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I’ve been listening to the songs a lot, obviously, as they are playing into the gallery. I’ve also been reflecting on live performance of the same songs.
The differences in process fascinate me, and I’ve come up with an analogy that helps the visualisation of this process. Imagine sculpture… For a recorded song you have a lump of rock containing everything. It’s got trumpets all the way through, vocals and backing all the way through, guitars…. You name it. Then in the production process you pare it back until you have what you want. You can often go quite a long way… Less is more…(the analogy stops here because in the recording studio you can always stick the legs back on again if you change your mind).
In a live performance it’s the other way around… You can only put up what you want, and can’t take it back. The thinking process is hot and fast. For most of the songs I did, Dan and I rehearsed so we knew what we were going to put in. One of the songs- Reputation- we decided to be a little more playful… We rehearsed the process, I have to say Dan did all the clever stuff with the looper (I neeeed one) and we both sang. It was really good fun in a seat of your pants kind of a way… Well…. My pants… Dan’s pants, I’m sure (we didn’t discuss it) were fine!
I really like both versions, and enjoyed them for very different reasons. I put both up for you to hear the differences.




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Words and images are starting to appear in reaction to nine women now…
My friend and huge inspiration, Heather Wastie wrote a poem inspired by her trip to Dudley. Heather is the newly appointed Poet Laureate for Worcestershire, and supports all sorts of spoken word events, around that county and the Black Country… We teeter on the edge of both… My favourite being Mouth and Music in Kidderminster. I’ve read occasionally at open mic nights, testing material, dipping my toe into the performance bathtub…. Since Friday night, she has offered me a proper spot for September 8th… A short 9W set, with Dan!


So those of you that missed me on the preview night in Dudley, have another chance! I can’t believe it really…. From a stammering faltering open mic poetry reading a couple of years ago, to a proper set! Thank you Heather for your support. Mouth and Music is a special thing. Beginners and old hands are welcomed equally, they are nurtured, supported and helped. It’s ok to fail… It is a place where it’s ok to take risks, experiment…. And it is Heather who creates and maintains this healthy creative culture. I love it!
Please click here to see the poem on Heather’s Blog “Weaving Yarns”

Also… The photos are in… After a few explorations weeks ago with a variety of photographers/videographers who didn’t quite fit right, or reacted to the work the wrong way, or irritatingly, spelled my name wrong when it was right in front of them*, it dawned on me the answer was right in front of me all the time!

Laura Rhodes of Curious Rose Photography has been talking with me about her work and my work for ages. I am stupid, because here she is, a professional, creative, engaged, clued up, talented young artist photographer. But she was in my head filed under “family friend” because I have known her since she was born! What a twit! Anyway….

Laura did her thing… She set up tripods, and wandered about with a camera all evening just doing her thing. Because it was Laura I was relaxed and just for the most part, ignored her. The photos you see here, and on her blog, give a real flavour of the evening. People have said they wished they’d been there, just looking at the photos! I can’t wait to see the video! People are having fun. My audience are interacting with the pieces, discussing them and the issues provoked, seriously, but they are having a laugh, enjoying themselves. Laura seems to just be able to capture the moment, the feel, the interaction. I can’t tell you how much this means to me, and how much that contributes to the work, in the gallery, and in my head! It was a really brilliant evening from where I stood, sat, mingled… And there it is!
It’s not just documentation though, Laura is in there too. Her style, personality and her take on it all are obvious. I think this is what I wanted when I was looking and talking to other photographers, but I didn’t know what it was, I couldn’t articulate it because I didn’t know. What I wanted was a relationship.





*people… If someone is offering you work and money, don’t spell their name wrong. It pisses them off. It also tells them you don’t give a shit about the details.




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I sit here at the keyboard, with absolutely no idea in my head of what I’m going to write.

I had thought I would be posting immediately, but I have found what I needed was time to absorb, reflect and so on…


I have my earphones plugged in, because everyone else is sick of hearing it… listening to the recording of the performance.

Did I feel nervous?…. erm… no not really, I felt prepared.… excited though, yes.

Did I have fun?… hell yeah!

It felt like a real celebration, a really great way to round things off for this part of the project.

There will be audio, video, photos of the event… but we need to sift through it all first.

But for the impatient among you, here is a little snippet of the live show!

I want to go back to the beginning and do it all again.

But, that would not be possible, so much has changed since January! My ears are faster, I can discern certain things far more readily. My voice is better… more accurate, stronger, more confident of getting where it needs to. I know stuff about all sorts of equipment… and I neeeeeeed a looper…..


Turns out, I am a narcissist and a show-off. I put on my lippy and my posh frock, I talked about myself for hours, then I sat in front of everyone and performed seven songs, a 50 minute set or thereabouts!

I loved it. I will do it again. I still believe my context is different to the other members of the Songwriters’ Circle, in that I still won’t be looking to perform regularly in open mic things or what have you… but I can now, having done it, see how the performance can fit in with my work. They were right to persuade, encourage, cajole, and dare me to do it!


I don’t at the moment see me doing this performance as part of this installation… but I can now see that it might be possible in future adventures. In my head I think I had the idea that performance in the gallery space would be a no heckling, no applause, serious thing… which is why, for nine women, the performance was kept separate downstairs. But you know… that artist is a different shape. I am a different shape. I love that interaction… I like talking to the audience, having a laugh, a spot of witty banter and all that. I can’t (again, at the moment) see me being a “Performance Artist” who has a costume and puts on a different persona. I can however, see me singing, as me, in among my work. It might seem a small thing to you as you read this, but to me this is a revelation. It seems a Big Thing. This is like me realising I didn’t have to be a painter all those years ago. I can be whatever shape artist I want. If I want to gig in the gallery then I will bloody well gig in the gallery. Maybe I will change the gallery in order to facilitate this. Maybe, I can change the expectation of what happens in my gallery space, with my work. I don’t have to do it in the way everyone else has. I keep saying it… I am a different shape… maybe the white cube can be pushed a bit. Next week, this particular white cube will be having a piano delivered and installed. it’s a start isn’t it?

THIS is the Big Thing… the Big Lesson Learned.


The installation was in the upstairs gallery comprising recording and bras. People walked among them, unable to resist fondling them even! As long as this is done respectfully and carefully, I have no problem with people handling my work, as long as they are not eating ice cream or bacon butties while they do so that’s fine with me! These garments have has far rougher treatment than being gently handled in order to examine closer. Laura Rhodes, my photographer/videographer/interviewer for the event said it was interesting how men handled and reacted differently to the work to the women, having been given license to touch. I can’t wait to see the evidence!

So what’s next. Time… I need to sit with my feet on my desk for a while, tea in one hand, hobnob in the other, contemplating, sticking things up on the wall, words and pictures. I need to look at the photos, watch the video footage, sit in the space, watch, listen some more…


I have a chunk of University and Gallery work at the end of July and the middle of August. I think, by the end of August I will be ready for the next phase. It is important to give time for the rhythm of the work to play out its natural course.

My family are already talking about “The Crash” as they have witnessed it before… but I don’t think it will be too bad this time, as I already have plans…


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I want to talk about Bo.

Most of the players in this project have very clearly defined roles.

Bo’s role is not…. On the form he is described as something like technical advisor, or curatorial support or some such… Which of course he is… But it does go further than that. As I sit here looking at the installation, listening to the songs, and reading back over the blog, I realise the presence of Bo is… Subtle…

He has an effect on my thinking. He asks questions I don’t ask myself. He says what he thinks. Sometimes he makes me cross, and it is usually (but not always) because he is right. Bo is a proper teacher. And by this I don’t mean that ofsted have told him he is outstanding. I mean he makes me do it properly. He makes me think more clearly, even when he’s not there, because if I take short cuts for an easy life… If I resort to comfort blanket making, he will spot it right at the off.

Not doing it properly isn’t worth the wrath of Bo… Or more commonly, the smirk of Bo. I tell you, that man can smirk in an email. It’s not comfortable.

I have to ensure I know what I’m doing and why. I have to be able to explain it. If I can explain it confidently, he’s great… He might not personally like it… But if I’ve properly thought about it, and know why I’m doing it, he leaves me alone.

I’ll give you an example of the subtlety of Bo’s presence in this project….

I have ten bras, not nine. I looked at them carefully, trying to decide whether one of them should be left out, or whether I should hang all ten.

One of the bras has guitar strings stitched to it. Dan had left them in the gallery and I liked them, so I stitched them to one of the bras. This is entirely a product of the project, an illustration of my collaboration with Dan… But it’s not one of the women. This one isn’t a “she” but an “it”.

If I had hung it with the others, Bo would have asked me about it and I would have blustered. He would have stood there looking at me, smirking, while I tried to explain myself… Digging a bigger and bigger hole while I blathered on. I don’t even have to show him now, or ask him… I just know it. It’s not worth it. So the guitar string bra will hang on its own in the window maybe. Not a woman, not a story, just an illustration….

The panic I wrote about yesterday? He was also sent an email, and he also responded. His was a completely different response.

His wound me up a bit… He told me what he didn’t like. He suggested different things. He told me they looked like butterflies. BUTTERFLIES???

The combination of the reassurance from Marion and Sonia, and the winding up by Bo, is what made me look more carefully… slower… circumspectly… PROPERLY….

I need both.