I was lucky enough to be tattooed by the incredible Dan Molloy. Here is a little video of the day I got it finished.
I was lucky enough to be tattooed by the incredible Dan Molloy. Here is a little video of the day I got it finished.
A little video of our visit to EOTR 2016 in Dorset.
The thing about memory is that it is so easily reconciled. People say ‘I’ll remember this moment forever’ but the reality is that they will probably remember a version of that moment. One that has been contorted to fit their needs. The mind is weird you see, it never really remembers completely, it never does what you think it will or even what you will it to.
When I remember standing in the hospital room looking at my Dad three years ago today, it’s not, as I might have assumed, the numbing pain of his death that I remember most or the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, the disbelief that it was me standing in those shoes looking at that bed. It’s the way he looked so dead already, hollow and suddenly very small. Old. Even though he was so young. I remember the rose they put on his chest and thinking how inappropriate that they should think we would want that, that he would want that. I remember thinking my mum would hate it but still didn’t move it. Maybe she wouldn’t hate it after all, how could I know? I remember being annoyed that they couldn’t close his mouth.
And this is the part of my grief that I struggle with most. Those slightly mundane memories hurt. Sometimes, less now than last year, perhaps more than next year, when it’s late at night and my mind has no other focus they seem to fill up my brain until the top of my head hurts. But still, I want them. I don’t want an altered memory of him. I want real memories. All of them. The humour, family morals and the incredible generosity but also the dubious political views and the fiery temper I inherited. The holidays and his laughter and the sound of his voice, but also the way he looked when he took his last breath.
Because that is what will keep him alive in my head. I won’t allow his memory to become a watered down version of him, sitting behind yearly platitudes about endless sleep, meeting again and Heaven. I don’t want to hear poetic words of comfort. I want to dwell. In the good stuff and the shitty stuff. In how fucking unfair it is that he isn’t here. In all the stuff that makes his absence real and all the stuff that makes him real, that makes him my Dad.
Because then he isn’t really gone. In that place, in those memories, he’s still here.
2013 for me was the year of the husband. Firstly, I got one… but mainly I am referring to the phenomenally awesome work this particular husband turned out with fellow illustrator Boneface. Somewhere in between the marrying and the honeymooning (that part was without Boneface) these guys managed to work like heroes to produce some seminal artwork and animation for Kings of the nowage, Queens of the Stone Age and their seriously awesome album ‘Like Clockwork’.
As I awoke this morning it was to footage of my husband’s animations playing behind Dave Grohl, on a stage, closing out the awards ceremony for the fucking Grammys. This follows a year that has taken in, among many other things, an amazing dinner invite, more than one moment of mind-blowing pride, WAY too much tequila, A GOLD RECORD ON OUR WALL and some dancing midgets.
To be honest, I can’t really add anything about this album that hasn’t been said better and sooner by many a blog, music journalist, art magazine, gig goer… but, I can take this post to say how extremely fucking proud I am of both of these guys. I think probably only myself and one other young lady knows just how much blood and sweat was poured into this work, sometimes 24 hours a day in the run up to deadlines and they deserve every bit of praise, respect and tequila that they get. I feel very proud to have in some way been associated with genius artwork by Boneface, beautifully crafted animation by my amazing husband Liam Brazier and of course the legends that are QOTSA
Do both, I promise you won’t regret it.
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It’s by The illustrated Mind who do just the most excellent shirts possibly ever. I am potentially a bit obsessed. They stock a load of different makes, all lovingly printed. I’m pretty fussy about wearing t-shirts, I don’t wear them often, I don’t love high necklines but you really can tell the difference when T-shirts are printed properly and well made. They become those shirts you just want to wear forever (and you can because they don’t melt in the first wash). I bought this and the T-shirt below from Boy Parker in Brighton.
Falling in love with an illustrator and watching him create daily has made me appreciate so much more when independent artists get to showcase their art through third party companies. There is an ugly trend in our all-consuming, mass producing age to ‘take influence’ (that means to rip off) other artists work, Urban Outfitters have done it, Top Shop have done it… and it’s really not that hard to buy beautiful things made by independent companies where the artists get a say and even a cut for their hard work. Yes, it costs a bit more, but it’s also better quality, sourced with thought behind it, and your pennies are going towards sustaining art and creativity rather than supporting an ongoing cycle of irresponsible corporate shit and the death of independent art.
This is a blog post from the past rather than the present, but I have decided to go ahead and write a little post on being a plus size bride. Not without a certain amount of trepidation I should add. I might start first though with setting out my views on the body positivity movement which, since the boom of social media, has really taken off over the last couple of years. I am, and pretty much always have been ‘plus size’. I read and follow lots of inspiring accounts on body positivity and mindfulness, they have been amazing to read and it’s so uplifting to see other women embracing their bodies and feeling good in a world where looking fat is still a bit of a stigma. So much has changed. I truly wish this movement had existed when I was in my early twenties. I had an awesome upbringing, with loving parents and a very happy childhood, I wouldn’t change much about it.. but being fat wasn’t cool. I was aware from a very young age that my body wasn’t the ‘right shape’. I went to an all-girls school where I held up what I looked like against others on a daily basis and it was tough. I remember having an operation which required me to be nil by mouth aged 13 and, after a week of liquid dieting, looking at my reflection in the mirror and my mother saying my tummy could always look like that. Now, it’s important to say here that I love my mum, and she loves me, whatever I look like…so this isn’t where I tell you that my childhood created a vicious cycle of depression and eating… the reality is that this is how women feel. It wasn’t considered cruel, just how it is. I have had many experiences like this throughout my life. The diet industry, the media, whatever, and whoever you want to blame has created a culture that says it’s not sexy to be fat, and that is regardless of health or fitness, let’s be very clear here. It’s about looks. Nobody knows what health is harboured in a body, people with the shiny perfect BMI can be unhealthy in many ways too. So, to see a movement gaining strength and numbers shouting about how you can be happy with the way you look, whatever the size is pretty fucking awesome actually.
I got married in March. And it was great. I had the best day ever with lots of love, dancing, laughing and joy despite failing singularly to do the one thing everyone expects you to do when you say you are engaged… lose weight.
It’s not that I didn’t think about it… I thought about it a lot. I have lost a lot of weight in the past, mostly from liquid dieting (seriously, don’t do it) I just didn’t do it this time… I considered it, panicked about it, delayed dress buying because of it and in the end when I got married I was the same size as when I got engaged a year earlier, Big deal, literally.
You know what? I still had an amazing day, I still wore a dress and I still got married to the most perfect boy. But wow, do I know how hard it can be to overcome the assumption that being a skinny bride will be your primary concern. Personally, I was more concerned with the table centres, invites and canapés.. even being sneaked an article entitled ‘it’s not too late, 6 ways to lose weight quickly’ a month before the big day didn’t sway me from my concerns over what type of cheese I wanted to serve.
I didn’t actually plan to wear a ‘real wedding dress’ I had always assumed I would probably look a bit shit in one, it wasn’t my style and was frankly the least of my weddingly concerns but after much nagging from mother and sister I agreed to at least try some traditional dresses on. And that was that. I’d been weddinged. I decided that, actually, I didn’t look at all bad in one and settled on this Sonsie dress by Veromia designed by Jason Jennings.
Now, I wouldn’t be sharing the full story if I didn’t admit that on the day itself I had a total crisis of confidence before I left the house. You can take the fat girl out of her teens but you can’t change a lifetime of what you have understood to be wrong, and fat girls being pretty was wrong. I am on a journey. Would I wear it again if I could go back? No, I probably wouldn’t. I didn’t feel comfortable in it and I wish I’d gone down a less traditional route that spoke more about who I am but the point I want to make is an important one. You can wear that dress, that outfit, that swimming costume, those leggings.. whatever you want if you want to and nobody should ever make you feel like you can’t. Don’t ever let anyone else define what you can and can’t be.
I got these beautiful new plus size tights from the wonderful Teja Jamilla on Etsy. They are such good quality, hand printed and a really thick strong material. I struggle with plus size tights generally, they tend to just be longer in the leg but still really uncomfortable around the arse. I often just revert to leggings under dresses and skirts and it’s much easier to find good sizes and patterns but these are a bit special, they are so comfy and have a proper, in proportion gusset. (full disclosure: I even fell over in them and they didn’t tear.. soggy cardboard on the floor NOT the new years tequila) I wrote to Teja to thank her after receiving them and she told me she had been really keen to source good quality tights to print on and it really shows. I will definitely be buying again. You can check out her other designs at her store here
My wonderful wonderful friends the Trans-Siberian March Band have been doing a residency at Rich Mix since September this year. They play a set and so does their guest band which has featured among others Pest, Bad Ass Brass and a performance of their touring joint set with DJ Yoda. I am so in love with this band, I am a total groupie. Fearsome drumming, filthy brass.. This is what might happen if you shot a porn movie in a colliery. But coal mining sexy times aside, you should see them because it will be one of the best gigs you have ever ever had the good fortune of shaking your little booty at. Smile, dance, and shake off all the bad things Trans-Siberian style by heading to their continuing residency in the new year. Also, it’s flippin’ FREE.
“Lovechild of the Village People and the Salvation Army” – Flying Seagull Project
Read more on the band HERE
My hair has been pretty much every colour over the years having taken my teenage tours through grunge, Brit pop and everything in between… in the last few it has been blue/black to platinum blonde – with very little patience between the two. The result is hair that isn’t in the best way but quite frankly, lucky to be there at all.
Three weeks ago I went pink again courtesy of my favourite salon ever; Rockalily Cuts in Hoxton. YES, a salon. I finally learnt that where bleach is involved, it’s best left to the professionals. I love this place, it’s so relaxed and friendly that getting your hair done is a bit like popping in for tea with a mate, except you leave with a lighter wallet and fabulous hair. This is a wonderful departure for me from my usual feeling about hair salons which are right up there with shoe shopping on the oppressive feeling scale. Why do they stand there and watch while you put the shoes on? JUST BUGGER OFF.
It’s probably the reason I have had so many home hair disasters over the years… but finally I have somewhere to go to where I can get awesome hair without my usual bathroom based trail and error. They do all kinds of cuts and colours but specialise in vintage hair, it’s a super relaxed atmosphere that is really different to the chain salons I have used before. The staff are totally professional and I never feel rushed or like they don’t have the time to think about what I am asking for. Perhaps most importantly though, they understand people with a penchant for dying their hair, they will take the time to advise you when they feel your hair isn’t up to what you might like to do to it (see previous point about patience!) They are well versed in asks for ‘Kelly Osbourne lilac’ and will be honest about what can be achieved, make suggestions or work with you to get you where you want to go over a few trips without destroying your delicious follicles entirely! I’ve gone from black to red to pink with them now and loved every trip, as well as taking in one of their retro hairstyling events and getting my hair put up for a wedding for myself and the bride. You might say I’m a bit of a regular these days!
It’s not cheap to have a colour change but it is so worth paying to have it done properly, yes hair grows back but if you repeatedly damage it it doesn’t ever really recover unless you plan to shave it off entirely! If i could advise on one thing it would be to get it bleached by a professional!
Coloured hair like this does take a fair bit of upkeep, mine has been green, blue, red, black, everything over the years but I dye it myself between visits as it washes out quite quickly. It requires one eye on your bathroom grouting, little interest in matching towels and the acceptance that the collars of your clothes may never recover but it is so worth it.