Saturday, 19 July 2014

How it all began.


It's been a while since I updated this blog, so I thought I'd drop in with a little note about the current state of play.


It's all been kicking off. A book of One Pound Stories is currently being crowdfunded by Unbound. It's very exciting – if (when! WHEN!) we hit the target, the book will be published. Printed and distributed to people who've paid for it. And to shops where other people can buy the book. My book. With my name on it. Which I've made. Blimey.

It's all slightly unbelievable.

In the mornings I work in a café from 6am – 12pm. A couple of days a weeks I work 6am-5pm to make up my hours, but it means that I have a lots of afternoons off to work on the project.

If you proposed the story of my life as a writer/waitress as a film treatment it would be rejected for being too clichéd. It hasn't always been like this. I've had many different jobs in theatre, comedy and opera - producer, promoter, agent, stage manager, actor, runner, props mistress.....Good jobs. Fairly steady. Well-paid. The problem was that none of these jobs left me any time for my own creative projects. Initially I was excited to be a part of such exciting work – I worked in some of the most prestigious venues in the country, got to travel, met some amazing people. But while it was my job to help others realise their artistic goals, mine would always take second place. I was very good at my job(s), but when I became aware of the risk that my frustration would turn to resentment and undermine my good work, I knew that it was time to make big changes.

I began One Pound Stories when I was made redundant from a position in an opera company a few years ago. Living in London I needed to line up another job, fast. I sent dozens – hundreds – of CVs a week, seemingly into the ether. I had a housemate who was unemployed at the same time. We'd stay in our rooms hunched over our laptops, grunting at each other of we crossed paths on the way to the loo or in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil.

Apart from trawling through job websites I had no idea what to do with myself.

This went on for a few weeks.

Depression is a contrary little shit. Just when I needed to call on the backup reserves of positivity and stoicism that had seen me through countless adversities before, it saunters in, squats in my brain, and croons at me that I'm unemployable, lazy, stupid, unimaginative, dull, unpopular and doomed, doomed, doomed.
I needed to get out of the flat. I needed to meet and talk to (apart from the grumpy housemate who shared my horrible predicament). I had to do something for myself, not just for the nameless, faceless recipients of my life's work on two sides of A4.

It was time to take affirmative action.

It was time to consult the Big Bag For Life.

Here is the Big Bag For Life.

For years I'd been scribbling down ideas in notebooks and on scraps of paper, envelopes, paper bags, old Christmas and birthday cards, and putting them away to think about later. “I'll do something with them one day, when I have time” I'd told myself. I'd lugged this growing bag of potential from house to house, every year or so emptying it to check its progress, then quietly refilling it. I had stacks, reams of the stuff.

Most of it was useless.
Stage directions. Badly scrawled illustrations. Flyers. Tickets. Postcards.
 Phone numbers for costume stores, balloon makers and printers. Some terrible, terrible poetry.
 Some of it was years and years and years old. It documented not only every project I'd worked on, every city I'd visited, every home I'd had, every diary entry, but every half-formed idea, every piece of research, every shopping list, every reminder to send this email or call my parents, every bus timetable, every piece of banal, inconsequential, irrelevant fluff that had crossed my mind.

On my knees, in a mire of yellowing pages, I got to work. Trawling through the pile, salvaging what was worthwhile (photographs, bad teenage poetry), discarding what was not (letters from a toxic ex).
I was looking for inspiration. Looking for a sign from my past self that proclaimed: This Is What You Should Do Next.
Then I found it.

Written in the corner of an old notebook from an old job from years and years earlier was a single line, a barely-formed thought, jotted down and immediately forgotten. “I will buy your stories for £1”.
It would be easy enough, I thought. And relatively cheap – for the price of a yoga class that would last an hour I could buy supplies to make a sign and eight stories that'd keep me occupied for a few days.
So that's what I did.
I bought card and marker pens to make a sign. I set up this blog. I handmade business cards with green card and gold ink with the site and email address on them to give to participants.

I enlisted Josh, the grumpy unemployed flatmate, to come with me to offer moral support, which he did in good faith and with good spirit. Thanks, Josh. On a cold day in Greenwich park in January 2012, I collected 15 stories in two hours. You can read them here.
I was excited. I spread the word. This experience that I'd created for myself strengthened my CV and got me a couple of small-scale arts jobs. I repeated the experiment in other locations. I planned a nationwide tour. Then in July I was unexpectedly offered a full-time job as an agent with an entertainment company I'd done ad hoc work for before. It was a good job for a well-respected company. The money wasn't great to start with, but I was told there could be potential for a rise. And surely having a good, steady job in a company whose work I believed in was better than doing well-paid but crappy promo work for energy suppliers and supermarkets? It would mean postponing the tour, but I'd get around to it....

So. Steady job. Good job. Good status. Low pay. High pressure. High responsibility. Long hours. No time for own creative projects. Initially excited to be part of exciting work. Prestigious venues. Travel. Amazing people. Help others' artistic goals. Mine second place. Very good at job. Frustration. Resentment. Undermine my good work.


It was time to make big changes.
It's all slightly unbelievable.

In the mornings I work in a café from 6am – 12pm. A couple of days a weeks I work 6am-5pm to make up my hours, but it means that I have a lots of afternoons off to work on the project.

It's all been kicking off. A book of these stories is currently being crowdfunded by Unbound. It's very exciting – if (when! WHEN!) we hit the target, the book will be published. Printed and distributed to people who've paid for it. And to shops where other people can buy the book. My book. With my name on it. Which I've made. Blimey.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Father's Day.

So my day today. So I woke up at. Four o'clock in the morning to go to the fish market. Yeah I went to Billingsgate today. To see the errr the kind of mighty errr. Like towers up there and err. Bring back some fish. And then errr. And then. My son's grandparents are down today from Katmandu flying in. Hmm. So we've err. All dust him off. Cleaned him up. And I'm gonna take him down to the farm. So he can see err the dogs. Well as he as far as he's concerned all animals are dogs. So. So we're gonna see the sheep which is a dog. And err the pony which is another dog. Err. And err. And that's it. The day he was born was a disaster yeah I missed the birth. Yeah I think the one thing you learn is that err. Err pregnancies cannot be planned. So my wife was late. Err which is quite normal for like err. New. New mothers. Uhm and. We went into the hospital. For a err I can't even remember what it was called now but it was just to speed up the process. Uhm so she was in labour for. I think about twenty four hours. Erm and err around that period I didn't sleep. She was hallucinating. Erm. On gas. Saying all bizarre stuff. Even stories of Tom Hanks in the desert. Err. Huh. And erm kind of in the next morning when I was just kind of slouched on the couch. Her mum and her sister came in and she saw me there. And I must have looked like a right state. She said look. You know you need to go home and get a shower. And eat something. And I said no I can't go. And the nurse was like well you know it's gonna be another six hours or so. So they just kind of pushed me out. Ermm. About half an hour later I was stuck in traffic and I heard a phone call just literally as I was outside my house just saying. That erm. She's got to have an emergency caesarean. So. Erm. I kind of rushed back to the hospital. Just kind of rushed back. But unfortunately I missed. The birth. So erm. I think at the time my wife's mother took my place. Very stressed out. Didn't know what she was doing. And that was it. So I missed your birth, boy. He was born with lots of hair. Yeah. Yeah unbelievable amount of hair. In fact I think he had more hair than me. He's charming. Beautiful. But a little devil as well.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Electric Theatre.

Ok so I run a theatre company. Uhm. Called. Creative Electric. And it started because I. Worked for a theatre that put a lot of censorship in places over kids. And I really didn't like that so I quite. Spectacularly quit one day. And a week later thought oh God what have I done I've lost my salary and my job and shit what have I done. Erm. And I got. A phone call from one of the kid's mums saying. D'you wanna come round for your tea tonight we know you'll be a bit like. Sad that you've. You're not there anymore. So I went round. And I walked into the house and every single member of my youth theatre was in her living room. And all their parents had withdrawn them and they asked me to set up a new theatre company for them. And that's. That's my job now I've been running that for five years.

Friday, 30 May 2014

White Crow.

Right. Right errr. I don't know what. What sort of story. Anything random. Right we was. We was walking d'ya know near the err. D'ya know the err Crystal Palace the old build- the old palace where that was built. We was walking down there and there was three crows. And they was all in the middle of the field like. Obviously there was. There was three crows and there was one big one. One massive crow and the dog ran and chased got hold and it got hold of this crow. But he didn't kill it he was just playing with it yeah and he was patting this crow about and this crow like just all it's feathers went bright white. All went bright white d'you know 'cause of shock 'cause of 'cause their feathers change 'cause of shock. And then we seen this crow like every single day for the past two weeks. D'you know like the same crow. The same crow like ev- yeah every every single day we seen the same crow what the dog was playing with. And every time he'd go over it'd fly off yeah. And it seemed like it was actually following us you know like trying to like. I don't know what's the word for it. Tryin'. Yeah like harass us exactly that. Exactly tryin' to get the dog back yeah tryin' to. Wind him up like flying in the sky tryin' to wind him up. But yeah yeah that was. I thought that was quite strange. That was in this park.

Thursday, 29 May 2014


Okaaay. Ahm. I didn't know what I wanted to do for a career when I left university so. I decided to volunteer to go on a mission boat that was sailing to the Canary Islands from Cornwall. Despite the fact that I'm not very religious. And. I. I also don't I'd never actually been on a boat before. And the boat was a hundred years old it was called Soteira which means salvation in Greek. And the people who were on. Were on it were obviously deep deep deeply religious. And we set out. Err probably in the spirit of blind faith into what was. A brewing storm. And. It got worse and worse and worse and. Was actually a force ten storm which is like a hurricane. Ahm. We got stuck in the Bay of Biscay which is like. A notoriously bad place to get stuck for four days. And. During which time. The boat completely fell apart. Ah the main sail tore in half. All of the bilge pumps which is what pumps the boat when it starts to fill up with water started to fail 'cause the electrics were wired badly. Uhm. All of the caulking came out of the panels so the boat leaked like a sieve and everyone got wet no one slept for five days. Ah one person got shell shock. Another person split their head open. Another person dislocated their shoulder. And two other English people died in the storm actually 'cause they'd set out in a much smaller boat. Ah but we eventually washed up in a place called A Coruna off Northern Spain five days later. And yes.

Llond bocs o ugeiniau ceiniog.

Wel. Pan o'n I o'n I'n. Llundain yn y. Coleg. Ag y. Er mwyn talu'n for' trw' coleg o'n i'n gweithio mewn bar yn Elephant and Castle. Lle eitha. Rough. Ar y pryd. Ond y. 'Neud y'n job yn digon da ges i'n g'neud yn Duty Manager so un dydd o'n I yna y. Rheoli dim ond fi a un hogan arall. O'dd yn hogan eitha. Bach fel fi hefyd. Ballet dancer so. O'n ni ddim rhyw. Lawer o iws. Os odd na unrhyw drwbl. Anyway odd hi'n eitha tawel lawr staer ag o'na. Ddau foi. ifanc yn dod a mynd i'r bar fyny staer. Dim problem. Odd hi'n eitha tawel. O'na pool table a felly o'n I just yn meddwl bod nhw'n chwarae a ga'l drinc be' bynnag. Wedyn. Rhyw. Chwarter awr wedyn nes I weld nhw'n mynd. Lawr y staer cefn y bar oedd yn eitha anghyffredin. Oh my god ma' hynna'n od, ma' 'na rhywbeth 'di digwydd man 'yn. So es I fyny'r staer. A. Odden nhw. Wedi. Torri fewn i'r pool table. Dwi'm yn gwybod sut ma rhywyn yn g'neud hynna. Wedi tynnu'r holl beth arian allan. A just 'di mynd a fo. Efo nhw. Allan trw'r drws gefn. So. Dyna lle o'n I a'r hogan fach arall yn mynd. Be 'dan ni fod I neud so. Goro. Ffonio'r heddlu a wedyn yr whole shebang fanno. Be' ma' rhywyn yn 'neud efo. Llond bocs o. Ugeiniau ceiniog. Just mynd mewn i'r banc. Pobol eitha. Od. I gael. Mae rhaid mi ddeud.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Magi a'r Lygoden Fawr.

Ti fydd rhaid 'i deud hi. Na. O. Ym. Magi. Efo'r lygoden fawr. Oedd. Wel weda'i wrtho ti be' oedd hwnnw. Ie. Wel. Ie. Wel. Magi oedd honno gwraig Elwyn wel' di. Ac oedd 'di bod yn chwys diferol. Yn cae gwair neu rwbeth. A. A mi ddo'th i'r ty wedi blino. A mi feddyliodd am fynd i'r bwtri odden ni'n cadw ym. Llaeth enwyn. Ar ol g'neud. G'neud ym. G'neud menyn wsti. Yn y bwtri 'ma. A Duwcs n'de. Ag w' ti'n gweld ma'. Ma' ym. Llaeth enwyn yn mynd yn. Yn. Yn mynd. Suddo lawr. Ma' o'n o'n ar y top 'sti. Ma' rhaid ti. I g'mysgu o cyn 'i. Cyn i yfed o i ti. I ti. Ga'l y. Y tew. A'r y. Y tenne'. Wel' di o'r llaeth enwyn 'ma. A mi a'th os gwel' di'n dda. A Duw. Mi fydd hi'n. Yfed. Lashed 'nde. Ag a'th hi'n nol i 'iste. Odd 'i'n gweld o'n. Mor dda. Mi ath hi'n nol wedyn. Mi ath hi'n nol. Y. Be' ti'n galw o. Second helping. A be' ddari 'blaw. 'Neud. Feddwl bod ganddi. Rhyw. Gadjeten. Yn troi'r. Beth. A Duwcs pan ddari. O'dd hi'n clywed rwbeth. Yn y gwaelod. A mi nath hi edrych a be nath hi ond codi. Efo'r. Llwy fawr ma neu be bynnag o'dd ganddi. A be o'dd hi. Llygoden fawr. Wel odd 'i'n. Odd 'i'n sal ar ol cofia. Oedd y ll'goden fawr ma' rhaid bod 'ne di fod drws 'n gored. A'th i mewn i'r bwtri a 'di boddi yn y llaeth enwyn 'ma. Ond ti fydd rhaid i deud hi cofia.  

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Chronicles of Awkward.

This is kind of like. Kind of like a Caz is really awkward. Thing. I go. Go to this thing called five. Five rhythms it's like a. Like a dance. Um. It's like a dance movement thing you go. And you're in a room. And there's like about. A hundred and fifty other people in there. All just dancing however you want. And it's all very like tribal. Rhythmic like there's like. Staccato rhythm. And. There's like. Lyrical rhythm and you just dance. It's just free form dancing however you want. And it's awesome. The other day I saw a guy at at one of the. This is a side note. Not the actual. Story. But he had a tshirt on that said I am Awesome. And he looked like Jesus. And he was pretty awesome he was just like cutting sick on the dancefloor. Anyway. So. I was getting really onto it and I was working up a bit of a sweat and I was feeling a bit thirsty. And so. I went to. The sideline to like. Grab a drink of water. And I was 'cause this is like the day after I'd walked a hundred kilometres. So. I was. Don't know how I found myself in a room dancing after walking one hundred kilometres. I just thought this'll be awesome. So I went to the sidelines and was. Just like bopping along and the only. Dance move. That my legs. Could really cope with was. Wide standing with like my butt sticking out so. A bit like this. Like this. So I was doing that in the sidelines. Sticking my butt out shaking my butt really getting into it. Just while I was drinking my water. So I'm doing that. And I look down. I can see something moving at my feet. I look down. And there was a young teenage girl. Sitting reading her book. Right directly behind me. And so I was like. Grinding in her face. While she was trying to read her book. And I was like oh my god I was so embarrassed. I was just like. 'Cause I was getting so into it. That I was just like jiggling my butt right in her face. And she wasn't say she didn't say anything she just sat there with her book and she was just like. I just like turned around and I was just like. Oh my god I am so so sorry I'm so sorry and she was just laughing laughing laughing laughing laughing. Anyway. So. That's a. That was quite hilarious. 'Cause she probably. This little girl was probably. She probably goes along and sits on the sidelines while her hippy parents. Are like. You know dancing and prancing. While Purple and Sundance. Her parents. Are like. Ooooooh. So she's reading her book and then some old lady comes and sticks her arse. In her face. So. Just another one to add to my awkward chronicles. Chronicles of Awkward.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Salt Beef Jack, The Krays and Richard Branson.

I'm from Southport.
I lead with my right.
My Dad who was in the army.
He lead with his left.
In the army they lead with the left.
He got in with the Krays.
They got in with him for protection money.
He was in his late sixties this is in the sixties.
He called it The Cellar Club.
'Cause it was in a cellar.
Salt Beef Jack they called him.
Ideal premises.
One big part.
Big stage and all that.
All the greats played there.
The Rolling Stones.
The Kinks?
Yeah The Kinks.
He managed The Kinks.
All these people.
I swear down.
Dusty Springfield.
Petula Clark.
Sandy Shaw.
Not in the West End so he done well.
I need someone to do a documentary.
About my old man.
Richard Branson.
I stayed at his house in Oxford.
Anyway went down
Went down there.
It was snowing and everything.
And he said stay and all that.
I was only fourteen.
Of all the people
And all that.
Yeah I've had a hard life.
A hard one but a good one and all that.
I need to get to Kingston and all that.
Find some people to put it together and
put it to Richard Branson 'cause he would definitely be interested.
And all that.
My dad yeah.
No-one’s ever done anything on it.
My old man.
My dad was ranked number three number four in the fifties.
Professional fighter.
Boxing and fencing.
Kinda good for reflexes yeah.
I got kids.
But in foster care yeah.
I need a bit of money though yeah.
Bit of rentage.
Not a lot like.
Fifty quid a week yeah.
There's no middle class in London.
You either got it or you ain’t.
Imagine a mortgage now three hundred grand or summink it's madness.
You can't beat home honestly.
I like the countryside.
Nottingham is a city surrounded by countryside.
You know lace.
Like lace curtains and that.
Industrial revolution and all that.
Thank you.
Can you spare any more change please.
Thank you.
You're a good person, I can tell that.
You're a kind person I can see that.
Thank you.
Thank you.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Brown Trout

It's a late May Sunday evening. Chuck the tackle in the back of the car and scoot across to Bleachfield Corner. Tackle up and tie on a grouse and orange. Not one I use often. Off to the river ah. General's beat. Lower Pavilion. Know it the. Lies and runs like the back of me hand. It's a dull. Humid evening. Ideal for fishing. After about ten minutes. Shallow streamy water. A suicidal fish. Attaches itself to my grouse and orange. This was BIG. I thought it might be a sea-trout but they jump and tug and usually break your line. I thought it might be a grilse. One-sea-winter salmon. But they're also. Quite lively. And usually break your line. This went to the bottom and sulked. Classic brown trout behaviour. Applied pressure. It moved and gradually came in probably taking about five minutes to beach in the shallows where I was standing. It was a brown trout. Bigger than any I'd caught previously. About 60 cm long. I reckoned ah. Conservatively it weighed about. Four pounds. This is a good fish for middle Tweed. The second this fish took I determined I wasn't going to kill it. It un-hooked easily and I held it in streamy water for a while. Allowing it to recover from the struggle. It flicked its great spade of a tail and swam away to. Do its bit for another year in. Maintaining the trout population. As is often the case. When you get a big one you get bugger-all else on the same occasion and so it proved. Glad I let it go. And I haven't killed a fish since.

Thursday, 24 April 2014


So it's the winter of 1968-69 a particularly cold one err. Term has finished and I'm working for a. Firm. Doing a traffic survey around Spitalfields Market fruit and veg market. My grant's blown and I'm near broke. And the job is the only way I can muster some cash for the festive season including. The price of getting to Tyneside on Christmas eve. The work involves standing at set locations and recording traffic movements. Four wheeled vehicles. Six wheeled vehicles. Multi-axle vehicles. Around the market. There are about thirty of us doing it in two shifts seven 'til three. Then three 'till eleven you get. An hour break and head for the Wimpey bar for a burger and coffee. Spun out for an hour to try to get warm again. Spitalfields is interesting territory.  Transit camp for immigrants to London. Huguenot silk weavers. East European Jewish tailors. Bangladeshi rag-trade sweat shops. East of the market was 'Ripper Territory' ah. In 1968 it was not greatly different in its. Dark and dingy streets from what it probably was eighty years before. Christ Church a Hawksmoor. Near derelict. Since restored to a very high standard. Stood on the north-west corner on Commercial Street. Ah. A busy pitch that one you got millions of passing vehicles to record. The population comprised meths. And anything else. Drinking dossers who lived on rough ground just outside the market huddled 'round bonfires. The. Local. Corps of. Ladies of the night. Hundreds of down and outs. Queued each night at the Salvation Army hostel in Middlesex Street. Try to get a bed for the night and a bowl of soup. One day the drinkers lost one of their own who fell into the bonfire. Dead drunk and. Decidedly dead thereafter. It shook the survey team but not the drunks. So. There I am. Late one night. Sat on an orange crate outside a pub in Bishopsgate. Conscientiously entering ticks in columns for cars taxis. Light goods vehicles, heavy wagons etc. Freezing cold. Two-hours past the Wimpey break. And one of the local ladies of the night comes out of the pub with a glass of whisky and hands it to me. If I'd been wearing a hat I would have taken it off to her. Made enough to finance. Retention. Of room in digs over the Christmas holiday period and a few quid for the holiday period. Decided to hitch home. Got tube to Barnet early on Christmas eve, Then bus to A1 junction. Then scored. Super-lift from blonde lady to A68 junction west of Darlington. Arriving there as just getting dark. Further lift prospects poor, so. Got bus into Darlington. Bus to Newcastle and bus home. To south-east Northumberland.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Connemara Mary.

I used to work as an administrator in the Health Service. A early, my second only my second job was at St Mary's Hospital, formerly Paddington General. Now defunct it was demolished about 1990 this was 1973. It was a 500 plus beds general teaching hospital with an A&E. Maternity unit and a psychiatric unit. 
 In those days we had a Saturday morning rota when there was always an administrator in the hospital. This was common practice. We also worked New Year's day in those days. Pay was about £1,000 per year, with about £120 London Weighting. The Saturday morning rota was to make sure the hospital was ticking over OK, information on bed occupancy was available to catering, which bulk-fed patients on the Nightingale style wards. Deal with any crises arising and deal with administration of hospital deaths and requests for autopsies on patients who had died on Friday or Saturday morning. Ah. 'Mary's' was in North Paddington, a very Irish part of London the. Hospital Secretary. Was second generation anglo-Irish, about half the nursing and midwifery staff were first generation Irish girls. Amongst other areas it served as the district general hospital for Kilburn. In Kilburn High Road, at the weekends, you stepped over the drunks lying outside pubs. I know, I once walked from Edgware Road to where I lived at the time in Colindale, about nine miles, on a Saturday night Sunday morning. I was Assistant Hospital Secretary.
So, this Saturday morning, 'bout summer 1973, I'm the duty administrator.  I get a call from the Maternity unit, to say they had an infant death where the medics wanted an autopsy, the mother was on the ward.
Procedure was that you got a consent form ready, picked up the hospital notes from their last known location, went to see the relative to offer condolences. Get their consent for an autopsy. So went to the ward which had rung; they gave me the notes, which, as with all maternity cases were the mother's notes. The mother's name was Mary; the notes comprised only a casualty card which said she'd arrived in A&E, with abdominal pain, collapsed on the floor and gave birth to a still-born infant. 'Did not know she was pregnant'. No address, no date of birth, no GP, 'no-nothing-else'.Met Mary in the ward interview room. She looked as if she had lived through heaven and hell; she might have been any age from 16 to 35. Went through the prescribed speech...need to find out why your baby died; gain information to help others etc. I don't think Mary understood any of it and I recall her saying. Very little and that in very poor English or mixed Irish and English. She gave an address in Connemara and duly signed the form with her 'X'. Today. Ireland is accepted as having one of the best education systems in Europe. In the late 60s it hadn't. I knew young Irish lads, portering at UCH, who read the pictures in the Beano and Dandy. I encountered Mary for about five minutes, yet can recall her face and have wondered, often, what became of her. Did she go home to Connemara? Did her family take her back? Had they thrown her out in the first place for bringing shame on the family? Did she end up on the streets in London? Did the pathologists write the obvious PM report - baby died from lack of ante natal care, mother's poor nutrition, mother's no-fault-of-her-own ignorance? Did it make any anybody?

Friday, 11 April 2014

David Tennant.

Ok. Ahm. I used to write quite regularly for a number of. Film and TV magazines. Including. The Doctor Who magazine like a lot of my. Friends and contemporaries I grew up as a fan of the programme. And. It just so happened. That. That meant I was the. First person. To. Ever talk. To. David Tennant about being. In Doctor Who. And. I've spoken to a lot of actors. About. Taking part in those productions by then I was going. Regularly to the recordings. And. They would all say very polite things about. Oh oh it's lovely to be in the programme I. It's a. It's a super show and I've always liked it. Ah and they would sound very genuine as actors do. David Tennant was quite different because. I. Just asked him the standard question. How do you feel about the. The job and he said “This is fantastic!”. He was the most. Enthusiastic person I'd ever met about. Most enthusiastic about. Being involved in it even though very. This is before. The programme. Came back onto TV. Nine years ago this is about ten eleven years ago. After the recording we went over to the pub across the road. And. Had a couple of drinks with. The small cast involved my friend who was the producer who'd known me for years so we just sat around. Having a drink or two and at one point. I'd. I'd said ooh. I guess it's my round. I think I've got enough cash I don't even know why I said that out loud. And David. Overheard. And said oh. Here's a tenner in case you don't. So I went off to the bar with. David Tennant's ten pound note in my back pocket. And I got home that night and found it was still there. I hadn't. Hadn't needed his money but I completely forgot. Honestly forgot to give it back. To him. At the end of the evening I felt very bad about this. He's not. That. Famous at the time. This is before he was very famous. At the end of the year the. Production company had a party for all the people who'd been involved in the productions. That year and I got invited. And. Couldn't help asking. The. ah. Guy who ran the company. Is David Tennant going to be there? Is David going to be at this party. 'Cause I had this terrible. Burning in my conscience. This money I'd taken off this. Relatively well known actor but not someone who could just throw money around. He said he would be. Turned up to the bar where the party was being held. Spotted David in the crowd talking to someone else. Went up to him. Like a magnet. And said. David. This is your ten pound note. And he said. Is it? Ok. And then took his ten pound note back off me. And that's my story. Absolutely true. 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Tour de France.

So right errr I've got a really good scar right on my ankle which I would show you. But I can't I can't 'cause I've got tights on. Don't wanna take me tights off. But I've got a really good scar on my ankle I really like scars. 'Cause they 'cause they tell a story. So it's about this big. You can't see that on your thing but it's about the size of that ten. Ten centimetres. Shut up I'm being interviewed knob jockey. Knob jockey! Love that word. Erm. And so basically when I was about four years old I used to live with my dad on part of the longest constant road in England. That longest constant road is now going to be used on the fourth of July 2014 for the Tour de France! And the tour de France is going past my Dad's house and we're gonna have a party. We have cyclists going past it all the time. So but let me tell you a darker side to the longest constant road. Oooooh de-de-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding. Well. Bells, that. Sinister bells. See that's the arc of the narrative. So. About four years old, primary school halfway down the hill down the hill me and my dad lived at the top of the hill. Me dad used to take me down on the back of his bike 'cause that's the tour de France route. Everyday for school he'd say do you want to take the car or shall we take the bike. And one. Fateful day. I decided. Bike. Now the way he'd take me down on the bike. Was on. A towel. On the crossbar. Sidesaddle. Yeah. So there's my dad, there's handlebars, there's me flying down the road on a towel. Halfway down the hill to school. My. Little four year old leg gets caught in the spokes of the wheel. It's prosthetic. It is I can't show you though. I'm a bit embarrassed now. That's why I can't. I wear long skirts. My leg got caught in the spokes. Of the wheel. The bike ground to a halt and my leg was in it. Yeah. And my leg was broke in three places. Yeah. My dad broke his arm my dad went flying the bike ground to a halt and my dad went. He was a professional violinist and he never played the violin again. Then. Interestingly the parents of a boy I hated at school. Happened to be driving past. Uhm. And picked us up, they picked us up and took us to the hospital. And me and that boy had a bond from then on. But also I couldn't, because like. I was so little I was only a small child. I was about I was four I was four yeah. Almost five. Between four and five. I was four. But because I was so little they couldn't give me crutches because I was so. Wasn’t strong enough to lift up my own body weight. So I had to have a little bell and people had to carry me everywhere like to the toilet. I couldn’t walk for six weeks I had to have physio. Therapy like. Do all this stuff. Like. Year sixes in my village school like. Two year six girls were like. Employed to look after me at break time. But because I was a captive audience and I couldn't like go anywhere they used to like. Abuse me they used to make me eat soap. They used to dress me up in horrible clothes. And like. Used to make me like wee in front of them. But you know. Life moves on. I can't really ride a bike. Any more. Too psychologically scarred mate. Flippin' hell. It was this one. No. No that's a fib. They're both real I didn't really lose a leg but. Yeah.  

Monday, 7 April 2014

Not a story. I just wanted to share some little things that helped me fix my soul when my brain was kicking my heart in the dick.

Today's been a sad, strange day. Sometimes unhappy news can serve as a reminder that we must all try hard to be kind and compassionate to one another.

I posted the following on someone's blog a couple of weeks ago when they shared their recent experience with depression and anxiety. I know it's unorthodox, and it's not the kind of thing that I use this blog for (my six (6) blog followers have come to expect a certain standard and consistency in my work. Probably). But goodness me, there's a lot of negativity out there, isn't there? Here's a little something to help neutralize that. It might just be the thing that that one person needs to read right now.

Dear ___,

Thanks for posting this. Sorry to hear you're having a rubbish time.

When I was ill, I remember how hard it was to imagine getting better. Be kind to yourself. It takes time. Nourish yourself - your body with healthy food, fresh air and lots of sleep; and your soul with beautiful art. If your concentration is shot to pieces like mine was you might struggle to read for long, so poetry and graphic novels are a good choice - Craig Thompson is excellent. David Shrigley is great too. These things help me remember what's important.

I watched this many times.

Remember these lines from "If":

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

Allie Brosh's blogs about her experience with depression are also excellent.

If you feel stressed and under pressure (hahaha..."if") write yourself a list of things you do and don't have to do every day. I did this for a short time when I was so ill I couldn't work:

I DO have to:
Get out of bed, shower, get dressed.
Leave the flat for at least 30 mins a day.
Cook dinner for my partner.

I DON'T have to:
Go outside of a two mile radius of my home.
Respond to emails if I don't want to.
Talk to anyone I don't want to.

I'm lucky enough to have a wonderful partner - he and my family are an amazing support network, and it sounds as though you have a very similar one. Let them look after you - remember you'd do the same for them. It's what humans do.

I hope you don't mind me making these suggestions - and I'm certainly not suggesting that if you read a couple of blogs and watch a few youtube clips you'll be able to ditch the meds and spend your days cartwheeling through clover fields. I just wanted to share some little things that helped me fix my soul when my brain was kicking my heart in the dick.

Michelle x

Monday, 31 March 2014

Fate and the Russian.

Yes. So well I I dunno the. London is. Quite a big city well what. Twelve millions of people or so. So I used to study at the college of Central London. And. He works at east of London. And once we met on. Tube. It was quite late like ten eleven o'clock so it was. Not busy. So that we were. On the same coach. So like me and him. I've been listening to some music and like watching some photos of my vacation from last year and he. Starts chipping in like. What, AH! I'm so, so happy but I'm like. I'm by myself right now. He starts speaking to me like, why you smiling like blahblahblahblahblah. So we had a. Very short chat like five minutes and then. We both. Left at the same stop. And never gave like each other phone or anything. And in about like. A week time or maybe. Five days. Completely different time completely different. Err line. Completely different. Train station I meet him again. Absolutely random. Person. But like second time in like. Whole year. And I'm like oh my god it's that guy. And I. And I forgot my phone. In my cab. So I'm like really bored and I'm like. Shall I speak to him. Maybe. It would be like. Some company. So since. Since that time we're together like three years. And we have a son. He's seven months old. I think they. Somebody gave us just like second chance. 'Cause I don't think. I was about to move from there place just in like about week time so if I didn't meet him that time. I would not have probably meet him again ever.   

Thursday, 27 March 2014


Dinosaur story. I wanna say the dinosaur story. He lives in America. Ornithomimus. Ornithomimus.
They run really fast. Yes. I've seen one. Yes. On the dinosaur train. On the DVD. They're good. Yes.

The dinosaurs go on a train. Uhm. They sit down. Yes. Then. They get off. Ummm. They go to the dinosaur world. And then they go home. I'm going swimming now. I can swim a dinosaur. I can swim faster than a dinosaur. 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dale, in Kent.

So err. I own a house I own a flat in. Hackney and I recently decided to sell it. Err. It's worth a lot of money which is quite a surprise to me. And I err. So I was selling the flat. Partly because I can't afford to renew the lease because that costs a lot of money. So err. Just thinking. I don't know I was looking through Zoopla. And I just remembered this place Deal in Kent where I used to go. With my partner. Before he died te-. Ten years ago. And I just started looking on Zoopla and I thought. Ah. Yes that's what I want I want a flat in Deal. I've got a friend I stay with here so I won't be moving-moving to Deal immediately. But so I went down on Sunday which was a brilliant sunny day. We sat on the beach. In t-shirts. And err. I wandered about and I saw this flat from the outside. And I went. The next morning I rang the estate agent and I went down on Wednesday. Made them an offer. In fact I'll tell you this little bit 'cause I made an offer for a hundred and fifty thousand. The asking price was a hundred and fifty-five thousand. And then the next morning I was swimming 'cause I swim at Crystal Palace most mornings and I had this feeling that I was being a bit mean. And I should meet the asking price so I rang the estate agent back and do you know what I think I just want to make the offer to a hundred and fifty-five thousand not. You know knock off five grand you know felt a bit stingy. So. I think they were a bit surprised to say the least. 'Cause it wasn't as if anyone was bidding against me. And. And then erm. This morning. They. Rang. Me. And. Said well your offer's been accepted. So I just got it this morning. And now I'm just off to the solicitors. In Islington. With a load of paperwork. In my bag. In my. Very natty briefcase. Which I'll just say is erm actually. What is it? Called? It's a. It's a. It's a carrier bag that's not plastic isn't it. It's a cloth carrier bag that's the one. 

Monday, 24 March 2014

Armed Robbery.

Ah-heh Ah-huh. Huh. This is very difficult actually when you, you know it's very strange erm. Well let's say there's a, there's a friend of mine who was er. A little bit down on his luck a good few years ago and needed to make some money in a. In a hurry and. Came up with a. Rather foolish scheme with another friend whereby they. Ended up. In fact committing an armed robbery. Anyway they go into they go running in. To the place they're gonna rob. Pulling down balaclavas as they go. Shotgun sawn off shotgun. But unfortunately this uhm. This friend. Pulled his balaclava down the wrong way 'round. So. Instead of running in there. Menacing. Various with the. Sawn off shotgun. Ran smack into a wall. Dropped the gun on the floor. By this time everybody in there was pissing themselves laughing. And er. We. We. Well he. He. Had to walk out in. Great shame. Never. Never did a. Another. Armed robbery since.  

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Supermarine Spitfires.

Ok. Well it's my father's story really. Uhm. He was a. Very kind generous man. Lived his life in a very. Uh. Gentle fashion uh. Everything. In our house was maintained everything was safe that was paramount. And. His story is that uhm. Very sad story which he only told me when I was about fifty and lived with it for a very long time and it was during. National service. And he was an aeroplane err. Fitter. Working on. Supermarine Spitfires. And erm. As I told you he was a very conscientious person. Er. And. One evening. A plane landed. And he started his checking. Of this. Plane. And. He. Had to check that all the hatches were shut and. Everything. Was. In order so that the plane could take off. Uhm. But. It was really very late. And. His Superior said to him. Look you can't finish that now. Tick. Tick here. That you've done it. And come back first thing tomorrow morning. So my father was reluctant but he was young. And he was told to do it so he did that. But the next morning when he was going down to do that. He. Fell. With a cup of. I think it was a cup of tea. And he. Badly gashed his hand and had to go to I think the nearest hospital. And when he came back the plane had taken off. And then. That plane. Crashed. Crashed. Yeah. Yeah. It crashed. And. Uhm. My father said he suffered terrible. Terrible time. Regret err. You know. Real feelings of despair. Uh. When eventually they did an enquiry into the. Crash they found that. When it had been in Malta. Uhm. A fitter. Hadn't. Hadn't fitted a. What's it called again? An aero. Aerola. Aerolon. Hadn't put the pin in correctly. Put it in upside down. So it fell out while the. So that was the reason for the crash. But. My father. My father was devastated by that really. 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014


It's a bit of an adventure kind of thing. uh.
Well basically we were working in Germany myself and a, and a bunch of friends uuuh in summer and uh.
We uuuuh we were just loading trucks like really early in the morning.
And so you know sort of typically you know summer testosterone sort of stuff there's a.
A really really fast river that runs through.
Middle of.
Of the.
Through the.
And it's like err it's all sort of built up to the. To the sides. The walls are err quite err quite high. So err.
It was basically a dare one of. One of err. My friends just sort of said hey let's jump in the river. Now as soon as you're in there.
You. You just fly. Down.
You know.
Really really fast.
And the thing is.
You know.
Lots of idiot tourists do this all the time.
So. They've put chains across.
The water.
Err under every bridge.
So every footbridge that goes across this river it's got chains on it
and of course for us.
That was just great fun to just.
Grab onto a chain and then the
pressure of the water is so strong that
pushes you up and you're.
You're horizontal on the water you know?
And just flopping about err
holding on for your dear life onto this chain
and so.
You know
Three or four.
Bridges later
You get to one bridge.
You can't actually see the other side of it
it's just.
A dark tunnel.
When I got to that particular.
I hit the chain like right in the middle course the other guys knew.
What to do they.
They knew it was coming.
I didn't know it was coming.
So I hit the.
I was right in the middle of the river I hit the chain.
I had to like.
Pull myself up like
li- literally scraping.
Myself kind of
off this chain like.
So I was covered in blood by the time I got out.
But this other friend he err.
He err.
He basically ah.
The second last bridge.
Held onto the chain.
Went horizontal.
And err.
He was like wahay this is fantastic this bri- you know amazing brilliant and everything.
And then his boxer shorts just went flying.
So he's a pretty good he was a really strong swimmer so he. Swimming after it. But he.
He then he just got to the.
The tunnel bridge and. He just sees his boxer shorts disappear.
And his.
Just that moment of.
You know.
Split second decision you know when he ah.
Sort of thought.
Will I won't I.
What am I gonna do.
And he just went for it he went down the tunnel.
You know we all thought.
That was it.
He was dead you know we. We just thought.
That things going underground, that's not.
That's not. The tunnel that's just.
Underground. The water channel.
Turns out.
He emerges.
Not in the park.
But in.
Completely naked.
And er.
And has to sort of streak back home basically. Hiding. Hiding behind cars and err.
And he got into the newspapers and.

We've never let him live it down so. 

Friday, 7 March 2014


I had my very own ghost. It was my Aunt and she died when she was eighteen. She. Was laid out in the coffin. And any time anybody went to see her. There was uh. A mark on the wall where the coffin lid was put up against it. And I was named after her. And. One day I went to see a friend's house. And. And I remember feeling very cold there all evening. And then when I went home I phoned my mother and I said to her. That I'd been to this house but she said. You've been connected to that house for many years Mary because. That's where your aunt. Mary Winifred. After whom you were named. Lived and died. And she haunts the house. And the house is in Hastings. And she still haunts it. Yes. No, she doesn't haunt anywhere else just a house in Hastings. And when I came to. Um. Empty my mother's house when she had to leave it. I found a newspaper. And it fell open on the bed. Where I was. Err. Looking at it. And it fell open to an in memoriam. And it was to my aunt. Mary Winifred. And I had been in the house where she lived and died. Fifty years later to the day she died. And that's why I was so cold. And that's it.  

Thursday, 6 March 2014


The story goes as the following you we we wanted to name him Nando in the first place because we really like that name and. It's the short version of Fernando. But then we figured oh we we'd better we found out that there's actually a place called Nando's. In. England. And. South America and we. Thought it to be a. Fast food. Place. Which it's not totally I- I- I saw one in Oxford and it's like steak and stuff. But we thought we thought okay we can't. Possibly. Call our kid like a food chain like McDonalds or something. He goes to South America and everybody would go like oh yeah like the chain. And a friend of ours said well then just call him Anando put an A in front of it. Changed the name completely but you can do whatever you like. And then I said okay that sounds nice but I want to know and I. Checked the internet and Anando is. Sanskit, old Sankrit. Means “Blessed”. Or. Blessed state. Or. Bliss and uhm it's for example uhm. All those names Nantyananda Ugananda a- it's all Ananda. And in. Sanskrit it doesn't make a difference if it's A or O so of course. We're in Europe so it's Anando. And even the cousin of Buddham was called Anando so.   

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Found (sad)

Note, written on the back of a shopping list, found on a walk in the park.

Can you please try to shower my gran in case she wants to go to the funeral. Thanks.

I try but she refuse.

Hayley Maria Theodora Di Bonito.

Hayley Maria Theodora. Theodora because it is a gift from God. And Hayley because it was her birth. Mum's choice and I. You know in order to uhm. Out of respect I kept it. And she's been adopted. And err. It's a very kind of err. Moving story. because. She erm. Was born prematurely. And erm. She was just two and a half kilos. And she had to be err resuscitated twice. And the third time I had to do it because she was already with me I started. Fostering her when she was six weeks old. And errm. but when I laid my eyes on her, I went to the hospital to see her for the first time, I just knew it was, was mine. And erm. I decided to adopt and adoption went through erm in June. So I've been legally err. Her mum. since. And she is. Just. A privilege. Absolutely a privilege to erm. To look after her. Absolute- she is a star. She's a survivor she's. Grateful to be alive. She is. Erm. Very content, very happy erm. What else can I say she's. She came to, a, a, already a family with two other kids I've got two teenagers. A dog, four cats. And yes. She absolutely, mmm. I don’t know I just feel as if. You know God works and it is God working in very mysterious ways and it's like. I can't have children any more. And err. I. You know, err, kind of err. She had to come through somebody else I think. That's, that's all but erm. And. Hayley has. A very. Mmm. Bubbly err. Personality. She has this kind of. Light around her that wherever she goes. She really enchants people.