It is now time for another Podcast
I painted my walls white today.
It was uninteresting.
I failed to get rid of the woodchip wallpaper, apparently the walls might fall apart if I do that, its a 300 year old house, the landlord would not be amused, so I painted them white. At least they are no longer dirty yellow in colour.
Whilst painting I thought.
I usually think that too much thought is bad for one, but today I did seem to come up with three good ideas. I know, 3 good ideas from me in one day is unlikely, probably why I have a headache now.
The second idea is that I can paint a picture of orchids and use it for my botanical illustration students and in a video animation for the Rude Mechanicals songs Orchid and Big Lies – which has the line “orchids grow best where seamen is spilt”, an old folk belief that orchids can only grow where animal seamen has been spilt.
The third idea was that my subconscious is sabotaging me. Its like that song by They Might be Giants, “Where your eyes don’t go a filthy scarecrow waves its broomstick arms
And does a parody of each unconscious thing you do”. Only mine isn’t just doing a parody of me, its deliberately preventing me from doing things. It looses the keys every time I need to leave my flat. It stops my ability to count every time money is mentioned. Every tiny glimpse of success it sabotages. On my graduation from Art School I sold all my rather grotesque 12ft oil paintings for vast amounts of money, a top gallery wanted to be kept informed about my work and I was given a year long residency. What did I do? Gave up painting and did live art instead. A couple of years later I was doing part time work as a model, I landed a job in a Sony ad which paid £4000 for one days work. My agency thought they were on to something and paid for me to train as an actor. What did I do? Had a brain haemorrhage that put me in hospital and took three years to recover from. Now once I would have said that I was not to blame for the haemorrhage, but now I wonder if it was actually self sabotage. Many other instances like this have happened, like sacking the drummer and violinist, which also meant the bassist quit, just as the band was beginning to get somewhere etc. So what I ask you now is – how do I stop self sabotaging? Do you get the same thing? And if so have you come up with any way of stopping it? Perhaps I should have part of me surgically removed? This isn’t so much an idea as a big question.
The first idea was to read Jeremy Henty’s poem Ugly Little Boy for the next Rude Mechanicals Naked Podcast. Jeremy was our drummer when the band started. Ugly Little Boy were the only lyrics he wrote for it (he liked to be known as Ugly Boy) but for some reason it wasn’t played that often although I thought it was very fitting somehow. Jeremy passed over to the next world two years ago. A friend of his got in touch with me recently which brought the lyrics back into my head. So i’ll be reading them as part of our next podcast.
Of course if I’d become a successful artist back in 1999 I would probably never joined the Rude Mechanicals, never met Jeremy, and not writing this blog now, and you wouldn’t be reading it.
Today I left my tower and ventured into the outside world.
Wearing my sequinned mask and red velvet cape I initially felt protected by the magic force, but it wasn’t long into the journey when my sequins became nervous, they warned me of the dangers that lurked. Strangers in sinister face coverings skulked in every shop. A helicopter flew above me, constantly purring in the summer sky. It tracked my movements, checking I didn’t fall out of line, didn’t disobey.
A hot day. Pink and red skinned beasts lay virtually naked on the public garden lawn. Why don’t they grow fur like other animals? Its so much more attractive. Miss, my cat, agrees. I walked once around the block and returned hurriedly to my tower, daring not to enter a shop incase they shot me with their germ loaded machine guns, I know they hide such things behind the counter.
At home I have tea and fresh cake ( an experiment with albino rats this time). Miss tells me off for having left the tower. I should have listened to her, but I had finished the animation (coming out with the Rude Mechanicals new album in the spring next year), and I’d podded the podcast with the rest of the Rudes –
and I just wanted to check that the outside world still existed and wasn’t just a hologram projected on to my windows.
Well it does exist, and it’s dangerous.
So, I ask myself, what have you been doing these last few months in your lockdown tower?
The answer struggles to come forward, a deep grey blur holds itself over my mind like winter morning fog. Perhaps I was just switched off for the past few months, like a robot, and am only now being switched on again, my circuits slowly getting back into function.
Then from within the fog breaks through the memory of baking cake, making animations, and creating a sculpture of the inside of my brain for my friend Nic.
The cake tasted nice, the animation was and is obsessive, the brain sculpture unfinished, it sits and stairs at me from the corner of the room, thinking.
I am now a very big creature with semi-transparent skin and round fish like eyes.
Where did I get the ingredients from for baking cake from when I haven’t left the tower?
Ah yes, I remember, the rats that the cat kills for me.
(Its hard to tell myself from the cat and perhaps we are becoming one beast.)
The dust in the corners tastes like flour
(or at least what I remember of it)
Sweetened up with delicious aphid poo from the lime tree that grows just outside my window.
All brewed up in my cauldron to create a delicious cake.
Would you like me to post you some?
And of course helped down with a large glass of whiskey.
Photo be the imaginary Lord Martland.
There’s a beauiful tree outside my bedroom window. I sit and watch it every morning as it’s branches sway backwards and forwards in the wind. I’m on the fourth floor of a four storey house, but at the moment, during this lock down, it somehow feels much higher. It feels like a tower, and I’m the princess in the tower, with nothing to talk to but the tree and my cat. (Don’t you dare mention that horrible Zoom!)
Well that’s a lie, I get regular visits from the court magician and the court jester. They entertain me from the bottom of the stairs while I peer down regally at them from the top.
Now I want to make it clear, I’m not waiting for Prince Charming to come and rescue me. If ever there has been a waste of space it’s that Prince Charming fellow. He doesn’t have to deal with the ugly sisters, or put up with those annoying gnomes, no, he just runs up at the last minute, when everything is almost sorted anyway, and takes all the credit for rescuing the princess when all he did was pick up her slipper, or kiss her on the lips. Or something, I don’t actually know what I’m talking about but I’ve got it in for that suave gentleman. That fop, that entitled creme puff!
And before you start acusing me of having it all in for the prince, I don’t think much of the fairytale princess either. Waiting patiently for this creme puff to turn up, huh! And assuming she’ll live happily ever after once he does. In my experience Prince Charming’s are nothing but let downs and fairytale princesses are fuzzy headed dainties that need an interest aside from finding a husband.
OK I admit it! I’m not actually the princess in the tower.
I’m the witch in the tower, with my familiars, casting evil spells on the beautiful and the charming.
Hahahaha! (evil laugh)
Well i need to do something during lock down.
Here is a blog I wrote several years ago, thought I’d post it again as I find the idea that you can create food from things as easy to come by as nettles somehow comforting in these strange times.
So I’ve agreed with some friends to help them out with their garden. I decide I’m going to do little pencil sketches of plants in the garden (see above) and write a blog about each.
The first thing I do is clear away some weeds. The place is covered in thick stinging nettles that go up to my knee. I dig them up, but it seems a shame to just throw them out so I make nettle soup. It’s nice once I get the hang of it, a little “textured” but I imagine that wouldn’t be the case if I had a food blender. The second day it tastes even better. I also make nettle tea in a lovely china teapot a friend gave me. It tastes of nettles, I would be pleased only I’m getting a bit nettled out now, my hands and arms are stinging permanently despite having worn gloves. I decide to lookup what benefit all these nettles might be doing me:
Nettle is very high in vitamins and iron. They stop bleeding and used to be ground into a fine powder and used as a snuff to stop nose bleeds, or used in an infusion. They are also good for treating colds. The leaves are said to improve ones complexion and circulation and can be used to clear the chest of phlegm.
As for magic, the nettle apparently has powers of exorcism, protection and lust. It is seen as masculine, comes under the planet Mars and the element of fire. It belongs to Thor, the Norse god of thunder. To remove a curse and send it back carry a sachet of nettle around with you. Sprinkle nettle around the house to keep evil out. Throw it into the fire to avert danger or wear it as an amulet to keep ghosts and negativity away.
It has been used as a lust inducing herb, used in purification baths and the irritant within the hairs has been used as an aphrodisiac to stimulate the sexual organs.
I’m just sticking to the soup.
Salt and pepper
Cut and wash nettles tips (whilst wearring gloves)
Boil in a saucepan of water for a couple of minutes. This removes most of the sting
Slice them into small pieces and remove tough stems
Fry some onions and garlic in a pan with butter till the onions go soft and golden (I love butter but I suppose you can use oil if you choose)
Add the nettles
Add some rice
Add a good amount of hot water with vegetable stock mixed in
Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the rice is done
Add salt and pepper to taste (I add loads of salt, but then I’m addicted to the stuff and my blood pressure isn’t high)
And there you have it, very simple , tasty and good for you, just be careful not to get stung to pieces like I did.
Once, some time ago, I had a lover who was mad about my eyebrows. He kissed and caressed them and made them very wet. So much attention he spent on my eyebrows I sometimes thought he didn’t even notice me. I decided to tell him the truth.
My eyebrows, I told him, have a certain amount of independence from me. They are really hairy slugs that have decided to live above my eyes. I leave them there as they help protect my eyes from rain. They are very polite often help me communicate with others when my words fail me, as is frequently the case.
However, very late in the evening of a full moon my eyebrows like to go for a stroll. They wriggle off my face and sneak into the dark night. Across the roads and fields they hurry, and into the woods, where they slither and slime across the muddy pathways and make acrobatic love to other hairy slugs (for I’m not the only person whose eyebrows are not what they seem).
At the break of dawn my eyebrows wake from their post coital slumber and make the difficult way back home to their position above my eyes. I stroke them softly and pretend I hadn’t noticed their absence. Those mornings they always sulk and frown, no matter how happy I am, my eyebrows will keep me looking miserable. I sometimes wish they could talk to me about their night, but I also know it best not to ask too many questions. No human can ever know the entire truth about these beasts.
All this, I tell my lover, only lasts one night and one day and the rest of the time I live with them happily on my face like normal eyebrows. At first, I tell him, I was slightly jealous of the attention he was giving them, but I have now come to appreciate that someone else might love them as much I do, and that’s OK.
My lover never went near my eyebrows again.
NO I’m not talking about that odd smell after sex, curious though it may be, on this valentines day I’m talking about love, strange love, and pheromones . All love slaves pay carefull attention. Not that you can change how your body smells I don’t suppose but it might explain certain unsuspected reactions.
If you asked me which sense I would get rid of if I had to get rid of one, I would probably say my sense of smell, since as an illustrator sight is rather vital, and being in a band tends to involve being able to hear. However, as the years go by, I am beginning to realise how important smell is to me.
When I was younger I went for good looking people, with somewhat disasterous results, then nice people, then charming people, then musical people, then those with a good sense of humour, now I’m thinking maybe it’s just smell that’s important. And I don’t mean pretty smell, or aftershave or any such disguises, I mean the smell of you. Animal smell. I stink, so I’ve been told by previous lovers, but they seem to quite like it, or at least they’re very tolerant.
Why do we cover ourselves in the musk scent of the male deer but are ashamed of our own smell?
I suppose one might be very fussy about smell. I’ve gone out with people whose smell I don’t like much with the thought that eventually I will get used to it and grow to like it. Very occasionally this has happened but more likely I just get bitter that I have to share my bed with an undesirable smell.
Kissing, so some scientists say, comes from smelling the hands and faces of others. In humans these carry a lot of scent apparently. So now I blow super stinky kisses across the digital waves to you and go get into the bath, wash away those smells for my valentines date.
New years night i sat by an open fire in my sisters garden in Pembrokeshire. A fifteen year old boy was telling me how I should be thrown off a cliff, as the Spartan’s did to all epileptics. The stars were out and the fire was lovely and warm.
I said good night to my nephew, he shouted “looser!” I clipped his nose with my fingers as hard as I could (unfortunately no scissors were available) and went off to prepare the ritual.
A simple affair I thought, i would go sky clad down to the river the four elements would be used – water, mud, air and fire.
Down the bottom of my parents garden, which surrounds my sisters garden, is a fast running river bordered by wild overgrown trees. Anyone and anything can be hidden here, a troll is suspected of living under the small stone bridge.
I take off my clothes, leave them in a pile on the riverside along with a burning candle, and pad timidly into the water. It is very cold, feels like ice passing through my toes. Once thigh deep I decide to start the ritual. Mud between my fingers, water sliding through them, a swig of rum for the gods like that, then I see a bright silver flash in the corner of my right eye. And another a few seconds later. My eyes follow it, it is circling me and getting closer and closer. Then it is up really close to me, slithering against my body, it’s silver scaled skin flashing in the moonlight and the light of the candle. I reach down to caress it, how fast it moves, how powerful! It swims in between my thighs and across my breasts, slower now, taking time to caress me. I can hear it breathing softly in my ear. My heart races while my head whirls round, what is this? Am I really here? It is inside me now, and all around me, I am smothered, contained, enveloped in a silky wet flesh that smells of the river and the oceans. How incredible!
Next thing I remember I’m lying on the edge of the river but I nolonger have a human body, I have transformed into a giant Monster Salamander. Carnivoreous. Hungry.
My parents house is not far away. My slippery body drags itself swiftly towards the front door. I can hear my nephew snoring. Silently I climb the stairs to his room and eat him up in one enormous bite. Now that’s better.
By the morning I had transformed back to normal, and my nephew was nowhere to be seen.
All in all this year has been rubbish!
How was your year?
It started with me having a horrific hangover on new years day and vormitting all over my parents’ spare room. I thought at the time this was a bad omen.
It continued with the sewage from the flats above me coming up into my bath, which turned into a flood of sewage and a large number of my belongings being ruined.
It continued with the council deciding my flat should be turned into an area for the new bins and saying I had to move out, which seeing as they were incapable of solving the sewage problem turned out to be very fortunate.
But the move was, as most moves are, horrific and resulted in me having an epileptic seizure three times a day. When having this many seizures my grasp on reality becomes loosened, there were people spying on me, the devil tempting me, insects and fairies crawling across every floor and scattering the air. It is hard pretended to be sane at such times, i think I did well.
I then went to Lisbon with the thought that escaping London would help. It didn’t. I lost my bag and all my belongings – passport, wallet, phone. The man I stayed with was most definitely a servant of the devil trying to tempt me into his dark satanic ways (which mainly consisted of drinking vast quantities of alcohol) and I became convinced that he’d never let me escape. But he did.
0n geting back to London i find my Dad has been diagnosed with prostrate cancer. And it’s discovered that I have development signs of a rare form of glaucoma that needs to be treated immediately and my boss decides to do an inspection of my teaching the same time as the operation. I sulked.
Trying to look on the positive side the flat I’ve moved into is lovely, falling apart but lovely. And the eye operation and teaching inspection make me relize I don’t want to teach at citylit so much, if they now sack me for not having the paperwork filled in correctly so be it. I need more freelance illustration /animation work whilst I can still see. The seizures tell me I must take things a bit slower and learn to relax, and be a good girl.
Or at least start the year as a good girl…
Good luck and much fun in 2020, to you and your friends!xx
Thanks to Mat Green for the photo.