Are we ever happy? Starting to wonder if I have some sort of incurable condition.

Finished that damn essay at about 1.30 this afternoon. A great cheer went up. There was dancing and ringing of bells. The coffee machine was fired up. Cake was talked about.

Its now about 5.30. I’m already frustrated by the fact I have hand-washed all the lovely children’s clothes I bought yesterday and they’re not dry enough for me to iron yet, and so start working on. They are quite beautiful. I shall photograph them before I start working on them. There’s a creamy silk smocked dress with embroidered bluebells; a white cotton coat with pearl buttons, double breasted; a very delicate pale pink cotton dress with short sleeves and embroidered rosebuds; a a brushed cotton nightie with bluebirds on. I know exactly what I’m going to do with all of them. They spoke to me in the shop!

I asked the shop lady if she had any dresses to fit me. I must confess to being rounder than I should be. It is rare to find clothes to fit me in vintage shops. She said no. But I had my secret weapon with me, my friend Helen, who, not taking no for an answer, went ferreting about. She found me a dress. A Dress. A DRESS!!! It fits me. It is from the mid 50s, purple and floral and gorgeous. I show a small amount of daring cleavage! If I wear it to my Private View Evening I will look like the Mummy of all those children I intend to show. Perfect. You might even get to see a photo of me in it.


It’s not like me to leave it so long between blog posts! I think my brain has seized up, clogged, or similar.

There’s lots going on. I had thought, after LOAF that I would have a bit of time. No. I haven’t. I have to get my work sorted for the Junction Festival in Wolverhampton, for next weekend. I keep thinking I’ve finished this bloody essay, and I’m sorry if you are reading this Carol, as I know you have my best interests at heart, but I am SSSOOOOO sick of it! It has one last chance, this weekend. That’s it, then I move on. I have things to make! I am dying to immerse myself in the making! I know what I’m doing there. In the words of Elliot Smith (Waltz #2 for those interested) I want to be:

“In the place where I make no mistakes

In the place where I have what it takes”

I don’t think I have what it takes for this reading and writing lark. Remind me of this pain if I ever talk about a PhD.

I have what it takes to make the stuff, and when the theory attaches itself to the stuff of its own accord that’s all well and good.

I’m starting to believe I might have what it takes to make a song (and with help, it can sound pretty good)

But this theory stuff flails about in the ether, I find it hard going.

So let me get at the making please.

Today has been brilliant.

I’ve been writing and recording with Dan Whitehouse again. We made the bones of another song – lyrics, structure, guitars, whispering, some interesting bits of harmony, some LOOOOVELY bits of delicate guitar and some not so delicate guitar too. I still don’t know what I’m talking about, but I wave my arms about and draw pictures and hum a bit, and Dan seems to understand.

Next session Wednesday we “lay down some vocals” (get me!) I just can’t wait. I have the product of today’s work on my iPod and I’m singing along, pretending it’s practice, but really I can’t believe still, that I’m part of this magical process!


You know the whole scaffold tower, experimental day, hard hat, glasses down my bra fiasco about 3 posts back? Turns out the whole exercise may have been futile. I have been asked if I can show my work in the foyer instead. Now the advantages of saying yes to this at the moment, in my head, outweigh the disadvantages, but if anyone has any comments to chuck at me, I’d be grateful.

In the basement, my little figures turned in the air currents gently and silently, and in a dim light, casting dancing shadows on the floor – will add a photo, but the video thingy won’t work.

In the foyer, it will be lighter, it wont be silent, and they will certainly move more.

The huge advantage, as I see it, is that everyone will see it. Possibly only people related to those whose work is in the basement will get to see it there, many visitors to the show might not be arsed to go down the stairs.

Another advantage, personal rather than self-seeking-fame-chasing-profile-raising, might be that I will be forced to look at it differently myself. Will these figures be more playful in the space of the foyer, where they can be mingled with, and looked down upon from many different angles? Will the light make them even more ambiguous? Was I putting them in the dark to point people in a certain direction?

Also… looking at this photo I am reminded that the floor is better in the foyer.

There was a suggestion that I might sing from the balcony on the PV evening. That, regretfully, will be a no…I think… a bit too exposing and pretentiously operatic. The song is definitely to be sung in the dark…repressed, not celebratory…



I’m assured the above link works… but I’m not yet convinced, will see when I publish it.

Education, it has dawned on me at a somewhat late-in-the-day way, isn’t just about what I do in school. I’ve made all the right noises up to now and nodded sagely at the right moments. I knew it, but didn’t feel it in my bones really, I hadn’t latched onto it in a way that connected me to the concept properly, and personally.

It appears I enjoy watching development, and change, and having played a part in it. It seems I do this without thinking. I had thought maybe at various points over the last few years that I shouldn’t be a teacher. But it seems I am anyway, whether I want it or not, whether I’m paid or not.

This LOAF weekend has been the catalyst for my own epiphany. We watched a 14year old singer songwriter do his thing. He performed a half hour set of his own material in my shed. Last year he did 15 minutes. This year, his voice is deeper, and so are his songs. He expresses gratitude for the chance to perform. I have a soft spot, relishing his growing strength. Curious to see what he can do next…where he might end up.

Our quilting group learn from each other. Some of us are instinctive, just shoving stuff together and stitching it up. Others have enormous skill and technical ability. We have morphed into this group of Rebellious Quilters. We gave ourself that name right at the beginning, eschewing the precision of traditional quilters, and not wanting the structure that other groups have. We are living up to our name now, 3 or 4 years down the line. What we are finding, I think, is that we are rebelling against ourselves. There isn’t a “right way” that we need to worry about. I have been very sniffy about doing things “properly”, but I now find myself wanting to know stuff! My lack of technical know-how is holding me back, so I’m ready to learn. I hope in turn that my lack of respect for measuring and precision has made others think again about what is possible, and what is beautiful, and what has meaning.

Our life drawing group exhibition gets better every year. Yes, we are one year more experienced, but it’s more than that. It is the exchange of ideas, materials, techniques. It is watching each other, getting to know each other and having a go, without fear of ridicule or embarrassment. We don’t have a teacher, we have each other.

I think the word that sticks in my throat, that has stopped me from “feeling” the concept, is Education. To me, Education is something that is done unto you. You have no choice in it. Education is a form of social control. It’s how we socialise our children, and our adults for that matter, into conformity.

So. Learning. Finding out stuff. Discovery. Experience. Doing stuff. Especially doing stuff. The body teaching the brain, not the other way around. Falling over, getting up. Fun, laughter, hate, nastiness, arguing, making up, being civil, loving, being friends with someone for 30 years. Just do stuff. Just make stuff. That’s what a real education is.


I’ve not written on this blog for a while, what with making short but daily entries on Shedding at the moment, and having things happen with Julie and Franny on Going Public, I can see you all getting a bit fed up with me.

But tonight, I feel the need.

I’ve just sung my song, live, in front of real people. I played the scissors. Dan played his guitar for me. I have to try hard not to be too overwhelmed by this. He’s great, and generous with his talent. I feel really privileged to have him sat next to me. At the end of this month, we’ll be recording this song together, and I’ll be performing it as part of my final show. I feel like I’m hanging on his fast moving coat tails, and I’m learning so much each time we work together, I’m trying to soak it all up and remember as much as I can.

After my final show, I shall put a link here so you can listen if you want to.

I’ve had wobbles with this singing lark, crises of confidence. But you know what, they don’t get you anywhere. To make the most of the opportunities I’ve been given, I have to forget embarrassment, bite down the nerves, not worry about the occasional bum note. I have to dive in, wallow in the experiences.

It makes you feel good you know, alive, young, zippy, full of vim and vigour.

Long may it last!

Dan is to be found at www.dan-whitehouse.com Go and listen. It’s great.

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