Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cinderella at Sadlers Wells

I took the girls to see Matthew Bourne's Cinderella at Sadler's Wells last night.
We love Matthew Bourne's shows, which are great for people like us who are not connoisseurs of ballet, but who like to see something special at Christmas.
We were sitting really close to the front of the theatre, which meant that the recorded music was far too loud and I had to stuff crumpled up bits of tissue into my ears, but once I'd done that I could settle down and enjoy it!
It started off with newsreel footage from Wartime Government Information Films that instructed people what to do when the bombers appeared in the skies above them; a man hid in a ditch, and there was a lot of footage from the rear, of suggestive looking fire-hoses extinguishing the flames in bombed-out houses; behind a mesh screen, a family of characters watched what we were watching.
As the screen rose, we were presented with a strange, large family; father was in a wheelchair, a supreme irony in a ballet. There was a horrid, slimy, foot-fetishist lodger (I thought), two glamorous ugly sisters who looked like younger versions of Gert and Daisy (of the Wartime Cookbook), and various other characters. All was in black and white: blimps on sticks hovered on the horizon, and the beautifully-made clothes were in shades of grey. Not only was it black and white, but it also had the feel of a silent movie, with the dancers acting and dancing along to the pre-recorded Profokiev soundtrack that was punctuated by bomb explosions. They were very quiet dancers; although I could hear them breathing (very subtly, through their nostrils), their footfalls were much lighter and more delicate than those of classical dancers with their blocked shoes.
I read some reviews of this ballet before sitting down to write this, because I wanted to know who played the part of Cinderella. I think we were lucky because we saw Noi Tolmer dance the part. She is of Thai origin and she is really the most exquisite dancer: she dances as lightly as a feather, so beautifully that at times I felt like crying.
This is a very romantic ballet. The critics have complained that there is not enough dancing in it, but there is so much else there, and the choreography is fantastic when it happens, starting with Cinderella's dance with the dummy that suddenly comes to life ( with it's references to Liesl in The Sound of Music). (actually, the funny little woman with the 'earphone' hair was straight out of the concert scene in The Sound of Music too). The contrast between her fluidity and the male dancer's stiffness was amazing.
The foot-fetishist (Cinderella's all about shoes, innit?) was genuinely sweaty with juicy lips (ugh!) and kept sliming around just when he wasn't wanted. There were funny bits, sad bits, horrible bits (set in wartime, you could feel the panic and greed in the air, so much at odds with the fabled 'Wartime Spirit'). There were references to Sleeping Beauty that a child could understand, and it was well-cast with old-fashioned head shapes and profiles, although with occasional 1980s-looking hairstyles sometimes they could feasibly have been Matthew's clubbing friends!
The wicked stepmother was truly wicked, trying it on with the leading man (an airman with a suspiciously clone-like moustache); she was a mistress of arch expressions. She tried to suffocate Cinderella with a pillow before being marched off to prison. I liked the fairy godfather too, who conducted everyone whenever he was needed.
We absolutely loved it, and I was blown away by Cinderella's dancing. I think the critics who wrote about this ballet saw it danced by another lead dancer.
Noi Tolmer has just the charm that the part needed and the lightness of bearing that went perfectly with the themes of doom and redemption; it was genuinely magical and we left feeling glad that Matthew Bourne had delivered another inspiring evening out to a family of arty-farties who don't get to go to the ballet very often!


Rest day; coffee, clementines, laryngitis, girls at ex-partner's, Christmas tree lights (tree drooping), past-sell-by-date food to eat in fridge.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dommage de Fromage

What did I eat today? Two clementines, a whole team of cheese footballs and half a chocolate Santa (Lindt, of course).
Then I went to Viv Albertine's Christmas leftovers party, armed with some more cheese footballs and pistachio nuts (and a chocolate Santa for her daughter, Lindt of course). The table was piled with turkey sandwiches, pasta, nuts and cheese, and half a Christmas pudding.
I met a chap I went to Art College with in Brighton, Dave McFall, who is an animator and who is married to  Sally, who was in a band called Ut in the 1980s. Dave has not changed at all, and he showed me an animated Milka cow he had made using the hand-drawn animation technique which is fading out of fashion, but which will come back into fashion again ( a bit like vinyl recordings, as his partner pointed out). It was really cute, a little purple and white cow on his mobile phone screen.
I also met a writer, Lindsey Shapero, who used to be a journalist for the New Musical Express when I was in Helen and the Horns, and who now writes TV dramas. Lindsey also has not changed at all, apart from her dress style: she used to be a biker girl clad head to toe in black leather, zipping up and down the UK motorways documenting the exploits of King Kurt. I had always wondered what happened to her as she was great fun, so it was rather nice to see her again. She wrote the funniest ever review of the band and was definitely their most intelligent fan.
Viv was looking spectacularly beautiful, and so was Gina; we talked about our gig in Gateshead in February, which will be a great adventure: three rock'n'roll mamas (quite literally) heading up the A1 with a Fender Twin Reverb in the boot of the car and assorted fabulous guitars.
The party became more and more full: Tessa was arriving just as I was leaving to see if I had any more cheese footballs at home.
One of the guests had carried off the tin with great glee and had to be asked to return it, sadly depleted, so that Gina and I could finish them off.
Cheese footballs, the heart of Christmas joy.

The boot of my car is full of hundreds of cocktail sausages. It's my birthday tomorrow and Bruv is throwing a party for me. There is no room in the fridge, so the sausages are keeping cool out there in the winter's night, tempting the urban foxes with their delicious aroma.
I expect to wake tomorrow morning to a fleet of tawny foxes circling the car, eyes glinting and noses twitching, oblivious to the early morning shoppers.
Can't wait!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Screechy Beyonce

Oh dear! Beyonce's on the box and she sounds so awful that I am reaching for the earplugs!
Man, can she bellow. She needs to listen to Aretha and learn how to sing quietly as well as belting it out.
It's a bit of a cheek I suppose, because I am not in her league as a singer, but I'm not on TV on Boxing Day either.
Her sub-Madonna sexy thing is really weird too....
Now, back to those Daintees gigs in Newcastle before Christmas. I have literally never heard the band play so well before. One of my favourite albums is Van Morrison's Live album, which has some of the most beautiful and subtle playing on it as well as some of the most exuberant and confident playing.
Well these gigs (especially the first one) were in that league of musicianship, but not with session musicians: these guys are committed to Martin's material, they are his band and have been for years, and they played absolutely brilliantly. Hats off to John Steel and Gary Dunn for being graceful enough to share lead guitar without ruining it by being competitive, to Anth for rock-solid bass playing and to Kate for being an amazing drummer with the neatest snare playing I have heard for a long time.
They were gobsmackingly good nights, with sharp playing, Martin's quick wit, and an excellent sound guy who made it seem as though the Cluny never ever had bad sound in its entire life. I liked the sound guy extra because I could see him bobbing his head to my songs too, always a good sign, and all the way through the Daintees' set Shippy stood at the mixing desk with a bit grin on his face.
Martin had bought some 'gold' watches at the transport caff at Peterborough for six quid a pop, and he awarded them to his band for long service. Shippy, the promoter of the Jumpin' Hot Club, got a 'gold' pen with his name on it, and so did I. The watches even had spare batteries thrown in!
Pauline Murray of the Invisible Girls came to the second gig with her partner and I am going to interview her for my book (haven't asked her yet though) and she is also going to get her guitar out and come and play a couple of songs in February at the Central Bar in Gateshead the night that Viv Albertine, Gina Birch and myself play solo. All punky band ladies, playing solo! Ha ha! Pauline has never played solo before but she was really enthusiastic about the idea, and she knows that all three of us have been in exactly that position ourselves. I will tell Gina and Viv tomorrow.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Merry Christmas, especially if you are spending today alone.
Families are not all they are cracked up to be: go out and have a peaceful walk, and celebrate yourself today!
I promise to write a proper review of the Daintees Christmas shows, but I did have to share the hilarity of yesterday evening's Nine Lessons and Carols service at St John's in Barnet. It is s lovely event, because the choir is amazing and their choirmaster, David Willetts, chooses some beautiful carols for them to sing.
The congregation was a symphony of Christmas hairdos and from a distance resembled a selection of delectable desserts, sugar-coated and blowtorched to caramel sumptuosness.
Three fidgety teenage girls got into the pew behind us (they arrived late, of course), and shrilled their way through every carol, perfectly in time with each other but finishing every line at least two beats before the rest of the congregation.
Finally, O Little Town of Bethlehem was scheduled.
For some unfathomable reason, St John's uses a different melody to the standard one, very beautiful but unfamiliar to most people in the congregation, who pick their way through it nervously and sigh with relief when they manage to complete it.
The three girls were completely undaunted by this. They sang all the way through at maximum volume: they sang the melody that they knew from start to finish, confidently, loudly, and unstoppably, completely disregarding what the other people were singing and the strident commands of the church organ.
What chutzpah!
Noisily, they left a few songs and readings later, presumably to go to the pub.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Christmas Everybody!

Oop North!

Ah... only three teenagers here this morning, one more than belongs to me (no trains because of the weather).
I've been out to do the shopping and piled some rolls on the table for the gurlz; almost time to make the giant flask of coffee and then Martin and myself are heading to Newcastle, the rush through the slush, to the Cluny gigs where there's going to be a good old line-up of Daintees to play the winter blues away.
I have selected a winter-weight cowboy shirt for the occasion but apart from that will be travelling light, leaving my cares behind.
Will there be any food in the fridge when we return on Christmas Eve?
I expect Christmas Dinner will be beans (no toast) and tinned li-chis.
What could be better?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Oh yes, this morning... a line of six duvet-wrapped sausages on the floor and another on the couch; two went home in the wee small hours because they didn't fit. A night of birthday celebrations and a morning of hangovers.
And this evening, six different teenagers round the kitchen table eating coq au vin prepared by the other Offsprog. I had to float above them close to the ceiling to get upstairs, because there was no squeezing-round space.
It's all a larf, but I'm glad it comes but once a year.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Glasgow and Edinburgh

 Glasgow Accies was just as jolly as ever, in spite of the freezingness of the weather outside. It was stuffed to the gills and the Daintees put on a fabulous show, augmented at times by Jamie's harmonica, a fantastic fiddle player and Charlie Carruther's mad Donald Duck impersonations. Bruce Moreton did a short routine that had everyone in stitches. In spite of the talkers at the back (they come out every Christmas just to stand outside the Gents and yak all the way through) Martin's wit was to the forefront and they did some great versions of their songs. At one point the brothers Dunn did some very tasty harmonies that inspired Martin to quip 'Aha- the Alessi brothers!' which made Anth crease up so much he could hardly play. Later, Anth ran through some classic bass-lines, much to the audience's delight: they were all deeply uncool and therefore cannot be mentioned on this blog but the audience were delighted.
These photographs are from the sound checks at the Edinburgh gig, which was held at part of the Cafe Royale, the Voodoo Rooms. The Cafe Royale has well swanked up since the last time I was there, when it appeared to be visibly rotting. It's all been done up in black and gold, all the mouldings on the ceilings picked out in gilt, plaster swags swaggering, and teensy lights peeking like distant twinkling stars from the backdrop! They treated us like Kings (and a Queen) and brought out huge plates of grub, which we sat and tucked into round a black-clad table. McMum braved the ice to come to see The Daintees for the first time, and I sat with her at the side, where she was impressed by Martin's stream of consciousness lyrics and declared afterwards that she had wanted to dance. Not bad for an over-eighty, I thought! We did our best ever versions of Heaven Avenue and Loverman and the Daintees did a great version of Colleen, a brilliant Long Forgotten, and lots of others that I really liked (including The Lilac Tree).
I can't write much more- I am tired out after a train from Edinburgh to Glasgow and a very long journey back which took eight hours. It was a lovely Scottish trip- everyone seemed to be in really good moods and very relaxed, which melted a warm and welcome gap in the ice and snow.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I had no idea what to title this posting: words fail me, for once.
Last night, amidst Offsprog One's hectic reunion with her best-friend-at-home, which included baking banana and chocolate muffins (hooray! that's the bad banana gone from the fruit bowl) and watching wall-to-wall episodes of The Green Wing while eating them and talking at top volume, Offsprog Two called from Bournemouth, where she'd been to visit the Art College, shouting:
I was the only Mummy who answered the phone, and I rather crossly agreed to finance the return to London for all three of them, if I could get tickets on some sort of transport.
She hung up on me, because I was cross.
Eventually, after a drama of shouting, hanging up, shouting, and hanging up, her two friends and herself had worked out the best thing to do was to travel by National Express bus.
For ten pence a minute, I listened to Options, and more Options, until by the time I got to speak to a person,  I had developed a coolly angry tone.
'This call is costing me ten pence a minute and it's an emergency, so don't ask me anything irrelevant and do this a quickly as possible!'
The young chap was frightened into efficiency by my haughty snarl, and in mega-quick time I'd bought three bus tickets and the silly trio were on their way home.
And so to today; between wall-to-wall tutorials, and attempts to input 173 marks to the computer system (which promptly lost them as soon as I went on to the next page), the phone rang again.
Offsprog One, this time:
'I forgot to take down the reference numbers of my train tickets so I can't collect them from the machine! Please can you log into my email account and text them to me?'
So I hacked into her account and sent her the numbers, juggling anxious students and the computer man who phoned in triumph, twice, to tell me he'd fixed the problem (he hadn't, and still hasn't).
The house is stuffed full of Offsprog Two's friends; they are her human shield, as she will not have to have a conversation with me about being stranded in Bournemouth if they're all here. Offsprog One has gone off for a couple of days, leaving a trail of half-empty cups and hair dye boxes.
Me? I am off to Glasgow tomorrow, where I will meet up with Martin and the Daintees for a lovely gig at Accies, then to the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh on Saturday.
If anyone ever talks to you about 'the peace and tranquility of rock'n'roll', they are absolutely right.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tea, Cake and Cardigans

I suppose tea and cake doesn't sound quite so good, but I no longer drink and so my Champagne Friend and myself have taken to meeting at the Wolseley and catching up with each other's news before window-shopping in the West End of London.
Janet Street Porter was just leaving, her cap of shiny pink hair a beacon of good health and independent living; Miranda Hart sat at a table looking very happy, with Patricia Hodge amongst her company.
We ate onion soup and Battenburg cake (Champagne Friend) and an omelette and coffee cake (moi).
It's a perfect treat; afterwards we walked down Bond Street looking at the twinkling lights and the even-more-twinkling jewels, and went to Liberty's to look at the baubles in their Christmas shop.
We each bought one. Mine was so fantastically lurid that I shall have to take a picture of it.
I have two days of work before I head to the frozen north for the Christmas Scottish gigs in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Martin is heading to Aberdeen today, meeting up with band members from all over the country.
Right now, I have to go and pick up McMum's Norwegian cardigan from the dry cleaner's. It's a vintage one that I bought from eBay, and I'm a bit worried in case she thinks I've just given her some old second-hand thing. But I remember being dressed from thrift shops as a child, actually, so perhaps the wheel has turned full circle!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Is Jeremy Clarkson turning into Michael Barrymore
or is Michael Barrymore turning into Jeremy Clarkson?

The Rrrants Christmas Special

Fortified by miniature chocolate LPs (oh all right then- After Eight Mints- it's the sleeves that do it!) I headed on down to Camden, an easy journey for me. It was heaving with people, even at 6.30 p.m. but they were setting up in The Camden Eye and I took a pew to wait for the proceedings to start up.
I was soon joined by an extremely inebriated young man who demanded a hug, asked to borrow my spectacles, showed me his tattoo, asked me how old I was, told me how old he was, and was a thorough nuisance.
Luckily, my Champagne Friend turned up and I was able to escape; the inebriated young man turned his attention to the next lady in the row and I could hear him pestering her in the distance.
There was a selection of very interesting acts: I really enjoyed the Anti Poets and the Russian Spy, but was not so sure about the spoken word chap who entertained us with lurid physical sex-details: but who am I to complain, who wrote a song called 'Thrush' when I was a mere teenager?
The Bruvs Big and Little turned up with their partners (hi Sarah!), and so did Lester Square, and I hove to the stage to be joined by Paul Eccentric and his spangly band the Rrrants (the keyboard player was lost for a while, but we called 'BEEFY!!!' a few times and he appeared out of the crowd).
We played a jolly rendition of Loverman, a remarkable soulful rendition of Heaven Avenue (the trumpet player had written some lovely brass parts), a rackety On New Year's Eve (I forgot the chords but pretended that I didn't), a splendidly funereal Temptation (the trumpet player, when I looked round, was clutching a euphonium to his lips: I threatened to go downstairs and get my big guitar), and Footsteps at my Door, the fastest I have ever played it.
Do you know what? It was huge fun. They are really good players and it was a massive thing that they had learned all the songs so well and seemed to enjoy playing them so much. There was drums, double bass, keyboards, self on guitar, tenor sax, trumpet/euphonium and two other vocalists: a big band! What a laugh! I hope we do it again!
I've been recovering today and enjoying a feeling of total relaxation.
The horrible term is nearly over, the tension is leaving me, the Christmas tree is up, the Glasgow and Edinburgh gigs are next weekend, I've finished the therapeutic Baked Alaska story, and already made a New Year's Resolution: never again will I allow work to crush imagination and creativity out of my life!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Delights of Droring

Of course, now the students have decided that they like me and they realise that what I have been teaching them is not, after all, pointless, but if they listen to what I teach, they will do well in their assessments.
As always.
My outlet over the past ten days has been rising to the challenge set by Gina and The Gluts to a draw-off between my Baked Alaska and The Gluts' Arctic Roll I have become thoroughly absorbed in the task and now have a piece of fake sheet music to send them when it is finished on Monday morning.
I have really enjoyed it, and it's given me a lot of spin-off ideas.
I also sent off for a book of Aubrey Beardsley's drawings, which have been inexplicably (!) censored so a lot of the chaps are wearing big anti-artistic black capes that Aubrey himself didn't draw, to hide the very rude extremities that he did draw.
I love the blackness-and-whiteness of his style; although I draw really differently, having the work of such a brilliant artist to hand stops me from slipping too far into the ditch of dumpster scribbles.

Today is Tree-day, and Christmas Special day.
I went to buy a little tree and decorated it this morning, fuelled by some very strong coffee, as Offsprog Two cooked Christmas Dinner for some friends last night, and clearing up afterwards (well, that's a good thing) took two very loud hours and rapidly started to approach morning.
The tree smells delicious!
And later, I'm off the Camden Eye to sing. I have rather a sore throat which may have been caused by the vicious anti-moth spray I've been using, but I'll just have to sing a hole in it and if I wear my party clothes then maybe it won't matter so much if I'm a little hoarse.
I'm really looking forward to it!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gig Tomorrow, Camden Eye

Saturday- it's my Merry Christmas gig at the Camden Eye, a wink away from Camden tube station.
It's a Rrrants Collective benefit night with loads of bands- I'm on at 9.30 but it starts at about 7.30 and costs a fiver to get in: all proceeds go to buying poetry books for secondary schools.
I have borrowed Paul Eccentric's Big Band for the evening so it will have a different twist!

The Definition of Hope: Plane-spotters at Luton Airport on a Foggy Day

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Light Bulbs

Are they called Low Energy because they haven't got the energy to start up when it's cold?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


I've just bundled up as many jumpers as I could find into black bin bags and shoved them into the boot of the car: I found a moth-hole in one of my woollens this evening, and I have heard that a blast of sub-zero temperatures kills the grubs.
How dare they eat my clothes!
The offending garment is rolled up amongst the frozen peas in the freezer, although I may end up throwing it away because the hole is big and undarnable.

Why did I buy that moth-eaten knitted vest at Spitalfields market?
It's lurking in the car sniggering unpleasantly and if it doesn't shut up immediately I'll put it on the compost heap with the potato peelings and onion skins; and the sticky toad that (I suspect) has interleaved itself amongst it all as it rots to keep warm.

Beautiful Tree with Lights in the Fog

Sunday, December 05, 2010


Thanks to Wilky for the much-appreciated Friday cheer-ups and to Anne for the very funny naked angel!

Sticky Skeins

Been away: Offsprog Two filled house with friends, and dishwasher with food-filled pans.
I know they ate lasagne.
Webs of solidified mozzarella, spun between the tines of the forks.

Steve Albini at The Art of Record Production Conference

I didn't take anything along to write notes down at Steve Albini's keynote speech, so my Musician's Union Diary, already full, bore the brunt of my spidery black scrawl, all over the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and around the continents, crammed into the blue of the seas where I could read it.

Albini learned how to record musicians in the 1980s, working with assertive punk rockers, and therefore has only ever called himself a recording engineer. None of the bands he worked with back then wanted an 'auteur' producer with their own artistic input, spreading ideas-goo all over their songs, so Albini learned to record bands the way they played to their audiences, and has done ever since.

He said that he realised that he was not a 'record producer' when he saw a couple of 'record producers' in action (at this, the audience burst out laughing).

He told us that digital recording technology was developed from audio editing products, not audio recording products, hence the emphasis on working on the sound after it has been recorded rather than beforehand. He called this trivial, and the work that engineers do in digital studios 'circus tricks'; well, on this point I have to disagree slightly, having done such a lot of analogue recording in the past.
Many of the engineers and producers I worked with were prone to 'circus tricks' and it was just such a waste of expensive studio time back then as it is now. But the fact that digital recording was invented to 'solve the problems' of recording does ring true, and that is why the Take One album was recorded so simply and as a series of one-takes.

He told us how he built his studio out of adobe bricks that he bought in Mexico for 35c each and transported to Chicago for five times that amount. Adobe, being mud, totally deadens sound and is perfect for a studio that does not want reverberating walls or floors: it doesn't transmit anything, almost working as a sponge for sound-waves that want to bounce around all over the place.

Apparently at his talk in London the night before he talked a lot more about his recording methods, rather than the bigger picture. I wished I had been there for that too, as he's such an interesting speaker. Listening to an enthusiast is always inspiring, and I am beginning to think that I might set up my own recording studio- digital! But using Pro-tools for good live sound.

After a five hour drive up the A1 (McMum was worried about jacknifed lorries so I decided to avoid the M1 which I suspected would be chaotic) I did see one high-sided vehicle, tipped over all three lanes on the M58 and blocking the exit; we crawled for a while, in temperatures of -4, but it wasn't a bad journey.
I didn't have time to get 'I-am-going-to-present-an-academic-paper' terror, but more or less had to launch straight into it.
Although I only got about 1/3 of the way through, I managed to show my Futuremusic slides of nerdy white guys nestling in their studios, and I had some good feedback afterwards, mainly in the form of chaps who teach music technology to mixed groups asking me how to keep the girls interested and the boys from taking over. I had an idea on the way back in the car; I hope these guys will keep in touch because I'd like to put it in to action.
I also met some interesting female engineers, and was delighted that Paul Theberge, whose writing I really like, came to the presentation and told me afterwards that he had enjoyed it.
It was a trip well worth making, and it was a pity I couldn't afford to stay for the rest of it- especially the papers on song writing in the studio and King Tubby! (wow, that would be an interesting one!)
I have to save up for next year's conference. It's in San Francisco. I want to go, and I want to do some gigs there while I'm at it!
A New Year's resolution, made in December.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Frozen University of the East

Well, I was there at 8.30, although it took two hours... the three students who made it in were grateful. It had been four, but one of them hurt his eye, and his car was written off, in a skid-induced head-on collision: I tried to get him to go home but he wouldn't go till his sister came to pick him up.
Now that's dedication to learning for you!
We had an intensive two hours on essays; afterwards I scoured Zoe's Slits book for the story about Dennis Brown and the assumption by Island Records that he'd be able to mix Grapevine in the studio; of course, he's a vocalist, not a producer. The tea lady did it, with The Slits.
I think it will fit in rather nicely with the bit in my paper on stereotypes!

Dunno if I'll get to Leeds. It's going to be so cold tomorrow that I think I will wait until the water in my car radiator has a chance to thaw out and set off a bit later. I really, really want to present the paper after all this work. The part of me that wants to loll about at home with a hot water bottle and a cup of chocolate tomorrow evening has lost the battle with the part of me that got a buzz out of digging about for obscure articles and mashing them up and making something new.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Girl Power Point

I've spent much of today uploading images from Futuremusic to Powerpoint. It is a specialist magazine for music technology consumers and it has pages and pages of nerdy white males sitting in graphite-coloured nests made of keyboards, audio machinery and computers. I was going to do the same with another mag but it was a laborious process and I think the point will come across. Halfway through, the anti-trip Apple lead fell out (OK! I tripped over it!), corrupted all the files and I had to trick the computer into recognising the jpegs again.
This is my final image: I've decided not to talk about hip hop but I did want to put this nice hip hop honey in front of a mixing desk to see what she came up with. She is visiting Futuremusic from XXL, a specialist hip hop publication, and she's just getting dressed again (did you think she was stripping?) before she gets to work editing her audio samples and rapping over the top (that's rapping, not raping!).
If the snow carries on, I probably won't even get to the conference (Leeds seems to be particularly badly hit). Caroline Coon has read the draft paper and she says I should do another book! I need to re-work the first one first, and then I need to have a very, very arty rest; writing academic papers and books is so meticulous and time-consuming and I do so hate sitting still. I want to dash out there and do loads of gigs, and I want to go to play in New York in the spring, and festivals in the summer.
I've parcelled up all the articles in neat files to take back to work tomorrow, and there are three bags full of academic books in the boot of the car where the CDs used to be. I've brought them in as I don't think they'll survive sub-zero temperatures.
Part of me thinks I know the whole thing backwards so I won't need notes; the other part thinks I'll be struck speechless if anyone looks at me funny and I'd better make some prompts. Will I feel like doing that tomorrow evening after work? Maybe I should do it later this evo...


Those four-litre milk containers- like having a bloody cow in the fridge.