I won’t lie, I’ve never been what you’d call a keen runner. As a child, I felt running was what you should do only if a) you were playing British Bulldog or b) you are being chased by a lion/tiger/bear/other. I first took up running in 2006, entering my first race in the July (Race for Life, 5k). I discovered I wasn’t as crap as all that and actually enjoyed it. Well, I really enjoyed the goody bag at the end. Running 3 consecutive miles was no mean feat for someone who felt very self-conscious whilst running outside in public. I did a 10k the following January, didn’t die, got a mug for doing so and then didn’t run again much for a couple of years.

This year, I have got back into it in a big way. I’ve kept up with some summer jogs around the village since moving to Fishbourne but this year I’ve entered two 10ks and the Great South Run. AND I discovered the joy of parkrun. With some very special support and encouragement I’ve found myself not only running regularly but actually enjoying it and I’m on the verge of joining a running club. Basically, so I can find out about more races. And no, my bum hasn’t fallen off. Yet.

My knees threw in the towel a couple of weeks back following an Achilles problem so I had two weeks of no training followed by two weeks of very little training. I guess I managed 20 miles in total in each of those weeks. I decided that I would simply go for finishing in under 1 min 45, get the goody bag and gracefully retire for the winter as I always do. I’d wear the knee support, walk if I had do and try again another time.

But today, for the first time in my life, I ran solidly for 10 miles in Portsmouth. My bike wasn’t broken, I wasn’t being chased and I actually enjoyed it. I never stopped to walk, I high-fived as many people as I could and I smiled as much as I could without looking weird. I know: people run that distance all the time and have done so for years. Many of them run a darn site faster too. Good for them. So I’m nothing special but I tried. And I did it in respectable time too. In fact, I also achieved my best ever 10 k time in the process. An interesting occasion to go and do that and not a tiger in sight…





This week I have found  myself with little to do. Not the intention: I had work booked in and so cleared the decks of other work from other publishers to make way for it. And then I got told that, due to some paperwork issues, I can’t actually start the new projects yet. Hmmmm… I have the files but I can’t actually do anything with them. So, here I am in this odd situation. I’m actually finding things to occupy me now and there is always plenty going on, but Tuesday I felt particularly discombobulated. Scrub that: I was in a right mood. I could tidy the study, I could clean the house, I could do some gardening, I could do so many things. But I didn’t want to do any of it. Bollocks to the lot of it.

You’re probably thinking that there are 59 different things you could be doing, wouldn’t it be marvellous and what’s the problem? However, when you’re freelance, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. You plan holidays around work or save like anything in advance of time out. You also have some intention of what you will be doing with your time off whether you work for someone or not, and are generally prepared for it. If you suddenly find yourself standing on the edge of freedom and you don’t know what to do with it, it is actually a little bit overwhelming.

Lots of people ask me about what I do and how I find the motivation. It’s easy, A job comes in, you’re given a deadline and if you want to be paid for and later receive further work, you get on and do it. It is that simple. If you don’t have any work, you go around asking for it. I was amazed at how motivated I am and how much work I can get done. What most people don’t get is that the freedom self employment gives you isn’t the straightforward thing it first appears. The constraints are still there. The need to work is greater than you think.

And this brings me to the grieving issue. Years ago, whilst doing teacher training I was told about the process of bereavement you go through when transitioning from one placement to another, and it’s much the same as changing jobs, losing some one or something, moving house or any other huge life-changing situation. I was already familiar with the Kubler-Ross stages of grief from her book On Death and Dying (1969). I find the application of that model to this kind of mundane situation fascinating but it also makes perfect sense and actually helps me deal with it. This is a rare thing these days for me to experience. I hardly have chance to miss the old work I’ve done or think about how it made me feel. So the fact I’m here now and mulling it over is odd.

Let’s be honest, hands up: you have moved house, started a new job or stopped using a service such as a hairdresser or a restaurant. You know you ought to be happy and over the moon. The new job is better paid and offers better prospects. The new house has two bathrooms and is in a much nicer area. The new car you bought is quicker and won’t break down. The new dressing gown doesn’t have holes in it…But you find yourself missing the old one. The old one was a better colour, the old colleagues were nicer and friendlier, you preferred the music in the old pub, you liked the old sitting room. Dare I say it, you even feel a bit sad. Then a bit guilty for missing it. Don’t. Embrace it. It’s all part of moving on and adapting to the new situation. Things are never black and white. There is good and bad in every place you look. Fors and againsts. Enjoy the chance to appreciate it.

NB: if you’re interested in knowing more about the stages of grief, this is a good link:


It’s very simplistic but they are:

1. Denial/isolation

2. Anger

3. Bargaining

4. Depression

5. Acceptance

You pass through these stages in any order, any time and can return to a previous stage until you reach acceptance.

Herewith, dear reader, is the top 10 choices from my début albums list. I’ve had a fair amount of argument from some people telling me there are a lot of supergroups and solo efforts in this list. Probably, yes. Anyway, I stand by it, today at any rate. As is always the case with these lists, tweeting and sharing the fun choice by choice is a pleasure. It’s nice to hear what other people think, even if it is just ‘awful crap’, and even better when people go off to check out something because you’ve rated it, let you know their thoughts and tell you they like it too….

1. Led Zeppelin/Led Zeppelin I                                                      

Babe I’m Gonna Leave You             1969  

This, considering it’s a debut, is very strong indeed. Musically impressive, there is everything from the quick 2 minutes of Black Mountain Side to the epic Dazed and Confused with it’s terrifying guitar wail. The track I have chosen off it begins as quiet and sad folk that explodes into wonder. No real bum tracks on it. Stunning, frankly.

2. Black Sabbath/Black Sabbath                                                  

NIB                                                1970  

I never know where to begin when describing Sabbath. I can’t find fault in any way. The first six albums are a must in anyone’s collection. The noise is incredible and they’re still performing today (and you should see them, even if it’s just the once). It is credited as being the first real heavy metal album. I don’t know whether this is true or not. Apparently it was recorded in 12 hours too. Anyway Iommi’s guitar playing never ceases to amaze. Just awesome.

3. Yes/Yes 

Yesterday and Today 1969

The greatest progressive music band ever. Their albums seem to have been around forever for me. I own many on vinyl and have done so for years, despite the fact I haven’t always had access to a record player. This is a lovely and sweet introduction to their epic musical world.

4. George Harrison/All Things Must Pass                                        

What is Life?                                    1970  

Some of the songs on this album I’ve known all my life but the album itself I have only come to know in the last few years. Harrison was always the most creative and visionary of all the Beatles and the only one to walk away from the group’s split unscathed musically speaking, if you ask me. A double album full of great surprises.

5. Pearl Jam/Ten                                                                  

Black                                             1991  

This is one of those albums I think I’ve owned on every format since I taped it off a friend. Home taping killing the music industry? Erm not here. So many gorgeous songs on here, powerful, melodic and never disappointing. Amazing guitar riffs, songs that tackle tough themes. Moving and uplifting. I could go on. Just listen…

6. Stone Roses/Stone Roses                                                    

Waterfall                                        1989

This album was a breath of fresh air in times full of Kylie, Jason and Zucchero or whatever. I really love the second album too but this, as a début, is pretty impressive. Capturing a Zeitgeist for want of a better way of putting it. And even growing up on the south coast, I loved the baggy feel. I remember someone telling me ‘it’s a weird mix of people that like the Stone Roses’. I suppose it is but I’m glad to be part of it.

7. Blur/Leisure                                                             

Bang                                             1991  

I have followed this band from the very start and have loved all their albums (though some took longer to grow on me than others). And for me, the Blur v Oasis thing in 1995/6 was no contest. Oasis release another tired samey album and Albarn pops up under the guise of monkeys and steals number 1. But all members of this band contributed much to the sound. The chosen track just makes me so happy every time I hear it. I’m 13 again…

8. Damon Albarn/Everyday Robots                                             

Lonely Press Play                          2014  

Incredible that this is Damon’s first solo effort and it is full of varying influences. This is an album that captures many different moods with elegance. There’s even a song about an elephant. I can’t quite believe it’s a legitimate addition to this list but I’ll take it…

9. Editors/The Black Room                                               

All Sparks                                      2006

The chosen track here makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up every time. Quite simply, an entirely stunning album full of light and shade and atmosphere that I return to again and again. It deals with some pretty dark themes but very intelligently. I’ve followed the band ever since.

10. Django Django/Django Django                                                 

Storm                                            2012  

This album is pure genius. It took the band a long time to write and put together and then learn the songs to play them live apparently. I’ve seen them twice and both times they’ve done very different things with the arrangements: particularly Waveforms. Their diverse range of influences and sounds make this a pleasure to return to again and again. 


I’ve had some fun compiling this list. I started cobbling ideas together in May I think, and so it has been brewing for a while. However, despite all that, I have found myself remembering a few gems I forgot to include, along with some others that just missed the final cut. In case you’re interested, here is the best of the rest in my opinion (and in no particular order:

Pixies/Come On Pilgrim                         

Exit Planet Dust/Chemical Brothers

Wedding Present/George Best                                                                   

The Music/The Music                                                            



Tube Way Army/Tubeway Army                              

Sugar/Copper Blue                            

Aphrodite’s Child/End of the World                                 

Sultans of Ping FC/Casual Sex in the Cineplex               

Oasis/Definitely Maybe                                                                                                        

Velvet Underground and Nico/Andy Warhol                                                                                    

White Stripes/White Stripes                                                                                                              

Kieran Leonard/Bowler Hat Soup                                                                                                       

ABC/Lexicon Of Love                                                                                                         

Alison Krause and Robert Plant/Raising Sand                                                                                   

The Seahorses/Do It Yourself                                                                                                             

Strokes/Is This It?                                                                                                            

Artic Monkeys/Whatever People Say, That’s What I’m Not            

Empire of the Sun/Walking on a Dream

Mansun/Attack of the Grey Lantern

Bluetones/Expecting to Fly

Portishead/ Dummy

Tonight, I waded through the next 20 instalments on the début albums list on Twitter. Oddly, it gets easier to choose and order them the further up you go so I’m pretty excited about tomorrow night’s top 10.

The thing that is striking me with this clump is just how attached they are to particular moments and milestones in my life. Just about every one of these 20 transports me to a time or place. I know you would expect that with an all time top 50 but I wasn’t really expecting that with this. We have my first real serious music album, the boredom of school, my GCSEs, A-levels, my year out, time at University, graduating and marrying same year, first car, buying a house, commuting to work by train, getting divorced, getting remarried and setting up my own business, all encompassed in this section. Not bad eh? So join me tomorrow and follow the hashtag if you fancy.


11. Foo Fighters/Foo Fighters                                                    

This is A Call                                  1995  

12. Iron Maiden Iron Maiden                                                      

Phantom of the Opera                    1980  

13. Audioslave Audioslave                                                       

Like A Stone                                  2002  

14. Television Marquee Moon                                                 

Marquee Moon                               1977  

15. Longpigs The Sun Is Often Out                                        

Far                                                1996                                    

16. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club BMRC                                           

Love Burns                                2001                                                                

17. Kaiser Chiefs Employment                                                     

Saturday Night                               2005  

18. Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes                                                      

White Winter Hymnal                       2008  

19. Temple Of The Dog Temple Of The Dog                                          

Call Me A Dog                               1991  

20. Gary Numan The Pleasure Principle                                       

Cars                                              1979  

21. Scott Walker Scott                                                               

Montague Terrace (In Blue)              1967  

22. Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine                                          

Something I Can Never Have           1989  

23. Charlatans Some Friendly                                                  

Sproston Green                              1990  

24. MGMT Oracular Spectacular                                         

Kids                                              2010  

25. System Of A Down System Of A Down                                           

Peephole                                       1998  

26. Foster The People Torches                                                            

Miss You                                       2011  

27. Stranglers Rattus Norvegicus                                            

Goodbye Toulouse                         1977  

28. Magazine Real Life                                                          

The Light Pours Out of Me              1978  

29. Jimi Hendrix Are You Experienced?                                      

Fire                                                1967  

30. Massive Attack Blue Lines                                                        

Unfinished Sympathy                     1991  


I have begun posting the first 20 of my début album choices up on Twitter and I won’t lie, there was some last minute chopping and changing. There probably will be tomorrow too. The problem with these lists is you make them, tweet them in batches of 10 or 20, deal with all the lovely comments that come back and then look at the next lot thinking “really?!” So it’s not an easy process. 

A little bit of background for you: I think the rules behind this were something like: these had to be first albums by an act and mini albums could count, but not EPs. All mine are chosen in the usual way, from the heart really. Sorry, I don’t pretend to follow the path and certainly don’t stick to one genre. If I could have chucked in The Planets I would have (not a début suite though). I’m already struck with how much old 70s stuff there is in here, some 60s too. I have included newer albums too but the 80s is, once again, sadly lacking.

There are bands missing that I ordinarily adore, simply because I just don’t rate their début album so highly. For me, a good album has to be full of corking tracks that you don’t want to skip and hangs together well. For example, love Radiohead as I do, Pablo Honey doesn’t meet this requirement. The other rule I had was, I have to still own the album. If I got rid of it or lost it and haven’t replaced it, I obviously don’t love it enough. 

This is tonight’s list. The next 20 follow tomorrow at 8:30, the final Top Ten on Wednesday evening. Join me on the live tweets following: #top50BunDebuts

Or just catch the whole lot here on the blog or on Facebook. Or ignore the whole exercise. Your choice!

Numbers 50-31

31. The Good, The Bad & The Queen/The Good, The Bad & The Queen   

The Good, the Bad & the Queen  2007                                            

32. Dire Straits/Dire Straits  

Water of Love    1978  

33. Kasabian/Kasabian                                                          

Ovary Stripe                                   2004  

34. Talking Heads/1977                                                                

Psycho Killer                                  1977

35. Killers/Hot Fuss                                                          

Smile Like You Mean It                   2004  

36. Mike Oldfield/Tubular Bells                                                    

Mike Oldfield’s Single                     1973  

37. The Sex Pistols/Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols

Pretty Vacant                                 1977  

38. Supergrass/I Should Coco                                                  

Mansize Rooster                            1995  

39. AC-DC/High Voltage                                                    

She’s Got Balls                              1975  

40. Rage Against The Machine/Rage Against The Machine

Killing In The Name                         1992  

41. Maximo Park/A Certain Trigger                                               

Apply Some Pressure                     2005  

42. Bombay Bicycle Club/I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose          

Dust On The Ground                       2009  

43. Weezer/Blue Album                                                      

Undone – The Sweater Song            1994

44. Jean Michel Jarre/Oxygene                                                          

Oxygene (Part 4)                            1976  

45. Temples/Sun Structures                                                  

Sand Dance                                   2014  

46. Klaxons/Myths Of The Near Future                                 

Golden Skans                                2007  

47. Roxy Music/Roxy Music                                                      

Ladytron                                        1972  

48. I Am Arrows/Sun Comes Up Again                                       

Green Grass                                   2010  

49. The Sundays/Reading, Writing And Arithmetic                        

Here’s Where the Story Ends          1990  

50. Senser/Stacked Up                                                      

Age of Panic                                  1994


 I might put the near misses up on a blog too..

You could be forgiven for thinking I had disappeared off the face of the Earth. It has been a long time since I’ve updated this blog. I know, I know, life got in the way. I’m not going to make any grandiose promises but I will be updating this a few times over the next week. How does that sound?

The subject is: my list of the top 50 debut albums in my opinion. On Twitter, over the last couple of months, the usual group of us have been mulling, compiling and sharing lists of the top 50 first albums from artists we like. I tried to cobble a list together back in May but my heart wasn’t it. Many bands and artists I really like recorded fairly weak debuts it seems, and I far prefer later work they produced. Or, they took a very different direction and I preferred their later stuff (Tool, Queens of the Stone Age, Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, The Doors…). I came up with 35 and threw in the towel. That’s it, I bow out of this one. I can’t be bothered. So I went to play in the sunshine and that was that.

Then the Sun went in, the rain came out and I thought a little more. I had kept an eye on friends’ top 50 lists and waded in to show appreciation. This also afforded me the opportunity to tweak my scrawled-out notes. And bugger me if I didn’t discover I had 60-odd debuts to choose from this afternoon. I have spent this evening ordering the list, removing some chaff, checking the things I thought were debuts certainly were and, naturally, being reminded of a lot of new albums I had forgotten to add in. So more cutting required.

Anyway, right at the back of the queue, I’ll be throwing out my favourites from tomorrow evening. I’m aiming to go for 50-31 tomorrow, 30-11 Tuesday evening and the grand top 10 on Wednesday night. I have to get it all done by then because rehearsals for the next play I’m in (and I’m the only woman, playing three characters: not that I’m worried) start Thursday. Couple this with running training and, dear reader, it could be some time before I write again…

Make the most.


Hello Dear Reader.

It has been some time but I’m back and catching up. Just after Christmas, many of us on Twitter decided to compile and share our Top 50 albums from the 1970s so here is my list for you. The only rules as such (for me anyway) was that I had to own the album, otherwise I couldn’t really count it. Reading other lists, I now need to check out the albums of Roxy Music and T-Rex properly, rather than just compilations. Anyway: here we go:

1 Physical Graffiti – Led Zeppelin 1975 Kashmir
2 Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd 1973 Money
3 Hunky Dory – David Bowie 1971 All You Pretty Things
4 All Things Must Pass – George Harrison 1970 What Is Life?
5 Who’s Next – The Who 1971 Behind Blue Eyes
6 Diamond Dogs – David Bowie 1974 Rebel Rebel
7 Paranoid – Black Sabbath 1970 Fairies Wear Boots
8 After The Gold Rush – Neil Young 1970 Don’t Let It Bring You Down
9 Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd 1975 Wish You Were Here
10 The Raven – Stranglers 1979 The Raven
11 LA Woman – The Doors 1971 LA Woman
12 IV – Led Zeppelin 1971 When The Levee Breaks
13 London Calling – The Clash 1979 London Calling
14 Rattus Norvegicus – Stranglers 1977 Down In The Sewer
15 The Crack – The Ruts 1979 Babylon’s Burning
16 The Pleasure Principle – Gary Numan 1977 Cars
17 Every Good Boy Deserves Favour – Moody Blues 1971 The Story In Your Eyes
18 666 – Aphrodite’s Child 1972 Four Horsemen
19 Master of Reality – Black Sabbath 1971 Into The Void
20 Déjà vu – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young 1970 Carry On
21 III – Led Zeppelin 1970 Immigrant Song
22 Meddle – Pink Floyd 1971 One Of These Days
23 Harvest – Neil Young 1971 Heart of Gold
24 Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel 1970 El Condor Pasa
25 Real Life – Magazine 1978 The Light Pours Out Of Me
26 Nursery Chryme – Genesis 1971 The Musical Box
27 Low Spark of High Heeled Boys – Traffic 1971 Low Spark of High Heeled Boys
28 Presence – Led Zeppelin 1976 Achilles Last Stand
29 Tea for the Tillerman – Cat Stevens 1970 Wild World
30 New Boots and Panties!! – Ian Dury 1977 Wake Up and Make Love
31 Exodus – Bob Marley 1977 Natural Mystic
32 Argus – Wishbone Ash 1972 Time Was
33 Highway to Hell – AC/DC 1979 Touch Too Much
34 Jailbreak Thin Lizzy 1976 Boys Are Back in Town
35 Marquee Moon Television 1977 Marquee Moon
36 Vol. 4 Black Sabbath 1972 Supernaut
37 Tales of Mystery and Imagination Alan Parsons Project 1976 The Raven
38 Drums and Wires XTC 1979 Making Plans For Nigel
39 Dire Straits Dire Straits 1978 Water of Love
40 Out of the Blue The Electric Light Orchestra 1977 Mr Blue Sky
41 Dirty Deeds AC/DC 1976 Dirty Deeds
42 Houses of the Holy Led Zeppelin 1975 Rain Song
43 Going For the One Yes 1977 Wondrous Stories
44 Songs in the Key of Life Stevie Wonder 1976 Sir Duke
45 Warrior On The Edge of Time Hawkwind 1975 The Golden Void Part II
46 Very Eavy, Very Umble Uriah Heap 1970 Gypsy
47 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Elton John 1973 Funeral for a Friend
48 Oxygene Jean Michel Jarre 1977 Oxygene IV
49 Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols The Sex Pistols 1977 Pretty Vacant
50 Lust For Life Iggy Pop 1977 The Passenger

And the near misses…
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway Genesis 1974 The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
Year of the Cat Al Stewart 1976 On the Border
Late for the Sky Jackson Browne 1974 Fountain of Sorrow
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Black Sabbath 1973 Killing Yourself to Live
Innervisions Stevie Wonder 1973 Living for the City
Talking Book Stevie Wonder 1972 Superstition
Johnny The Fox Thin Lizzy 1976 Johnny The Fox…
Foxtrot Genesis 1972 Time Table
Mona Bona Jakon Cat Stevens 1970 Lady D’Arbanville
Fragile Yes 1971 Heart of the Sunrise
Hergest Ridge Mike Oldfield 1974 Part I

If you think any of the inclusions/exclusions are sheer lunacy, please feel free to share your list 🙂 It’s subjective, after all…

Morning to you

Indulging in a rare coffee here as I write, I find myself reviewing how to make toad-in-the-hole for this evening and and am steeling myself to drive out and pick up a printer. It’s non-stop mardis gras here, it really is.

I’m on to the fifth day of the Dryathlon and two fairly challenging days are behind me. Drinking, like many things, comes with its own set of rules. I never drink alone, I rarely drink in the week and I always sink a glass of water if I have consumed. I don’t drink to get drunk and chose high quality ales and wines to combine with food and enjoy all the flavours. In comparison, the social mores of Dryathlon are simple: no alcoholic substance to pass the lips whatsoever. So no half a shandy, no medicinal whisky, but does this include a beer in a stew that serves 9; a piece of Christmas cake; alcohol-free beer that contains 0.05& abv or a fairly meaty mouthwash? Indeed, does a mince pie really set you back if you have one, wash your mouth out and you’re not sinking 5 pints of Tanglefoot in the process? Surely the object is to cut back on drinking, social or otherwise, in a bid to give the liver a rest and cooking or baking breaks alcohol down, doesn’t it? But then again, if the goal is for people to seriously not drink, eschewing the booze for a box of liqueur chocs and a very pokey risotto is probably not in the spirit of it. Pardon the pun.

So, I’m buying extra grape juice today, avoiding the beery stew and feeling pious. I got through a Friday night and Saturday after a rugby match (in a pub with nice real ales) by combining cranberry juice in various combinations. If you add lemonade to it, it no longer smells of wet dogs and dishcloths. I’m sceptical about weightloss because I do abut 5 hours intense exercise a week and all these sugary drinks must contain the odd calorie. That’s not the goal here though. I’ve scared myself a couple of times in the last few months. Not because I’ve compromised my safety or anyone else’s through binge drinking but because I’ve absorbed one hell of a lot of alcohol in one session without feeling any after effects. When does the high-functioning alcoholic become the non-functioning one? And I want to prove I can still have fun without an alcoholic drink. I know I’m fun without one, I remember this being the case in the past so let’s prove it again now…

I see my last post was August. I don’t know whether a lot had happened or not since then. Sure, I’ve taken a fair amount of holiday. I ended up making my stage debut at the grand old age of 36, and rather enjoying it. My next dalliance with the boards involves organising props for the spring performance and I’m pretty excited about that too.

This years’s resolutions are similar to last year’s: write more, be nice, work hard, take holiday and drink less. I guess I could bunch a couple of these together by writing some thank you letters.

I’m hoping the extension will be finished by the spring now. Who knows? Should the right house appear, we could be interested in actually buying. Steady now.

I’m intending to upload my best albums of 2013 when I have some chance in the next week.
And then onwards and upwards to 2014 and whatever it may hold…

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December 2022


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