Friday, September 29, 2006

Wasps and Worms

Apologies for bad spelling this morning- I got up at 6 because there was no equipment at work to uas and I had to drive here this morning to bring my own.But I'm watching the planes- they are going in the other direction today. How does this work? Why don't they crash into each other at changeover time?
Anyway- about P.E. and being thin. You're just crap at it, aren't you, if you don't have a standard body size? And I used to get terrible earache in the cold northeasterly winds! But I did like trampolining (otherwise known as bouncing around on a giant elastic sheet) and badminton, because you didn't have to be strong to do it. Not many people know that badminton was invented by fairies, with rackets made of wasp's wings and a shuttlecock made of a piece of thistledown. You may think that's twee, but it's not- have you ever seen a blood-soaked fairy wrench off a wasp's wing, with the wasp madly and desperately trying to disembowel it by stinging it in the stomach with its fiendish sabre? The blood! the gore!!
That reminds me, I used to collect sets of worms in empty Basildon Bond boxes when McDad was digging in the garden. I put soil in so they felt at home, but they are quite boring creatures, really, and I can't recommend it as a pastime.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

That Ian Wright Programme

What an interesting series that was; it struck a lot of chords with me because of the after-school songwriting workshops I was doing with Dan- all about self-esteem. Those things really work, you know, although it's so difficult to get funding for them (mean old Sony, and even Microsoft who gave a paltry sum!)And of course it's in Barnet and I know Jerome Trim because I used to work in his old school in Barnet. It was a really affecting episode last night and I shed a quiet tear or two when nobody was looking. I was a miserably thin child, not a miserably fat one, and those feelings of being excluded because of physical appearance were very familiar. Shouts for Ian Wright, you are an example of kindness and patience that very obviously went beyond the showbiz fee.
It's Offline tonight, at Jamm in Brixton. Mike took some lovely photos of me yesterday (one of them is on Em, his girlfriend, is going to design the cover for Suburban Pastoral
Offline is free and is a great club just to go and have a laugh with what have got to be the friendliest group of people in the universe. There are always good bands on.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dan Dare with a grey face

Don't worry, it wasn't their faces, just their bodies and paws. They sat on the machine.
Speaking of faces, I'm wearing Dan Dare socks today. A terrble shame; I put them in the washing machine with some dark t-shirts and his face came out grey, as well as the stars and the saturns. I only wear them on special occasions. Today Mike's going to do a photo for the cd cover. I'm going to pick some ivy from the back fence to put in my hair (very suburban; if you haven't been to the suburbs before, let me tell you, ivy in the hair is de rigeur for the middle classes this fall!) and then bomb up to the market to but some stickers with musical instruments on them. I asked all the guest musicians to send me self-portraits and three of them haven't so I'm going to represent them with stickers. I think that's fair.
So that's the day. I love Brixton. I might buy a tin of Chinese biscuits. See you tomorrow.
By the way, Jon and Jill, if you rummage through the archive of this blog you will find the story of the van running Jon over in full detail, from the observer's point of view.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Gently Cruel?

This evening (protecting their eyes from the UV, of course) I photocopied the cats.
They liked it because of being stroked. One of them got hiccups afterwards, though.
Don't try this at home!


I have started doing 50 skips each morning, out in the foggy dew with the spiders and their beaded webs, with Blogger looking on, puzzled.
Trouble is, I am no good at it and was about to blame the skipping rope when I remembered taking a metronome back to Blank's Music Store on Kilburn High Road because it didn't keep time! (think about it)
Worthing Paul, you may be pleased to know that you made me laugh out loud this morning! (see comments, 2 days ago)

Monday, September 25, 2006

I can't believe what has just happened

I can't. I have had a stupidly difficult two weeks during which I discovered I have accidentally been plundering my own savings and now have none left (so it better not be a rainy day), have been defrauded by a fake eBay and had to cancel the cheque which cost me a tenner, old work has decided not to pay me the holiday pay they owe me (thank you, old work, you are a disgrace)a Good Friend has decided they are not a Good Friend any more (why?, have been working like a mad demon to manage new work, finishing CD, cat throwing up on stairs, empty fridge all-the-time,need to get tooth filled but have to wait two weeks. You know, all that stuff.
I got a telephone call from the promotions company at a newspaper, telling me I have won a computer!
Is it true?
I entered a newspaper competition in a paper I found on the Tube on Friday about 15 minutes before the lines closed, one of those competitions where you don't have to do anything clever at all, just send a text. I was so knackered I had to have a few goes but managed to do it in the end.
What do you think? Do you think it was a hoax?

Jokes for Guitarists

Look away now please if you are not a guitarist.
What do you call a guitar-playing horse?
Trotty Moore.
What do you call a guitar-playing chicken?
Cluck Berry.
What do you call a guitar-playing sheep?
Baa Diddley.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Bruv's Party

If this computer crashes one more time I will change my name to Celia Crashfingers by deed poll.
Yesterday was Bruv's annual party and Jonathan was there who used to manage the Chefs when we moved to London. He hasn't changed at all apart from looking more like a gardener than a manager, but that of course is a positive change. He was sporting a particularly funky Hawaiian shirt.Peter, if you are reading this, I am playing at the Albert in Brighton on the 18th of October, would be lovely to see you both and please drag that Jonathan and Jill along too.
I got an idea for my next book while I was talking to Jon. Industrial Hazards Encountered by Being A Rock Star- the usual ones, drug-, tobacco- and alchohol addiction and STDs, of course- but what about RSI from repeated instrumental playing, night after night, month after month, year after year? Back problems from carrying unfeasibly heavy amps? Increased likelihood of injury or death from driving about endlessly in vans driven by unsavoury people? Food poisoning from dry mouldy rider sandwiches? Mental anguish from believing yourself to be the Emperor or Empress of the world for many years but then discovering that you are a mere mortal that eats,sleeps and goes to the loo like everyone else in the world?
The list is endless. Don't bother, guys! Stay at home and watch Spinal Tap instead!
Ah yes- thank you to the people who responded to the request for the Slits interview and posted links. Look up the Typical Girls website if you're interested, I'll put a link when I have dug out Mike's book to remind myself of how to do the HTML.
Little Bruv had a brown knitted teddy when he was little.'What are you going to call it?' asked McMum. 'Freddy', replied Little Bruv. 'Why?', asked McMum. 'Because it's made out of freads'.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The On Song Festival

I have been working as a tutor for a student songwriting festival organised by Mykaell Riley (used to be percussionist for Steel Pulse, and started the Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra), and last night was the finale of their course, at the Academy in Islington; some of them had been working with a band called Eleven, from Devon, and some of them had been working solo.One or two of the songwriters pulled it off really well- rapper called Chasney did his song, 'Hip-hop Makes the World Go Round', just with a piano backing, really powerful, and Eva Eden rocked out with the band. There was also a bloke called Vincent Vincent who had come along to talk at the seminar, and he was really good; he was dead nervous about playing after the students because they are very competent musicians, but he didn't have to worry- he's an absoultely brilliant guitarist. He plays a vintage Hofner that looks like the guitar version of the Hofner semi-acoustic bass I used to play in the Chefs; it's got a rough, lively sound and his hands fly about all over the fretboard, billions of chords but not sounding like a naff jazzer at all- more like King Bo or Chuck B. Lots of energy there too. Sometimes I want to steal people's style (is this a form of jealousy?) and I definitely want to nick his creative chordery.
Talking of the Chefs, I've found a couple of old rare Chefs tracks which I must send to Carl to listen to. I found the demo of the album that we recorded for Graduate and it is truly awful so I guess We Won't Be Releasing That.
Someone sent me a recorded radio interview I did many years ago and I sound like a complete cheeky brat. Ugh.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Things go wrong in 'Eastern Europe'

Ever had a day when everything has gone wrong? There's no money in the bank? Someone shoves their supermarket trolley at you and then says 'sorry' superficially? The hand-dryer cut off when you're drying your hands in the public loo? The phone rings for half an hour when you're trying to contact Complaintsline (I feel your pain!)
The train stops several stations short of your destination and there isn't another one for 20 minutes (Northern Line time, i.e. at least half an hour).
Here's what to do! Pretend you live in an emerging democracy... 'Pretty good, for Poland!'...'Brilliant, for Bulgaria!'...'Rampant, for Romania!!!' Suddenly, boring Barnet becomes a struggling country that has overcome the odds to provide the citizen with an Argos!!! a Big Issue seller!!! (hello Rose), parking spaces!! (for cars you know). Oh!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Singing on Martin's Stuff

It was such a sunny day yesterday- I went to work and sat at lunchtime watching the planes landing and taking off; realised they do both in the same direction,so they won't crash head-on. I had been a bit worried. Then about two docks away, I could see just the top of a massive white ship gliding past sparkling in the sunshine.
Drove up to Finsbury park; the house with the studio was at the top of a hill and you could see Alexandra Palace on the next hill- it looked as though you could just fly over to it, if you stuck your arms out and leapt into the air. Doorbell had a good crap joke, just up my street- there was an intercom: 'SONY r and yet so far'. HaHa!Then I sang on some of Martin's songs- two I hadn't even heard before and two I had been practising. It's such an experience to sing on the stuff of someone who has had a parallel life, and who you did not meet at the time; Geordieland changed massively after I left (was it my fault it was so gruesome in the first place?)and all these brilliant bands like the Daintees materialised out of the grey grit.It's great music as well- it could be mellow but it's not because there's something rootsy about it. There's a guy called Jim playing violin on it, who used to play with the Blubbery Hellbellies. One of the tracks sounded a bit like The MAddox Brothers and Rose. I left them to their jammie dodgers and sultana fingers (no, I didn't realise sultanas had fingers either), drove home, ate a humungous pile of noodles and fell asleep.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Thank You Mike

Thank you Mike, you have found my blog for me and you are a genius!

I've just been to sort out the mixes for Suburban Pastoral, and I'm so excited, they sound great!! And tomorrow I am singing with Martin Stephenson; I'm quite nervous because I'm crap at learning words to things but he says it doesn't matter. I really want to do a good job of it. They are lovely songs, so great to sing. Go to see him play if you can, he is a proper entertainer.
Strange posting I did yesterday. No wonder blogger disappeared for a while.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Scary Dolls for Sunday Night

Daddy, baby, mummy? Mummy, daddy, baby? Baby, daddy, mummy? Daddy, mummy, baby? Mummy, daddy, baby? Baby, mummy, daddy? Baby! Baby! Baby!

Oh Barbie- dull doll!

Sewing machine

Talking of the Docklands Light Railway, I have a sewing machine that I can't use because it's so frightening. I got it out once, and set it up (it's very old so you have to mess about with it for ages before it works), and then went to make myself a cup of tea. I was going back to it when I hear this mad, zinging, humming noise coming from the room; I was in alone, and my heart started racing. I stood outside the room for ages wondering if an intruder had got in somehow, until I realised that I had to go and investigate out of pure curiosity. The bloody thing had started sewing all by itself and was zipping along merrily as though an invisible seamstress was operating it. The only way I could stop it was to unplug it! I have not got it out of it's box since then, because I'm too terrified to use it.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Kate Moss

Last night I dreamed I had turned into Kate Moss. It was great! I had blonde curly hair, though, and a pale blue vintage dress. What an amazing feeling, to look in the mirror, it's That Face looking back at you, and it's yours. But I took it all in my stride, and I'm hoping to revisit the experience tonight when I go to sleep, so I've booked to repeat the same dream with Dream Central Rental. Watch this space!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Planes and cormorants

I have started work at a new place in Docklands. You get the Light Railway to get there- it's just like a train set, only big, and it hums past lots of derelict factories and lagoons with cormorants and seagulls flapping about. It's opposite London City airport, and the whole time tiny planes take off and land, left to right, right to left (should that be port and starboard? cloud and sunset?) without crashing into each other... yet.
I have often thought that aircraft should be called skyscrapers, because that's what they sound like. I spilt my flask of coffee in my bag, but that's a thrillingly ordinary start to a new job, isn't it?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

National Bullying Day

I think it could be National Bullying Day today so I have posted this card for you to cut out and give to the Bully of your choice; it is time their skills were celebrated.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I'm tired, you know

I have been doing freelance work to pay for the last leg of the CD; I have to find a graphic designer to put the cover together. Everything is ready except one last photograph, and I am picking up the mixes from Tom on Wednesday, Scary! It's been such a long time in the making. I am really looking forward to next Monday- I think that's when I'm singing with Martin in the studio, all these Western Swing songs, double bass and all... will be such an experience. Actually, I almost forgot- I saw John Hegley on the train to Scotland this weekend and we will probably do some gigs together next year. He was going to Glasgow on Friday night and then the Vauxhall Tavern last night- what a hard worker he is. and sharp witted to boot; powered by adrenaline, I think. He reminds me of a robin. We were talking about DJ Wheelybags, who happened to be at King's Cross Station as well. What a coincidence!
I made a very awful joke about King's Cross station, a million postings ago...

Friday, September 08, 2006

Historically Funny

What did Shakespeare call his baby pig?

I have finished re-recording some of the vocals for Suburban Pastoral and now it just needs a bit of tidying up- yesterday I finally settled on a running order and track listing! It's beginning to feel exciting; I have to find a graphic designer to put the sleeve together, and I have found a manufacturer and (I hope)a distributor. I'll have to call you, Mike, about a photograph! I needed a couple of weeks to recover from my appalling hangover which has rendered my skin texture beige and marshmallow-like, and not photogenic at all. The final mixes will be ready on Wednesday. Utrophia say I can launch it there, which is a fantastic place to do it.
Roll on, roll up, roll over, roll out!
Saw Akiko and the bunnies the other day; an inebriated gentleman bought us all a drink, and agreed not to speak to us, although he was intrigued by the bunnies.
I thought your hair looked great, Akiko! (It's very long, and the top bit is black and the bottom bit is blonde). The bunnies are due to star in an erotic film...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I reckon these are tuffets. I've always wondered what one was. Miss Muffett must have been tiny to sit on one of these- about 10 cm tall, so no wonder she was frightened by a spider- it must have seemed enormous! These tuffets were snapped at the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh; I've never seen any like it anywhere else. I wonder what other secrets Scotland holds?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Little Story about Helen Chadwick for Tuesday Morning

I was lucky enough to be in the infants at Brighton Art College when Helen Chadwick was a sixth-former. She had an exciting little cupboard-room where she made her strange garments, like a busy elf with her pointy face and fingers and her black shiny hair. In Brighton, there was a glass-animal-man not far from the station, who started making coloured glass-animal earrings- parrots, cats, dinosaurs; you could ask him to make anything you wanted, and he'd do it. Helen had one of her many brainwaves, and went up to see him. 'Please could you make me a pair of earrings, shaped like a willy and two balls?'. The guy went MAD!!! He was a strict Catholic and scolded Helen so much that she came back to the Art College and cried her eyes out.
RIP Helen, you were a complete inspiration.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Little Story about Lincoln for Sunday Evening

Uncle Lincoln was a pilot who flew all round the world.
One day, the postman knocked at the door. In his hand he had a big dried brown bean pod, with an elastoplast stuck on it bearing our address, and a stamp. It was a Brazilian bean pod which rattled when you shook it, because it was full of dried Brazilian beans, and it was a percussion instrument.
Later, Uncle Lincoln told us that the Post Office had refused to accept it because, as they said, it was not wrapped up. 'Aha' said Uncle Lincoln,'It is the beans that I am sending, and they are wrapped up in the bean pod!'. 'Oh, that's all right then', said the Post Office, and accepted the package.

Friday, September 01, 2006

A Brutal Bet

Sorry, but it's another mini-rant (rantlet?) about plastic surgery. They have started asking women they are 'interviewing' in glossy mags (you see, I have been to the doctor's recently!) whether they would ever consider 'going under the knife'. This comes across as some sort of challenge- 'I will if she will', almost as though it has the kudos of climbing Everest or something. Disgusting capitalism!!! Just think how many starving and ill people there are in the world that all those thousands of pounds or dollars could help, instead of going into the pockets of suave frauds who trade on women's insecurity by slicing up their lovely faces and dragging the skin hither and thither and sewing it up again!

On a happier note (can I do it after being so furious?) I overheard a fantastic idea yesterday- mapkins! I think the girl with the red hair meant it lightheartedly, but wouldn't it be good if cafes had napkins with maps of the local area printed on them so tourists could peruse them over a coffee and see where they could walk to next?