Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Halloween is here, and spiders abound. Check out the fabulous Halloween art from Words and Pictures here.

I used to be terrified of spiders. I think it's the speed at which they move. Or I might have caught the fear from my sister, who remains terrified. Many years ago, my sister was at home from college, and Sleeping In. My younger brother decided it would be a wizard wheeze to creep into her room and place his huge black plastic spider on her knees as she slept, so that it would be the first thing she saw when she woke up.  I can still hear her screams. Younger brother went into hiding for some days. Shortly after the Tate Modern opened, I went with Sister and there was a large (and I mean massive) Louise Bourgeois sculpture of a spider.


Sister was prepared - we knew it was going to be there. We could not refer to it as a spider, only a spiderous thing, and she managed to get past it without screaming. I'm not sure how.

Spider song number one - from the great and glorious Who - here

I stayed terrified of spiders until I did NLP training, when I chose that as my phobia when we did the phobia cure. I wouldn't say I grew to love arachnids, but I'm not running-around-the-room-screaming-when-I-see-one-scared and I've even managed to catch a few with a card and glass, in order to free them outside.

Some cats that I've had have enjoyed catching and eating spiders. That's an unpleasant sight - a cat with spider's legs waving around in its mouth as it chomps happily. At least the cat didn't emulate the Old Woman and then swallow a bird. Oh wait...

And spider song the second, from the ineffable Bowie - here. I went to see Bowie on his Ziggy tour in the early 70s (gosh, we're back there again). I was 14 or 15 and sitting right in the front stalls of the Colston Hall as Bowie gyrated his way through thrilling music in brief and glamorous costumes, I began to suspect that there was indeed more to life than the nuns were telling us...

Thanks for popping in - and watch out for the ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties. Not to mention things that go bump in the night...

Thursday, 25 October 2012


I know -  it's been days. Straight into a song. Gosh that's melancholy - fitting for autumn days. Or perhaps that's just me.

Anyhoo, time has gone somewhere since we last met here. Reputations have shattered, recessions have ended and I've visited a stamp fair! Not philately, no. More, perhaps, another time.
I used to collect stamps, in a desultory fashion. I think it was compulsory.

This is it! Isn't the internet

Someone gave me a 1966 first-day issue World Cup stamp (football, you know) but I didn't understand the system and tried to remove it from the envelope, thus ruining it in stamp-nerd terms. Don't know what became of it, or the collection. It was in an album and everything! Red, I think.

I think I lack the collecting gene.

Do you know Flo and Eddie? They were Turtles and Mothers of Invention - Flo and Eddie was their name for their incarnation as a duo. Somewhere on the interweb is a fantastic video of them explaining their various legal battles, with diagrams. On their LP Flo and Eddie, they do a cover version of The Kinks' Days, which was the other song in my head as I started typing. Here it is. The whole album is sublime, some of it eccentrically so. Enjoy!

Thanks for popping in. See you again soon.

Saturday, 13 October 2012


I wore kilts when I was a child. Did any girl growing up in the 1960s escape them? Here is a photo of me at a very young age astride Muffin the Mule (don't). As you can see I'm sporting a very fine kilt.
Except that it wasn't - it was a tartan skirt. No pin. Even in those heady days of utter carelessness with children, I was considered Too Young for a kilt pin. It was probably just as well, given the accident rate amongst my peers. In later years, at a birthday party for one of my classmates (I won't name her because that seems intrusive) the birthday girl managed to get a cocktail stick embedded in her foot in a most dramatic way (cue shrieking and pointing from all present). In the spirit of the age, she got the blame for being careless. In a French class once, another to-be-nameless classmate suddenly and dreamily interrupted Miss (oh I suppose I'd better not name her as well. Pity. She had the best name of all the teachers. Then she went and got married and became Mrs Something-much-more-mundane.) Where was I? Oh yes, the interruption was "Oh - it's gone right through". All eyes swivelled to the speaker and widened in horror as we saw that she had managed to push the point of her compasses through her middle finger and out the other side. More shrieking. She was roundly blamed for playing with her Maths equipment in a French lesson. Perhaps she would have got more sympathy if it had been in Maths. Doubtful, considering the treatment awarded me when I put my arm through a pane of glass in a fire door, necessitating 35 stitches. I'm not bitter. Anyhoo, I had plenty of kilt pins later and I don't remember any accidents. (Something has happened to Blogger. I don't like it. This post looks odd - sorry I can't work out how to make it behave.) I got to thinking about kilts following Nell's comment on a previous post. Then, whilst preparing for a Singing for the Brain session this week I came across this. Enjoy! All things truly are connected. Thanks for popping in.

Monday, 8 October 2012


Trying The Mess Song in a different way:

The Mess Song | Muziboo


Trying The Mess Song again...

Sunday, 7 October 2012


I don't like it. So there. Let's kick off with a song (it's that sort of a day).

I've learned how to do a thing! If it's worked, you should hear, here, the marvellous Spooky Men singing The Mess Song. There wasn't a YouTube version, so the Thing I learned to do (or possibly didn't) is to embed a song from my collection.

I do like transformations of Mess into Order. One of the best things about The Railway Children was the way they (or perhaps it was Mother) Set To and made their new house a home, be it ever so humble.

The kind of mess I dislike most of all is other people's. Nuff said.

Anyhoo, what got me thinking about mess was this:

It arrived some days ago and stayed in its outer packaging until today. It is now unboxed, but still sealed.

I fear it will Make Mess.

Will I dare to go further? Will Dick and Snowy escape? Stay tuned for the next exciting instalment.

Nice to see you - pop in any time.

PS - ok, I see I haven't learned how to do a thing. Buy the cd - it's called Tooled Up and it is excellent. And if you ever get a chance to see them (they often tour the UK) seize it with both hands. They are fantastic performers. And they can grow beards if they want to.

Friday, 5 October 2012


I promised more about these in a previous post. Well, here we are.

A mondegreen is a mishearing of a phrase - often a song lyric, but not originally. I used to have terrible trouble remembering the word  - how bizarre, I would think, but how excellent that the phenomenon has a proper name. I must remember it. Remember it? Did I heck as like (I live in the north now. It rubs off.) Then I found out (through the miracle of the interweb) why it's called that and now I can remember it because it's linked to something, not floating untethered in the wordsphere.

In November 1954, Harper's Magazine published an essay by Sylvia Wright called The Death of Lady Mondegreen. (As befits a masters' student, I tried to check the primary source. I found this. Those of you with powerful eyesight will no doubt be able to read it. I would require a subscription (or a prescription) in order to do so. Well, pooh to them. Have you read The Belfry Witches? If you have, you'll recognise the reference. If you haven't, what are you waiting for?)

I am indebted to Wikipedia for the following quotes from the essay:
“When I was a child, my mother used to read aloud to me from Percy's Reliques, and one of my favorite poems began, as I remember:

Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl O' Moray,
And Lady Mondegreen.
The actual fourth line is "And laid him on the green". (Wright explained the need for a new term: )
The point about what I shall hereafter call mondegreens, since no one else has thought up a word for them, is that they are better than the original.” (My underlining)

The concept has been extended, but sticking to Ms Wright's original definition,  I don't think I have any personal mondegreens. The only genuine mishearing I remember is thinking Elvis Presley was singing "Don't be cruel to a hard-backed stool" which is clearly not better than the original. Or is it? And I was singing all kinds of nonsense to Life on Mars, but I think we all were. Including Bowie. (I seem to have angered the gods of Blogger by copying from Wikipedia and now I can't get my font right. Well, pooh to them.)

At a singing workshop once someone introduced me to the wannabe Lady Nerth  which I think does qualify. 

I don't seem to have a relevant picture to post, so here is an irrelevant one. Go on, take the weight off for a few minutes.

Thanks for visiting - see you soon. Look - the font's back!