Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Happy End: Singing Of The Socialist Motherland

Sarah Jane Morris in great voice, with a fantastic arrangement by the late Mat Fox. Boy, did I used to love this band! Mixture of skills, genders, ages and all that stuff; they were spectacular, completely spectacular! #my-past-belongs-to-me

The Hope and Anchor Last Night

The Loud Women organisation has a radio show, an e-zine and a thread of gigs throughout London that showcase female and female-fronted music. This was the first of their shows I had played (and I hope not the last); the variety was absolutely amazing.
The night kicked off with Carolyn Striho from Detroit; she had played keyboards for The Slits in the US and also sung with Patti Smith. Accompanied by her husband on guitar, she gave it all she got and roused the crowd into a proper Saturday night mood. Carolyn herself plays guitar and keyboards and has a big, big voice that filled the Hope and Anchor with positive energy.
Anna, the promoter, who fronts her own metal band, introduced the bands.
When I went on the crowd were incredibly positive and even the woman behind the bar sang along to The Sea. They seemed to really connect with my songs and despite having a crappy cold it felt really good to sing and play to such a greta bunch of people.
Concrete Bones were on next and it was heartwarming to see Maya singing in front of her band. I met Maya when she came to a song writing weekend at The Premises a few years ago and she has a gorgeous voice; now fronting this band, she looks perfectly at ease. Flanked by two women guitarists and with an excellent drummer too, there is no need for a bass player in this band. The last song, Concrete Bones, was really strong and I am looking forward to hearing their forthcoming EP.
Finally, Tokyo Taboo took to the stage; they are loud, extrovert and their singer Dolly Daggerz swished through the crowd and sang a song from a perch on the bar, never missing a note. Again, she has a big, big voice and is backed by a very well-rehearsed band of musicians; this seemed like a band ready to be signed and on the brink of success.
The atmosphere of the whole night was brilliant- the audience was completely up for everything and it reminded me a bit of those 1980s gigs in Scotland where people went for a good night out and made bloody sure they got one. The sound in the Hope and Anchor is crystal clear and the sound guy did a really good job.
And now, relax....


Bloke bought a CD, then won one in the raffle, which he gave to his friend.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Sing Along To This Tonight!

As played by Gideon Coe, one of our fundraising tracks for Stories from the She-Punks.

Choir: Stephen, Katy, Eva, Guy, Shanne, Terry, Karina, Karen, Denise, Jono (out of shot) and by email, the she-mails: Sot, Anne, Gina and Kirsten.
Drums: Zoe Street Howe, Bass: Jono Bell, Guitar and Vox: Helen McCookerybook, Trumpet: Andy Diagram, Recorded by Jono Bell, Mixed by Ruth Tidmarsh.

Playing at Hope and Anchor Tonight with Concrete Bones and Tokyo Taboo

I'm on first- 8.30. Really looking forward to hearing the other bands!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Merci Beaucoup Monsieur Coe!

Finishing Writing

The end is in sight for the book on women producers and engineers- I think the first draft of it will be finished next week. All day yesterday I was writing, from 7.30 a.m. onwards with the occasional break so Offsprog One could scan and finish her next issue of Hidden Eggs. It helped to have someone else grafting downstairs while I was grafting upstairs.
It's quite possible that the documentary will be finished next week too.
How strange it will be- a book in the pipeline for eight years, and a film for three... life might become normal again, and I might be able to concentrate a bit more on music.
Going away to the conference was a big boost. Where else than Porto could you chat to someone like Christine Feldman-Barrett, who travels from Australia? Or Mary Fogarty, who used to teach dance at the University of the East, and who now lives in Canada?
I feel a bit like a fish swimming through a sea of life, just exploring different things and trying to adapt to everything as it changes. There is not a big plan, just a big sea. I have not been very good at swimming away from dangerous creatures in the past, but maybe that is something I'll get better at; it has always seemed better to swim towards new experiences, rather than away from bad ones.
Enough metaphors!
Why aren't there any crisps in the house when you want them?

Monday, July 09, 2018

Rendezvous D'Automne On Gideon Coe

Thank you Gideon, and for mentioning Saturday's gig at the Hope and Anchor too, and Vic's gig in Somers Town in the avo, which I will be going to!


A fly got on the plane at Porto and was still merrily buzzing around when we got to Stansted.
The fly could fly off the plane, but we couldn't; there was nobody at the gate to let us in, and the crew didn't have permission to land, so we waited on the plane for half an hour and some people got cross until the captain put the air conditioning back on.
Thirty one degrees?
The missing gate person was at home sunbathing, innit!

KISMIF: More Photos From Porto

 Panel with Gina Birch and Ana Da Silva; Panel with Lucy O'Brien and Gina Arnold; panel with John Robb and Jordan; The University building, Porto; and watching the Brazil/Belgium match. We watched the England/Sweden match out there later in the week and were charmed by a Portugese lady sitting in front who cheered alongside us.
KISMIF was a vibrant and exciting conference; congratulations to Paula Guerra and Andy Bennett for organising it!
Extra bonus, hanging out with Sara Cohen yesterday and going to the exhibition of Frida Kahlo's photo collection in the old prison building.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Posting from Porto

Second day in Porto, and the KISMIF conference is still in full swing. Yesterday saw a panel with Ana Da Silva and Gina Birch being interviewed, lots of interesting conversations with interesting people about their research, and a stormin' Raincoats gig, supplemented by the brilliant Anne Wood on fiddle, guitar and vocals, with crystal clear sound in front of a floor-to-ceiling plate glass window through which the sun gradually began to set during their show over one of the most attractive areas of Porto. They gave it all they got: The Feminist Song was immensely powerful and they finished with Lola, and got a standing ovation.
There is something about this conference's truthfulness that has been really empowering. Lucy O'Brien's keynote speech this morning was Lucy plus. She has always done the research and had the ability to speak, but this was Lucy as an orator; she spoke from the heart, to our hearts.
We have had a presentation from Sam Bennett about her book on Siouxsie and the Banshees' Peepshow album, talks on archiving from Andy Linehan from The British library, and so much more. I will write more, but have just walked about four miles down into the Old Town and back.
More tomoz.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

I Wish You Were Still Around, Dad

The disappointing daughter who took off with punk bands for seven years and more, and never could fit in with anything.
I hope I have made you proud, Dad.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018


I am in bed in hotel in Porto eating walnuts and fresh cherries.
I know that sounds like the heart of luxury and it sort of is- except what seemed to be London-induced heatwave hayfever is be turning into a full blown cold, complete with snowdrifts of tissues and a heartily painful cough.
It's much cooler and fresher in Porto than it is in London which makes it more bearable, and so does simply being somewhere else.

Tomorrow at the KISMIF conference, I'm doing a talk on the influence fo reggae music on women punk bands, and Gina and Ana from The Raincoats will be taking part in a panel later on in the morning. There will be a Raincoats gig in the evening, which I will faithfully report on.

This is an incredibly busy conference; Lucy O'Brien is also talking, and John Robb, and Andy Linehan from The British Library. Paula Woolf was on the plane over, and it was great to catch up with her in the relative calm before the influx of academics from all over the world; there will be people from New Zealand and Australia as well as all over Europe and the USA, all talking about music scenes, dance cultures, comic books, punk and DIY cultures.

I lost one of my favourite earrings in the Hotel Da Musica here in 2015. Do you think it's still there in their Lost Property Box?

Monday, July 02, 2018

Perhaps an Addition to the Playlist for Wednesday, because...

... this is the music we grew up with, us 1960s and 1970s girls.

Sunday Night

Sunday night was the launch of Drew Morrison and the Darkwood's new album, Electric-Notes Wild. A whole bunch of us were invited to play on the same bill.
It was a night of music to remember- and full of quirks, to boot.
A bird had crapped on Robert's shirt so he went to Muji to buy another one on the way to the gig, but they hadn't removed the security tag, so he did the entire gig with the tag still on his collar.
And the pedal steel player from the Tennessee Rhythm Riders took a call on his mobile in a gap between songs, much to the band's consternation. 'Love you', he said at the and of the call. Then he held the phone up and the entire audience yelled 'GOODNIGHT!' at the tops of our voices.
It was a night of listening to really good song writing and great singing- the girls done good, with Sarah Vista, Emma Scarr, Collette Winter and Lynette Morgan all singing their hearts out; it was brilliant to see women represented playing guitars and fiddle, and there was generally great showpersonship all night.
The Darkwoods album songs sounded brilliant played live. I took photos but I've posted videos so you can hear the music and get more of a feel of what it felt like to be there.
Great to see Peter Tainsh and the trusty camera (there will be great photos), to meet and talk to the other musicians, and to see Jim Morrison and his partner Anne again. He plays fiddle for the Tennessee Rhythm Riders and was the only one not wearing a mega-hyper-cowboy shirt, which led to a few quips from the band. And great to play, as well: looking forward to playing at Sarah's club later in the year.
Thank you for inviting me along Drew: what an atmosphere!
In the tube station at Leicester Square, an opera singer was singing My Way at the top of his voice. Lots of people had stopped to hear him.
That's the musician's mantra, isn't it? I felt rather emotional.

Mandolin Jack

then me

then Ian Button (Solo)

then Robert Rotifer (singing auf Englisch, though)

then The Devout Sceptics

then Sarah Vista and Jeff Mead

then Black Scarr

then Drew Morrison and the Darkwood (and this is their entire album set from last night)

then The Tennessee Rhythm Riders

Saturday Night

Saturday night was The Premises studio party- absolutely packed for Viv's birthday celebration.
I had to share this- Urban Flames, who have now as a choir doubled in size. They exuded bonhomie from the stage, and the solo singing was absolutely superb. They played this song twice- once in the set and once as an encore. They also sang some of their own compositions. What an absolute treat!
Jeremy was there, who used to play bass in a band I had back in the day, with Dubulah and John Parratt, the drummer. It was good to see the crew who work on the song writing projects again. Apparently Shola's song lyrics from The Fog are actually part of the walls: a very thin piece of paper was needed to pad out a particular part of the rebuild, and her words did the trick; there is something sweet about that.
Carleen Anderson made a special appearance; she would give Minnie Riperton a run for her money with her effortless singing somewhere up there in the sky where most mortals can't reach; later, she led us all in a rendition of Happy Birthday To You for Viv, closely followed by Happy Birthday To You, with Urban Flames singing on stage alongside her.
London is just brimming with great music at the moment. More to come!

Friday Night

Friday night was Scaledown night; it was a sultry evening but me and Champagne Friend found seats and we thoroughly enjoyed the happy vibe and the music- especially the first band, Captain Lovelace, whose delicate songs floated gently on the breeze that passed through the open windows, which added a backdrop of amiable conversation from the street, and the occasional traffic sound. Scaledown is one of Londons' hidden treasures noted particularly for its friendliness, which sustained me a lot during tough times a couple of years ago.
And Mark and Shaun are always on good form, ably supported by Jude.
They could actually be an act in themselves, but don't tell them that or they'll get big-headed!