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A quick catch up!

Hi All. How have you been?

If you are here and reading this then thanks for stopping by and welcome to this new blog on this new site...and I'm feeling good!

As I write this we are in the first week of lock-down two in the year of the pandemic 2020. It's been a weird one for sure but rather than moan about the stuff I didn't get to do this year here's a few of the good bits;

Going in to furlough I set up Isolation Arts Cafe along with my compadres at St Albans Arts Team. I sensed that we would need those spaces for artsts and audience to come together on-line and share during these strange times and turned out I wasn't wrong With over 1,800 followers as I write, the level and quality of contributions has been amazing with some folks trying things for the first time, others revisiting artistic interests and many more seasoned artists and performers sharing and reaching new audiences. Hopefully it's helped a little bit in buoying spirits and maintaining a sense of mental wellbeing, with live on-line gigs, a poetry take-over and a haiku challenge amongst so much more - do come join in if you fancy!

In between lock-downs I have managed to meet up a few times with my musical compadres which has been such a joy. Los Chicos Muertos had to call a halt on the recordings for our new album and cancel our planned German Tour (I've so missed getting out there to play this year) but we have at least managed to get together a couple of times for socially distanced get togethers on Nomansland Common which felt so good!

There's a new band too. Back in the heady days of 2019 I was feeling the need to dust of my old Hofner electric and fortunately my old friends Mary and Bruce also fancied making some blues-punk noise - and so Skull Puppets were born. Similarly we've been a bit delayed in getting any recordings together but we have had a few meet ups at Puppet HQ (Bruce's garage) and it's been fun making some buzz-crash punk 'n' roll!

I realised that I was gonna need to get creative in Isolation too and so decamped to Justine's little summerhouse back in April to record an album of poetry and songs. All very lo-fi and entirely solo - that mixing up up the poetry and music was something I'd fancied doing for a while, so what better time! The result was the mouseclubvirusblues album released over at Bandcamp. It's turned out pretty well and I think there's more to come there!

Putting out the recoded poetry led a to a flurry of on-line poetry gigs - The UH Festival of Ideas, All in the Mind Festival, Paris Lit Up and more. I also did a little interview with Andy N's Spoken Label and provided some poems for our local XR Arts Page. So all this set me thinking that I really needed to put together a new poetry book (with a few photos) and with the help of my daughter Emelia The Sound of Revolution came together. I'm really pleased with the way it's turned out and it's had a great reaction so far - available here at the Books page if you fancy a copy!

We managed to get away to Cornwall for a week as well as a weekend in Aldeburgh and a trip to the Zoo with my grandson. I've also been out (socially distanced) on the streets for XR and BLM events this year. As always I've had my trusty lomo cameras on-hand a lot of the time to capture a few snaps. I'm particularly pleased with my new Beirette camera (£9 on ebay!) and I've posted a few pics up over at Lomography Central.

So that's a bit of what I've been getting up to. I hope you've been managing to stay creative and sane.

Stay in touch

Speak soon

Lots of love

Grae J.

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