I’ve just posted onto my other blog, in the belief that what I was posting was of a more general nature, so it could go there instead, but actually, as I read it back, it is definitely appropriate for here too. I’m not going to get into the double posting thing, as over the period of the project, that’s going to get very tedious… as it is bound to happen again and again…

so here’s a link to take you there instead…


thank you for popping in!


ps… I’ve broken the link as it keeps taking me to the wrong post… either copy and paste it into your browser, or just find threads yourself on the blogs front page, or I’ll check back in a while and try to fix it… sorry!


I have written a song about domestic violence.

I worry about it though.

I think it could be a good one. I think also that it could be an important inclusion in the final nine. So it had better be a good one. Statistically, at least two of these nine women will experience some form of domestic abuse during their lifetime. I don’t want to get into the whole idea about these nine women mathematically representing the entire population, it isn’t that sort of project. However, the nine women are my responses, my ideas. I can only work from my own head, my own areas of experience, interest and research. Any other bits are someone else’s problem. Given enough artists, there will be enough overlap to cover the whole gamut of problems. But it can’t be one artist’s remit to cover them all.

I have in my life done work with families in refuges, have encountered domestic violence in schools I’ve worked in, and witnessed the effects it has on the children involved. I have met women who have experienced it at first hand, either as the abused, or as the child of the abuser. Not one woman has the same response as another. Their thoughts are as individual as they are, as the circumstances are. Each dealing with it, or not, in the best way they can.

My song is an amalgamation of about three or four of these histories. An invented woman taken from these places. I wanted to put forward a strength and stoicism, an acceptance of a situation that seems wrong to those on the outside, but that sometimes those on the inside feel they have no power to change.

This song originally had another section, that I am undecided whether to reinstate at the moment. I have removed it from here, and from the very rough demo I recorded to play to Dan, because it shifts the meaning somewhat…. It will need thought… Or perhaps that verse might become the germ of a different song.


Stride out, hold your head high 
No one knows what’s inside
Extra make up behind dark glasses
Don’t show you’re afraid

Prefer the winter to 
Small clothes of summer
Sleeves hide the marks 
On your tired skin

Smile at the adults 
Who used to be children
Don’t show them the man 
Their Daddy’s become

Take the secret 
To the first grave
Hope that it’s his
Fear that it’s yours
Fear that it’s his
Hope that it’s yours

Mustn’t tell anyone
Must hide the shame
He swears while he’s crying
Won’t do it again

This post can also be accessed as an audio file on SoundCloud.



I’m driving myself to the studio this morning.

Feels like a big improvement!


I want to finish wiring this red bra, and put her with her sisters. “It” becomes “she” as completion approaches. Sometimes these pieces that are garments end up with names. None of these have yet… but I’m open to the possibility. After all, when you talk to someone for a while, it’s only polite to discover their name isn’t it?

I had expected these garments to have personalities, and for them to have some sort of relationship with me… they all hold an aspect of my own character I’m sure, and there are common threads between many women here. But I hadn’t expected the strength of the relationship between the bras themselves. I now have three wired up and on top of the bookshelf in the studio, they talk to each other about me when I’m not here, I’m sure.



Today though, I want to look at my space afresh, with the prospect of it becoming a sound studio. In the middle of the afternoon it can become quite noisy. So it may well be we decamp to my house on the occasions when quiet recordings are required. I’m wondering if a portable screen thing across the window would work as a makeshift baffle, to keep in the noise we want, and keep out the noise we don’t. The metal windows are single glazed and reach the high ceiling. The occasional gatherings of snogging teenagers and smoking old men that congregate outside farmfoods on the wall can be raucous. The swaggering young men in caps and trainers and gold laugh and swear as they pass under my window. Apart from after school time, with the parade of pushchairs and crying babies, these happenings are unpredictable. As is the grind and swoosh of the street sweeper, who leaves his engine running while having a shouted conversation with either the old men or the teenagers… he seems to know them all. I think he leaves the engine running as a sort of nod in the direction of “still working”.


It may seem unlikely that I get any work done, as I am clearly fixated on what is going on outside. Well I do, and I am… both. I stitch while I listen. I know some characters by their voices alone, and have never looked out to see who the voice belongs to…except the man whose Black Country accent was heavy as coal, and sounded as if he was from somewhere far off and exotic. It was only because I could, later in the conversation understand the response of his companion, that I could decipher the mangled and extended vowel sounds and tune in to real words.


Some days it is like listening to a radio play, as the passers by are unaware of my existence above their heads.


Some of this noise I will want though… it will sit alongside sounds and lyrics and become backing vocal, brass section and rhythm. I may not be a musician, but I have come to consider these things my instruments. Good grief, that sounded pretentious. I do apologise… but the essence stands true.

This post is also available as an audio blog – please click here


There is a point I think, in most projects, trains of thought… whatever… when there is a wobble, if you’re lucky, only one, if it is a bigger project, possibly more. This is a bigger project, and I have just hit the first. I recognise the feeling as a crisis of confidence, and I am giving myself a bit of a talking to, in an effort to dismiss it before it takes root too firmly.

I am constructing bra number four upon the table in front of me. You might think, “Crikey! Bra number four out of nine? Doing well!” But no, because I have already decided to make more than nine, and then pick the nine that work the best when they are all together. So I could end up with 12……15…..? Who knows?

If I had not gained the funding for this project, it may not have happened, I might just have sailed along happily. But, having had the “yes!” letter, I feel, obviously, and rightly, a greater responsibility. If I would like further funding in the future from the Arts Council, I don’t want them to look at this at the end and them say “well that’s a bit crap!” I also feel a responsibility to the people whose hard earned money provided this opportunity for me.

So this wobble then, takes the form of an internal dialogue, that I wasn’t consciously aware of when I made the first two/three…. It goes something like this:


“Ooh I’m going to sew tassels and pom-poms to this one! Black! It’s going to be fun!”

“Fun eh?”

“Yeah! They will jiggle about!”

“Jiggle about?”

“Yeah! How great would it be to have a bra that jiggled about?!”


“Hmmm…?… What does that mean?”

“You’ve got all this money for this bra to be fun and great and “jiggle about”?”



“Oh… Well… I thought that there are probably a few middle aged women out there either jiggling about or wanting to jiggle about…. I kind of want to jiggle about…. Sometimes…..”

“Do you think a Proper Professional Funded Artist should be jiggling about?”

“Umm… Well… Errr… Actually…. Yes I do.”

And so it goes on, sometimes the serious voice wins and I waste loads of time time trying to find the falsely deep and meaningful in what I’m doing, instead of standing by the deep and meaningful that gets created instinctively, and gets thought about as I go along. The really confident me knows that this will happen, and sticks with it. The scared me is bowed by it and takes bizarre turns down theoretical cul-de-sacs and makes work that doesn’t fit properly.

This is why I will probably end up making fifteen bras, so that at the end I can filter out the ones that say “Please, no jiggling here, I am a serious piece of art!”

God forbid!


(I attach here, a link to a sound cloud file, this is a “secret” link that will only work for a while… I’m just dipping in a toe and testing the response… please let me know what you think, any constructive and practical ideas gratefully received)



I have a couple of friends who have visual impairments of one sort or another. I don’t really take much notice of it. I’m not even sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I think, because my relationship to them is as artist or songwriter, I see it as irrelevant – to me. It certainly doesn’t seem to affect the quality of their work as I see or hear it!

The one friend, Marion, has intermittent problems, and our communications are mostly online, so doesn’t impinge in any way on my end of the communications (I’m not looking good here am I?) and apart from the occasional aside in the conversation, she doesn’t mention it. The other friend, Nicki, I see more often, and probably communicate with through whatsapp more often, has a permanent impairment, and I basically ignore it, thinking that if she needs any help she will ask. I am really attentive on occasion though and say useful things like “oh look out for that cable!” whilst pointing. Good eh?

As a society we don’t think though do we? Nicki posted a video on Facebook that showed how her vision is in her “good” eye… It terrified me! But what really got me irate were the things that make the lives of sighted people easier, that are nothing but dangerous hazards to those with restricted vision – for example the posts and ropes things that guide the queue in post offices and such… when you can’t see the big picture, these are totally incomprehensible! Don’t get me started on people that park their cars half on the pavement!


Marion had been asking about text to voice software for her computer, so that she could keep up with things while her sight was bad. Apparently the software she was using was too fast, male, and obviously expressionless. I had the idea that I could record my own blog at least so that she could keep up with that (I’m selfless, me!). It would only take a couple of minutes. I recorded all of the entries for Nine Women, and sent them over. After the first bit of feedback, which was surprisingly good (must be all those years of practice reading to young children) it suddenly occurred to me there was another visually impaired person in my life! (I know, I’m crap). So I sent it to Nicki too… whether she wanted it or not. Feedback was pretty good from her too. She had some really good ideas from her experience of audio books and such.

This recording takes me hardly any time at all. If I have been particularly verbose it might take five minutes, that’s all. Then I started to think that maybe I could do my blog as a podcast too…widening access to it. Purely for my own benefit of course, as you can see from the examples above, I am not particularly altruistic or sensitive. I need to do some research about podcasts and how to best present them, and through which platforms… hmmm…

Anyway… my point… I am looking into making this Nine Women project blog into a regular podcast (I wish I had thought of this before I filled in the funding form!). I may do Threads at a later date, will see how it goes. However, I am happy to record it for anyone who would like it. I’m doing it to widen my audience of course. But also, because, whilst I’m not particularly sensitive or aware in matters such as these, having identified something I can do very easily to make my little bit of the art world more accessible, why the hell wouldn’t I do it?


PS. I promise not to park over the pavement any more too.


1 Comment