Sunday, November 19, 2006

Housing? Here? with MY reputation?

This is Burford Wharf. Dark tower of doom? Centre of SimCity Goth Extension pack? No. Its "affordable" part-buy live/work housing for those self employed on a low income in Stratford, E15, London. Have a guess what you have to earn per year to fulfil the criteria for "low income". Go on, guess. When retail bookshop staff are on £14,000 a year. When police start on £18,000, administrators on £15,000 and nurses on £17,000. (I earn about £10,500 a year with a mixture of pathetic part time crap jobs and making jewellery for my Mum's friends, incidentally. And no, I'm not eligible for benefits)
It's £25,000.
Thats the MINIMUM you have to be earning to QUALIFY to pay £900+ per month (which would be roughly half your wages) for a tiny flat in a high rise block in the centre of gun-toting gangland east-end Olympic-venue Stratford. And this is supposedly the government's grand plan for replacing council housing? Council housing for who? Oh yeah, council housing for all those poor, healthy, full-time employed underpriveleged yuppies desperate to live in over priced high-rise in unfashionable run down areas. Hmmmm. I think NOT.

Monday, October 23, 2006


If there's one thing I just cannot resist it's buying beads. Big, small, fat, thin, cheap, expensive, sparkly, matt, subtle, garish, any type of bead. And here's the results of manic endless bead shopping waiting to be made into profit via being made into jewellery. What a task. Piles and piles of them. Each pile on an A4 piece of paper representing the collections I'm doing. from simple to ornate to surf-y to 1950's pearls, 1980's plastic, and 2000's lariats, it's all there. Shells and sparkles and wire and pins and findings and glue and a big pile of WORK! eeeek. Shows coming up are here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Things I'm good at; who am I?

What job does the person below have? (this is not a trick question)(unfortunately)

Things I'm good at

Comforting people
Staying calm in a crisis
Making Flapjack
Selling luxury goods
Threading beads
Thinking up entrepreneurial schemes
Smiling in the face of disaster
Creating something from nothing
Looking better than I feel
Sitting with silence
Matching up colours
Shopping for the exact right thing
Personal shopping
Trend spotting
Bargain hunting
Doing make-up
Reading ingredients of everything
Making up new buzz words
Posing for photographs
Appearing glamorous
Appearing efficient
Smelling nice
Cleaning the kitchen
Showing enthusiasm
Attention to minute physical detail
Remembering great detail
Looking youthful
Telling the truth

Things I'm not good at
Looking conservative
Filling in forms
Saving money
Sticking with relationships
Resisting another beer
Boring jobs
Getting up very early
Resisting a bargain
Taking my vitamins every day
Resisting another kiss

Stuff I still do (obviously)

Tuesday 17th october. The photo shoot was excellent fun. It reminded me why I ever did it in the first place. Its not for the photo but for the experience of standing there in some bizarre pose while Chris clicks away through the Comedy Lens. We all arrived and drank beers. Chris posed the shot. Then we sneaked off to Hackney Town Hall to shoot it. A little draggly line of bizarre outfits and babies moving through the back streets of London, giggling.

And there were;

Diesel, (huge biker with huge shiny bike; in biker gear and helmet)
and there was
Karen, (Chris's orange haired muse in waif dress and black stetson)
Katie (cute actress) in slip and huge fluffy pink fairy wings,
me (depressed jeweller) in black trousers platforms and obscenely pink fluffy coat and ridiculous shades,
Alan (re-enactor) in steely blue helmet, armoured gloves codpiece and tail,
Birgit (cheery jeweller) in blue velvet, heels and head jewellery,
Zak (journo and Mum) in multi coloured fleece patchwork jumpsuit and akubra hat,
Gemma (Mum) in tracksuit and shades, and
Becca (tiny baby) in baby clothes with a big lipstick-kiss planted on one cheek.

They were all in the photo; but with us, to hold things, and point, and distract potential security guards were Drak (new troubledad?) Zoe (with Katie) and Sophie (doing digital shots of The SharkShoot Process) and of course Chris without whom none of this would ever be possible.

We all re-posed manically fast round the bike on the steps of the town hall amid puzzled glances and after a very short time indeed 15 shots were done. Then Jackie (glamourous blonde rock chick) arrived too late to be in the shot and we all oohhed and aahhed and went to the pub. Just like old times. Almost.

Was too tired to blog yesterday! This post will eventually have a picture with it. Watch this space, it'll be wicked.

I've put this post in with the others at National History Day :)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Stuff I used to do

A really really long time ago when my hair was short and pink I used to hang out in fetish clubs and drink with photographers, madams, punks, goths, ex-victims of this that and the other, all half starved, perma-drunk and miserable. I'm not that person anymore. No-one tells me what to do or wear or that everything I say do and create is somehow pathetic. Or that my class is anything whatsoever to do with how I treat people. EVER AGAIN. Tomorrow I'm having my photo, as part of the alternative-shark-family taken by Chris again. Frankly, I'm bricking it. I'm fatter and a whole lot more angry than I was. I have nothing in common with these people anymore other than my arms legs and head. And my tattoos. And my clothes. And my drinking habit. And my unemploy-a-bility. Oh OK THEN maybe I have. Will it show in one of Chris's photos? You bet it will. He photographs people's feelings with scary insight. In a couple of days, I might be looking at the worst photograph of me yet. Thank god it's a group shot.

Ebay; Magnetic Streaking Hook

Yea, it's here. You never thought you'd need one, but here it is. For those Naked Moments. Aw.

Filth cake and ambition.

Tonight I saw a band called Monotaxi. I specially liked their glittery aqua blue guitar. I spent today wandering away from home and away from, well, everything, trying hard to come to terms with the word "comfortable". Am I comfortable where I live? With who I am, and with what my ambitions are, and with how many of them are being realised? Perhaps, like my bulging wardrobe full of clothes, my ambitions and aims have become confused and cluttered, some worn out and replaced but none yet fully discarded. No clear style has ever emerged out of my wardrobe other than "purple". No clear aim has ever emerged out of my life other than "make shiny things". I'm not a very clear-cut person. Perhaps I should make purple shiny things.

I can make chocolate cake though. It's one of the things I'm good at. I can't blame my expanding waistline on anyone but myself when I make stuff like this. Melt 300g darkest chocolate with 275g whitest sugar and 165g hard baking margarine (or butter if you're not allergic). Melt them slowly, in a glass dish over hot water, stirring, inhaling the vapour and watching the bizarre crunchy lumps turn to glistening dark goo. Don't microwave it; that'll take the soul out of the recipe. Beat 5 large eggs together and stir them into to the hot chocolate slowly to form a glossy, gloopy batter. Pour into a well greased cake time with a removeable base. Bake at 180 degrees for 35-40 minutes, cool, and remove the sides of the tin. Serve in small wedges. Its more of a baked mousse than a cake, and I nicked the original recipe from the Green and Black's cookbook My friend stray named this cake; after first tasting it, she said "Wow, that's like... porn for the mouth! it's pure filth!" and so it became... Filth Cake. Enjoy!

Friday, October 13, 2006


Yup, it's both my right wisdom teeth. I went in and the young man said "You're down here to be having two out" And I must have said something that sounded like "WHAT!!!!" but he said it would be nescessary and Ok....what could I do? He was the one with enormous shiny steel plunger with the super-long, glitteringly sharp, hair-fine needle in it... he was the one wearing the pinstripe shirt and the grin. I suddenly got all a bit trembly, or at least, my hands did, which seemed to be running on a different emotional circuit to my cheerful breezy voice. All in all, considering how the LAST one went (over an hour and 5 jabs, drilled away bone what felt like half my jaw, left massive loopy stitches, huge swelling continuous bleeding and left me out of action for 3 weeks) this one was a total party. But the young man still had to call his boss in to get the top one out.

What is it with me and medical observers? Even on completely routine tooth-out surgery they have to call the boss in. On allergy testing, they always call the students in. Even in therapy I had a work-experience lady sitting in on one or two sessions. Hopefully it's not just me; hopefully its just that lots of people are studying medicine. That's what I hope anyway. Because the world certainly need it's share of doctors.

On a more up-note, I'm going to try this again, come November. Seeing as I have no job, in the official sense of the word, I may as well bash out my Opus Novel.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I have had a very stressful weekend in terms of arguing with people, and it would be a black day indeed if I didn't have my friend Fee's microwave flapjack recipe below;

(anyone using this recipe should pay everyone called Fiona in large quantities of

8oz rolled oats
3 tablespoonsful of golden syrup
4oz butter, margarine or other non-liquid fat
4oz brown sugar

Put the syrup, fat and sugar into a larger-than-you-think-you-need Pyrex
basin and cook on HIGH for 2 - 3 minutes.

Add the oats and mix well. Cook for 5 or minutes, depending on how hot your
oven is (oo-er, missus!). Turn out into a greased greaseproof papered tin
and leave to cool for an hour or so. Scoff quickly.

I lined the pyrex with cling film, added a tablespoon of glace ginger, and couldn't find brown sugar so used normal sugar. We'll see how it turns out, when it's stopped being napalm and started being flapjack! Read more about Tea and biscuits here.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Palaces and spaces

These are Blenheim Palace's gates. Viewed from the inside. Huge and impressive, they are titchy compared to the palace and grounds themselves. Set near an almost unbelievably picturesque village called Woodstock, we danced there, far too early on Saturday morning, observed by hundreds of Daddy-Long-Legs from the damp grass, and the odd tourist or two. I looked around and thought, yep, this would be just about enough space for me. Just about enough to run around in, have my own space in and never really feel like leaving. The grounds stretch to the horizon, so large that there is a lake with a bridge, and a distant sculpture on a massive thin plinth, like Nelson's Column. Beautiful.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Christmas Jewellery Party. Countdown begins.

I'm completely exhausted. Beads everywhere in the house. Scarily empty 300 metre roll of beading wire. Sparkling drop shapes, luxurious lariats, blinging earrings, and that's just a start! I still have mountains to do in this my busiest time of year..... the ten-week lead up to the dreaded Christmas Jewellery Party.

A bustle of Mum-friend people will flock to the house which will have been scrubbed cleaner than an operating theatre, to view the treasure trove that is the Front Room Table, with an almost comically triangular pile of glinting jewellery balanced on it! Clutching plates of my home made chocolate cake, or mulled wine in Mum-hand-made sixties ceramic goblets they'll circle the table looking for the Right Thing For Granny.

At the moment though.....Bank=empty, Workshop=full of beads Head=full of fluff

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Amazonite Decisions

This particular entry was supposed to be here on the 2nd September. It would appear I've been busy. See the picture of the amazonite beads above these words? That’s nowhere NEAR the amount of threading and making I have to do. Think, like, ten times that. But that’s today.

2nd September

This entry was going to be about the Sree Krishna restaurant and it's moist flying saucer-breads called Iddly. Then it was going to be titled "Turning 31" and have something about my realisation of the reality of increasing weight, related to the relief of unhooking an over-tight bra strap after a day of dance. The breeze was gorgeous.

But this entry is about decisions. I look back on all the decisions I've made, tonight, at 1.23 am, indeed practically every night at about that time, and they all seem wrong. Not just a bit pants, or perhaps not-such-a-great-idea, but really big mistakes. I wrote a massive list of them, with WRONG typed next to each little fact, like a teacher's mark. I realised after a while it read not like an exam page, but like a Reality CV. A timeline of stuff I've done, stuff I've got Wrong. A William Shatner version of the song of my life story.

But there are gaps. There are achievements I have made, things I'll also never forget; as well as, and naturally and of course normally, directly alongside and even related to the mistakes. I'm not sure if this is rocket science, or something I've just never realised. Perhaps mistakes are necessary, no matter how huge they are. No matter how humungous and big and looming and eclipsing they may seem, next year, they'll be that much farther away.

In writing the list out, I was examining myself, in a way, and expecting to fail. Perhaps I need to write a list of things I have got right. It won't be as long but it will make more uplifting reading!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Towersey Village Festival is a charming little festival set on two fields near Thame in Oxforshire. It was sunny/rainy and dark/bright weather in a most confusing way all weekend.... literally, patches of rain overlapping the sunshine in the most mixed up way. We made lanterns out of withy and tissue paper and glue with a little candle inside, for the procession. The long whippy, bendy, fine sticks communicated circular or loopy shapes, so I based my lantern on the standard contruction shown to us, but with curves in the shape. It was far more difficult than I imagined but it looked pretty in the end!

I bought a hundred glow sticks from ebay and sold them until they were paid for, then gave them out to all and sundry. When you bend and crack a glow stick to activate the glow, the initial resulting part mixture of the chemicals inside gives off a sudden swirly, reactive glow that cannot be captured. Just like a glow stick in it's first moment, the exact atmosphere of sun on grass and gentle folk music, and drifting in and out of hand knitted rainbow moods at good festivals cannot be captured :)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

How to De-Junk Your Life. Not.

Note the position of the "How to De-Junk Your Life" book, here on my specialised Filing-Bed (TM) late at night. Funniest thing is? Last week I lost that book under a pile of papers. Boy do I need it.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Total Ebay sublime PURPLE joy no P&P! must see!

After today, which was mostly cancelled, I found myself answering email after email; "Item Sold", "Instant payment recieved" "question for Ebay item 1039812982348762365423646" I never thought I'd reach out so far. That things I've made now belong to people in Truro and America and Rochester (!!!) Someone in Bodmin bought my Bone!
Someone called James Potter bought something too......he's alive! :)

I put a painting on there for £20. And someone bought it. Another artist actually bought it becasue she was inspired by it. And then she emailed me to say how inspired she was. Amazing. I'm amazed. I cried (I'm SO soft) when she sent me her email. All written in Comic sans font, 16pt, bold, purple, telling me how much she liked my purple painting.

After that I was inspired to take pictures of all sorts of things!!! And after a while I had to put my little camera down because it was overheating. What a metaphor. What a website! what a phenomena. Plastic gecko, anyone?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Aren't lilies odd? like a set of little dusty saffron canoes, upside down on spraying fountains inside a knickerbocker-glory glass.

It's a pity my Grandpa wasn't alive to see his funeral, he would've loved the pomp and circumstance aspect of it. It was a Roman Catholic affair, lots of "smells and bells" as my neighbour puts it. Clouds of incense were shaken, and holy water from a bizarre brass phallus, was flicked over the coffin, which was covered in a white pall, washed three times by my Mother of course because it wasn't clean. I couldn't help thinking of his stash of magazines as I watched, and about his various habits as I listened to the priest talking about the purification of the spirit.

He really wanted to die, in fact he wanted to die three years ago when my Grandma died, because he'd lost his cook and housekeeper and the person who remembered all the birthdays and kept in touch with all the friends.

There was no eulogy because no one wanted to write one. Sadly for him I suppose, no-one really liked him particularly, not even his family, so the priest (who knew him quite well) said a few words. He managed to get across the image of a grumpy, hard to help, passionless old git with a sweet little old man trapped inside (at least we think there was something nice trapped inside) quite nicely. Priests clearly have hidden skills. Hordes of people, familiar and unfamiliar then proceeded to descend on the house to scoff the food we'd slaved over and presumably to inspect the carpets, because my mother had violently hoovered them to the threads over and over again.

It seems best that he's gone and I suppose I feel vaguely guilty that I can't think of a single thing I'll miss about him at all.

Monday, August 14, 2006


It took me a while, but I have found some fluff to list on ebay. I found it under my chair. You may scoff at the idea of selling fluff, but I just sold a plastic gecko! The listing said "Plastic Gecko; He will be your Friend". Someone needed him more than me. Aw. I'm not sure I can sell fluff on the premise that it will become friendly though. Perhaps I ought to list it under "home improvement" for making one's new house seem more lived in. Hmmm.

ebay excitement

I have an ebay shop! wow! It has nothing in it yet though. Which reminds me of the dozens of unfinished projects lying about my workshop and indeed, my head. Nothing in there but fluff. Perhaps I will photograph and list some fluff. I have spent most of an unexpectedly tiring day avoiding real work by photographing, cataloguing and listing things on ebay. My listings are mostly bizarre, from the subline to the ridiculous, literally, from plastic geckos and yellow die, to fat leafy necklaces and "vintage" crystals. How I HATE the word "Boho".

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Psychic Fayre

It was in a small church hall type place in Essex on a rainy day that there was Reiki in one corner, and spiritual healing in another corner and there were push chairs, and an abundance of little children saying "Look Mummy, another Buddha". There were tables groaning under the weight of pewter fairies covered in glitter and resin castings of wizards and witches and row upon row of dreamcatchers. Everyone was miserable and even the healers held packets of fags behind their backs with their ordinary, often empty, wallets. There was a table covered in sad little paper plated portions of squashed SunBlest sandwiches with Bernard Matthew translucent ham and a slice of swiss roll under cling film.

I've never seen so many overweight women wearing huge pastel Tshirts with pictures of winsome fairies on them. People thumbing furiously through crystal healing tomes in search of mystical cures that supposedly lie in pieces of rock as lumpy as themselves. There was a woman on one table who, for £10, would draw your spirit guide. Each person's spirit guide looked oddly similar, flattish, with tiny eyes in the style of a budding GCSE level artist drawing her friend's faces on the cover of an exercise book. The woman herself had sparkling eyes but she never smiled. There was a woman all in purple pyramid-selling anti ageing skin cream and cures for M.E. with carefully laminated "before" and "after" photographs. Almost everyone was all in purple, and all the tablecloths were purple, including mine whose previously "unusual" dusty lilac velvet paled next to the screaming purples around it.

I was there to sell jewellery, and not much in the way of jewellery sales happened but I did have to listen to a lot of people with upsettingly vague ideas. I came away with an impression of a group of people clutching at straws, desperate to believe in something Other, rejected by mainstream religion and medicine, on the edges, and I couldn't understand a single one of them.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

unsafe festivals and broken ankles

I can't believe what's happened to My Sidmouth.

I've been going to the festival since I was 18, stewarding often, and I've never seen it like this. It's a massive festival in it's infancy, a strange and difficult thing to have to run, but I really don't think it's rocket science to print out a few passes in advance, or to write a stewarding training manual. It was only ever a few paragraphs long anyway. Thing is, I'm not at all sure that next year will be any different, and I suppose what I want to ask myself is... do I really want to be involved in such a complete mess?

This me and Cath. She broke her ankle on the first night and I had my first ever ride in an ambulance with her to Exeter hospital. An Heroic Adventure for me and a rather large shock for her. Here she is with her new flouro pink cast on!

Sunday, July 30, 2006


No one can prepare anyone for what a dead person looks like. They look very still and waxy. By waxy, I mean opaque horrible pale yellow, nothing like candles or waxworks, its a colour that cannot be described unless you've seen it. Still, like a doll or a model, something completely inhuman, totally foreign to look at. Still, under white sheets, not in pain anymore, not in anything anymore. Between existing and not existing, somehow still there, like a shell.

I stayed at home today while my parents went to visit my Grandpa in hospital. An hour after they returned, we were in the middle of dinner when the hospital called and when we got there, he had died 5 minutes before. The nurses were lovely. He passed away with no pain. I couldn't cry but I nearly did when they put his slippers in the plastic bag for us to take away. A huge, ridiculously green Marks and Spencers bag full of useless lumpy Things that are no use anymore, all of them coated in a fine greasy film of dead skin cells.

The last time I saw him was on Friday. I helped him to drink some water then. He seemed unhappy but not in pain. He'd been determined not eat for many months. The ward was ful of moaning, yelling, groaning, puffy red or skinny yellow old men. He hated it. And now, he doesn't have to be there anymore.

Purple Bling Trainers

Well. I've spent All Day tidying amd sorting and sifting through beads and glitter, buttons, paints, pencils, pens, glue and diamante, boxes and tissue, Sterling Scrap, Sterling non-scrap, all manner of Storage, badges and screws and pins and tools and.... the workshop doesn't look that different. My mind feels different; I feel as if I have a purpose, and somewhere to work so that IS good.

In the middle I had to stop for a creative breather, so I thought I'd post a picture of my latest creation; Purple Bling Trainers. I painted the graduated stripes on them with acrylic paintages ago and added the glitter today. I mixed purple, fuschia and silver hologram "sequin dust" which is like coarse glitter, and some very very fine fuschia and purple glitter, so fine it's a bit like eyeshadow powder, together and sprinkled it thickly over a layer of purple Appli Glue.

Hooray! better than cake. I'm covered in a thin layer of fine glitter. So is the floor. and the chair. And the table. Hee.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Don't Go Into The Cellar!

I remember a TV program called "Rentaghost" with such star characters as Miss Nadia Popoff who randomly transprted herself all over the world when she sneezed, and Claypole the Jester. Nearly every episode ended with one or all of the characters covered in soot after going Into The Cellar.

This is my cellar; well, my bit of it anyway. And I Can't Go Into it! It has a low ceiling (too low for my height and I'm only 5ft 3) and an enormous mess. boxes that should be shut are open; the stuff is in a total state. Trays of half thought about work are lying all over the place. Like all the thoughts lying about in my head. Brightly coloured but disconnected. Open things that should be shut. Stuff spilling out.

It also has the constant hum of the electricity meter in it. An oddly comforting sound. It also has all my kitchen stuff, all my ornaments, shoes, and everything that there is No Room for in my bedroom, in a huge pile at the back collecting enormous black spiders. Trying to work in it is becoming impossible because I can't find anything. At all!

Tidying it is of course possible, enjoyable even, but I'm feeling unable to start. And what, you may ask, are two cartons of Soya milk doing on the table? Resting. I say they are just resting. Resting until they have the energy to be put away in the Cellar Cupboard, waypost of Rice Cakes, and final grave of Cassis and bright green Freezomint Liquers, one third full, still stickily sat there.

It's been said that if I was a super-hero I would be Inertia Woman. When I turn up, all the baddies just go "Ah.... I just don't really feel able to do it today. Come on, henchmen, let's go home for a quick nap, hey, why not make it a long nap. I've totally lost track of what we were doing anyway"

First post. Questions.

Chocolate should rule the world! Purple things are vibrantly delicious. Biscuits are tiny pleasures.

Computers are great distractions.

It's hard to mend jewellery when I'm not really sure where my workshop is yet. Do I have a work shop at all? Do I have my own space at all, even in my head? Do I have a work ethic? Is this avoidance really a symptom of Depression or do I just... not want to mend jewellery today? Is there anything wrong with having a day off? What is jewellery anyway? Am I bothered?

Today I'm all questions.