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me and my mother

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Me and my mother
My mother sat with the look of a menace
There is a look that is family orientated that both my grandmother had and my aunty patsy, this would come over my mother’s face just as she was about to be brutal funny or wicked about something which face it was most times.
I am trying to recall my earliest memories of us together. Those memories are in dispersed with times of me without her. Each memory is as vivid as the other.
A difficult person to describe, as the persona of this enigmatic person changes with the wind. Each persona having a distinct expression and voice. And each one having its own distinct way of humiliating, belittling and enchanting.
Distinct with her smell of cigarettes and her signature cough I always knew when she was walking up the road late at night home from the night club where she worked.
We are in a flat in Stockwell, south London. I stand over her sleeping body on a day bed and pretend to cut her hair, she smells of almonds a nutty smell of urine and alcohol.
Looking into a dressing table mirror, she dresses me in a mohair bolero and puts lipstick on my lips. We are going to the club to see Reggie. I have long hair and I want her to make it into lots of plaits, she said it would look silly.
I cry
I look for her in the church. She hides, I scream being dragged and kicking towards the priest furious as I did not want to have a wash. I cannot see my mother. I am three years old.
I am waiting for her to come in through the door to take me to the station, to be put on a train to Hastings to see my daddy, she is late, and I know I have missed the train. I just wait and watch the door.
I am screaming at her through a closed door, she has pushed me away and shut the door between us, my dolls are sitting in a circle on the floor. I go quiet and sit on my own on the bed. My dolls are not real, and I am very angry.
A toddler’s tantrum. She locks me out.
I eat rice crispies and listen to them snap crackle and pop she calls me a mucky pup. I like that.
Standing on a table singing to a smoky room full of men in gangster hats, I hunt the sweetie.
The wallpaper in the bedroom is printed with roses, but they also look like pink puppies, I cannot stop looking at them, she is out at the club, and I know she will come home coughing, I love her cough as it is her. Reggie also coughed. Her mattress is full on money and it’s a secret.
Reggie thought it was funny to put his finger up my bum, so I did not like to turn my back on him. He also made me kiss his bunion that he kept in a powder compact box shaped like a grand piano. It was a hard piece of skin, and there was a ritual when he got it out then I knew I was going to get a sweet. But I had to hunt for it.
Mummy caught me touching reggaes bum and then the games stopped I felt I had done something bad but was not sure what.
Mum was absent at my christening, at least I could not see her, and I knew something was up. I am still not keen on washing although I love to jump in the sea of a swimming pool, so it is not about the water. I put up the fight of a demon in the church, the reluctant Christian at the age of 3
Reason for her absence she said she hid from me as she knew I would resist being taken to the font by a stranger. Duh?



September 2017, my mother sang “I was born under a wandering star” then put the phone down on me.
Then I knew she was showing madness and dementia.

I never saw her with my father and all the photos of them together have been torn apart. The only evidence of them being together is in the beautiful drawings he did of her.
He moved into a house in the Hastings old town called Margaret’s cottage he changed the name to Mariners Cottage then left it to my sister when he died so it never was Margaret’s or mine for that matter. And he showed me etchings of Goyas Witches rotting in prison cells and screaming in groups like birds in dark skys he said “ this is your mother and grandmother “

A ghost story

Feburary - May 1976
A ghost story February - May 1976
It is 1976, I am 17 years old, and the new year was as cold as can be, ice ferns on the insides of the windows and deep snow, enchanting, and I am living with the Brixton squatting community, who saved my life and acted as dysfunctional parents to me. too young to sign on for benefits, I am lucky enough to have a room just off the Brixton Road, so dry, I am living from shop lifting, food canteen vouchers from further education college in Vauxhall and life modelling at the local art school , cash in hand . I am studying O level sociology, O level English literature and A level art. My intention was to get a place at the city and guilds school of art in Kennington for which I needed a p0rt folio of artwork and a couple of qualifications to show I can write essays.
My living squatting companions are schoolteachers, political activists, dropouts, and drug addicts. Mainly fresh from public school. Rebelling against mater and pater. Even at the age of 17 I was amazed at their level of naivety, and realised they were living rough because they were, well cushioned and playing at it and. They would end up our teachers’ politicians and social workers. the genuine working-class associates were a lot keener to put their survival skills into action without political theory and rhetoric. They were much more grounded in the occupation of survival.
Occasionally I had my baby brothers staying with me, mum didn’t seem to mind, and I felt quite good to know they were not alone in Electric Avenue fending for themselves without a babysitter.
I also had my lovely black and white cat who my friend Charles named Cat Squirrel, she was a faithful companion and reason for me to keep going.
To just set the scene, 1970`s London, Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen on the radio being played for the first time in our squatter’s kitchen, stilled the room and us occupants in our tracks, as it blew us away. We just stared at each other in disbelief. Black is beautiful was everywhere and true. Red Rum keeps winning, Posters of Che and Mao’s little red book, I learned lentil cookery, and oat cookery as it was our main communal diet. And for a while I had a job in a fish and chip shop in Brixton Hill so would bring home bags of fish chips chicken and pies which we would all steam into.
Alas my squatted home was about to be taken away and the dilemma for us potential homeless was just too real, we stalked the streets looking for empty properties with our crowbar. In this instance I was accompanied by a technological wizard called Dweezle, I only knew him as Dweezle and to this day don’t know if it was his real name, he was a lanky quiet brooding man with black Richard the third haircut, straight hair to the shoulders and a straight across fringe, he had a three-legged dog and a wheel chair bound girlfriend , who had been shot in the spine as a baby in Vietnam war the same bullet killed her mother.
Dweezle played with sound technology and tv screens. He created abstract markings on screens which danced to recorded sound. His smile had a feeling of cannibalism about it along with a feeling of eeriness and mystery.
We found a very ancient house off the Wandsworth Road. Dweezle broke in very easily and we found ourselves in a fully furnished home, dripping with mushrooms and fungus and rot.

I had a room to myself which had a bed and a built-in cupboard with a fireplace. Cat squirrel found refuge up the chimney and refused to come down. And Dweezle lived on the floor above me.
Everything in my room was dark brown and covered in mould, but it came with bedding along with the bed I counted myself as very lucky as homelessness was imminent, by this point all I possessed was my guitar my cat a woven jacket a green cardigan and a pair of jeans with a broken zip. No shoes, I wore slippers even in the snow, that was all I had. Food vouchers from college kept me fed I never used the kitchen in the house. All was well it seemed as I started my life in the world outside Electric Avenue, and the toffee apples and my baby brothers.
Apart from after dark.
Regularly at night around 1 am I would get woken up by a smell that I can only describe as devilish and of dead rotting corpses. Such a smell that it inhibited breathing, and induced choking. I regularly dreamed I was lifting the brown damp carpet and tearing up the floorboards to uncover seething maggot infested rotting flesh and seething balls of hairless rats. Only to wake up in the putrid stench.
The only toilet in the house was in the basement down a steep flight of stairs. Which I avoided as much as possible. I used the college for washing and showers.
and if I did have to go down to the loo my cat always came with me and always during the day. Except for that one time when she came down with me during the night.
The Animals in the house were affected by the mood of the house as Cat Squirrel lived mainly up the chimney and Dweezles dog had to be physically pushed through our front door and forced towards the stairs where she skedaddled up as fast as she could to get past my room she would leave the house in the same way . She didn’t like to be there and was returned to normal once she got past the spooky zone.
The spooky zone was my room, the landing from the front door and the stairs to the basement. It was within this zone that bad dreams were had, putrid smells and lumps of plaster fell always just missing someone’s head. Lumps of stuff would fall supposedly from the fireplace and land close to my feet. And one would get a sense of a dark figure standing and watching you. And occasionally in a state of sleeping and waking I saw him standing at the end of my bed. Dark haired with a dark beard, I would say an Edwardian.
With the regular nightly stenches, bad dreams, distressed animals and flying mortar, I knew we had a problem. Which made me even more wary about going down into the basement on my own for a pee. I must have seemed like a complete loony and a nuisance to Dweezle needing him to be with me on rare occasions, but the feeling was more than toxic. It was positively menacing. the theory was that we had a poltergeist, and I was attracting it with my teenage neurosis. This didn’t take away from the reality of the situation or get my cat down from the chimney where she would dash to as soon as she entered my room.
The turning point for me was when I had no alternative but to go into the dreaded basement one night as always accompanied by cat squirrel,
I did a pee ok, and I pulled the chain, that noise was disturbing and violent and as the build-up of fear went over my threshold and I knew I had to get through the ordeal and get from the toilet to the steep staircase, and then to a place of safety, so I decided to sing for self-protection. I remember distinctly it was a bird on the wire by Leonard Cohen,
Singing, I moved at a steady pace towards the staircase, and out on the corner of one eye I saw the bearded figure, then again out of the corner of my other eye then again in one corner, then in front of me then I felt him behind me, until I felt smothered. these moments must have been in a flash but to me it lasted forever, then Cat Squirrel arched her back and hissed with all her claws and teeth showing, and I lost it.
The song changed into a blood curdling scream, and my slow walk moved rapidly to me scrambling up the staircase on all fours and Dweezle rushing down to see what the hell was going on.
I have never screamed from such a deep place of fear so seriously and helplessly, my sound just emanated from the darkest place in my soul and my own personal hell. Dweezle then acknowledged we had a problem.
The next day I decided to investigate one of the rooms in the basement, the feeling of menace had lifted, and the sun was shining. All seemed well. The room was strewn with papers and photographs like someone had been in there and tipped boxes out onto the floor, so I picked out photos all of one man, he was nothing like my bearded tormentor but a balding overweight fella, looked like he was some sort of official in the Lambeth council, there were birth certificates and death certificates, along with many other official documents belonging to one family. I gathered them up and put them into a wallet. In the corner of the room next door, I noticed a cupboard which had been sealed over with layers of gloss paint. So, I spent the afternoon chipping away the paint until I managed to open the cupboard, inside was a time capsule. A gas mask, a tin helmet more papers and ration books all belonging to one bloke…. I can’t remember the name I put these into the wallet along with the other documents which I placed onto the shelves in my room. The next day I locked the door of my room and went out to visit my mum as my brother Richard was in the u k and we were going for a day at the races I think it was derby day and mum wanted to knock out a few toffee apples. I looked after Jack and James.
That evening I arrived home to the shock that all the contents of my shelves had been thrown down onto my floor. As though someone had not only knocked down the contents but had purposely thrown the contents around the room. Dweezle had heard nothing. I replaced the shelves and things only to realise the wallet with the documents I found in the sealed cupboard were missing.
The dreams and the smells continued, and Dweezles dog never got used to passing my room, and Cat Squirrel remained comfortable only up the chimney. And I made the decision to call into the local Catholic church at the end of our road for a chat with the priest about what was going on.
He was an older Gray-haired man and we sat in a very comfortable warm room filled with books, some of them about exorcism which surprised me. And I told him of the events that led me to him.
He listened very carefully and wanted to know why I was living in such circumstances and begged me to go home. He didn’t realise that this was not possible, I can understand how it must have looked when later I see my own children at 17, I found it hard to imagine them being in a similar place at their age, but times were different, and I a have been a survivor.
He made a date with me to visit the house and assess the situation. And he agreed that we needed some extra help .
He kept his appointment and arrived in his gowns and hat and a swinging incense burner with coals in it and asked to be shown around the house.
In each room he prayed allowed and talked about the rhythm of the world and time and place and the tides Sunrises and sunsets spring winter and the seasons and life and death. Along with blessings all the while swinging the incense burner which was hanging from chains and filling all the corners of the house with sweet pungent smoke. When we got to Dweezle room Dweezle just looked up from a piece of electronics and a tv screen and stared at his room getting blessed, quite funny, but this was a serious operation and we were taking it very seriously.
The air lifted after the priest left, the smells stopped, things stopped falling across the room the Cat Squirrel moved onto a comfy part of my bed and the three-legged dog found peace and acted normally outside my room. It was a completely different place. Although I never found the wallet and documents. But I could go downstairs and have a pee when I wanted.
The summer of 1976 was so hot it drove me from the melting sticky London streets, the haunted houses and squatting to Hastings and the next chapter

BRIXTON YEARS

growing up with and without a father
Brixton in the 1960`s was full of music and colour, street cries of the stall holders.
We moved into Electric Avenue in 1965 I am 7 years old

Figure 1 Electric Avenue in the 1960`s, our flat was on the right third window along with a balcony and awning which was later taken away owing to people throwing their rubbish out of the windows of the flats above.
The flat was previously rented by an old gentleman called Lou old Lou he was the ghost of the flat whenever anything uncanny occurred mum would say “its old Lou again”
The flat had 2 large bedrooms a living room kitchen bathroom and a small room adjoining the kitchen which served as a bedroom once all the children were born.
But to start with it was just me and my mum. Richard was in Hastings with our dad, but it seemed no time at all that we were joined by Jimmy Hewett.









My introduction to him was unfortunate, in that I was promised a Christmas present, and made to close my eyes, when opened there he stood like Frankenstein. I covered up my face and told him to go away I did not want to see him, and he was not a Christmas present. My mother was so thrilled with him that she thought I would be too.
Over time I learned to love him, I also learned to hate him.
Son of a heavyweight wrestler and so-called coffee stall bully working in the west end as extortionist and driver for one of the then south London gangsters. worked in the construction industry putting in windows, I believe he had dealings in the building of the post office tower.

17 electric avenue was my first ever proper address where I lived with my mother and a father figure. It looked like I had a family, Mum stopped going out and drinking every night, and we had a television and a coal fire. We also went on short holidays to the Dungeness coast, my first ever holidays with my mother, she was happy and so was I, but things changed for me once my brother Jack was born, 1967, my father in Hastings died same year then two years later My brother James was born 1969. Electric Mansions Electric Avenue SW9 my address and I was a little mother that could hardly see over the top of the pram I pushed everywhere.
Jimmy Hewett went from being an angel dad to a violent demon within seconds, and changed daily I knew when he was going to grab me by my neck and run me into walls and downstairs or not by his morning habits. In a good mood I got a cup of tea in bed. On a bad day he tap danced to the radio on the kitchen tiled floor to a song called “walk in the black forest” then I knew I was in trouble, but never knew why. All I knew was that I needed to stay away from him and would be called a cunt and told to go and rot in the grave with my dead father.
His anger extended to my mother in the most horrific ways, and she didn’t help herself with her extreme tantrums. This was a regular occurrence in the flat and it left me shaking uncontrollably for days. There were two instances of her getting a most horrific beating from him, thankfully somehow that was something she never remembered in her time with dementia.
The first beating I heard from my bed, and thought the sound of whacks was my baby brother hitting a toy, all the while with mummy screaming. She ended up in hospital
The second beating was while she laid across my body in bed and she clung to me while he tore at her dress and thumped down onto her. Another instance where I shook for days especially when I looked at her arm in a sling and her swollen bruised face. I wanted to run away with her and the children to be safe but she needed him.

Brixton at that time, was alive with the sound of Reggae Dub, a sound that filled the streets and forced all the shoppers to walk in rhythm, I resented this and did my best to walk out of rhythm. Always very aware of how my steps were being placed which made me quite odd-looking jumping from space to space. Hopping and sometimes breaking out into a run, usually on errands for my mother who hated going into shops.
Some of the places I visited in Brixton, are gone now,
The Astoria cinema a magical palace with Greek statues columns and a starry night sky, a place where the fantasy of film become a luxury,









Figure 4 inside magic

The empress with its star on the tip of its spire, a beautiful Victorian theatre where I saw Mr Pastry and his slapstick and tommy steel, and also a showing of the wizard of oz, which changed from black and white to bright vivid colour.

Figure 5, the Empress before my time, but how I remember it
The pie and mash shop, where we watched the ells being chopped up in the side street out the back of Woolworths. Electric lane.
Woolworths, counters sold heaps of salted warm peanuts and cashews in small greaseproof bags. And mountains of honeycomb light dark and some dipped in chocolate. The smell was always mouth-watering and warm, then you would go onto the street to the sweet smell of the chestnut salesman, glowing with a barrel of hot coals.
Bon Marche, where the haberdashery had rows of pretty ribbons, that you could buy by the yard, and boxes of hairnets studded with pearls.
Morleys , department store with its café where models walked a catwalk showing off the latest fashions, my aunty patsy always went there.
Lions corner house where you could d get a quick snack from a servery, I always had hot Ribena and toast or upstairs with linen tables and a waitress and menus and the biggest knickerbocker glory in the world which I could never finish my aunty patsy took me there too.
The market filled with discarded boxes, papers and vegetables not good enough for the beautiful market displays, one could collect enough for a free dinner from the curb side. I used to break up the wooden boxes and fill a potato sack and sell as kindling for pocket money.
Electric avenue, my address, a main market street at that time, busy and loud with the shouts of the stall holders, the rattle of passing trains, and the quarter hour chiming of Lambeth town hall. If only I had recorded the sound that is something that can only live in my head, which it does, there was a melody in the repetitive cries of “ lovely apples Lovely pears” “ you can it em wiv an ammer” for the tomato stall, Julie selling her Tomatoes and lemons, she would cut a lemon in half for me to eat to get my vitamins, then magically at Christmas a couple of the stalls changed and sold Christmas decorations, huge multi coloured and balloon pumps, giant elaborate chains of all colours festooned the stall and it shimmered with laminatae.
Around the corner in electric lane a collection of assorted Christmas trees, at one end and the ritual slaughter of eels at the other end, this was to supply the Harringtons Pie and mash shop, and the wonderful ex female wrestler Molly Mintz who sold paper bags on a fly pitch. With her minder Alfie, the story went that Alfie was a grass and had such a beating from some local villains that it left him crippled. Molly came to our home and taught my mother how to make toffee apples, another turning point in my childhood.
We had arcades filled with shops people and smells some more savoury than others, an acquired taste. The Reliance arcade which ran down the side of Woolworths and connected Electric lane with Brixton road, the Electric Lane end attracted the fly pitchers,( To sell goods on the street without a vendor's licence, usually from a small suitcase, wooden crate, etc., ready to depart hurriedly if the authorities arrive.) they sold all sorts, fake perfumes, made in a bathtub in Whitechapel road , and labelled Channel. jewels and kitchen gadgets, a look out down one end of electric lane to alert the salesmen that the cozzas were coming, and the fly men flew the other way with their suitcases packed.
Not far from station road were the tot stalls, second-hand stalls where eventually in the 70`s my mother would take a stall and go into business selling outside John’s café. Prior to that she went into business making toffee apples.
Our kitchen and hallway with 4 children in a two bedroomed flat filled with boxes of apples, toffee apples were such an innocent product until you are making a thousand a day for Covent garden.
I had frequent trips to Smithfield market to replace school education, with the babies, to buy packets of clear film and skewers for the sticks. This was my history lesson the old part of London, St Bartholomew church and the old streets.
I knew more about the district line than I did about spelling and grammar.
Then once home to work pushing the sticks into the apples. Then late into the night wrapping the toffee apples while my mother cooked her eyeballs with the toffee steam over the very busy cooker. I had frequent trips to Tescos buying huge amounts of sugar and red food colouring. Then on a Saturday I would be put into a taxi with 500 of the bloody things to sell in the doorway of a pub in Battersea, Northcote road, I learned about the cold, it was bitter but at least I did not have Jack and James with me. Then with my £1.50 wages went ice skating in Streatham. One year my pitch was in Hemel Hempstead, sitting on a wall outside the pub opposite my grandads veg stall, I got to market by green line bus and a lift home in my grandad’s lorry.
Mum changed occupations when she met stepfather no.3 a dashing little man named Kenny Miller.
He had spent time in prison where he learned to box and had worked as a bullfighter prior to that in Spain. Notorious for bullfighting the traffic on Brixton road with his overcoat and fighting with the porters in Covent garden he had an ability to turn into Jack Nickleson in the shining, and torment us by chasing us around the flat with an axe. His finale would be to piss on us.
Mummy would disappear and return with suits; duvet covers and all sorts. And re appear ladened with goodies.The occupation was known as hoisting, it came along with a number of superb personalities that have living relatives so I will give them different names, scotch pam is one a larger than life woman who came smashing on our front door wanting to kill my mother for some reason none other than that pam was drunk, she was dodgy like that. Fat John who sat my first born toddler on his lap and told him all about those fucking pigs that couldn’t build a house and that cunt of a wolf that huffed and fucking puffed.
Mums next career after I had left the flat, thank goodness, was as a poker host in what is known as a spiel. The dining table covered in baize and men usually market workers hoisters and taxi drivers came and played poker all night. The living room filled with smoke and my mum looked after them with drinks and sandwiches while they played huge amounts of money in a pot. It was run on an old model she knew about by one of her boyfriends Reggie Issacs and friend Billy Howard who had the Beehive club in Brixton at one time but was at the end of his powers, I remember him drinking in the Albert pub no longer in his beautiful hand made brogue shoes but a pair of slippers which was all he could get on his feet. I liked him he was always very kind to me.



Figure 6, Electric Lane from Coldharbour lane

Night time in Electric avenue was the time for the prostitutes and drunkards. Two prostitutes worked electric avenue and I don’t think they had pimps, one was an older woman very plain dressed with a knitted hat and scruffy long skirt and glasses, she took her men down an alley opposite my bedroom and the other a superb character called Lu Lu who wore a short skirt that popped above her bottom when she bent down to pick up the brolly she purposely dropped. This always attracted many eyes and I am sure she got her clients, the story went that she was related to Shirley Bassey and came from tiger bay in Wales. She was a loose cannon and that was an effective method of keeping nuisances away from her, I learned this method of defence when as a teenager I walked home from various stay outs in the early hours of the morning. I was also protected by the prostitutes and Buster who pulled the stalls out for the traders in the mornings.
The sound of the stalls arriving in the mornings was one of my bedroom sounds, it would start around 4 am one at a time the wheels of the Victorian stalls and the clank of the metal against the road.

Figure 7 Buster
Years later Buster was seen on tv, as his lies got the better of him and he was telling everyone he was over 100.
Jimmy was dropped on his head as a baby and sat on the stalls and played the accordion for pennies. He terrified me as a child I remember him out with his mother. And the little man that tap danced everywhere, immaculately dressed in a suit and straw hat, his first move was to appear on his doorstep and slide on his tap shoes down his garden path.

Brixton life was not going anywhere for me, I had lost connection with my life in my father’s studio and Hastings, I missed out on my education, apart from ducking and diving with my wild mother, it all seemed a bit dead end and a constant battle with the two small boys who were just as wild and constantly fighting. So I decided to try and get a place in a college to study something, my main ambition was to go to art school. I got a place at college, so mum lost her child minder and threw me out onto the streets. My time in electric Avenue had ended.

5th Aug 2019 kings college hospital, Oliver ward.
On being a daughter

memories of a passing
5th Aug 2019 kings college hospital, Oliver ward.
On being a daughter

5th Aug 2019 kings college hospital, Oliver ward.
On being a daughter

Daughter of an artist’s model
My mother worked as a model for my father, she also looked after his children from his second marriage.
They met when she was about 15, in 1948. camber sands
I am
The daughter of a free woman
Daughter of a pregnant woman
Daughter of a battered woman
Daughter of an alcoholic
of a shoplifter
Second-hand dealer, toffee apple maker gambling casino mental health patient dementia patient dying woman

Small talk is difficult apparently it relieves the anxiety of the dying, so I am playing al Jolson instead
“I’m sitting on top of the world” it looks like she is trying to sing along her mouth is moving.

In a house in Islington 1957, my 5-year-old brother, 14-year-old half-sister peering round the door to see my screwed up little bloody body in between my mother’s legs.
My mother’s first act of generosity was that she didn’t have an abortion, I am thankful for that So, I was born through an act of love where I can only guess if there was an orgasm. I pause in thought and decide that there was one. scarily intimate, her 24 him 66.
Intimacy at that time could be seen in the long romantic kiss in films, apart from that no outward signs of affection could be seen anywhere. Did they really kiss? Was it the real deal or was there a way of pretending to kiss, pretending to love?
Experiments took place with friends and neighbours as soon as I was old enough.
“you would never believe how babies are made” I once said to my mum. I thought at that time all you did was get married. But my friends and neighbours assured me that the mans thing went into the lady’s thingy. I didn’t even know there was a hole there. And I found this exceptionally absurd.
She said “why all that fucking old nonsense” that’s what she called sex.
And then, one day my mother nervously told me that that was true. This is as close to intimate a conversation we ever had.

I am 9 years old, and mum became pregnant, so I wondered what kind of fucking old nonsense she had been up to
She was marvellous in her huge tent dresses and seemed to be pregnant forever, my aunty patsy asked me if she is having a fucking kangaroo.
When one of my baby brothers Jack was eventually born Richard, my older brother took me to the hospital where we peered at what looked like a Chinese doll in a glass box. Jack was born premature with jaundice due to her smoking huge amounts of Kensitas tipped. his birth was a turning point for me, mainly because of the change in the attitude from his father towards me. His huge wrestlers’ hands regularly gripped my little ten-year-old neck, while he pushed me around with gritted teeth calling me a cunt, I imagine this coincided with my mother going into labour, new baby new world.
I was living as a daughter for the first time with my own mummy and not someone else’s mummy, jimmy (uncle) was a sort of father and little baby jack, somehow, I was grateful. I became very good at walking jack in his pram when out playing with friends he was always there with his nappy’s bottles and his screams. Getting him off to sleep in the middle of the night, rocking his cot, then mum got pregnant again.
I just started secondary school so the babies, toddler jack and baby James, school. an extremely angry stepfather my world became chaotic and very disappointing.
Mum at this time also took on a green grocer’s shop in the reliance arcade in Brixton, huge undertaking with small babies, and me but at least I knew how to boil beetroots in the baby burco water boiler. And had the pram to take the washing to the launderette.
Then my real father died.
When my daddy died, I was not sure how to feel. I cried a lot but on my own, desperate to hang onto something that his world offered. I became more alienated to the brutality and chaos of Brixton life failing at school failing at friendships failing at being a child and all in my new family.

5 August 2019
Last night I slept on a mattress on the floor on the floor next to mummies hospital bed with her breaths more and more shallow and rapid, there is a heavy airless atmosphere in the room where we are all gasping for breath ant it occasionally goes quiet. Then I look to see if that breath part of her is still here. Her breath.
When I was a child, I would listen to her breath in the bed next to me. I linked it with my own breath, now the compulsion to do that is making me lightheaded. Nurses come and go change her bedding moisten her poor dry mouth her eyes have sunken to look like a pair of designers sun glasses and her toothless mouth like the beak of a baby bird.
When I was small in Stockwell road about 5 or 6 years old. She would have been about 28. I watched her sleep for most of the day, while she smelled of piss and brandy. Now she smells of acetone.
I realise that death is not one thing or event it is a series of unfortunate events that creep up on us when we are not expecting. Somehow, we die in bits and pieces, little deaths at a time. So, watching mummy reaching the end has taken away the sting and the fear. She has gradually left us a little at a time over the years. Dementia has made this process all the crueller.

But going back to my experience of being a daughter.
Passions were high. feelings were confused I was told I was a very clingy child. I remember the desperation of abandonment and the fierce need to protect my mother. She needed protecting. her terrifying tantrums and sweeping torrents of words that indicated self-destruction. Fear she would throw herself under a bus and leave me forever, I hung onto her skirts in desperation and she brushed me off in despair wanting her own life without children.

I was born in Islington, Canonbury terrace, father -sculptor mother – daughter of a diamond dealer and a thief
My first ever trip in life was to Holloway prison to visit my grandmother.


Mummy hasn’t moved her body for at least 4 weeks. She has been in the same position. Little bird, stiff Lewy body distant stare. Tiny little thin legs, skin and bone no food, no water, just this awkward shallow breath through her baby bird open toothless beak.
At one time she knew how to roar like a lion, and we all got blasted, the market street where we eventually became a family echoed with her passion. The flat tinkled and crunched underfoot with broken glass and my body shook uncontrollably with fear for both her and me. This is where I found a deep need to protect her and be afraid of her at the same time. She terrified me. Her rage terrified me; her self-destruction terrified me her lack of showing love terrified me.
She is now refusing all food and water. I hold a stick with a sponge attached soaked in water to her lips and she does not respond.
I can remember the taste of my mother’s milk I stole it from a bottle she had put some into for James my youngest brother. It was so sweet it tasted bitter if that makes any sense, I cannot say I liked it very much a bit like sour coconut milk.

I am presently sitting as close to her as I can get, stroking her tiny leg with one hand and writing with the other.
In photos of us together I see me and my own daughter, strangely I see the link of three of us, me missing the glamour and beauty of the other two, even though we are interchangeable, I am both my mother and my daughter. I was told by my good friend Charles who is an expert in working class family relationships that there is a strong tradition of mothers calling their daughters ugly. This certainly was not lost on me.

Even on her death bed my mother is beautiful with a royal Egyptian princess bone structure with thin skin clinging to huge cheek bones. My mother is beautiful in a film star kind of way the looks of Ava Gardner or Elizabeth tailor, with all the pride to match. I, her daughter just did not want to be involved in that kind of comparison so in life felt I had let her down.
I cannot get any closer to her in her bed and if I wasn’t in hospital would get in with her and hold her close. I think she is afraid, and I am in stunned silence.
There was a period when very small about 4 years old when I refused to speak, I would hold my mouth firmly shut and hide myself away so no one could see my throat move when I swallowed. To me this was a sign of guilt and letting everyone know I was a bad person.
I was also my father’s daughter and his model, I sat for his unending portraits that he sold in London. Beautiful things with my hair put into a bun and made to sit still in his studio. Just another opportunity for silence and a closed mouth.
I would do anything for him, he was my imagination, I lived through his discipline he knew how to allow my mind to develop. I was allowed be an artist, musician and child. He also allowed me to grow a fear of death. A first world war veteran. In the trenches and in horror. He bought these things to my open mind. This the illustrated with little drawings of ghosts and chopped up people and a daily look through of the etchings of Goya. Tales of the bogy man on top of that, I now believe I had post-traumatic stress disorder. Then he died
He did not consider he had small children so no will provision. one minute I had a daddy then I did not.one minute I had Hastings to go to and a family, then I didn’t, difficult times.
Right now, I feel like I am in a bubble, with none of my old concerns. I am in a hospital room, in my own bubble space with my mother as she leaves this world. Outside of my bubble I know I have another life which is now changed. It is a world of colour and so much love a home and a new me.
I will soon be reborn out of this bubble world with its fragile invisible walls into light and love and fresh air. I will no longer be a daughter. I will be an orphan, a 61-year-old orphan.

LOST BETWEEN TWO ACCIDENTS

a bit of my story
Lost Between two accidents.
I have been visited by death from birth.
There was a time before antidepressants when death was my constant companion, I existed on death row merely because I had been born. Anxiety made me sweat blood That is what my mother told me.
Death was my obsession her/his company protected me from profound aloneness,
Then death broke my heart with infidelity as she visited my father and ran off with him and my aunty and a good friend and recently my mother.
We are in the same room because death stands quietly in a dark corner and just occasionally hisses at me with a reminder that life is now and to be experienced along with the pain of loss and endings and saying goodbyes.
Death appears at the commencement of the ending of things and leaves me distraught.
I dream that my first born is a child again and on the brink of turning into what he is now at the time of writing this he is 39, and I am still helpless I watch events unfurl around him and I wake up knowing that my child is still lost. Watching my babies aging is a sweet pain.
Could it be that knowledge of death is to show us that all is like dry sand running through your fingers and each grain a precious moment or a friend?
My hypervigilance caused by the differences of living space company, impermanence and love.

People have defining moments in their lives that create who they are what they identify with
I think things happen between life and death, and that life and death are those two accidents interjected with A series of partings,
Leaving
I have
Left England
Left my family
Left land
Left the subterranean (deep sea)
Said goodbye to a sweet man
Did not say goodbye properly to my brother,
Wished I could leave the dogs bum warts, the cats crying, the beds, washing, drying, washing up, hoovering, the anxiety.
Leave being tired, guilty and me,
Leave my body and hover separate and dispassionate.
If I could make my spirit

be my own best friend
I might whisper in people’s ears “have some respect”, then I would leave like a night owl and they would not know how they know.

I would leave my senses
Leave my mind,
Then out of body I would
Take a double somersault and glide on my back over Hastings, wild and free.
Swoop down over the sea and rise in an instant and crow! Like a mad old hen singing her egg song.
Like a swan I would ballet and hoot my way through the old town, over the east hill and
I could freefall from the cliffs just for a joke.
Then Circle the fishing boats and follow the silver river until I reached the moon, drop back to earth, taking elegant poses before I pike dive into the sea like a sharp arrow. A shaft of lightening into the sea. Deep down into the depths following the mercury path set by the moon to the bottom of the seabed
Sit cross-legged and turn into the Gorgon the medusa. With my hair snaking around me and hissing.
Then
Up up up
Up forever up
Break the surface and

B



The origins and the myth
I was born
My tribal narrative as soon as I was born my family dispersed like bowling skittles and I belonged to a mother that yearned for freedom and despaired at my clinging need for her presence and love.
The myth was that I was born deformed to the point of causing my mother so much despair that she wanted to kill me, my face twisted and my hair fuzzy and a crumpled ear and collapsed face.
So close to life and death every time I heard the story of my origins.
Mother legacy is that not long after I was born my parents split up. Daddy taking my brother Richard to Hastings leaving me with my mother.
This was a period from which she wrote her memoirs.
Or perhaps her life began.
I at this time went from aunt’s to uncle to grandmother to family friend and best of all to Hastings.
But always put back on the train back to London. And back into isolation and confusion. Train and travelling experience. I would do this whilst in bed in London and dreaming of traveling fast to somewhere else.
The train or the ghost train is a strong image the sound of the clickty clak which could be reproduced by covering the ears with the cups of your hands and drumming your fingers on your skull, this made it very authentic
The bogey man was real lived in the train, in the tunnels, where if you peered out of the window into the darkness you would see little doors, the portals into the deep dark dungeons where the bogyman dragged children and women, into a black and white etching world of Goya’s prisons and despair.

The bogy man lived under the bed, behind closed doors, in bushes, on the beach and under water. Yet so close to death it was when I was in the vicinity of the bogyman that I was alive. The difference between one place and another
Hastings and London
In Hastings I lived and imagined dreamed and felt, in London I was bewildered, belittled, and depressed.

Fairlight Beach

“the root of man’s/ woman’s anxiety’s is his intensity to feel and know they exists
]“the root of man’s/ woman’s anxiety’s is his intensity to feel and know they exist … Although his fate is to die, he can triumph over his anguish that the whole is meaningless by inventing purposes and projects, which will put meaning upon himself and upon the world of objects: But this is exactly his desire, not many are capable of this authenticity”

My mother told me “you were clean”, and “You were right”, and "they had no right to suggest otherwise". i think she was referring to the church.This came in-between a string of unconnected statements. Of which mother pours out a constant stream.

Some of what she says are about her being in the woods giving birth,This is her story whenever my sisters Ann and Jane are mentioned. Presumably the woods are in the south of France that is where my older brother was born. 1952.
The story goes that my father his two children Ann and Jane from his marriage to Lillian are in France together. My mother 17 years old is pregnant with my older brother Richard.
My mother told me that my father "stood by her", he had the choice to return to his current wife and their two children, and my mother would have been taken back to England and put into care and no doubt had her baby taken away, but he "stood by her."
I can’t mention my brother’s birth to my mother without her whispering about the woods, and she always look very afraid. It’s a dark place for her involving an imaginary dream court session, she stands in court, but I don’t know what she is accused of or who has accused her.
Dementia with Lewy body in Parkinson’s is the diagnosis. And through this, she has lost so much, not just her independence,
she has lost her youth, motivation, some memory, physical dexterity, and her mind is scrambled, sitting between nightmare and a nightmare awake reality.
I am constantly frightening her with my old appearance, so she doubts my validity and truth, she can never be sure if I am me at all and looks at me with a blank stare.
“Is it really you”? “Am I really here ““is it a dream?”
The carers in the home smear her body with shit and make her lick it off
Drag her around the dining room by her hair laughing at her
Make her drink glasses of their spit
Accuse her of having affairs with the other residents
Talk filth to her and make crude suggestions
Feed her the scraps from the leftover food or don’t feed her at all
They take away her sweets
Steal her clothes
Laugh at her dresses and shoes
She cries every day through deep unhappiness, and I can’t help her.
There is a man named Ken that lives under the home she is in and works under her toilet underground shoveling all the stuff that goes under and children in the walls.
They give her live baby chicks to eat with roast potatoes
She has lines on her face, which shocks her whenever she looks in the mirror

The woods also feature in stories she tells me about her evacuation on a farm in Devon I think.
This is also connected to a toilet scenario, an outside toilet at the end of the farm house garden
The farmer took one look at her in the church hall where all the children were dropped off for selection by the local people and the farmer said “that one is going to be trouble” so he selected her.

The toilets were on the end of the farm house garden but also at the edge of the woods. I believe she was told that there was a snake in the toilet but at any rate the toilet was a place of wonder and great fear. Years later this trauma is still with her, drifting into real time and tormenting her dreams in this terrible disease.

As for me being clean, that is a first for me as I am not a keen washer, I have to be reminded to have a bath, and never use soap if I can help it, But I remember my beautiful uncle tommy washing me and my cousins in the large stone butlers sink in Stockwell road, and the scalding hot baths with my aunty patsy when I lived with her, Queuing in Clapham north with a cube of bath salt and towel at the public baths, not many homes had baths , we didn’t even have a kitchen in the early 60`s so once a week would go to the public baths, full of steam, I loved being close to my mother ,
lavender house Hastings we had a bath in the kitchen which would be covered with a large board when not in use.
This is the bath that my father would tell me he was going down into the deep dark dungeons where the bogy man lives, and go under the water and stay down while I screamed in terror that he was going to die. Although I knew where this was as he had shown me pictures of it by the Spanish artist Goya. I knew all about the bogy man.
But my earliest memory of baths water is where I resisted with my whole body, a full blown tantrum, being dragged up to a font in a church in Stockwell. I shouted “I am clean, I don’t need a wash” I wonder if this is what my mother is referring to now when she tells me I was right and didn’t need to have a wash at that time.
I had to be held down and was washed against my will. Then of course there was the time that I drowned in the sea.



Right now I am remembering a moment in my four year old life when I am pretty sure I came very close to or actually was dead, my big sister can’t remember this at all, my father is no more, so cannot reference, just words from my older brother who, according to him, 50 years later, told me that I was found floating face up underwater in a rock pool on the Fairlight beach

The memory

I am playing in the incoming waves of the sea on a hot day I am with my Father, my Brother 5 years older than me and my sister 12 years older than me.
My sister is to my right on the beach and is entering the sea and about to swim. I want to do everything she does.
My brother and father are out of sight.
I am pretending to swim by putting my arm down onto the sand and splashing my legs in the sea, straining my neck out of the sea like a tortoise, mouth firmly closed against the waves and glancing over to see if my sister Jane is looking to see me swim.
Then, the sea gets so incredibly warm, the comfort resonates within my soul like music, and this is accompanied by a soft pastel powder light of the palest yellows, baby blues and pinks and white. The light coats the warm sea like a mist and I am in bliss and moving across the surface of the sea at high speed.
I am swimming and very pleased with myself for initiating into the world of the people that know all things, as I thought swimming was worth learning and I was doing especially well at it. I was moving across the warm powder warm steamy sea surface towards the most beautiful light I’ve ever seen, this could have lasted forever but it didn’t.

The reality was that i was face up under water floating in a rock pool.

I am instantly in cold gritty sand spewing up salt water, from my eyes sting my ears my nose stomach and lungs are rasping. My face pressing into sharp cold sandy pebbles, and cold brine makes my nose sore from the insides. My father is pressing on my little body so hard and I am coughing up bitter sea water which is ripping out my insides.
A man is standing in a suit looking down at me I don’t know who he is. Later I dream of this man who is he? My brother couldn’t tell me.
Everything tastes like brine for days to come. The back of my nose and throat are sore, And what is worse, I didn’t really know how to swim. And learning to swim after that was extremely traumatic as I had fear of water.
Was this traumatic? Was it the beginning of my fascination with death? How this was never spoken about or forgotten is strange to me.
In this case the authenticity of the moment of death was a privilege to have experienced, A sense of achievement and in the words of J M Barry was an “awfully good adventure”.
And the meaning in my life sometimes feels to me to be the need to re-enter that state of bliss, to re connect with the musical vibration of soft light,

we exist, and hold fears hat are planted as seeds in early life, mix themselves into our belief system and get confused in and as dreams or should i say nightmares and pose as reality.
i shall continue to be there for my poor mother while she unconsciously helps me to dig deep into my own belief system i can only pray that i don`t end my days in the torment she is suffering

warrior square

mr giordiani
Mr Giordiani lived below us in warrior square, St Leonards on sea. 1995, Giorgia and William are toddlers and my eldest son an angry teenager. We are living with the toddler’s father in a two bedroom flat at the top of a Victorian residential square by the sea.
The kitchen a tiny galley partitioned off and a tiny corner bath. The struggle up and down the echoic stairs, push button lighting so at any time we were plunged into darkness
A trauma not only for me and the screaming children but also for the old couple that live directly below us.
Mr and Mrs Giodiani . Mr, a small strong chap in a thin vest even in the winter, a well-kept 1940`s spiv moustache, a sweet man would always stop and pass the time of day even while the children were screaming. and sometimes offer a toffee .His wife a white Russian with dyed flame red hair and angry eyebrows would never speak, I would only hear her from behind closed doors screaming the word "shit " "your nothing but a shit" presumably at tiny little Mr Giordiani. A terrifying woman and very angry.
I used to find her lurking on the stairs, and she would glare at me and the children as we squeezed past her.
I had re occurring nightmares about her laying out dead on her Livingroom table, and she would suddenly snap her eyes open and look straight at me and screech.
She must have stood at 6 ft. high, and he at 5 ft. 4
And then she died.
I can’t remember her death I just remember suddenly being presented with this mild mannered ex hero as part of my dysfunctional and panic stricken life. Panic stricken in a crazy relentless child, teenager, husband, housework, stairs depression mother issues and an unfulfilled artist painter in me, along with making ends meet and living in a flat that was too small for us all.
Mr Giordiani Greek born, Burmese war veteran, officer with the Ghurkhas fought in the jungle, against the Japanese, endured throughout a month of rain the whole time holding his gun above water while he waded and drowned.
The proud owner of a Military cross given to him by the queen, for bravery. And survivor of his wife.
This was my first encounter with dementia.
Dear widowed Mr Geordiani was from that point on, a regular visitor to our flat, Guest at Xmas dinner< godfather to my children. His flat was directly below ours and, and a perfect size for him alone, filled with Indian Russian and Chinese antiques. A bright red full sized Persian carpet and the most wonderful fabrics I have ever seen.
These were all thrown away as old and dirty by his Canadian son, to my horror, I assumed his parents life’s possessions would have been of value to him but he had no room for those beautiful things in his life.
Dear Mr Giordiani developed dementia and it looked like as a neighbour who liked him, I became the next of kin. So I became his second mother in making sure he was adequately dressed in the cold, hydrated and fed, I was the contact with doctors and social workers for him,
Until one day when he presented himself at the front door with a multi pack weeks supply of all his pills, but empty

myths revisited

My life to this point has been of a voyeur, watching my own pain and unaware of and looking for my own mythological double,
I am the product of a narcissist and a hysteric, clashing like giant symbols with me and my siblings deafened and shaken in between. A mother contorting with demonic wildness, cursing, and lamenting and a wizard father with his controlling wisdom, magic, and invisibility cloak.
My life to this point has been of a voyeur, watching my own pain and unaware of and looking for my own mythological double, trying to piece together something that resembles a life out of the fragments of memory. This is something that is necessary to me at the moment. And it is only now that I realise that my memoirs, made from snippets of cultural acceptance , faded memories and blissful ignorance are what is cobbled together to help make me acceptable to myself.
A life, a story, mystery and theatre, but as yet all I can see are shadows. Shadow people coming in and leaving an imprint for a while then fading, but ultimately they will go as will I one day take my leave. Before that time I must make a record, but what do i write?
Google searches take me to the myth of Electra, the daddy’s girl, but in this case without the daddy, which isn’t even true as I have already said he was a master of invisibility, so he might have been there, just one of the shadows on my cave wall, feet sticking out from the other side of a blackberry hedge, the back view of a man in a hat, a disembodied jacket, dreams about him but him looking like somebody else. His death just made him more of a shadow to me, flickering into being then fading depending on the direction of the light.
I shall make an attempt to interpret a childish memory, apologies to those who had more time with him and knew him better. I hope I don’t violate your memories

He was an old man in terms of being a dad, born 1891 so he was 66 when i was born, he lived through being in the trenches as a volanteer in the great war, studied art at the Slade school in london, worked with the sculptor Jaggers producing the war memorials that are dotted around london . Married my mother and had two children. that cuts a long story short as i know i have all the facts mixed up but -;

I remember the first time saw him or at least the first time I had a memory of meeting him, this strange man, was wonderfully familiar to me , so that my usual shyness and self-imposed closed mouth and refusing to speak was forgotten.( i had a dislike of men) I was in the hallway on the top floor of lavender house in hastings and aged 3 or 4 wearing a pretty dress I can’t remember a colour, do you remember in colour?, My brother was with me he is 5 years older than me and we are sitting on the floor in the passageway , my brother is showing me magic tricks and we are waiting a very long time.
I have a big sister there as well and she is in the kitchen doing work and being very busy and distracted. We suddenly get alerted and I am made to stand at the top of a steep flight of stairs that twist away to the right and I am aware of a bulk moving on the stairs but out of my sight., fear made me close my eyes .When I open my eyes ,below me looking up is a grey faced man wearing a hat.and a suit, My sister makes me stay in place. The man stops and just looks at me then comes towards me and picks me up.I feel his His joy through his body and on his face,he is holding me tight, that was my daddy and the start of a whole new world of art music and imagnation.

about improvising and in praise of scribbling

I scribble myself, scribble my body my dreams, until a new order is found
I have good fortune to have met a few other people like myself and we regularly meet and make sound, we get together and we scribble.

Moram on guitar, nick on bass, Alison on flute and me on voice and piano, we work as a unit and with an unconventional structure, we create with scribbles of sound, within this we make new forms and occupy new worlds together and feel.
The principle is that most importantly we can hear each other. Sound balance and sound democracy is uppermost. We have a naive and childlike approach to making sound and we work as one,and what we do is immediate.
I like to make sound as much as i like to make images, one makes sense of the other, and they both create a place of authenticity during the moment of action.

“Everyone knows that a place exists which is not economically or practically indebted to all the vileness and compromise. That is not obliged to reproduce the system. That is writing.
If there is somewhere else that can escape the infernal repetition, it lies in that direction, where it writes itself, where it dreams, where it invents new worlds"
Helene Cixous , A Tarantella of a theory

I copied this quote down a few years ago, and knew its relevance to me as a creative being and experienced its truth through making sound.

It has to do with my search for authentic self and meaning, There seems to have been a hint that this is accessed through writing, writing yourself , writing your body, your dreams your mind. or in my case less like writing and more like scribbling.

I scribble myself, scribble my body my dreams, until a new order is found, but only to dismantle and re build convention and find a good place for my mind.
This mind place is beyond economics and compromise, is a place of freedom and authenticity. Somewhere that breaks convention and is creative. A one off quote or an utterance,a stream of consciousness or noise produced from the self, voice, and percussion and poetry, all made in the moment and born from a scribble.
thats how I experience improvisation.

Absence / Presence

To have or occupy a place somewhere........ Expressing the most general relation of a thing to its place,”
To have or occupy a place somewhere........ Expressing the most general relation of a thing to its place,”

Takes me to 1976 and an extremely hot summer in a squat close to the Wandsworth road in London. I lived there I am 17 years old and somehow managed to complete a couple of college courses because I thought that I had a future.
The college gave me a meal ticket, a book of tokens which allowed me to get a tea , pie, baked beans and chips once a day , this I lived on during the week , I just went hungry weekends. I have no shoes or clothes and live on nothing, apart from a bit of cash in hand I was paid for modelling at the local art school.
My only possession was a guitar which I didn’t have as my mother stole it from me to give to her boyfriend who was at that time in prison.

To appear like a hippy was in fashion and I did this look without trying. with no electric in a fungus lined ,wood rot damp house. Alive with head lice, and extremely lonely. Like this I existed within a framework of sunrise and sunset, absence of love or care, in the harshness of the London miss- fits and homeless.
Yet I had hope. With youth Truth and presence are linked even with the absence of any true signs

I jumped onto a train to Hastings, I was wearing a converted lace curtain as a top and jeans with a broken zipper, tied up with a shoe lace, and I needed the sea. I knew how to slip fences and guards, and never gave a thought about not having any money.

Hastings was just like I had remembered it 8 years before when my father lived there in Cobourg Place. All accept him. the smells in the small streets and the fishing beach had a musty stinky attraction, but best of all I looked up an old friend of his that lived in a house by the east hill in Hastings.
Charles Chandler took me in, helped me to get a few pounds under my belt and encouraged me to continue to make drawings, He believed in me as an artist and told me stories of his friendship with my father. I had a feeling of belonging
sketch made of charles chandler in 1976 while living in Welington cottage, Tackleway, Hastings [Click and drag to move] ??

That hot summer was filled with daytrips in Charles’s car and planning my future, surrounded with antiques and Persian rugs. I even had a room of my own.


Until I encountered the jacket.


The Nelson public house on a hot summers evening, crammed onto a veranda with other drinkers, I found myself sitting next to a jacket
The jacket was a musty olive green heavy soft chord. fairly large 40`s style shoulders, and a smell so superb it made my head spin, I touched and stroked it in disbelief, I breathed it in with my eyes closed. As yet the jacket was disembodied, little did I care who or what was inside. I lost my mind.

Such extraordinary coincidences, the jacket was being worn at that time by a fellow named Hank
Who went on to tell me that he had been given the jacket by a woman named Jane. The Jacket apparently belonged to her father who was an artist and had died years before.

Jane Lacey my sister, gave Hank our fathers jacket and in the heaving crowd on a hot summers evening I smelled it recognised it and fell in love all over again. That chance meeting ensured that I was to stay with Hank and in service for twelve years, have my eldest son. And still not be quite sure if I was in love with the man in the jacket or the one that had left it.

Manfred the magnificient

Years later he nearly proposed to me but his pipe got in the way.
“it’s either you or my pipe, and the pipe wins" so I didn’t marry him.
Manfred Losch, Magician, juggler, Yoga master, and lovely friend I am so sorry that I neglect you.
Manfred 1984 Hastings conte crayon on paper [Click and drag to move] ??

I first met Manfred when i was about 11 years and he didn’t really notice me then. to me he was a tall dark American that could do the lotus position which in the late 1960`s was a very exotic thing to be able to do.


Years later he nearly proposed to me but his pipe got in the way.
“it’s either you or my pipe, and the pipe wins" so I didn’t marry him.


American born to Jewish parents just outside New York, Manfred can remember everything. Like all his dreams and who was in his class at school, the number on your £10 note and what you said in 1983 whilst wearing a leopard print dress. Although impressive, that kind of intense memory is a disadvantage for his mental health. The curse of memory. and a diagnosis of schizophrenia


Manfred came into my life proper in 1977, brother to my landlady in Hastings, he would call in and fill my flat with pipe smoke, stand on his head, and do card tricks and juggle then eat a whole bunch of bananas just because he could. He was also very strong and his bulging muscles almost ripped through his shirt when he flexed.
So handsome and funny, deep and moving we all love Manfred. I really loved him.


Manfred who solves the Star Ledger Crossword puzzle “with half of my brain tied behind my back"
And wrist curls with 10lb dumbbells, to develop a strong and powerful grip. Makes balloon models to keep the nurses happy and performs rope tricks
Manfred can do any-thing
He is magnificent

Lavender House

Above the smell of fat and frying, of the mermaid cafe, the cockle and whelk stalls and the amusement arcade.
I will keep returning to this as my scattered memories return,

A hot windowsill in Lavender house Hastings, in the sun, cracking paint and tiny red spiders skedaddling about like spinning tops. Staining red lines when squashed and dragged across the zinc sill lining.

This is where I lived when I was with my daddy, my brother and my big sister.



Above the smell of fat and frying, of the mermaid cafe, the cockle and whelk stalls and the amusement arcade.

Daddy always kept a warm fire going in his studio and for me it was a place of art, music and stories.
Fairies were as real as the bogy man and my imagination was allowed to go where it needed to go.

I can remember saying “I am four years old " but I must have been younger than that in the beginning. I know I was small enough to run in-between daddies long legs like they were pillars.

My job was to sit for my portrait to be done, Hours of silently sitting and being scrutinised my father, so different from the noise and smoke of London gamblers and being ignored.



Modelling was excruciatingly painful for a little girl and i would frequently go off in my mind and travel with visions, years later Buddhist meditation comes very easy to me.

A good story was essential for my wellbeing, therefor very lucky to have a lovely big sister who dressed me like a doll, told me stories and did my hair, laughed at the silly things i could say

56 years later I visited my sister in her home in Crete, we had a whole week alone together, we have had separate lives but that time in lavender house where I was cared for and valued came flooding back to a time and place i was happy.

To sing?

About voice and decision making
TAKEN FROM NOTES WRITTEN MANY YEARS AGO

I wanted to gift myself something for my 40th birthday, Stud diamond earings seemed too shallow and had too much pain associated with them, I will tell that story one day
Lying in the bath, eyes closed and wishing, it came to me in a flash. it all made sense.,
i would sing.

I had a strange relationship with my voice, I could shout well enough, just like my mother, my voice could peirce through a crowd and hit its mark with robin hood accuracy.
Standing on street corners shouting out whilst selling toffee apples in the market in London, or standing on a dinner table as a three year old dolly and entertaining my mums friends in a room full of smoke. not being able to pronounce my r`s or l`s the favourate song , which i had to sing over and over again was :-
" everybody knows he`s left me, its the talk of the town" with the resulting in hoots of laughter as it always came out " everybody knows hes effed me"

The freedom of acceptance in the Stockwell Manor school Choir
Howling freeform in the vastness of Dungeness landscape
and the deep bodily groan of giving birth, same voice placement when my boy was sent to prison 20 years later.

The voice is a strange and revealing thing full of anxiety and fear
re occuring dreams of silent screams,
fear of talking too much, for fear of being found out.
speaking my words but hearing my mothers voice
thinking "get me out of here" and saying " do you love me?"
being out of control of sentences words and my life.

so i booked up for a singing lesson. aged 60 i am still singing.

Memories, scraps and scrapes from a chaotic mind

An attempt at writing my life
I have the intention of making my own memoirs, my only problem is a chaotic and dyslexic mind .
I was told that a blog is the most effective way to bring together scraps of scribbles made through my life and try to see if they add together to make something cohesive.
i was born
and now i am 60
in between those two events me becoming and me being, i have tried in different ways to keep a journal or even to take notes relevant to what i was thinking at the time , all done in an attempt to make sense of a fragmented existence. i am sure there is a diagnosis for my lack of sustenance and will power apart from laziness and just plain being thick but i cant find one

So for the purpose of this blog i have gathered together all my existing note taking and will scatter in between my thoughts talk about my memories of a thoroughly dysfunctional family and my part in this.
A fragmented story from a scattered mind.

artist self and body

I have lived a life as an artist in doubt. but thats another story.
"The painter takes his / her body with them" indeed we cannot imagine how a mind could paint. it is by lending his/her body to the world that the artist changes the world into paintings,
to understand these transubstantiations we must go back to the actual working body - not as a chunk of space or a bundle of functions but that body which is an interweaving of vision and movement
Maurice Merleau - Ponty

Its interesting to find scribbled bits of quotes that have interested me in the past this snippet shows an interest in the act and physicality of painting and singing , the body in movement something that is linked to my being and understanding of being,
doubt being a very destructive part of that understanding.

I have lived a life as an artist in doubt. but thats another story.

Wearing the dunces cone cap and standing on a chair in school for always being the lowest achiever actually does damage to a persons mind. My genaration had a tough schooling especially with dyslexia, this was only one of the contributing factors for a fragmented and confused life.