La Valse Musette

I have returned from holiday.  Six days and no longer as we could find no other cover for the care of our lame dog and our blind cat. Besides, I always leave it too late and whatever my fancy takes is wishful thinking. We took two rooms above a bar. They were almost ensuite. To piss requires leaving one leg in the bedroom. I didn’t mind particularly.

France. To the same town I have visited every year since my birth. Where I was baptised. Where my grandmother bought a narrow strip of land on low cliffs above the sea, in the days when it cost one franc an acre to buy.. or do they use hectars?  Either way, it was large enough for her to sell half, raising enough money to build herself a two roomed ‘bungalow’ at the back, and a small holiday rental in the front of the space that she retained.  

We usually arrived from Cognac. Thrilled by the first glint of  sea on the horizon. I cannot write in french – but through the gates that still stand, up the short dust-sand drive, eyes lowered, quiet as mice, we ran to our weeping grandmother…’attention les estivants!’

To this place, whose doors I have seen five generations enter, we return. It swarms with cousins of cousins. Childhood faces in festooned skin. The chicken house is gone and there is a little more grass and the road outside has been tarred, but it smells the same and the same hedge of Bay survives on the descent to the beach, from which every year my father tore a leaf and pressed it to my nose.

Home and it rains. What do I care. A child who in France lived to be outside and to swim for as long as she was allowed, stays indoors here.

I am sounding maudlin now aren’t I. I don’t mean to be. It is that september feeling in august.

 Yesterday I returned to Pete’s studio. We are happy. It is light around us. He sees no dangerous signs flickering at my brow.

Something marvelous happened for me. It transpired that the day before we mastered the album, a new session was now possible. We had made contact with Marcel Azzola. The Accordian legend. He who was encouraged to ‘chauffe!’ on Brel’s Vesoul, whose fluid and acrobatic fingers set fire to that song and pinned me to my seat.   He, at 80 years old, was coming to play on our song ‘Home’.   

One hand gives, one hand takes. It was the day that Ding was doing his Tour De France stage (which, incidentally, he finished, in front of the broom wagon and in time to win his bronze medal) thus leaving me sole care of our youngest. It was also the day for which I had an afternoon seat to see Finny perform her first and last big role in the junior school play. Ben Gun. Treasure Island. It could not have been otherwise.

She sang her song about cheese like a dream and my heart swelled and broke for her at the same time. Only in the moments she stood side stage did I wonder how the session was going, and worry that Mr Azzola would think me a rude ludite.

We had recorded that song real time together Pete and I. Playing it a number of times and then editing it for the guitar pass. I had sung it in a number of ways depending how hard we were going for it.  It is a theatrical song. A character song which was written for spitting and snarling, for the stage. It doesn’t make me nervous transferring this role play  to a ‘pop’ record. I think he worried, too much attitude and it would come over all Tits and Teeth and show hands. (Yesterday we replaced our original choice with a vocal that rants a little more. This will not be the same as the one that has gone on our sampler.)

Sod it..I say…let something be what it is..and don’t worry about the neighbours.

Monsieur Azzola’s performance is wonderful. A true musician. His energy a perfect bed for a voice to thrash upon.


Get over it

I bought a new and better hen.

Great album. Superb.

Balance is good

There were no feathers. No signs of violence.

My hen has gone to see the world.

Who are you

I don’t feel comfortable with happiness.

It is a strange bed fellow.

I must address this immediately.

My favourite hen has gone missing. I fear the fox has eaten her.

This must be happiness

After the relief that was Hometime and the balance that Voice returned to me, I hoped I would be back on track. I did not imagine feeling as I do today.

This week we mastered the record. The Turn.

Can we keep saying it? As with every new love affair? This is it. The one. This is the culmination of every lesson learnt. The blessing of age.

 I am reeling, self-satisfied, thrilled. I feel smashed. I am tired. Without doubt.  Filled with aching love for the people that surround me. The space and support they have gifted me… for the door that was left opened to me. 

This must be happiness.


Aren’t I supposed to be going to bed at three.. and not getting up?

That can’t be right.

It’s all coming upon me again as the excitement I feel about working gets into fisticuffs with ‘outside, bad…inside, good’

Bloody Nora.. I have to go shopping for clothes. I have to find that one perfect shirt and buy 10 of them.

The last perfect shirt lasted me 2 albums and a couple of tours… and day wear.

It longs to be retired.

This is the perfect way of dressing for me. (other than you have to assure your companions daily, that whilst it is indeed identical, it is not the same shirt that you had on yesterday.)

It requires no thought and no pursed lipped mirror gazing.


Shit, but I’m fat.

Not that imaginary pop world fat, that the truly beautiful and talented Lilly Allen sees on herself.

The type of self-image that gets thrown upon a regular girl from the taunting, self-satisfied suck-chicks, who pluck and baste themselves in a tragic frenzy…. no…real fat.

I am the real deal. I should be banned from the NHS and taxed more.



Trouble with having a website, and making connection with people who are interested in you, for whatever reason… is that you are drawn to looking at images of yourself.

I have been reminded of certain performances, and have gone to look to see how I felt about them retrospectively.

This never happened before computers. Not for me.

Before computers I answered mail.

I polished my desk.


There is also, along with the brilliant support and loyalty that I know I will encounter… a slightly masochistic tip to these outings.

I am interested to know what will sting me.

I have from time to time, pulled off my own toe nail to see if I could bear it.

Polish that, you manicurist….

(sorry if that makes you retch…well, no, not that sorry)


Anyway, as much as being fat grieves me for the simple fact, and admittedly not the only one, that it makes the bi-decade shopping expedition more torturous, it does not, after years of lame and tired name calling – sting.


..back to the WWW…

The last comment I noted was ‘great song / voice ( I can’t remember which)..but no, she’s much too fat’


…and i thought, nothing wrong with your spacial awareness friend, but…. too fat for what?


If, after hearing my dulcet tones you found me to be pleasingly proportioned, were you preparing to take me pony trekking?


Are you looking for a singer to go pot-holing with?


Have I missed out on the chance in a million, to be the muse for your squinty-eyed, self-pleasuring quest?

If only I hadn’t eaten that pie, I could have been loved by you.


Why didn’t I work more in my thin 90’s? Yes, ok, not thin enough to save Girls Aloud from suicide, but just fine for me.



 The record is nearly finished and I am an aural beauty!

Soon you can listen to it, and then occupy yourselves loving the one you’re with.


I begin

This morning, making coffee and listening to an obscure piano album by musician Dave Palmer (that I randomly found on the internet and decided to buy), Ding and I were discussing the latest issue of Wire.

He’s dressed for his cycle ride in those very tight, nappy arsed, strapped leggings that makes you think Marcel Marceau after a big scare.

He is getting ready for this summer’s L’Etape Du Tour. The lazy fat bastard.

Our youngest child is up the wall, in what seems to be a perpetual state of Hand Stand. I have renamed her Sheila.

Go on…he says, describe one of the featured artists. Do me the blurb.

These are the kinds of games we like to play…that and our favourite ‘Face Making’.

Face making is serious business…smiley mouth – total dead eye, or, perplexed-you-got-me-there, but look!… and can take many long minutes to hone and rearrange until we are satisfied with the result.

Anyhow, I don’t know that I am up to the task this morning… but give it a go as our marriage is very important to us.

Grievous Climb.  

Daefus Clag hails from Splott, the son of a Catalonian knife grinder.

A graduate of the Sorbonne, he studied alternative knee bending, and drinking beverages at extreme temperature. 

This latest work, influenced by light dimmers and the perpendicular, was recorded in service lifts, between the fifth and sixteenth floors only.

I don’t think they will be open to me at Wire.

 They will not be calling me Poly-Stylistic.

They should. It’s a good call.