Observational And Non Observational 

Here are some pen tests and sketches I’ve been doing, plus a bonus shot of my Datsun Sunny pencil case which was 50p in a charity shop in Oldham. That’s  someone else’s oil on it and I kept that tea stain for sentimental reasons (in other words, I’ve got better things to do, like trying my dip pen with green ink and filing away a sticker from Brighton Club The Gloucester circa 1990 and thinking that constitutes housework).

I’m currently interested in the root of creativity and clearing out my drawers. Catching hold of a new idea before it wafts to one side. Getting rid of my two ply before changing my mind and  reinstating it from the charity pile to the Craft Fun Time Collage Box.  How I suspect the things we don’t highlight are much more interesting than the things we choose to reveal as we mistakenly think the former obvious and boring. I’d like to ask someone who draws cheekbones on, what they do that reminds them of being 8, for instance. Or how many pairs of jeans they think one person needs for a lifetime. Maybe that’s just me. Maybe why that’s why it’s best I don’t do observational comedy. 

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The Queen One

On this day, the Queen enters the Guinness Book Of Records for waving in a stilted manner while some people cheer. I’m not a fan but I was once, for my own nefarious means…

The Nations Nan and My Master Plan

My plotting started when Prince Charles came all the way from Royal Buckingham Palace up London, to Carn Brea Leisure Centre. Now anything is possible I decided. Sharon Pengilly was on the news, waving in her white bonnet. I was nowhere to be seen. Next time, I decided, the glory will be mine, but it will be so much more. Bonnets won’t get a look in.

‘Mum? Do you think the Queen might come to our house?’ ‘Maybe love. Who knows?’ This was enough.

When I was a kid, I really wanted the Queen to drop by unexpected, to the house where I lived with Mum, Dad and my brothers, Jimi and Iain, just so I could show off about it and find out what we had in common with a view to discovering we were related.

The happy plan was marred only by the fact that we didn’t own a burgundy and gold velvet chair for Her Majesty to park on, as well as the concern that the snacks we’d have to offer were hard work on an empty stomach, and let’s face it, she’d have had quite a trek. Raisins and raw carrots aren’t ideal for a Royal Tea. We didn’t have normal snacks in our house and raisins and raw carrots weren’t meant to be snacks anyway. They were simply the only food cupboard basics available in an emergency, as they needed no preparation.

Hours of planning went into this improbable scenario as mine and Jimi’s half-arsed attempts at making our own dictionary, an exercise workout routine and an invisibility potion had fizzled out and there wasn’t a Google yet. Or a Boppit. Etc.

Our Monarch’s comfort would be paramount. Under no circumstances would Jimi be allowed to blow off and my Dad would surely know not to launch into the Heinz Beanz poem. Perhaps I could deflect criticism from the absence of a door on the toilet by quickly standing some grape hyacinths in a washed out Branston pickle jar? Comfort was to be found in the knowledge that posh English people would be too polite to say anything anyway and thus I’d be able to wallow in the glory of the happy visit, fart smells or sans fart smells.

The burgundy and gold velvet chair idea arose from a worry that the Queen would feel a bit homesick if there weren’t at least some familiar touches about the place. I couldn’t put a cork in Jimi’s bum but it’d be nice to make our home more homely for Elizabeth II. I know I would have appreciated it if my friends houses had been a little more like my own. For instance, when one of us kids spilt a cup of tea in our house, Mum sort of rubbed it into the carpet with her foot. But when I removed my shoes to reveal blackened, dirt-solid, fetid socks, Mrs Fletcher screamed, used up a whole can of air freshener in my actual comfort zone, made me have a bath and put me in alien nylon tights before blowing up my children’s week old once-whites in a controlled explosion. Why didn’t she just pretend not to notice and made me play in the garden with my shoes back on, like my mum would have done? I was made to feel like a cross between Fagin and a trollop at the age of seven. I wouldn’t make the Queen feel like a tart or an old tramp. And we’d spare her the story about when me and Jimi went begging because that hadn’t happened yet.

Anyway, it wouldn’t possible to replicate Buckingham Palace at 49 Agar Road but the least we could do was put something resembling a throne in it. A velveteen curtain thrown over the sofa would be more desirous than a kick up the Royal arse, I reasoned. She’d just be glad of a sit down.

I’m certain that concerning myself with an unexpected famous guest led directly to my turning my single bed by day into a chaise longue, by bundling my clothes into ball-like cushions, and putting them in a luxurious line along the bit where the bed meets the wall. I’d lie, beatifically staring into space, imagining myself to be an as-yet unidentified princess, like Sarah Crewe before getting bored and running off to play Washing Machines. Washing Machines was great and remains one of the few games me and Jimi could play without fighting. You imitate the activity of the actual washing on washday by sitting on the window sill, climbing onto the sofa back, rolling onto the sofa (you’re in the drum now) then onto the floor, violently, hysterically and repeatedly until saturation point is reached. I like to think that this led directly to my degree in Performance Art and was certainly more entertaining that my or indeed anyone’s degree show ever in the world.

One day, I had ten pee’s worth of lemon sherbet and as a welcome addition to the solitary chaise longue, put it within reach, on a little table, elegantly presented on a saucer so that I could luxuriate on said bonquette, dipping a finger in, as and when. Unfortunately number 49 Agar Road was damp and it turned into an unappetising yellow puddle while I was regally helping Jimi and Dad look for a football in our Rose bush. Eventually we found the football when we moved house, two years later. It was a mystery because the bush was minuscule. The lemon gunk went in the bin. I digress.

I wouldn’t have shared my sherbet with anyone anyway. Especially not the Queen. She could easily afford the whole jar. I would have drawn the curtains so that Sharon Pengilly’s moon face couldn’t leer up under a stupid Pom Pom bonnet, mouthing ‘remember me? I stood near your son once’. For the finale of the tour of No 49, The Queen could have had a listen to my radio, it was a little bit tuned to France and had a single flesh coloured ear plug. On second thoughts, I might have preferred to hide it. Hanyone of breeding knows, hif the Queen had hadmired it, I’d ‘ave ‘ad to let her ‘ave it. It was quite the poshest thing one’d ever seen.

How sad to learn now, in my old age and after years of waiting, that the Queen will never nip round. She’ll never know the little pleasures we knew. She’d never have had her neighbour yell ‘play up your own end’ at her, as my husband did as a boy, piddling about in the lane outside. I bet she never got called a big useless kelp or hairy arsed eejit by her own Pater, or tried to decorate her room by using black paint as glue to attach her drawings to the wall. (The paint dried and the pictures fell off but Dad said it didn’t matter because we were moving house anyway). Well done Queen for being the longest reigning monarch. Perhaps you do know the Heinz Beanz poem, it’s quite joyful at first but then gets rather tiresome. A bit like Prince Philip I imagine.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on childhood ideas about the Queen and also feel free to correct my grammar and spelling, I’m ever so rusty, it’s quite shocking really. Then again, I went to a Comp and Poly and studied Art for 7 years. It’s astonishing I can string a thingy together.


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Part 5 of My First Edinburgh Fringe Festival – 1995- 20 years ago today

The penultimate instalment. Too busy with current 2015 festival to write more. I thought Installment had two L’s. Predictive text has destroyed my brian*


I did the ‘brian’ line there on purpose. I may be ignorant but I’m well aware of it


I remember asking Joseph to stop making Dave laugh while he was driving, because when Dave laughed, he closed his eyes and threw back his head.

I have happy memories of this lovely time. Sorry that our producer lost money. And for childish, thoughtless behaviour. But we were young and selfish (maybe it was just me), and that’s how you learn. Thank god we weren’t on facebook then

Final installment coming soon (I haven’t drawn it yet but I made notes)

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Part 4 of My First Edinburgh Fringe – 1995 – twenty years ago today

So then everyone started having delirious crushes on strangers and some kissed in cupboards at The Pleasance. Here is a rough guide. And a show report. The ‘boys’ me and Juls were trying to befriend were Dan Clark and friends – I can’t remember the name of their group now, can you? They went on to make The Estate Agents and Dan did How Not to Live Your Life which I was proud to be in, years later.



Still to come – more nonsense and dated gubbins

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Part 2 of Twenty Years Ago – My First Edinburgh Fringe 1995


I’ve got my old WordPress app going again and I refuse to update it. Here’s the part two but after part three because of silly silly computers

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My First Edinburgh Fringe Diary 1995 Twenty Years Ago Today – part 3. Fear Sets In


Fear sets in. It’s all right when you’re rehearsing in a small village hall and making each other laugh with ridiculously entertaining acting exercises (like the one where Nicholas Quirke, our director made me and Juls reply ‘no’ to each other’s lines when we thought it wasn’t good enough). Our first night’s stay seems to have been a series of favours – I don’t know why I was ringing Paul Putners bell – it seems we were staying on Guy Masterson’s floor. Disclaimer: I’m sure Claire Harris and Beth Fitzgerald didn’t ‘thunder in later’, anyone who knows me, knows I am notoriously awful when tired. Also, I didn’t expect to ever show this to anyone anyway. But after all, it was twenty years ago. Coming up next – the Incriminating Love Graph of who fell in love most violently and frequently. I will use code names so you can all relax

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My First Edinburgh Fringe Diary 1995 Twenty Years Ago Today

imageYears ago now, who knows exactly when – Paul Putner was in that Richard Herring Sex Pistols Play; Guy Masterson was doing Under Milk Wood; Glen Richardson and David Mounfield were in a show with Jerry Sadowitz and me and Julie Nash were in a play together by Mitchell and Nixon called The Agent. Perhaps it was 1995? Perhaps it was twenty years ago. It might only be if interest to those in it. But here it is. And if I can’t work out this stupid WordPressthing to insert more than one photo, here’s part one of nine posts.

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