Saturday, July 31, 2010

The F-Word

The fourth part of Cazz Blaise's f-Word account of women and punk is up!
It features interviews with Caroline Coon, Gina Birch, Lucy O'Brien and myself and you can read it at:
The f-Word is a brilliant e-zine.


I've been catching up with the papers that I forgot to cancel before I went away.
There is Tom Ravenscroft, son of the late John Peel, recommending summer listens.
I remember the young scamp, aged about three, crawling across his parents' ample kitchen table and dribbling into the tomato salad that was due to be served up to the guests that were coming for lunch.
I yelped a warning yelp, but his mother just smiled wisely and carried on preparing the food; no-one noticed!


What better pastime for a hot and muggy day than ironing?
I call it 'joining in with the weather'.
The iron and myself are strangers; I bought a cheap one from Sainsburys and have been battling the terrifying snorting hog ever since. It is a steam iron that steams when you don't press the button and doesn't when you do.
I steamed the toaster to a flurry of blurred chrome, and dried the wrinkles into my clothes.

It was the silk Italian holiday-shirt that made me fight the ironing board out of the cupboard (only six bruises so far!). The shirt has been bundled up for weeks begging to be restored to its original glassy sheen.
As I slid the fizzing and spluttering device over printed pictures of important Italian buildings, I mused on the idea of teaching geography by clothing. Madras shirts, Scottish woollens, Chinese cotton shoes... world-plunderers, we are.

I remember finding out that my main feminist friend ironed her partner's shirts. I was shocked!
My ex-partner was a perfectionist and I suspect him of re-ironing his shirts after his mother did them.
(I wonder if she thought I was too lazy?).

There is something peaceful about it, if time is  no pressure; it can feel like ice-skating for the hands, or at least that's what I tell myself to avoid boredom.
And then the clothes are flat and smooth, and fit again even when you thought you had got too fat for them: does ironing stretch them?
You can stuff more of them into the drawer and you don't have to send them (back) to the charity shop.
Thank goodness I have finished: that's the job over for at least another three months!

Reading back over my posting, I have noticed short sentences and an unusually 'punchy' delivery. I have been adversely influenced by Mark Radcliffe's awful autobiography, a book I bought to read on holiday. It's full of short sentences. It's an attempt to make it pacy. It's almost breathless! Like this!
I got a two-for-one offer with the equally terrible biography of Malcolm McLaren by Ian Macleay. What a mess: there is a stack of good information there tossed about casually like a summer salad. 
It's so frustrating to read; he darts about from one time period to another, padding it out with irrelevant information. It is a distressing attempt to cash in quickly on the man's death; McLaren was interesting and articulate, if not very likeable, and he definitely deserved better than this.
No wonder I have almost stopped reading altogether...


My car failed it's MOT with flying colours yesterday.
After mistakenly telling everyone that the gig was at a pub called The Railway, I walked into The Station at Hither Green for the Icarus Club's bonny night.
The club has it's own crowd, who are listeners and smilers, and the MC Andy holds everything together with a subtle iron fist in a velvet glove (pervy, moi?).
Eddie Johns was playing again, and it was nice to see him singing his songs which have a distinctive almost-devotional feel to them- that's meant as a a compliment, they don't sound like Sunday School songs!
I loved Caleb, a duo who play treated guitars and sing beautiful dreamlike songs with a sort of tempered wailing: the woman has an extremely powerful voice that she controls perfectly and the guitars spread out underneath the songs to create a shimmering bed of surreality. They concentrated hard- they weren't a pair of jolly japesters by any means, but they were mesmerising, and are definitely worth seeing and hearing
I enjoyed playing my second set: the knackeredness of the 400 mile drive the day before evaporated, and I played Summer Days, Daisies and Gotta Have a Heart at full throttle, spurred on by Caleb's upping of the ante!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Northumberland: Beautiful County I Love

Last week was spent exploring Northumberland with Martin: we managed to cram in loads of stuff somehow.
I had always wanted to see the Alnwick Garden. It is surprisingly small considering the fuss surrounding it, but it is perfect for children and even has little green and yellow tractors for them to fight over and rattle around in. I also liked the fact that no plants were so special that you had to be a clever gardener to grow them. And the lovely rose garden! It was raining when we went and you could stuff your nose into all manner of rose fragrances, from the strong and opium-like to the hint-on-a-breeze type. Lots of the petals had fallen to the ground and covered the earth with a layered carpet of crumpled pink and cream.
I could have stayed there forever.

The next day we went to the Farne Islands. This was a brilliant trip on a little boat that bounced us around the North Sea. Seal's noses poked upwards in the water.
'That's how they sleep', explained the fisherman who was steering us out to sea. 'We'll soon wake them up!' As we buffeted towards them, their heads poked out of the briny like crooked fingers. They look like doggies, with long muzzles, unlike the West Coast ones who look like teddies. 
They slurped about in the waves, camera-shy and sleek.
We landed on Inner Farne, almost tripping over tern chicks who were lazing about on the walkways.
The smell of gull goo was overpowering and the noise was dense and internimable.
(did you know that in Chile they mine guano for use as a fuel? Wotcha think of that, BP?)
Guillemot, Kittiwake, they sound like Victorian children's names... of course, the puffins are the best. They zip about on unfeasibly small wings, red legs akimbo. Their chicks are in holes in the ground, guarded by smart generals in black and white livery with painted beaks who stand to attention and point North, South, East, West, to make sure predators don't creep up behind them.

Lindisfarne was next: we drove through the rippling tide on the causeway and avoided the tourists by slipping round the side of the church, where we discovered, in the wind-carved holes in the stones, a sparrow with a secret nest.
Over on the other side of the island, upturned boats had been converted into fisherman's lockups. Someone was growing a forest of exotic coloured lilies in their garden, something I would not have believed possible in the salty and fresh climate of the north-east coast.

Last day, we walked to Dunstanburgh Castle from Craster, witnessing the weirdest event of the week.
A herd of young heifers were bullying a pigeon, who was Not Scared of Them. The pigeon stood on the ground, while the heifers, with their heads down, mooed at it full-volume through sloppy noses. The pigeon walked forward at leisure, with the cows following it, mooing all the time.
From time to time, one cow took a rest before joining in with the gang again, bowing its head and steaming the pigeon with its moo-ey breath.
The pigeon led the cluster of cows across the path and perilously close to a small cliff.
Had it murder in mind?
We didn't wait to see: there were fossils on the beach and our own cliff to sit on and look at the breakers.
That night, we made chili for John Cavener and his wife, and talked music into the night. 
We have a virtual band, a little bit Daintees, a little bit Band of Holy Joy, a little bit Chefs and  little bit Sureshots. Who know where it might go?

Icarus Club

I have a gig tonight at the Railway in Hither Green, just next to the station: it's one of those mixed nights and had a great atmosphere last time I was down there. The Icarus Club, who promote the night, also have their own radio station: I will look for the URL and post it here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Went Away, Came Back

Hello Blog and Bloggees, whoever and wherever you are (always a mystery, or mostly, anyway).
I have just driven 400 miles down from Edinburgh with a brief stop at Druridge Bay.
I have done many things, but lack the energy to tell you what at the moment.
My plants are still alive, and a rather indignant toad was waiting in the middle of the yard, annoyed that he had to share it with a large perpendicular creature with a green plastic watering can and a sunburnt nose.
There were no important letters, no pay and no bills, so the situation is neutral.
The clothes are in the washer, the mouldy fruit that's been in the car for ten days is in the bin, the teenagers faces are superglued to the computer, the fridge's empty apart from two disgusting pizzas bought en route, and I'm going to drink me tea now.
What you been up to while I've been away?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Back on Wednrsday

Hello Peeps, if my car behaves I shall be back and posting on Wednesday evening; if not, I shall be weeping into a cup of instant coffee at a Travelodge off the A1 somewhere.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Relief of a Cancelled Day

I was going to head down to Utrophia to Songs of Praise: you play a song, and get praised for it.
I have a real soft spot for the Utrophia people as they were very kind and supportive in the best kind of way when I was splitting up from my ex-husband. They have moved to a new warehouse and I have lost touch with them a bit, so it would have been a good way to catch up.
Gina was finishing my film and I realised I did not have time to do both and decided to go to East London to collect it
She discovered too late that the film would not burn to a CD properly
I stayed at home and tidied out the under-stairs cupboard, finding a lithograph I'd done at Art College for McMum, who gave away too much stuff when she moved and was delighted to find that I had another copy of the print to give her
I found a box in a difficult-to-get-at cupboard that had Offsprog One's teddies in it, and she's here
She has just made me a lovely salad
It's not been too bad at all stuck at home today.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Goats Cheese Versus Strawberries, Barnet Versus Arsenal

I discovered that goat's cheese is low in cholesterol from a man I bought some from, round the back of the shopping centre (makes it sound slightly seedy: I assure you it wasn't).
My pals came round and we ate it with toasted fresh bread, followed by bowls of strawberries and raspberries, and then we took ourselves down to Underhill to watch Arsenal thrash Barnet.
Was I the only Barnet fan there? I think so! There were authoritative Arsenal knowalls all around, especially behind us, blasting out their opinions on what a crap team Barnet are.
Excuse me, but isn't a friendly supposed to be friendly?
Of course a game like that is going to be won by a Premiership team!
Three goals were scored in the first half: poor Barnet were doing that desperate thing of passing the ball from side to side instead of taking on the defenders, getting through them and focusing on the goal.
It's so frustrating to watch players doing that, and I tried to think up remedies: games to sharpen their minds, even dancing lessons to make their footwork better.
After half time, they'd obviously been given a pep talk. They came out energised and I was pretty impressed by their playing, especially little natty-dreaded Number 13, who zipped about hither and thither, and managed to keep the ball even after he fell over, giving it 100% right to the end of the game. Number 21 who was substituted in the second half was good too, gangly and far-reaching.
Arsenal scored another goal in the second half.
Scornful, the knowalls carried on opining. It must have been so hard for the Bees. I looked round the stadium and the whole thing seemed to be a sea of Arsenal shirts; the problem is that a lot of Barnet fans support Arsenal too. I had to suppress my cheers and keep my involuntary miming of ball-kicking to myself and stopping my legs from twitching.
Before the end, lots of the the Arsenal fans (shall we call them the Arses?) went to the pub in disgust, muttering about the game.
Once more: isn't a friendly supposed to be friendly?
Why did they come?
We bought ice creams and walked back home to sit round the kitchen table and talk about the music business: one pal works for the record label 4AD, and both are musicians.
Later, I went to see my friend Rowen Bridler play at The Barfly. She is due to emigrate to Prague, and this was her goodbye concert. She looked and sounded beautiful, and I appreciated the music even through the sea of tiredness that engulfed me almost as soon as I got there.
So now I am slumped in a heap, too lazy even to watch TV.
Somebody put the kettle on and make me a cup of tea!

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Working Day

Yesterday I filled the car with flattened boxes and crawled round the M25 at five miles an hour (rising to 25- is that where the name comes from?) to Brighton.
Offsprog One has had extremely bad luck with accommodation, just as I did when I lived there, actually. She moved from damp, cold hellhole with rude and facetious Brighton University Housing Association staff making matters worse, to tiny temporary room, to nice flat that she then got asked to move out of...
Just like a tailor who cuts their cloth short, the two flats have a month's gap between them, and I went to help her to move her stuff into storage temporarily.
Some days, your body Just Says NO to moving heavy boxes full of books and crockery.
I had to insist.
Two carloads into an overhead locker at a ramshackle storage place later, we managed to sit and eat lunch at 3.30 p.m., with the sea twinkling enticingly in the background.
I was knackered; this is the second emergency visit I've done and I hereby resolve to go on a pleasure visit and catch up with the lovely people I know there as soon as possible.
I realise that I actually have more friends in Brighton than I do in London.

As we drank our Earl Grey tea and coffee, I looked around the caff.
Shabby chic, like lots of places in Brighton, and one of its charms. Almost everywhere, damp bubbles up under paintwork or plaster, crumbs on tables tell stories of cakes consumed, and fluffballs snigger in darkened corners and crevices.

I remembered taking the Offsprogs to a wedding reception at the Sussex Arts Club, a funky place to have a wedding reception if ever there was one. I think it was Mark's, from The Blue Hearts.
Offsprog One was about six and Offsprog two was about three; they were holding hands.
'It's grubby here', declared Offsprog One.'Take me home'.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Caramba! Got the song up!

Footage and Crocodiles

I went over to Gina's to look at the footage she shot last week in Vintage and Rare Guitars. It has come out very well, sound included, apart from one little bit where someone was trying out a Dobro guitar and the camera microphone seemed to get confused.
We decided to do two versions: a straight performance version (to show that I can play) and a Gina version, because that's why I asked her to do it in the first place. She has a playful way about her which I really like, and she shot some footage of my feet, swollen from the heat and crammed into dainty silver shoes like an Ugly Sister, dancing some random home-made dance steps, very Not Madonna.
There is also some nice film of three gentlemen of a certain age wandering around hungrily, looking at potential guitar-buys and glancing sideways at the two strange dames making a film in their fave shop.
We ate cherries and she made me Spanish omelette for lunch, and we talked about teenagers and music.
Now I am home, trying for the third time to upload Foolish Girl's film of Helen and the Horns playing 'Footsteps at my Door' to Youtube.
It gets almost to the end then digs its little technological heels in a refuses to do it.

Offsprog One has just phoned from Brighton, because she has found a seagull with a broken wing and the RSPCA is closed.
That's one thing this fix-all parent can't fix; I found her the RSPB number to call and advised her not to take the bird home to feed and look after, because I believe they can be rather tetchy.
I was told this by the ghost of a man who took home a large injured crocodile with a hungry look in its eye.

I am upset to discover that I missed the Housman's Political Bookshop Party last week.
How did I do that?
The week swished by with small problemettes to overcome each day, and nobody thought to mention on Wednesday night that it was Thursday the next day.
I've got four now!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I've got one follower on Twitter.
That's special.

Pete and Dud

I was watching a TV show that was based on lost sketches by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore; they were re-created by Alistair MacGowan, Ade Edmonson, that awful guy who used to present Have I Got News For You (can't remember his name) and others.
The material was moderately funny; but it needed Pete and Dud to work properly.
The most important missing factor was that both Pete and Dud were incredibly sexy, and they knew it. They flirted with each other wildly with their humour, playing eye-games and eyebrow-dancing.
I'm not sure that any of the guys involved in the sketches realised this: they had learned their lines, they knew about timing, but they didn't know about chemistry.
I think for the show to be a success, it should have been cast, directed and presented by a woman, ideally someone like Eleanor Bron, who sometimes appeared on their shows. She was sexy too, and probably still is, unlike that silly Jonathan Ross who is perfectly pleasant and sometimes funny but

Op for Mickey

I have a new song, and I am prevaricating because the words need to be exactly right.
This means that I've done a whole load of odd jobs such as putting batteries into things, screwing in loose screws in the kitchen cupboard doors, going to the dentist, cleaning the fridge and sweeping the yard.
The most bizarre odd job, though, was straightening the black felt ears of a Mickey Mouse Pelham Puppet that I bought at a junk shop along the road.
Its strings were impossibly tangled but I thought of Offprog 2's idly twiddling fingers and within a matter of seconds the strings were straight and taut and Mickey could stand up with that scary lateral wobbling that puppets have.
He was not glorious though, because his ears were folded and twisted, crumpled into sorry apologies that did not do justice to Walt's beloved son.
I had been meaning to iron them to straighten them out, but anyone who knows me well knows that I am a stranger to the ironing board, and poor Mickey had to hang around looking bedraggled until today when I sponged his ears, folded cardboard over them and pegged them with pegs from the washing line until they were dry and had straightened out.
Now he is magnificent and old, and looks vintage rather than second hand and rejected.
I am a cosmetic surgeon to the puppet world!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Eric Idle

Although he was my least favourite Python (because of his whiney voice), Eric Idle made me laugh to my core on two distinctly different occasions.
Once was on a Radio 4 programme. He was asked to introduce a mythical group of guests to a society party.
'May I introduce
Mr and Mrs Fantsfootumbrellastand
And their daughter

The second time was in one of the best films I have ever seen, Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. 
Reportedly, the film ran out of money due to Gilliam's wonderful excesses, and had to be drastically simplified. The sequence that makes me laugh so much is one where Idle's character is supposedly running round the world; all you see is his face as he puffs, pants, eyes popping and cheeks rapidly inflating and deflating, with a simultaneous expression of focus, determination and utter stupidity fixed on his face.
I love it!
I must watch that film again.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


A little forest of different-coloured toothbrushes has grown in the tooth-mug.
'Whose are these?', I ask Offsprog Two.
'They belong to my friends', she replies.
Sure enough, Artyfriend came over this avo, and I could hear her scrubbing away at her gnashers behind the bathroom door.
Sometimes, I believe that it is I who live in the parallel universe, and a normal Helen lives in the real world where no strange things happen.


Frantically, everyone who is anyone technology-wise is adding the prefix 'i' to everything, so they can cash in on the frisson of greedy need stimulated by iPods, iPhones, and all that marketing gloop.
I used to think it was funny that PCs had a 'My Computer' area, almost primary-schoolish in its me-ness.
And of course, in writing an iBlog, I also am an 'i'.
Perhaps there is now truly no such thing as society, only a collection of 'i's linked together by technology, simultaneously objecting to CCTV while putting the most private of their personal details on the web for everyone in soc'i'ety to browse at their leisure and for their pleasure.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


We made a strange and horrible soup of smells on the tube: Yuk!
It must have been over 90 degrees down there, and humid too.
I went to The Duke of Uke to get a case for the ukelele Gina gave me a couple of years ago; it has been living in a cardboard box.
Spitalfields was quiet, apart from a charming Argentinian Tango marathon that featured all ages and appeared to be generating a street bonhomie around it.
The houses surrounding the area are genuine Georgian houses with old shutters, and they looked cool (in both senses of the word) in the sweltering heat. The shutters are held flat against the external wall with brass clasps, and I  noticed that one house had obviously antique clasps in the shape of ships figureheads, women with noses and breasts eroded by more than a hundred years of English weather.
I looked out for Gilbert and George, but they were probably nibbling water ices in the gloom of their parlour and listening to the 1930s on an old radiogram. A friend of mine,  a gay obstretician, could not conceal his delight when he discovered that his postman was the son of either Gilbert or George.
But they were nowhere to be seen: perhaps they are nocturnal, rustling out of their doorway as the clock strikes 12, and flitting over to Dalston to their favourite Turkish restaurant at a time when all the Hoxtonites are so off their faces they think they are dreaming when they see them.
I was looking forward to going to Lisa's birthday party in Brighton but I can not bear the idea of the tube again; Happy Birthday to you Lisa! I hope you have a lovely party in breezy cool Brighton!

Friday, July 09, 2010


It's been to hot for anything that involves engaging the brain: there are unfinished things nagging the serenity of my horizon, but instead I went for a coffee with a friend who used to be in a band in the 1990s.
A member of the Pixies Fan Club, she had been to a secret gig in London and was thinking of forming a Pixies tribute band.

Afterwards, I headed for the supermarket to buy some drain-buster.
A whole saga of blocked drains ended with a dry weekend where I went away and found the drain problem had resolved itself while I was away; caustic soda did not work, sulphuric acid did not work, but going away and leaving it to sort itself out saved me from calling out the dreaded Dyno-Rod.
The man at the till was excited by my purchase; he is a Sikh with short hair, and when his son comes to stay, his son's hair blocks his drains with unfailing regularity.
He now has his own set of drain rods which he uses after his son has visited.
Isn't it funny what people tell you?
Isn't it funny that I'm telling you this?

Tonight is song writing night.
Like anyone who writes songs, I am in search of the perfect song and I feel that if only I can write it, I will no longer have to write songs again.
Of course, if I do, that will be a tragedy, as I will then have to spend my evenings watching TV or reading Mills and Boon classics.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

New Song

Stuart Morgan was my Art History tutor at Brighton Art College. He was my friend for ages afterwards.
I didn't see him for about five years after moving North of the River, and then discovered that he had died, and wished I had kept in touch more often. He was a sweetheart.

The Dance of the Plastic Bottle


No thanks. My toes like to be together.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Spring Cleaning in Summer

Well, it's just as good.
I have been accompanied by a fantastic CD called Girls with Guitars, which features some wild guitar-based tracks from all-female and female-led bands from 1963-1999. I am winding down with The Puppini Sisters' The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo. They are more burlesque than Andrews Sisters-ish which rescues them from twee, as does the utterly fantastic double bass playing and guitar playing. However, I have listened to it it two separate sittings, as it was too sweet for one.
I have a dreadful confession to make.
I bought Patti Smith's Horses and a compilation of The Only Ones songs, and of the two, The Only Ones definitely comes out tops. I think I like the British take on punk that stems back to Music Hall and Charles Dickens and playground chants and rhymes better than the beat-poet or glam-rock New York version; although I did love Blondie when I saw them.
I am bored now.
I have done lots of work-related chores, putting students work in little tin drawers and firing off emails in various directions and there is more to do tomorrow eastways round the North Circular. I should wash the dishes now, but actually I fancy a cup of tea and yet another Poirot re-run.
BTW the new CD is swimming along nicely and in fact, Martin and myself are getting songs together for our next joint release.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Sunday Night at the Proud Gallery

I went out to Camden, early evening, to see Alex Lipinski play. He used to be a student of mine, and I was impressed by how much his singing voice has developed and also by the fact that I remembered so many of his songs from the last time I saw him, well over a year ago.
I was also tempted to compare the way he is on stage with an obnoxious man from Brisbane that I had the misfortune to follow on stage last week.
Although I had talked to him beforehand and watched his set, during mine he 'worked' the audience, going from table to table and chatting loudly, before inserting himself between myself and the promoter, who was offering me another gig, to ask for another gig himself.
He then left without even farting in my direction.
Alex, on the other hand, is totally un-vain.
You don't realise that this quality exists in a performer until you see it. He sings with commitment and authenticity: he means it. Even if he was singing to one little old guy in a flat cap sitting in a  corner, you know he'd give him the full show.
Put this together with catchy songs and pitch-perfect singing, and the lad will go far, even beyond playing the part of Paul McCartney in a Beatles show in LA later this summer. He has a CD out soon.
I was glad I went out into the muggy gloom, for my friend Chris Carr was out too (he is now Alex's record label), and Colm the studio manager from the University of the West. I'd seen neither of them for ages so it was nice to catch up, even if it was in the decidedly weird environment of the Proud Gallery. The sound was immaculate, but there was an odd conveyor-belt feeling to the night.
Perhaps this is what it's like in Nashville?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Perfume Naturel

There was a lovely scent as I walked down an avenue of trees in the park the other day with Offsprog 1.
It wasn't till I walked right up to a sycamore tree in flower that I realised where it came from.

Yesterday I met Martin, Jimmy Cole (banjo) and Jim Morrison (not that one, fiddle) in Stroud, and accompanied them to Matthew and Fiona's wedding in an amazing building called Saul House by the side of a canal. The building was a decaying stately home, occupied but tatty in the best way, and filled for the afternoon with a colourful variety of sozzled wedding guests.
They were to play in a tall orange room with a huge and photogenic carved stone fireplace and doors that opened on the the gravel driveway.
After a first set in which it seemed impossible for the trio to penetrate the din, we went for a walk in the grounds and came upon a hedged-in space with unkempt box hedges framing beds of untidy yellow flowers- all different sorts, bending this way and that and fighting the weeds.
In the middle of the gardenlet was a pond with a statue; a little girl lay on the grass with her cheek on the stone surround, talking to the the newts.
Pond snails gnarled and twisted in the waterweeds, and a water lily was just about to blossom.
There were climbing roses in full bloom draped in the high hedges around the garden, framing the four secret entrances with exotic curtains.
It was a garden like those men who manage to have the perfect stubble-length all the time: it was perfectly distressed, not too prim and not too overgrown, with a definite feel of the Garden of Eden about it.
I wouldn't have been surprised to see Adam and Eve emerging from the dark recesses of the privet, looking rather surprised to see us there.

After talking to some of the guests, the band started up again and this time, everyone listened, exhausted by their carousing. The blend of instruments was perfect; Martin was playing a new parlour guitar that Jimmy had just made for him, and it twinkled away in between Jimmy's ringing banjo, while Jim swept and dodged around them with his fidde. The crowd enjoyed the bluegrass as much as Martin's own songs, and when Will the Circle be Unbroken started up, they all rushed on to the dancefloor, singing and dancing, and this precipitated a set of rockabilly songs. I went up and did a rockin' version of Loverman, then retired to perch on a windowsill behind the huge door to watch the band give it all they'd got.
I found a glass jar with honeysuckle, sweet peas, lilies and roses in it, a perfect summer nosegay, and it was a fragrant distraction from the smokers just outside the door. I held it up to my nose and sniffed each flower in turn; each of them had a different strength of perfume.
Martin caught sight of me and laughed.
When the guests let them finish, we hopped into Jimmy's car, Jim with a half pint of real ale in his hand, and he directed us back to the Travelodge, where we sat in the dark on the Happy Eater picnic benches drinking water. Cars whooshed past, invisible in the cool darkness.
We noticed that the staff hadn't cleared the tables before they went home for the night and I tried to take a photograph of the dirty dishes using the headlights of an approaching car.
I failed.
It was just one of those things that seemed important as the flush of adrenaline subsided.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Spooky Rummaging

Acton Bell and Lucy O'Brien came for lunch.
I hadn't seen Lucy for ages; she has been doing three jobs and looked as though she'd just got back from holiday.
How she do that? She should be looking about 150! Maybe it's the relief of being finished!
After lunch, Acton Bell and me went charity shopping (Lucy had to go home and babysit).
I managed not to buy anything until we got to the antique emporium and I spotted a box of 7" singles.
How weird- they were all oddities, but I had about half of them! Gary's Gang (Dance, Dance Dance), Sylvester (You Make Me Feel), Andy Williams (Can't Take My Eyes Off You), more still.
It was only a shoebox full but it was an incredible coincidence.
Acton Bell said maybe they had belonged to a person in a parallel universe.
I bought Limmie and the Family Cookin's Walking Miracle. I thought it was by somebody else, actually.
It was 50p.
Acton Bell bought a grey felt hat with grey feathers.
In another shop she bought a pale blue mohair jumper (beautiful) and I bought a couple of rather fine badminton rackets, breaking my vow never to buy anything from a charity shop ever again!
There was a huge box of 7" singles in that shop but I didn't fancy any more odd coincidences so I merely skimmed the top of that one.

I realised yesterday that Stuart Morgan was my ex-boyfriend's ex-boyfriend's ex-boyfriend.
You could almost make a necklace out of that.

Gina's Photos from Tuesday

Thursday, July 01, 2010


And I have put a new demo up on Myspace, about my dear tutor Stuart Morgan, and I still miss him and  wish he was still living in his little flat off the Elephant and Castle.

Playing tonight...

... at the World's End in Stround Green Road, Finsbury Park
Onstage about 10, free entry

Coffee at the 12 Bar