Friday, April 28, 2006

The Slits, Electrowerkz

The support band were The Horrors. They were quite good really- loud guitar, loud vox organ, lots of good riffs. Only thing I didn't like was the vocalist's singing style. I couldn't work out if the sub-Manson flavour was because of sound problems (which he complained about a lot) or whether it was deliberate. Maybe I will never know.
It was a real rock venue- converted warehouse probably, with hideous shared toilets (the sort you can imagine at the beginning of the evening what they'll look like at the end of the evening, i.e. very wet) and enough UV lighting to give us all dandruff.

I don't think Ari was very impressed with the venue but she's a professional and once her sense of humour kicked in, she was off. The band were rockin' (punkin'? dreadin'?)- much tighter than at Selfridges, which is not surprising because they have played and rehearsed more- they are a proper band now, and this must be due to Ari and Tessa's attitude of including their new members properly, right from the start. Ari introduced the new guitarists with great good humour- Adele- 'very quiet but she's very dangerous'- Nadya- 'she's a serious bitch'- (she's going to be Doctor No soon).
By the time they got to New Town, you realised what a really great vocalist Ari is. She's not just a plain 'singer'- she does rhythm stuff with her voice too, but most importantly she does what she always used to do with the Slits- somehow she makes a whole atmosphere with the way she uses those vocal chords and it makes you want to just scream along!
She passed the mic round to the band one by one, getting them all to sing bits of their favourite songs- when she got to Tessa, Tessa just smiled beatifically. She just looked incredibly happy. The bass sound up front was really good and Tessa is a real groovemistress, a groovemistress extraordinaire. It made me want to start playing bass again but I know I couldn't get anywhere near it! Then Ari took the register of who was there, reading the names off the guest list ('plus one of course, Mark Moore's not here and he's going to get a whupping!').

Their new drummer, Anna, is lighting fast, one of those drummers that is fascinating to watch. She's really slender and has a very boyish haircut, and has a really clipped style of drumming but still manages to swing. Lucky the Slits have got her- I can imagine a lot of people trying to steal her but I can't imagine her wanting to do anything else.
Ari gave a camera to a 'plus-one' in the crowd, 'Get some good shots for Jamaica!'
The whole thing was really informal (apart from the music which was as cool as anything). Adele went to relieve herself halfway thru: ' One soldier missing in action!' and when she came back: 'Did you do a pee? You can do it on stage next time like I do!'
Shoplifting was fantastically aggressive, lost of screaming. And then I just stopped writing, and enjoyed the music!!!
What else do I remember this morning?
Some beautiful harmonies- yes, beautiful, the Slits! And inspiration- nobody else makes music like this, nobody ever has been as inventive as the Slits, and to see it live with all that energy and good feeling coming from the stage, is the BEST NIGHT OUT YOU CAN POSSIBLY HAVE!
I'm doing an interview with them tomorrow for Resonance FM- it will be broadcast later this month I hope, watch this space.
Also, apologies for any mis-spellings, I literally can not see them at all!!

Thursday, April 27, 2006


It's great that Utrophia chose London to put on the compilation. The first time I played it live was at a club called Slappers that I'd been told was a really good place to try out new material. I really liked the club, but I messed up the song twice before I managed to play it (altho' all the rest of the songs were fine). But the organiser phoned me afterwards and ranted on for about 10 minutes (it's true, it was a message on 121!), telling me off and saying I was unprofessional and his club only put on the best new talent, blah, blah, blah. So every time I listen to the track, I drink a toast to you now, Clifford!
Nothing like a bit of opposition to get the creative juices going.

Monday, April 24, 2006

International and Local

International- spoke to Vi Subversa from Poison Girls on the phone- I had to get permission to use her interview for my book. She lives in Andalucia and plays the blues. What a woman! She helped my very first band Joby and the Hooligans get off the ground. Whatever happened to our drummer, Dub Duncan? Or Ricky, the transvestite drummer? And she said yes, go ahead....
Local- I have asked the chewing-gum-painter to paint a picture on chewing gum for my album cover. He was really chuffed and said yes. So it won't be me snuggled up to a zebra in my zebra striped dress singing songs to it with my guitar, it will be something else instead, something Local, as it should be for a teensy mini-release of an insignificant CD by an artists of titchy stature. Anyway, wot could be more special than that? The CD will be called Suburban Pastoral, and there's a story behind that, which I will tell you if you are very very good indeed and let me get on with things for a while without asking me for a cup of tea.
Today I sat and wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote....
But I also wrote a song about Screaming. Funny, that. I wonder why?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Extra Sunday special, about the Slits

The Slits have a session on John Kennedy's show on XFM tomorrow night (Monday).
Show starts at 10 p.m. but I think the session's broadcast at 11. My friend Nadya, who is one of the guitarists, tells me Steve Beresford played on some of their stuff- not sure if it's that particular stuff though.
They are playing in Islington on Thursday and I will write a review of the gig on this blog afterwards.
Their site is

Utrophia CD Launch

I went to the launch of the third Utrophia Compilation last night- on an old minesweeper parked in Deptford. Squeezed through the railings, sneaked through the car park, got shouted at by a man with a red face. Saw Hamilton Yarns and Dan Geeson play acoustic sets, drank pink wine and ate chocolate cake, it was a lovely sunny evening on deck, saw a tiny wader bird with huge feet that made giant footprints, and taking 2 hours to get there on the glorious Northern Line didn't even make me stressed... Later went on to the Utrophia studios and yakked away to lots of friendly people, held a poor girl's head while she threw up, heard more music. The compilation's really good, there are about 32 tracks, and I have a track on it called 'London'. I thought they were going to use another one called 'The Word is Goodbye' that I'd been going to ask the Mad Professor to remix, but they didn't so I'll put that version on Myspace whether or not it gets remixed. All the bands and artists on the CDs have played the venues that Utrophia puts things on at, and they are all very unusual. It costs £7 and you can get it if you email

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Second posting od day by sad poster (poseur)

As Monty noticed a few postings ago, I become dyslexic when stressed. I may not have mentioned this but I'm writing a book, and it's causing me great stress indeed.
But I had to write this in my news book (yes, that's what blogs are, aren't they boys and girls?)
I just tried to pick up my yahoos and I typed in 'yapopo' instead.
What a fantastic word! Almost worth buying a dog, just so I can call it that!


Huh.. I've now recovered from the Mirror's horrid photo that did indeed fit in with their title, Pretty Ancient! Nice pic of Joby's bum, though, I thought!
I've just finished a draft of my book, the stressful creature, and already I have seen loads of things to change but I'm having a rest from it for a couple of hours. Tomorrow I have the task of transferring the whole lot on to a new computer that work has bought me.. please cross your fingers if you're reading this, my old computer has lost so much of it by pretending to save it and then not really doing it!! I've sent Ari her brilliant interview... was supposed to be meeting up but I was snoring, drinking and quadbiking in Scotland and now she's gone back to Jamaica... they have been doing some recording, and I can't wait to hear it- the new stuff they were rehearsing sounded fantastic.
Incidentally, I can't find Roots FM any more- have they gone off air? I don't think I can manage without them, the music is just so good and I've got used to the DJs....
Tonight I'm going to the studio to finish mixing the other track that BJ Cole played on. It also has Anja from the Irrepressibles playing accordion on it. The album is almost finished now, just got to go to Maidenhead to record under the Brunel bridge there (I want it's reverb), and put Melodica on a track, either that or trombone, try Melodica first, it's cheaper and I'm running out of budget! Ben Cummins from Utrophia has a track to do things with, it's written about his Properties of Chalk and Sun project so it seemed logical to ask for some musical input from him. It was a huge relief that he likes the track- imagine what it must be like to inspire a piece of music you hate!
I have a new pet dislike who has inherited James Blunt's creepcrown- that bloke in a Hawaaian shirt who does the endless song, Jack Johnson. Where do these people come from? Who buys their fiendish music? How dare they sing in my ears!!!

Now I am going to draw the next poster for Songbird in May.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Bookwriting Lark Not Funny

Oh it's hard doing this book! I spent two hours writing last night and then found that my dodgy computer hd only been prtending to save my stuff and hadn't really at all. So it took me another 3 hours to remember and re-write what I'd done in the first place. And today, I've just put back all the stuff I cut out a couple of weeks ago. O for a ghost-writer, or even a ghost to convince me it's all just a dream and I don't have to do it! So much more fun posting stuff on a blog!!!!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Spelling, guilt, writing on my hand

Yes, OK Monty, I mis-spelled a word in my previous posting and this is shameful for a Doctor!
My only excuse is posting from a hotel that was charging £3.25 for half an hour and then 25 p a minute after that! Talk about racing for time, I couldn't even see my fingers!

Had a great time in Scotland, although it's still winter there but that didn't stop me from quad-biking in a quarry which was MAD!!! I brought back some chilli sauce called sporran-splitter for Mike's birthday- which I guiltily missed again, and Offline too- how dare my inconsiderate family all have birthdays at this time of year? You'd think they'd share them out a bit, wouldn't you?

Oh yes, writing on my hand! I do this all the time and I can't stop. Once I was being greatly troubled by an annoying chap called Roger (fake name of course) who was really winding me up to the extent that I had to write his name in felt pen on the back of my hand to remind myself to do all the annoying things he had asked me to do. I woke up in the morning and went to brush my teeth in the bathroom- I looked in the mirror and what was written in huge letters on my neck? Roger!
I had slept on my hand and the felt pen had transferred itself in reverse on to my neck and reversed itself again in the mirror!
You'd think such horrors would stop the habit, but no. I'll have to go for anti-hand-writing counselling, just as soon as I have written it on my hand to remind myself to do it....

(Got a gig next Sunday at Red Hedgehog in Archway, but no details yet)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Try this at home

Here is a step-by-step guide to the Dashing White Sergeant, a Scottish dance best perforemed with lost of thundering, crashing and yelling, and that's just the little old ladies. Follow these instructions and you'll be able to join in straight away!
Crunch crunch crunch crunch crunch crunch crunch brake!
Back 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Pas-de-basque bounce bounce whizz your parter round
Pas-de-basque bounce bounce make a yelping sound
Figure 8 get lost crash into all dancers
Wait for the others to catch up sweaty handed partners
Burly fellows looking camp
Puffing panting marches
Stride stride stamp stamp stamp
Underneath the arches
Got it? Good. Now you can have a glass of single Malt or a gin and tonic for the ladies.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Songbird Last Night

It was packed again last night. Temperature were very good- I didn't like them much at first but by the end I was a real fan- all of it, weird vocals, drums, bass and everything. And Plantpot- reminded me of a Geordie song called 'Ma ma will you buy me a banana' which I will sing for anyone who buys me a Jim Beam (straight, no ice).
Natalya was really laughing because she's Russian and the doormen are too and they were shocked to hear her speaking Russian- she said they made her feel as though she should be offering them a bribe.
There was nobody picking their nose in the toilets this time.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Updating Myspace

I have put a new song called Gretna Green on while I mix the others- Ben from Utrophia has got a song called 'Properties of Chalk and Sun' (see to find out what it is about!) which he is going to play something on... it was time to take French Footsteps away and bury it again... the photo is from a graveyard near Gretna Green, at Sweetheart Abbey which Queen Dervorgilla built for her lover John Balliol out of pink stone that maidens rowed across the sea... when he died she set a place for him at the table every day, but gave his food to the poor.
Did you think I made that up?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Doctor Punk's Stethoscope

I had a call from the Daily Mirror, who are doing a 'Where are they now' feature on punks. I talked to them- Gina's in Sydney but I think she'll do it from there, Gaye Black's out of the country. A photographer was coming to where I work, which is on the same site as Northwick Park Hospital. I arranged to meet him in reception, but he wasn't there. He called to say he was in reception- at the hospital! Apparently he'd been told I was a doctor at the hospital and was expecting to photograph me in a white coat with a stethoscope!
Fact: the McCookerybook is a Doctor of Philosophy, not a medical one: I can solve all your philosophical problems with one simple consultation, which will cost you a mere thousand pounds an hour (roughly the same as a facelift, see postings passim)


A-ha! That got you!
This blog is supposed to be about music but it often isn't. So here is some stuff about music. Check out Messthetics Greatest Hits ( ) it's really good- it's a compilation of D.I.Y sounds from the late 1970s and early 1980s and it's good enough not to bother with i-pods, just stick it on and listen to it all the way through. The guy who released it, Chuck Warner, is going to do a ladies' version called Prams and I have sent him and exremely rare Chefs track to put on it when it comes out (he says soon). There's a Chefs track called 'Someone I Know' on one of his other CDs that Carl wrote and sings lead vocals on- it's very funny, about people in London all scrambling to know famous friends.
Andrew from Lonepilot said its OK to put people in touch with him about the live recording at the Macbeth in Hoxton- probably best by sending him an email through . His website is beautifully designed but he has some pics of me where I resemble Mrs Potato-head, so don't look. (I SAID DON'T LOOK!!)
Treacle's sent me a video of Heaven Avenue at the Carnaervon Castle but I haven't looked at it yet- I will today and maybe put it on Myspace if I can work out how to do it. Thank you Treacle, what a laugh, we both used to live in that mad house, and if there wasn't anyone to talk with about it, I'd think I'd imagined the whole thing!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Songbird, April, this Friday 7th

Songbird is at the Russian Club Bomonti, 340 Kingsland Road E8, this Friday.
Music, Poetry, Noise, Films and the best company ever (especially me!).
£6/£4 from 8 p.m. very late bar
(everything I do has the word 'song' in it at the moment- doing Song Club with the children this afternoon, working on our songs about football. Will be eating songfood, driving a songcar, wearing songclothes soon)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Studio Last Night

I'm gradually finishing off stuff for the album. I am pleased that I can now play stuff live without a click track and keep it in time, and although some of the singing and playing is less than perfect, the feel of the music is loads better. So I re-recorded Hymn to Kent which I wrote about a year and a half ago, and recorded a song called Little England, and a 30-second rockabilly song called Rock and Romance (They Don't Go Together)

Rock and romance they don't go together
The green eyed monster and the brown eyed man
Rock and romance, you'll never get to heaven
Cos if I can't get there, no-one can

I'll make a bet you won't find a partner
While you're playing around with that band
Any romance is just a non-starter
Till you leave your equipment in the van

Cheeky, huh?

On the way home in the car I started thinking about how much I love zebras. At first I thought it's just because they are black and white and striped, but then I realised how much I like their little silly brushy manes and their fat striped bums. They are really camp, actually. I imagine the boy ones would have speaking voices like Julian Clary and the girl ones would sound like Bonnie Langford and thcream and thcream until they were thick. Musically, they would be heavily into disco and electronica, Veronica.

Monday, April 03, 2006

More potatoes, and fireworks

In the mad house where Justin melted his boots, we had fantastic parties. One bonfire night we had a huge fire in the garden- people were tearing down the fence to put on the fire and swinging through the trees. My brother found a giant rocket and we all stood under a tree excitedly while he let it off- under the tree. It whooshed up, hit a branch, turned round and came back down again, very fast..... RUN!!!!!
There was an empty room in the house and that night we filled the cooker with potatoes to bake and put 50p in the meter and lit the gas. We forgot all about them and several weeks later Charlotte opened the oven and all the potatoes had sprouted great big green leaves.
A hippy came to the party and broke into the empty house next door. He came round the next day with a pie he had made from some old flour he had found in the kitchen and pears from the pear tree in the garden. We said thank you but we did not eat the pie.
And then there was the police raid.....
Next episode: Paul and Annie and the cannibal finches, the violin and more.
Gossip: Madness are recording an album, produced by Dennis Bovell!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Rockin'est Rocker in Town

Sort of, I wish I was, although I think it's quite rockin' to turn down a free ticket to see the Cure at the Royal Albert Hall in order to play at the Carnaervon Castle in Camden with a whole bunch of rock bands. Anyway, it was fun and Treacle and Mark (hello Treacle, I'm looking forward to seeing the photo) came to see me play, and I met Jay from Lennyrocks (check out ). And it was good to sing and good to play and Mark made a film on his camera and I drove them at high speed to Liverpool Street and they missed the train to Norwich but I didn't know because I was on a double red line and had to go round the block to escape the rozzers and by then they had gone...
Adventures, adventures, that's what it's all about. If you don't ever play to a rock audience you become a cowardly custard, you have to be tough and do your stough no matter what. Lots of people seemed to like it anyway, and I'm going to write a one-minute rock epic in tribute to the night. Say yes to everything, and see where it takes you.....