Today is the anniversary of my 44th year of being on this planet….. and i find myself on a parodoxical plane of being tired of this life yet gripped by the thrill of what could become of it. So much fun, but in equal portion so many troubles … a plague on the lifeline …. but in the meantime … i’ll get a cut n colour, stop the carbs, drop a dress size and go drink some more sambuca and have some more fun. Happiness is always just around the corner, in fact it hides in the shadows, flits across the peripheral vision, resides in the chinks of light and the cracks in the walls and slopes about at home when you’re out trying to find it. Today I wear the colour of the rainbows, either putting a brave face on it or actually living and feeling it … that is my conclusion …….
ahhhhh, familiar territory in the shape of Liverpool …
i’m still sick
i quickly collect the wee lad otherwise known as ‘Slippers’ (cos he pretty much likes to sit on your feet whenever possible, with or without a shitty ring hole), a quick thanks to the friend who watched over him (and wanted to give him back to me as soon as, which made the sick drive possible) … but anyway, i honoured my vow to collect the four-legged pooch before midnight on a (i think it was) Wednesday night – but this homelessness business (and not believing in the gregorian calendar) makes way for losing track of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, and ….well, life in general.
as i write/type, i’m trying to remember where i went from collecting the dog…. ?!! without a home i’m finding it more challenging to remember where i’ve been
what i do know (only due to photographic evidence) … is that the following morning I had a Morrisons ‘Flying Start’ breakfast … and ahhhh! now i remember, the morrisons i went into was the one in Huyton and that would mean that i had a three day window of grace staying at a very good friends’ flat (where me and the two dogs had turned up the night before just around a half past midnight!!) … now it’s coming back to me. …..
this was breakfast (after walking the two dogs of course)
it cost about £3.60 all in with a cup of sugary tea, and it done the trick, revived me, sorted my immediate sanity issues …
and then i headed for Lark Lane …. when i bought my halloween outfit a couple of days previously, i’d also seen a couple of things to make great presents … and there’s someone in my life (only via facebook) whom i haven’t seen since they were approximately 6 years old and very soon they were heading for 22! so i had a gift to purchase and a shop to get to
and to get there i passed by somewhere which reminded me of my drummer
…. and so i took a few more steps along the lane and thought, i have time for a coffee
so i went into the Green Days Cafe
looked out of the window to keep dog’s eye on the little shop across the road …. the sun was streaming through the window and i sat back for a moment to renew my levels of sanity …. much in need as they were for renewal
and then, after coffee
had a little wander round this shop ….
life is tough, so much so that its proving difficult to smile, and that’s how i know that things aren’t right … smiling has always been an enjoyable pastime for me, but right now, i can’t seem to pull any out of the face
even when this was on offer, a welcoming gesture upon arrival at my wonderful baby sister’s home
admittedly, it was a sunshine moment at the height of despair and it was definitely cheering.
But so soon afterward, more grey troubles presented themselves.
I’m thinking there’s just something de-motivating in the energy down South, having lived so long and pretty much happily up North for over a decade…
I’m here to find a motorhome, as nothing so far has presented itself as ticking the boxes to my requirements. Am i too fussy? do i want too much? obviously so
there’s no internet at my sisters so i head for the parents house, having to get the timing right because there are a couple of monsters (siblings) amidst and they definitely require the widest berth you could ever imagine …
so i gets on the internet and i commence yet another lengthy search via e-bay, preloved, gumtree, and any other google search i can think of ….. suddenly a Winnebago Brave presents itself and the pictures look pretty good, the number plate is enchanting and its only been up for sale for 59 minutes .. i dial the number
the bloke on the other end talks very very fast so i ask him to slow down, and it’s quite funny that he slows down to a very strange and warped ‘grave’ tempo … (this, i should have taken into account as an omen)
anyway, we manage to understand each other and i book a viewing for the next day, out near Wembley …
from the parents house me and my sister go off to do some errands together, i’m feeling a bit sick because my life is an upside down mess, my possessions scattered around Merseyside, my home is currently my van with a suitcase and guitar and dog food in it … one of my dogs is with me, one is with a friend up North … my head is battered and bruised – i’m usually an organised, neat ‘place for everything and everything in its place’ type o girl .. and here and now, it looks nothing like the calm and tranquil lake in my mind – in fact it looks more like the landfill experience i had two decades ago where all the shit and rubbish from all over Essex, Middlesex and Hertfordshire was dumped …
anyway, we find ourselves in Hertford, both hungry and thirsty, so we decide to treat ourselves to lunch and our feet take us to a nice little number in what is called ‘Saloon’
and so on a personal selfish level, i get an hour reprieve from the monsters in my head, and i feast on good food and wine (but of course, over indulgence comes back to kick you in the head, as you will find out as you read on)
thus, being in the mood to continue drinking and dining, the mother parent wants to spend time with her daughters and granddaughter so that very same night, we prepare to go out for a meal … and this we do, to a rather posh and nice restaurant
another glorious break from reality, an expensive meal, but that’s what expensive taste buds do for you ……..
and then we get home
and then we drink another two bottles of red wine, and a rather rotten white!
it was off! uurrgggghhhhhhhh, took it back to the late night off licence and advised them that it’s shelf life was most certainly over
and then the next morning, there’s a density in the air, or is it in our heads?
and i have to meet up with the female parent to go and view a motorhome that i am to potentially purchase and travel by car to a place outside of Wembley …. i pull myself together as we pull into the farm where the motorhome is parked. we meet the seller, a gypsy looking man with two gold bottom teeth and a large scar from top lip cross ways, looking like at some point in his life he may have taken a baseball bat to the mouth (possibly?!) … anyway, this man chats away, using coin of phrases over and over again … i’m in a part desperate position (cos i’m homeless) and i’m pinning my hopes on this motorhome …. and it looks pretty decent
it has almost everything i need (other than a kennel for the dogs!) … it even has a full on bike rack on the back, for a scooter to be carried. we agree a price, shake hands on it and i say i’ll be back the following Wednesday to collect … so now i’m beginning to feel hungry so me and the parent make haste toward a feeding venue, we’re in a little place outside of Wembley so unknown territory to us, and then i catch sight of a garden centre and there’s a cafe within its grounds – quicker than you can say ‘full english’ we’re in the wonders of the tinsel lined aisles and into the cafe…. we order salmon and scrambled eggs on toast and tea and orange juice whilst we wait … i’m waning, feeling pretty empty, thirsty and deflated from the adrenalin rush of looking over my potential new home. Breakfast is served and it looks fantastic … i tuck my fork into the scrambled egg and savour the first mouthful, next forkful in includes the salmon, and then another polite mouthful, alas, my nightmare continues as the blood drains from around my mouth and my lips begin to tingle … i feel like i’m going to fall off my chair and within seconds i’m doubled over, my parent still merrily stuffing their food and then looking on in distaste and weary shock too. I feel as if my world is crashing in and i just want to get out of the place and curl up featal like somewhere under a rock or a stone.
can’t believe how ill i have become so quickly
i spend the rest of the day doubled over, trying to sleep, knowing that i have to make a three and a half hour journey back up the motorways to Liverpool, to no home, to have to collect my other dog …. feeling sick as a dog …. can life throw anything else at me?!
yep, it sure can, it comes gratuitously by way of torrential rain for three hours (200 miles) of motorway driving, by this time i haven’t eaten or drank anything for almost 24 hours and i’m battling nature, arctic lorries, speeding cars and mile upon mile of cats eyes ……….
My beautiful friend again gave me her sofa for the night before Halloween, and we spent the evening along Lark Lane, in Keith’s wine bar to be precise. It was lovely because i’d started the evening at the Lark Lane Artelier run by Alex Corina – there was some kooky artwork on show; being the opening night of their Christmas exhibition. Well well worth a visit…. i made some new friends and met a couple of artsy pals too. We drank red wine, chatted artistically, enthusiastically and even futuristically.
Then i met my favourite Harpsichord player and we ate at Raga’s across the lane. Unbelievably hot stuff!
Then we went to Keith’s and got stuck in over a bottle (or two) – of good red wine.
There was some fantastic live Jazz being played and the atmosphere was particularly chilled.
On my walk to Keith’s i spotted something fantastic in a little shop window and thought to myself, that could make up part of a great Halloween costume …
The night continued on to be a great one, with lots of red wine drinking and then some happy threesome partying back at the flat (meaning three people having good solid banter and drinks and nibbles) !!!
Thus, i returned to the Lane the following morning (Halloween itself) and purchased the very wonderful mask i’d seen – and prior to getting to that shop and upon when i jumped out of the boogie bus, in another shop window i saw the best accompaniment to that mask and immediately went in and purchased it ….
So here’s how i went to the Lomax Liverpool for Halloween (via Brink and a bit of an acoustic slot)
aha! and i’d booked into a local motel so as me and my wonderful drummer could party and then go get a couple of hours worth of zeds before we had to go our separate ways into the madness thereafter …
Personally Halloween came and went in a particularly laid back way – the quality of costumes seen at the Lomax was gruesomely brilliant and there were lots of live performances …. WE, futurejack, played in the downstairs cellar bar and it was horridly enjoyable.
Back to the motel. Lots of chatting and a couple of Gin Toddy’s ….. and then some zeds zzzzzzzzzzzz
Tuesday brings with it the fact that i have to get off my recovery sofa and get back into the brutal world. I’m still under par but i have a commitment made and unless i’m dead, i always try to honor my engagements. Firstly I walk the dog (i only have one dog for now, as my other is being tended to by a friend, giving me an ounce or two of reprieve) and lucky for us the sun is out and it’s a bright autumnal morning. Once Karma is sorted I then jump a shower, freshen up and get into some comfortable clothing.
I’m hungry but have no food in close proximity and i’m decidedly going to treat myself to a breakfast of egg n bacon, that’s all i want and so i jump in the Boogie Bus with Karma and we begin our journey toward the tunnel (i have to be in Hoylake for my engagement). I’m looking for a cafe en route but for some harsh reason, one does not present itself. I’m waning with hunger but decide to get across the water and find something that side.
Oh and I do … as i drive toward Hoylake I espy a couple of little cafe’s but nowhere easy to park, and then, i see the chalkboard on the pavement, like the peripheral view i see of the ‘brasserie’ and shake a quick left into a side street and park up fast. Any longer and i reckon i’d have been chewing on my dog’s tail!
I walk into the beautifully quaint brasserie at about 11.40am (the chalkboard having said that breakfast is served till midday) so luck is shining for me and i ask the girl if chef would be kind enough to just cook me eggs n bacon. She’s helpful enough, although it did seem for a moment that perhaps they couldn’t swerve from the set menu, however there’s not one single other customer in, so really, they’re glad for the meagre custom i bring.
Anyway, breakfast is ordered ….
(cost = £6.60 / maybe expensive for a breakfast, but worthy of it)
and i am delighted !! the best eggs i have had cooked for me, ever! probably! oh joy, i felt as if someone was definitely looking down on me and saying, ‘there you go girl, enjoy’ …. and i did
The place is called Maluca (which in Portuguese means ‘crazy’ supposedly) … it’s a fantastic little place with an amazing bathroom …
the size of the tap had me in awe!
and it’s child friendly i’m reckoning….
Now i’ve got about 40 minutes to kill before the Art commences …
So, i take my beautiful Karma to the beach …
she absolutely loves the beach!
it’s a fair bit windy and chilly but it’s sure getting rid of the cobwebs.
We walk as far toward the turbines as i could and then i espied a wonderful boat and just as i was about to photograph it a man began walking all over it, at first i felt he would ruin my shots, but then he added to them, and then it turned out he was the guy who made it … we spoke and he filled me in on a couple of bits of its history … it’s known as the ‘The Grace Darling’ …..
an exhilarating experience, and one that i would certainly not have enjoyed had i found a cafe in Liverpool …. the winds that blow you off route are definitely some of the best …
A quick brush down of the sand and i head to the hall where the Life Art Session is to commence …
I’m well looked after, always, by this group and there’s always some fantastic results emerging..
Now my quest is to find a bed for the night!
so, the saturday day of the op arrives
it’s not the best day i’ve been waiting for, but i’m a brave soldier and go in ‘gung ho’ knowing that to be is to do …
i think of nothing
i do as i’m told – by the wonderful people who tell me what they require of me for them to get their job done
they’re pretty good at what they do – that comes across immediately to me – it’s when i complete the questionnaire several hours later that i realise they are working toward ‘numbers’ … toward ‘results’, toward proving they can achieve what they set out to do, in their initial ‘quota’, their ‘tender’ … and in this instance, for me personally, they do …
anyway, it’s a funny thing to be on your ‘operation table’ … pre-op ,.. when the anesthetist comes in and says, ‘well i’m just seeing that your heartbeat is pretty slow here’, and i say, ‘well i’m just tuning in to my yoga breathing to keep things calm,’ and he raises an eyebrow and says, ‘ah! it’s pretty usual for people here in this position to be having a much faster heartbeat’, …. i look at the white ceiling, he then says, ‘any chance you can quicken your heartbeat before i anesthetise you?’ … so i do ….
and it’s quite a wonderful going under … the thing i’m thinking about at the time is my band ‘futurejack’ … and i’m hearing the cheers of the thousands of fans in an arena, and i know i’m with two people, who really really love* and understand* and care* for me… makes me feel safe and in the knowledge that all will be well … and i’m thankful for that…
and then all of a sudden i’m waking up and wanting to check the monitor to see what my blood pressure is stating ..
i sit bolt upright and the nurse turns to me and says, ‘everything okay’ – and i say, ‘yep, just wanna check my blood pressure’ …
she goes on and starts talking to me and we chat about travelling and she tells me that the best place on earth to go visit is Canada, Vancouver to be exact … so, mentally, i put that on my list (pretty near the top) of places to go.
and so … recovery starts
a very very good friend (albeit having not been too long known, possibly about 2 years at the very most) allows me and my dogs to stay with her in a beautiful flat near Sefton Park ..
and she makes me
an amazingly nutritious meal of organic mash potato with organic parsnip and o swede and o carrot mash and cheese!! and i think we had a naughty Stella Artois on the side
i spend the next 3 days shuffling and mooching and generally feeling less than the superior human being that i have become accustom to being, but hey, hope remains a main ingredient in my bloodline…
i give thanks to the pranic vortex i continually wish for
*** hahaha! a year on and how wrong I was about those people whom i thought understood and cared for me … nope, they didn’t, they rather stabbed me in the back and sold me down the river …. exquisitely human performances from us all
waking up four hours after falling asleep constituted another safe bet that hard partying had occurred…
with everyone going their separate ways it was just me n Jo left as we returned to Liverpool
and for every drop of fun you experience, there’s always a hard hitting back down to earth waiting in the wings – mine being a last minute call in to go for a pre-op appointment, couple of bloods, few questions, blood pressure being taken etc etc … a day before last minute check in!
turned out to be pretty painless, lovely nurse, lovely private hospital where i received a very dignified assessment … still doesn’t take away the fact i don’t fancy going in for the operation tomorrow …
anyway that aside, the appointment was done n dusted n then me n twoeey were back on the road heading her homeward bound – no homeward bound for me, i still don’t have a home
we stopped off for a quick drink at the White Horse and then headed to the ‘Bubble Room’ for a scran …
lamb hotpot was on the menu for us both
at first we thought it looked a bit weird, arriving in a cup! but under the mash (dumpling) there were huge chunks of lamb and it was very very tasty! 8/10 compliments to the chef – The Bubble Room, Woolton is definitely worth a visit …………. then,
we went back to Hobson’s thereafter and had a couple of swift scotch’s and a smoke and then turned in, with sweet dreams of a gig gone good – roll on the next one!
Me and Two Pints wake up around the same time … 11am, so we’ve managed to get about six and a half hours kip. We sort ourselves out pretty sharpish as i want to get on the road for about 12.30pm – i’ve arranged to collect my mate Mr Corner and head to Cheadle Hulme for about 2pm to go check out a racetruck before arrival at the Victoria Warehouse Hotel in Manchester for around 3pm…
Me and Twooey need a proper start to the day so after walking Karma we then stop off at the Whistlestop for …..
breakfast done we jump back into the Boogie Bus and head for Mr Corner Pickup and then the M62.
All seems good and timing just a little behind. I’m heading for an Industrial Estate on Cheadle Hulme without a Sat Nav or even A-Z, possibly a recipe for disaster? Ok, so i get a bit stressed and smack my steering wheel a couple of times, my passengers becoming a bit quiet, what can i say, i haven’t practised any Yoga for a couple of days and my patience wanes. Together we get through it and finally find the location, only to have a near miss crash by another less than capable driver who doesn’t check their mirror and turns a left into the front of my vehicle. I scream out loud and reckon it’s my scream that they hear and therefore apply their brakes, by this time i’ve applied my brakes and Two Pints, who’s sitting in the rear of the Boogie Bus ends up getting a Bass guitar, Electric Guitar in hard case and a couple of drums in the back of her head. Luckily enough she still had a bit of scotch in her from the night before so felt no pain, only a tad of bewilderment for a nanosecond.
We all pile out and check the racetruck (it’s a very quick viewing as i’m running behind on time by now)! immediately i know it’s not for me so i shake hands, tell the sellers i’ll be in touch (which i did to tell them it was a no) and we all pile back in the boogie bus and head for our gig.
A bit more stress in finding the way back, note to myself to practice Yoga again very soon. Lucky for me my friends are very understanding.
We arrive at our destination pretty upbeat considering my earlier stresses. Now onto the good stuff, we unload, set up, soundcheck and all is very very good. We check in, undo the scotch and have a swift nip or two before going back down to the bar to meet up with the rest of the crew.
Futurejack are ready to gig!!!
We all had an absolute ball
Stayed up all night and the three of us even done an impromptu cover of our own song ‘in my way’ in the shower!
Breakfast was at 7am to which there
was Goddess Naomi and myself only present
8am … the single bed was calling, and so too, the Sandman!
You can check out more photographs and video snippets on our facebook page
So i wake up Wednesday morning under the warmth of my trusty parka jacket on my mates’ faux leather sofa and i’m feeling better than i did the night before! well, the full moon eclipse has well waned by now and i’m on the other side of its effect. My good friend makes me a lovely strong coffee and gives me his spare keys so i can leave any time i want. His chauffeur arrives and then he’s off to work.
Meanwhile i try planning the day ahead. Not got much to do today really, it’s the day before our big gig in Manchester and because i was such a disaster last night at rehearsals we’ve decided to get together again tonight at the Lomax, and put in another session. So, i decide to go into town, do a couple of errands and then maybe pick up something to wear for the gig.
My mood is still a bit of a damp squib, until i pop into Soho and, staring me in the face is the perfect item of clothing for the gig – a ‘psycho ward’ bright orange hoody!! until that is, i turn 94 degrees to the left and spot something better, something even more purrrrrfect!
Shopping done i treat myself to something from Bold Street soul cafe! my appetite’s down but definitely not out ………..
from here on things can only get better….. marshmallow and creamed up to the nines i get back out on the street and smile.
I’m off to meet the rest of the futurejack pack @ the land otherwise known as Lomax and we get on with it and put in a good rehearsal session. After that, me and Jo head on back to Hobson’s for a bit of our a la carte, no messing about, late supper which consists of :
a very artistically pledged assortment of cheese and Marmite, a couple of glasses of Jamesons and a sneeky rolly or two ….
JO also presents me with 2 gifts, finely wrapped by her very self, i gets a bottle of JD Honey Whiskey and a James (My Ma) CD …
waking up nice and early after having just four hours sleep in the wonderful king size bed, marks the end of the birthday hotel treat – time now to hit the road and head further north to Leeds, the ITV headquarters to be exact .. for today is Emmerdale filming. Within half hour of motorway driving things come to a standstill, with a ‘car park’ type view ahead i switch off the engine and concentrate on some meditative breathing.
It was a three car accident, they get moved to the hard shoulder and we can finally pass (after a 45 minute standstill). I’d left with plenty of time in hand, but now, it was going to be a close shave to catch my call time of 10.30am.
Remarkably i reach ITV headquarters in Leeds at 10:45am (the dogs took up the fifteen minute lateness else i’d have been bang on time). As soon as I get to reception i’m wishing i hadn’t agreed to this. There are about 50 of us all herded in and i know this is going to be a bit of a dull filming experience (it always is when there are loads of people – and this is an ‘audience’ scene, so we’re just a herd of cattle really).
There’s me thinking we’ll be filming in HQ too but no, alas, we’re bumped into 2 mini buses and driven out 40 minutes to Ilkley Town Hall .. (this puts a bit more of a dampener on my day because my dogs are back in the van and i know we’re probably going to be on set until 6 or 7pm and i have futurejack rehearsals starting in Liverpool at 7.30pm and timing is not adding up) – but hey, that feeling of ‘trapped’ness’, it hurts more if you tussle with it, best to give in and stay calm.
So, we’re all bundled off the bus. This is where i am….
This is how i’m feeling …..
This is what i am involved in, filming for Emmerdale …
It’s about midday by now and we’re ushered into a back room where i sit off for about an hour, before one of the runners comes in and says, ‘we’re going to break for lunch now’ … to be honest, it hasn’t been a hard graft at all, in fact, i’ve done nothing other than mooch about, and now i’m going to be fed …
i forgot to take a picture before i ate it! but it was Salmon and rice and broccoli and i got some Stilton and beetroot and rocket on the side! very good food, the caterers were quite exceptional i thought …. didn’t catch their company name though else i’d definitely have given them a good plug!
Anyway, about an hour later, we’re shipped back on board to go 2 minutes down the road, back to the town hall
The rest of the filming goes pretty well (albeit i am really bored, and i realise i’m not good as simulating the cheering of contestants in an american style pageant come talent show) …. i find it somewhat creepy that parents could ever allow their pre-pubescent daughters to dress in skimpy leotards and tutus and tiaras with ploughed on make-up and glitter and false eyelashes to parade around for the ego sake of smug satisfaction of the self. Per se, I do believe this was the case that Emmerdale writers were acknowledging/highlighting, (but to be honest it would be better not to promote this in any way shape or form, ever).
And so it was, ‘that’s a wrap’ called at about 6pm after much clapping, cheering, oooooohing, ahhhhhhing and moving around seats of the auditorium to make us look like an audience of hundreds rather than the forty to fifty we were …. i mostly hid behind my hands – if i don’t believe in something, i cannot pretend to, so admittedly this shebang made me feel dead uncomfortable, the whole time worrying about my dogs and getting to futurejack rehearsals but you know, time can sprint ahead and before i knew it i was back with my dogs and i spared them some precious moments before the drive back to Liverpool – i gave them a pack of salami between them, but my little Lhasa gorged it all so quickly, he promptly honked it back up, to which my cross-breed dived in and munched …. my day couldn’t get any grosser.
The drive home, another motorway pile up, more car park traffic jams and i finally arrived at rehearsals at half past nine, without my guitar so had to use my drummer’s which had to be mic’d up and my head was falling apart and i wasn’t in the best frame of mind, but we got an hour together and another friend arrived to my rescue and took me home to his flat where i could bathe in a hot bath, get a pint of snakebite and curl up on the couch for the night.
Tuesday was done and dusted!