Thursday, June 23, 2022

Fleeting Memories Of Amsterdam

So many people- a river of them flowing down Damrak, night and day. A river of chatter in the daytime, a river of shouting at night. I walked for miles; I sat beside canals and watched: the barber shop on a boat, full of black t-shirted men with sculpted (or ready-to-be sculpted) hair; the two young women in hijabs riding identical Vespas side by side, chatting; the coots nesting comfortably in an abandoned boat. I wandered into shops and marvelled at the luridly-coloured 'clog' slippers made of nylon plush, all sizes available, and the woman with a traditional Dutch bonnet who refused to be  photographed and coughed Covidly. I went on a canal trip and saw the stray cats' sanctuary on a boat, and the self-seeded hollyhocks sprouting magnificently from the quayside. I found a good cafĂ© and sat there, watching the world go by, and I waited for a while next to some street people who were sharing touching stories about their families. The bicycles  streamed off the ferries: ting-a-ling! Get out of the way!

Grim men did deals in clusters on the street, their mobile phones clamped to their heads. In the red light district, there is a 24 hour service. The prostitutes, tall, fierce and wary, reassembled their fishnet clothing after a punter's appointment as their eyes darted around looking for more custom. Oh, how terribly depressing it was to see them in the mornings. What an exhausting and mindless occupation. Small groups of men shambled through the streets purposefully, peering into the shop windows at the 'goods'. This was a sobering reminder of the true hierarchy that exists in the not-modern world.

I lay in the tiny hotel room at night listening to the shouting in the alley below, and inhaling the cannabis fumes that percolated through the windows. I met my cousin, who I haven't seen since McMum's funeral, and of course I interviewed punk women at OCCI: but more of that later.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Rehearsing McCookerybook and Rotifer Songs

Today Ruth came round and after a quick lunch we ran through the songs for a week on Saturday in Whitstable, and a week on Sunday at The Country Soul Sessions. She had really done her homework and it was really nice to sit in the kitchen and play at low volume, fuelled by coffee and blueberries, for the whole afternoon. Ruth is replacing Jonathan in the McCookerybook and Rotifer band, and we have a full rehearsal next week. If you'd like to come to the Sunday gig (Drew Morrison and the Darkwood and Paul Handyside are also playing), here's the ticket link:

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Painting a Delft Tile in Delft

Imagine! McDad used to collect these tiles and I have a small collection myself. I went to the Royal Delft Factory to look round (it was fascinating) and managed to enrol on a painting session. We sat on long tables, and some people had charcoal templates of traditional designs. I chose to paint the woman downstairs who was painting a vase. I had taken a photo of her with her permission. We had two different brushes for the two different techniques, and ceramic plates with cobalt oxide to paint with. This will turn blue when the tile is fired. Let's hope it survives the journey back to London when they post it to me! I''m intrigued to see how it turns out. I have been longing to do this for years!

Photos from Women in Dutch Punk Conference


Saturday, June 18, 2022

Women in Punk Conference, Amsterdam

Join us this afternoon at OCCII Amsterdam, where I’ll be showing the She Punks film early on, and you’ll be able to hear from four generations of women punk band members before their gig tonight at the same venue.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Recurring Dream

Last night I had a recurring dream, in which I was trying to solve the same problem that I was attempting to sort out the last time the dream crept into my head. I was in our old house, big and magnificent (from the outside).

There was a corner of the house that was collapsing, though. It was upstairs under the eaves. You couldn't see it from the outside and sometimes even from the inside. I'd been trying to work out what to do for years, but I couldn't. I asked builders and estate agents for help and nobody else could fix it either.

I know now that I'll never be able to fix it, and I never could.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Women in Dutch Punk, Saturday

I'm heading to Amsterdam this coming weekend to chair a panel at the Women in Dutch Punk conference, where I will also be showing Stories from the She Punks. To replace the Oh Bondage! Up Yours intro and outro, Gina and me started jamming some chords. I think we'd intended to record it 'properly' but because Lindy Morrison was in town, I spliced together some sections that fitted together and she drummed over that; this is the first outing for the film with this temporary bit of music.

More information here:

Friday, June 10, 2022

It's A Hard Truth

Sarah Corina was bass player with The Bomb Party and The Mekons. She has recorded The Monochrome Set and lots of other people, and works as a producer, so it was great when she sent me a backing track to write a topline and lyrics to, especially since I've been so immersed in making my own 'sound'. It was good to take a break from that and do something entirely different. Sarah's done a few mixes of the song, and this is my favourite one:

Monday, June 06, 2022


Sunday Drawing Club is a great prescription for too much anything. After disappearing down the computer rabbithole yesterday, the gentle banter and the show-and-tell nature of it all was a wonderfully calming way to spend the evening and escape from the endless Jubilee TV. There was a street party here and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun; in between editing I took a cup of tea and perambled a couple of times. It did seem rather odd that people were being sent away for not living in the street. That didn't seem quite in the spirit of things, so I retreated back home. Large-scale images of Prince Andrew and Prince Charles project themselves across my internal screen too regularly. The millions of pounds paid to get Andrew off the hook came from our taxes. And of course, the food banks. Just think how much we could have provided for our poorer people if that money had been spent on them instead. Ever been swindled?

So where were we? All nice and calm after drawing club. Darren Hayman was drawing a cover for a forthcoming live album: strong lines picked out the dramatic architecture of the church, under the ceiling of which nestled him and his band. Darren Riley's drawings romped colourfully through heroes of 1960s and 1970s popular culture. Duncan drew a still life of a glass on the table which reflected the evening light beautifully, and Sarah drew a hundred-days mini comic of their motivation for banging nails into the new fence: imagine Jacob Rees-Mogg's and Price Andrew's faces on the nail heads, and it increases their bashabilty exponentially.

I drew two drawings from the imagination, which I haven't done much of at Drawing Club. I am going to illustrate two books and being asked to do the second made me realise that I have to get my skates on and illustrate the first. It's a personal book that a mother reads to her children, and the first job was to create the character. I drew one that didn't look quite right, and started again. Here they are, a wingnut, otherwise know as a sycamore seed:

Sunday, June 05, 2022