On the telly box tonight

bay may 1
On the 52% sofa at BayTV

It’s the final episode of the current series of 52% this week. We look back at our best bits!

The show is now taking a break for the summer, but we’ll be back again in the autumn.

52% is broadcast at 6pm tonight (Thurs) on Freeview Channel 7  and Virgin 159 in the Merseyside and Cheshire areas, and is repeated over the next fortnight. The episode goes online on YouTube in the next fortnight or so.



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)


Fiction and Fact

I have two flash fiction short stories out this week. The first over on Paragraph Planet on Monday last, it was up for 24 hours only (a true flash!). It’s a case of screen grab or I’d miss it:

paragraph planet 11th April 2016

The second, Train In Vain  is living at 101 Words more permanently.

The title….yeah, I know…but I’m not sorry; it suited the story.


Also this week I have a feature published by GetIntoThis on the upsurge in housegigs , artists coming to play private shows in people’s homes…sounds a bit freaky, but they usually go quite well, or so I’m told. You can read my feature here.


The Politics of Dressing Up

A few weeks ago, I went to a fashion show. I’d never been to a posh one before, just indie designers, so took my lead as what to wear from the photos you see on the internet of designer catwalks. You know, the ones of the rock stars and slebs looking all edgy and well thumbed (if you get me). I’d been to a gig in Salford the night before this event so was a little bleary eyed, so was confident I’d fit right in.

I plumped for a soft wine wool dress, dove grey tights and pointy leopard print shoes. Not exactly like these, but similar. (I do have a lot of pointy leopard print footwear):


I had on my leopard print faux fur coat with a vintage brooch strategically covering a cigarette burn. As I say, edgy. Shabby chic.

So I go along to the fashion show, I don’t know one person in the place but that’s ok with me. A stranger is simply a friend you haven’t met yet, that’s what I always say.

I get talking to a couple of people and we’re getting on well enough when one suddenly stops and looks at my hair.

‘Your hair,’ she says, stretching out her neck for a closer look, ‘it’s very bright.’

She was right, actually. It was freshly dyed three days earlier, the shade still so strong and my hairdresser Alison had proudly informed me that my hair tint colour is 666, which I LOVE.

Another woman scans me up and down, a tiny frown marking her forehead. ‘The thing is with you,’ she says, as if we’ve known each other since childhood ‘is that you suit bright colours.’

Dear reader, please believe me; my clothes were not bright nor gaudy that day. I was positively demure.

It was then I notice something. Everyone in the room is wearing black or white, or a combination of both. Arms and legs lightly tanned, no tights in sight. Straightened blonde or dark hair, with no exceptions.

There’s a uniform, of sorts. And I’m not wearing it.

I realise, then. Compared to everyone here I AM gaudy. Now I feel like a set of traffic lights, green, red and amber lights all on, full blast. My appearance is found wanting by my companions. It isn’t nice, not at all.

This was around the time of the Oscar ceremony, when award winning costume designer Jenny Beavan was derided and applauded in equal measure for her outfit of M&S fake leather jacket, and sturdy boots. As Beavan herself said of her outfit “I was dressed up. It was MY kind of dressing up”.

And quite right too. To my mind, if you want to dress like a princess at the Oscars, got for it. If you wanna customise a biker jacket, thumbs up on that front too. One isn’t better than the other, and doesn’t sit on a higher moral ground.

To the fabulous women of Liverpool yesterday who came into cruel, misogynistic and downright snobby criticism for dressing up in their own way at Aintree, I say: go for it, ladies! I don’t like the Grand National because I think it’s cruel and if I had my way it’d be banned, but our women looked bloody great and I know they will today, on Ladies Day.

Because Liverpool women are ladies, no matter what snobby agenda carrying red tops might tell you.

I’m sick of the women of our city being ripped into because of how they look. Truth is, if I had a bod as tight as theirs and the budget, I’d be cavorting about in a short dress, flashing firm tanned thighs and wearing my fascinator at a coquettish angle too.

Dressing up means different things to different people and how anyone has a problem with that, whether at the Oscars, Aintree or indeed a fashion show, I’ll never know.




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.