Thursday, December 29, 2005

It's a headache, not a hangover

Shouts for Uncle Andy- that bugle solo in 'Three Little Fishies' on the fake bugle from a stall in Portobello Market has got to be the baddest thing I've heard all year. Big up the Charlton Brass Band (Uncle Andy). Best excuse for non-attendance? Second cousin once removed's family- car got written off by a tractor. Comiserations (how you spell?) and glad you are OK, Netty.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Track listing- Helen and the Horns etc

Here's a tracklisting, by popular request. Sorry, I can't remember the exact order, I'm in the library and want to do this before Christmas- I'll correct it afterwards:
1. 24 Hours- The Chefs
2. Femme Fatale- Skat
3. Freight Train- Helen McCookerybook, The Horns, Lester Square and Mike Slocombe
4. Hell Hath No Horns CD:
Lonesome Country Boy
My Black Rose
Northbound Train
Oh Boy
(why can't I remember what the other track is?)
Two Strings to Your Bow
Freight Train
Pioneer Town
Southern Belle

Leavin' You Baby- Helen McCookerybook and Plato Page
Truckdrivin' Girl- Helen McCookerybook and Plato Page
Riding High- Helen McCookerybook and Plato Page

Demo: Monday's Mood
Demo: I'm in Love for the First Time, with Paul Davey on sax
Demo: Temptation

Shelf Lives (film soundtrack)
Blue's Song

From Voxpop Puella song cycle:
Hermit Crab
The Past is Just a Dream

There are 24 tracks altogether, with sleevenotes by Lucy O'Brien.
You can hear new tracks on
Sorry I can't do a proper link- have left my handy html hints at home!

Thank you for your feedback, it's very encouraging to know that people actually look at this from time to time!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Merry Christmas!

The Offline party was brilliant on Friday, especially the Actionettes who were completely fantastic!
The launch of the Songbird club was great too- lots of people came, and it all went swimmingly well. Thank you to everyone who played or spoke, and to Allan, who played cello beautifully.
Computer's broken, so taking a rest from blogging for a few days (how will I manage without my electronic mirror?). This blog has reintroduced me to some lost friends, who are now found again.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Peace on Earth, don't forget the people in Pakistan, who need all the spare money you can give them.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Hello if you're visiting from Urban75!

Looking forward to Mike's party on Friday- I'm playing with just one Horn, sadly- although if you play trumpet or trombone, drop me a line- the parts are written out- let's go for it! (you do have to be a good reader). I'm REALLY looking forward to it, Offline is a great laugh and has got to be the friendliest night in town!
Then Saturday, at Songbird...
Then on 28th, if you are my relative, at my house- musical birthday party. I'm going to be a million, this year, and the theme is hillbillies and cowpokes. I will have woollen plaits (blonde, of course (well, yellow) and am planning to make a dress out of material with glamourous cowgirls printed on it although this may Fail. I make clothes by putting the material on the floor and drawing round myself with a black felt pen and then cutting out the material and sewing it up by hand. I used to use a sewing machine but one day I went out of the room to make a cup of tea and the sewing machine started sewing all by itself. I was so frightened it was difficult to go back in, and I haven't liked the sewing machine ever since. My little brother may well play the teapot; I hope for this at all times, but especially on my birthday. I plan to dance all the troubles of the year away to make way for next years troubles, which should arrive around January 1st as usual.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Saturday, December 10, 2005

How to make a Funny Little Chap in 10 Easy Steps

1. Get some pipe-cleaners or other thin wire and make arms, legs and body with a bit poking up for the head.
2. Get some Fimo or Das and make hands and feet and a head
3. Stick the hands and feet and head on the body
4. Get some pins and some wool, and knit mini-socks and a mini-jumper using the pins as knitting needles
5. Get some denim and make mini-jeans
6. Gst some cotton wool and make a padded body
7. Paint features on the face and fingernails on the hands
9. Dress the Funny Little Chap
10. Finish with a shirt-collar made with a bit of ribbon

Give the Funny Little Chap as a present- stand back and watch the reaction!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Songbird Club Flyer

Beautiful bass came back

This is a true story. I had saved for weeks to buy a Hofner semi-acoustic bass someone told me about, from a shop in Worthing. I bought it, and it sounded beautiful, a real 'sir' with a tone like the bass strings of a piano. Unfortunately for live gigs I had to stuff it with cotton wool because it fed back dreadfully.
That summer, The Chefs played at an all-day festival at the University of Sussex. It really over-ran- a band called Gong would not get off the stage and our guitarist Carl got up on stage and started getting really annoyed. I leaned the bass on his Mini and rushed up to calm the storm. When I got back, my beautiful bass had vanished. Some students had seen it happen and had taken down the registration number of the car it had gone off in.
It was awful- I had to borrow bass guitars off people who very kindly lent them, for gigs. I couldn't afford another one and it hadn't been insured (couldn't afford that either). One guy phoned the shop I was working in and said the police had been on to him as he had a very similar guitar, and could I stop them from harassing him. I was in the pub ith Dougie one evening and he said he knew who had it, and I could get it back if I kept the police out of it. He told me some Hells Angels had been at the gig and stolen my guitar, and he told me which pub they drank at. I asked him to tell them that it was really mean to steal from me, as I had no money to replace the guitar, and they couldn't sell it anyway, as there were so few of them around that everyone would know it was mine. Each evening, I went and stood outside their pub, but they were big and scary and I was small and scared.
Then one day, I was sitting waiting to do a gig with a borrowed bass, and my brother walked into the pub with... my beautiful bass guitar! I had thought I would never see it again and it was really weird to hold it in my hands once more.
He had been on his way back home to get changed for our gig, and had seen a woman walking into the police station with it under her arm. 'That's my sister's bass!'
She had been sunbathing in the park and had found it under a bush. He persuaded her not to hand it in, because the police would have hung on to it and I wouldn't have been able to play it that night. So it came back- via my brother. The Hells Angels must have realised that they couldn't sell it, and just dumped it.
Quite soon afterwards, I did manage to buy another one- a horrid violin bass which (sorry Paul McCartney) looked a bit like a giant wooden spoon when I played it. My beautiful Hofner spent a lot of time tucked up next to me in bed after that, but now it lives on the wall where I can keep an eye on it.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Tea and Donkeys

Played at Barnet Church and The Bull on Sunday, with Paul Davey who used to play sax in Helen and the Horns. There were people drinking tea and eating biscuits inside the Church and donkeys outside it. Some indie kids came in and sat down but went out again pretty quickly. Could have done with some black hair amongst the grey.... had to almost scream out the songs but it was fun. Then over the road to sing at the Bull, after a dance group or two- the microphone was a complete luxury. I wish Barnet had more 'things' like this- I might start up a songwriters night at the Bull next year.
Next gig is Helen and (some of) the Horns at Jamm in Brixton (the Offline party) and then.. Songbird! It's a new regular night of song and poetry at the Harrison Bar in King's Cross. Playing at Songbird with Allan Bradbury on cello, who plays for the Irrepressibles most of the time.