Monday, 28 November 2011

Ken Russell dead, Oliver Reed, Alan Bates and a body double.

Ken Russell has died. I for one loved his films, his sense of fun and rebelliousness.

Both Oliver Reed and Alan Bates refused to use me as a body double in 'women in love' for a reason I will not go into... It was a size thing!

Ken was a bloody good photographer too.

Photo: Ken Russell.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

John Thaw, Drakes Venture, Leonard Cohen and sacred monsters.

In my early twenties I worked as an assistant director/gofer at Westward TV in Plymouth. We made this film which was famously screened the day that Westward lost it's franchise. It has never been screened since that day to my knowledge.

During the filming I worked with one of the best men I have ever met: John Thaw, surely a sacred monster, gave me a great deal of his time and taught me a lot. I did however spend a lot of my time sneaking vodka into his trailer. I experienced being mobbed by middle aged women when driving John; he was still very much the star as a result of the Sweeny....

I married for the first time at the end of filming. John was in Africa and unable to (and probably wouldn't) come to the wedding but sent us a wonderful telegram promising to drink a bottle of vodka in our honour.

John is one of the three men I miss and think of frequently.

It was a very happy summer that year.

the video below is a collection of clips from the movie with a soundtrack from another sacred monster... Leonard Cohen. I have not seen this before.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Lola the scariest dog in the world...

A new poem from Murray Lachlan Young.

October: To all those who went before.

A month of thought and word and deed
To cultural Olympiad
From booker prize to art at Frieze
Of what is good and what is bad?

Who would spray paint out a ‘Banksy’?
Who could be so crude and rash?
Good graffiti bad graffiti?
Post, post-modern cultures clash

While Ralph gives us his Prospero
And punters flee the Marat Sade
Michael Sheen his Dane to show
So what is: Just too avant-garde?

The Shakespeare, Dickens fests announced
Or, King’s Speech coming to the stage
Strictly makes the extra factor?
And what would Tintin have to say?

Of Madge, Madonna hair and shades
In arch red carpet attitude
A master class in marketing
No matter what the latitude

Ah names and names so many names
So many rise, so many fall
So many stars, so great the sky
How did we ever name them all?

A question perhaps for Grayson Perry
British Museum, Shamans robes
His tomb of the unknown craftsman
Installation, ancient road

To all of those who went before
To all of those and all the more
Who carved and cut and chipped honed
The dawn of time through Ancient Rome

To all of those whose time is now
Their names so great upon the tongue
Will in the blinking of the eye
Discover that their time is done

And what is left is craft its self
When all the names are stripped away
Upon the tomb that craftsmen made
The craft of time will endless play?

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Zoe Martlew at the Giant Olive Theatre, Kentish Town.

I've been tipped off that this will be worth attending. I don't know the venue but it sounds good. I'll report back.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

REMI KANAZI's first UK tour.

Remi Kanazi's UK tour kicks off with a fundraising event at the Tabernacle W11 on November 12th.

REMI KANAZI  Palestinian-American Performance poet, writer, and activist based in New York City, he is the editor of Poets For Palestine and the author of Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine.  His political commentary has been featured by news outlets throughout the world and his poetry has taken him across North America and the Middle East.  He recently appeared in the Palestine Festival of Literature as well as Poetry International.  He is a recurring writer in residence and advisory board member for the Palestine Writing Workshop.
RAFEEF ZIADAH is a Canadian-Palestinian spoken word artist and activist.  Her debut CD Hadeel is dedicated to Palestinian youth, who still fly kites in the face of F16 bombers, who still remember the names if their villages in Palestine and still hear the sound of Hadeel (cooing of doves) over Gaza.
OMAR OFFENDUM is a Syrian-American Hip hop artist, author and producer- born in the KSA, raised in the USA, and repeatedly hassled by the TSA.  His solo release in 2010 was affectionately dubbed "SyrianamericanA".
ZITA HOLBOURNE is a poet, artist and activist.  Former member of Brothaman Poetry Collective she campaigns for equality, freedom, justice, and democracy through activism, art and poetry.
Ticket details HERE

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


I feel my leg is up to going out and about. tomorrow night I am off to Archangel to see 'these reigning Days'; a band from Devon up in the smoke for the night. I'll report back.

8pm – £7/£5adv
Symptomatic presents a night of the up and coming indie, rock and folk happening in London. With newly established bands, they present quality sounds and a foot stomping, bliss inducing night of music.
Having started work on their debut album, Dan Steer (formerly of the Quails) Jonny Finnis and Joe Sansome aka These Reigning Days have already been creating a stir, and are set to have a blinding 2012 already securing Major festival slots accross the UK, Europe and US, as well as supporting fellow Devon based band Metronomy at their Torquay show this September. Later this year the band will also be headlining an Alpine tour of France and Switzerland.
Crashing Flowers

AAA @ Archangel,
11-13 Kensington High Street London W8 5NP

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Woman with a harp. Who is she?

Does anyone recognise this image. It is a Victorian print titled: Woman with Harp. According to my harp expert her pose indicates that she is more than just a model posing, she has technique,

Help! Who is she?

UPDATE: It is ok. I found her. It was painted by Leonard Campbell Taylor (English) in 1937. I have found his grandaughter and will be contacting her for details.

From the Portobello Blog: JC Carroll on Winning.

Jc Carroll from The Members on winning a 'Golden Trellick' at The Portobello Film Festival for his opera 'The Golborne Variations'

25 years in the making, Jc from The Members looks back on the creation and staging of his critically acclaimed multimedia opera 'The Golborne Variations', which premiered at The Portobello Film Festival on Friday 2nd September this year. Received with a standing ovation by a full house at the Portobello Film Festival, 'The Golborne Variations went on to win a Special Award, which was collected on Jc's behalf (he was on tour in France with The Members) by cast members Simon Godley & James Simmins from festival organiser Jonathan Barnett.

It is hoped that another staging of this award-winning opera will take place somewhere in the Portobello vicinity very soon. Watch this space...

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Joanne Calvino. Carry that weight.

15 times British Champion and current record holder Joanne Calvino was in the Tabernacle for lunch today... chicken salad is obviously an important part of her training regime; she is currently preparing for 2012.

I have never met anyone who looks less like a weightlifter than Joanne, she is tiny and slim. It was interesting to learn that a lot of our athletes are totally self funded and must fit their training around full time jobs. A laudable ethos.

I shall be following joanne's path to glory and wish her every success.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Troy Davis and the obscenity of the death penalty.

If a state or government does not value human life how the fuck can a state or government expect it's people to value human life. The USA appals meCheck Spelling in its ability to kill its own.

Civilization my arse.

Bianca Jagger has written on the subject in the Huffington Post

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Ryan O'Reilly Band need an artist.

I've sat here for ages trying to draw our album cover and it turns out I can't draw anything except cartoon eyes... If there are any artists out there who would be interested in helping me out by designing our album cover please send a message to and I'll give you some more information.


In the Tabernacle gallery this week is an exhibition of art by Ugandan children. A colourful collection full of life and vitality. All are for sale at affordable prices. Highly recommended.


Portobello Film festival Award winners.

The full list of the prize winners are as follows:

The King Is Dead (Ishmahil Blagrove)
The Golborne Variations (J C Carroll)
Marcelo Paganini
From Patient To Pin Up (Michelle Hallak)
The Beardless Garibaldi (Nicola Piovesan)
I Chopped Her Up (Divian Ladwa)
The First Rasta (Helene Lee)
Fantoon Gaga (Alberto Hadyar)
Wreck (Cara Pickton)
Ebony Road (Maia Krall-Fry)

5 X 15, the loss of genius and hacking Misha Glenny's conversation.

A packed house for 5 X 15 last night for a particularly strong line up of speakers, even standing room was at a premium guaranteeing a partial standing ovation for all concerned.

Misha Glenny opened proceedings with 15 minutes on the rise of cybercrime, more on that later. He was followed by Simon baron-Cohen, Lucy Worsley, AS Byatt and finally Alexander Masters talking about the subject of his latest book, The Genius in my basement.

After the event I was sitting in my usual place in the bar when I was joined by a group including Misha Glenny. I was able to both tweet him live as well as hack into his conversation (otherwise known as butting in).

I shall be reading both alexander's and Misha's books.
                                           Alexander Masters
                                           AS. Byatt
                                           Simon Baron Cohen

                                                         Misha Glenny
                                                        Lucy Worsley                 

Photographs: Thomas Pegoraro

The next 5 X 15 is on October 17th. probably best to book now.

Chris Durkin, 1966 and all that.

I met Chris in 1966 as 11 year olds. We lost touch for over 40 years until I discovered him living less than a quarter of a mile away from me. we had been neighbours for years, drank in the same pubs, attended the same gigs. funny old world.

Chris is exhibiting his paintings at The Tabernacle Gallery next month.

Below is a taste of his work.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Sylvie guillem.

While discussing a collaboration with Ballerina Layla Wiseman, she introduced me to this video.

Trellick Tower humanised.

This image come courtesy of Collette Shields. Are we to look at Trellick... I wonder. Thanks collette and thanks for the hospitality.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Taking the piss (or not) on Talbot Road.

Clochemerle comes to Portobello Road.

Last week the Mayor, armed with a brass band, opened the newly refurbished lavatories on Talbot road. I now learn that the loo's will only be open at the weekend for the tourists. What about the Market traders and the locals who use Portobello road throughout the week?

The elements of French Farce are congregating on Talbot road.

Taking (or not taking) the piss or what?

Saturday, 17 September 2011

From the Archives. Self portrait.


Self portrait
The middle child.

As a young child I was given my own set of plastic tableware: plate bowl and beaker. these objects were yellow! I did not chose the colour yellow, I was told that the yellow ones were mine. From then onwards I would frequently be given yellow things; toys, clothes and the like. These objects were accompanied by the statement that yellow was my favourite colour, that had I the choice I would have opted for the yellow.

Yellow was not not my favourite colour. I would be hard pressed to name a favourite; I was never given the opportunity nor the luxury! I have a feeling that the colour was assigned to me in some kind of attempt to introduce a little brightness into an already dark and troubled child.

Even now, years later, if I am asked what my favourite colour is I am instinctively drawn to the word yellow... not to the colour but the word, as if yellow means favourite.

twenty years ago I made a picture of my childhood; It said everything I wanted or needed to say. It was both a portrait and a summary.
It consisted of a glazed, shallow wooden box. the box was lined with silver leaf upon which were placed a black and white image of myself aged three alongside a yellow plastic spoon (which I had taken from the Hayward gallery cafe; the artistic integrity of the object was important). The outside of the box was wrapped in mattress ticking to emphasise the comfortable environment that I appeared to inhabit. Unseen to the observer the back of the box was covered with an image of a mass of writhing snakes.

The choice of the plastic spoon was important in that accurately represented MY own self-regard; It was a valueless disposable item, even the colour was chosen on my behalf yet within its context it is transformed into something lyrical and poetic in its use of metaphor!
Something of no value is suddenly imbued with emotional importance. It has something to say. the rest of the symbolism is hackneyed and obvious but no less important for that.

This image was the first of a series of portraits using plastic cutlery of various colours, all taken from art galleries to ensure the Artistic integrity, culminating in a self portrait as a black plastic spoon. This consisted of nothing more than the spoon (from Tate Modern) mounted on a stark white wall! Again the cheapness and ephemeral nature of the object was central to the work. The black is self explanatory and its placement: Unbounded, in a vast white nothingness emphasised the lonliness and insularity of the depressions I had been subjected to from an early age. I laughingly refer to this work as Abstract Depressionism.

To me something miraculous happens: An object of no worth becomes invaluable in its ability to convey the lonliness and despair of depression. It appears to speak from experience.

Sadie Jemmett.

On Thursday night I visited our local rip off bar. the only good things going for it were Sadie and Rebecca. Video of Sadie below was shot that evening. Hopefully sadie will come and do a set at Loco when she is finished touring.

More about Rebecca later.

Sadie is touring with Aled Jones (I know) : Sept 17 Shrewsbury Severn Theatre, Sept 21 Croydon Fairfield Hall, Sept 22 Rhyl Pavilion Theatre, Sept 23 Kings Lynn Corn Exchange, Sept 27 Harlow Playhouse, Sept 29 Skegness Embassy Theatre, Sept 30 Stevenage Concert Hall, Oct 02 New Brighton Pavilion Theatre, Oct 03 Darlington Civic Theatre, Oct 05 Worthing Pavilion, Oct 11 Derby Assembly Rooms, Oct 12 Tunbridge Wells Assembly Halls, Oct 15 Swansea Grand Theatre, Oct 16 Christchurch Regent.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Surrealist Michael woods in conversation and pictures. Excavating Nic Roeg.

A very special night last night at westbourne Studios. Michael was grilled, unlike Dali's lobster which I uderstand was boiled, by Eliot Albers wearing a pork pie and a wry grin. the gentle inquisition produced more reason to think Michael well worth listening to. (Unlike the arcanely wordy woman behind me with her clever clever look at me I'm clever question she had written down for the occasion.)  the chat followed a screening of nic Roeg's  short film 'SOUND' which Michael collaborated on. It felt more like michaels film than Nic's. 

A still from SOUND
Michael woods

Michael woods and Eliot Albers and artist Barrington de la Roche.
A detail from one of Michaels Works.
Another Still from SOUND.

And finally... Hat club! The bloke in the foreground is James Simmins who I asked to take the picture. He forgot to get out of his way.

Rasta Mouse at the Tabernacle. W11.

Michael De Souza, creator of Rasta Mouse, is speaking at the Tabernacle tonight. Part of the Caribbean Film Corner.

I do not own a TV but have watched Rasta Mouse... Great fun!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Winking doll, pancakes and humps.

I found this doll in the street.
She winked.
I picked her up.


I was given this for my birthday some years ago, then it blew off the roof and lay on the school roof next door for 2 years. When the fire brigade were putting out the fire in the school I asked them to rescue my sign.

Clouds, silver linings etc...

Portobello Film Festival Tonight's events.

Michael Woods (long term Nic Roeg collaborator) and friends talks about Nic's work and the occult tonite at Westbourne Studios. Plus rare screenings of Sound and Two Deaths.
Italian night at the Pop Up - a superb selection of the latest Italian short films inc comedy and animation and a film about Rudolph Valentino.
Short films tonite at The Tabernacle for second night of massively popular Caribbean Corner.

Miss Dynamite and bass guitar.

Some years ago I had a conversation with my younger son. we were discussing his future, I asked him what he was going to do when he left school. he told me that he was going to be a pop star. I told him that the chances of a kid from Acland Burleigh shool becoming a pop star were very slim.

"Naomi has done it". He said.
Naomi? I replied.
"Ms Dynamite".

I shut up and bought him a bass guitar!

Naomi was in the Tabernacle yesterday evening. She is a lovely woman, friendly, more than happy to chat to and sign autographs for the gaggle of kids around her and refreshingly normal. Unlike that other North London woman who died recently. not all pop stars are monsters.

Ms Dynamite has just released a new single.

Darth Vader's shed.

I met Architect David Ajasa-Adekunle yesterday. He had the biggest laptop I've
ever seen I didn't envy it but was jealous as hell. He did however show me his
shed designs. Brilliant! As soon as I get me a garden I'm going to get one of these.

from RHS Chelsea Flower Show Exhibitions Team:

tetra shed
'tetra shed' is a new modular building system which, as a single module, has been designed to be a modern garden office/atelier which can comfortably accommodate 2 people.

A double module layout has also been designed to create a garden office/atelier for larger gardens.

Clusters of upto 6 modules have primarily been designed as additional work, rest and play space for homes. Larger tessellations can be used for a range of applications such as classrooms, exhibition space, corporate events, tourism & leisure facilities and retail space. Designed to exceed the Building Regulations, 'tetra shed' is suitable for permanent year-round use.

A forthcoming website will feature more details of 'tetra shed'. In the meantime, if you would like to know more about the system and its potential, please email

From the RHS Chelsea Flower show: ‘’This year we are launching a new area within the Showground called ‘Fresh Tradestands’. The aim of this area is to push boundaries in product design and their subsequent display. We are challenging designers/artists to create a visual experience in order to showcase their innovative horticultural and landscaping products with a desire to engage the media and enhance the visitor experience. We want to bring products/work to Chelsea that hasn’t been seen at the Show before. Your Tetra Shed is exactly the sort of product we are looking for to be presented within this new area.’’

Tetra shed has also recently been chosen for a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) exhibition at their London headquarters starting next month.

The tetra shed web site is HERE

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Portobello Film Festival. Caribbean Film Corner.

Caribbean Film corner, part of the Portobello film Festival, starts at the Tabernacle tonight. Entry is Free. check it out.




(2 amazing films back to back)

The First Rasta
Directed by Helene Lee, 90mins
Thirty years after Bob Marleys death, it is time to pay
tribute to Leonard Percival Howell, The First Rasta. At
the beginning of the last century, the young Leonard
left Jamaica, became a sailor and travelled the world.
On his way, he chanced upon all the ideas that stirred
his time. From Bolshevism to New Thought, from
Gandhi to anarchism, from Garveyism to psychoanalysis,
he sought to find his promised land. With this
cocktail of ideas Leonard Gong Howell returned to
Jamaica and founded Pinnacle, the first Rasta
community in 1939. Documentary

Directed by Marcia WEEKES, 102mins
Life for 15 year old Mikisha has been tough over the
last year after she becomes pregnant for her
boyfriend Troy. Her mother Darlene, a single mom is
suffering financially. In These tough times when
Mikisha needs help, she meets her wealthy dad Morris
and her sister Claire. Could this reunion between
Mikisha and her dad be the answer to all her financial
needs or is this her worst nightmare? Drama

Full listing for the 4 days can be found

Marques Toliver at the Tabernacle.

Some reviews are a joy to write. Some performers defy the laws of probability. Sometimes the Tabernacle buzzes. sometimes all these things collide to create a memorable event.

The Art Explosion opening, attended by the Mayor, in the Gallery combined with a late start to the sell out show in the auditorium ensured that the place was rammed. There had been a lot of buzz about this one. time out had made it one of their picks for theweek and tickets had sold out in advance.

Mr Toliver is impossible to categorize; a classically trained violinist with bucket loads of sass and showmanship who also happens to write and sing a kind of soul. Backed by a happy band comprising a string quartet, drums, a couple of keyboards and a pair of backing singers he produce something pretty cool and totally unexpected. He produced an auto harp for one number, referencing P.J. Harvey as he introduced the instrument. Rock n Roll.

Photographs: Thomas Pegoraro.

I noticed a number of music industry bods in the audience; an indication that this man is hot!

A great show, a great night at the Tabernacle and a joy to write about.


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Stalked and poetry.

I am being stalked by the coolhunter
How cool is that

She is good
she frightens death
and chills out hell

She can stalk in high summer 
without working up a sweat
she can stalk on the ice pack
while casually clubbing seal cubs

She can stalk you at truck stops
or at Soho house
she is just too cool to be noticed.

Except by Phil Spector

And she dealt with him.

Poetry defined.

A friend calls from canada and asks: '

What are you doing?'
and I say I am drinking milk and reading Bukowski
and she laughs and it is that laugh, 
you know, 
the laugh of someone you really like
and straight away you want to make her laugh again
not to make her happy so much
as to make her laugh again
so you can listen to it.

And when she hangs up I think of poetry
and what defines poetry
It is not as if
writing a shopping list of metaphors is enough

to make a poem!


I find these signs a little confusing!

You know you want to go... But where to go? My advice: Piss on the lamppost.

Gateway Women Coaching group.

Dear Friends,

There are still 6 places left on the Gateway Women Coaching Group which takes place on Saturday mornings 10-11am in Notting Hill.

All the info is in the flyer below and if you click on the image it will take you to the Gateway Women website - or use this link to take you directly to the page:

I would be so grateful if you could forward this email to any women you know who would have liked to have had a family (or who are still hoping it will work out).

The Group is intimate, friendly and safe and completely groundbreaking.

I am now a qualified counsellor and am part way through my training to be a psychotherapist - so it's is a safe, fun and supportive space. We'll be doing exercises to help us uncover some of our unconscious issues around motherhood, and techniques for finding our missing mojo. The first week was last Saturday and the Group will be running for another 9 weeks till Saturday 26th November.

Please don't hesitate to contact me for further info

Thanks for your help in spreading this important work - with 1 in 5 women now not having children, there's a lot of work to be done changing attitudes around being childless -- or childfree as I prefer to term it!

Thanks again, Jody x

Founder: Gateway Women

Loco Cabaret, Jono, Wig, Rob Alder and Delphi Newman.

I'm assured it was the best night at Loco to date. I cannot possibly comment as I was part of it. It was certainly fun. Dancing took place which must be a good sign.

5 X 15 Unbound, Alan Yentob and fish pie.

The Tabernacle took a literary turn yesterday. Alan Yentob, armed with a BBC film crew, was interviewing Kate Mosse in the conservatory during the afternoon prior to a special, one off, 5 X 15 Unbound, in the auditorium.

I managed to have a chat with Alan during a break, on the theme of the evenings event; the future of the book. The word Kindle featured quite prominently. I suggested that Kindle may indeed be the way forward until we hit the post I.T. winter. It occurred to me that one day storytelling will return to it's natural medium; spoken narrative. Curious how we seem to have forgotten that books, certainly books

available to the general public, are quite a recent arrival.

5 X 15 Unbound: Here's the idea: you will be treated to an evening of riotous literary entertainment as 10 authors go head-to-head pitching ideas for books they would really like to write.

Authors include the international bestselling novelist Kate Mosse, Booker shortlisted comic novelist Tibor Fischer and creator of cult 90s TV show This Life, Amy Jenkins. Robert Llewellyn (Red Dwarf, Scrapheap Challenge, Carpool) will be presenting his utopian fantasy, News from Gardenia. Graham Smith will offer up We Can Be Heroes - a lavishly illustrated insider's account of London's club scene in the early 80s.

Vitali Vitaliev, the Russian Bill Bryson, presentsCattivo Recordo, a journey through italy in search of a bad meal. Keith Kahn-Harris, a sociologist and expert on Jewish heavy metal shares Big Fish, Small Ponds, his attempt to find obscure heroes (like the best waterskier in Luxembourg). George Chopping, former Sainsbury's 'shelf replenishment technician' now performance poet unleashes Shelf-stacker Blues. Elliot Rose (aka awarding winner novelist Will Davis) reads fromDemonica, his chilling tale of a woman who loses her face (and also performs an aerial trapeze display piece). And sensational Oxford band Little Fish unveil The New Official Little Fish Paper Club Handbook, a guide to starting modern rock band and perform their new single. After they've all delivered their pitches we'll be gathering everyone's (silent) pledges.

The auditorium was packed, with a peppering of literary names and the odd rock star in attendance. It was a light hearted affair and made a change from the usual 5 x 15 format.

Chef Mark Richardson Knocked up a fish pie for the event which I can assure you was splendid.

The next 5 X 15, back in it's usual guise will be on Monday September 19th with AS Byatt, Misha Glenny, Simon Baron Cohen, Lucy Worsley and Alexander Masters

Alan Yentob's telly thing will be shown in November on the BBC.

Monday, 12 September 2011

High tide in Porchester Gardens. W2.

Actually it is yet another burst water main. details HERE

The nurse.

A year ago I was admitted to St Mary's Hospital Paddington; they got my lungs going again. the staff were great, the food not great but to misquote the fabulous furry freak Brothers:

Good nursing will get you through times of lousy food better than lousy nursing in times of good food.

I was looking through my notebook for that time. I found this:

The nurse

She leans in
and for one moment
supplements my weak breath
with hers

then whispers

Saturday, 10 September 2011