Motherisms Feat. Sweet Release and Cancelling

Lockdown has been eased. It’s June, or maybe July, it doesn’t matter any more, and we’re heading to a wedding dress fitting. In the car we both get our masks out of our bags and cover our faces. Mum whispers…

“God, I feel like I’m about to rob a bank.”

It’s typical Devon weather and blowing a gale and pissing with rain. I have gone for a bracing walk on the beach regardless, I come back and manage to coax mum out of the car for a brief stroll upon the headland.

Me: It’s good to get out in the elements to remind you you’re alive.

Mum (cowering from the rain-soaked gale): Yes, the elements are all fine it’s the rain I don’t like.

Me: That’s one of the elements.

Mum: I don’t like it.

Someone’s taken off lots of letters from ‘Mole Valley Farmers’ so it’s says ‘Le Valle’ . Mum immediately adopts a French accent…

“Oh zat is wondiful!”

A two year old is pushing a doll in a pram.

Mum: Oh, look so sweet.

I turn and look.

Mum: She’ll be pushing a real one in 10 years.

Me: Mum!

Mum: She will! That’s why I never gave you anything like that. It’s like they’re training these little girls to be carers from a very young age. Give them a space rocket, or a Maserati.

I’m trying to clear up the photos and things on mum’s phone. She hasn’t quite got her head around the technical language yet (although she has recently started referring to herself as “the mother board” having heard someone in a computer shop say it)….

“Well, I’ll just remove everything I don’t want because it’s taking up my doodaas.”

Two minutes in to showing her how to delete the photos she apparently does not know how to take…

Mum: Oh enough, I want old phone.

Me: But you won’t have WhatsApp.

Mum: Don’t care.

Me: But that’s your main form of communication.

Mum: I don’t like how they track everywhere you go, I want an old one. Us old hippies—

Me: Making life difficult for everyone.

We’re watching Judge Judy to get some tips. A man has broken up with his girlfriend but has taken some of the bedding. He is being questioned as to whether he is using a mattress.

Judge Judy: And do you sleep on the mattress she paid for?

Man: It is my primary mattress.

Me: “Primary mattress!”

Mum: Oh! That’s a good one! If you need me I may be contacted on my primary mattress.

I’m doing a shop for mum, there’s some special offers…

Me: Oh, they’re doing 3 for 2 on Nivea?

Mum: No, that could last me into the next life.

Test and track and test and trace or whatever it is isn’t going very well.

“They couldn’t test shit coming off a shovel — although they’re doing much more interesting stuff at the sewage works.”

We’re watching something on TV. A man holds a baby and the baby starts shrieking. Mum sympathises with the baby…

“Yeah man, men are psychos. No really, a lot of them are. I want to marry Willy Nelson, he’s bought up thousands of acres for marijuana farms and raised all these horses… but then I wouldn’t want to live in America, so we’ll have lead separate lives.

An announcement on the radio says they are “thinking of lockdown in Leicester due to a spike in cases…”

Me: Don’t think about it, just do it.

Mum: “He who hesitates is lost.”

Mum is apparently privy to what most people have been up to during lockdown…

“You wouldn’t know it but they’re all in their hot tubs, drinking prosecco and wife swapping with their neighbor.”

Mum’s car needs a new exhaust…

“Tyres and testicles, always expensive one way or the other.”

We’re listening to a woman signing a version of ‘Nessun Dorma’, it’s not very good.

Me: Leave it to Pavarotti, love.

Mum: Is it that woman who couldn’t sing that they made a film about?

Me: I don’t know. Covering my ears. God it’s dreadful.

Mum: Yes, it must be that woman.

Presenter: And that was Aretha Franklin!

Me: What?! She absolutely murdered that.

Mum: Oh dear no, not her finest hour.

It’s the 100th of 5000 wedding dress fittings. Mum huffed and puffed until I agreed to leave the house 45minutes earlier than I calculated was necessary. We have, of course, arrived 45 minutes early.

Me: We’re so early!

Mum: Well, I like to case the joint.

We drive past an old garage that we used to go to in this one horse town. Mum misses the old chap there.

Me: Just say, “Ron’s been on my mind, I was wondering how he is.”

Mum: Yeah, they’ll think I’m a witch.

A clip of a cartoon from my teenage years comes on. It obviously induces vivid flashbacks in mum…

Mum: Oh! Park Life! West Life!

Me: …South Park.

We’re watching the old Glastonburys and there’s some very exciting early ‘00s sort-of techno going down that I think is a bit hardcore rave scene for me. Mum on the other hand…

“Now it’s not Dreadzone is it? I love Dreadzone.”

Mum’s perusing Facebook. Everyone’s putting up photos of them in the ‘70s and now…

Mum: The women are fairing better than the boys.

Me: Do you want to do it?

Mum: No. *Squints at the screen.* Absolutely not.

Still miniscule, Mum has put on weight, as have many other people. Mum is aware it is because she has been eating huge mounds of toast and honey. Everyone else?

“They act like it’s an act of god!”

Mother is weeping at one of Alan Bennett’s tear-jerker ‘Talking Heads’, which I can’t say I thought was up there with his usual brilliance…

Me: Oh god, you’re easy —Bennett’s got your number.

Mum: Oh, anything gets me now.

We decide to flee to Fremmington Quay, I want some cider. I select a fine vintage bottle that is remarkably low priced.

Mum (looking at the elegant bottles I hold): Oh god no! Merry Down!

Me: What?

Mum: I haven’t seen that for 50 years—used to get very pissed on it as teenagers in Cambridge.

Me: It said “vintage”.

Mum: Yes… they’ve intentionally changed the bottle to dupe the next generation.

We’re driving past some new housing estates being built…

“I do hate all this middle-of-the road mock-brutalism”

We buy some veg from one of the farmers, he’s out of runner beans though. There’s three more farmers in this locale to try our luck and mum announces with verve…

“We’re going to visit every emporium to see what they have to offer!”

For the first time since I arrived, someone has indicated which direction they are going to turn their enormous vehicle.

Me: Indication! Signs of life!

Mum: Brain activity is what we’re looking for. There’s plenty of life, it’s brain activity most of them lack.

Getting the train back to Exeter…

Me: God, the train’s £11 for a single, it was £9 last time I was down.

Mum: There’s always an excuse for things to go up, it’s funny there’s never an excuse for them to go down.

Mum and I are gazing at the rising moon, soon to pass behind the beautifully hideous civic center, demonstrating our contradictory outlooks on existence…

Mum: Nothing matters very much.

Me: Or it all matters incredibly.

Mum: But there’s nothing you can do about it.

Me: And that’s what’s so wonderful.

A Tory MP has been done for sexual assault, or rape, or something awful, but they haven’t released his name.

Me: Must have an injunction of some sort.

Mum: There have to be good reasons for an injunction.

Me: Or a good lawyer.

The Canada Geese have returned to the estuary, and they float down the river and rave on the water every night, much to mother’s distress.

“Oh, I do hope they’re not going to have another party tonight. No, really, all that honking all night – too much.”

We’re driving through one of the one horse towns of my childhood that I still cherish. It’s changed, in some ways for the better, in many ways not. I look over at where the cattle market used to be by the swimming pool…

Me: Do they have any cows there anymore?

Mum: No, they don’t like the “animal faeces”. But they let they’re dogs crap everywhere, then they put it in a litter bag and throw it in a tree. What’s that about?!

Mother calls from the other room…

“Dystopia doesn’t suit me. Don’t like the wardrobe for dystopia, doesn’t suit anyone.”

I am explaining about cancelling and cancel culture.

Mum: Cancel me now!

Me: Oh believe me, if this had a big enough audience you’d be cancelled in a heartbeat.

Mum: Fucking great. No platform this bitch!

We overhear a group of avid runners. Some maybe over-avid?

Me, aghast: Did you hear that? She’s run 1400 miles since lockdown.

Mum: Not all at once, surely.

Mum is talking about Bojo’s plans to build a giant erection (bridge) from Scotland to Ireland.

“They’re on drugs.” She narrows her eyes. “I just don’t know what drugs.”

My mother and I thank other people in cars endlessly, even if we have been driven into a ditch, it’s “Thank you!” We smile to someone who has done exactly this and doesn’t even bother to acknowledge our existence. I am insulted. Mum…

“They’re rude, bourgeois people who have come down here to grow begonias.”

I am showing mum some photos from Fremmington Quay. I sneakily took one of her without permission.

“God! Who’s that strange old crone drinking Merry Down?”

Sometimes I get words stuck in my head, and sometimes I’m not even sure what they mean…

Me: What is a ‘contretemps’, an argument?

Mum: Yes, an argument: Contre. Temps.

Me: Just asking. I may know many things but I do not know all things absolutely.

Mum: That’s a surprise.

Me: If I don’t know something I’ll ask.

Mum: No that’s very wise, really. That’s problem with many people, they don’t ask when they don’t know.

We’re watching ‘Jane’, a film about Jane Austen, where there’s lots of glancing across rooms and playing with each other’s hair, but suddenly people are running joyfully down a hill. Mum sighs wistfully at the gleeful runners…

“Oh! How wonderful to be so young you could do such a thing without endangering yourself.”

Genuinely think this might be Merry Down…

Ben Fogg Makes Laugh

Meant to put this up a while ago: hilarious friend, writer, director, pianist, comic, producer, control freak/genius, Ben Fogg, has made some rather hilarious videos to help him gain er gainful employment. They really are funny. And he pixilates his privates. And I’m in a couple of ’em, of course (otherwise it’d be shit) (no, they wouldn’t have) ….


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Motherisms: The Great Escape …

I know. It’s Valentine’s Day, I’m so sorry. It is now as inevitable as needing the loo eventually. There is no escape from its cellophane-wrapped clutches. BUT, don’t worry if you don’t have someone to say something nice to you, or someone to buy you a fake pearl/bad watch/silk boxers/teddybear. Remember you always have your friends and family, who love you. Why not say something nice to them, as well as your beloved? Why not use today to be really nice and loving to everyone in your life instead of hoping for a bunch of roses and some chocolates rich enough to fill the hole.

These are all the nice things mum and I have been saying to each other over the last few months …..

I walk in to mum’s flat, she’s moving house and boxes are everywhere in preparation for the move. As I come into the kitchen I see her bent over and wrestling with some very thick masking tape in her mouth …

Me: What are you doing …?

Mum: It’s Chinese New Year, you can’t use scissors.

Me: Oh …

Mum: Yes. Bit of shame we’re moving today but there we go …

I want an animal. I have wanted one for 10 years. The quest continues …

Me: We have to get a dog. Or any sort of pet, but really, specifically a dog. They lower heart disease by 78%.

Mum: Yes I know they do darling but I can’t have one now anyway.

Me: I’ve started stroking them on the street now, just to get a fix.

Mum: No, I do Hatha yoga. Much cleaner.

Mum’s playing a CD in the car, I haven’t heard it since our first house. Turns out neither mum …

Me: Who is this? We used to play this all the time. I love him

Mum: You know, I can’t remember …

Mum ejects the CD so we can look (we’re stationary, don’t worry beackseaters) …

Mum: Bruce Coben

I’ve read it, that’s not what it said. Mum must have terrible eyesight, poor old woman, she can’t read anymore …


Mum: COBURN, it’s pronounced CO-BURN. Cockburn …. Jesus.

Mum’s moved in to a new place that has, shall we say, the ‘capacity’ for an older person. This means a lovely walk-in power-shower and a strange array cords dangling from the ceiling, neither of us are sure of their purpose. I am bored, so I reach for one to see what will happen …

Mum: Don’t pull that! God knows what it does.

I don’t. But examine it suspiciously.

Mum: We’ll spray them all silver …

Me: No, gold remember, for warmth.

Mum: Yes good. I’ll just say my daughter is a very famous artist and got carried away. Do apologise.

Mum’s talking about something I’ve written. She is getting carried away …

Mum: You could channel the spirit of the late Brian Sewell … very underestimated.

Me: I feel I’ve done underestimated.

Mum is putting on some makeup, she looks infinitely more presentable than I do, but is not happy with the results …

“Oh god. This is it. What Shakespeare said: sans teeth, sans eyes … sans bloody everything.”

Mum is on the phone to her friend. They’re talking about the recent engagement between Jerry Hall and babe-magnet Rupert Murdoch. Mum appears to have some interesting theories on the union …

Mum: I think he’s a reptile. I think she’ll come into their room on their wedding night and he’ll be there, sitting in a big chair, a huge reptile with his lizard claws, waiting …

There’s a pause …

Mum: Yeah I’d do it for £10 billion.

We’re discussing our new-found saintliness ….

Mum: I’ve lost my capacity to drink large amounts of wine

Me: I’ve lost the desire to.

Mum: Yes the desire to. Like port though …

Me: Me too. Lots.

Mum: Got to keep away from that, too much and it’ll make you fat … and give you gout.

Me: Noted.

It’s a few months ago now and Mum’s on the phone to my godfather. They’re talking about the presidential election (not in depth). Mum is struggling to remember who the “cool, old guy” is. I can’t help but offer some assistance …

Me: Bernie Sanders.

Mum: Jade’s telling me it’s Bernie Sanders. Apparently she keeps a note of my political preferences.

Me: No, I’m not keeping note. I just know who he is.

Mum starts making a variety of childish faces at me in response.

It’s Christmas and we’re all watching Downton Abbey – mum and I are used to chatting through TV shows like this. Today, we’re not allowed, because it turns out we aren’t as entertaining. Mum is struggling, and just can’t keep her mouth shut. The butler has come down to give the well-to-doers some news …

American Lady: Where’s Lady Edith?

Mum: Tripwire, me lady.

Mum has a love-hate relationship with The Archers. I just have mild disdain (but affection for the theme tune). It is on, as it is at 7pm every night of our lives …

Mum: Come on!!!

Archers: I think I need a cup of tea …

Mum: Well go and have one!!!

Archers: Just cleaning up the workshop …

Mum: Oh, for crying out loud. I hoped Rachel would stay in New Zealand.

Archers: These cows, when I look at them …

Me: … I get aroused.

Archers: They’re like family.

Mum: Yes. Great. Another bloody homily of cows! Get on with it. Let’s have a murder for once!

We’re settling down to some well-deserved television:

Mum: Ah now this is Bear Grylls who’s fallen in love with a lunatic …

I laugh, knowingly …

Me: It’s Ben Fogle and Rich Hall ….

I realize 45 minutes later that, it is indeed Ben Fogle, but it’s not Rich Hall, it is a mad man who lives in a swamp.

Mum is looking through the Style magazine in the papers, which I now loath.  It’s turned into Mizz. But anyway …

Mum: I do wish these girls would learn to cover up one day.

Me: They will soon, I told you, Dolce and Gabanna have started making hijabs.

Mum: Oh…

Me: I might get one, a hijab. As an act of rebellion …

Mum: Mmm … I won’t discourage this, you’ve always looked great in a veil.

Mum’s complaining about the youth of today, as usual. I agree with her but like to pick holes, for picking holes sake …

Mum: Smart phone, dumb people.

Me: And there’s you begging me for my smart phone.

Mum: Well you can fuck your fucking smart phone.


Mum is talking about the cold draft that comes into flat. Apparently this has something to do with squirrels …

“Now you see, squirrels have an extra layer of fat to get them through the winter …  the little bastards.”

We are reconvening mid-week and discussing anything interesting we have come across. Mum is first …

Mum: There’s an article in The Times about teenage feminist boys …

Me: I’ve seen it. I’ve never seen so much bullshit in all my life, sorry. I don’t believe the buggers. The title and pull quotes were enough.

Mum: One must be aware of the bullshit.

Me: Yeah, I’m aware of it, I’m just not willing to engage in 6 pages of it .

Mum: Yes no, fair enough ….I wasn’t either.

It’s the Archers again ….

Archers: Can I share something with you?

Archers: What?

Me: Pull my finger  …

Mum: Oh don’t be so ridiculous jade. Shush now.

A pause …

Archers: There’s something I want to do …

Mum: Suck your dick.

Me: Mum!!!!!

Mum: You wait …

(She’s a little graphic, but as usual, correct.)


Motherisms: The Return

It’s been a while, too long I know some believe, but sometimes life doesn’t give you much amusing ammunition. Fortunately for everyone we’re emerging out the other side, and mum is firing on all cylinders.

(Excuse half-arsed/mixed up gun/car metaphor). ((Thanks)).

I have discovered people are EATING the cute little ponies that run wild on Dartmoor. I express my distress to mum. This is how our text conversation goes:

Me: They’re selling poor little dartmoor ponies as sausages!! In the times xxx

Mum: Its the only way they will survive. Heard this woman on the farming prog. Meat is meat, horse, cow, whatever. At the moment they go for dog food. Uneconomic for moorland farmers now, they are turning to sheep and cattle which will chang the whole ecology of the moorland. This way they are slaughtered close to home rather than being trucked miles to be slaughtered for dog food. Im all for it!! xxxx

Everyone knows I’m squeamish/pathetic and predominantly vegetarian. What mum’s forgotten is I also have a tendency to fall asleep on the sofa. So when I fail to react to mum’s practical nature I receive …

Mum: Oh shit! have .I shocked you.? This phome only does very basic punctuation. Xxx

(As if good punctuation and grammar might soften the blow). It’s only 12hrs later she receives the reassuringly idiotic:

Me: Oh no!! I fell asleep! Only just got that. Well, maybe I will start a pony sanctuary, divert all the sausage ponies in to my field xxx

Mum: Yes.Ok darling xxxx

Mum likes to vocalise when she’s bought a lottery ticket, as if voicing its possession somehow increases our numbers’ chances …

“Well I bought a lottery ticket for Saturday as it’s over 20 million, I only do them now if they’re over 20 million – though I’m thinking I might get scratch cards, where the disappointments more immediate.”

A ‘Sun Life’ life insurance advert is on television and they’re kindly offering a free pen, just for enquiring ….

Sun Life: And you’ll receive a welcome gift  ….

Mum: When you’re dead.

Mum is talking about a boy she used to babysit who’s cut his long hair ….

“He’s much happier since he’s out of this Jesus faze. He used to sit there under this veil of misery.”

We’ve just watched Lady in the Van and are talking about the Ascension at the end ….

Mum: A ‘beam-up’ doesn’t seem too likely  …

Me (always searching for the positive): Well, who knows …

Mum (change of tune): I do. We shed our bodies and our spirit goes on to something else, then we get to start again and become one with the fucking universe, man.

Me: Ok! Cool.

Mum has been learning about Kim Kardashian and Kanye West – I assume through the Daily Mail she flicks through in Sainsbury’s but refuses to buy…

Mum: That woman with the fat bottom and her husband who’s designed a line of absolutely horrible beige things …

Me: Yes. What? I try not to think about them …

Mum: Well, she’s pregnant again and has been squeezed into this latex dress-thing. It’s absolutely comical!

A very accurate afterthought comes to mum …

Mum: He’s very up himself isn’t he, the husband.

Me: Yeah. I think it’s sort of beyond that …

We’re watching Judge Judy, I have no problem with this but mum seems to think she needs to make an excuse ….

Mum: Judge Judy is better than the news …

Me: The news makes me nervous.

Mum: Me too, I can’t watch the news. I read the papers but the news makes me anxious. It’s designed to make you anxious; if you’re anxious, you’re conservative.

Inspired by The Simpsons I buy some pink florescent donuts and bring them back to the car. I can see mum’s face contorting in horror as I approach. I get in …

Mum: Oh my god no!!! Darling what have you done?! I’m not even sure I want to share the car with them ….


Mum has been telling me that her old doctor, Dr Beaven, once told her that if someone dies you should go out and tell the bees. I have, coincidentally, mentioned a bee in passing, in one of my poems. Mum is reading the poem …

Mum: You’ve stolen my bee line! We’re like Shelley and Keats!

Me: Just like Shelley and Keats.

(In case of future lawsuits: I didn’t steal her bee line, I just used the word bee.)

We’re watching Have I Got News For You and are learning Germany sent a Saint a license fee bill. (She died in 774) …

Mum: Well, I wont take the water bills too seriously any more.

Me: I’d have them sent ‘Care Of’ St Jude if I were you.

We’re watching Judge Judy again. There is a robust woman, very pretty, with burnt copper hair and a complexion I can only dream about, mum feels equally bitter …

“I’d die for skin and hair like that … she’s probably related to Henry VIII …. they’re about the same size.”

I’m reading a newspaper out loud …

Me: Stress is on the rise, is this news?

Mum: Of course not. Who’s surprised? All these people do is just sit on the sofa watching other people with perfect lives, eating ice cream.

Me: Where as we watch Judge Judy and Police Interceptors and eat brown rice and vegetables …

Mum: Exactly.


We’re talking about where mum will go when she moves out of the beloved little ‘garret’ in January …

Me: Maybe I’ll put you in an old peoples home ..

Mum(with utmost sincerity): You put me in an old peoples home, I make sure they throw me out!

We’ve just had people simulate some shagging in a perfume advert, now we’re watching people shagging again in some drama thing …

“Sex used to be fun when I was young, everyone kept quiet, it was furtive and secret; now it’s like having a bowl of cornflakes. So boring.”


I’ve finally done something relatively sensible, that someone incredibly sensible advised I did. I’m reading out an email in response to my sensible thing to mum …

Mum: Doesn’t give much away does it?

Me: Think that’s called ‘expectation management’ …

Mum: Yes. Right … That’s what I have to start doing.

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All That Glitters

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London, you are usually overcast when I visit you. Maybe twice a year when I’m up you’ll be blazing hot and people will be outside drinking like Europeans on the continent, but without the European tact of stopping before they’re sick.

The last time I came to visit you was only a week ago, for a funeral. Not ‘a’ funeral; the funeral of my godmother, who had lived in the same house in Battersea my entire life, had always had both fire and central heating on, and had been an invisible pillar in the structure of my life; there for me to lean on if it ever got bad enough. Invisible only in the fact that I never felt it had got bad enough for me to lean on her, and so I hadn’t truly realised what a fixture she was until she was gone.
You were grey the day of her funeral too, not warm either. But she had left you on your sunniest day, just before the super moon.
Now, there is one less person in this world I can lean on, so I imagine her invisible column bolstering my spine and promise to stand up taller for the rest of my life.

This week (and, I brace myself at the thought: for the next two weeks) I am up for work and I thank the indian summer that you are not yet at your bleakest. Your thin laced, blue-grey skies are still off-set by the leaves on your few remaining trees; green if evergreen but burnt, bright, red in the vines on the outskirts of town.

In Victoria however, you are at your greyest. I slowly slalom my way out of the underground and try to prepare myself for human interaction, to remember to “SMILE”, because people don’t like girls who don’t smile. You get told to “cheer up”, regardless of whether cheering up is conducive to a good production or not, or really, whether it’s conducive to being sane. But I’m not high enough up the chain or far enough in the belly of these things to start exercising my opinion, unless it is positive. I know my place in their eyes.

Fortunately, I also know my place in mine.

So I set myself up for all this; for the advertising producer to eye me up, and not quite understand me or be able to file me away somewhere so instead he’ll treat me with slight distrust. Like a spicy desert or a tame dingo that could turn feral again at any moment and maul everyone at the Perspex table we meet on. I prepare myself for this.

People walk and storm past me, with varying huffs and struts of importance. I wish they wouldn’t all wear grey and black. Though I am wearing black, and I do very much like grey; and that bright computer blue of that lady’s coat is horrible but I do wish people could create a more pleasing palette to walk among.
I keep in mind I am the person I find disheartening; I am wearing black and I am looking at my phone trying to find my way to the production office. But, for once, I am not in a rush.

Things change.

As I turn off the grey street with its glasshouse shops and steel ship architecture, there’s a bustle of red brick and green leaves, and between the two worlds is Westminster Cathedral, though I don’t realise it is Westminster Cathedral until I get closer because I’ve never been there before, but I suppose you know that. I did know it must be some sort of cathedral, or maybe I thought it was a church at this point, but what’s the difference. (I’m not asking).
On the steps a girl flamboyantly crosses herself before she goes off to a purposeful and confident days work, brimming with the holy spirit in her navy, satin puffer coat – it looks warm.

I creep inside the Cathedral. It’s better than I expect, large and long and cavernous, with paintings and mosaics of saints, cornflower blue seeping through the honeycombed windows, green and ochre wood-like marble columns support the heavy, empty ceilings; cloistered men chat in red by the pews and lights dangle from wrought iron chandeliers.
I walk down the aisle and feel the cool air as I breath. ‘Cathedrals always make me cry.’ I think as I feel the tears coming, but I don’t like crying so much anymore so I wonder why my eyes fill instead and clear them with thought. I think of all the souls, wishes, despairs, hopes, sins, secrets, notes that were sung, they still hang in the air; it’s all here in the atmosphere and it’s almost overwhelming. Imagine if they’d lit the incense. I wish they’d lit the incense.
I hear a lady’s knee crack as she gets up from her prayers.

This calms me down.

There are about 10 people including myself scattered around the brown benches; we seem to all be from different continents, which is very diverse of us. I choose a pew alone on either side, I need room for my thoughts –  I like to observe, but need the privacy to think. The thrill of the voyeur is stolen if one is being observed oneself, but I feel no eyes on me here. It is a great relief.

I watch a priest prepare a white-clothed table beneath a huge, pillared temple-thing, I suppose there’s a word for that, my mum and sister probably know it. I however, do not. So to me, it is a huge Greek temple stuck in the middle of the cathedral, and that is impressive. The priest is going about laying the table, preparing it endlessly under gold white light and I drift away from him. As he continues to go through the motions, he blurs and clouds and my minds eye comes into focus. I imagine an easier life.

I don’t know what I would ask from God anymore, I’ve asked for most and am still waiting for the vast majority. I understand that with some things, like the chick I accidentally killed when I was three going to heaven, it’s hard to tell if He followed through or not, but other stuff like, ‘give me a break’ or ‘cash injection please’ it’s become increasingly apparent the Holy Spirit won’t be intervening on my behalf anytime soon. So I just sit and instead imagine what might lie ahead of me today and how I can make it easy on myself.

Just be easy on yourself.

With that decided I get up, St Barnabas in mosaic to my left, royal blue and beaming I find him quite a humorous and comforting chap.
I know I am leaving now. I light a candle because I have change and it’s a nice thing to do. I watch the flame bloom and cradle my fingers around it for a few moments, then wonder if I can take it with me. Then, know I can’t.
A few paces in front of me and to the right, just off the exit passage (whatever that’s called) I find an entirely sparkling room: the ceiling all in metallic glistening mosaic, Jesus and Latin in sparkling tiles and an old lady who has been there a while.
She’s illuminated in every direction by a thousand glass stars. She seems the centre of this little universe, so I leave her alone to be restored by the glitter.

As I make my way out I think I don’t have anything against religion; but then my brain rises with ‘OH! Jade. But the wars and the horror that has been waged and is waged in the name of religion.’ I pause in thought, momentarily appalled by myself for even thinking such a frivolously backward thing.
Then, as always, something lurches forward to defend me, this time from, myself.
‘Thank you social conditioning, but no; I don’t think I do have anything against religion, by religion I mean it’s very essence: spirituality. Religion at its base teaches one very simple concept that is very hard not to agree with, love and tolerance. (Oh so that’s my opinion. Feels slightly dangerous to have one … maybe it’s not the right one. How much do I care if it’s not? ‘)
I have plenty against people. I have plenty against people who can’t see past the picture to the meaning, or who distort and warp and complicate it beyond recognition. Who use it for gain or greed, to use their given name for “it” to kill. I have plenty against them. Because people seem to do a very fine job of abusing, deceiving and slaughtering each other without the bastion of religion. We are usually the problem.’

Like a finger pointing at the moon, we must remember to see the moon, not the finger.

So no, in here, I feel safe. Protected from the deluge of aspirational mentality that is now the lifeblood of London. It’s hollow and fake and it makes me sick. But I need the money, and that, unfortunately, is another mentality.
For now though, I am still here in Westminster Cathedral and in a sense, because I have been here, I am always here in this ever expanding moment that runs like a race track through time.

No, I have nothing against religion itself and little against you, London. Little except for the fact you are no longer my home. And though I know you so well, you aren’t mine anymore. So I don’t mind your grey skies so much, I won’t be long under them, because I do have enough against you to stay away.

Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 21.51.59


Beverly Hills hit us like a naff old cloth. We’d had to move from our little Spanish paradise in Laurel Canyon for a week as the owners were hosting their friends wedding party. So we had consulted airbnb again, my boyfriend was keen to stay in Beverly Hills and I had imagined Beverly Hills was Miami, and everyone there was Eddie Murphy – so I don’t know why I wasn’t more averse to staying there.
We found a place with 5 stars for a little more than we were paying here, with a pool – classy, in a tacky way.

On our way down there we received a text from the owner, let’s call him Chad, imploring us to let him know if there was anything that he could do to make sure he got 5 stars, as he relied on it. Ok Chad, chill out a bit.

We cruised down the street where we were staying and arrived at a pink bungalow with flamingoes scattered about the small lawn and an American flag gagging for a breeze. I burst out laughing and started taking pictures like a spiteful little teenager. But it was like a John Waters dream house, plus I can show you what it looks like now ….

Lovely ....

Lovely ….

Mmm ...

Mmm …

Chad was out when we arrived so we stepped inside the gated pool area where we were staying, to find a bone yard of sun loungers, hundreds of them, laying in wait for some party, some joy that was only ever going to happen in the ‘70s and will now, never happen. Also, it turned out the pool was rotting and around it were statues of Joseph and Mary, staring at a baby Jesus. There were a few li-los floating around the stagnant pool, occasionally colliding with some maniacal plastic ducks wearing shades.


We stepped inside the “pool house studio”. It turned out, we had 1/5 of the pool house photographed. The room was miniscule, fragile and decorated in turquoise by a psychopath. Floral paintings covered in some strange gel goo, turquoise branches sprouting behind the kitchen cabinet next to the bed of horrors with a pillow reading “home is wherever you are”. I did not like this notion currently. Off to the bathroom – oh Chad. You installed gigantic red brothel lights in the ceiling, that when activated radiate so much heat you can feel your skin prickle, and when you look in the mirror you look like a child of the corn. The shower was beige tiles. The kitchen was a microwave and a minute fridge situated in the closet. Lovely.

We decide we need to leave and hit the streets, we bump in to Chad on our way out. He is cowering in his silver car doing Christ knows what. In his photo he looked like a 7ft clean-shaven jock, in reality he is 5ft, sweating savagely, a humiliated shade of purple, bearded and be-capped. Instagram is a strange beast.

“Oh hey guys, you like the place?”

I’m currently standing next to his collection of ashtrays, wiggling surfer men and dying cactuses.

“Yeah, it’s great.”

Always avoid conflict if possible, I am learning.

“Let me know if there’s anything I can do to ensure 5 stars.”


Why don’t you quit with the 5star thing Chad? Why are you piling on the pressure? Is it because you know that although quoted as on “Millionaire’s row baby” I’d rather be sleeping in that shed the guy on The Fast Show comes out of and says “This week I’ve mostly been …”. I start feeling anxious. He does not deserve five stars, but if we rate him badly, he rates us badly. WHY ARE WE TRAPPED IN THIS MORAL HELL?? It’s not good for my anxiety. Neither is all that blue.

We walk out expecting millionaires’ road or row or whatever it is, to be filled with classy cafes, expensive clothes shops maybe even the illusive “corner shop” found in England. But no, Beverly Hills is just a few Mobils, a couple of banks, some more ominous grey empty banks, some dry cleaners and a coffee shop.
Rodeo Drive is Sloan Street in the way that it has an entire street full of shops that I stopped wanting to go in past the age of 14 – you heard me Chanel. Rodeo also has a nice Italian ram packed with fake boobs and posers and really good food, served by traditional Italian-Mexicans.
There were also the La Brea tar pits – molten pits of tar that were unfortunately gated, who knows what might’ve happened if they weren’t.

Our main ambition while staying at Chad’s was to spend as little time as possible there, so my improvisation course at The Groundlings starting on the second day we arrived was rather timely, and fun. That took up two days a week, for the other few days we wandered around outside.
While wondering round Beverly Hills I noticed that at around 4.40/5pm it always seems to get a little cooler, the sky clouds slightly and the wind shakes the palm trees as if summoning a storm. This is when the crows of Beverly Hills come out, when the streets are mysteriously empty and the light a little less vivid than a few minutes a go. They crow and swoop and the whole thing gets generally spooky, which is when we would head back to our psychopath pad and watch The X Files to drown out the surrounding horror.

The horror finally ended on a very happy Monday morning and we moved to a haven in Venice the same afternoon where we had a whole house, a beautiful warm bungalow, bigger than we needed with a huge kitchen that made you feel like a fucking success, and a bush full of humming birds just in case you didn’t feel fucking magnificent enough. Fuck this place was great. I sunned myself and read Sylvia Plath and was generally inert for a while. Then wrote a poem about being inert and melodramatic, I think that was all I achieved in Venice.

If you look close enough you can see a humming bird ....

If you look close enough you can see a humming bird …. or maybe it’s a big black bee, but hummingbirds are basically the same size so use your imagination.

Then it was back to Laurel Canyon  where our lovely landlady was lovely and had fresh towels and lovely vibes for us.
The next day we were off to Joshua tree. OR were we going to watch the Maywether Pacaio (I can’t be bothered to find out how to spell their names) fight? I had tried, vaguely, to get us tickets to the impossibly and ridiculously overpriced fight – I think tickets were going for like $17,000 or something, like the price of a banana going up to $1 billion dollars in Zimbabwe. Except a banana is probably more useful.
Anyway, I had tried vaguely and failed definitely at getting us tickets, but my boyfriend was still keen to watch the fight at a bar called ‘Roccos’ – this was looking all the more possible as his uncle’s girlfriend had had an audition and already moved the trip once.
I was pretty convinced I wanted to see Joshua tree, not the Mani Pacio fight. Not that I was averse to the Paquiao fight – I had been willing to fight either one of them had it got us tickets. But seems as both those little lady boys couldn’t handle sidling up to this beast machine, the option of watching it on a flat screen with lots of people I don’t know and possibly don’t like, and alcohol, just wasn’t doing it for me. Not above camping out and lookin’ at bugs n’ stuff. I love bugs n’ stuff.
Fortunately for my bugs n’ stuff we were off to Joshua Tree! Hurrah! And only a couple of hours late as my boyfriend had sent our address while we were staying in Venice, now though, a film crew were staying there and we were up in Laurel Canyon (a nice 40 minute drive) as his uncle and girlfriend found out when they had a chat with the film crew.

But against all odds we got in the car and set off towards NATURE. THE WILD. THE GREAT OUTDOORS, the “wicky wicky wild wild west” as Will Smith once put it. I find myself genuinely craving to just go to the countryside and lie on the ground, I think more and more people are (not necessarily craving the ground contact I am but..), we’re realizing these cities we’ve built ourselves are little cages where we can be watched and controlled, and with the development of the internet where we are also watched and controlled, we might as well make the most of it and use it to make living in the countryside feasible rather than it just being another system within a system. Use it, use it goddamnit! Use it for your benefit, the benefit of your life not your tenuous social connections. This aside, I just find I need enough grass between myself and another person to be able to make mistakes, and nature is much more forgiving of those I find.

We drove down the hot highways out of LA – it was a heat wave that weekend, hitting about 100 degrees in the desert (who knows what that means but it sounds more impressive than centigrade.) We drove past Palm Springs with its 80s surfer writing and vestiges of plastic cups, metallic tattoos, cheap crochet tops and man bangles bought for this seasons Coachella. But we kept driving, and driving, and driving. The landscape slowly descending into exactly what I had been hoping for – desert. The first time I’ve been in a desert. We drove past the last Oasis towns of burger shacks and entered the National Park.
Now, when my brain is alert before my mouth I try to make the most of it and avoid looking like an idiot; so I kept it to myself that I thought ‘Joshua Tree’ National Park had a focal point of one very special Joshua Tree.
As we whizzed passed hundreds of trees stuck in sort of malfunctioning robot positions I overheard these were Joshua Trees. And from this I deduced there must not just be one giant one – it was funny how my level of interest in these malfunctioning robot trees peaked slightly when I realised they were what I had been looking for and so were basically famous.

Tell me that doesn't look like a malfunctioning robot ....

Tell me that doesn’t look like a malfunctioning robot ….

We stopped in Joshua Tree to have a beer, which I drank to feel the part, and sit on a large rock. By this time it was late afternoon and having discovered the camping site inside the park was closed, we needed to drive further off towards Cottonwood Mountains to find a place to camp.



It took about an hour and a half to drive through the park and come out the other side and by this time it was dusk – so we just decided to plonk ourselves on an area outside the park and hope we didn’t get eaten by bears or red necks.

FYI girls: bears are NOT attracted by your periods – it’s just more BS (bs look how American I am) that has been shoved in your brain to make you feel guilty for being yourself. Run wild. Be free, whatever time of the month. Bears will still eat you though. So still watch out for that.

Having set up our tent with surprising success, even with my involvement, we sat down to drink beers and light fires, a fire.
As the darkness swaddled us in to our little area, it really did start to feel wild, you could hear things rustling, the promise of a Brown Recluse just millimeters from your toes but you can’t see it so it’s almost like there’s nothing there.
I decided I fancied drinking some whiskey seems as I was in the desert. I don’t really like whisky it just felt like the right thing to do, so I drank it and didn’t listen to much of the conversation, just pretended I was some very successful male American writer back in the ‘50s. So I had a good time.

Sausages were cooked and I cant remember what else, I had a bun and some nuts. It all got blurry. Then I remember getting up in the middle of the night, the desert was floodlit by the moon, and I could see my way to go to the loo completely clearly, clear enough to see a little kangaroo rat sprint out of my way. Kangaroo Rats are the best animals on the planet – here is a picture that I did not take:


The next morning we woke early as we started cooking inside our tents from around 5am. So we lit a fire – to help the sun roast our organs – cooked some breakfast and hung out in the desert for as long as our hangovers would let us. I wandered around for a bit and found the coolest thing I’ve ever found – a desert crystal. Now known as ‘the lucky crystal’ for no other reason than I found it.

Yes thank you my fingernails are lovely x

Yes thank you my fingernails are lovely x

Not too much has happened since our return, work has had to take a front seat for a bit as even though its pretty cool to ‘drop out’ here, and you can wear all the clothes you used to wear when you weren’t homeless and still look trendy, I’d rather not. Not when I just got a lucky crystal.

Tonight I’m off to Warner Bros Studios to watch the filming of a new sit com the husband of a lady in my improv class is directing. Excited is not the right word as I don’t like leaving the house, but it should be interesting.
I don’t want to get my hopes up but I reckon if I act like I’m the most important person in the room and just pitch my unfinished sit com right in the middle of rehearsals, you could be talking to a very successful lady by the end of the evening – if you chose to call me.

Or I’ll just stay very quite, and get even quieter when people talk to me and wish I would complete at least one project in my life.

Who knows.

More soon. Stay excellent x

Oh and ps. Someone made a mockery of me while I slept. Here’s a picture of it: