Saturday, August 27, 2016

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Making Waves Issue #4

Making Waves zine is now out. Issue number 4 is available here and includes an obituary that I wrote for Frances Sokolov, aka Vi Subversa of Poison Girls, plus lots of other good stuff that includes an interview with the amazing Vivien Goldman.

Mr Medals

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Northumberland Prayer

River air
Spiced by the mud and the
nameless plants;
Green ranks meet brown banks
Where the midges dance.

Quiet, strong river
Raging silent, the silt-slicked flow,
Sun-warmed above,
Shadow-chilled below.

Bring me peace;
These turbulent times have hurt my soul.
I rest my pain in your nature's arms
Rock me to sleep
Restore my flow.

Saturday, August 20, 2016


Congratulations to Offsprog One for raising £300 for Fairshare Brighton today at the Wrestling Art Auction. It was hilarious! There was great banter between her and Misha, the auctioneer, and almost everything was sold. Thanks to everyone who came, and there will be more fundraising tomorrow through ticket sales for Lipstick and Dynamite (2 p.m. screening sold out, tickets still available for the 12 o'clock one)

Friday, August 19, 2016


Deafened by the constant building works in the neighbourhood, I have developed an 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em' mentality.
Yesterday I did seven hours of wall-scraping, and today, eight. Painted-on wallpaper is a nightmare to remove. You wouldn't believe how tiny the room is, and I've still got another day to do plus all the tops of the room where the wallpaper seems to be stuck tight.
My body has said 'Enough!' although I'll have to put in another full day on Sunday to finish it. My lungs are full of decayed plaster dust, my nostrils sick of the smell of damp walls, and I have wallpaper stuck to my feet.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

New Original Art Auction In Brighton, Saturday

This auction starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday; all proceeds go to charity. On Sunday, there are two screenings of Ruth Leitman's documentary film on female wrestlers, Lipstick and Dynamite.
If you'd like to view the artwork, it's here, and Offsprog Two is making a cross-stitch Jeremy Corbyn portrait which I will certainly be bidding for.
The events are arranged by Offsprog One, who is contributing this fabulous hand-appliqu├ęd wrestling jacket to the auction.
It's definitely worth a trip to Brighton!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

In Which I Attempt To Emulate Britney

I bought Now That's What I Call Music 94 at the supermarket so I could get down with the kids and I"m happy to say that none of the song writing students that I work with use autotune, unlike 99.9% of the tracks on the CD (okay, I'm exaggerating, but not much).
Imagine my joy when accompanying Offsprog Two to John Lewis today to buy wool to finish her Jeremy Corbyn portrait tapestry, which she's doing for Offsprog One's auction on Saturday in Brighton (more on that tomoz), when next to the till I found The World's Smallest Voice Changer!
I used to have one of these with a clown on the front, and I think it probably ended up in a bin bag destined fro the charity shop, one of those things I deeply regret.
Your voice goes in one end, and by the simple depression of a plastic trigger, an autotune voice comes out of the other.
At eight quid, this was a dead cert purchase.
I told the man at the checkout that I was a music producer, and to keep his eyes peeled on Youtube, where I would shortly be appearing in a vid that would challenge all 99.9% of those pop stars on the Now That's What I Call Music 94 CD (or words to that effect).
He clearly didn't believe me, and was astonished at the idea that I might be buying it for my own use.
I think I have a challenge to rise to now.

Cormorant Sketches

Beautiful dragon birds so difficult to draw, especially at a distance.

Last Whitby Selection

Alas, life has to go back to normal after holiday time. I chose Whitby out of curiosity, and because I was frightened about collecting my car late at night from a huge dark car park at Stansted on my own in the wee small hours, which was what would have happened if I'd spent the same amount on going to Lisbon. I really loved Porto when I went there for a conference last July and I know that Portugal is  avery special place.
But now I know that Whitby is too.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Playing the Luna Lounge Tonight

This is a last minute gig: Amy Corcoran invited me to play. It will be the two of us, two sets each.
the Luna Lounge is at 7 Church Road, Leytonstone, just next to Leytonstone tube, and the gig is free to get in.

Monday, August 15, 2016

From An Old i-D Magazine

I was wandering around Ladbroke Grove when I got stopped by the photographer who took this.
You could have knocked me down with a feather.
Some of the people I hung out with spent a fortune on their gladrags, and one of them told me that I didn't have the personality to be the front person of a band. Such were the New Romantic times, and manners.
I was also told at a party, 'I've got a pair of shoes like that!'. When I turned to look at the person who said this, he continued '... and I don't suit mine, either.'
Yes, such were New Romantic times, and manners.
Still, those shoes, which I'm wearing here, cost me £1.50. I think they must have been ends of a line; they were suede and did up with little toggles. The jacket came from my friend Alison who I used to work in shop with. It was blue suede with exceptionally curly sheepskin as a lining, and was falling apart rapidly. The trousers were 99 pence in a shop in Kilburn High Road and were too big, which is why I'm wearing a belt. The shirt was Army Surplus, and I could say it was a children's one because it was too small: but there were no children in the Army. It was just small.
The most expensive thing in the whole get-up is the leather belt, which I bought in a shop in the wonderful Kensington Market which had a shop that sold cowboy clothes. It was the only thing I could afford there.
So there's a fashion roundup for you, circa 1984 perhaps, I don't know.
John Peel was on the opposite page.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Gig at the Luna Lounge on Tuesday

Stop Press: I will be playing at The Luna Lounge, 1 Church Lane, E11 HG next to Leytonstone tube station, with Amy Corcoran, on Tuesday evening. Free.

Snails, Whitby Cliffs

I went for a walk along the cliffs and saw billions of snails. I don't know what made me photograph them because I hate them. They had climbed up some of the tallest plants and the kamikaze ones were crossing the footpaths to be stamped upon by hikers boots.
I can't bring myself to upload any more photographs than just this one, where they actually look quite pretty.

The Wrestling, Whitby Pavilion


The 50%-children-filled audience chanted at the red-faced, red-lycra'd bull-shaped man whose shoulders were hunched aggressively, arms swinging by his sides. Conducted by the opponent wrestler, as the insults grew in volume, the man's face grew redder and redder.

'DON'T CALL ME MONKEY FACE!' he yelled at the audience, belligerently.

Mon-key-FACE!', they shrieked even louder.

'SHUT UP!!!!'

I'd never been to The Wrestling before, and had contemplated going on my own on the last evening of the holiday in Whitby, when I remembered that Mick, who with June sells Martin's CDs, used to be a wrestler- and they lived not far away in Goole.
So we all went, including their daughter Laura who was as excited as a five-year-old. Actually that went for all of us, and we got a table by the round window and sat back to watch one of the funniest things I've ever seen.
It took a while to warm up but once it got going it went like the clappers. A good proportion of the fighting happened outside the ring and there was lots of dirty fighting to start us all booing- Screwface scrunching up people's noses with his fingers, the chap with the black and white beard stuffing his bum right in another wrestler's face, thumps, bumps, bouncing off the wires, over the wires, on the wires... my jaw ached with laughing and shouting and by the end my muscles ached too after all that sympathetic clenching.
Mid- way through, we turned round and saw the most magnificent sunset with little wading birds running about on the sand at the fringes of the sea.
Turn back again, chairs were being flung across the room, big oiled men were being flung out of the ring, and the wrestlers acted out all of the things we're not allowed to do as kids- bashing, bouncing off each other's stomachs, shouting, stomping about in a sulk, yelling in the referee's face and sweating like fury.
It was absolutely brilliantly marvellous, and the most cathartic thing that's happened all year.

Poor Sad Sandcastles, Whitby Beach

All that hope of grandeur in the moment, yet the next day the wind and the sea, in a demonstration of their power, have reduced those fabulous edifices to mere lumps and bumps on the beach.
The saddest fact of all is that my best photograph features my giant finger top left in the camera lens, so has been edited out.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Smelly Flowerpot Podcast Link

Live song session and She-punk chat from a couple of weeks ago:

Almost Enough For A Plate

It's a little-known fact that when Victorian ladies had done with their cup and saucer after tea, they simply threw them into the sea in a fit of anarchy.  That's why there's so much worn-down willow pattern china on our beaches; I found these fragments on the beach at Whitby this week.

Guests invited for a Sunday roast round mine will have it served on this almost-plate. Nope, I'm not going to glue the bits together. That is what gravy's for.

Whitby Workers, Whitby Work

Link for the Radio 4 Broadcast

Monday, August 08, 2016

An Afternoon at the BBC

In a completely different strand to the British Library and Stories from the She-Punks, I was invited to be interviewed by Samira Ahmed at the BBC this afternoon. Jess Allanic was there too, to represent young punk of today. The other person who was interviewed was Hazel O'Connor, about the film Breaking Glass, but that happened a couple of weeks ago.
I took this photo in reception today.

What a nostalgia trip. Some time in 1980, The Chefs had been having their photo taken in the West End by a food photographer to was hoping to become a rock music photographer. We ate the day's curry (still warm) and afterwards me and our manager Jonathan went along to Portland Place because a band we'd played with at The Moonlight Club, The Dancing Did, told us they'd got their record played by standing outside the BBC at 9.45 and waiting for John Peel to walk past for his show at 10.00.
Sure enough, he came in on cue, and said 'Come up to the studio!' I had been writing to him for months but hadn't expected this. we followed I'm upstairs and he put the record on almost straight away. I talked over it at first because I was so embarrassed in case he didn't like it, but he did- and he went on to play 24 Hours loads after that. What a gem he was.

Holiday Listening

This is my holiday listening selection; after that, I'm heading through the shrink-wrapped CDs that I've bought over the last year and not even opened yet; and Christine and the Queens and Kendrick Lamarr are in the post, I believe.

Sunday, August 07, 2016


I opened my laptop and a tiny fly flew out of it.

Lavender Polish

It wasn't a frenzy of cleaning: it was simply the desire to finish up the tin of lavender furniture polish, whose smears of grease were tightly tucked into the embossed pattern of the tin.
I dug the duster in, and dug the polish out.
Now I'm being overwhelmed by an overpowering smell of wax and synthetic lavender that's driving me away from the settee and forcing restlessness on me on a Sunday morning.
The solution could be a frenzy of cleaning.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Saturday Stumblings

Has the day been a fail? In some respects, yes.
I had made a plan to travel to Brightlingsea to watch Stephen Foster-Pilkington with his band, but discovered too late that by the time I got there they would almost be finished. I would try to exchange my ticket at Liverpool Street.
Unfazed by the fact that the Northern Line wasn't running this weekend as usual, I devised an alternative route and got to Liverpool Street bright and early.
The supplement would be twice what the ticket cost in the first place, the ticket seller was delighted to tell me, and I had also not left enough time to get back.
I gave up, but here he is for you and me:

It was very early for East London, where no-one wakes up till 1 p.m., apart from Gilbert and George who are usually having tea and cucumber scones by rock'n'roll breakfast time.
I wandered through Spitalfields Market, which wasn't even bothering to be a craft market or an antique market today. People were awake there, puffing and panting as they put their stalls together.
I wandered up Brick Lane, where it was far too early to be hustled to eat a mass-produced curry. I toiled up to Old Street, where no trains were running at all, and toiled to the bus stop for a bus to King's Cross; from there I made my way home.
I thought of different way to map London: perhaps by smell?
No, not a good idea at all. For every delicious roasted garlic smell wafting through the air and beautifully scented person, there is the overpowering pong of overfilled bins, diesel exhaust, cigarette smoke, people wearing rancid trousers, and dog and pigeon crap.
Something Should Be Done, I Feel I Should Say, but that's any big city for you.

It was still only 1 p.m. and the local market back home was open, so I marketed, then came back here and repaired a broken thing in the house (mysterious, eh?) and trimmed some unruly plants in the back yard. And now, believe it or not, I am slobbed out on the couch listening to Now That's What I Call Music 94 which I bought in the supermarket two days ago.
Who calls it music?