vendredi 28 août 2015

Reading Festival

It's such a long time since I've been to Reading Festival - over 10 years!  I think the last time I went was in 2001.  But that's as it should be: if ever a festival were a young person's game, it is Reading.  It was the first 'proper' festival I ever went to, and as a young whippersnapper, I went every year and had the best time ever.

Ahhh, memories...  The worst festival toilets ever.  Seriously.  Wearing baggy jeans and bikini tops.  Sharing a one-man tent with two other friends.  Drinking beer and eating Pot Noodles.  Seeing 'The Matrix' for the first time in the cinema tent.  That time that Lou and I drank a bottle of mescalin and passed out for 12 hours, or that time that someone was sick *inside* our tent...

Oh, and the 90s bands we saw!  SO 90s!  (As well as really good ones like PJ Harvey in her PVC bra and miniskirt, or the first time I saw the White Stripes and they were AMAZING.)  No, it's the really 90s ones I remember: Garbage and Bis and Kenickie and Chicks and Ooberman.

If you are there this weekend - especially if you are celebrating/commiserating your GCSEs/A-Level results - I hope you have as great a time as I did.

jeudi 27 août 2015

And I Don't Want To Live This Life

I've recently been re-reading Deborah Spungen's book about her daughter Nancy.  It's one of those books that in many ways isn't *actually* very good, but I read it at just the right age and was a bit obsessed with it.  Being obsessed with tragic dead celebrities is a bit unedifying, I know, but we've all done it (right?) and hopefully we all grow out of it a little bit, too.  (See this article in lovely Rookie magazine that says exactly what I mean.)

Anyway.  I was inspired to read 'And I Don't Want To Live This Life' again because of a casual conversation about Nancy Spungen and her place in cultural history.  A conversation that went the way these conversations always seem to go.

"She was just a groupie, wasn't she?" was one of the comments.  "She came to London just to try and sleep with a Sex Pistol."

So what?  This seems to be used as a convenient way of writing her off.  As if that makes it OK.  As if she 'got what she deserved' in some obscure way.

It absolutely baffles me, always has.  She was murdered.  Why is so much negativity still squared directly at her?

How is it that a murdered girl barely out of her teens (she was only just 20 when she died) is the one who always ends up being demonised in the tale of Sid and Nancy?

Seriously, how?  I will say it again: she was a 20-year-old girl and she was murdered.  She bled to death under a sink in the Chelsea Hotel, after being stabbed in the stomach.

While it's a flawed book in many ways, 'And I Don't Want To Live This Life' at least humanises her.  It  is the story of a mother and a murdered daughter, not "just a groupie".  (As if this is relevant, anyway.)

It's all part of the same old trope, in some ways - why was Kurt Cobain 'a tortured genius' and Amy Winehouse just 'a mess'?  I went to see the film 'Amy' recently and was struck by the fact that although her eating disorder was mentioned, it was glossed over an awful lot compared to her drug use, even though bulimia seems to have been what actually killed her in the end.  Is it because it's cooler for drugs to kill you than an eating disorder?  Particularly when it's bulimia - so messy and gross compared to anorexia, and not nearly as photogenic?  There was also a section in the film that showed some of the comments made about her at the time in comedy gigs and talk shows (she's on drugs, she's crazy, she looks terrible - it's hilarious!!!) - I don't remember anyone laughing at Kurt Cobain when he was skinny and on drugs and had smeared eyeliner running down his face.

Maybe Nancy Spungen wasn't a 'tortured genius' (although, actually, she sort of was - but OK, she wasn't A Musician and all the hallowed things that represents) so her treatment in death seems to have been a million times worse.  Reading the book was a very different experience at 34 (compared to 17), but mostly in a way that made me even more sad and even more angry,

mardi 25 août 2015

What's Underneath

The themes of Libby's post yesterday put me in mind of one of my current favourite things.  The 'What's Underneath?' project is a series of videos that I love watching.

It takes the usual 'how I get dressed' idea and reverses it - a kind of 'how I get undressed'.  The participants are varied but all inspiring and beautiful.  One of those tiny things that makes me feel a bit better about myself and life and people and the world.


lundi 24 août 2015

Run Run Run: Guest writing by Libby Horsman

I am always happy to welcome guest authors here at my little lo-fi blog...

Libby and I were at school together, and she recently got in touch with me via Facebook.  Libby writes very bravely about how she overcame her long-standing eating disorders.

Her guest post below tells us a little about her road to recovery, and includes some links to organisations that provided her with the help and support she needed.


Run Run Run

by Libby Horsman

Life does not always go the way you want it to. It can change in a second and turn your whole world upside down.

Have you ever felt like running away and disappearing? Not going back home, because you think that if you go away everything will be all right again, the pain will go away and you will not be hurting your friends and family anymore?

Question is: will anything really change if you leave? I once felt like this. I battled with eating disorders from the age of 13.  When I was younger, the way I would try and cope with it all was to hide away in my room, turn on music really loud and go into a bubble to escape from the hurt and pain.

Only a few years ago, things got so bad at one point that all I wanted to do was disappear, never to be seen again. I thought, if I left, my eating disorder would go away; I did not want to hurt my family and friends anymore; I thought I could cope on my own. In reality I was deep in denial. Even if I did leave, nothing would have changed: I would not have got better as I would have had no help, and then not only would I have been hurting myself, but I would also have been hurting my family.

If you do run away, how will you actually survive on your own? You will have no money, the phone battery won’t last long—if anything happens, you cannot ring anyone to let them know you need their help. You slowly become weaker and weaker. You will just be running away from your problems, and they will always remain with you until you start dealing with them.

Some of the benefits of not running away are that you are staying with family, with friends all around you, and you will be able to access help from professionals so you can start dealing with your problems. In time, this will help you overcome them and live a better and happier life

After nearly 20 years of battling with eating disorders, I have recovered. It was only because I had help from my counsellor, a self-help group and the amazing support from family and friends that I was able to recover.

While running away seems to be the answer, getting the right help and being with family and friends is best for you in the long run: far better than running away and trying to cope on your own.

About Libby
When I am not writing I work as a independent beauty consultant, I enjoy reading books by Jodi Picoult and Sophie Kinsella. I am a mummy to a 6-year-old Lhasa Apso called Lulu. I am a published author and I am planning on writing more books.

Your Own Voice

"A great writer writes in their own voice, the same way David Bowie and Paul Simon sing in their own accents."

Says Emma Forrest, one of my very favourite writers.

Lately, and thinking of voice, I have been re-reading her lovely novel Cherries in the Snow (and wearing the lipstick that inspired the title) and also listening to a lot of David Bowie.

mardi 11 août 2015


She was an old friend of mine, who I lost touch with.  I often wonder about her.  I didn't know her for long, but she stayed at my house and she sent me Sylvia Plath tapes and I knitted her baby a hat.

lundi 10 août 2015

Two of my favourites.

I love this.  And in a very self-serving way, I enjoy reading people I admire say they have their own regrets about life.

Jemima Kirke: Do you ever regret not taking advantage of things more when you were younger?
Courtney Love: Regrets, I have a few, but in the end, as Frank Sinatra sings, “I did it my way.”
JK: You know those people who say they don’t have any regrets? I hate that so much.
CL: I have a few regrets, for sure.
JK: It’s so inhuman and so immoral to say, “I have no regrets.”
CL: Je ne regrette rien. I have a lot of regrets, of course I do. I should have taken that part; I should have maybe married that one, I don’t know, but I didn’t.

vendredi 7 août 2015

Your Ghost

I have been re-reading Kristin Hersh's brilliant memoir Paradoxical Undressing.

I first read it on holiday in Greece a few years ago, and I loved it.  That was a nice holiday.  This morning, reading on the 07:01 to Blackfriars, through sleepy eyes, my plane ticket stub fell out into my lap.

20th May - it didn't say the year.  Maybe 2011?  I can't be sure now.

I have long been in the habit of using such things as makeshift bookmarks.  Occasionally this has caused embarrassment - a friend borrowing a book and finding a love letter within its pages.  Usually just baffling - train tickets from unremarkable and long-forgotten journeys, the details of which I cannot recall.

It's been a long week.  I feel uncharacteristically tired.  Train strikes and too much work and stress and sh*t.

Reading Kristin Hersh, and all that other stuff, this song is in my head.  I remember a whole day once of listening to it on repeat, on vinyl (a record and a record player that weren't mine), in the flat in Market Street.  A sunny Saturday.

I used to have a Throwing Muses album cover on my bathroom wall.  I don't any more.

It's still a beautiful song.

mercredi 5 août 2015

Don't tell me cause it hurts...


Obvious Child

I finally watched 'Obvious Child' and it's the best thing I've seen in ages (I know, I'm behind).  I have bought the DVD and intend to re-watch it quite a lot.  Sometimes I find good film-watching just as inspiring as great book-reading.  (Discuss...)

I adore Jenny Slate and have a bit of a crush on her.  I love her very cheering Twitter presence and have spent way too much time Googling her lately (in between writing loads, of course).

The go-to tagline for this film has obviously become 'abortion comedy'.  I myself enjoy the juxtaposition of it - and it made a funny thing to say to my boyfriend on a Saturday night ("we've got wine, halloumi salad and an abortion comedy!").  But obviously the best thing about it is that it isn't as heavy-handed as that.  Please let's see more brilliant writing and more films where real stuff happens to real people - sometimes it's sad and sometimes it's funny, simple as that [insert deep life metaphor here].

mardi 4 août 2015

Doo Doo Doo

So, this morning...  Work dread, fitful sleep, early train, too much to do, headache...  Thirty seconds spent trying to open the ticket barrier at Blackfriars with my house keys.

Then walked into the work lobby and this song was on.

Miraculous recovery.  Day saved.

I had actually forgotten it even existed, let alone how much I loved it.