Night of The Damned



The Damned

Last Sunday we ventured out to see the Patriarchs of Punk – The Damned.  Husband has had me listening to American ‘punk’ for years Sum 41, Green Day, Blink 182 and it was time to educate him on the origin of this music genre.

Last time I saw The Damned was over 30 years ago at the Hammersmith Odeon and on our way across to the Bournemouth O2 I wondered if they had garnered a vibrant new youth following in the subsequent years – the answer was a resounding NO!

The audience was predominantly male (around 95%) and middle aged.  Bullet belts had been swapped with beer bellies and offensive T’s with checked shirts.  Chatting to one woman she brightly told me that she’d seen them in the summer and loved it, “it’s like youth club for the over 50’s” and unwillingly I couldn’t have agreed more.

As the on-stage sound checks were completed and the house lights dimmed I had a niggling worry that I might be disappointed, if they were just a figment of some happy punk past but soon as the first chord was struck all concerns disappeared.  They might have been around for 40 years but they can still play; old songs have become rock anthems, tight melodies and dare I say musical arrangements working in synergy with Dave Vanian’s silken and chilling voice which has improved 1000%-fold with age.  He  kept us spellbound with Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde then moving seamlessly into the explosive punk energy of tracks like Neat Neat Neat and New Rose.

For over 90 minutes we cheered, we sang along, we stomped for an encore and got two!  And when Captain Sensible said “we still got it” for the briefest of moments we all believed him.

Captain Sensible (2)
Captain Sensible in fine form …

As we left, going back into the freezing night air – every band member commented on the cold, it must be an age thing – it was touching to think that behind the net curtains of Suburban Dorset there are so many angry, middle-aged punks who want nothing more than to ‘Smash It Up’.



Embracing Fat January

wine quote

As we roll into the 3rd week of January I am surrounded by the righteous and the sober.

It appears, without exception that everyone I know has given up something for the month of January and in some cases way beyond.  Alcohol, sugar in all its forms, carbohydrates and dairy appear to the be the top choices of abstemiousness

I’m the sole survivor to emerge from this sea of self-denial, lounging on the island of indulgence (my sofa) with a drink in one hand and chocolate in the other bravely defying any attempt at weight loss.  (Appreciate that I have overdone the alliterations, but I couldn’t let go of the shipwreck metaphor – apologies)

On the run-up to Christmas you can accept short days and cold dark nights with the promise of pressies, parties and decorations that twinkle and shine but afterwards, what then?  January is usually a pretty bleak month and this year is no different, omnipresent grey; from the sky about 10 feet above to the muddy ground below there is little to no colour around, a monochromatic mood depressor.  Even the dogs are feeling it, refusing to go for a walk, feigning sleep or hiding under the dining room table when I get their leads out.

Pretending to sleept
Deaf to the jingle of the lead, but rustle a crisp packet ….

However, the supermarkets provide some light relief to combat my January blues.

Being a woman of thrift and careful spending I find it impossible to walk past the yellow sticker shelves – quick sale, still fresh –  without rummaging through for a bargain or two and January makes for a happy hunting ground.

Image result for yellow sticker food
Who doesn’t love a yellow label

Yesterday I picked up a bottle of sticky after dinner booze, 3 boxes of mince pies and five individual Christmas puds for less than a tenner.  Combine this with the pint of double cream and two tubs of Quality Street (is it just me or did they used to be so much bigger?)  three days ago and it’s a party for one!  On opening the larder, husband remarked that it is actually a diabetic coma for one and I should start limiting my sugar/fat intake as he grazed on some saintly pumpkin seeds, look smug and admittedly quite a bit thinner than the start of the month.

quality street
Disappointingly these weren’t the size I purchased, but I was right – they have shrunk!

I have made a deal with him, I will cut back on the indulgences when the sun starts shining again, although there is a niggling thought at the back of my head that when that time comes the fire brigade may need to crane me out the house.

Hurry up Spring, I can’t afford a mobility scooter.










Outside the box

Yesterday husband and I visited the Terry Pratchett exhibition at Salisbury Museum, we were among a wide demographic of Terry fans from children in wizard costumes to Discworld aficionados sharing their knowledge freely and loudly!  People had travelled from far and wide to experience the exhibition and learn more about their favourite author, the Godfather of Imagintastic.

Until I met husband I had not read a Terry Pratchett novel, the majority of the novels take place on Discworld,  which is  a bit like our own except that it’s flat and is supported by 4 elephants who ride on the back of a turtle called the Great A’Tuin – sound implausible?  Not really when you consider President Trump, driverless cars and the rising popularity of suicide bombings.  In fact Discworld seems to be an infinitely more sensible place to reside rather than our own planet right now.

Kari Sperring Discworld

It’s not just the fantasy planet but the complexity of the characters and their back stories that inflames our imaginations.  He transports us back to our childhoods without belittling and makes us sympathise with situations without feeling pity, he is an expert in ‘headology’.  On a first read the plots appear to be light and frothy but scratch the type slightly with the edge of your fingernail and the letters will tumble away to expose a darker sentiment and the grubbier aspects of the human character emerge in all their horribleness.  This combination of light and shade makes your read a journey through light and shade guided by a mouth-watering lexicon of frivolous fantasticalness.

nanny ogg
The forerunner of the Feminist movement

Whatever the age of the book, his satire is contemporary and razor sharp and if you can read one  without laughing out loud you may well be ‘breathily challenged.’  I should know this because our bookcase has one full shelf dedicated to Terry Pratchett printware – I’ve read each one –  and his co-writers and I cannot begin to describe what fate may befall me if I move them out of alphabetical order!

Be More Terry is a slogan that Rob Wilkins and Stephen Briggs came up with to remind themselves they should try to remain true to the way Terry Pratchett would handle situations that life might throw at us and so in this spirit my resolutions for 2018 are:-

Embrace the marvellous, fantastical and absurd

Belly-laugh more frequently

Thumb my nose at bureaucracy

Encourage my imagination to starting rioting in full technicolour

Invent words and use them with such confidence that people believe they are truebegivens

Be More Terry

So wherever 2018 leads you and whatever you may accomplish please do it Being More Terry

Terry Pratchett exhibition is on at Salisbury Museum until 13th January, if you’re nearby take a peek – it’s worth the visit.


Feeling Festive …. No, so eff off

Holly wasn’t feeling particularly festive and it didn’t seem like there was anything we could do to change her mind.

Holly Feeling Festive
No matter what we said, Holly wouldn’t exude Christmas Cheer


I couldn’t help but sympathise with her, on my pre-Christmas food shop I was mowed down by a very grumpy pensioner on a mobility scooter and was nearly crushed to death by a biscuit display!  Honestly, who stacks the metal, yes that’s right metal, biscuits boxes to over 8ft high and 4ft deep.  It wouldn’t have been so bad if it was my trolley that connected with the metal biscuit mountain and then I would have felt somewhat culpable instead I felt light-headed and a little bit bruised as tins showered down on my head and bounced around me.  The real miscreant had already sprinted off like a hit and run professional and therefore it was me that had to endure the tuts, raised eyebrows and small tight supercilious head shakes as the caring and sympathetic – NOT – shoppers went by kicking biscuit tins out of their way.

By the time I got to the bread counter I asked the slicer that considering many Mothers were  giving their kids a bag of crisps or chocolate from the trolley as an inducement for good behaviour, would the same understanding approach be extended to me  if I started necking from the bottle of wine that was in mine, apparently it would be fine but only if I shared it with her.  She looked as enchanted as I felt and she warned of worse to come, last year apparently there had been a physical fist fight over the last stalk of organic Brussels – the manager had to intervene and got hit with a bag of jumbo peanuts for his troubles, he was assaulted!!

The shops are shut for one day only but on 22nd December at 8am my local supermarket looked like Armageddon was around the corner and food shortages would take hold any second.  I managed to get in and out in 35 minutes, 10 of those had been spent queueing and not forgetting the time spent rubbing my skinned shin and removing fragments of custard cream from my hair

New Year celebrations – forget it!  I’m not going near a shop until mid January and so between now and then we’re living on Christmas left overs and tinned spaghetti, who knows I might even find a personality in the bottom of my cereal box along with the quality toy.

cereal box toys
Forget the plastic crap, is there a sense of humour at the bottom of that box?




Decolletage Decorum and the Question of Cleavage

jessica rabbit
The greatest enhanced cleavage, she’s not bad she’s just drawn that way


The Christmas party season is well and truly upon us and so the party wardrobes are out along with a lot of naked flesh, which is odd considering for us residents of the Northern hemisphere it’s the coldest time of the year and yet this is when we choose to wear the least.

Last week husband and I were invited to a society black tie dinner and apart from the host we didn’t know anyone at our table.  Gazing across the ballroom I looked out upon  a rainbow of chiffon, organza and sequins gliding across the floor not dissimilar from the set of a 1940’s movie.

Then, from across the room sashayed a dress like no other, it was a black halter neck slashed to the navel just about covering the most perfect pair of breasts I had ever seen, completely transfixed by the sight of them coming towards me static and stupendous, I was staring and I knew it.  I turned to say something to husband only to find him also mesmerised,  mouth slightly ajar and head at a slight angle giving him the disturbing look of a stroke victim.  He mumbled something that sounded like ‘Christ Almighty’ in the reverential tones of a man communing with his maker and he had lost the ability to blink with eyes fixated on breasts that were growing larger as they came ever closer.  Flippantly I turned to our host and said ‘blimey she’ll have someone’s eye out with those’ just as he leapt up to greet her, as luck would have it she was seated at our table!   Her boobs were perfectly matched to her personality; extrovert, perky with plenty of attitude – she was a very welcome addition to the table and great company. If only I could have looked her in the face, I spent the whole evening behaving like a lecherous git.

Cleavage 3

But here’s the question, is it acceptable to compliment someone on their boobs – woman to woman? Especially if they are quite obviously not the ones she was born with?  Let’s be honest when we spend excessively on shoes, handbag or a dress we do so in the hope that it will be admired and therefore validate the exchange of massive cash for said items.  Is it the same with boobs?  If you can see  that a few thousand pounds have been forked out shouldn’t you being able to applaud your fellow sister on the workmanship and effort undertaken to acquire them, or do we play dumb and pretend we didn’t notice?

Would it be OK to say when greeting someone ‘fantastic shoes, and those boobs are to die for’ or ‘great dress and love what you’ve done with your boobs.’

It’s hard to ignore these magnificent mammaries so prominently on display at this time of year already I am starting to think that the pneumatic bosom is the Christmas must have accessory and not the brocade boots I have invested in – what was I thinking, duh.

brocade boots
I totally misjudged this seasons favourite fashion item

Suffering from seasonal bosom envy I’ve purchased some very sturdy balconette bras and whilst I won’t be taking anyone’s eye out I may do your chin some damage!

If anyone can help with silicone etiquette protocol please let me know.



I decided to take on the NaNoWriMo challenge this year, an international initiative to encourage writers and would-be writers to produce a 50,000 word novel in a month.

NaNoWriMo Mission Statement

National Novel Writing Month believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.

You can’t help but get bitten by the writing bug because they are so encouraging and enthusiastic and supply prospective writers with all the tools required to create a novel.  They guide every member along their novel writing journey providing tips and ideas of how to birth the baby novel that lies in each of us.  There are workshops, pep talks and coaches on call throughout the month to answer any questions we may have.

In short – outstanding and very helpful.  The only thing they don’t do is actually write the novel for us, and this is where the process gets a bit sticky ….  Like most things in life I had not prepared for this exercise in any way whatsoever,  so why I was surprised when I realised this needed real work and proper grown-up effort.   A flashback of my O’Levels came scurrying through my brain.

Writing 50,000 words in a 30 day period equates to approximately 1,667 words per day.  If it sounds like a lot that’s because it is.  In fact it’s a massive undertaking when you realise that your would be novel has a beginning, a middle and an end but absolutely no sub-plots, twists, turns or additional points of conflict.  I have been so used to entering Flash Fiction competitions or jotting down these whimsical blogs that my word count is usually at 1,000 words tops – not much room for an additional verb let alone a red herring!

However it has made me realise that I really do want to write a book no matter how bad and no matter how long it takes. Considering my word count of today is 2,450 words I’m 17,554 words behind target with an estimated finish date of Sunday 15th July 2018!

I’m always in awe of published authors every time I finish a book and admire their tenacity to complete their story which started out as a tiny twinkle of idea.  They, unlike me are not distracted by the 2nd Series of Greenleaf, the ironing or Indiana Jones movies, they get on and do it – which is what I will continue to do, soon as I’ve made a cup of hot chocolate and eaten a piece of Dorset apple cake.

Would love to hear from anyone who is also taking on the NaNoWriMo challenge.

In Praise of Ordinary


I was at a BBQ on Sunday chatting to a woman who suddenly got her phone out her bag and smiled at me apologetically as she said “sorry ‘bout this just got to upload to Insta”.

Strange I thought, but whatever blows your hair back “a photo of this BBQ?” I asked  “God no” she replied “this is so bloody dull, it’s a photo from my holiday about 3 months ago, but nobody will know that” and so an amazing sunset photo (not unlike the one above) got uploaded and her countless – I’m guessing here –  Instagram followers were none the wiser.

Not only fake news, but now fake lives.

Which made me think; firstly if she was that bored why didn’t make her excuses and go home but also surely her true friends (read that bit carefully) would know she wasn’t away gazing at some heaven sent sunset in a different time zone and that she was firmly planted in the UK for the bank holiday weekend.  And then, that made me think ‘so what is wrong with ordinary?’  Why can’t we have normal hum-drum lives anymore?  Why should we try to convince others and I suspect therefore ourselves that we live a life of non-stop international travel, fine wine and fabulous sunsets.  Why should we be embarrassed to admit we neither aspire to, or can afford that type of lifestyle.

Ordinary is not bad, ordinary allows us to set our pace, our external metronome which helps us plan out our weeks and months.  Routine gives many people a sense of comfort and a feeling of stability and belonging so why try to hide from it or worse still deride it.

We appear to be living in a world where the pervasive aroma is one of entitlement, people believing they deserve to be happy every day and I think it stinks!

After surviving the Second World War do you think our grandparents demanded skiing holidays, dinner disguised as works of art and en-suite bathrooms redecorated every 2 years?  Of course not, they loved the ordinary, welcomed the back to normal and who wouldn’t after having Hitler bomb the crap out of you for 6 years.

When we get to experience the extra-ordinary it is in its very essence why it becomes so special because it’s EXTRA-ORDINARY.  If we had rainbows, beach side cocktails and waterfalls every day would we appreciate them as much, I doubt it.  And it couldn’t be more apparent that even beautiful can wear thin, where in the movie White Mischief Alice de Janze throws open the shutters and laments “Oh God, not another fucking beautiful day.”


Viva the ordinary, viva routine now where did I leave my knitting?



Sunset photo by Azrul Aziz on Unsplash
Rainbow and waterfall photo by Dylan Gialanella on Unsplash
Knitting photo Photo by MabelAmber® on Unsplash