The fabric of memories.


I’ve been talking this week about t-shirt quilts to a colleague of mine, and how rich in musical history it would be.

Well incidentally it started about the history of the t-shirts that we wear , in  particular the rock t-shirts that we wear.  (Recently) reasons for buying rock t-shirts have blurred, now you can buy Ramones t-shirts at H&M without knowing who they are or you can get Run Dmc and Stones tops from Primark. It’s all retro and fashionable now (maybe it always was like this? Maybe this all started with Punk going to the masses in the 70’s)

Ehibit A, bought from H&M its good quality and it's official product at least

Exhibit A, bought from H&M its good quality and it’s official product at least

Normally when you are in your teens you wear a rock t-shirt (or rap or whatever) to belong to a clan to say I’m part of that, and this is who I am. But as well as that I can recollect when I bought most of the t-shirts from my youth and at the same time the memories I had while wearing them.


For example I had this Dinosaur Jr. t-shirt which I think I wore almost everyday , except wash days for 2 years. It was an ugly t-shirt and not really becoming on a 16-year-old girl but I wore the life out of it.

I bought it when I was in Mildura from a small record store which probably closed down years ago. Whilst purchasing that one , I was wearing a t-shirt by Melbourne outfit “The Meanies” whom I adored. There was a hole in the bottom of that top from when I took an oranage from a tree and ripped the top on the barbwire fence. I had also worn that thing to many an underage gig. That used to stink coming out of every moshpit. I’m not sure how it stayed stitched together.


My first ever rock t-shirt was an INXS top from “The Swing” era. I was in the record department in Forges and my dad was rifling through a bargain bin and found the top for 2 bucks or something like that, so he got it for me. I wish I still had that, it was so 80’s

 Sadly this is the only picture I could find on the net (etsy store now sold out, heavens knows how much for, looking at his other stuff must have been over 40 quid!) of it…

Then there was the well-worn Beastie Boys fight for your right to party t-shirt that I bought with a U2 american tour t-shirt from a dodgy market, that normally sold bits of ethnic homewear and car parts.


There’s the oversized Smashing Pumpkins t-shirt I wore when I performed in a group called the illicit educators or something along those lines, to 1,000 people in. Looking back it was ridiculously large but at the time it was hard to get any of their merchandise in Australia, they were just breaking. Then there’s the other Smashing Pumpkins t-shirt when I saw them at my second Big Day Out. Again not a big fan of that t-shirt  which had an ugly space boy desgin and lyrics on the back, but it was the only thing there at the time.

There was what I am sure the only Ride t-shirt available in  Australia in an XXXL which I bought in Melbourne on a school trip. I can remember taking my classmates into Au go-go records, they were a very confused bunch of 14 year olds. Every time I wore it I had to attempt to explain who they were to people who wished they hadn’t asked.

The Lemonheads t-shirt which had the front cover of “It’s a Shame About Ray”.I wore all of the summer of 1992 walking around the suburbs with nothing to do. (that was an ugly one too come to think of it).

The Rat Cat one which stated that “I love Rat cat to death”detailed with skull and crossbones, which was a slight overstatement even at the height of their popularity.

The most I had from one-act was the 4 Sonic Youth t-shirt’s, one in Japanese that I made my english teacher translate and one that was signed by 3 members of the band in a tent at another festival (this is not so good memories as I got into a bit of a rude discussion with one of said members no fault on my part at all)


I could go on and on, The t-shirts that came free with singles(Tumbleweed & The Clouds both bought during late night shopping on a Friday night in the city when my Dad would take me in after my radio announcing lessons and I would always end up at the long closed Virgin Megastore on Bourke Street).
The itchy scratchy ones I hated (Pearl Jam, which wore that to an Alice In Chains concert), The too tight ones (Beastie Boys & Blur) , the one I had made with an iron on transfer and a bonds t-shirt (Paul Stanley), the see through ones (Bikini Kill), the ones that I bought towards the end of my t-shirt years that hardly saw the light of day  when I should have been wearing more grown-up clothing (You Am I & The Tea Party) and the one that I was suckered into buying from a small shop off Carnaby Street because the sales man told me he had sold clothing to Paul Mc Cartney (he may have done in the last 40’s year and besides it was a too small t-shirt of theSmall Faces and all the paint has come it looks authentic!





Finally the 2 I am left with today, the David Bowie one which I love the cut of despite where I bought it from (Next) and another Sonic Youth one that I only get out for festivals




All of these I had loved and worn like you would a badge of honour. So to make these t-shirts into a quilt I’m not making a mere quilt, I’m sewing memories together, good, bad and cringeworthy and turning the quilt into an archive of my youth for generations after to keep warm under and probably get crisps crumbs all over it.

…Or I would have done if someone un-related had not raided my old bedroom and taken it upon themselves in my absence to throw them all out . That is heartbreaking.

Feel free to share with the group  your t-shirt stories.


In church with a Welsh man.

I’m back in the church in Ashford (lovely venue , Nick Cave should consider playing here), sipping on a pale ale that needs to last me 2 hours. Tonight I’m watching Gruff Rhys from the Super Furry Animals playing songs and incorporating a presentation about his latest album/film/book American Interior.


As far as concept albums go this one is my favourite. Legend has it that in 1792 a young Welsh man named John Evans set off to unexplored Central America in search of a mythical lost tribe of Welsh-speaking native indians. 222 years later distant relative Gruff Rhys decides to follow his footsteps and take the same path through America in search of what is myth and what is truth.

Having enjoyed the album for a few months now which is an eclectic mix of  beautiful hooks, tinges of country, spaghetti western (lolo) folk and pop. It’s a grand example of Gruff skills as an amazing song writer, especially the title track American Interior and The Swamp.
I wasn’t too sure what to expect going in, as I had only ever seen him in a rock show context.

Opening with a documentary covering the background story, the myth of the Welsh prince Madoc  who sailed to America in 1170 .Gruff appeared on stage and began to talk through what made John Evans go into an insane expedition on the other side of the world, this was accompanied by pictures, maps and photographs on the screens accompanied with songs from the album. He presented the storytelling perfectly, my mind didn’t wander at all. The whole show was informative, engaging and amusing and the song’s sounded beautiful acoustically.By the end I was so engrossed by the life hardships and bizarre series of events of John Evans life I sympathised with him, and I left wanting to know more.

He also brought along his puppet of John Evans who accompanied him through out his trip and I don’t think I was alone in being moved by this story , once Gruff left the stage the puppet remained on and there was quite a que of people to take photos of/with him. (Such as myself)


After 2 hours he did come back on stage to play ,Candylion and an amazing version of Honey All Over.  If anyone was hoping for any SFA classics they weren’t going to get them, to be honest I think it would have been totally inappropriate to play any of them either. It’s an excellent show in its own right.



interested? You should be! You can head over to the website for more details…

[spotify id=”spotify:album:7C3G7ExGXGK49fGT6D8xlZ” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]


A little photographic history

On Saturday I headed over to Sommerset House London to catch A Nick Cave &Cohorts :a Little History by Australian photographer Bleddyn Butcher. Wether it was because it was London Fashion Week and events had closed off most of Sommerset house to the public made it quite difficult to find the entrance.

Once in sadly it was underwhelming, there were on 16 photos on display. They were all beautiful but if you’re not local then it’s quite a way to travel for so little. But as I said the work itself was quality so here is my favourite shot on display with the wonderful Rowland S. Howard

note your not allowed to take photos. the sign is in the corner and about 10cm big.

note you’re not allowed to take photos. the sign is in the corner and about 10cm big.

The show is on until the end of the week, (28th September) you can find details here!


That’s all for now…but Ive almost finished a quilt (I know amaze…)




Dancing By Myself

Today as I was walking the long school walk I had the iPod on shuffle and Prince’s Raspberry Beret started playing. It is my favourite Prince song and If I’m at home I’ll instantly break into dance. But this time I was in public and I had the uncontrollable urge to start making some serious 80’s jazz ballet moves in the park, the kind of moves you see in a video clip.

I’ll warn you I’m not a dancer, 5 lessons of Jazz ballet ,doing the chicken dance at all weddings and thinking I can breakdance isn’t really going to get me into any dance studio. But when I was young my career choice was music video choreographer, this was before I realised that you needed some actual dancer skills to direct dance videos.So in a way I have always matched music, image and dance together.

One of my dreams is still the same one I had when I was 6 which is to don a red dress, go into a foggy field and blast Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush from speakers whilst doing the dance in full. It’s hard to try not to stop the car when I drive by  a field.

I’m also always very nervous about signing in public (funny that seeing at a time I was a singer) so If anyone says to me how does that song go? 9 times out of 10 I will do a small dance as well as sing the song very out of tune.

So here I am in a park wanting to break into dance and I can’t. Why can’t I? Why can’t any of us? Why can’t we just break into song and dance like in musicals. Or even at the very least break into dance more while we’re shopping. (I say ‘more’ because I already do break into dance if I hear a good song on in a shop. My local Tiger store plays brilliant rock n roll music, I’m always dancing in a small manner, not like letting it rip but there is dancing in my steps)

I’m sad that we don’t live in a world where it is completely acceptable to just start dancing. I’m not talking about street dancing or flash mob dancing all of that is good a thing but that’s not what I’m talking about, that stuff is too organised and at times over-produced and very slick.

I’m talking about spontaneous, spur of the moment dancing,  in the shop just having a bit of a shake down, in the street doing some kicks and jazz hands, breaking out a bit of MJ’s moves in the bakery, doing a twirl with a trolley (without causing public damage), breakdancing in a meeting at work to show my displeasure. I wish I could do this more, in fact all the time.

It’s ok to do it when you’re a kid, it’s perfectly acceptable but once you get to your late teens most of us stop. We shouldn’t stop?! I’d love to see anyone over 35 just start breakdancing, even if they are not good at it…..especially if they are no good at it, more the reason!

I would love to live in a  world where we all could be a bit more like the Bjork video It’s Oh So Quiet. Wouldn’t it be great to live in a Gondry world?

In the end I resisted the urge to dance in the park, which was hard when it was followed by Prince’s “You’ve got the look”.I’m no richer for it.

It’s a post about nothing.

Can you tell I’ve been watching a lot of Seinfeld this week? A whole ton of it.

It’s been quiet on the Kentish front. I’ve been so wrapt up in Rocekette’s first day at school that everything else has had to move around it. (a bit like orbiting).


It was taken for a shoe competition, don’t worry it wasnt based on photographic skills.

I have been making but everything is for gifts at the moment and I can’t reveal any of it at this time so as soon as recipients get them I will put them up.  This is probably what it will be like now until Christmas..that and trying to actually quilt the 4 unfinished quilts sitting in the corner.

Actually what I can show is what I finished yesterday that took no time at all to complete. It’s a cloud pillow for Rockette. I’ve had that Incy Wincy spider fabric for well over a year with no idea what to do with it. The pattern you can find in the Liberty Sewing book. It took about an hour to make they are tiny though, which is why its near baby Tigger to show you the scale. (My photocopier was refusing to make the pattern bigger)


Oh and you can find the tutorial here at the Liberty website (How Lucky!)

The EPP continues as I started doing them one way and then realised that was not what I had set out to do so now it’s going to be a bit different in the corners (yay for the imperfections!) They taking so long to put each one together (am always forgetting this).But I’m pleased with them so far I’m just undecided on the assembly.


Off both usual blog subjects I did learn how to make chutney this week, which was something I was always afraid of, but now I realise it’s too easy. So we made Nigella Lawson’s Beetroot and Ginger recipe so easy. I just have to wait out the next 2 months to see how it turned out. Guess what people are getting for the seasonal holidays??? I make Rocky Road every year but I’m getting a bit bored with that. (stop talking about Xmas).

Whilst I was not at home for the cooking and baking day I enjoyed the luxury of working in a larger kitchen, one where 3 people can fit in happily.. When I asked for a sieve I got something that looks like it came from Antiques Roadshow. That was hard work, the sieve that time forgot.


In the end I chucked the flour straight in , which goes against ALL of my baking common sense. Still the Beetroot Brownies turned out brilliant.

You can find the recipe at the link below or from the River  Cottage Everyday book. But eat them fast, the ones I made on Saturday already started moulding today (Thursday) and had to sadly be chucked.


My good heavens pretty exciting week for music , this does not included a free U2 album.

Karen O- Crush Songs

Firstly the amazing Karen O from the Yeah, Yeah Yeahs, has gone it alone and delivered Crush Songs. I’ve been waiting for ages for this and if you’re hoping for a slick well produced record then I think you will disappointed.
Its raw and sounds like it was recorded in a toilet with a mic hooked up to a tape deck and that is what I love about it. The songs are about heartbreak and the recording technique I think adds to the sentiment.
They are all short and sweet, understated, tender  and a beautiful album to be sad too. I wish I had this in my early 20s.

Beck -Morning Phase

I’ve come back to Beck today. I always forget how much I love his stuff. Morning Phase has been out for a while and its lived in my house ignored( criminal) so on it went today in its full glory. This is full of overtures. I love a string section and there is so much overlay in this. Wave is magnificent strings and atmospheric, can’t go wrong. There are so many good tracks on this I was tempted to include a link for the whole thing. The track Morning sounds quite like the start of Golden Age or Guess I’m Doing fine which is fine as he is consistent . Heart is a Drum sounds quite laid back the whole album has something of a late afternoon at the beach country feel to it…with strings.It’s also a good album to listen to while on a long walk on a sunny autumnal morning


 Ryan Adams- Ryan Adams

Firstly can I say this album cover scares me slightly. He looks like an escaped convict, or a bit like Syd Barrett .

I always leave long listening breaks between Ryan Adams, but this man is prolific (20 odd albums so far including Whiskey town) this is good as it offers value for money but he has a large back catalogue I’m so far behind that I’ve had to by-pass the last few and go headlong into this one.

This is his second album this year as the first album he offered was considered “too depressing” and shelved. So now we have this one which on the sad scale comes up about mid-range, It’s good I have been enjoying it but I can’t help thinking some of it sounds like lots of contemporary male artists from the 80’s. There are tones on Don Henley, Brian Adams, Tom Petty even a touch of  (well you catch my drift). The 80’s is in maybe it’s just natural progression for Adams. It doesn’t vary wildly different from his other recordings. I do like the single Gimmie Something good and Stay With Me, but these are the tracks that also don their hat the most to that radio rock sound.  I love Whisky Town and this aint that, but I’ll be content with most things this man put’s forward.

I will try to have happier albums in the next blog!