Monday, October 31, 2016

And I Made A Paper Keyboard

The solution to having no musical equipment at all when making soundtracks for films, and having no money to buy equipment, was to draw a piano keyboard on paper and put it on the kitchen table then set a stopwatch to the length of the track and 'play' the music in my head while practicing it with my fingers.
In the studio, it was played on the real keyboard in the studio and worked just fine.
Later, I used to ask for half the fee in advance, and bought the equipment I needed with that.


I have been filling in a questionnaire for someone today about music work.
One thing I remembered was playing my first ever song to my music teacher at school at the age of 14 and having her say "You didn't write that song!" and slam the lid of the piano down.
That is old school (!) teaching. I didn't write anything else for five years.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

I Didn't Win The Lottery Again

I was hoping to win this week so I could get hold of a huge building in Northumberland and start up a an orphanage and school for Syrian children, with music, art, therapy, and education (including British and Syrian history plus language lessons).
I was describing this to the woman behind the till when I bought the ticket but she glazed over a bit.
I don't think she realised that I meant it.

Sunset Blush

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Silencerz at The Bull, Barnet

The Bull in Barnet is now a theatre school, so it was a good move for the Silencerz to play there this evening. Barnet has been a pretty dead night-time town since the arts centre closed down; it was livened up a bit tonight.
There was a great DJ who played some superb vintage ska tracks as clips of 1950s black and white sci-fi and horror films were projected on to the wall behind the stage. There are ten Silencerz and the trombone player, Julian, is a mate of Offsprog Two's. It's always nice to have somebody to cheer on, but the whole band were pretty nifty. Most of the tracks were covers (not keen on the Paul Simon one, Mother and Child Reunion, but Offsprog Two said that it's a people-pleaser, and she's right) but I also enjoyed the original song they played before the interval. There are one or two Blockheads tracks in there too, but the best ones were the proper ska tunes. The band is bloody tight, and the chat between songs is amiable and witty. It didn't take long for the audience to burst out of their chairs and start dancing in front of the stage; the pub had come to the theatre, and halloween costumes mingled with beer bottles held aloft by bouncing blokes and glamorous ladies. It was a very happy evening.
I'm such a music bore that I spent ages working out which guitar parts were played by who. There are two guitarists; one plays a Fender Jaguar and the other a Stratocaster, and they took turns playing the bubble and the /-ska parts; I tried to watch the chords for licks to steal but they were too far away. And as usual, I wished that I could drum. It's ska and rockabilly that do this to me. The Silencerz drummer is very good.
I came home early to nurse my poorly chest. It's been a music-filled week, with the gig with Martin in Nottingham on Monday, Robyn Hitchcock on Tuesday at Cecil Sharp House, and the Silencerz this evening. Next week I'm off to see The Raincoats and Angel Olsen and hoping to get my voice back in time to record Femme Fatale. For most of the past couple of days, I've been sitting staring into space and feeling miserable. I don't do a good 'being ill' and I've drunk enough cups of tea to sink the navy.


The Smallest Room, Hull Trains

Water but no soap, and a strong lemon fresh smell.
The one on the East Midlands train that I caught before had soap but no water, and no lemon fresh smell.


There might be one bad apple in the bowl that will make the other apples go bad eventually.
Human beings are not apples. If someone has done something bad to you, the human in you should tell you that is is not right to do the same bad thing to somebody else, whether fifteen years, fifteen weeks or fifteen minutes later.
I once said this to someone and straight away, they told me that they loved me.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Barnet, Showtime City

To clear my head, I went for an autumnal walk.
All over, there were signs of Barnet's showtimeness.
I took a photograph of a miniature guitar cunningly disguised as a chipped paving stone, and a natural stage just waiting for stars to trip across it in their sparkly gowns doing the can-can.
Back to the sofa.

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Pop-shield in one hand, microphone in the other; central heating bursting into life, texts chugging on to the phone, Offsprog One laughing on the phone upstairs.... pedal-driven Logic Express wheezing along weakly; singing Femme Fatale sent shivers down my spine.
The Skat cover of the Velvet Underground and Nico song was originally recorded at Alvic Studios in West Kensington by Mike Robinson, who had produced the first Chefs session for John Peel, assisted by Richard Preston, son of Dennis who was the former business partner of Joe Meek.
I think that's called metadata.
I remember our drummer Russ Greenwood putting a tambourine part on the song, and we hired an organ and I sat on the floor and played some chords almost as though I knew what I was doing.
We were a band about to split up, although we didn't know that yet.
I was doubled up half the time with the pain of what I was to discover was a duodenal ulcer; it was a stressful band to be in. Nobody seemed to like each other much and things could get pretty ferocious; even the sound engineer joined in once, leaving the van parked diagonally in the middle of Kingsgate Road in West Hampstead one night after a gig, just because he was so annoyed with everyone.
Yet I am still very proud of what we did and the songs we wrote, and of our cover version.
The Charlie Tipper Conspiracy have done a great backing track. I hope I do it justice.

Bonjour, Les Francais!

For the first time ever, more French people are reading this blog than anyone else. I would love to play in Paris!
Here is the French version of Footsteps at my Door, although I've never played this live and I'm not doing gigs as Helen and the Horns at the moment; it's the thought that counts:

Colds and Songs

So we all have colds, and it's time to deep clean the house to get rid of any lurking germs.
I've washed the kitchen floor, cleaned the cupboards and door-handles, cleaned the cooker and disinfected the worktops. The washing machine is roaring and screaming (anyone would think it doesn't like it's job) and huffing and puffing at the same time.
This is a problem because I'm not as poorly as I thought I was and I have several vocal projects that I want to work on, but the kitchen doubles up as a recording studio, and that bellowing machine's got another couple of hours to go yet.
I'm restless.
I've been working on some lyrics for Lester Square, but I'm doing that in half-hour bursts because the critical eye when I come back to them is a blessing and makes the process really enjoyable.
I have transcribed the lyrics to Femme Fatale which I'll be recording later, located an elusive version of Footsteps at my Door to send to Richard Cundill, and I also hope to sing the backing vocals to Women of the World, then sing over Martin's bossa nova version that he sent last week, and then watch some rubbish telly.
I can do a lot of this tomorrow but actually I want to do it today, because I'm looking forward to all of it. As I wait for the washing machine to stop whining and grining, I've written an extremely detailed lyric over the melody of a song from the Titus Andronicus pantomime that I wrote songs and music for with Dave Jago almost a million years ago. The song was called Thumbs Up, Hands Down and bowls along like a roller-coaster. All it needs now is a crash at the end. Or not.
Sometimes songs really are the only way to say what you really feel.

Some coincidences: Drew Morrison mentioning that he had the Skat version of Femme Fatale in his record collection, then Tim Rippington asking me to record it with the Charlie Tipper Conspiracy. And the woman I happened to be sitting next to a Cultural Traffic a couple of weeks ago starting a conversation with me about football chants (her ringtone was a football chant), and talking about a documentary about Millwall Football Club that she'd watched the night before called No-One Likes Us, We Don't Care. And that being the programme that Lester Square and me did the music for- I went off to the matches and recorded the chants. Another coincidence happened too but that's enough coincidences for one day.

Somewhere in the world....

Somewhere in the world Brownies still exist, lending a hand.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I, Daniel Blake

What a good film. At last someone is making art that tells the truth. The acting's a bit stiff at the beginning, then the whole film takes off when Daniel starts telling the little girl about his wife loving the shipping forecast music. It's funny as well as poignant and there is a wonderful act of defiance at one point, which I will not spoil for anyone who hasn't seen it yet.
You go along determined not to blub, but it's impossible not to. At the end, the cinema was full of sniffling adults quietly dabbing tissues at their faces.
There is a pointless backlash in some of the right wing newspapers, I hear.
Why waste the words?
This film is honest enough to have won international awards by telling it how it is for the poorest people in Britain, who are bullied by a relentless system that employs people who are already bullies to act out its horrible policies.
You must see it.


The Theatre Royal Circle Bar in Nottingham is a gorgeous place to play and it was great to be back; many thanks to David Longford and the rest of the genial and welcoming crew. Thank you too to the audience for singing along to The Sea, and for listening to the rest of it all.
The original sound guy from Brighton's Alhambra, which burned down in (I think) 1980, with an awful symbolic ending of punk's band madness, was there, so was Bev and her sweet son, and so were Pete and his partner: congratulations on your imminent sprog!
It was nice to play again with Martin after many months, and catch up with Mick, June and Laura. June took this pic of us playing Heaven Avenue together. After a mad dash back to the Smoke to try to get back for student tutorials on Tuesday afternoon, not one of them turned up.
All that anxiety and lugging the guitar and bags about station, street and toon, and all those experiences of train loos in varying degrees of aroma, decor and shortages of soap, water and cleanliness. I am now a train lavvy expert in imminent danger of reviewing the lot of them, except it would disgust my frail and fragrant readers.

You could get very stressed if you never did anything else but studenty things: God Bless Gigs.
Photos: June Whitfield

Monday, October 24, 2016

Nottingham Theatre Royal Tonight

Tonight I will be supporting Martin Stephenson at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham.
This photo is from yesterday's gig at St Paul's Church in Stoke Newington, as part of the Stoke Newington Music Festival. Many thanks to Fran Isherwood for inviting me along!
I went early to see Feral Five's set, where they debuted their song Void which will be on the #notinourname album (to be released next week on Bandcamp). You can listen here to the track in advance:
Photos: me by Offsprog One, and Hank Wangford by me.

There's something heartwarming about a gig that features in the audience a baby wearing enormous ear protectors almost as large as it's head, and a duo of elderly ladies enthusiastically tapping their feet to punk electronica. Can't beat it!
I wandered off into the depths of the Hackney and Stoke Newington wilderness to tea with Lester Square and Jo, getting lost on the way and only finding the way there after sternly telling myself that a woman of a certain age with a guitar on her back blubbing in the street was not appropriate. When I got there, I was treated to a preview of his great new album of instrumentals (very film-theme), tea and baklava, which put the whole day back on track.
Later, back at the church, Hank Wangford took to the stage, sorted the sound out and then treated us to a set of new songs, for the first time ever without a band, he told us. Hank's a storyteller and couched the songs within vignettes about his communist childhood.
We sang along and then listened in silence as he told us what this government has done to contraceptive and sexual health treatments- taken them away from the NHS and made them the responsibility of local councils, then slashed council funding. I didn't even know this; I was talking about it to Offsprog One this morning and saying that the myth around the Conservative party has always been that they know what they are doing with the country's finances. How they snorted with derision at the Labour party when they took over from them!
It is sobering indeed to realise that they don't have a clue about what they are up to; it's beyond cynicism, beyond incompetence. Babies would do better. Sorry to digress, but so many things are making me weep with disappointment and frustration at the moment. The festival was collecting in aid of the charity Brook and I hear that they were able to contribute a substantial amount towards them.
Oh yes, my bit!
No babies, no elderly ladies (all went home for kedgeree and Antiques Roadshow, I'll bet) but plenty of people there including a chap who'd listened to Helen and the Horns on the John Peel show and who came along out of curiosity, and the same again with a chap who'd been to see The Chefs. Funny how the two audiences were different: oil and water, different sounding bands, different sorts of gigs.
Since recording the last of the album songs, and the Country Soul Sessions gig where Gem Andrew and her band and Drew Morrison's crew were so massively supportive, I've kind of got my mojo back; thank you to the audience for singing along to The Sea (my own contribution to the above album). I loved it, even though I forgot to spit out my Fisherman's Friend (latest must-have cough sweet) before the first song.
So tonight, I'm off to the Café Bar at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, and really looking forward to it!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Zoe Plays Glittery Drums

This is Zoe playing Jono's pink glittery Gretsch drum kit this afternoon. It was all very Abbey-Roadish; and we were fuelled by Fisherman's Friends to clear out brains and send steam flowing from our ears.
Job done this afternoon. Thanks to Zoe and Jono (who played bass); almost time for the He-mails and She-mails, version two.

Women of the World

I'm just sitting having my second breakfast. Me and Gina are each going to do giveaway tracks for people who donate towards the completion of Stories from the She-Punks, and mine is going to be this one, originally recorded by Martin, I think- but complete with drums (Zoe Howe, on her way here- amazing!), bass (Jono, also amazing and on-way-here), and a mass choir, yet to be recruited.
I've just listened to make sure the structure is there.
Oh yes: and Herb Alpert-style trumpet too of course.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Singing 'London' at Amy's Lounge Last Week, Or It Might Have Been The Week Before....

Good Place To Store A Free Newspaper

Taken yesterday morning, on the ginger line from Camden Road to Stratford.

Photo from Stageit Show

Photo by Katy!

A Very Boring Story About A Tripod

Ages ago I bought a tripod (and a selfie stick fitting that I would never use) from the Apple shop so I could film stuff without holding the phone.
Last night I got the thing out to assemble so I could film the Stageit show (but didn't manage to because of electronic interference once the show started).
I tried to put it together for ages, and eventually resorted to the instructions, at which point it seemed that there was a vital piece missing. It had been mega-wrapped in cellophane and two boxes, but it was the first time I'd opened it after buying it tow months ago, so I took it back to the shop today.
They unboxed another one to check it before doing the exchange and the same bit was missing from that box too.
I'm sorry; I did tell you the story was boring.

Monday, October 17, 2016


I feel like an octopus! And every time I deal with something in the queue, there is something else waiting there to be done. Breathing space on Wednesday, thankfully, and music in Wednesday evening, double thankfully. If only I could grow back that missing fingernail.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Online Kitchen Concert this Wednesday!

Don't forget to log in to my kitchen concert on Wednesday at 7.30 p.m.
Tickets available here:
I promise I'll do the washing up beforehand!
Photo by Daniel Coston, ace photographer from Charlotte, North Carolina, on Dolph and Dana's porch last year.


I bought a bottle of what I thought was still water on a very busy day.
I literally didn't have time to drink any of it, until I was completely parched and absolutely had to.
Unscrewing the lid, I tipped it up for a massive swig and recoiled in horror, almost choking.
I'd bought fizzy water by accident.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Little Girl by The Heptics

I love this song


...thanks to Colin Spencer at Radio Wey:

Photo From Tom's Studio

This dreamy photo was taken at Tom Greenwood's Studio in Wood Green, must have been around 2008 when I was recording the album Poetry and Rhyme there.
I keep finding things; moving the Offsprogs' belongings about, clearing out the loft and putting new rubbish up there (temporarily I hope), I have found all sorts of old photos and drawings.
I wish I had a functioning scanner, but you know how it is: you get a printer, and it won't scan, then you get a scanner and it won't print. Things won't talk to each other, a bit like people sometimes.
For instance, we have been given a new grand piano at work, and it's completely honky tonk. I didn't realise grand pianos could sound honky tonk; I thought they always sounded grand, but this one doesn't at all. The notes don't talk to each other, they just plink and bong like strangers on a train, and I can't imagine music sounding nice if anyone plays it. It's a destructive instrument, not a creative one, but apparently it's going to be fixed.

I'm burbling, I know.

I've had an admin day today to catch up on things, as well as get rid of things. Three bags of cut up carpet went to the dump, plus a Christmas tree trunk from two years ago that I persuaded myself would come in useful some time. One bag of CDs went to the charity shop, plus some children's books, and there is more to go before the drawbridge is pulled up for winter.
The house smells of laundry because I've been washing grey things and sticky things. Best not to ask, really, but they grey things are a shade lighter and the sticky things are no longer unpleasant to touch.

Ah, music. My album is going to be fine-tuned mix-wise, and then I'm going to do an illustrated lyrics book to go with it. I did some illustrated scores for some of my songs a while back, and some 'sheet music' (can you have ironic sheet music? I think you can!) for a song called Baked Alaska, and also illustrated one of Martin's albums a few years ago. the time seems right to do it again.
That might have to wait until after tomorrow; I have some lyrics to write for a project that Lester Square is working on, and also a vocal for Femme Fatale to sing for Tim Rippington. It's so nice to have some music projects on the go again.

Radio Woking With Elaine McGinty

Yesterday evening after work I went over to Woking to meet Elaine McGinty and do an interview for her show on Radio Woking, which is broadcast from a studio in a school in the town.
We talked about anything and everything: mostly Stories from the She-Punks, but also punk in general, the local scene in Woking (Elaine is part of a group of people who have secured a building from the local to open up a new live music venue focusing on Woking music). Elaine played music from some local punk bands and also tracks by The Raincoats, The Slits, X-Ray Spex, Penetration the Mo-Dettes- and Let's Make Up by The Chefs.
Big thanks to Elaine, and I was touched to hear that she and Dave Hammond, from The Smelly Flowerpot show at Cambridge Community Radio, have made contact and are exchanging music from local bands in both areas- now that's what local radio should be about!
Here is the link to the show:
Photo: Elaine McGinty


Those smiling eyes
The camera sees
Used to be
The eyes for me.

Hope Not Hate Album 28th October

Please support this campaign by buying this album for £5.00 when it comes out later this month.
We have all donated tracks to support the campaign. I donated The Sea, which is about refugees and holidays in the sun, and how they don't quite fit together.
There are some brilliant artists on the album (including Feral 5).

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


No 6ths or 9ths; broken fingernail RH3.


If we admired grubbiness rather than cleanliness, I would win a prize at the county show. I've been shifting furniture (big time) and I've unearthed the biggest dustballs you ever did see.
Every so often I have to move everything to let someone in to do some work on the house.
This has been a three-day marathon, with two bin-bags off to the charity shops and three in the car waiting to go to the dump.
Now, I'm Just Sitting.
There is no energy left in the tank, no power left in the limbs. My knees are wet from kneeling on the floor and washing it; my hands are gritty and my hair is full of dust and cobwebs.
This is such a cathartic thing to do- or it will seem so, when I've recovered in a few day's time.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Photos From Cultural Traffic, Friday

Setting up; my stall; Steve Mick from Sniffing Glue reads his poetry, including one about bringing his girlfriend Alice, who had ideas, to a fanzine meeting: "I got the sack; Sniffing Glue was just for the boys".

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Stageit Online Show Streamed From My Kitchen

This is an online-only show streamed from my kitchen, where I will be performing on Wednesday 19th October at 7.30 p.m.
You register on the site and pay what you want. The show will last for 30 minutes (although they do allow encores).
I will be playing songs for my new album (as yet untitled) as well as some requests.
Here is the link to click to register:
Photo: Steven Tagg-Randall

Bad Weather


Today, I feel that I saw a contemporary definition of contempt. Someone had thrown a discarded coffee cup (with some coffee still inside) into the container for food donations in the supermarket.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Thank You Colin

Colin Spencer played some tracks from my new album this week.
For Tuesday's click the link below; more this evening from 9 p.m.

Round My House

This is Kim's photo of Pete from Fan Club and me round my house, probably in about 1980. Kim and Charlotte moved to Deptford from Brighton, and Fan Club wrote a song about them called Deptford Bike Dollies. We used to hang out together, all under-employed musicians and artists drinking tea and eating toast at each other's places, and chips in the evening. We talked about everything in the world and we were cheap (clad in plastic and second-hand leopardskin prints) and cheerful (and sometimes not). We fell into and out of love, and had painful crushes and damning spats.
Out of the picture is my plastic goldfish bowl with my two fish, Curioser and Curioser (inspiration for some of the lyrics to Boasting by The Chefs and Toby, my second-hand budgie with the loud whistle and the robotic voice (inspiration for the song Toby by The Chefs
The Chefs was all about four walls and the small things inside them. That included feelings, relationships and the music we listened to (which is why we did a cover of the Velvet Underground's Femme Fatale), claustrophobia and singing our way out of being stuck.
I think that's what all art is about really: an attempt to fly, even though gravity stops you from doing so. We need to see people flying to make our stuck lives bearable, even when we can't do it ourselves.
We all look for a person to fly together with and land together with, but synchronising that is the most difficult thing in the world.

Monday, October 03, 2016

The Country Soul Sessions at The Spice of Life Last Night

It was a cathartic evening.
I unwrapped my best cowboy shirt from its dry-cleaning polythene. Sometimes, when you get something dry cleaned and it looks all nice, you feel like you shouldn't wear it again, so that was quite a hurdle too. My best cowboy shirt came from The Rat's Nest, a shop in Charlotte, North Carolina, that specialises in vintage western wear and has a garden out the back full of saggy sofas and a makeshift stage where rambling bands play Johnny Cash songs in the dark. That's partly why it's my best shirt, but it also has diamond-shaped black buttons and a black'n'white gingham trim round the pockets, and that helps too.
Sorry for the digression, but I've had a long day at work and my brain's a little rambly as a result.
I had been looking forward to this gig; Gem Andrews, who is an Americana artist that I first met in the north east at a gig at The Cluny where we were both supporting Martin, asked me over a year ago to support her and her band, so it had been in the diary for a long time, like all the best gigs ever.
She has been touring with the band and this was the last date of the tour; they were tired but in excellent spirits, tucking into mega plates of food when I got there. Drew Morrison, who runs the gig, was warm and welcoming, and there was a really nice vibe in the basement bar where the gigs happen.
First to take to the stage was Caroline Mary, who has been on tour with them. Caroline has a gorgeous voice; I can't think of a better way to describe it than like the best ice cream you have ever tasted. I have her CD to listen to, and I really think she should play Indietracks next year, if anyone out there's listening. Drew's band The Darkwood, played next, a set of wood-smoked country songs with a stylish twist that got all our toes tapping in their assorted footwear. The room filled up with regulars and Drew's genial stage persona increased the general sense of bonhomie.
My turn; these were hard acts to follow but when there's such a positive atmosphere in the room, nobody's scared, and I really enjoyed playing with all my heart and soul (even if the country bit only peeped in from time to time). They laughed at my jokes. Bless!
Gem passed her little dog to a friend and the band assembled around her. After a 30 date tour, they were as tight as anything, swaying in unison and playing as one. They started with the Ladybird Waltz, Gem's crystal clear voice augmented by Nicky Ruston's beautiful harmonies. I was struck by the fact that the band sing along, even though they have no microphones; they are so connected to their lead performer and her material that they live it as they play it. They love their gig.
One song in particular brought me to tears; I think the name of the song was Caroline, about a friend of all of the band who set up a choir of synchronised crisp eaters. It was a lovely song, one of many. 'We're wearing your smile'.
Watching band with such great musicians, the gender of the band is irrelevant, but because I write about these things in my other life as an academic, I do have to say what a pleasure it is to see such great musicianship from a keyboard/accordion player, drummer and double bass player who are not blokes. The one man in the group is the violin player, clearly chosen for his merits above his gender, and an absolute sweetheart.
Apparently the little doggie sometimes watches, but tour fatigue must have set in because she/he snoozed throughout the show.
I can't tell you how much I appreciated the warmth and good humour of the night. Thank you to my friends who came along, the new friends I've made, the sound guy who was absolutely great, and the chap who hadn't been to see me play since the Count of Three Titus Andronicus pantomime at The Hoxton Hall aeons ago (oh, another life, another life). Unbelievable for a London gig, I sold four CDs to boot, and I vow to spend the money on chocolate, and chocolate alone. I know the last paragraph sounds a little like a grandiose acceptance speech, but it's no less heartfelt for that. I need happiness- don't we all?- and last night it arrived in spades with bunch of great people and a bunch of great music.
(I nicked your photo Gem, I hope you don't mind)

Friday This Week

I will be doing a stall on Friday from 10 a.m. at this event:

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Thursday About Town

I discovered that I could do two things on Thursday evening, after doing nothing else all week. The first event that I went to was the launch of Mykaell Riley's Bass Culture research project, which he has succeeded in getting funding for at the third attempt, and not before time. He has had to be really determined, and at last funders have seen sense and understood the importance of what he's doing.
Mykaell is researching British Black Music, which he has been archiving for a long time; the launch was held at the newly-revamped Regent Street Cinema, which is part of the University of the West, and which is a thoroughly glamorous venue.
Dennis Bovell was standing at the bar and I asked after his son, Adrian, who I used to teach many moons ago and who is now a Seventh-Day Adventist pastor in Copenhagen. Another ex-student, Johnny T, plays fiddle for him sometimes. I also chatted to author Daniel Rachel, who has just published a book charting the history of Rock Against Racism, which I'm very much looking forward to reading.
The launch, after the corporate bits were over (they must have downloaded the corporate speech from the internet) was supported by some significant players in the London arts scene. Linton Kwesi Johnson (also with a pastor son, I believe) read his 1970s poem, Bass Culture, which was really moving, as well as being a first claim to the phrase; Dennis talked about his label, Lover's Rock, and putting female singers to the forefront in soft reggae, most especially Janet Kay.
I discovered that the Lovers Rock contingent were playing at the O2 on Saturday with Dennis in the band, but it was a little too expensive for me this time around- Tippa Irie was on the bill, as well as Carroll Thompson, so I hope to find them at another venue soon.
Time was marching on, so I decided to leap on the tube to Chancery Lane to join Zoe Howe at the launch of her book Shine On Marquee Moon in Blackwells, High Holborn. Alas, Oxford Circus tube station looked like a blocked kitchen sink plughole with hordes of commuters jammed around the entrance and unable to get in.
I legged it and got there just in time for a chat with Wilko Johnson, who was waxing lyrical about how he felt about Thin Lizzie (don't ask). I found it incredibly touching that he had made the effort to come out and support Zoe, who wrote a book about him. I think he's a nice geezer!
Alas, I missed the live music, but did have time to catch up with Kat 5, whose band Feral Five also contributed a track to the Hope Not Hate compilation (more of that next week) which features  myriad of artists' music, including one of my new tracks.
I started reading Zoe's book on the tube on the way home- addictive!
Pics: Linton Kwesi Johnson, and Wilko Johnson and Zoe.