Thursday, August 31, 2006

Last Saturday

Last Saturday I went to Netty's birthday party. They live in a row of cottages in Kent with gravestones growing in the garden. They had a white tent thing up because it was raining. Last year, the farmer was invited, but not this year. He saw the tent=party, so he kept driving past in a RATTLY cart, this way and that, over and over again. He was jealous.
Happy birthday, Netty and your twin sister. I like the cannon.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Another overheard conversation, approximately

'Actually, my name's not Norman, it's Gordon'
'You mean I've been calling you Norman for three days, and you're really called Gordon?'
'Sorry, Norman'.
Fact: someone made nettle soup, but I couldn't eat any. This is because when I was 8 I used to cook rhubarb and cauliflower soup over a fire in the pan McDad used to top up his lawnmower with oil, and the flavour of watery rhubarbandcauliflowerandoil soup is with me to this day.

Monday, August 28, 2006


I drove up there yesterday, singing as loudly as possible. The trees in Norfolk are all shaped like dinosaurs; marvellous.
Later, while having a solitary moment eating fish and chips on a bench in Cromer, I heard what I thought must be the Cromer Miner's Band. Strange reggae-ish drums and tootling... It was the Marching Band, and they were brilliant (see}. They marched on to the pier, did a circuit, and then stood in a huge circle (they reproduce faster than amoeba so there are always more of them than last time) and did solos.
Diana's party was great- more like a little music festival than last year because there seemed to be a lot more people. Serafina was really good and Mon Fio played, which made my day. I danced myself insensible, helped by red wine'n'bourbon, and woke up at 8.30 a.m. lying outside on a couch, a bit like the princess and the pea in reverse; people had very kindly piled lots of curtains and things on top of me to keep me warm (although a Hungarian Artist nicked a duvet off the top- obviously thought I wouldn't notice, but I did, Hungarian Artist, I did!}. I smelt of dog this morning and I suspect one of the bedcovers may have been the dog's.
I overheard such a funny conversation as I woke up, between some people just before they fell asleep (they had been up all night}:
'I have never bought a biro in my life, but I've got a drawer full of them at home that people have left behind'
'Well, I haven't played guitar since I was 15, but I've got a drawer full of plectrums at home'
'None of my hair has ever fallen out, but I've got a drawer full of hair at home'
'People keep leaving their guitars round my house when they come round...'
'...and now you've got a Marshall stack in every corner!'
Oh well. My eyes are stinging from the wood fire smoke and I'm going to bed.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Mighty Boosh

Just bought series two of The Mighty Boosh; I believe in them so much I was astonished that a gorilla was clever enough to play drums.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Weeding and Writing

I have been advised by CC, who is very sensible, to make my CD shorter. Somehow I have to weed out a track, to get the running time down to 45 minutes. That means I probably shouldn't put the Screaming song on it but perhaps that's a good thing- it'll give me more time to mix it. And since I wrote another new song last week (which is so miserable it makes me cry when I sing it), I have probably started writing the next album. I have to finish this one in the next 2 weeks because I've started booking a tour and will need it ready by October.I also have to write some sleeve notes, and I don't know what to write. I wish I could record them instead, actually, and just put that as a track at the end. I started writing something about dishwashers and car parking permits that turned into something else about guitars, then I rejected that and wrote something about birds (you'd be surprised by how they become Important in the suburbs. One guy I know has a shotgun to shoot magpies). You start imagining that their noises are words. And once, during a sleepless night, I heard a funny bird hooting: 'I wonder if that's an owl?'. 'Too-whit, too-woo', it replied, as tho' it had read a book about the noise owls are supposed to make.
Going to play at Diana's summer party in Norfolk this weekend. I have 2 sets of music prepared- happy songs in case it's raining, and reflective ones to sing if it's a beautiful moonlit night.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Gossip about Mick Jagger

I got my hair cut yesterday. One of the guys used to do the MCartneys' hair and knows all sorts of gossip about that. The other said that Mick Jagger hasn't got laryngitis at all- he has had his first ever singing lessons of his life,and it's mucked up his voice. I think that might be true- it's really odd if you have been singing in a particular way for ages and then you suddenly go back to zero and start again. You have your wrong-singing instinct battling against what your larynx would normally do to make noise, and your poor head gets confused....

Monday, August 21, 2006

Oh! Police programmes!

You know... a glarse of wine, a pair of sloppy trousers, cushions, and a police programme. Nee-naa, nee-naa! Monday night. When else?

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Well, that song's going to be a Project. Gina came to play bass on it on Thursday and I have been listening and listening. Mixing it will be like drawing a picture by taking things away and moving things around. I have been shuffling it around in my head, losing sleep in fact, but that's what it's all about in the world of deluded artists. I've got to start designing the cover of the CD and doing some sleeve notes; I was going to write a potted history of my life but it's often too gruesome to relate so definitely not (did you know that gruesome is a Norwegian word? In the north-east of England, Geordieland, there are lots of Norwegians, and that's why Geordies talk as they do). I'd asked the musicians who guested on it to send me self portraits but only three of them have done so and I may have to send an email threatening to draw the rest myself! Meanwhile, I'm sorting out Chefs track with the others: that CD will take a long time to get together. I have put a new short track on Myspace. It was one of the little tracks I was going to put in between the tracks on Suburban Pastoral but there are too many of them now (at least five) and they aren't abstract enough! Perhaps I should put them on one of those miniature CDs and release them separately and more cheaply for people who haven't got much money! I could call the CD Bedsit Windowbox, or something like that...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Did you get home safely?

Joby, I hope you got home safely yesterday. Not a good idea to jump into the sea fully clothed after consuming so much cider on a stormy day and with waves that big!
My doggy, Blogger, sends you big slobbalicious kisses!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Life doesn't make sense. You can begin a period of absolute happiness at any time, or you can begin a period of absolute sadness.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Horrid Baby

I was a horrible baby. On my 21st birthday, McDad showed the only piece of film he ever made of me as a baby. There I was, with the baby walker, toddling about in my red suit. Little Bruv was staggering to his feet, struggling, falling back down on to his bum, getting halfway up, topping back down again...I paused beside him with the baby walker, and he saw his opportunity! Painfully slowly, he got to his feet and grasped the handle with one little chubby hand.
I pushed him over and toddled off in triumph!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

rio and rasperries

no capitals today...
1. rio ferdinand used to come to a music workshop i ran in peckham, when he was about 12 or 13
2. when i was little our family dog learned how to pick raspberries from the bushes, and used to run ahead and scoff the lot before you could get to them

Friday, August 11, 2006


1. Went to see the Grayson Perry exhibition today, based on Lincolnshire griblings and groblings. He is brilliant and his work is like medicine. It's funny and it makes you think, and it makes you jealous and makes you want to do your own arty stuff. I want to go back to art college, or possibly horticulture college to be a radical horticultural artist. Or horticultural singer-songwriter-artist, even. (radical)
2. Steve Beresford (watch the Brummie accent, Steve!) is interviewing Judith Williamson on Resonance, on Tuesday next week between 9 and 10 p.m. ; it will be really interesting- she's fascinating, and he's bound to be a good interviewer.
3. I have acquired a guard dog, who I have christened 'Blogger' after this blog. He came from Battersea, has a loud bark and I think he's a cross between an alsatian and a labrador. Got snarly teeth but I think he's settle down.
4. A story about Tito (this is true). Tito came from Nigeria, where there was a shortage of wedding dresses. Once when he was going back there, he went round as many charity shops as possible, buying up wedding dresses to sell second-hand. On his way to the airport, he lugged the dresses along in black bin-bags, as well as his suitcase. When the tube drew up to the platform, the doors opened and he started to load the bin-bags full of dresses into the carriage. He'd just put the last one on, when the doors closed, and off went the train with his investment, never to be seen again.
5. New joke, born today:
What do you call Posh Spice's husband?
Posh Spouse.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Scaledown link

Monday, August 07, 2006

Beautiful snail and grass

I usually hate snails; grey, beige and yellow colourschemes don't appeal to me, and they eat plants and they slime silently about the place. But I do try not to stamp on them when they are crossing the pavement. One day it had been raining and I saw one on the front path with its horns out and glistening in the sun, which was shining right through its body, making it gleam like a translucent gem; its head was up and tilted as it sniffed the air. Its shell was wet and sparkling and looked like a boiled sweet, brown and black stripes. It looked like a lion, or that painting of the Monarch of the Glen. I was taken aback, I tell you.
Speaking of rain, I'm furious that it's raining today as my waking reverie was to write 'WATER ME' in water on the grass out the back in exactly the same place every day for five days, so that the grass words grew long and green and juicy and contrasted with the parched background. I could then take a photograph of it, and it would be Art.
That's nature for you- surprises you one day, scuppers you the next.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Once I was this, twice I was that

How funny it is to listen to old tapes of old bands. I had a whole load of unmarked cassette tapes and I've just listened to lots of them, looking for old Chefs stuff for the proposed album. I found a tape of us live in Basildon and separate recordings of Sweetie with two pre-Russ drummers, Muttley and Darrell. I couldn't find a tape of the album we recorded for Graduate though, and my quarter-inch master is badly stretched and damaged. I found a tape of Helen and the Horns' first Peel session, with John raving over us and saying he wishes there was more music around like ours. And our second session, where the producer got a fantastic Horn sound, with Marc Jordan playing trumpet. And a demo me and Carl Evans, the Chefs guitarist made in Wales of which Mike (hi Mike!) described our drum-programming as 'sounding like a drum kit falling downstairs!'. I have to say that although we all fell out with each other, Carl is on a par with Lester Square as one of the best guitarists there was. I thought we wrote brilliant songs together, and always finished off each others unfinished songs really well. I think when you are in bands when you are young, all the anger about being young festers and makes you fight about really stupid things. I remember reading about members of Black Uhuru having a massive fight on the tour bus about a biro, and that about sums it up, really.
I found a tape I made for Chris Smith, one of our trumpet players, of a song I wrote called 'Old Buffer Blues' which is probably worth reviving. I was a better singer than I thought at the time, and now I am jealous of myself. How I miss John Peel, always there in the background, my musical uncle and mentor. I was going to send him new stuff to listen to and there isn't anyone there now, just a Peel-shaped hole.
Meanwhile, Martin Stephenson's sent me a CD of lovely songs he's written which I hope to duet on (some of them at least). It's awful- everyone's away, I can't record, I want to do gigs, I can't get on with writing songs as it's so busy at home. But I have been practising singing and that's good.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Russian Club Bomonti

It was Songbird last night- I was talking to Jamie at the door and some proper Russians turned up because they'd heard it was a Russian club. They spent ages trying to negotiate a reduced entrance charge and (as I told them) were missing the performances as they did so. In the end it seemed as though that was part of the fun for them. 'The door' is a mini-show in itself- a whole batch of rude people from a gallery next door came in. They are allowed a reduction but they made a massive loud posh fuss about the fact that they couldn't get in for nothing. People from that gallery have been like that before- talking to the door person (in that case, it was me) as though they were a piece of dog poo on the bottom of their shoe. No doubt they are much-admired as avant-garde artists, but I bet they all voted for Margaret Thatcher!
A woman came to the door, heard acoustic guitars (band called Blanket that were very 'John Peel', I thought) and shouted 'I don't like Ralph McTell!' and left (takes one to know one). Lots of nice and funny people came it too though, and some very sartorially attractive ones. Who else played? Anna Pigalle (very rude!) and Frank Bangay (very extraordinary). It's always a unique night. Funnily enough, for the second time (see past postings) I saw an enthusiastic nosepicker- different one this time- and he consumed the stuff afterwards. I know I should have been watching the acts and not the audience, and I promise to do that next time. I just hope none of next month's acts has developed nostril excavation into a performance piece!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Soon I'll be twittering
Down at West Wittering
When I've ate my chips
Then I'll be littering.