Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Thank You Thank You Thank You Very Much

Now while we can all agree 2016 has been a massive dumpster fire of a year - Bowie, why did you leave us so early?, as my mum pointed out to me yesterday my year hasn't actually been that bad. In fact it has been pretty good. Ok the first few months were tricky, and I used to summer to recover and feel like myself again, but now I am feeling pretty good. Even when I think back to this time last year - I certainly didn't feel the way I am feeling just now. I feel like I've got my Heatherness back. So if you are interested, and to be honest I encourage you to do the same I am going to go through my year and talk about what I am thankful for.

I started the year off by DJing at a local charity night, no it wasn't anything like the nights I used to do - think more Moves Like Jagger than actual Mick Jagger, but it was a great night and I really enjoyed myself - so did everyone else as I am back doing it again this year. In January I also started my writing group Rough Draft (originally Wallace Writers, but then Rough Draft sounded much better). I have loved loved loved taking part in this, every month we have a theme and we each write a piece, we have covered Bowie, sleep and scary stories to name but a few. I love that every month (well nearly every month), we get together share our stories, I am always amazed at how talented everyone is, and have a few drinks. I do wonder what other people think we are up to when the group is on, no one has said anything so far.

Here's me, Marc, Allison and Jon, by Jake our super talented group member. 

My mum also turned 60 and I had a great time celebrating with her. I should also add in Lawrie's birthday, which was such a fun night in Route 36, good food and so much laughter.

Onto February, I can't think of anything too stand out in February - maybe just my annual V Day tradition of self love ie drinking Champagne, eating truffles and watching films. It really is my ideal day! 

Don't think March was much to write home about, not feeling too grand, April was better, took at trip to Stobo with Lawrie which was lovely, so relaxing, oh and we cemented our friendship with these mugs. 
I also believe there may have been some nice weather in April, either that or I just don't dress for the seasons.

May - what did you bring, the end of second year of uni, it was tough going, but I blooming well loved it. It feels fantastic to be doing something I actually want to be doing, rather than feeling uni is some sort of endurance exercise, an educational hunger games if you will.I also went to my first Eurovision party, which was a beautiful night with Lawrie and Mark rating all the acts with our bizarre marking system that included sex appeal. From looking at my photos I seem to have also been rewatching Jonathan Creek, as it was shown originally at that time of year, it my equivalent of what you do with Christmas movies but in summer.

In June I found out I'd passed second year with all As and Bs, which was nice. I also actually walked in the Lanimers this year, which was quite nice as it was sunny. I really like getting to see all our hard work through the year from the fundraising, costume meetings, to all the good spray painting we did this year paying off. Scotty Boy also graduated with a 2:1 from Glasgow, he has done so well, worked so hard and I am a really proud big sister. 

Lucy also went to India with her school, it fits into my favourites as she got me some great presents! So Thank you Lucy.

July saw the arrival of Queen Bey to Scotland, it was amazing. I don't have words - the whole show was spectacular, from the opening bars of Formation to her promotion of Black Lives Matter, the staging and costumes were out of this world. Can't wait to see her when she comes back. I was also so touched when my friend Cheryl popped round one day with a lovely Lush bath product - one of my faves - because she knew I hadn't been feeling like myself. I am so lucky to have such thoughtful people around me. I also got to help Lawrie run a summer singing school which I loved every minute of and wish we were doing it again next year. 

In the back ground of all this I was studying to become a hynpotherapist, after having successful sessions of hypnotherapy myself, and on top of that life coaching both with Sandie Robertson I am so grateful to have been able to do these courses with Sandie as she is an excellent tutor, with so much experience and it has allowed me to keep using the skills that I learnt during my counselling HNC. 

In July I started going on a lot of dates, as I was getting a bit fed up of being single. Now although nothing came of any of them, I am so glad I did it. I used to be a nervous wreck at the thought of meeting someone on a date, but after meeting so many new people this year I like to think I am a lot more relaxed than I used to be. I went on tinder as a way of meeting people, and while there were a couple of lads that I knew weren't right for me, I did meet one of two people who I had quite a bit in common with, so I am looking forward to any dates I have in the future....probably wait til after Christmas and New Years now, is it just me who thinks that would be a creepy first date? 

Right August you saucy minx, what did we get up to - I do believe we went on a family boat holiday. The weather wasn't amazing but we did have a couple of beautiful days, sitting out at Port Bannatyne is one of my favourite places to be, especially in the pub which has a beautiful sun trap garden, which also included a dog to play with this year.The guys in the boat next to us also gave us fresh mackerel to eat, which was unbelievably good. So nice to know that you are eating food that is so fresh. Thankfully we didn't have to do any gutting or chopping heads off - that would be a little bit too fresh for me. I also seem to remember myself, Scott and Lucy laughing on deck for about 30 minutes, when we got back to the boat at Port Bannatyne, something about an otter or a seal? Oh and how the food looked nice, but everyone's feet around the food when it was on the deck didn't look so appetising. I'm laughing again thinking about it.

I loved that over the summer this year I managed to read a tonne of books, I should really review them as I promised, maybe one day. I also managed to meet up with some of my college lads for a night out, which was great. So nice to see everyone and hear what they have been up to since the course ended. 

Oh September - that meant the SAAS money was in, so myself, Katy and Nadia went shopping, so lucky to have these guys on my course, they've got my back when I feel like I am floundering - and they say I am a calming influence on them - which is a somewhat surprising compliment. I went on a little trip up to Piperdam with the birthday club from mum's work - it was an amazing weekend spend in the Vegas Lodge, and we also had a great wee trip to Dundee, where I stocked up on all the Halloween Lush bits and enjoyed a walk about my favourite city. We also got a lift from a lovely 70 year old gentleman, that however is a story for another day.

At the start of October, myself and my mummy went to Edinburgh School of Food and Wine for a desserts course, which had been a birthday present from my neighbour Suzannah before she moved to Oz, which I am still not happy about hehe. I also managed to fit in a walk to Baron's Haugh, one of my favourite places to go for a walk at that time of year. Great for picking up conkers, although I doubt we left many for anyone else.

 Obviously October means Hallowe'en and having the neighbours over to celebrate. I dressed up at James from The Snowman this year and it was my favourite costume I have ever had - apart from Britney Slave Zombie. 


Just getting to carry the snowman about with me all the time kinda made the whole night for me.

November the birthday month, I went into Edinburgh for the day with my mum, if you don't know by now she's pretty much my BFF. We had a great day, we stayed pretty much on George Street, had a good swatch about Anthropologie, got some lovely cupcakes from Harvey Nick's, ooh and I got a tenner off my favourite Diptyque candle, I love when Space NK does that. I also got fantastic presents from my friends, a Lush surprise from Lozza, some great books from Scott and Jon, and the birthday club were beyond generous, getting me individual presents and a group present of an Agent Provocateur voucher - they know what I like.

December was pretty special as I bought the M&S beauty advent calendar, which has meant I have raced down stairs every morning to open it - just to see what I am getting. The brands and size of the products that you get are so good, so I would recommend that for next year. I also went to see two of my favourite bands, The Sunshine Underground and Honeyblood, both gigs were great fun, and although TSU are now donezo - I'm already counting down the days to see Honeyblood when they tour again,as they are amazing.

So that was my year, my year of lovely things that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. If you managed to read the whole way through this I have two questions - why? And would you like the job as my official autobiographer?



Tuesday, 27 September 2016

What I did on my Holiday


This little collection of books if where I spent my summer holidays this year. As you will have seen in my previous post the start of this year wasn't too zip zap zupulous, so this summer I required a lot of self care. The best way for me to do a bit of self care, other than a Lush bath with some trashy american teen drama on in the background (Sorry PLL - you are solid gold, and I love you), is by reading. I always read here and there through the year - somewhat less as the uni work piles up and I start to feel a bit guilty about reading for pleasure, when I should be reading for misery. Even reading stuff for uni is pretty great, which for me is saying something, the right course is the key to everything. 

As the autumn nights are starting to draw in I've started on my next pile of books, so I thought I better review what I read over the summer, as I promised myself I would. As you can see from the teeny tiny picture that I've posted here, they are a right mixed bag of books. A couple I mentioned in my previous post, One More Thing and So Sad Today, I didn't go into too much detail on those, so I'll give them a proper review. I think what really got me hungry for reading this summer was In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. From there I went on a roadtrip from North Carolina to NYC, back in time through a telephone, spent a bit of time in Seoul, South Korea, and some time with a cult in California. Some of the titles here are a bit meatier than others, some where perfect light reading when I didn't have much concentration for anything. I love when books become part of you - if you know me, you'll know my favourites and how you'd have to prize the copies of those books out of my cold dead hands. There are a couple of those in here, with a few I have already passed on as I want other people to share the experience - I'm talking about you The Vegetarian by Han Kang. Ok so sixteen books to review, let's see how I get on reviewing these and how much I remember over the next few weeks.

Heather

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Hold Up

So I was on here last week whinging about my mental illness again - as I was having a bad bad day. Fast forward a week and things were not much improved. I managed to go to work on the Monday, however I cried as soon as I got home and then felt really anxious and crap for the rest of the day. On Tuesday I had to go to work, but as soon as I got up the day just felt too much - so I started the day off with a classic crying in the shower. Then cried a lot more when I got out of the shower - I felt in physical pain from how I was feeling - I total ache in my soul.

Long story short - I ended up seeing a doctor yesterday. Seeing a doctor about mental health problems can be a bit hit or miss - sometimes you come out feeling like you have been listened to (which is what happened yesterday), other times you come out feeling worse than you did when you went in. I have had a couple of bad experiences at the doctors recently, during one appointment I was discussing my medication with the doctor, and she said to me 'that sounds a bit like you are self medicating to me'. To give a bit of back ground to this - I take Quetiapine at night - two 25mg tables, I used to take much much more, and I used to take one tablet in the morning, I had also been advised that I could take a Quetiapine tablet if I was having a panic attack and that would help calm me down, this is in my notes but not my recent notes so I can see the confusion for the doctor - especially as I was in to talk about something else. So needless to say I came out of that appointment feeling a little bit shell shocked !!! 

This time was totally different, the doctor really listened to me, and helped me to see that this is just a wee blip, and I would be back on track soon. She said to me you know how to get better, you have done it before, so you just need a little bit of time to get yourself feeling better. She also suggested changing the dosage of the medication that I take - so another 50 mg Quetiapine during the day - one in the morning and one in the afternoon. She also increased the anti depressant that I take as well. Everything I was on for the past few months has been really low dose - so an increase will just give me a wee boost to get back on my feet. This doctor also said that taking the Quetiapine during the day would help, and to carry some in my bag in case I feel panicky when I am out and about. All good advice. She was asking me how long I have felt like this, and I said since about the start of the year, after having a panic attack out of nowhere on the train back from uni - it really knocked my confidence, and from that I have found travelling really difficult again. I also said - and I cringe as I am reliving this moment - I just don't think I have been right since David Bowie died. As if he was my best pal, and I was gutted we wouldn't get to hang out every day. 2016 has been a bit of a shiter so far - don't get me wrong lovely things have happened, but some really shit things have happened. Anyways that is by the by - back to me. 

When I was seeing the Dr I was like - I know the things I can do to make me feel better, eating well, exercise etc - and she was like - that is great, but just now you need to give yourself a break, and then you can get all that stuff in place again. I am really enjoying this blog so far as I have written it like I speak - mostly by saying like all the time, she was like - I was like blah blah blah.

I think things are on the up again - feeling a bit calmer with the tablets, managed to go to work today, with a lot of support from my fantastic co-workers and volunteers who were amazing. I have spent the day taking it easy, and have introduced a wee afternoon nap, which has been nice as a treat, but is not something I want to get into the habit of, I have far to much to do and achieve, and the books I have to read...well what can I say.

Moving seamlessly on to what I am currently reading - One More Thing by BJ Novak and So Sad Today by Melissa Broder, which are both great for when you are not feeling 100%. One More Thing is nice as it is a collection of short stories that you can dip in and out of, and most of them are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. I have had this book for over a year, and kind of forgot about it - picked it up this week and it was like it was meant to be - perfect for when your concentration isn't quite what it should be, but you want to give your brain something to do rather than being left in the prison of your own consciousness (I came over a bit John Green there). So Sad Today has been great, a collection of personal essays that feel like part of my soul - all be it a very dark part of my soul. Her writing is easy to read yet thought provoking, and describes her anxiety and fears of her own mortality in ways that I can completely relate to. Also there is a sexting exchange between her and a guy she meets online that has to be read to be believed.   

So that was the start of my week - talk soon. xxx

(If this got a bit rambly at the end it is because when I woke up from my nap I was really thirsty so I drank about three glasses of irn bru which I can now see has been a mistake, so I am off to flush this out with lots of water - which is what I should have drank in the first place)

Monday, 6 June 2016

Threat Level Midnight

Just a heads up at the start of this - I tried to write this already today, but it didn't go well. Well the writing was ok - then an awful panic attack came over me, and I had to go and lie down, not before I deleted everything I had written.

So today is what I would describe as a black day. I can feel it before I have even woken up. When I wake up there is a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach, and it feels like my heart is all that I have in my chest - almost like it is sitting in the middle of one of those bungie/trampoline thingys that kids can jump on in funfairs. I started crying before I got up out of bed, and I couldn't stop. I cried through thinking about the day ahead, I cried through breakfast, I cried in the shower, when I got out of the shower and then when I called into work to say that I couldn't come in - which makes me feel terrible because I love my job. I just couldn't see me getting through today.

I spoke with my mum at length, but I just had to settle on the fact that this was one of those days. Yesterday I had felt particularly anxious, a two minute drive up the road to help out at the shed for the Lanimer (google it, if you don't know what it is already :) ) lorry, felt like an impossible task. The whole time I was up there - I could barely help out, as I was so worried about driving the two minutes back home because I felt so horrendous. This makes me feel like a failure - that something as simple as driving up the road, feels like it is completely beyond me - I do need to point out though that for the most part doing stuff like that is ok. 

Self care is so important - eating right, making sure you get enough sleep, exercising, spending time with people who make you feel great - avoiding those who don't, taking time for yourself just to relax - be that reading, going for a walk, petting a dog - or all the dogs - I just want a dog. When everything starts to get a bit much for me - all that stuff goes out the window. It is easy to sit about doing hee haw, rather than things that make you feel good. Like socialising - I find it so easy to say no to things, 'as I can't I'm studying', 'I have this thing coming up' - and after a while the invites stop coming, or you wonder why you've not heard from someone for a while. So today instead of doing a bit of self care I threw myself into the stupid deep end, by going a trip to Tesco - needless to say it was horrible, I made it through two aisles and then begged my mum to get the hell out of there. I should have really just left it for the day, but I wanted to push myself. Which can be a mixed bag - sometimes it works out amazing, and I feel proud of what I have achieved, other much rarer times it goes like today. And that is what I need to remember because - the bad times are in the minority.

On the black days, I don't say dark days as dark gives way to light, and black days don't, everything feels 100% more intrusive, every sound feels like it is much louder than it is, I swear I could hear the grass growing today, my skin crawls, everything aches, my stomach felt so bad I wanted to scream out to make it go away. My brain feel like it is in some kind of foggy syrupy mixture that makes thinking straight and even finishing a sentence impossible. 

I am not too sure why I wanted to write this all down today, but I felt like I had to because if you are reading this and having a noir day too - try not too worry too much, it will pass. Even as I have been sitting writing this, I am feel much better than I did this morning. I feel much better than I did twelve hours ago, which I think is pretty great, not even having to wait a full day for my mood to lift slightly. Suffering is part of being human, and it is not forever. Light always cuts through the darkness - even in a black sky there are all those millions of stars a shining for you to see.

FYI Black day in South Korea is like their Valentines day - so I should be feeling better already.

Would anyone like an update on how I am feeling as the week goes on?

Also if you are an office fan, hope you liked the title. ;) 





Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Jackie Jormp Jomp



This week I am mostly going to be channelling Janis Joplin. Auld Janis has been in my thoughts a lot this weekend after I watched the BBC Four documentary Janis Joplin: Little Girl Blue (watch it here). It may shock you to know that I honestly didn't know much about Janis before this weekend - and I do have a bit of a penchant for those musical icons who are no longer with us, especially at their peak. I discovered Jeff Buckley in 2004 and off that sprung a liking for other artists of a similar ilk, such as Elliot Smith and my beautiful Nick Drake (introduced to me via my dad and a BBC Radio 2 documentary narrated by Bard Pitt). Their tender souls cushioning me through the horror show of my twenties. Comforting me as I cried myself to sleep again, over some study stress, boy trouble or the weight of having to carry on living through the pain of depression.The Jeff phrase used to get a bit dark when watching Live in Chicago after nights out my friends had to calm me down, assuring me he was still alive somewhere. Now I am much more comfortable with the idea of the porch in heaven, where those greats as sitting, jamming all day long. 




So back to Janis, my Janis education began when I started watching 30 Rock not so long ago. Tina Fey fans and soul music fans, I can see you reading this shaking your head. I loved Jenna Maroney, a very shallow, so very shallow character, trying to grasp onto the complexities of Janis' character, something that is so beyond her that the writers leap at the chance to edit Janis' wikipedia page in order to fool Jenna into doing some pretty awful things. Like eating a cat, luckily Frank stops her in time. The combination of Jenna and Janis is perfect. At first I just liked the idea of the vain and self obsessed Jenna playing a spaced out hippy from the summer of love. Having watched the documentary this weekend, I am understanding this joke runs a little bit deeper than that. 



The documentary starts out talking about Janis as a school girl, and what a girl she was - she believed in the civil rights movement, even when it made her an outcast at her school and lead to her being picked on by fellow classmates. She was also picked on for her appearance, having bad skin and a different style to the others in her year. Well this is when I started to get it bad for Janis, all through school I never felt that I fit in. I always felt other to everyone else. I had a group of two or three good friends, with a few others who came and went over the years. Usually leaving to hang out with the popular kids for a while. I don't mean that I was some kind of social pariah either, I just liked doing my own thing, being my own person with my own interests and those tended not to interest many people I knew. I am pretty sure I was the world's biggest Muse fan in 2000/1/2, and no one in my year was really that fussed so this is one of many examples I could put in here. My fandom for Muse was intense, listening to both Showbiz and Origin of Symmetry before bed, memorising not only the lyrics but the duration in minutes and seconds of each track. This intensity and ability to get carried away in things stands me in good stead for catching up with all things Janis. 



I enjoyed Janis finding herself when she moved out of her home town, finally finding a home to call her own in Haight - Ashbury, San Fransisco. In the documentary, (I have tried to find the image), there was a picture of her sitting on her steps, with her new friends, looking so happy - noting to her family in a letter something along the lines of 'they are so cool, and that's how they always dress'. The letters, and unplayed audio gave me as a viewer a real feel of how Janis was seen by her family, and as it used her own words how she saw herself. Oh the fashion, the fashion was amazing. Every single item of clothing she owned was perfection. I am trying to work out of my home town in ready for me cutting about the high street with a feather boa tied to the back of my hair. Not many people can pull that off the way Janis could. This will be one of the ways I am going to be channeling Janis this week, pushing my own boundaries in a fashion sense. 

I have three wardrobes, a chest of drawers and a double bed all full of / covered in clothes. I have spoken about my mental health problems in previous posts, sometimes saying that I lost my love of fashion and music when I lost my mental wellbeing. I wear almost a uniform of clothes that I believe will keep me safe, or not make me feel like I am standing out when my brain is telling me that everyone is staring at me. Also my worst fear is having a panic attack/ bursting into tears with major make up and a proper jazzy outfit on. I have found safety in a somewhat normal wardrobe. Today's outfit for example a white striped top (of which I have three, because I like it so much) and black jeans (I have two pairs of these, one pair that feels better to wear on a day to day basis, the other's a back up), teamed with my Liberty London print Superga's - jazzy. I try to tell myself that this is all part of growing older, calming down my style, refining it. Well now I am saying fuck it! What is the point in having a wardrobe full of brightly coloured silks, beautiful scarves, and some right jazzy pieces in general if I am not going to wear them.I know what Janis would do - she would have an absolute field day with my wardrobe, layering pieces, bringing outfits together from things that I wouldn't never have dreamed going together. Safe to say if you see me in the next wee while, I am pushing my style boundaries, please do not cross the street to avoid me. Especially if I am dressed like someone who has just discovered lost luggage from the Hotel Chelsea in the 60s. 



'Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to loose', from Joplin's version of Me and Bobby McGee jumped right out at me when I was listening to her when I started writing this - what seems like weeks ago, it was in fact only last night. I need to make this my mantra. And here is the important bit - a positive mantra. My brain constantly plays me its own movie creation called 'What's the Worst Thing That Could Happen Here' when I am feeling particularly anxious, be it passing out in Tesco, passing out while out walking, passing out while driving.....lot of passing out. So I am going to say this to myself to keep myself going, to keep pushing forward. I need to free myself. If I don't I loose everything I have worked so hard for this far, and that is not happening anytime soon - because 'I'm gonna show you baby, that a woman can be tough'. 




Janis - I love you, and I am looking forward to our week together. Sans the drugs part obvs. 

(All images were sourced from google as I am a lazy toad)

Monday, 28 March 2016

Easter

So Easter has gone a little strange. I should probably start out by saying that although I am Christian, I'm not an off to the church every Sunday kind of Christian. I am not sure if it is because the church seems quite old fashioned (once again I am not there every Sunday so I don't know), or if it is the obvious fact that is takes place on a Sunday morning - the only time that I have seen a Sunday morning in recent times was when I was doing my hypnotherapy course, other than that I'm usually awake for Sunday lunch time. I am somewhat of a Quality Street Christian - picking out the toffee pennies, and leaving the rubbish green triangles, I take the bits I like about helping and being kind, and leave the weird bits that seems to have been written by some very angry men.

In the run up to Easter I watched Mary Berry's two part Easter feast special. It really was a lovely programme. She met many different people from different types of Christianity, from different parts of the world. The whole idea of the programme was learning about all types of traditions over the Easter weekend, finding out what different people made for their post Lent feasts, and bringing everyone together at the end for an Easter feast down Mary's local Church hall (I am assuming that is where they were). There were lovely parts of the programme where she brought the viewer into her home to see her own traditions with her own family. She met up with John Sentamu ('a lovely man with a lovely kitchen', my mum was pretty taken with the Archbishop of York's accommodation), and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. I felt honoured to watch their conversation as they shared in the grief of loosing a child, and how they coped with such a loss with their faith. And by talking about their grief they shared the meaning of Easter. Which is hope, The Archbishop of Canterbury went on to share this message in his sermon on Sunday, where he discussed the bombings in Brussels saying "On Easter Day hope decisively overcame fear".

For me this is what my own religious beliefs are about, seeing the light in the darkness, being given a little bit of help and guidance through the worst times, and giving thanks for the best.  

I am not sure how much of that message was shared yesterday as I looked through Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Seeing presents laid out for children like Christmas morning. Maybe another question would be - would people bother with this if there wasn't this showing off/ over sharing on Facebook? Easter has become commercialised, and it feels very wrong. I saw it creeping in when I worked in GAP (I know who am I to talk), people buying, in fairness, a wee t-shirt in the sale (I worked in Baby GAP), rather than buying a kid a chocolate egg. I am down with that. Jamie Oliver is most certainly down with that, although he is in my bad books this week. That was about ten years ago and things seem to have escalated pretty quickly. I saw someone that I follow on twitter also lamenting about XXL Easter, saying she couldn't believe what people were giving their kids - when one of her followers asked what kind of presents, she said - 'a bike'. Now there is a Christmas present if ever I saw one. 

In the interests of honesty I should also disclose that I like things - I like clothes, I like make up, I like owning more books than I can read in a life time and the same with DVDs. This whole Easter thing really rubs me up the wrong way. I want to run about screaming - 'you are missing the point of this, you are missing the point - if this is what you think Easter is about, then what else are you missing the point of in life?!'. All this need for stuff and things and documenting it on the internet is getting a bit weird. 

So what will Easter look like for me when and if I have kids. I would imagine Easter Egg rolling, a couple of Easter Eggs, maybe a Lindt bunny, and a big family dinner. Gasps - I know I don't even have kids and am telling other people what to do with theirs. It's honestly not that, it is about taking back what is important from commercial profit. Appreciating time spent with family and loved ones, telling shops selling Easter gifts to shove it. Painting hardboiled eggs, chucking them down a hill in your local park, and leaving before the smell of multiple smashed eggs becomes too much.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Typical Girls

Over the past few months I have been thinking about feminism, and how I feel about it and how it relates to my life. I have been trying to read as much about it as possible, and this lead to me reading Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys by Viv Albertine. As part of my misspent twenties - or the wilderness years as I like to think of them, I DJed at a few different venues around Glasgow. I loved DJing, I was totally inspired by Queens of Noize, who spent the 00s running club nights in London, writing for NME, and hosting shows on MTV2 and 6music. I loved that they played such a mix of different styles of music, mixed with all the latest and coolest sounds. They were so knowledgable about music, perfectly able to mix the old and new. They weren't just saying they were into bands to impress guys - music meant as much to them as it did to me. When I got my first DJ gig with my lovely friend CJ, I messaged Mairead Nash (who more recently has managed Florence Welsh) on myspace (I know) and asked her if she had any advice, and what songs she was liking at the moment. She suggested I play Generator by the Holloways, The Bouncer covered by Klaxons, and Going Nowhere by Cut Copy. Songs that I still enjoy to this day. My favourite thing about Queens of Noize was that they were right up there in midst of all this indie rock n roll boys club. Their DJ sets always seemed like a big party, where dancing and having fun seemed to be as important as picking the next record. They were just the coolest. 


Reading Viv Albertine's memoir about her journey into music in the 70s really resonated with my own time DJing. It even relates to the above NME article which lived on my wall for five years. Being a girl who is into music means you only want to sleep with guys in bands, nothing about what you think their music is like apparently. I certainly felt some male bias in my life as a DJ, I went to Greece on holiday in like 2005 and there were a few indie bars, I had taken over a few CDs with me, and asked one of them if I could do an hour set. Afterwards they said I was good, but was a bit heavy on females artists. At the times I didn't think much of it - other than -fuck! I better look out some Oasis, but now it makes me so angry. Surely hearing some great female indie music has to be better than the same old crap over and over again. Lads with swagger that I don't relate to - sorry but I live my life through the eyes of a woman and that's my main point of reference I'm afraid. Oops a bit of the rage popping out there. For the most part though I never felt that at the places I worked in Glasgow, big shout out to Maggie Mays and Slouch! I feel that at Maggie's I really managed to get that whole let's have a big party and listen to music vibe going. I think that was helped by exploring different genre's of music which Viv says was so important in the sound of The Slits. To be stuck in a mind set where you only listen to one genre of music is completely alien to me - I almost feel claustrophobic thinking about it. Although to be fair I will never ever listen to happy hardcore, is that even music.


I love when Viv is describing The Slits as a band they sound vulgar, which is what I really like in my female performers. I like performers who make you feel uncomfortable. I love women playing guitars and screaming lyrics. Give me Stevie screaming Rhiannon any day over some whispery vocal act that seems to be churned out by record companies far too often. This makes me think of Ellie Goulding, remember when she brought out her first album? Did an advert for John Lewis and we were all like, ooh what a unique sound. Then record companies jumped all over it, and it feels like so many female artists are now just Ellie Goulding knock offs, and even she has gotten tired of that, prefering to put out pop/dance tracks with Calvin Harris. What is being a female indie performer when the real money for women is made in pop?

When I was writing this I finally got round to watching Rihanna's new video - wow. She is the man! Honestly. It is vulgar perfection. I personally don't think there is anything sexy or degrading about it. I am sure I can hear now people saying - the children, someone think of the children. Well you know what - don't let your kids watch it!

Possibly what I liked most about Viv's (I call her by her first name as I feel we are friends now) book is that she has had to go on and rebuild her life a quite a few times. Guess what I can totally relate to that! When The Slits spilt she was completely at a loss, and writes about this time in her life with such honesty. Every chapter is so honest - it is fantastic writing and one hundered percent punk because of that. After the band broke up she couldn't listen to music for three years, this I got. When my anxiety was really bad I couldn't listen to any music, or at least any music that meant anything to me. So I spent my time listening to watered down pop, not the best time of my life - for oh so many reasons. When Viv talks about rebuiding herself towards the end of her marriage, I felt like she was speaking to me, and where I am in my life now. She had closed off her past self to give her life as a wife and mother a chance, but in doing so she was denying the artist in her a life. I feel like I have spent so much time getting myself well again that I have almost closed off parts of myself, like my artistic and creative side. I know over the next few months this part of me is going to blossom again - I am throwing myself back into music and fashion, two passions which have been somewhat neglected of late. I may as well keep you all updated on here to see how that goes. I am going to learn how to play the guitar. I feel lucky to have so many great female role models in music, when Viv started - she had none, she became her own role model and in doing that became mine too. 

Right here are my top ten female artists - I haven't included Kylie in this because my love for her should be a post in itself.

1. Stevie Nicks 

2. Annie Hardy (Giant Drag) 

3.PJ Harvey 

4. Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)

5. Shakespear's Sister (I had some confusing feelings after watching this video as a child)
 6. Florence Welsh

7. Honeyblood 

8.Sleater Kinney

9. Nico

10. Kate Bush (Svaing the best til last)