Sunday, October 30, 2022

Review by Cazz Blase

Big thanks to Cazz for this review of 'Drawing on my Dreams'. Cazz know my music really well, and i't great to have this review from her:

I'll write tomorrow about Rachel Love's gig at The Lexington on Friday night, which was tremendous. Still recovering from charging up and down the 99 steps at Whitby and the 5 hour drive back!

Thursday, October 27, 2022


I spent so long sorting out my drawings into sequence that I misread the clock, and arrived at Barbican station at the exact time the Studio Electronique film was due to start. What a bggr. Wanted to see the film and also my Doc'n'Roll and other friends. I'll have to go to see another of their amazing offerings instead.

Now sitting at home with a pie watching TV. Not quite the same thing, really.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022


What an interesting place... we travelled up on Saturday, getting spectacularly lost on the moors by accident, and slid into our accommodation late afternoon, giving us enough time to explore a bit before dinner.

On Sunday, it pelted down with rain. We had to give up and go back to get dry: the umbrella we bought blew inside out in nanoseconds. Monday wasn't bad at all: we watched as a group of men stood in the street, only one wearing a smart white shirt and a (rather dramatic) pink and red tie. The more casually dressed mates were taking the mickey out of the number of pens he had in his upper shirt pocket. It was a long-lasting ribbing which the smart chap seemed to take in his stride. I think we saw a seal, too. We drifted around the charity shops and the junk shops. It was tempting to buy things, but all too many of the antique shops had sections where there was N*zi memorabilia, or displays of g*llywogs. No! How can they do this? It all needs to be confiscated and burnt: there is nothing collectible about this stuff, it's revolting and retrogressive.

On the happier side, there's an amazing museum at the top of the hill and through a little park, full of all sorts of quirky treasures. The automata of the Whitby jet makers wasn't working, which I thought was rather funny considering the number of working communities in the UK who are currently on strike, or about to be. We sat at the children's table and drew with the crayons for a while (all the children were in the huge playground).

We were so busy. We went to an awful craft fair that had those sorts of things you make out of kits that are almost completely made already. We ate really great breakfasts and really great dinners. We ate ice cream and crisps. We were big babies. We stood where the tide splashes high, and we walked on both arms of the harbour. We went on a boat trip and we sat in cafés. We walked up the hill and down the hill and at rest time they watched awful Disney films, while I read a John Grisham book that was lying around from cover to cover, before continuing to read Sasha Swire's memoirs. There were thousands of dogs, often with owners who did not understand the concept of short leads when walking in crowds. We bobbled over cobbles, took photos of each other, squabbled and joked. The town was full of excited children scrapping with each other and being told off, elders negotiating impossible climbs very, very slowly, crap pre-hallowe'en decorations, and bonhomie. 

What a wonderful few days away from the fascistic machinations of the British government. Soon, fun will become illegal. It was good to get our fill before the inevitable happens.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

And Mr Whippy To The Rescue


It's Raining in Whitby

Well, here we are in Whitby in a tiny cottage. It's raining, and we have already been soaked through: we're sitting watching trash on the Disney Channel having stuffed our faces on very dry cheese scones that crumbled all over the floor. Our shoes, clothes and outer garms are drying on the radiators and smelling. The kitchen tap drips and the car is a million miles away, but that's Whitby for you. The shops are all out of umbrellas, and the one we managed to find turned inside-out straight away in the wind, and trashed itself before you could say 'vampire'.

True to holiday form, I got about five hours sleep last night because everything from the whole of my life visited me to torture my thoughts. This always happens and is why people go on holiday. I lay in bed and heard the church clock striking all the way to half past three a.m.

One of our party isn't very well, and my body is suffering because the builder who came to fix boards in the loft last week didn't have an assistant, and roped me into helping him to load the boards up the dodgy folding ladder. He said I needed new insulation and wanted more money for doing that, so I ended up doing it myself. I went on strike the next day, and he had to cut the boards in half in the rainy back yard and get them into the loft on his own, but my body damage was done. My back, my arms, my hips and my tolerance just said 'no'. He huffed and puffed and sighed big builder-volume sighs, but I was immune to his attempts to torture me with his pathos. Never again. No more builders in my house, ever, not even with the gigantic discount his conscience forced him into!

Before we came away I took seven black bags of filthy fibreglass insulation to the council dump. It felt so good to get them out of the house. I also mended the Dyson vacuum cleaner for the nth time. Dyson and Tim Wetherspoon epitomise sour 21st century entrepreneurial capitalism: things that work until they don't, and then the inventors/entrepreneurs sit in a corner snarling, despite having cleaned out the public with their enterprise, and stashed the cash somewhere safe from prying tax demands.

What an indulgent moan. It's also a holiday from being nice and tolerating things, just today anyway.

Thursday, October 20, 2022


I have been drawing for a commission, a children's book about sustainability and clothing. This is one of the drawings, which I'm actually re-doing because electric shears are more appropriate for the sequence of illustrations.

I'm doing this in a little oasis of calm (a time oasis as well as a place oasis), because the loft is being boarded and the builder is using me as an assistant. I'm not happy about having that role at all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Helen and the Horns

Two days to go till it finishes! I couldn't resist another visit to the inspiring Cornelia Parker exhibition at Tate Britain. This was taken by Mandy otherwise know as Champagne Friend, who had the idea of Helen and squashed Horns!

Autumn Tour

I'll post ticket links as the gigs approach!

BTW it's Dartington, not Dartmouth!

Gideon Coe Plays 'Coffee and Hope'


Gideon Coe played Coffee and Hope again last night.

I have had some good airplay: Gary Crowley has played Beachwalk; Dexter Bentley, Andy Lewis and Robert Rotifer have played Amazonia; Wallace Dobbin has played Things Like This and Coffee and Hope. Apparently the producer Steve Lillywhite was singing its praises on Radio 365 last Saturday but it's behind a paywall and so I can't get to hear it. What a bugger that is! An actual producer.

I've almost finished sorting out this tour. Next year, I have a list of places I'd like to go back to: Ramsgate/Margate, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Birmingham, Stockton, Manchester and Liverpool. I'd like to go back to North Carolina, and I'd like to play in New York and San Francisco. I'd like to go back to Germany to play and I'd like to play in Paris. I'd like to play in Caracas, and I'd like to play in Japan.

Big dreams, small budget, medium sized person available to stow away in someone's luggage for the craic!

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Monday, October 10, 2022

Records and Tea

Today we'll be rehearsing four songs by our band The Chefs, including this one, to play at The Betsey Trotwood in November. Tickets here:

The original version is here:

Sunday, October 09, 2022

Have You Ever Met You?

When I was at Brighton Art College, I used to hang out with a chap called Simon. One day we were sitting having a cup of tea in the canteen, and he told me about this band he had been to see called Joby and the Hooligans, who had a really good female bass player with a scary face and winged sunglasses. I thought he was playing a game, and I nodded along as he spoke. I finally realised that he didn't realise that he was speaking to her right there and then, and she looked completely different without the scary sunglasses.

Something similar happened when I was in Amsterdam earlier this year showing the She-Punks film, which I appear in myself a couple of times, briefly. An English musician came to the screening, and we were chatting afterwards. 'I've been to see Helen McCookerybook play in London', he told me. Again, I thought he was teasing, but as he carried on, it dawned on me that he didn't realise that I was the person in the film. He looked astonished when I told him.

I thought having multiple identities was just about names, but it obviously extends far beyond that.

Saturday, October 08, 2022

England Versus America

What a stroke of good fortune! On our street WhatsApp, the one that is a total wind-up when someone pings really early in the morning to complain about being woken up early in the morning by car-horns tooting and wakes you up, four tickets to the England vs America match were being offered at face value. Damn yes! How exciting! It was a nightmare to organise for some reason, but we managed to join the sea of excited people flowing into Wembley Stadium and totter into our seats despite the vertiginous angle and terrifying height of the stadium. What an exciting game! I'd been led to believe that the US team was bound to win, but from where we were perched, it was soon apparent that the England team were more than a match for them. I'm not even really an England supporter, being of Scottish and (ahem) American heritage, but I confess to being blown away by the sheer perkiness and team spirit of this current incarnation of women footballers. The crowd were great- there were lots of children out with their mums and dads, lots of teenage girls with false lashes, ponytails, mobile phones and screechy voices out in a gang for the craic, studenty types, us, and normal blokey football supporters, and we were all out for a great time. It was thrilling to see a team play like a team instead of a set of competing star sportspeople, and there was no doubt that this is what won them the game. Nobody hogged the ball or appeared to need to be a star. They were fearless and solid, and took everything in their stride. The US team, especially after half time, substituted over and over again, but even the fresh energy didn't work. There were lots of close shaves (I literally had my head in my hands at least five times), but it was unbelievably exciting and completely cathartic, especially given the totally toxic political state we find ourselves in. 
God save football if not the King: it was rather funny to her people revert to habit and save the Queen until they remembered during the Nashnal Anthum. Alas we remained seated, Republicans all, but we did clap when both teams took the knee, and of course all of us yelled as the two England goals whizzed into the net. 

Packing Up CDs

Staring to pack them up to send off on Monday!

Do take a listen if you haven't yet:

Thursday, October 06, 2022

New Album Coming Out Tomorrow

I've got pre-release nerves... all that time getting it all together. I have a short tour at the end of October/beginning of November. I need to make a poster, but I want to wait till after tomorrow....

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Cheese Roll Terror

The Ivy House where we played last night normally does food. Robert got there first and texted me to tell me they weren't doing it last night. It was too late. I was nearly there.

In the spirit of the Old Days, I decided to have a corner shop sandwich. There was only one thing left, a cheese salad roll. I bought that and went to the venue.

The roll was huge, cold and rubbery. It stuck to the roof of my mouth as I tried to chew it, and it didn't taste of cheese. I opened it. The huge dense doughy lump, about 15 centimetres long, had only a small square of cheese in its centre section, a shaving; less than a quarter of a lettuce leaf was stuck to the margarine, and a translucent sliver of tomato rested on top. The rest of the roll was empty: it was quite extraordinary. 

I bought some ready salted crisps to make it into a crisp sandwich, but even they were enveloped-to-drowning in the pillowy stodge, and I ended up abandoning it completely.

Why waste a whole blog posting on a cheese roll? Because it wasn't a cheese roll. I'm not even sure it was a roll: if that was bread I'm a flying pig.

Talking About My Songs

Thank you to Loud Women for the invitation to do this! 'Drawing on my Dreams' will be released on Friday on Bandcamp, as downloads and as a physical CD.

I Haven't Stopped For Breath

Saturday's gig at the Con Club was almost cancelled because of the rail strike (which I support BTW), and hats off to Shelley Guild for going ahead. How lovely to see Basso, aka Baronet Bassam of Brighton, one-time conscience of the Brighton punk subculture! There are so many great 'asides' to being out there gigging, and one of them is being reunited with friends from years ago.

Thank heavens for a listening audience! I love it when people catch the little bits of humour in my lyrics and laugh out loud! I played a mixture of older (including Let's Make Up at the request of Shelley) and brand new songs. 

David Lance Callaghan is an admirable guitarsmith, and was joined by a drummer, Daren, for the second half of his set. They played loud and punchy songs, David's guild guitar style being pushed and pulled by the drums. Excellent. The headliner was Gerry Colvin, once half of Terry and Gerry who were also John Peel favourites. Gerry was accompanied by Trish on accordion and was a perfect showman, conducting singalongs with the audience who knew all the words to his skiffle-based songs. He is as much a comedian as a musician, and his set was perfect for a potentially dismal Saturday night. Everyone left with a smile on their face!

Last night's gig was at the Ivy House, a cosy little theatre-type venue in Nunhead, London. I listened to Darren Hayman and Jack Hayter do their soundcheck, and really enjoyed the pedal steel and guitar combo: there is a lot of space in the songs and I have resolved to properly investigate the Hefner back-catalogue. Props to the audience for turning up early to see McCookerybook and Rotifer play- there was  really decent crowd there right from the start and I think we did a good set for them- it felt wonderful! 

I left early because unfortunately I am a bit under the weather. How did I know? My guitar felt really heavy to carry, and I had no 'bounce' in my walk. I am working on illustrations today and hope to recuperate a bit. The adrenaline of playing can always get you through it though, and it was a wonderful evening despite that, and big thanks to Darren for including us.

Photo by Amelia Fletcher.