Thursday, January 31, 2008

East, west, I'm blest

Songwriters of the West yesterday, songwriters of the East today; I'm exhausted. I lost my glasses yesterday (had to go up the library and buy a pair for 9 quid this morning), and today I put my watch on upside down and could not work out why the numbers looked so strange and the hands were not pointing remotely where they were supposed to be.
But it's all very enjoyable, you know, sitting in rooms full of ideas.
Bliss!
Tomorrow, I have a day off, to pack to go to Chollerford, which will be really exciting!
I'll tell you more about it tomorrow, on my day off.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

In which I am incredibly brave

I was conscious of a bit of fluff or something in my hair this morning but I carried on with the routine, cup of tea, etc etc etc
Until I went to the bathroom and saw that the bit of fluff (which had seemed to be moving) was actually one of those humungously massive spiders, and was on my collar, just next to my neck.
At other times in my life I have had a terrible, terrible phobia about spiders (it's a family thing; Little Bruv lost all faith in Santa Claus when given a wibbly-wobbly plastic one with long legs all wrapped up in cheery paper from Santa's sack; and McDad delivered a scolding sermon once about how silly we were to be so petrified, then shuddered so much is teeth rattled).
But today, I calmly (almost) brushed it into the sink, and not only that, gently fished it out on a bit of bog paper and gently, yes, gently, no throwing, put it on the floor to scuttle away to safety.
Wasn't that brave?

My brain rewarded me with a little jokelet.
What's another name for a Siamese cat?
A cat of many colours.

P.S. Once my cat, Tiger, was crunching up the juicy body of a biggie, and its legs fell out of his mouth on to the lino. I swear they clattered as they hit the floor!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Last Monday

What a lovely gig last night! It had been tempting to blow it out cos I was so knackered, but I went anyway and was glad. Peter Knight was hovering on the doorstep and that's always a good sign. His friend Hannah came (she's a cello player to add to my arsenal of cellists) and a couple of guys who are Daintees fans really, but like Suburban Pastoral and so they came to listen to me. So I was chuffed to have some people to see me play.
First on was Ingrid Andrews, who had a lovely all-ages band that included a mandolin player, two guitarists (and her too) and a tabla player who turned up just in time for the last song. Her songs are gentle rambles, not punchy or catchy, but very dreamy and introverted. Her band loves her music- they seemed together even though, as she admitted, they were under-rehearsed. But they all seemed very contented to be there. Ingrid is an older artist, and she is very determined and dedicated, and her spirit is admirable.
Next up was Apache John, a 3-piece; once again, good-humoured, but very different musically. I think they were a busking band- he had a guitarist/uke player, and his wife on the floor drum (it was utterly sweet the way she sang along to every song and smiled to herself at the funny bits). It was as though they had been plonked straight into 2008 from the sixties, without experiencing any of those life horrors that turn people into nasty cynics. Their songs were really catchy and they were very tight- you could tell because it all seemed so simple but if you watched carefully you could see all sorts of quite complicated musical stuff going on.
Then there was me- not too bad considering my lack of sleep altho' I messed up Heaven Avenue and rescued it again. Sorry Daintees fan who is a prude and didn't realise Heaven Avenue was a drugs song!
Lastly, Guitar Fever played- two very competent guitarists who played blues-flavoured songs very skilfully.
But I only managed to listen to three songs before completely flaking out and driving home in a contented daze, thankfully on the right side of the road.
It was a perfect night for a January evening, warm and relaxed, in spite of the fact that Hannah knocked over a bench and five minutes later I knocked over a pint of water. I like the Cross Kings- I'm sure it was a youth club in another life.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hippo

I only got an hour's sleep last night; appalling, but luckily it doesn't happen that often.
Paul, the sax player, has a huge browny-orange plastic hippo at his house. It's completely incongruous, and I asked him about it.
Apparently, he used to work with an exceptionally moody and bad tempered man, who could ruin everybody's day within five minutes of entering the office.
So he bought the hippo; if the hippo was facing to the right, everybody in the office knew that moodyandbadtempered was behaving true to form- don't bother asking any favours. If the hippo was facing to the left, moodyandbadtempered was in a rare sunny mood, and it was worth communicating with him.
Everybody in the office knew about the hippo's secret signals apart fom moodyandbadtempered, who picked it up one day, looked at it in puzzlement, and put it back down again- facing the same way.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tomorrow Night at the Cross Kings

At last, a gig, to take my mind off the series of Nasty Surprises.
I couldn't tell you all of them; one of them was so awful it doesn't belong on a positive blog!
Some good things have happened as a result of the chaos: a friend very generously gave me their old mobile phone and I got a new sim card; in getting touch with people to reconstruct the directory of numbers, I heard news from a few people I might never have heard. And losing all those songs.. well, it's been really stimulating and I wrote another one last night. The Myspace thing continues to be weird, in that I've vanished from several people's profiles but not from others and I have no idea whose. But at least it is back!

I am so looking forward to what I like best, singing.
It's at a pub called The Cross Kings, St Pancras Way, King's Cross and I'm on at 9.30. They do nice cheap food.
I will be wearing my best clothes.
All life is celebration when you have a run of bad luck to put things into focus!
YAH YAH YAH YAY!!!!!!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

It's back!

Wahey! My Myspace page is back- there were spams going back to November in the inbox, so I think someone has been doing something weird with it. I hope it stays now because I missed it. How sad! My electronic crutch!

Testing a pic


I've looked on all the memory sticks etc that I have to try to find the content of the lost Myspace page, in case they can't or won't put it back.
I will have to start from scratch, practically. I tried to make this photo black and white (I must have done it on some other scanner I think) but could only manage sepia. This is a test upload to see it it comes up with the little pPreview controls on it or not.

Haunted Castle and Teen Angst

I wrote a song when I was 14 called Haunted Castle. I was very proud of it and I played it to my music teacher at school; she declared 'You did not write that song' and just carried on with the lesson.
I know I have mentioned this before; but it comes back sometimes and is probably behind my personal mission to encourage people to write songs regardless of whether people think they should or not, and to become confident by doing so.
I've lost the words of the song, lost them ages ago, but I can remember the melody and the chords, and at the moment I'm trying things out with different chords, having become rather bogged down by the beauty of A major seventh. I started a song earlier this week and have sent it to Martin to finish; now I think I will revamp Haunted Castle and see what happens.
I had been hoping to upload some new songs on to Myspace, especially to replace the Christmas Queen (which was still being played, even though Christmas is but a distant memory).

Also when I was 14, I taught myself to play It's Too Late by Carol King on the piano. I could only play Christmas Carols (well, only one, the First Nowell) but I liked that song so much I listened to it and worked out the chords and practiced it until I could play an approximation of the song to wail along to.
When everyone in our family (big, noisy and nosey) left the house, I used to sit there and caterwaul my way through it, feeling very sorry for myself in that way that only teenagers can.
One particularly dramatic day, eyes closed in misery, I was howling 'Its too late baybee nowow, it's too late...' when I was aware of a presence in the room.
It was Mrs Hibbert, with her pale grey perm, winged specs, pink lipsticky lips and tweed skirt, shopper over her arm, standing next to the piano having let herself in the back door to see if she could get a cup of tea and a gossip from McMum.
'Eee man Helen man, that was lovely pet', (Geordie) she twittered happily, completely unaware of my shame at being caught out wallowing in my adolescent grief.
I've gone red now, even thinking about it.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Old Jumper

I have had a letter from Myspace. I wonder if they'll be able to give me my space back? I do hope so.
Well, I really enjoyed the evening at the Institute of Musical Research- I had been nervous but the crew were friendly and made it easy. Afterwards, Katharine, the organiser, took us to a Sicilian Restaurant, where my grey fake fur coat gave one of the waitresses a horrid static-electric shock.
I'm sorry!
Tomorrow I am going to have a lazy day. Socks, not shoes; old jumper; no earrings; sitting on the floor with guitar, not sitting in a chair with a book; curry on toast, not bananas and blueberries.
I have missed the launch party of The Society of Imaginary Friends CD; I shall attend in my imagination, and talk to my spectral friends through wisps of fantasy.
Over the next couple of months, nice things will be happening; the weekend after next, I am off to Northumberland for a brainstorming experience, featuring a motion-capture animator, a choreographer and the man who illustrates Bob the Builder, amongst others; the next month, a songwriting project involving my old primary school (I think). Songwritng in Scotland; gigs in Glasgow, Yorkshire and Newcastle, amongst other places (o Myspace, where art thou?). Tom is mixing the album (I hope).
Next gig is Monday, at the Cross Kings, St Pancras Way, King's Cross; I'm playing at 9.30

By the way, did you know where Dutch pigs come from?
Hamsterdam

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Myspace Gone

Well, I woke up this morning and my Myspace page had completely disappeared.
I know I had some gig info on there and contacts and if you are looking at this blog trying to contact me, my email address is helen_mccookerybook@yahoo.co.uk, and I will gladly reinstate friendships when I start it up again. I have heard of this happening to someone before.
That's also the address to contact to buy 'Suburban Pastoral' for now and to arrange gigs.
It's the third nasty surprise in a matter of days.
This weekend I will try to set up a new Myspace site but will not trust feeble technology again, and definitely not rely on it, because my mobile phone loss has been a bit of a bggr.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Talk about The Lost Women of Rock Music

On Thursday this week at 5 p.m. I am doing a talk about my book at the University of London. It starts at 5 p.m. and goes on till 6.30 although I will possibly run out of steam before then.
The url is www.music.sas.ac.uk
It si free to come along and I have been told I can bring my fan club.
Have I got one?
Probably not

Monday, January 21, 2008

Kilburn

I went to see Treacle and Charlotte today in Kilburn; it was weird driving down Kingsgate Road where The Chefs used to rehearse (in the night thunderstorms I used to phone from the house where I lived in Willesden to wake them up, 'cos the cellar where we kept our equipment filled up with water).
The iPod was gently playing Rosetta Tharp and Merle Travis.
Treacle showed me her recycled jewellery- excellent. I think she should make a website to sell it from and also take it to the V & A; Debbi Little's making some recycled dresses for them and I think they might like Treacle's stuff too.
Treacle and Charlotte used to live in that mad house with me. Ruth and Little Claire lived there too and we all dyed our hair black. I was tall and they were small and Andy Fellowes (the handy fellow who taught us all how to fix our electricity meters) said I was mummy duck and they were the ducklings.
Quack.
Anyway, I drove back past the Railway Tavern, where the Moonlight Club once was (I used to go every night, by myself, when we weren't playing there and must have seen hundreds of bands). It's right next to West Hampstead tube station, where the West Hamsters come from, which is next station on from Swiss Cottage, where the Cheese comes from.

Fact: Decca Records had a studio next to the Railway and used to feed cables from there into the pub, to record people like John Mayall in the 1960s playing live.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Rhoda Dakar and the Audience

It was the launch of Rhoda's album last night in Filthy McNasty's.
Rhoda was in the loo getting ready and her friend was too, and we chatted for a while about shoes and teenagers.
It was crowded and very hot in the back room- lots of stylish thirty- and forty-somethings, women with beehives and winged specs, the men were all tall, people with intelligent faces talking about little gigs in mad places. Later, that was going to be a problem..
The microphones at the venue are awful- at first I thought it was caused by the sound travelling through the heads of the tall men, then I realised that the bloody things really sounded like they had socks stuffed down them-I've loved Rhoda's voice ever since the Specials AKA album, and it was SO frustrating being able to hear that she is still a fantastic singer, but not properly. Her voice is gorgeous, but last night you had to imagine it's beauty.
I was expecting just ska, but the first few songs were surprisingly rocky- with her guitarist Nick, they did a spirited cover of Queen Bitch- the energy was there straight away. They did Racist Friend, a song called 'Half an Hour in Heaven' (?)
But then the audience kicked in- or their alchohol intake did. At one point there was a bloke (you know who you are, tall bloke in green and white striped shirt) with his back to the stage, YELLING at two glamorous girls in black dresses who YELLED back.
It was like they wanted to just Be At A Rhoda Dakar Gig, not listen to her sing her music. There was a remarkable number of rude people just shouting all the way through. It didn't seem to bother Rhoda- maybe she's used to rowdy crowds- but there was another room in the pub they could have gone to to yell at each other.
Oh bah!
The thing is, some of the shouters, who didn't give the impression of having listened at all, said creepy goodbyes to her at the end. I marvel at their ghastliness. If an audience won't shut up for Rhoda Dakar, who will they shut up for? She's so lovely and she has fought for so many principles in he life, I just thought it was unforgivable.
End of rant.

Through the crowds I saw Lucy O'Brien. She was with a friend who designs embroidery and we had a yak and talked to Rhoda too. I failed abysmally to network with Neil Spencer, who used edit the New Musical Express and now does horoscopes and writes for the Observer. I am supposed to be trying to get my book reviewed, but I just wanted to get home. He did Lucy's horoscope, which I think she found mildly unsettling.
I bought a copy of Rhoda's album, which I'll review when I've listened to it. First, I have to write a talk about the Lost Women of Rock Music for the Institute of Musical Research which I'm doing on Thursday. I am scared, because they are proper, and I seem to have washed my gravitas down the sink during one of my periods of sustained housework.

I am missing my phone still, although I am finishing the song that I was trying to record on it when I realised it had gone. No phone nicker's gonna stop me writing songs.
I would like to write a song for Rhoda to sing!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Mining for Gold

I enjoyed Johny's show last night. Resonance has moved to London Bridge but there was still a narrow staircase to negotiate- actually, even more awkward than the one in Denmark Street because this one is a spiral staircase and I swear it gradually narrows as you climb it, becoming practically a point when you get to the top!
The other guests were Louise Levi, who is a poet and who plays an extraordinary Afghani stringed instrument; I spent the whole time trying to work out how she played it. She had a big puff of red hair and twinkly eyes, and a fiendish cold, I gave her some of my little strong liquorice sweets, which she wolfed down and even picked the ones up off the floor that exploded out of the tin when I opened it. The other guest was Bonelli, a singer-songwriter who plays a Martin guitar.
The room was dimmed, and Johny's friend was taking photos- I wished I had a camera as she looked very photogenic herself, under the table peering up at Bonelli with her camera. Johny was genial, and the whole atmosphere was great- we took turns singing songs, playing or poeting, whatever we did, and had a little chat in between. I played Heaven Avenue ( the devil made me sing 'happy parties in the high street' instead of 'high skies'), Love on the Wind (no mistakes), Temptation (bottom 'E' totally out of tune) and London (forgot the words halfway through and ended on the wrong chord, hastily had to slide to the right chord- did it sound flash or crap?). The hour whizzed by; I silently watched Louise drink my entire flask of coffee that I had brought so I didn't fall asleep driving home, but I didn't mind, it stopped her from coughing.
Johny likes the song London, and Louise liked Heaven Avenue and Love on the Wind. Bonelli liked Love on the Wind. So I felt appreciated!
Afterwards I piled them and their instruments into my car and dropped each of them off in the middle of nowhere (at their request, I wasn't being a meanie, I promise) and dropped into bed a knackered heap- I turn into a pumpkin at midnight normally, and I didn't get back till about 2 a.m.

I went to Tescos today, the rough one at Borehamwood. Everybody pushes and shoves, there are trolley clashes, people snatching the apple from in front of your eyes. Small children dart in front of your trolley trying to commit suicide (seen their parents?), people have rows at the checkouts and Nobody Smiles.
I am practising not shopping in Waitrose any more, as it will be too expensive in future.
'Aha!', I thought, I have a Creme Egg in my bag'.
I can't have done my bag up properly, because someone filched my mobile phone, along with more than a hundred song ideas and loads of photos of bands I've seen, from A Smile and a Ribbon to Ari Upp.
So
I am going to write a hundred more songs, and go to hundreds more gigs to take photos
I am also never going to use that bag again. A few years ago in the Trocadero, someone undid it and nicked a purse with a tiny miniature pair of scissors, a French Holiday voucher I'd won, and a pearl on a chain my aunt gave me when I was a bridesmaid at her wedding to my uncle.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Woman

I went to the Post Office today to send off the clothes I've sold on eBay (it's a long story, but I'm moving from a big house to a little house and need not only to get rid of a lot of stuff, but also to make a bit of money for moving expenses).
In front of me in the queue was Woman. I had always thought Woman was a transvestite or a transexual, but now I am not so sure. Woman was wearing little black pixie boots with big gold plastic violins attached to the zips at the back, a leopard-print miniskirt complete with hide-shaped hem, and a tan belted mac. On her orange hair, which was scraped up into a bun, she had a black holey knitted tube, with her hair peeping out from the holes. She wears winged spectacles and a lot of orange make-up; today, she had sugar-pink lipstick on and around her lips, black spotty eyebrows drawn on her forehead and some black stripes drawn on her cheeks.
I often see her tottering along in little kitten-heeled sandals at the bottom of our road, and once I saw her mowing the lawn in front of her bungalow.
She has very manly legs.
I felt the woman standing next to me wanting to exchange glances, but I like Woman's Look. Woman looks in the mirror every morning and likes what she sees, and I think that is cause for celebration. I don't have a mirror in my room because I prefer not to see what I look like most of the time, and I am happy that way. Woman is brave, because she makes herself look the way she wants to and goes out in all her splendour, sticking two fingers up at all the scaredy-cat suburban beiges with her style.

Tonight I am playing some songs on www.resonancefm.com at 11.30, on Johny Brown's show. It can be listened to on the Internet.
I'm not sure what songs to play... I have just started to write a new one about a quiet little woman who makes lace for months and months unnoticed. What she is making is a pair of wings, and at the end of the song she flies away.
But it won't be finished in time.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

NWWMFTOTDSTB?

It was a work day today with lots of shafts of sunshine- seeing people I hadn't seen for ages- Jean Seaton, the second supervisor of my PHD, who is writing a history of the BBC. She told me she has learned a huge amount about spies and political intrigue that she never expected to learn, and Elin, Chris Carr's partner, who has started studying ceramics at the University of the West. I met the budding songwriters there for the first time today and felt excited about what they might achieve. When I got home via the supermarket (no blueberry muffins! what's wrong?) there was a message that a man had phoned. As I stuffed the fridge, I called the man. He was from the Independent and writing something about professors who perform, and I did an interview with 3 boxes of cereal in one hand and the phone in the other. Glamour!
My car is expiring, very slowly. It does not want to travel over 40 MPH, even with my foot on the floor. It's pretending it's loaded down with dumb-bells, elephants, obese grandfathers, lead balloons, party sevens, iron bedsteads, bricks and library books. I think I know what is wrong with it- the coil pots. That's not something to do with ceramics, believe it or not, but little gadgets above the spark plugs. That means tomorrow morning, my first thought must be to call the garage. But I know I will wake and lie in bed thinking
Now
What
Was
My
First
Thought
Of
The
Day
Supposed
To
Be?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Poppies

Some tough things happen in life.
There are some good things...
Vocals finished; I'm reverting to the old ones for some songs, but basically the songs are all finished, and all I have to do is send Tom detailed notes about how I would like them to sound. Then I have to see if Voiceprint like it and want to release it!
I saw Gina Birch today, which was lovely. We haven't seen each other for ages; she's started writing new songs and may even have a person to release them for her. She is looking very well and seems just about to hit a massive creative streak.
Afterwards I took some more CDs to Rough Trade and had a long chat with a very nice, very camp man in a second-hand clothes shop about knitting- he does cable, I do Fair-Isle. He admired my style. I had on a dark green felt tam-o-shanter with a checkered band, a pom-pom and a ribbon (from a twee Scottish attire shop in Pitlochry), a red and white tartan jacket my friend gave me, covered in badges, fingerless Fair-Isle mittens and pink Timberland boots.
Well, it worked for him.
He told me he knits tea-cosies for his friends for Christmas!
On Friday, I am going down to Resonance to sing some songs on Johny Brown's show, Mining for Gold. There's another musician and a poet as well so it should be a great show. We are all going to take it in turns to do our stuff round an imaginary campfire. I'm gonna sing some songs that I haven't released, I think. It's on at 11.30 and the url is www.resonancefm.com- it goes out live on the net, really easy to access.

There was a shortcut on the way home from Wylam County Primary School down a lane behind some houses. One day, as I walked down it, I saw a single red poppy waving in the wind. I crossed over to the other side of the lane and ran past it as fast as I could. That was the last time I took that particular shortcut, because I'd seen the Wizard of Oz and I knew that poppies were magic and could make you fall asleep right there and then and never wake up again.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Cambridge, Chile, Cheese Straws- 'C's for Cunday

Just back from Cambridge and a guest spot with Martin Stephenson at the Barfly there (Treacle, I'm sorry I didn't tell you- I had no idea it was so close to Norwich).
t was a lovely gig- the soundman was really friendly, so was the promoter, and the barman, who was from Chile, really liked my songs, he told me afterwards, so tenoutoften, barman from Chile.
I loved playing, and it was the best Stephenson gig I've seen, practically, with lots of shocking between-songs patter that alarmed an older Christian fan, who checked with me to make sure there was no swearing on the CD before he bought one! The sound was excellent and the versions of the songs Martin played were ace- Blackeyed Rose, Rain, Lila Tree, Home, just loads of 'em with real sparkling guitar playing. Brilliant. Stephen Foster-Pilkington was there with his partner, who is an opera singer, and assorted ex-Daintees fans with their offspring, a new generation of fans.
Tomorrow, I'm back in the studio, more vocals to finish off, the CD is very nearly completed and ready to mix.
When I got back, someone had eaten 50% of the cheese straws, dang it!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Rine in Spine and other ephemera

I got a call from Jane yesterday (Morvern Callar) who has joined Shimmy Rivers and Canal as a harmonium player- what a coincidence! I think it's a great idea; the band is part of the huge amorphous Utrophia Collective who are complete creative catalysts. Good for all involved, I reckon- watch this space, I predict big things!
I missed Diana's birthday at Songbird yesterday, as I was at the Kalamazoo club playing a little set; off to Cambridge in a mo to do the same again, with the trusty iPod set to shuffle and displaying to me just what rotten taste in music I have, wahey! Rotten but great in its cheesiness and fun! I borrowed the CD of The Sound of Music from the library, and that's going on it, along with My Fair Lady, Professor Higgins, the Rine in Spine, showtunes galore.
Not sure about Chicago, though, and definitely not Stephen Sondheim, pretentious melodysmith that he is, one stage worse than Andrew Lloyd Webber.
I used to think you pronounced Lloyd 'Loyloyd'
Silly old me.
Ah, Brother Tobias, thank you for the cheese straws!
Who invented such luscious things!
Jack Straw?

More ephemera?
Ribbons.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Danger with a 'Q'

I've just trodden barefoot on a letter 'Q' from Scrabble. Agony. I have done five and a half hours of housework and there's still more to do before a person comes round to look at the house. That's why I'm blogging. I am nearly faint with exhaustion!
It was amazing last night- I had a cold and I was feeling very blue and sloppy and I sloped off round to Tom's with my tail between my legs, not feeling like singing at all and knowing I had to re-do the vocals on at least two of my songs. I did three really good vocals, almost first- takes, and only didn't manage the fourth 'cos I had a fit of coughing that wouldn't go away, but I've worked out how to make that song sound good and it had seemed like an insoluble puzzle. A scrabble of gravel.
I feel so proud of this next album- probably people will think the songs are too peculiar, but they say exactly what I want them to say and they sound exactly the way I want them to sound- all the musicians I invited to play on it have played brilliantly well- Gina Birch, Paul Davey, Allan Bradbury, Martin Stephenson, Elle Osborne and Count Dubulah, and this time around I've done my own throwing-away of unsuitable tracks.
Maybe I should put them on an E.P. entitled 'Unsuitable Tracks'.

I had lunch with Dave Laing yesterday, who supervised my PHD with great patience and who wrote a very good book on punk called 'One Chord Wonders'. I tried to buy a copy from Amazon the other day but it's price second-hand (it's out of print) was £266! We always gossip academic gossip which is huge fun, and he always tells me lots of interesting stuff about music, as he's an expert on folk and also reggae. It was his birthday: he's a Capricorn, like me. So is Ari, and so were the people who did PR for The Chefs and Helen and the Horns, Smeg from King Kurt and........
David Bowie.
Hmmm. You can't win 'em all.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Ho Ho Ho Postmodernism

I've been writing a lecture on Postmodernism for the Audio students at the University of the West.
It's been fun.
I found a picture of The Simpsons draped over branches just like Dali's clocks, and also a man who draws pictures on the windscreens of dusty cars- really good copies of Mona Lisa and things.
I'm gonna show them the chewing gum painter's picture too.
Ephemera!
Also for a larf I am going to play them the 'Doh, a Deer' song from the Sound of Music, as an example of Modernism: form following function, ha ha! I was gonna try to write a Modernist jingle to do with the numbers up to eight, using the numbers as lyrics in the octave, when I realised that one had already been written by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
I'm also going to read them an Edith Sitwell poem. Many many moons ago (for verily I am ancient in years) I drew a picture for an exhibition about famous women eating breakfast. My drawing was of Edith Sitwell crunching her way through a canary, and it got mentioned on Women's Hour and Alannah Curry from the Thompson Twins got in touch, 'cos she's a real Sitwell fan She'd been getting people like Debbie Harry to rap Sitwell poems over backing tracks and she asked me to do one, but I can't rap for toffee. She did invite me to a fantastic party at her house in Wandsworth, a converted church, where people like the artist Duggie Fields hovered in the kitchen (hovered, not hoovered, silly). I had a pair of Harley Davidson tights, as I remember. Those were the stylish days; I sit here in my Tesco's bargain jumper looking like a drab anteater with a red dribbly nose and a January complexion daydreaming about warm sunshine and carefree days.
At least I have a few boxfuls of Christmas chocs to scoff, and Johny Brown's asked me on to his Resonance show on the 18th which is something good to look forward to. I'm also doing a little guest spot at the Kalamazoo this Friday, so all is not bleak.

Monday, January 07, 2008

A boring storylet- a bory?

Well, Scotland was a laugh- the first time for yonks that McMum and McDad have not been ill. They were very pleased to see me and McSis, who had knackered ourselves before we even got there by yakking the whole way on the train. We went out for lunch and successfully (we thought) bought McMum and McDad a new TV that they would not be able to not use. We'd lost count of the times we'd set up their video player, only to find that as soon as we walked out of the door, they'd unset it up somehow, no matter how foolproof we thought we'd been.
'Ha ha', we laughed as we strolled down the road to buy fudge.
'They can't go wrong with this one'
It has a DVD player actually at the side of the screen- nothing to unplug, nothing to lose, no wires to get tangled up, no swopping of settings at the back of the TV.
When we got back in, however, McMum looked apologetic.'Your father seems to have lost all the channel settings',she said.
After a lot of switching, phoning, reading of manuals, moving of ornaments, and trying not to swear, I discovered that it was actually a faulty piece of equipment- the one thing we hadn't thought of!
Never mind- a new one's being delivered on Thursday.
On the way home we ate huge quantities of wine gums and talked ourselves stupid again. I am in a good mood, and going to re-record some vocals again tonight. The last lot I did sounded too cold, and I think I need to be in this sort of mood to sing, really.
I've had a lot of gigs re-scheduled, so I hope I don't pine away. Lots of recording in the offing though, and that should make up for it.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Scotland here I come!!!

I'd marked 14 thousand-word essays before my hands told me that they were not made for marking, but for playing guitar. They had been very patient, they said, but enough was enough, and essaytime was up.

Now- can anyone recommend a free venue for the benefit gig for the Feminist Library on the 26th of January? Drunk Granny from Cardiff will be playing, and also the great Me (see how my confidence has improved over the Christmas period!!) and lots of other bands, and it is for a very good cause.

I'm going to Scotland tomorrow to visit McMum and McDad with McSis. We are all very excited because we haven't seen each other for a while. Watch out Edinburgh the Mccookerybooks are coming with their loud laughs like horses and their red lipstick shining through the January fog like cheerful beacons! Ha ha!

All the better to be leaving the other fourteen essays behind in London, festering with their typefaces and words and carbon paper.
Duty be damned!
Scotland here I come!!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year Wishes

Last year, I wished to go and play gigs in New York, Paris and Berlin (and perhaps Tokyo too).
The gig-fairy sent me to North Carolina, Georgia, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
This year, I wish to go to Scandinavia.
Whatchathinkathat, gig-fairy?

Again

Yes, I know I have already told that story; very perceptive of you to notice.
I found a spare Christmas Assortment CD in my work bag and will send it to the first person to tell me the date that I wrote that story.
Bored?
There's a challenge for you!

Wedding

Just read Joby's e-blog; I'd written to complain that none of the non-pc insults he bandied about in an earlier missive applied to me; the trouble is that Joby is one of my oldest friends (most of them are about 4) and in spite of his stance as the biggest everything-ist in the entire Universe, I know he is a diamond geezer, 'cos way back there in the dirty punk days he gave me more respect and courtesy than anyone else of his gender.
I was glad to be asked to be the Best Woman at his wedding, even though it didn't end happily ever after. He said in his e-blog that Vogue mag said I was the first lady best man that Chelsea Register Office had ever had.
My abiding memory is of his ex-wife's mother (his ex-mother-in-law), who was furious that Joby hadn't asked her son to be the best man, commanding me to dry the dishes. I spent about 45 minutes drying a spoon, while she yakked away drunkenly at full volume, not noticing that she was washing the paper plates and stacking them in a soggy pile on the draining board. The kitchen filled with a happy audience, waiting for either the moment when she noticed what she was doing, or I plucked up the courage to tell her, or (since I was obviously petrified of her, being a complete meep at the time) I gave in a dried the floppy paper plates.
I can't remember what happened.