Sunday, September 16, 2018

At The Alhambra

Recording at Tom's, 2007

Bitter Springs at the Water Rats

Great evening. I was very sorry to miss The Oldfield Youth Club, but enjoyed Idiot Son a lot (really good songs, and a trumpet melts my heart every time I hear one).
Bitter Springs were completely on form and played some songs from their new (tenth) album to a rapturous reception from the audience.
Vic tells me his new album is coming out soon, too.
Cheered up both me and Champagne Friend. We both needed it.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Punk Women Party

This photo was on an old hard drive, and was taken in 2007 at the launch party for The Lost Women of Rock Music. There must have been more photographs: I wonder who took them?

Lucy O'Brien, Jennie Bellestar, Rhoda Dakar, Caroline Coon, me.

Women of the World

Yes, that is us.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


I have thousands of lyrics... no, that doesn't sound quite right.
How do you quantify lyrics?
Herds? Heards? Flocks? Shocks? Bushels? Buckets? Reams? Streams?
Half of them are funny, comedic lyrics and the others are about narcissists and psychopaths.
I don't want to write funny songs at the moment but nor to I want to write songs about narcissists and psychopaths, not even to unblock the things I do want to sing about.
So I am waiting.
Meanwhile if anyone wants any of my spare words, I am selling them at a fiver a ton.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Posting Catch-Up

This is Gina Birch, with her painting of the Pussy Riot gang; this is on exhibition in Tufnell Park at the moment ,alongside another of her large canvases. She is just about to start at art college, so there will be many more of these strong and powerful paintings to come. Oddly, even in forward thinking north London, this painting provoked some outraged comments at the private view!

What's Next: Ullapool

What Was: Bom Banes

I am now totally in love with Bom-Banes.
The rail replacement bus service does its best to ruin trips to Brighton at weekends, but after a calming plate of root vegetable curry and a lovely chat with Jane about music, art and our Offsprogs, everything felt okay and I went for a walk along the pebbles and gazed at the pale green sea, which for some reason last night was the colour of an Alpine stream.
A cormorant flew along the sunset skyline, the first one I've ever seen in Brighton.

People eat upstairs before climbing down the spiral staircase into a bijou room with a teensy bar at the end and car seats masquerading as sofas. It felt like playing at a house concert, but with a bit more fizzy excitement about it.
It takes quiet genius to think through a venue like this, to guide people gently downstairs after their dinner and get them seated on chairs with multi-coloured cushions, and to make everyone feel so effortlessly relaxed, including the person playing. Actually, I can't put into words how it felt last night. I really, really appreciated seeing friends from when we were nineteen, twenty; and also a couple of people who I had been worried about but who are OK, and that is such a relief. There were a lot of really good singers in the audience, some of whom like Pete and Lisa perform there too (and Jane and Eliza, of course).

The rail replacement bus on the way back was a red double decker that roared along the A23 at a terrifying speed, rocking from side to side alarmingly: but I was somewhere else in my head, with an unaccountable lump in my throat.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Friday, September 07, 2018

Billy Childish at Koko

Ian Damaged must be very proud: Koko was sold out last night and packed with pop stars old and new. I met up with Shanne and unfortunately we didn't see much of the first band but we did catch Johnny Moped's high-powered set. Funny, because punks looked so different from everyone else back in the day that when they get older they look just as normal (or abnormal) as ever.
Johnny's band were mega-energetic and whipped the crowd up into a party mood.
Next, Nurse Julie strode on to the stage and strapped on a big, bad, red Gretsch bass; the drummer settled himself at the kit and Billy appeared in his First Word War finery, enormous moustache trembling in the heat radiated from the massed crowds, many bussed in from Chatham to watch their Kentish comrade strut his stuff. They weren't disappointed and roared for an encore, which featured more false starts for a song that I've ever seen in my life. This was a really great gig for Billy, and of course for Damaged Goods: selling out Koko is a great endorsement for a little record label that has weathered all sorts of storms and still managed to survive.

Billy is a scorching guitar player. Years ago he came in to speak to the students at the University of the West and declared, 'I'm going to show you how to play guitar really badly, really well', which he then proceeded to do. I think some of the students had thought they were the clever ones before that; some of them didn't understand what he was about, but the rest of them were mesmerised for the rest of the session.
Last night however, there was no playing badly really well; there was only playing extremely well and it was extremely inspiring to see and hear a guitar being thrashed in such a spirited way.
So who was there? Gaye Black, Dec Hickey who ran a record label at the University of the West, Kevin Younger, Zoe Howe (somewhere in the crowd!), numerous musos from the past and present, and Robert from King Kurt who told me that they have re-formed and have been playing all round Europe. You could have knocked me down with a feather; it was nice to see him again after all these years and we had a good yak.
Today, the world is back to normal, or rock'n'roll normal anyway. Gina and me are going to meet Doc'n'Roll to discuss screening Stories from the She-Punks in November. Fingers crossed....

Thursday, September 06, 2018


Somehow at this point in life I seem to have become like a tree with lots of branches. On every branch a bird sits, just like in winter when the leaves have fallen and the trees look as though they are bearing bird-fruit. Sometimes the birds feel heavy, but simultaneously I like them, because each one is an idea that has finally come to fruition.

I think it's happened because I broke my elbow. It was so horrible sitting at home for two months, not able to do anything except watch the bruises change colour.
Going to work was a humungous effort, and simple things like washing my hair or putting on a pair of socks took an hour. I wore the same jumper for ten days because it was the only thing that I could put on with one hand and that would go over the bandages.
If I took the painkillers that I was prescribed, I was away with the fairies, and if I didn't I was awake all night in agony.
For three or four days I had to prop my arm up in the air because it my hand swelled up like a shiny purple boxing glove.
Ugh, sorry.
The silliest thing was getting a knife stuck in an onion.
You need two hands to get a knife out of an onion, I've discovered.
I tried wedging it in the cooker and yanking it but it was completely stuck.
Eventually, by flicking the knife sharply (sorry) in mid-air, the onion loosened enough for me to drag it along the side of the chopping board and dislodge it.

So all that frustration and fury came out in deciding to f*cking do stuff because not being physically or mentally able to do anything is absolute sh*t!