last Night's Gig

It was a great venue- just the right balance of people talking and listening (I can't bear reverent silence- how can it be a night out for people?). The promoter (Lonepilot) is really good- he makes live recordings and does a CD of each gig which he sells for a quid (that's how much it costs to make them), brilliant idea.
I played some new songs which is about time probably, and some old ones that I have just been playing to myself and never played live. Lester Square turned up, and I've asked him to play on some more of my stuff, and he said yes. He has a join-the-dots theory- he just wants to surface from time to time playing on people's tracks, and if people like it they will find more.
The first chap was very good, he had a doctored wooden Spanish guitar with steel strings and it sounded a bit like a very bassy Dobro. Hazey Jane had a sore throat but she sang really beautifully- I love her voice, very wistful, but she's playing a solid-body guitar now and it gives her music a lot of guts behind her songs.
I've got the playing live bug again now after doing so much recording...
And in the afternooon, Giuliano Grazioli from Barnet Football Club came down to talk to the children at Song Club so thay can write songs about football. He had broken his hand but he still managed to sign autographs. We are all going to the match on Saturday to get further inspiration, and chilblains.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Goodbye to a million fish

Since the last time I made a boring posting about my reproducing tropical fish, she has had at least 2 more sets of fishlets and there are now at least a million in there. I called the aquarium shop and they have agreed to take them so long as I don't want them to pay for them. I had to pretend that they were all an inch long. I have only managed to catch about 1,000 so far and the others are peering at them through the plastic bag, trying to make me believe that Fish Have Feelings, so I feel too guilty to send them packing. They simply don't realise that it won't be long till I have nightmares about them taking over the house, and nor do they realise that the last thing I want to do first thing tomorrow is catch the rest of the shoal (including Mr and Mrs Adult Fish) and drive them to the aquarium, slopping and leaking all over the place.
The cat has told me he knows what to do about the problem, just leave it to him.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Appropriate posting for Sunday

I have always wondered, if I put potatoes in the washing machine and set it off, would they be washed, peeled and cooked at the end of the cycle?

Saturday, March 18, 2006


When I'm waiting for the tube to set off, I listen to 'Free' by Destiny's Child between 3 and 5 times. Each time, I listen to a different bit of it. Today it was the bass and it made me wish I'd been in the kind of band where I could play like that- lots of waiting to come in, and then playing exactly the right notes. In The Chefs I had to play full basslines because Carl walked off stage and left me and the drummer, Rod, a couple of times. I wanted to make sure we could finish the set anyway, without him. Captain Sensible saw him do it once and thought it was hilarious, but that wasn't what I thought.

Friday, March 17, 2006

French Footsteps

I have just uploaded a version of Helen and the Horns' song 'Footsteps at My Door' with French lyrics, on to Myspace. This is a very rare track and was never released. I'll leave it there until I've made the new version of 'Songbird' into an mp3 and then put something else there instead.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Watching the Simpsons

I do this every day. I think I might be falling in love with Apu, but don't tell him yet, as I have a lot to lose and I'd like to be sure. I am also wildly jealous of Tito Puente's 'Senor Burns' tune, which I wish I had written. It's just not fair.
Not going to gigs: I'm under self-imposed house arrest, and would be at the Irrepressibles tonght, and the Klinker tomorrow. But I have my book to write, and I've finally worked out how to do it. So no fun, unless it's my own gigs and recording, for the next month.
****I ate 5 walnut whips on Wednesday!****

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Gig in Hoxton

It's next Wednesday the 22nd March at a pub called the Macbeth, 70 Hoxton Street.
I'm on at 8.45 till 9.30. Hazey Jane is also playing, and two others. We are all solo (it's a Lonepilot gig). Door price is £3.00
And I'm looking forward to it!!!

A dream

Last night, I dreamed I had to write a song about coughing in the library at Canterbury.
A bit of the song got lost down the chair cushions.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Britannia Great

This is a Helen and the Horns track, on
I'm going to take it off next week, because that site is for artists playing at Songbird nights (we did) and I'm going to upload some music by other artists.
Anybody know how to get gigs in Paris and New York?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Gossip Column

..Oh had such a good time last night. I met Gina Birch at Selfridges to see the Slits- she had to pretend to be someone-else on the guest list, and I was the someone-else's plus one- the problem was the door person knew the someone-else, and knew that Gina wasn't she, and anyway someone-else wasn't on the guest list anyway, and therefore neither was I... but a journalist from the World Service allowed Gina to be her plus one and I just begged and so we got in.
They were brilliant! Ari is just a fantastic front person, funny and revolutionary at the same time. They did 'Shoplifting' twice, because they were in Selfridges, they sounded great. One of my friends, Nadya, plays guitar for them (they have another guitarist too, Adele) and they all looked incredible. I AM SO MADE UP THAT I SAW THEM.
Afterwards I met some people- the Clash's roadie, Roadent, who listens to Beethoven on his i-pod... a Susan, who had a Band of Susans and who had a band with 5 bass-players that went on tour with Michael Clarke... Alan McGee (he wanted me to sign up to his label many moons ago, pre-Oasis, but I didn't because I didn't have a band and I didn't want to be a cliched singer/songwriter lady, which of course is what I am now). The DJ was Don Letts and it has been a long time since I have just wanted to listen to the music until the end of time. Everything was fun- queuing in the shared loos, there was a great atmosphere, even the beer in plastic glasses didn't matter.
Afterwards I went over to Songbird in Dalston, and it was all buzzing there too- saw Nick Marsh (good songs) with Katharine Blake from the Mediaeval Babes on violin, made song plans, someone told me she sings 'Songbird' in the bath, which is a perfect compliment. Shared loos again- is this the new black? There was a man in there who said 'I am picking my nose' in rather a challenging way. I could see he was- did he want me to join in?

What else.. oh yes, this week I have been listening to Roots FM- hold tight- in the car (Maxi Priest sings 'You're Beautiful' and although he has a Voice, you can really tell how rubbish the lyrics are in a cover version), and Gaydar at home, which helps with the housework, I find, although I have had a minor sulk on discovering they record and repeat their shows- it was the anecdote about the sparrow that did it!
And Chris has played 'The Word is, Goodbye' on his Resonance show. Thank you Chris, hold tight.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Ten years younger

I'm going to stop watching that programme- having now become convinced that I have hanging jowls, hideous swinging earlobes, a gorilla-like overhanging forehead, and monstrous bags under my eyes; I am also in dire need of microdermabrasion (having my skin sandpapered off) because everybody else is doing it, and if I don't I'll be the only one left with pitted skin. Additionally, I need collagen injections to plump up my lips (will I still be able to sing through them?) and injections of botulism into my forehead so I can't frown when something displeases me. In order to do this I will have to take out a long-term loan which I will finally pay off, only to discover that the ravages of time have overtaken me and I have to do the whole lot again.
I can just do the most sensible thing
I ever thought of-
not look in the mirror,
and spend any spare cash I have
on recording my songs.
Speaking of which... I am plucking up courage to call the Mad Professor, as I want to ask him to do a dub mix of 'The Word is, Goodbye'. I wonder if he will?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Chefs posters and Song Club

The Chefs website has now posted my collection of Chefs posters- bit of a nostalgia trip for anyone who used to come and see us. I used to get Carl, the guitarist, to make me sardines on toast while I drew them; and my budgie Toby (who I rescued from you, Joby) used to scuttle around on the paper while I drew them, and occasionally jump on to my head and preen my hair very delicately. The link is
Just got back from the first session of Song Club- thirteen little children singing at the tops of their voices and trying not to notice the packet of Jammie Dodgers that they get to eat at the end. I had 2.
Put BJ Cole's pedal steel tracks on to my music- brilliant! I'll put a new version of Songbird with pedal steel on to myspace in the next couple of days.....

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Songbird, March 10th, Russian Club Bomonti, Dalston

8.00 -9.00 - Nina Kehagia, 9.00 - Caroline Trettine, Song, 9.30 - Robert Yates, Poet, 10.00 - Liza Hayden & Niall McDevitt, Song, 10.30 - Katharine Blake & Nick Marsh, Song, 11.00 - Liza & Niall, Poetry, 11.30 - Shimmy Rivers - Band, 12.00 - Petronella, Dance, 12.15 - Tim Cole, Film, 12.30 - DJ, 2pm - End

Saturday Assortment

I have a tall beautiful musician friend who has been in some very well-known bands. A couple of days ago, she was really upset by a man who aggressive-tailgated her, bumped into her car and then came alongside, swore at her and told her she was ugly. I told her she should've told him he was ugly too, but she said that he wasn't though, he had a really handsome face. Well, this has really bothered me and I finally came up with a suitable reply yesterday- 'I am famous, and your soul smells'. I'm going to try this one myself sometime...

Penny Broadhurst had put 'Heaven Avenue' on a podcast at

Apology from a drummer: one of our drummers was constantly stroppy, very stroppy all the time. After he left the band, he took up a different career and I bumped into him one day. He said how sorry he was that he had been so awkward and explained that it was because drummers do their brains in- one arm doing this, the other arm doing that, one leg doing the other, the other leg doing something else.
It does their brains in, he said.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Weird fact about Heaven Avenue

I'd almost forgotten- the first time I played it was in a tiny, tiny club near Goodge Street full of people who looked just too fashionable to be true- but they seemed very friendly. I started to play the song, which I'd only just written, and they all started joining in straight away. I was gobsmacked- how did they know the words? It was lovely, though, almost like when I work with the primary school children, but I could not understand how they did it. Afterwards they were really affectionate.... it wasn't till a few weeks later I found out that they were all off their faces on Ecstacy- is there something about that drug that turns people into mindreaders?
P.S. JUst got the pedal steel tracks- can't put them on to my songs till Monday but will upload them asap- perhaps it's time to take Heaven Avenue off Myspace now.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Rabbits and gigs

It's the first of the month, and if you say Rabbits, I've heard you get unlimited good luck!
BJ is posting the pedal steel files today, and he's going off to record with Davey Spillane, the piper. Also, the Helen and the Horn Peels sessions are online at: Sad to see such a real-looking picture of John Peel.
There's on Chefs session on the site too- I don't know if they plan to digitise any others.

I have some gigs-

22nd March at The Macbeth in Hoxton (£3)- I'm on at 8.45 and playing a 45 minute set which will be great as I have lots of new songs to play. Full address later...
1st April at the Carnaervon Castle in Camden Lock, (£5)- I'm on at 7.10
7th May at the Hope and Anchor, 207 Upper Street, Islington (£5/£4.50)- I'm on at 9.20
19th May at the Red Room, at the Comedy Pub, 7 Oxendon Street, Piccadilly Circus (£5.00)- I'm on at 8.00 p.m.

Nuff for now....