Old Woman Blues

The Cyclops & The Wildebeest Album Cover

When testing out this blog on my mobile I discovered it had a huge great ad at the bottom saying “make-up for old women” . Immediately I felt insulted, apart from it being rather ugly in itself the ad seemed to be saying this was a blog by an old woman. Now I look back and wonder why is “old” an insult? the ad was unsurprisingly about how older women should put on make-up to appear younger. I have long preached the values of getting older, yet still I find being called old insulting and I shouldn’t. I know it is used as an insult a lot in our culture, particularly towards women, but I am surprised at myself for having gone along with it.

Obviously the aches and pains that come with age can bring one down, and I know too well the fear of approaching disability and death, but surely ageing is part of the beautiful changing process of life we all go through. The idea of not being part of that cycle is to me ugly.

So too look on the bright side – am I reminding anyone of the last scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian here? – I am a hell of a lot happier now than I was when I was a teenager. I remember when I was about 14 a friend of my mum’s saying to me “enjoy life now because its all down hill after this”.  I have to say now, to my 14 year old self , that no, no it isn’t! I was a spotty, greasy haired unlovable geek then. Life has had many ups and downs but I am definitely far happier in myself now than I have been before.

I find with the passing years I worry less and less about fashion and other people are concerned less and less with how I am dressed. My clumsy, disorientated tendencies (which come with the brain disease that I’m sure I shall whine about in a later blog) are accepted more as eccentric behaviour and people are more helpful and empathetic than they were when I was younger. Now days I’m pretty much invisible to teenagers on the bus, and that is great, I can just potter along at my own speed unnoticed by the yobs that used to poke fun out of me. I know what is important to me, and who really matters, I know how to stick two fingers up to a lot of the crap that goes on.

I used to work in an office in my twenties, I hated that, perhaps even more than being a teenage geek. Me and the Rude Mechanicals did a song about it recently called Paperwork, the video for which, by Mat Green, is to be released this autumn.  Below are some images of the recent art installation I created in an office as part of Hammersmith Festival. It felt great getting the chance to mess an office up, chuck the paper everywhere and smash up the computer!

At the moment London economics, offices and people in suits are seen as the most important thing in the universe, but me, you, and the trees know, one day all that will disappear and the forest will return.

The Installation is called After and includes the works of Jill Rock, Marina Young and Gardyloo Spew

Perhaps this all makes me sound very old indeed, I’m hopefully barely half way through this changing process.  I enjoy my work, my friends, my flat and the very grumpy cat. I find the world incredibly beautiful, the tinniest detail can hold a million secrets and wonders. This is perhaps the desperate need for optimism in the face of incurable reality, but still – “Always look on the bright side of life…”

June begins with sinister paisley

It has been a busy week and I am exhausted, my head is thudding and the ibuprofen isn’t working yet. Thought I’d write this to keep my mind off it and before I start on the codeine.

The Library went well on Tuesday. The Library is currently my small front room and every full moon I hold an event there. This full moon it was Kathryn Davis giving a talk on quantum physics. It was fascinating, I still don’t have a clue about it apart from some things really remind me of The Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy, like the improbability drive. I was a young child when the Hitchhikers guide began, my dad was a big fan of Douglas Adams and we were brought up with the guide as a kind of religion, along with Star Trek. In fact, for a long time now life has generally worked out for the best if I just regard it all as The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

The epilepsy has been bad this week. Not surprising as it always gets more whenever I’m busy and I also have decided to take myself off the lyrica because it was doing my eyesight in. So it’s just good old Tegretol at the moment and my new faith in breathing exercises, which reminds me I missed yoga this week. Anyway I’ve been getting a seizure almost every time I wake up, which is really weird. I’m in a bad enough mood already when I wake up and having a turn pretty much ruins the entire morning. This week they have involved sharply coloured and intensely patterned spirals and twists enveloping me, they were like those famous silk patterns with tear-drop motif – paisley I think – but very conscious, exceeding powerful, and somehow gut twisting.

My dreams have also been disturbing this week. I keep getting this dream where I’m being chased by this sinister man/force. He is like a cross between William Blake, Beethoven in that famous portrait when he is older and very stern, and the twin peaks hero turned evil in the more recent twin peaks. He chases me though corridors and woods and tunnels. I wonder if it is anything to do with the installation of a ruined office I’ve been doing in Hammersmith this week. Will write more about that in a later blog, because the whole exhibition is huge and very worth while seeing but my head is just not together enough to explain such things as location write now.

On a more easy note I got some wonderful gifts for the Library this week, a box of postcards of botanical prints, a beautiful Aspen leaf necklace, a huge heavy book on Occult Philosophy that is big enough to stun an ox (Laurie Anderson quote, couldn’t resist), a catalogue of the Natural History and Science Emporium from New York, and a lovely card catalog box so I can order my books properly.

I have also sold almost all my Biro Beasts. Just one of the original 10 left, and I’ve started drawing more as they are good to draw and seem to get some of the mess in my head out.

The Black Hole on my Bedroom Shelves

Well it’s a bank holiday Monday, I was going to get lots done today but seeing as it’s 11 and I’m still in bed that probably isn’t going to happen. Alarm went off at 9, I woke up, cat sat on my face, I made a cup of tea, went to drink the tea in bed and had an epileptic turn. Saw the universe in the hole in my banking file, which then melted and everything melted into it. Took a while to figure out which universe I’m supposed to be in after that. Once it was over I went back to sleep where a very old man sat next to me in a hospital toilet cubicle and told me he had polio. His friend said he was only joking.

Had a good gig in South London on Saturday, a lovely friendly crowd who were well practiced in shouting “hurrah!” with the required hand signal. Sold some Biro Beast drawings and a couple of Rude Mechanicals Glass Eye albums as well. Glass Eye was the bands first album years ago, it sold out but folks have been asking for copies recently so we had another 100 made. On Saturday someone said we sound like Nick Cave and John Lee Hooker, I think that’s good, anyway it’s all gone a lot darker and swampy than it was and I like that, it suits the universe melting into a black hole in my bedroom files.

Last night I went to see Infernal Contraption play at the 100 club on Oxford street. They were very good with lots of odd noises and well thought out songs with interesting subjects. I also got in for free as Jowe put me on the guest list and then I had a drink brought for me so this felt good given my terrible financial situation currently. I managed to go out for the night in Oxford street for the £3 bus fair there and back. I also drew the a possible perfect child whilst waiting for the bus. Could be a development on the old logo?

32583A3A-FAC3-43E0-BDFD-8B1DF5507283 I’ve taken the teeth from a crocodiles smile I’ve stolen the brains of a rich man I’ve torn the tongue from the snide st witch I’ve threaded my needle and now I must stitch[/caption]

Texting from the Death Bed

There I am, knickers torn apart*, lying on the table with a tall dark stranger pressing down hard on my groin. For 15 minutes. It hurts.

We discuss tea and the weather.

He offers to show me revealing pictures of my brain, but then the camera screen stops working. He starts looking at another screen, a computerised 3d image of a skull from various angels. Impressive.

“Is that me?” I ask

“No” he says, “that’s another patient”

And I feel jealous. How dare my surgeon be considering someone else whilst he’s still finishing my operation!

Now days you can use mobile phones in hospitals**. How odd this is. There I am forbidden from moving my body but I’m still able to answer my phone. I have a fancy phone now so I can also use email, Facebook, camera, as if nothing was wrong. Good in some ways as 5hours of being very awake and only able to move your arms is difficult. Bad because the temptation to  Facebook/Twitter/ text the world to death with a running commentary is overwhelming. Think I may facebook/skybe my next operation, sneek the phone into the operating room, even skype my own death!

In the shower this morning I looked down at my body and thought “wow, a tiny tube is put in an artery in my right leg and is fed through all the way up to my brain. That is amazing!” But this time it hurts more than last and I wonder how many more tubes my body can take.

After all I am basically fine.

*Luckily these are not my own knickers, they are one-use-only disposable knickers provided by the hospital. I don’t understand the purpose of them, they’re flimsy and see through.

**http://www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/2146.aspx?categoryid=68&subcategoryid=162

Recording of Glass Eye from my Garden

The patio
The "patio" where I serve afternoon tea.

As a break from the stalking I’ve been practicing  Glass Eye  this afternoon  in the back garden, with a harmonica and an old plastic flower pot. I’m doing my solo act in Edinburgh at the end of the month, need to get some songs and poems ready.  I’m not sure if I’ll use the flower pot.

I like the sound of the trains in the background on this recording, its the District and Piccadilly lines coming into Barons Court station in London.

About a year ago I found some bones in the garden (The Bones in the Back Garden), I will be bashing these together in Edinburgh. They sound good with the song Sin Eater .

I’m also making up a song about Satan having a beach hut.

Below are some pictures of the garden. Its even more over grown now than it was a year ago, but I have made what could almost be described as a patio. I serve afternoon tea and cakes to guests here. If ever you’re around Barons Court pop in. Monty will be pleased to see you.

My overgrown garden in May
My overgrown garden about a year ago
My garden 2011
My garden from the same angle now.
Monty, my dog.
Monty

Derek part 2. The Loft

The Loft
The loft above my flat

My flat was on the top floor so above it there was a loft. Strictly speaking I wasn’t supposed to enter the loft, but I had a lot of junk and nowhere for it to go. It wasn’t as if I had to break in, the loft entrance was in my hallway, all I had to do was get a stepladder climb up and open the loft hatch. It wasn’t locked. I felt I’d be a fool not to use all that empty space, criminal almost given the shortage of space in London. So I started putting boxes up there, I had to be careful because not all the loft floor was  boarded. Going through the middle was a rather odd brick wall, it only went halfway to the roof and didn’t meet the walls on either side, but it was very neatly built and kept half of the loft hidden from me, I dared not look behind it.

I must admit the whole loft made me feel uncomfortable, like an uninvited guest, a trespasser. It was very warm up there, the air was close and had a sickly sweet smell like the smell of  sweat on someone who is standing far too close. Though in this case it definitly felt like I was the intruder on personal space.

After my initial desire to unpack and put things away  I forgot about the things in the loft. It became a bit of a black spot, I would rather buy a new item than venture back up there. The banging began about a month or so after I’d moved into the flat. It came from the loft and it wasn’t just banging, there was scratching, whining, mumbling, squealling, and talking. It would happen a lot at night. I lay in my bed looking up at the ceiling, considering the situation of my soul, and I noticed there was a tiny hole just above my bed, big enough for someone to put an eye up close against it and look down.

To be continued…

Part 3