New stuff

I have work coming out in some really nice places over the coming weeks. This blog post reads a bit like a list, so I apologise in advance for that!

An essay on sisterhood will be in the A Room of Our Own anthology, the book is raising money to keep the organisation’s website going so they can continue their valuable work.

Another essay, about my non-motherhood and choice to not become a parent, is in issue 2 of I Hope You Like Feminist Rants later in the summer. My writing on housework is in issue 1 of Rants, which you can purchase here.

My flash fiction Good Times, originally published in Slim Volume 1 : No Love Lost (2015), is published in CRUSHED, a book of writing and art on the subject of heartbreak is out this month (May 2016). Editor Charlotte Apsin is producing a zine to go with it.

I’ve got work in the University of Liverpool Centre For New & International Writing’s journal, on  page 18, published last week.

I was made up to have a flash fiction, The Other Woman, included as part of Hayley Webster’s All The Words book festival also last week, you can read it here.

I wrote about LightNight here, and Liverpool Biennial here, for Getintothis.

52% starts its summer break next month, I make my final appearance in this series in a fortnight. The next series starts in the Autumn!

That’s it, I think. For now…


Wondrous Place


It is early morning and Liverpool is opening its eyes, ready to wake up, stretch, yawn, and welcome the day.

There’s a tune, a breathy bass riff. A voice, smooth and clear, high but not too much.

I found a place full of charms.

I hear the voice singing, and I know who it is. Billy Fury. I know the song, Wondrous Place.

I know the singer and I know the song but what I don’t know is where it is coming from at ten to eight on a Tuesday morning in Liverpool city centre. I follow the song. It takes me to a pub, the old boozer type, doors flung wide open. I near and hear singing, a voice on top of Billy’s. It is thin, slightly shrill, out of tune and time. I peer inside.

The pub’s cleaner in her apron is dancing with her mop, humming. Billy Fury sings to her from the jukebox. She’s seventy-odd with crab-apple skin, turned girlish. She’s smiling, eyes closed, slow dancing. It’s beautiful.

I wanna stay and never go away –

Wondrous place.

She dances with Billy Fury every morning, I think. I hope.


(First published by Silver Birch Press 2015)


Music and Red Wine

On a mild October evening last year, I was in Liverpool city centre. We were going to see Richard Hawley play a show. I’d been looking forward to it for ages. I suggested a quick drink first, so we chose into a pub near Lime Street station.

You know when sometimes you go into a place that doesn’t serve wine very often, but has it for sale all the same? The rustic but cheery sort? It was one of those.

We go in.

“A glass of red wine please,” says I.

The lad behind the bar wavers. The wine thing is unchartered territory for him, I suspect. But give him his due, he composes himself quickly enough. He grabs not a wine glass or even a half pint, but an actual pint glass intended for lager, and throws a third of a house wine into it.

‘Three quid,’ he says, plonking it down on the counter.

This is how I know for sure I’m in for a good night. This is what happened next.


In other news, my flash fiction The Torn Soul was published by 101 Words last week, and now it has passed the second round of 101 Words competition proceedings – it’s a Featured Story. The Features Stories are a list of stories editors view as worthy over the month; on 22nd April a winner is chosen. I’m so pleased Torn Soul is featured, fingers crossed for the next stage. You can read Torn Soul here.

Telly appearance, feminist rants, busy busy.

It’s only Tuesday and already this week is turning into a busy one for me.

In November last year I wrote a personal essay on the politics of cleaning, and housework. It’s not part of the “why don’t men and women do their equal share of household chores” debate because I think that’s discussed enough already, and very well. I wanted to explore our attitude to cleaners as paid employees, and how we view what is essentially physical labour, but from a feminist perspective. It was inspired by a Facebook conversation about memes like this:


The essay is published this week in new feminist publication Rants, edited by the fabulous Abigail Tarttelin, author of the award winning YA novel Golden Boy. I’m so pleased to have my work alongside top class writers such as Shelley Harris and Kit de Waal in this zine, and I feel privileged to have my opinion in a publication that offers writers the opportunity to express a wide range of views. I find the current trend of no platforming dissenting voices very disturbing, and akin to censorship. Bravo Abigail for allowing us the opportunity to speak so freely and honestly.

Issue #1 of Rants.

(I spent my lunch hour today working out which of these bottoms most resembles my own)

You can buy Rants here.

Yesterday I was invited onto the sofa of 52%, a TV show here in Liverpool, hosted by the brilliant Claire Simmo.

52 photo

It’s a programme presented by women and it’s ace. We talked about women and food, entrepreneurism and home baking plus what’s trending, news wise. We spoke about the north west band Viola Beach (I wrote about them for The Guide) ; their deaths over the weekend marked a very sad day for the local music scene.

52% will be broadcast on Saturday in the Merseyside area on Bay TV, Freeview channel 8 at 7pm.

Today, a teeny snippet of the crime novel I’ve working on, is published over at Paragraph Planet:


In addition to that, my interview with The Trouble with Goats and Sheep author Joanna Cannon is now online over at Urbanista, a preview to her appearance here in Liverpool next week.




Vinyl Station

Sitting and listening to music. I do more of that now than for ages.

We have a 1960s stereogram, mocked by some in the past – you know who you are – but now declared an impressive feature because vinyl is so frigging trendy again. A wooden coffin on legs, it cost ten pounds nearly twenty years ago, going strong in 2015 (and for £375 in some shops – get us).

Vinyl is fashionable now and the ultimate sound carrier.

Only it isn’t.

Sound carrier snobbery is an odd little hobby to have, one I don’t have time for. Life is too short.

I like a vinyl record because I know it will be there forever. When I buy an LP it will live in my house with me. There is no subsequent home for records I buy. They’re a love match, always. They won’t break if I handle them with careful fingers, which I do.

CDs from 1980s and later are deteriorating now, tape cassettes tangle, MP3s are nice but they give me nothing to hold. So problematic, each; but the sound quality of one is no better than the others, vinyl included, for at home listening; not if you care for them properly. Whoever says different is wrong and selling you a hipster authenticity lie. Don’t listen to them. You’ll feel all the better for it.

I don’t use music as background noise. I don’t jog with it on earphones (I don’t jog at all, but you get my drift), I write in silence now because instead I start humming and go off on a tangent. I like my vinyl in the evenings and early mornings, so I can listen and appreciate better, sit down with a cuppa tea of glass of something, and enjoy. You may be different and that’s okay, listening rules are just silly. There are so many rules now to everything, we’re best ignoring them. It’s less stressful that way.
vinyl station 1

Last week we went to a new thing at Liverpool’s Metal – cute rooms (with an Aga!) at Edge Hill railway station just outside the city centre. Vinyl Station is held each month. You sit with local music lovers in companionable silence with a cuppa tea or glass of something (I lead, others follow; what can I say?) and listen to a brand new album. When it’s finished playing and only then, we talk about the record.

vinyl station

The best idea I’ve heard for such a long time, a sweet evening. They played Hooton Tennis Club’s debut LP ‘Highest Point In Cliff Town’ this month, I really liked it, I have both their 7” singles already. Not many other people loved the album quite as much, but not everyone can have my exceptional taste, can they?

And do you know what, that’s ok. If we all liked the same thing, how crashingly dull would everything be? Looking forward to next month already.


Jonathan Liverpool Seagull

“There’s no such thing as seagulls, they’re gulls.”

I’m told this a lot but I’m from a village in Lancashire on the rural–urban cusp, it’s not one thing or the other, no discernible identity but dull and unsexy instead, a tired sparrow’s wing of a place. I didn’t see seagulls as I grew up, so to me they mean the sea and Jonathan Livingston Seagull, pirates, journeys across the globe, adventure, birds carrying the souls of dead sailors and pursuing dreams cut short. In Lancashire there is no sea and instead ponds of gloomy black water solid with tadpoles in spring, but the rest of the year? Nothing.

I left Lancashire behind years ago and last month I was sat outside a Liverpool city centre pub drinking beer in the sunshine on a Saturday night watching two seagulls have fisticuffs over a discarded Happy Meal. It all felt very British and unapologetically northern, two lads squaring up to each other, chests stuck out, alpha males scrapping, each appalled at the affront of the other as they danced straight faced, yellow eyes unblinking, long curved scythe beaks jabbing the air. Those birds mean business; mean business.

sofar sign up

I was at a gig in a flat nearby a few weeks before, three floors up on a warm evening, the windows open, you could see for miles, a lighthouse view of the city. The singers sang and played, the Anglican Cathedral chimed bells prettily, the seagulls flying overhead guffawing (or so it seemed to me). It was a very Liverpool night, the gulls and church bells stamping their own identity on it and making it theirs – and ours.  The mix of people in the flat, the music, the ambience outside; it couldn’t happen anywhere else and was as romantic as Liverpool has ever been.  It was beautiful.

Then two of the seagulls start shagging on the roof above our heads. It killed a part of me, a little bit; lowered the tone, at least.

But seagulls, I like them. I always vouch for the underdog, I can’t help it, and there’s so much anti-seagull propaganda and rhetoric now; seagulls are yanked down to the lowly level of asylum seekers and “that bloke down the road who’s never worked in his life, the arsehole”.

Bloody seagulls!

Noisy buggers.

Nicked my chips once, the cheeky sods just swooped down. 

They shit a lot, why don’t they ever stop shitting?

A seagull ate my hamster.

They’re everywhere.

We’re dancing into David Cameron territory here, happily and easily, with immaculate quick step, in perfect time. Swarms of seagulls could be a thing if we try hard enough, with walls at Calais keeping them out. If only they were born as Zimbabwean lions with nerdy British sounding names, they’d be golden. As it stands, the anti-seagull brigade would wring Jonathan Livingston-Liverpool Seagull’s neck and stick him in an artisan pie with a craft beer brewed especially to match. Familiarity and shagging above peoples’ heads, it breeds contempt, that’s the seagulls’ problem. Maybe they need to make themselves a bit scarcer? Develop a less rustic palate, shift from junk food to quinoa, chia seeds? Go all hipster and authentic, rebrand themselves as gulls? People would fall for that.

In case you’re wondering, the fighting seagulls warring over the Happy Meal on that Saturday night, neither won. A patient pigeon sneaked in and scoffed the burger and chips while they flapped their wings at each other. There’s a lesson in there somewhere I think; for the seagulls and us.

(One thing I do know, experience dictates it, that the odds are both are sure to have got laid later on).