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I’m sat at the table with (most of) the contents of the studio still piled behind me in boxes, but with a slow seepage… now and then I shout “Where are my heavy pinking shears?” and I go diving in.

I also was desperate to use my favourite mug, last seen in the box at the bottom of the heap…

“Can you just hold this box while I lean across to fish out the guillotine please?

This has happened so frequently I now am beginning to doubt why the boxes are still there, I could just unpack and be done with it. But that seems defeatist… I WILL FIND ANOTHER STUDIO!!!

The rest of the house is a bit of a tip too. The blossom has fallen and browned, and has been walked through the entire house from washing line to ironing pile to wardrobe. To be honest there seems no point in vacuuming until it has been swept up from the garden. I can’t sweep the garden because I’ve just put the washing out.

So, while this domestic state of affairs slides into chaos, I decide the things that REALLY NEED to be done are bits of decorative painting. I have a small collection (3) of mosaic birds on the wall, that definitely needed a tree to roost in. So to my husband’s horror, I just did it. I had been thinking about it for a while, but I don’t think I had actually mentioned it, so when I entered the room brush in hand, and plonked a tea towel over the cd player (playing Sufjan Stevens’ Carrie and Lowell) he did look a little concerned. But my fingers itched and twitched with the need to do it. I told him it wasn’t going to look like a nursery school mural (which in a previous existence I have done). He returned to his quivering newspaper and pretended to finish the sudoku.

It looks ok… I might wash over a bit of it… scrub it back a bit maybe… but I’ll live with it a while.

The itch not quite scratched, I look around for the next thing. Being a couple of a certain age (we got married in 1982) we have a few items of nicely oranged pine furniture. Functional, but not of much design merit really. So I painted it green. It now sits on top of the dining/studio table waiting for me to decide whether it should be a tasteful sort of nod at old Bill Morris, or whether I should go the full paisley with stripy legs… or fish and feathers….

What I really need is a studio. I need a proper routine of deep thought. In the meantime I shall have a pretty new table, but it’s just fiddling while Rome burns.


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AUDIOBLOG – Please click here

I find myself in full-on music mode this week.
I’ve had a morning writing and rehearsing with my wonderful band mate and co-writer on several songs, Ian Sutherland… He has an album out soon, I’ll let you know…
Tonight we have Songwriting Circle at mac Birmingham, always joyful, inspiring, encouraging and they are all mind-blowingly impressive people to be with… Some sessions it feels like real magic has happened, and I love it!

Wednesday is a rehearsal night for Thursday which is the opening PV for The Songwriting Circle exhibition for “made at mac”… I shall be performing a song, among other featured singer-songwriters but the whole event/exhibition will be interesting, as it is a visual exhibition of a course about making sounds… There will be listening posts, juke box (with another of my songs in, among others from the circle), guitars attached to the walls for visitors to participate… I can’t wait to see how it’s all going to work… Glad I’m not the curator!

Today I’m posting up a link to song entitled “Weatherproof”… it is somewhat metaphorical… It is also somewhat autobiographical, and observational… It is about friendship, and about life…
Please excuse the occasional dodgy vocal, and my complaint to Ian at the end…
But I find other people’s works in progress fascinating, so I trust you will listen to this as such, and be kind… I’m working on it…

We are rehearsing it for the end of term show at mac… On July 4th if anyone wants to come, tickets are about £3 I think…. Bargain, as these people are stunning writers… Much better entertainment than an evening with bloody X-Factor.

WEATHERPROOF

 


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My practice is like a jigsaw at the moment. Broken up in the box. A few pieces are down the back of the sofa. A couple of bits look they belong to a different puzzle. It’s a hospital waiting room sort of puzzle. It occupies for short periods, destined to never be completed.

I crack on, tackling what I can when I can. That bit of sky in the corner… The long green dress of some mad woman with a bonnet and an apron beckons, but there’s a crucial bit missing.

Analogy pushed to the limit of good English and sanity…………

My search for a studio continues. A rush of activity is followed by a period of stagnation and waiting for email and phone call replies… Meanwhile… In a crowded, box-filled dining room, I sit with my back to the detritus, pretending it isn’t there. The microphone stand mocks me, poised, about to peck at the back of my neck. The looper, on its stand, is covered with a bit of French fabric… Yellow, woven, jolly squares, trying to blend the technology with the homespun. It illustrates my constant oscillation between two worlds, trying to blend them. The words I sing blend them. But if I’m not singing, it just looks incongruous.

I sit with my back to it all, and enter the Jerwood Drawing Prize. Actually no, I don’t. I register, and print out forms, and fanny about. Indecisive.

I write a pretentious proposal, print it out, rip it up.

I stitch words onto the detached shirt cuff. I’ve already lost faith in the relevance of the words, and I’m able to stitch without reading them, so it’s little more than occupational therapy. But I continue anyway. The process is nevertheless meditative and hopeful. It’s a bit like colouring in at this point. I just follow the lines and don’t think. Sometimes a word foists itself into my conscious mind… But I have to dredge deep for the meaning out of context….character…..bone….stranger….. blind…. The individual words seem to mean more than the complete text. Redaction distils.

 

I write words. For blogs, emails, admin, shopping lists, facebook and twitter. They don’t mean much. I write another verse for a song. I give in to tradition… Verse, verse, chorus, verse, middle eight, chorus (repeat)… I hum a top line and record with my phone in order to play it to the guys next meeting.

I’m rehearsing the songs for Nine Women again. (On and off) Those women… How I love them, how they sustain me!

In amongst all this sits the next BIG IDEA. Sonia Boué and I have been discussing turning the online Museum for Object Research into something real. This was a speculative conversation that has grown. We both decided if we are going to do it, it’s got to be big. No, BIG. We feel this could be a really important piece of work. A pivotal event that pushes on our practice and hopefully will have an effect on the practice of several other artists. It would have a solid theoretical, critical basis and leave a legacy. I’m glad we are in it together, because at the moment it is a monumental task. And shit scary.

I’m off to do a bit of colouring in and do a bit more of the jigsaw.


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I went shopping to my favourite vintage shop.
http://www.teagownsandtextiles.co.uk
It’s in Bromyard, Herefordshire, but worth a trip.

I’m looking at children’s clothes again for a new project, more about which later, when it has coalesced into something more meaty!

I found these two items, I don’t yet know if I will use either or both, or if I find something I like better, neither! But knowing the way I go about things, I have established a relationship with these garments… Yes … I know…. You don’t have to tell me it’s weird, I’m just telling you that’s how it is, ok? They will be used at some point soon.

What I look for is rather hard to pin down, but probably is “just” to do with character. The garment has character, which enable me to know the wearer.

What is very unusual for me is the fact I bought the blue coat… It has never been worn, the labels are still attached, the lining is faded rather than stained or worn. It is, I feel, this absence that might make this coat the very thing to use………

 


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