Sunday, 28 November 2010

Slappers Club at Crazy Bear - Live Music & Performance Party

OK. I know it isn't in Notting Hill but I do occasionally venture out into the wilds of Central London (despite arctic weather and the tail end of a tube strike) and Clifford did the pianistic honours at the St Georges Day party at the Cow earlier this year so there is a legitimate local connection.

It promises to be worth the journey. I'll review it for you here.

And the tube strike ends at 6.30 so there should be no problems there.

Slappers Club” relaunches at Crazy Bear.

The legendary live performance party, Slappers Club, together with the Crazy Bear Group, is bringing you a series of free acoustic showcase nights in the comfort of a stunning and intimate private members club in the centre of London, with Clifford Slapper at the piano, plus many guest singers and other artists. This will also be an industry night to encourage networking for all professionals and artists in music, comedy, the arts and entertainment as well as the hospitality industry in general. There will be special drinks offers and promotions on the night.

Launch party: Monday 29th November, 8pm-11pm – and then EVERY Monday, 8pm-11pm. FREE ENTRY (though all names must be pre-registered for entry).

READ MORE and gain entry 

Ella Montclare - I Surrendered at the Island Experiment.

I'm still shaking...

For Honey. Hallelujah

I saw this on facebook first but was blown away.... An e card if ever I saw one.

Honey. Take care and have a good Christmas ( I know it is early but there are lights up in Oxford Street so it is ok). You are not only my most reliable reader but my best loved.

And just for you there are no f words or rock and roll.

For once.

Happy Christmas.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Watch Art Bubble

This post has been removed because it was boring and badly written.

Book Slam and the Minds Ear Orchestra.

Last nights Book Slam could have been something of an anticlimax; the last event of the year promised us Diane Athill (I had seen her at 5X15 earlier this year and was looking forward to another slice), but sadly Diane was forced to cancel due to poor health.

However I need not have worried. Both Geoff Dyer and Rupert Thompson read well from their respective books... I especially enjoyed Ruperts' somewhat scuzzy excerpt; I shall be buying the book. I noticed a brisk trade at the book table set up in the auditorium, it seemed that others were of the same opinion.

The evening finished (after Patric Neate, the MC, had delivered on of his poems) with the 'Minds Ear Orchestra'; a 20 strong orchestra controlled by volunteer members of the audience. Hilarious, entertaining and if you will excuse the pun: A real ear opener!

My one caveat... the music played during the breaks was not my 'bag' but it is a small quibble.

Snow in London. Blizzards hit Notting Hill.

The air 'cracks' in Notting Hill today as reports come in of  'Cocaine Blizzards' hitting West London. Drifts of Colombias' finest 'snow' are making parts of Portobello Road impassable. Police are advising the public not to take refuge in lavatories.  A spokesperson said: Once upon a time it was yellow snow that caused the problems!

'This is the final straw'. He said. Waving a rolled up Ten Pound note.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Tom Baxter, Murray Lachlan Young and Vashti Baxter.

Ok. Murray is a friend and I've worked with him too but it is my blog! I don't know Tom or Vashti so this is a 60% unbiased review...

Vashti Baxter; legs, black tutu, black wig, electric guitar!.. Perfect. Backed by a drummer Vashti delivered a set of good songs that had no need of artifice (no faux American accent needed here) with intelligent lyrics and looking pretty comfortable doing so... Followed by:

Murray Lachlan Moung; legs, black garb, unruly hair, MCing himself out of the crowd, he's already one of us! Oh no he isn't. there is only one Murray; funny, very clever, a great performer and a blessing to poetry. And he can sing too!  great stuff.

Tom Baxter hit the stage alone but was soon joined by his band, and later by sister Vashti (talented family) and pleased everyone with his singular take on the 'bloke with a beard and guitar' which in other hands can be tiresome and hackneyed. At times there were hints of the late, great John Martyn; the benchmark for all blokes with beards and guitars for all time. Tom and crew filled the Tabernacle two nights running; testament to the quality of the acts. 

Notting Hill (Not The Film!) by Ella Poyner

A 3 minute documentary on Notting Hill focussing on Notting Hill Carnival and Multiculturalism.

Filmed in October 2010 by Ella Poyner, Gareth Maggs and Davey Peacocks who are students at London College of Communication on the Media Practice Course. 

Featuring Gaz Mayall - legendary DJ and club night host, Ray Roughler-Jones - local personality, author + presenter of Rougler TV and Tom Raphael-Eaves - writer and manager of El Camion Restaurant on Portobello Road. 

Music - London Calling by The Clash
Bam Bam by Sista Nancy
Message to You, Rudy by The Specials.

Filmed in and around Notting Hill including - 
El Camion Restaurant
The Uxbridge Arms
The Fat Badger
Portobello Road

Molly Parkin 0 - Chris Evans 1. The Radio 2 Christmas Quiz.

I was invited to see (hear, I don't know) Molly Parkin at Ronnie Scotts this evening. While I was umming and ahing; mostly umming to be frank, Chris called from the Tabernacle and invited me down to sit in on the BBC Radio 2 christmas quiz recording hosted by Chris Evans.

You know, THAT Chris Evans. The bloke designed by God to wind up  middle aged, middle class Britain and be a warning to us all.

Heads up folks.  In the intervening years since I last really clocked the guy he has turned into the consummate broadcaster and a master of stagecraft (radio stage ok). He is very very good.

It was a funny, light-hearted, well managed evening. Obviously the audience was partisan (they asked for tickets) and happy to oblige with preordained applause and cheers. I on the other hand being a steely hearted fucker would not clap on cue but clapped a few times because I wanted to.

The contestants collectively; Tony Blackburn,Patrick Kielty, Janice Long, Kate Thornton (cor),Trevor Nelson, Simon Mayo were, of course, a BBC 'jamboree bag'  (remember those, ones first experience of a 'curates egg' but invariably having something to smile about (even a curates egg had a yolk; boom boom)), but it worked... the troopers trooped without too much gloop and Chris kept the train on the tracks.

Tony Blackburn obliged by cracking a freedom pass joke that was in itself entitled to a freedom pass.

I talked to Chris Evans briefly afterwards, a little bit of polite Hampstead remember the days stuff, but I was interested to note that he was the one 'celeb' to stay behind and actually have some time for his audience... I'm impressed.

The thing finished early enough for me to grab a pint at the Cow followed by a little bit of mid-week Cabaret courtesey of 'Maison Du Chien' at Bumkin in Westbourne Park Road.

That is just a Wednesday in Notting Hill.

The Radio 2 quiz is being broadcast on Christmas day; the old bloke trying not to laugh in the background.

That's me!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Yasmin Lebon statue (or is it a Mannequin?) shock.

I will not be going to the 'unveiling' but this is what it looks like.

Quite fitting really that it resembles a department store Mannequin.

Cross pollenisation of a poetic nature and stalking poets.

Dear Poet credit the muse.

Dear poet
I saw your flyer for a show I couldn't get to
You look like everything
I think my stalker will be
when I first invite him into my home.

You see my stalker
far from being the man waiting for me
will be the man I am waiting for

The man my father warned me about
and then gives me to.


Monday, 22 November 2010

Tom Baxter, Murray Lachlan Young and Vashti Baxter at the Tabernacle.

Tom Baxter, Murray Lachlan Young and Vashti Baxter are at the Tabernacle tonight. Last night's sell out show was excellent although it is a shame that some in the audience, late arrivals especially, feel that it is acceptable to talk loudly during Murrays' set to the point where it felt as if Murray was a lobby between two music rooms. I get the feeling that the same boors would talk through the whole evening if they could be heard over the amplification.

There are tickets still available for tonights show.  Get there for the start. It is well worth it.

Read the review HERE

Life in Stone at Mara Sculpture, W2.

Yes, bits of Notting Hill are in W2...  Check this out

Gabby Young & Other Animals.

                                                 Photograhs: Christopher Scholey.

Gabby Young threw a party at the Tabernacle on Saturday night. Mind you I sense that she throws a party every time she performs.

A young, 'buzzy', dressed up crowd; lots of legs and shoes and a few long dresses thrown in, were there to party too. Small stalls on the balcony selling what was described as 'Gabberdashery' added to the the atmosphere.

Gabby is a gem; comfortable on stage, dressed in what appeared to be a pale blue cloud, supported by a tight and happy 8 piece band, horn section included, she joyfully presented her eccentric mix. Which to me came across as bonkers Balkan gypsy jazz cabaret with a little bit of everything thrown in from Mexico to the Souk! Halfway through the proceedings extra brass was brought on, including bassoon and for her encore she wheeled on a string quartet... Classy.  

This was a party for all ages. At one point a 5 year old in the audience was wished a happy birthday by all. On top of that it was clever, refreshing and professional cabaret of a high order.

All in all a lovely night.

This was Gabby's last performance of the year. Definitely catch her in 2011.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Dack Dydes Birthday Bash.


A few of us have been toying with the idea of internet radio lately. Then this was sent to me by Bruce Mack in the US.
Check it out. is an international alliance of independent producers dedicated to presenting music and music-related programming on the Internet 24/7. Each program host is autonomous and presents only the music he/she wishes to present. Our audience is anyone who enjoys an eclectic and adventurous mix of music. taintradio is listener-supported but we don’t do on-air fundraising. Our listen button works for anyone with a high-speed broadband connection; our website has a tip jar to which we sincerely hope you will choose to contribute.
Currently our programs originate from North Carolina, Georgia, Maine, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, London, Paris and St. Croix, V.I. Additional programs are in development from various locations throughout the world.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Boiling water.

It begins:

'I walked away from it and headed north. Towards evening on the second day the snow came, two hours later I was seeking shelter. Without snowshoes my progress was laboured and awkward.  I came across a cave in a narrow ravine; a drift of smoke and footprints in the snow from someone coming from the north; small footprints, a woman or a child.

The cave was lit only by the fire but enough for me to see the woman, dressed in grey, sheen of her hair like a well oiled gun, a woman from an unknown tribe, sitting, heating water. 

The makings of some ritual tea ceremony were laid out on a rock.

Startled but unafraid she silently watched as I found myself a place to rest opposite her, the fire between us. In perfect English she said: 'We will wait for the water to boil. I will make tea'.A shoulder gesture indicated the paraphernalia on the rock beside her. 'Then you must leave'.

We sat in silence but for the fire as something foreign to us both crept into the cave and settled within us. 

As the water in the pot trembled close to boil she she added a ladlefull of ice cold snow-melt. We sat on in silence.

As the water in the pot trembled close to boil I took up the ladle and added snow-melt to the pot. we sat on in silence.

Into the early hours we sat watching that pot never boil. Finally, having covered me in a blanket, she lay nearby. We slept.

I awoke to find her making coffee. We talked; each to the other brought magic.

On the second morning we departed, heading South. In the cave on a fire rested the pot of water. 

Singing as it boiled.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Bevis Griffin's Rawhead TechX _ Thunderdome

This found me via a Canadian friend. I like it.

Kyoki, Umami and paint you can eat.

Kyoki arrives in an excited state this afternoon, (her days start in the afternoon and end in the morning and it is the night in which she is most comfortable) after making a cup of her instant coffee and lighting a cigarette she produces a paint tube from her bag.

'Paint'.  I said. 'you know I am not painting at the moment'.

'It is not paint. It is Umami paste. Umami is the 5th taste. You eat it'.

We spent the afternoon exploring umami; not a simple task. Each tasting led to another discussion on what exactly was in it and why it had its chameleon like ability to change as and when its fellow ingredients demanded.

A bit like Kyoki really: Inscruitable. Controlled yet controlling.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Rare Jimi Hendrix.

Please be patient. This takes a few seconds to upload... it is worth it.

Don't ask me where I got it from and no it is not on youtube.

Skye Nicolas, The Explicit Artisan.

 I found this image online in An interview with Skye in Frank 151It is well worth a visit. Skye is New York based so what is the Notting hill connection?  Marlon and the Cow!

Wills and Kate: Not so much a Royal wedding, more an impending divorce.

Caught up in the National euphoria over the idea of a royal wedding I immediately asked my 'Princess' to marry me.

'It's an idea'. She said. 'At least you wouldn't be able to give evidence against me in court.'

It strikes me that, such is the track record of royal marriages that they would keep the damn thing quiet; give two human beings the opportunity to make something almost impossible (in this day and age) work.

I bet the bookies are already laying odds on when the divorce takes place.


                                Photo: the Urban Island

I don't know how this is going to work out.

I've had so many problems with unruly Muses of late (the muse is never satisfied with her initial role and quickly tries to take over) that I decided to go online and find an Avatar Muse... Kyoki.

I do not know which planet she is from, my stellar charts do not have the necessary range.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Alain De Botton at 5 X 15.

Bloody hell.

I'd gone along to 5 x 15 with the sole purpose of listening to, and looking at to a lesser degree philosopher Alain De Botton.
He arrived on stage, announced himself as Swiss (images of Orson Welles and Henry Cotton on a big wheel in Vienna flooded my brain) then promptly tried to sell us holiday lets. He tried to convince us that 'new build' was Modern and therefore good.he failed to convince me that he was anything other than another property developer on the make. reminding me somewhat of the 'Britart' movement in his desire to capitalise on gullible admirers.

5 X 15 in the first part this evening was hijacked by an overstretched property developer selling puppies.

Alain. New does not mean modern and modern does not mean new. Snake oil is snake oil however you label the bottle.

Interesting to see a good architect in the audience wincing philosophically as the philosopher tried to do convincing Architecture. And failing.

The rest of 5x 15 lived up to expectations; All of it was not every ones cup of tea but it was well brewed, well blended and well poured.

Hilary Spurling dispensed, along with Michela Wrong, enough to convince me that, forgive me; wrong was right. Suddenly 15 minutes was enough, not because it was badly presented but because it was, as a human animal, hard to bear.

Simon Singh hit the spot with his codes.

Valerie Grove convinced me that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is not an oncoming train, it is Valerie coming back to 5 X 15.

At the end of a splendid evening I got to reminisce about Stig of the dump, followed by humming the guitar solo from Comfortably Numb on my way home.

And none of this happened in the West End where theatres were full of tourists being told by translators that the butler did it!.

Tony Butcher photography.

In The tabernacle, to the left of the bar is the Gallery; Rather under-signposted and tucked away (but I gather that is about to change) and used as a showcase for both local and more established Artists and Photographers. Well worth popping in for a look.

Currently photographer Tony Butcher is exhibiting his studies of the black male in the form of dancers, and they are an energetic collection of young men; hardly a foot on the floor in the entire show and plenty of rippling muscle. There is no Mapplethorpe edginess or homoerotic undertone to proceedings though, just a keen and professional eye at work on an obviously well liked subject.

To quote Tony: 'My photographic journey began in 1989, progressing to a fellowship of the royal Photographic Society in 1990, with a panel of images of the black male.

"Studies in black" have been published in many books, magazines and journals throughout the world as well as my monograph of the same title. Exhibitions have taken place in San Francisco, Amsterdam, Paris, Birmingham and Oh yes, The Tabernacle, Notting Hill'.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti & Hein Hoven. Sometimes During Eternity.

In the early hours; an email from Hein (now in California), you know. The man who brought his own Hill. It read: 

 too much time on my hands. I took this off of your FB page Tristan.
                                  It inspired me to write this bit of nonsense.

                                  Lawrence Ferlinghetti reading "Sometime During Eternity"

                                  Hh x

The internet can be a truly wonderful thing in creative minds and hands.

10 centuries in 5 minutes

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The Young Satellites at Atomrooms Gallery.

Atomrooms Gallery presents an exhibition curated by Brett Walker
showcasing the works of young photographers Jack Davison, Lydia Roberts
and Conor Williams. The exhibition will run from 8th – 24th December 2010, 6-9pm at AtomRooms’
Portobello Road Gallery.

Sacred Monsters No. 1: Kenneth Tynan.

Monday 24 September 2001
The Guardian

Tynan's gift was to make criticism glamorous and sexy

Guardian theatre critic Michael Billington recalls an exceptional talent 

No one, they say, ever erected a statue to a critic. But Kenneth Tynan has bequeathed something even larger to posterity: a legendary life. This year has already seen the publication of a revelatory memoir, Life Itself, by his first wife, Elaine Dundy. The Tynan Diaries are imminent. And, as a prelude, we have an extraordinary last interview by Ann Louise Bardach. As a result I suspect a certain image of Tynan will prevail: the spanker, the star-fucker, the sexual obsessive, the suave and ultimately ailing hedonist. He comes to seem like a Marlovian over-reacher who was finally the victim of both emphysema and his own fixations.

The danger is that we shall soon forget the very thing that made him famous: his ability to write about the theatre with a voluptuous commitment. Most dramatic criticism is as ephemeral as the work it describes. Very little survives as literature. Hazlitt's essays on Kean and Kemble have a vivid, bloodshot urgency. Shaw's Our Theatres in the Nineties memorably demolishes Irving and paves the way for Ibsen. Agate wrote about great actors with gusto and allusive wit. To that select list one has to add Tynan, who not only had the gift for pinning down a performance but also, as both critic and National Theatre literary manager, helped redefine British 


Knock 2 Bag.

In the old days comedians would often start a show with the words: 'A funny thing happened on the way to the theatre'. Well nothing funny happened to me on the way to the theatre tonight, but a funny thing happened at the theatre; I laughed! 

I never laugh. Ask anyone.

knock 2 Bag prides itself on its claim that it is more than just a knock about open mike type thing that most comedy nights have become. it wants to be taken more seriously as a considered showcase for real comedy as opposed to a bunch of studenty amateurs standing by a mic using the c word and jokes about Down's syndrome. By tonights' showing it is doing that; of course I did not laugh at everything and nor should I; comedy like everything else is a mixed bag indulging various tastes.

The first act Phil Kay was great, arriving in an anarchic physicality and ending in a virtuoso display of quick minded lyrical hilarity. The headline act: The boy with tape on his mouth was seriously good; a mime artist with a gash of tape across his mouth, surely a metaphor for Chaplins' moustache. He relied on nothing more than observational art and fantastic timing, involving members of the audience with sensitivity and great skill, producing a show that had me crying with laughter. The bit with the cup and ball on the end of his nose with a blindfolded stooge from the audience was priceless.

Between the beginning and ending high spots was a hard place to be for anyone but there was plenty of meat in the sandwich. On the strength of what I saw, Knock 2 Bag is a refreshing change from the unfunny comedy nights where the only people laughing are the promoters on the way to the bank.

A seriously hilarious night.

Oh. and if you laugh like a drain at everything you have a mind like a sewer. 

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Victoria Bean. Art & Language

I met Artist and Poet Victoria Bean  today at an impromptu lunch. She was armed with something bubble wrapped. Another member of the party said: 'Have a look'.  

My heart sank. Was this going to be one of those embarrassing, awkward, yes its lovely through gritted teeth moments?

No it wasn't.

Her work is sharp, concise, intelligent and well executed.  Have a look at her website; click on her name above.

Gratuitous photograph.

Friday, 12 November 2010

My Notting Hill. Thank you.

A wonderful day in Notting Hill. Surrounded by the the people that make the place memorable; Chris and the Tabernacle especially, the barrister who shared a bottle of wine and advice, the journalist, the writer, the reliable academic and to my mind rock star, the locals, the perfect bum guy, the big Kiwi, the regulars and bar staff in the Cow, my friends. and the police too.

Hey everyone, thanks. Think I'll hang around.

The Island Experiment 2nd birthday party.

This is one for the diary. Wade and his crew always produce a spontaneously joyful rabbit out of the hat.
It is at the Tabernacle on the 27th of this month. Be there!

Oh, and Ella Montclare is performing along with the usual and not so usual.

Cafe Ravenous, Portobello Road.

The lasers have danced for the last time. Cafe Ravenous is no more.

                                Photo: Fiona Campbell

During its life time it was the place to party on the Portobello Road and the yurt in the garden made it rather special. A lot of people will be sad to see it go. Charlie and Ali who ran the crazy place were always welcoming and certainly entertaining; they offered me help and kindness during a period when I was not the happiest of men, we had our ups and downs. The reading I did there with  Murray Lachlan Young and Sam Margin was remains a very happy memory. 

the two of them will of course continue with their 'Ravenous' catering and I wish them success.

And thanks.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Dead Weather - "I Cut Like A Buffalo" Version II (Official Video)

Blogger not arrested shock and the twitter arrest.

The police arrived at 12.30 am to arrest me. They did not arrest me. However we spent an interesting half hour surfing the net.  

I am pleased to be able to say that blogging will continue as usual. 

I am interested to learn of the Communications act of 2003 and specifically section 127 (a) which states that defamatory, obscene or threatening posts on a virtual social network is a criminal act as is being demonstrated by the arrest of the 'stoning twitter'.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Tabernacle Bar and Kitchen.

When general manager Christopher Scholey arrived at the Tabernacle some months ago he set about cutting out the dead wood; bringing in new faces and turning what once was a rather hit and miss affair into something rather more professional and inviting.

Head chef Mark Richardson was one of the new arrivals; Mark had already proved himself to Christopher at the Bedford in South London so there was no guesswork to be done about Marks abilities. As well as the Bedford Marks career has taken him to such diversities as Glasgow's first organic restaurant and a stint in Sydney Australia where he developed his interest in what we now call 'Fusion'. Don't be put off by that word, there is not an ounce of pretension in the cooking here but there are welcome signs of an interested chef at work. Mark also has a good sense of humour which is often lacking in other chefs.

A pre-show dinner at the Tabernacle has now become an obvious choice, at my last visit the bar was full of show goers with a similar inclination, the service,from a very friendly young staff, has improved beyond recognition and the food is not overpriced. The menu offers a range of locally sourced options including breakfast, light snacks and full meals,   resulting in the Tabernacle bar and kitchen becoming a cheerfully relaxed and pleasant destination in its own right and a welcome improvement to Notting Hill.

On busy market days on nearby Portobello Road the Tabernacle bar and kitchen is a very welcome oasis if only for coffee and chocolate cake, a glass of wine or a beer.

Leonard Cohen - A Thousand kisses deep

Snake oil, oily fish and Notting Hill parties.

Lots of oily fish the doctor said.

Yeah, as if.

Anyway a guy at a party handed me a bottle of omega 3 capsules and said try these.

If I am dead in 30 days it is because they don't work, nothing to do with the fact I'm dying anyway. If I'm alive in 30 days come for the party.

Makes a change from the usual Notting Hill snake oil salesmen.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Murray Lachlan Young is coming to the Tabernacle.

To my mind the best performance poet around is coming to Notting Hill on the 22nd and 23rd of this month. This gives me the excuse to post his showreel. 

Tom Baxter and vashti Baxter are also on the bill.... See you there!

Alive and well enough.

Photo: Emily Paige Short

Monday, 8 November 2010

Guerilla gardening in Powis Square.

A quiet evening beer at the Cow was interupted by a call to arms by a Guerilla Gardener friend; she was about to introduce a host of daffodils into Powis Square and needed help. there were only four of us (the Notting Hill promise applies at a time like this) but the task was completed without a hitch.

Something to look forward to in the spring.


I shall be reading a few of my poems at BEAT this evening. It is at Charlie Wrights in Pitfield street N1.  

hope to see you there.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water Original Version

When I'm pissed off I listen to this.


Now read in Ho Chi Minh City.

In the old days they would research Notting hill via blue doors, film set book shops, Welsh actors in their shreddies, Hugh grant in  Mary Poppins Portobello Road walk throughs....

Now they don't.

In Ho Chi Minh city they read Pre-Pentimento.

It is still all unintelligible bollocks to them but it is pre-pentimento bollocks; the bollocks you can savour world wide.

Pre-Pentimento bollocks; Tastier than a dog in any language*.

*translated by Lingling.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Great Western Studios comes down.

They have started tearing down the Great Western Studios; for years in view from my desk. First to go is the wood clad tower where once Banksy's highwayman reared.

In the buildings place... The entrance to the Crossrail tunnel.

Amedeo's decision

And had Amedeo Modigliani known
that by choosing another life
he could have saved his own
as well as those
Of Jeanne Hebuterne 
and their daughter would he have done so?

I doubt it very much.

3 deaths is a small price to pay
for such placement of paint and suffering.


Rumer at the Tabernacle.

There was a buzz about the Tabernacle last night; Rumer was in town. There's a buzz about Rumer at the moment; A new album released, endorsements from such heavyweights as Burt Bacharach and Jools Holland and a following of enthusiastic fans.

Once on stage there was an air of nerviness about the singer, who, dressed simply in black, wearing shoes worthy of a second glance, launched straight into her set. It was not until a little bit of banter with her pianist put her more at ease and allowed some interaction with the audience.  Her own songs are lovely; lyrical and gentle, she has a sweet voice to carry them and her lyrics poignant enough to actually want to listen to. Her new single "Aretha" was beautiful; I'd been listening to it enough at home beforehand to recognise it with a smile.

It is so refreshing to have a British artist who is happy enough to eschew the trendy Americanisation of female singers as well as avoiding sensationalism. We shall hear a great deal more from Rumer.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Gaz's Rockin bookreading and signing.

Memories of the Muse in tattered tutu on a garlanded swing.

As I write this the happy cries of children leak into my room from the school yard next door.

I am usually impervious to these noises such is their ubiquitous status in my life but this morning for some reason I hear them... and am immediately transported (through a seemingly never ending succession of mediocre performance/installation art pieces put together by lazy, uninspired and uninspiring, talentless 'Artists' who use the sound of children playing a metaphor for innocence or some such hokum) back to a fondly remembered muse.

Years ago the Muse and I  worked on a vignette for her MA show (before the crack and heroin really got to her) in which the muse, in the guise of Manet's ballerina, hooked on crack, tutu tattered and filthy from the constant abuse she endured as the price she paid to her chemical god, smiling numbly, finger in mouth and childishly singing some unintelligible ditty, swung too and fro on a garlanded swing in the middle of a warehouse.

The soundtrack to this was the innocent playground cries of children.

I think what the muse was trying to say was: Make the most of it girls because I am what men are going to turn you into!