We’re a nation of terrible paparazzi

I was walking to the shops the other week. A woman parked her car on the other side of the road, and came over to me with a strange look on her face. As she came closer, I realised she was smothering a smile.

“Did you know you’ve got your skirt tucked into your knickers?”  she said, before corpsing big time.

SHE PARKED HER CAR. Bless her darling heart.

We had a good – and long – laugh, because what else could you do? It genuinely was very funny. “You really wedged your skirt in…really high…” she added, making folding motions with her hand, which set us both off again.

Someone said to me afterwards that it was luck on my part that this Good Samaritan for Women Who Can’t Dress Properly helped me, partly because there are so many people who would’ve filmed me on their phones and put it on YouTube (or wherever). You know, for larfs. And the bantz. I honestly never thought about that. As far as I know no one has (please God) but it got me thinking, and worrying.

At the boxing gym this week I was sparring with a new member, and before I had chance to blink her mate had filmed our session and put it on Snapchat. I wasn’t asked if I was ok being filmed by some stranger, and to be honest I’m not even sure why I didn’t say anything. Ordinarily I would.

I think it was because I was shocked, and my defenses were down. The gym is a safe place where you’re meant to be able to sweat (or glow, in may case ‘cos I’m a lady) and look as rubbish as you like. If you can’t relax when you’re working out, when can you?

But then again, why can’t we relax everywhere? Going back to the tucked in knickers incident again, even a couple of years ago we wouldn’t dream of even thinking someone might take a snap of something like that. But now it’s an automatic reaction.

My point is, we should be able to go out for a pint of milk without wariness. But that goes for everything else we do too. I get a shiver of horror when I see sneery photos of folk on social media getting their shoes mocked, VPL zoomed in on or unfortunate women like me who accidentally and foolishly expose their underwear.

I think it’s rude to take photos of people without their permission.   To my mind, it’s ok to take the piss out of yourself with this sort of thing, but definitely not ok to do it to others.

It’s like we’ve turned into a nation of terrible paparazzi. Very bad manners, in my opinion, whether we think someone else looks daft or not.



I have a new weekly radio show


Indeed I do.

It will be a music show, focussed around new releases, local (to Merseyside) music and classic songs.

Of course by “classic” I mean ones which are classic to me. Interpret that as you will.

You can listen to me on KCC Live each Monday 6pm-8pm online here or if you’re in the area on 99.8fM.

(And yes that indeed is a Last Shadow Puppets album you can see there in the studio with me and no, I’m not ashamed.)



Loose women (and one man) in the library

I chaired very cheery writers’ event at Nantwich Library this week.


Authors Nikki Ashton, Caroline James, Victoria Johns, John Paul Goss and poet Helen Kay spoke about self-publishing vs traditional publishing, writing practices and revealed (more or less!) all.

The Nantwich librarians kept us sustained with chocolate digestives and shortbread (we managed to ‘force’ them down).  At the end, they said “tonight was like an episode of Loose Women”.  We’re taking that as a compliment!

I loved this sign on the library’s toilet door. As soon as I saw it, a full episode of Seinfeld ran through my head:


And the stairs had a Vertigo/Hitchcock vibe to them…



I’m also on Instagram now, if you’d like to follow me on there.


My top night at the Lawrence of Belgravia screening and Q & A – Regent Street Cinema


Lawrence badge 1
“Here is a badge from Lawrence. It is terribly important you wear it.”

On my visit to London last week I took in a rare screening of Lawrence of Belgravia, followed by a Q & A with Lawrence himself and the film’s director Paul Kelly, at the Regent Street Cinema.

If you’re not familiar with Lawrence, or the film, that’s not unusual. I was at an event in Liverpool last month, his name came up and The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess asked the audience, “does anyone here know who Lawrence is?”

Three of us did. Sitting on the back row, like the cool kids we aren’t and never will be. It’s a lonely path we tread, us Lawrence fans. But we kind of like it that way.

Lawrence of Belgravia is the final ‘London film’ made before The Shard was built, showing the landscape of a city very different to now, important in itself.

But it is also more than a mere rock documentary covering the ups and downs of a cult icon’s life. An icon who feels he should be better known than he is, world famous in fact, and with a supermodel wife to boot. His ambitions for glory are met with scoffs by some who don’t get it, but totally understandable to us who appreciate him.

Carefully and respectfully following our Lawrence as he deals with personal issues and getting the latest record from his band Go-Kart Mozart, On The Hot Dog Streets, (released back in 2012), off the ground, Lawrence of Belgravia is an important visual – audio document of a man written about rarely, but name dropped often. Revered by passionate people, he’s a hero. On the night of the Q & A, hosted by Dickon Edwards, grown men were tearful and fidgety. Giddy to breathe the same air.

Dickon Edwards, Paul Kelly, and….Lawrence.

Walking in, we were all handed a gift. “Here is a badge from Lawrence,’ we were told. “It is terribly important you wear it.”

When Lawrence, Paul and Dickon came on the stage, Lawrence was the only one without a badge pinned to his chest.  It felt like we were all in a fan club; an emotion not too far from the truth.

Dickon asked Paul Kelly if the film was about authenticity, so much footage in it of vinyl records, mixing desks in studios…

“No,’ said Paul. “This film is about Lawrence.”

Yes, indeed it is.

Lawrence talked about hat shopping, going AWOL for months during filming, anything and everything.

He was asked by the audience if he’d ever get married. “I don’t have sex anymore. Too old for all that,” he said. “I’m asexual now, I think. Unless she’s a millionaire. I’d probably go for someone like that.”

On his disapproval of the internet and refusal to have it at home – please buy the film and watch it, his views on the internet at top notch –  “too many wires, everywhere. Hate wires”.

How about going wireless then? “Nah.”

He told us that Cherry Red records are re-releasing the Felt albums later this year, describing them as “your last chance” to access them with the design for each exactly how he wants. He’s holding back signing off on everything until he’s happy, the tease. Good news is, there is a new Go-Kart Mozart album in March 2017 and there will be gigs around the UK.

He’s not a modest man about his musical output. His favourite Felt record is famously, “all of them”.

At the end of Lawrence of Belgravia, it hurts when he wonders aloud about why he’s been a “failure”, because fame and financial rewards haven’t come his way.  I found myself shouting at the telly when I first saw the documentary, BLOODY HELL LAWRENCE YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE YOU DOUFUS. So tonight I was made up that he conceded yeah, ok, he’s a creative success.

Because that’s it, exactly.

And afterwards, when I told him how much I love On The Hot Dog Streets, he smiled.

“Yeah,’ he said. “I love it too.”

Glad to hear it. But really, I expected nothing less.

Continue reading

My copyright controversy, and FWYL is out

For the past two years, the camera on the phone I had was rubbish. When it came time to upgrade in July, the man in the shop said, ‘Are you upgrading because the screen on your phone is cracked?’

I said, ‘No, it’s because it’s crap. It’s a terrible phone.’

So he did his best and found me a really good replacement phone with a boss camera, to make up for it. And since then I’ve been photographing more or less everything.

I took a snap of a pop group at the Liverpool International Music Festival three weeks ago. Stealing Sheep looked far too ace in white tights and glittery goodness to ignore. I was pleased because I got all three women in the shot, and please note the “HEEP” part of “sheep” is expertly included.

stealing sheep
Stealing Sheep at LIMF, copyright ME, Cath Bore.

I put the photo on Twitter because I was made up with myself.

When I got home that night, I searched for Stealing Sheep on Twitter. To see how good my photo was compared to everyone else’s. I’m stupidly competitive that way.

It was then I saw it.

My photo of Stealing Sheep, used by another Twitter account.

It wasn’t a private individual, or even a local webzine getting carried away with my Mario Testino/Annie Liebovitz-esque photography, combined with festival fever. It was part of a large organisation here in Liverpool, and they’d nicked my photo.

My photo without my consent, crediting or even tagging me. This is not on.

To add insult to injury, they edited my beautiful work to make the colours “pop” more.

I’m not naming or shaming because of what happened to me last year which you can read about here, but without respecting copyright then as creatives we’re all banjaxed. To each and every one of us who make things for a living, copyright is how we earn our money. If we don’t own what we create – whether it be writing, or even photographs taken on a mobile phone on a dreamy Saturday afternoon, then why are we doing all this?

Why do people think we do all this?

I’m not known for exceptional photography, and I’m willing to accept this fortunate snap was a happy accident rather than skills-related, but even if it’s idiots like me taking photos, the shots shouldn’t be just nicked. It’s very bad form indeed.

And the thieves ignored my comminications over it too.

That’s just rude.

On a lighter note, the fabulous first issue of FWYL, edited by the fabulous Claire Biddles, is back from the printers, meaning it’s available to buy online now. It contains feminist essays on the glory of Matt Healy’s hair, straight girls crushing on gay popstars, erotic fanfiction (yep, that last one’s written by me, how did you guess) and loads more.

You can order it here, if you wish. This is the beautiful cover (photo by Claire Biddles):

fwyl printed

Additionally, if you’re in Liverpool, I have some flash fiction as part of the ‘Women: Where Do You Find Yourself in the Arts?’ exhibition at the café in Constellations until the end of next weekend. And it’s free!


The Critical Sense

In the second year of English A Level class, at age seventeen, we were handed a book. A slim volume with The Critical Sense printed blandly on the over, our tutor warned us from the beginning, ‘this book is hell.’

And he was right. The most boring book ever written, instructing us on how to criticise poetry and prose.  We had to pen essays on the bloody thing for the next eight months. Horrific.

Whether one can learn how to critique by reading and analysing a book is debatable (that might be one of the essays I wrote, come to think). Fact is, in 2016, a *few* years later, Amazon and the internet have made reviewers of all of us.

Authors need five star reviews on Amazon, and lots of them, to sell books. Fair enough.


Award under full marks and reprisals start bleeding through, naming and shaming the new sport.

Music reviews on blog sites and webzines are the same; everything must be declared ace or it’s sucked in cheeks, waggling fingers and passive aggressive sub tweets.

Reviewing is largely a thankless task. Reviewers are reviewed, critics critiqued.

As critics we can only say what we see, hear and feel.  The last one is as important as the rest. Puff pieces simply won’t do.

Of course there are always those wanting to make a name for themselves by slaughtering sacred cows, nothing new about that. And giving one measly star on Amazon because a book took 2 days to arrive or you didn’t like the look the postman gave you when he delivered it, is plain daft.

Hey – everyone’s a critic these days.

It’s important that authors, musicians, actors and creatives know that we largely go in desperately wanting to be thrilled. I always want to fall in love.

A book or performance making me happy is one of life’s most beautiful things.  I think that’s the same for all of us, pretty much, yes?


You Promised

‘I’ll sing for you,’ you promise, but never do. Instead I get excuses and small talk, coy and cute in my ear.

‘Sing for me,’ I say. ‘You said you would.’

You blink and I wonder how your eyelashes manage to get so dark, your lips so dry, ones that peck me goodbye on the jaw, missing my mouth.

I roll on cooling bed sheets, damp flakes of skin sticking to me like static and take a sly lick of you from my leg. I suck each of my fingers, worming you out from under my nails. You are everywhere and I love it, I imagine you singing for me here and now. In my room, you, singing my song, and making it beautiful.

It doesn’t work. You’re not here. I sniff my arm. Your smell is gone and no crumbs of you garnish my bed. I have nothing of you, so I hum my song, and wish. I close my eyes and follow a ribbon of sound, hold onto it where it pulls me, over mountains and hills, round bends, down steep slopes and up. My calves hurt, stretched then shrinking as I climb, so I stop. I hear it, my song, faint and low. I sway under a navy sky. Night breezes brush my mouth. My lips swell.

I follow my song. I inch up a tree, your bark scratches my inner thighs raw but I shimmy up and up until I peer into a window. It’s you. You smile from behind thick glass, impenetrable, opaque, and sing my song, the one I love. You’re singing my song, as I asked, but you sing my song for her, and not for me, never me. Still, I settle and listen. It is beautiful, the song and you, exactly as I imagined.

First published in Landmarks, National Flash Fiction Day Anthology 2015.

Read “Good Manchester Rain” over at Flash Flood Journal 2016 here.