Friday, March 05, 2010

This blog has moved

This blog is now located at
You will be automatically redirected in 30 seconds, or you may click here.

For feed subscribers, please update your feed subscriptions to

She's a Punk Rocker

Last night's excursion to The Merchant's Hall in Islington was fun; Gina and Caroline were there, and we watched Zillah Ashworth's film, She's a Punk Rocker, sitting on a motley collection of old chairs. The sound wasn't up to much (strange speakers I suppose) and it was bloody freezing until Zillah's partner Sid fixed the enormous gas heater blaster thing which then roared like mad and made it even harder to hear, but the film looks great- it's really colourful and does the whole subject justice.
Afterwards, Ginger Baker's daughter Ginette read from her book. The microphone wasn't up to much either and in several people's opinion the reading went on for too long; one audience member told her afterwards that she had reduced punk to just fashion and f*cking which made it just the same as any other subculture. I think she had; but then I also think that it was the sort of subculture that had room for everybody.
That was the point.
So for her , if it was just about finding a sexy boyfriend and dressing up, that was OK.
Her Mum was great- she came and took the microphone afterwards and talked about her other daughter, who played guitar in Zillah's band, and who was constantly being asked by guys she was trying to be in a band with if she was 'foxy'. The Mum was incensed by this, and articulated her feelings very well. Gina wants to interview her for her documentary!
We met one of the artists; he told us that he painted the right hand side of the paintings and his partner painted the left side. What a great idea! He was rather pleased, as he was obviously a better painter than his partner; he let us discover this for ourselves, which I thought was very funny.
Rob Ayling, who runs Voiceprint (that's the label that releases my records) was sitting in front of us, much to my surprise; but he's distributing Zillah's film on Voiceprint and that's why he was there.
We talked about crying when cats get put down, which wasn't much of a business-like conversation, but the whole evening was slightly surreal, with a black labrador wandering around trying to get in the photos.
The chap sitting next to him was probably famous: as he left he said 'I've got to go, I'm producing Leonard Cohen's new album at the moment'. That is the sort of thing probably-famous people say, isn't it?
This is how I know I'm not; the thing I say is 'I've got to go, I haven't had any dinner yet and I've got last night's curry in the fridge'. If that changes, you will know I have crossed the divide and become a star.

The photographs are of Zillah and Ginette (and the paintings- you can see my fave of John Cooper Clarke and the budgie), and Gina sitting next to Gina, painted by the left-hand-side artist, which is why the painting looks like somebody else.
These screenings and talks are fun. Go if you get the chance.
Oh yes! I am supporting John Cooper Clarke and Don Letts in Hereford later this year! I am really excited. Years ago, Helen and the Horns supported John Cooper Clarke at Ronnie Scotts. I remember Molly Parkin pursuing him hotly, and, I think, rather a snog going on. The man is a genius, and put him next to Don Letts- that's a dream gig to see, let alone to play at.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


I had always wanted a tortoise, until later I found out that you have to keep them in a run that they can't see out of, and that seemed cruel to me.
Anyway, now I don't have so much as a blade of grass in the back yard.
But when the Offsprogs were little, I dreamed that I worked in the nursery part of a primary school, and they were giving away their tortoise.
How exciting! Of course I volunteered to take it, thinking how excited the Offsprogs would be.
Suddenly, in a moment of self- awareness, I realised that it was all just a dream.
'Aha', I said, 'This is all a dream and although I can even feel the scaly tortoise in my hands, as soon as I wake up, it will be gone and I will have no present to give to the Offsprogs'.
'Aha', said the dream back to me, 'This is a special sort of dream in which if you are given something to take away with you, it is actually real, and it's there when you wake up.'

So, of course, I believed the special dream; and so, of course, I woke empty-handed and sheepish with no tortoise to give to my little girls.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Couple of years ago, there was a terrible clattering commotion at the cat-flap in our kitchen door.
Alarmed, I stood up from where I had been working at the kitchen table, and went to have a look.
Enter the Whippersnapper, triumphantly bringing his booty home for his family: a dead mouse... complete with the whole mousetrap that had deaded it.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Goodbye, Whippersnapper

Monday, March 01, 2010

On Being Sarah Cox

Out in the yard, helplessly moving plant pots around like blank chess pieces, I overheard Radio One. 
It's being listened to by the adjacent builders.
How can this be? 
Sarah Cox, standing in for Fearne Cotton, teases the (male) listeners with constant references to breasts, as though she is a man herself, and a misogynist one at that. 
She must be utterly desperate to be one of the lads: I have never heard such pleading to not be a woman in my life.
She interviews someone called Davina (could it be McCall? I hope not! Surely she has more sense!). Davina is riding a bicycle for Sports Relief and, over and over again, tells us how sweaty she is in her lycra gear. This seems infinitely more important to her than raising money for a charity; did she work out this priority for herself or did the producers of the show persuade her to demean herself in this way?
And the BBC is axing BBC 6, the station that plays proper music to proper listeners.
That's what happens in a recession, isn't it? The tw*ts return from the wings, triumphantly brushing aside any sort of social progress, and if you don't go with their flow you get stuck in a backwater and labelled boring and worst of all, 'a feminist'.
Well, a 'Sarah Cox' is not a good thing to be, is it?

Two Interesting Articles

Cazz Blaise's article in the f-word on women and punk: the intro
Caroline Coon blogging about images of women musicians on British stamps