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(That’s tired rather than bored!)

I feel I should blog about it… but quite weary!

I’m just going to say that live music works well in the gallery. I will be organising more of this.

The gallery looks great, Steve Evans’ work looks fantastic on the nice newly painted white walls.

Dave Sutherland was fab… I love his songs and his playing.

He took advantage of the fact I’d had a couple of beers and made me sing too! Turns out, actually, after a couple of beers I don’t have to be made to do anything, I just say “Yeaaaahhh!”

But it was a bit of a practice I suppose for July.

If anyone out there fancies having a go at having an ArtSpace Conversation, let me know… I’m going to be pairing people up in my head now all the time!


so… That’s it for now. I’m going for a lie down!

(It’s not a hangover, I’m just tired!)




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I’m up to my ears in white paint and printed matter…

I decided that the gallery space next to my studio at ArtSpace Dudley, could be used to get people together that might not necessarily do so otherwise. I am, as you know, evangelical about my art and music, and how the two work together, and how they stimulate each other, and inspire and prompt… So, because I didn’t really have much else to do, I have organised the first of what I hope to be many such events.

One visual artist is introduced to one singer songwriter and I leave them to their own devices. I give them the space, a glass of something nice to drink and perhaps a nibble or two. I invite a load of people and see what happens.

I hope it works, because I think it’s a great idea!

If you find yourself in the area, please come, listen, see….





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It doesn’t take me long to bounce back…

Collaboration then….

It’s a thing I do, and I love it.
In the early days, I had an couple of failed attempts, because I didn’t understand. I thought I should find someone whose work I liked, and work with them! Recipe for disaster!

It only dawned on me when I found a collaboration that worked, what I’d been doing wrong. My first successful collaboration was with Dan Whitehouse, who I’m still working with on my current project, “Nine Women”. A musician, singer songwriter… Not visual art, not textiles…. A completely different skill set! Aha! It was, and still is, like playing in someone else’s toy box. The next was with Bo Jones, visual artist yes, but again with a completely different skill set. There are two things that happen, one is you have no area of competition in terms of media, each person remains the expert in their own field. The other is the stuff you learn from each other. I’ve got so many more skills from working with these two, I can’t believe it! I like to think I’ve passed on a few things too. I’ve learned not just about the arts involved, but the peripheral skills, such as planning, promotion, marketing, and how to retain a calm professional demeanour under pressure (still practising that one). The differences make it productive, creative, interesting.

Similarities need to be in a different area… They need to be there… A similar work ethic, a similar opinion on quality of the work that the public sees and hears. A similar attitude to life, what is ultimately important to you. This fosters a mutual respect.

This week was collaboration week at the songwriters circle. We split into fairly random groups for an hour or so, and see what happens, then report back to the group. This week I had the good fortune, cat that got the cream stuff…. I was with Ian Sutherland, Andy Jenkins and Dave Sutherland (no relation). Oh my goodness a girl could get giddy with so much talent in the room! I do words, and I can find a melody over the chords, and a harmony vocal now and then… But I don’t play an instrument.
We started with a few “broken” lyrics from my notebook, and while Andy and I figured out more words, Dave and Ian plugged away on their guitars…. And to be honest it still seems like magic to me… At the end of an hour we had a song… A good one… Then Andy got out his guitar and added the most amazing solo…. Terrific. Sets my heart beating and my cheeks aglow!

An interesting thing happens in a good collaboration. I’ve noticed it before, and I noticed it on Monday. All ideas go in, good, bad and indifferent…. Then people say yes, or no… They say it instinctively and quickly, then you move on and nobody sulks because they didn’t get their own way. If there is a difference of opinion, it is briefly discussed, recorded, then shelved to come back to, by which time it either fits, or it doesn’t, no further discussion required. This is how we managed to write a song in an hour. I’ve never known a buzz like it. Songwriting feeds your soul. Songwriting with people as talented as this makes it soar!

Let’s do it again!

This month I have loads of recording sessions booked, after a month of hardly any. I can’t wait to get back up to the mic.

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So here we are again….
Ebb and flow, peak and trough, up and down.
I’m not complaining, or even apologising, I’m just observing, and commenting.

I have had an amazing couple of weeks here… The up!

I am now exhausted, physically and mentally. I keep falling asleep, and I can’t find the right words for things. I have to do the actions and make noises, and play a one to one game of taboo because I can’t remember what the bread knife is called.

I just checked in my diary and I think the last day I had totally on my own in the studio was 14th April! No wonder I feel like this!

I have a fairly sociable weekend ahead of me and most of my brain doesn’t want to join in. I would say it makes me feel claustrophobic, or maybe agoraphobic, but neither… They’re not quite the right words…. The feeling is one where I want to send in a clone to do it for me… I want to sit on the edge… Not talk… Not engage… Small talk makes my face feel tired… I want to curl up in a quilt, with an endless supply of tea and crumpets that I don’t have to get up to make… I don’t want TV, radio, or a book…

Some people don’t believe me when I say I’m actually quite antisocial. But I can be… And if this current mood swing gets much worse and isn’t dealt with, I will become rude, nasty and miserable.

So… To keep me going I have this plan for Tuesday… Get up early… Sneak out on my own… Talk to no one… Have packed lunch so I don’t need to go out… Sit in the studio and get the balance back.

How the hell did I manage to sustain a real job for all those years?

I am supremely grateful to have family and friends that put up with me, and keep making the tea.