Six Sleeps til Have A Word


So here we go to Have A Word. The event organizer, Ellis, was kind enough to describe me as a “Comedian” on the poster. And the flyer. And probably on the radio show he was on today… so lets hope that people don’t remember that before I take the stage, because NO PRESSURE to be FUNNY then!


Having a Word – OK, Don’t mind if I do!

I remain convinced that he has done this to get me back for threatening to everyone about a boring story he told me about ironing a shirt. He has no idea of my horrible history of outing people… still, best not to spoil the surprise.

I have this feeling as if I’ve blogged all this before, but probably I’ve mainly talked to you a) in my head or b) on facebook, and of course, although originally I was down for October, Ellis asked me to do September instead, so I said yes, and then it was cancelled, so then I was back on for October. And yet, in an astounding feat of procrastination I have still managed to not finish it yet. Six sleeps…

Anyway, I am grateful. Ellis is the sort of person who has an idea and then ‘just’ does it. And I, for my part, am the sort of person to say, once that person has done a lot of hard work and it has proven a success “Ooh! Can I join in?”

Hence we are at this pretty pass. As it happens, I’ve done this sort of thing before, but it’s been a good 10 years since the last iteration. Since then I’ve listened to a LOT of Radio 4 and when Ellis said he wanted 15 minutes I didn’t even consider doing some shorter things or a thing of whatever shorter length and then just stopping – I wanted to talk to time. This is proving an interesting exercise, and I am actually nearly done. Do you want to read the opening? Here it is;

Cayce, I wish my ailments, like yours, were a kind of superpower. Your allergy is the BEST allergy. People pay good money to go to design school to refine their eye and learn visual skills. You are employed because when you see a new packaging design you know whether it’s good or not. Not because you have an ‘eye’ but because you are allergic.

Cayce is allergic to branding. This means that she has an unpleasant physical reaction to the sight of logos, so she has filed the logo off the button on her jeans and unpicked the labels. The stronger the logo, the stronger her repulsion.

Cayce is a “cool hunter”. This already sounds old fashioned in 2013, ten years after the publication of the novel, which, given it’s set in ‘the future’ might sound problematic, but sci fi writers, like all successful novelists, have rules, some genre specific, and some more general about what ‘can’ happen in a given scenario. ‘Cool hunter’ has been around for some time before he writes – the ‘coolness of ‘cool hunter’ is a kind of linguistic branding.

And this is nearly the end of me ever mentioning Pattern Recognition by William Gibson again. I go off on a noodly jazz style riff about the blackberry season and my own relationship to fashion. The idea is that it all hangs together MARVELOUSLY. But I may have to wait and see if it does. Particularly since I’m clearly not writing it NOW am I? No, after not blogging for ages, suddenly it’s vitally important I stop watching TV, listening to radio, playing Words With Friends, and all the other activities and tasks I seem to be getting done at an amazing rate and blog instead of WRITING THE THING. Typical.

Here Comes the Rain Again


August bank holiday, generally scorchio, as appropriate for the Notting Hill Carnival, and we’ve dived straight into autumn without a thought for due process.

Rainy grey light on the Lea.

Some people don’t care either way.

And what have I been doing since last we met? Well, the usual lot of nothing. I’ve been experimenting with coming off medication, eating my body weight in blackberries, and not getting my Have A Word thing written…

I’ve been picking a few blackers most days when I’ve been out with the dog. It’s always amazing how different really fresh things taste to – well, less fresh things.


It’s been hot, and I am chronically underslept. The rain brings a certain quiet, but also makes me creaky, so it’s swings and roundabouts health wise.

Have A Word is a thing m’friend Ellis has been doing in Brighton for the past few months – there’s no website as such, just a rolling series of HAW fb pages. It’s a monthly spoken word evening in aid of Sussex Beacon and it’s just gone into profit. Ellis is one of those people who ‘just does’ things. A couple of years ago he picked up a camera and within a few weeks had an exhibition – still showing regularly now. Similarly, he ‘just’ decided to host a spoken word event, and now he ‘just’ does.  I love that. Inspirational!

So, of course, without really thinking about possible consequences I asked if I could do a spot, and now I have fifteen minutes to fill on September 11th. I have *something* written, but not 15 minutes worth of something, and I’ve been quietly panicking away here. I had a couple of false starts, but have settled upon doing a sort of jazzy noodle version of a ‘book report’. It’s not a book review – I am barely talking about the book that kicked me off at all, but I quite like calling it a ‘book report’ because that’s what we did at school. And I was quite good at it. But it’s not really one, it’s just me starting off with some of the elements of a book and noodling off with it. The book in question is Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. My ‘report’ features blackberries quite heavily, which the novel does not. And fashion branding, which the novel does.

In other news I have been looking at swapping flats again… not sure whether it will happen or not, but I’ve seen a few now, and am narrowing down my focus – I’m not in a fit state to be moving just for the sake of it, and the Riviera has it’s plusses. But sometimes I start ‘shopping’ and contact a whole slew of people and then some of them get back to me and I think – did I really think I could move to Kilburn? Was that a thing?

Two current front runners involve a flat just off Brick Lane and one just north of Victoria Park – so, areas I’ve lived in before and not just mad night time digital ramblings. Now I have to write to someone and tell her I was QUITE MAD to think I could move so far away from ‘everything’.

And finally, here’s a GPOY of Pops.


Crying is the New Black


There was a point at which one wag declared “Comedy is the New Rock and Roll”. This was on the back of decades of “[colour name] is the New Black” in fashion, so it wasn’t that novel, i suppose, but it did confirm that construction in my mind, and I used variations of it often, and it occasioned my coining of the phrase “Crying is the New Black”, which is something I texted to a friend who I saw from a bus one day in Barmy Park. She was having a cry before getting on the tube, and she reported back that her shrink had approved the saying, so I repeat it here for your benefit.

this is a reconstruction of the text i sent. i am just like “crimewatch” except the original text was sent from the top of a bus and this is clearly just my phone on top of my duvet. sorry.

As a migraineur, I don’t like to have “a good cry”. A “good cry” for me just means guaranteed physical pain, which I get enough of already, so I avoid it. Also, I’ve been on a “mood elevator” for just over a year. I won’t bore you with the details, the whys, wherefores, and contingencies, but I came off it recently. Inevitably, there’s anxiety waiting to meet you after your SSRI/SNRI sojourn, which doesn’t happen on day one, but it’s there. Waiting to FREAK YOU THE FUCK OUT. But when you know what it is you can say – well, this might be the horror of me returning, or else it might be that thing that happens when you stop these drugs and it will pass. Whatever it is it hooks onto, as long as you know it’s not really ‘about’ that thing it can be dealt with. A bit like PMT – don’t make any major decisions when in it’s grip and ride it out. The way it manifested for me was waking up feeling terribly anxious about the possible moving house scenario that’s cooking up chez moi. Once I worked out what was going on I just used my ninja buddha skills and spent the first 20 minutes/half hour of the day doing a breath meditation instead, and that seemed to be enough to see off the worst of it.

The other thing, though, is the crying. I’m not wailing and crying, I’m not heartbroken, I can still maintain my stance on the whole crying thing, but I am finding myself rather more moved by stuff lately. And that is certainly a good thing. Whether a video about a dog being rescued, or something frankly schmaltzy, a little slug of tear will creep down my face, unbidden, but not unwelcome.

here is a brave weed growing out of a wall. *sobs*

I expect the little weeps will dry up sooner or later, me being the equanimous  type that I routinely am, but I am welcoming them for the time being. I have seen enough people go on and off these drugs to know that with the tears come all sorts of other feelings, along with the desire to create stuff, usually dampened for the duration. Happily, for me, I continued to blog, but I do know people whose entire online life has gone the way of all things while medicated, and for me that’s most of my friendships as well as some writing and pictures. So, here I am, welcome back, me, whoever I am.

A Special Sock, and a Special “Baby”


Fleeing off my head on the good drugs they give you in hospital, I confided, possibly quite loudly, to my mother, that I would be stealing the socks I’d been dressed with for my operation. They were so comfortable. Everything is so good on the good drugs. They’ve been in my sock drawer ever since, and the other day, sick of a long running calf muscle pain aggravated by the wearing of flip flops, I dug one out and put it on.

seems i got a d- for embolism. or for anti-embolism… it’s not entirely clear

On thursday I posted

i am wearing an embolism sock

well, an ANTI embolism STOCKING if you must know.

it’s very comforting. that’s why i stole it from the hospital.

on Facebook. I got lots of likes and comments, and even a video THUS;

from Ian Dogstar. I had to wonder why he had that one handy…

I’m not big on going to hospital. This was nothing to do with anything I normally have wrong with me, and I can’t even remember how they discovered I had it, but it was a big lump the size of a delicious muffin that was lurking in my abdomen. Only it wasn’t a muffin, and it wasn’t in mah belleh as such. I have forgotten momentarily what these things are called, and in the early days it was mainly “could be cancer”, “won’t be cancer” jerking me around for months. In the end they said it was hardly ever cancerous, this thing but they “liked” to take them out. I guess, if you have a growth that is not going to metastasise then you might very well “like” to take it out – like a magician TADA! and the big lump is GONE!

My take away message about this thing, though, was that it was a sort of evil twin typa bunch of tissue, which quite often had teeth and hair. This got me unreasonably excited, and when I came round from the very very good drugs and spoke to my surgeon my question was not “am I alright?” or any variant on that, but “did it have blonde hair?” (because it’s made of your own genes, so it’s going to be YOUR genes, not some interloper you’ve been having sex with). Fair play to the surgeon, who may have had more important things to do, she told me yes, it had LOVELY LONG blonde hair.

An Instagram, Dog Silliness, and My New Hoodie


Gentle reader, I have been away in Brighton. And on my trip I had my hair cut. And on my trip I had my hair cut and my photograph taken…

i’ve been instagrammmed! like a modern person (thanks julie!)

And on my trip I had my hair cut, my photograph taken, and lots of visitors – OK I am bored with that game now, as are you. Sorry. Anyway, the upshot is that having had my hair cut for the first time since the crazy Russians did it back in Bethnal Green, I felt I was perhaps presentable enough to get a mug shot taken that I could use across social media platforms. I had thought perhaps my friend Grace might do it, since she has a good eye, but the visit was busy and I didn’t grab the moment. Howevs, before we left I asked Julie to do it, because she also has a good eye… and she is all about the Instagrammings so between that and the sunshiny paintings in her living room I have had to do a total redesign here at elaine4queen, since everything before was all pale and light and now I have all the vividry a person could ask for. So, hence the kind of teal background, and the sunset garden – mine, by the way, so properly mirroring the welcome to The Hermitage’s actual location on the Tottenham Riviera. What do you think? Do you miss the picture of Poppet’s feet?

We were there to take the sea air (by which I mean visit friends) and look after Diva, the little ancient staffie. In a previous visit there had been small beasts in a cage in the garden, but it seems they have met their demise. During the previous visit Poppet had to be banned from the garden because she obsessed with the damn things, and even then she spent half the visit hanging out an upstairs window hankering after them. She still thought they were there so was dancing around barking… which gave Ten an idea.

crate training?

Poor Poppet, she seemed confused. Even after inspecting the inside of the enclosure she was still not entirely convinced that they wouldn’t be back and kept checking. This enclosure, by the way, is something which I like very much. It’s called an Eglu and is a designer chicken home. If you click through you can see how fancy, there is a little video. Until I became aware of the Eglu I had had no interest in chicken keeping, but who wouldn’t want to keep chickens if they had one of these?

Lastly and leastly, I came back to a PACKAGE. In it was a HOODIE. I have never knowingly had a hoodie before, and I am enjoying it immensely. This one is a bit fashion and the zip goes all the way up. So I could go about with my face entirely covered. Maybe cut eye holes.

ready to do all the crimes

Kimono – ‘A Thing to Put On’, a Tumblr Collection, and Rosebud, All the Fun of the Snow


I’ve been rather frustrated by the craft/knit/crochet revival mostly because I simply don’t have the energy, but also partly because even if I could get it together to make something there is the issue of skills… Reader! I do not crochet! And quilting is a mystery. And I only hand sew, my sewing machine remains box fresh despite my intentions.

Then this picture came along in my fb and I thought – HANG ON! I could certainly make that!

Irina Anufrieva in knitted KI-mono by Ki-mono Reconstruction (Joanna Bo) , photo by Eva K, feb*2012

It’s not even stocking stitch, just plain knit – hence the texture, and it’s made on big needles so would be the work of MOMENTS, and I have two ‘normal’ kimonos, and they are really just made of rectangles, so no fancy stuff whatsoever!

What I am thinking is that if anyone has any spare wool or knows of ends of line sales involving any yarn that is any kind of blue and any kind of white/cream/beige then i could make a boro inspired one.  A ‘boro’, for those of you not obsessed with kimonos and with blue, is a peasant’s kimono, dyed with indigo and mended with patchwork. Naturally, they are now considered antiques and are very valuable.

can i borrow your boro?

Last time I did ‘big knit’ I was at art school and I made my needles out of doweling. I was inspired by a friend who knitted a lot with drum sticks. I’d need to acquire or borrow some big needles, and I might even vary the size of stitching. I’d certainly want to double up the wool at the top and make it lighter as it went down, and then maybe do some tighter or heavier rows at the bottom of the sleeves and body to weight it.

Yesterday I made this  inspired tumblr collection a propos my obsession with blue…

for your perusal.


Ten found this in his house

the sled, not all the other gumph

It was left there by his dad who is a serious scavenger. So he swiped it for our little chum here depicted with his friend Poppet.


As we speak, there is a whole lot of sledging going on at Springfield Park. Since I managed to fall on my arse and head this morning out with Poppet I wasn’t tempted to go along, despite the potential for photo ops. Ten is at a CRUCIAL stage with my laptop, so he didn’t want to go either. As it stands, my Sony Vaio’s main brain died (just out of guarantee). My previous laptop, generously patronessed by Terri had had a premature retirement because of something going wrong with it’s energetic metabolism, but the brain was ALIVE so ten put the Dell brain in the Sony. Acourse, then there is the problem of getting Windows onto the damn thing…