Here To Stay

As the year draws to a close, before it reaches it’s last gasp, it seems so over, so redundant, so, well, last year.

Although the moment we turn from the old to the new is arbitrary in cosmic terms, in our human psyche it is key.

It is rebirth, a casting off of all that has gone before, a chance for us as a species to redeem ourselves and resolve to be better.


I feel it keenly.

The week of Christmas to New Year has been tough before, but this time was particularly stultifying.

Strapped for cash after practically a year of no work I thought to end it all on New Years Day.

I was going to take myself to a nearby park and as the sun receded, or rather as the pale grey day gave way to night, would shuffle off.


However on New Years Eve I enjoyed a particularly joyful day with old friends, doing what I love most, making music.

Upon returning to my little room I felt invigorated.

Nothing in my financial position had changed, indeed it was a little worse in that I'd spent the last few pounds I had on public transportation to and from south London.

Against all odds I decided that I wanted to live.


Six months ago I was in a similar position, in the late autumn of twenty twelve after a full year of touring with the group M83.

Confident the year would lead to more work I took the plunge and moved from New York, my home for the previous decade, to Los Angeles.

By the following June due to severe unemployment I could not make the rent so was going to take myself to Topanga National Park and be gone.

At the eleventh hour a friend sent a one way ticket to London.


I arrived at her house in a state of shock.

After a few weeks I found by chance a room at a house in North Finchley, owned and occupied by someone I knew twenty years previously and, with not unsubstantial financial assistance from friends, began to heal.


I had been meditating twice daily for over a year, invaluable.

There was though one thing that this time gave me the strength to pull myself up.



A friend in New York emailed me to say she had a friend in London, an old and very dear friend, who was and is a cognitive therapist, and she had agreed to see me for six sessions, free of charge.

I thought thanks, but no.

My friend was trying to help me the best way she could, and I was grateful, but felt I didn’t need it.


A couple of years ago I went through in some detail the truly shitty hand I was dealt as a child in my autobiography A Day Trip To Beijing, so felt therapy would be like going over old ground.

I decided however to let the idea simmer for a while in the back of my mind and after a week of being back in London, the place of my birth, I was struggling so took up the kind offer.


The first time we met I was apprehensive.

Though having read much by Adam Phillips and Susie Orbach and appreciating their insights I have never had therapy of any kind and was a little skeptical, thinking I would keep close to my chest and see what she had to say.

I immediately liked her, trusted her implicitly, and blurted everything out in an hour.

She looked exhausted.

I left and went to the restroom down the hall.

I closed and locked the door, put my bag on the floor, fell back against the wall and cried for a good ten minutes.


When I was going to take myself up to Topanga I felt ready to go.

I had achieved so much, becoming the woman deep down I knew I was, making it to LA, making my peace with everyone including myself, having found the inner light through meditation and yoga.

It felt an apposite time to bow out.


Now I had set into a depression.

Work for which I need my US green card, still not with me after 6 months, seemed doomed.

I could see no way out and so for the most prosaic of reasons was chuffing off, spluttering out, an ignominious death, cold and alone, wretched, in a wintry park in North Finchley.

Not a good epitaph.


Then I remembered what the the therapist had lead me to believe, that I have a future.


The feeling of newness that always strikes me as we head into January was powerful enough to get me this far into 2014.

Now it's February and while it can be the harshest of months it means spring is not far behind.

Flowers will bloom, bees will buzz, birds will nest, the world will explode in colour and scent.


I woke up this morning and for the first time in a long time suicide was not on my mind.

I had a plan.

I am giving notice at my room, it is time.

I am going on tour in the US with The Knife, green card or not.

I am coming back with some of the things I left behind.

I am finding a new place to live that is mine, a home.

It is in London.


There is so much to do, in music, performance, radio.

I have love and joy to spread.

My friends are many and they are here with me.

My atoms are excited.

I’m here to stay.




Three Unwise Men

Yet another bawbag is frothing at the mouth.

This latest cretinous oaf, a Russian actor of whom this reporter at least has never heard, says he would "stuff queers into an oven and burn them alive."


Not exactly an original thought, but that he is capable of any thought, clearly being way down on the evolutionary scale, is something I suppose.


I am a tolerant woman, I meditate, I try to see the best in all people and I am trying so hard to find something, anything, redeeming about this man.

Nope, I got nothing.


What is it about two men in a loving relationship that men like this are so terrified of?

Well, jealousy for one, as anyone who can come out with a statement like this you can bet your bottom dollar does not have and never has had love from another human.

Couple that with scant education and fear of the unknown and there I guess you have it.


They are fine with two women fucking so long as they can join in, but not their woman, oh no.

She is his property, shackled to his kitchen.


It puzzles me how these he-men want to hang around women at all.

50 Cent Tweeted "If you a man and your over 25 and you don't eat pussy just kill yourself damn it. Lol.”

Clearly not the best educated of men.

That ‘lol’ at the end sounds a nervous laugh, as if he's trotting out a well practiced hetero line he really has no faith in whatsoever.


Mister Cent, you hate ‘pussy’.

You're a violent misogynist.

Surely for you hanging out with women is faggy.

I don't understand why you wouldn't embrace hunk on hunk love.

What could be more macho than that?


I can see how you and our Russian toss pot would be great together.

Imagine it, hitting metal with hammers, necking bourbon, hoovering up lines of coke, wrestling naked in front of a log fire, then, coated in musty man sweat, fucking each other for Jesus till the early hours.


It’s weird that you have so much hate yet call yourselves men of God.

What God?

I guess it's the almighty Old Testament God, the fire and brimstone one, the it's Yahweh or the highway God.


The kind of men you hate so vociferously is exactly the kind of man Jesus would have been.

A peaceful, awake, aware, gay man.


Oh come on, of course Jesus was gay!

FYI, that does not mean he fucked sheep.


Why is it you guys when talking about homosexuality go immediately to bestiality?

The bearded beast from Duck Dynasty is the latest case in point.

For him sin “Morphs out from homosexuality to bestiality, then to sleeping around with this woman and that woman.”

Yes, women are less than than dogs in this world view.


Actually I had no idea who or what Duck Dynasty was so googled it.

Seems he invented a device which enables humans to enact a holocaust on a species.

What an ass.


Another thing I cannot understand with you guys is your obsession with buggery.

You hate the idea of sticking your cock in a man’s anus but almost pathologically cannot wait to ram it up a woman’s.

News flash, not all gay men have penetrative sex.

Get the fuck out!

I know, it’s true, bet that blows your minds.


It is so easy to trot out the most idiotic nonsense as fact if you have never really got your brain in gear.

If it caused no harm it would just not be good enough, not where we are well into the 21st century, with all that human history to learn from.

Oh but it does cause harm, harm to those it is directly aimed at, and harm to the rest of us who have psychically to take it on board.


See, you rain this bilge down on us and we have to cleanse cleanse cleanse, scrub away, hose down the dirt, and atone for all your ignorant blather.

It is a heavy psychological burden.

It is unconscionable.


Knowing you have such paucity of thought I guess you imagine you speak for us all when you spout such trash.

Well, you don't.

There will be a few lobotomised thugs that might try to canonise you, and really you are welcome to each other.


I’m sure by now you’ll be opining that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

No sirs, they are not, not if that opinion incites violence, is a hate crime, which pretty much everything that oozes out of your mealy mouths is.


You are an anachronism, anathema.

We are evolving and you’re stuck, flailing in the primordial soup.


At some point in our lives we must take time to stop learning and start thinking.

We must question everything we have been taught in our own unique way, and through critical examination based on all the research we can muster come to conclusions.

This is the way to enlightenment, to cast off our primitive beliefs, understand all we know, and advance.

This however requires there to have been some learning in the first place, and I am absolutely naming names.


Everything we know is a process of elimination arriving at the least wrong of all the options, and we must strive to get to the next level of least wrong.

That is our path, that is how we survive as a species.

Staying stuck at the most wrong level is not big, not clever, and really no-one is laughing.

If you three unwise men have read this I expect you'll be frothing at the mouth once more.

If on the other hand you manage to read a book, see a little lightbulb go off over your head, or have an epiphany and come to terms with your own latent homosexuality, then we’ll welcome you.



What you each need is a hug, love and guidance.

Until you realise that and drag yourself out of the mire, then please, for the love of humanity, shut the fuck up.









In nineteen eighty nine I wrote a song called ‘PWA’.

It was in part inspired by American playwright and activist Larry Kramer and his efforts to get the then POTUS George Bush Senior to release plant based drugs without the hold up of trials to people who were dying from HIV and AIDS.


Instead of tackling this problem head on people in power began to talk instead of God’s biblical wrath against homosexuals, and in Britain a series of government TV commercials were produced showing commandment like tablets crashing to the ground in slow motion, espousing safe sex.


Bush memorably referred to ‘the giggle factor’ when he thought about gay men as many lay emaciated at death’s door.

I still don’t get the joke.


Thirty years on we as a species have come a long way, but unfortunately not always in the right direction.

Here in Britain, since adopting and repealing the notorious Clause 28 which made illegal the promotion of homosexuality, we have passed same sex marriage into law whereas in Russia, a short hop away, buggery obsessed men with self-imposed ignorance would have homosexuality made illegal or, as in Iran, punishable by death.


They see a queer conspiracy lead by packs of limp-wristed nancy boys who lurk around school playgrounds luring children into lives of butt-fucked depravity.

Feel sorry for these poor fools, their heads filled with this hogwash.


Homosexuality equals emasculation, they’ll say.

Oh how could there be anything worse for a man than to be in touch with his emotions?


Men are strong, hit things with hammers, blow stuff up, are kings of the castle, whereas women are chattel, here to give birth to and look after their spawn, in desperation popping valium washed down with gin in Tupperware cups, having “walked into another door”.


The traditional roles.

How people love to waffle on about tradition.

Men destroy while women cower, that’s tradition.


In Nazi Germany, in living memory, homosexual men were rounded up and murdered, although some high ranking male officers were indeed homosexual themselves.

They hypocritically didn’t see themselves as such, they were ‘real men’ who just happened to like a spot of sword swallowing, taking warm showers, riding the top deck of the bus.


Lesbians were deemed first and foremost asocial as their predilections fostered ideas outside of bondage, but were also slain after men tried and failed to fuck the perversion out of them.


Pink for a boy, black for a girl, triangles that is.


The concentration camp, another Great British invention.

Long before Hitler cottoned on we had them in South Africa during the Boer War.



I was born just 14 years after the end of WW2 and it would be another 8 years before homosexuality in Britain became legal, when we entered the age of enlightenment.


Sadly a leap forward is often followed by a backlash.

HIV and AIDS were like manna from heaven to the unreconstructed bigots amongst us.


At the time of writing ‘PWA’ it was predicted that 5,000,000 Africans would be dead from HIV and AIDS by 1991.

This was roundly ignored.


That figure today is 30,000,000 and rising.


You see so long as it was blacks and gays dying we were fine with it.


It’s as much a black disease or gay plague as measles.



There is a hangover from white Christian Missionary in Africa that gives vent to the absurd idea that homosexuality is against God, is not natural, brings nothing but misery and disease, and that sodomy, intrinsically connected in the minds of the vacuous, is the work of the Devil.


With over 400 animal species known to have homosexual behavior, what’s natural?

There is more anal sex amongst heterosexual couples that homosexual.

As for all that religious hokum, there is no God.


We in Britain are responsible for much of the backward thinking in the world as we once spread ignorance and hate throughout the Empire.

Now we know better we must continue to lead by example.


In India they have thrown off those shackles, though their treatment of transgender people leaves much to be desired.


America, land of the free, home of the brave, shelterer of huddled masses, has categorically rejected the stupidity of uptight short sighted pig headed politicians and their wish to drag us all into to the mire.


Stephen Fry’s TV documentary ‘Out There’ recently showed us where we are at globally and where we are in danger of going if we allow the most dim witted control.


The awake and aware people of the world know that sexual orientation is something we are born with, that it is not black or white but a rainbow, a beautiful multicolored rainbow.


Ignorance and fear are inexcusable in this day and age, and the perpetration of those two states of being on mass populations by spiteful God Botherers is abhorrent.


As both the L and the T in LGBT I feel it keenly.


If you think that these issues have nothing to do with you, think again.

Ignore the knocks on doors at your peril as one day the knock will be on yours.


We are your sons and we are your daughters,

All we bring is love, don’t turn your backs on us.




Link to the song ‘PWA’




What It Feels Like For A Girl

I was born in the wrong body.

This is my earliest memory.

I lived with all the wrong people.

This is a close second.


When Doctor Who came along in 1963 I was four years old and knew both those things to be true.

I wished I was his granddaughter and he’d whisk me away, not to go fight monsters but to get as far away a possible from the horror of home, a home full of abuse, physical, mental, sexual.


Fortunately The Beatles came along. 

They were like beautiful creatures from another planet and for the next few years saved me.

The abuse didn’t stop but they were always there, smiling, shaking their mop tops, twanging their guitars, being sane.


Eventually though they had to go but joy of joys along came Marc Bolan.

Suddenly boys wore girls clothes and make-up, and I embraced it.

My father had other ideas.

One day I came home from school to find he’d covered up the pictures of Marc that adorned my walls with heterosexual soft core porn.

I was 12.


For four long miserable years I endured hell on earth, not helped at all by the likes of Gary Glitter and Jonathan King, though fortunately Jim didn’t get to Fix It for me in his own special way.


At 16, with all the hutzpah I could muster, I reinvented myself as a would be pop star and blasted my way out of there as far as possible.

After a bumpy ride I landed in The Passions, fell in love with a German Film Star, and started on the path to discovery.

It took another 34 years till I saw the signpost and took the right fork.


In July 2009 I was living in New York City.

I called Callen-Lorde, the LGBT clinic in the West Village of Manhattan and booked an appointment to talk about becoming a woman.

They said sure, October.


I wondered why it would take so long.

Were there really that many big girls blouses out there?


Making that initial call was euphoric.

Something that had been on my mind my whole life, that I had pushed back and back and back was now out in the open, and I had at last taken the first step in making what I had dreamed about become reality.

I figured they’d given me a three month cooling down period, and that if I was serious I would wait.


October came around and I was a bag of nerves.

Although for the past year I had been living as a woman it had been in private.

Now there I was in a dress and make-up opening the door to a new life.


I went to the receptionist and barely able to speak conveyed that I was there for gender reassignment.

No one turned to me, pointed and laughed.

No one screamed I was sick.

No one tried to pummel me to the ground.

Instead very matter of fact she gave me a few forms to fill out and sent me forth to the fourth floor.


Coming out of the elevator I expected to find myself surrounded by a gaggle of overly made-up men in twin sets and pearls sitting pinched but no, it was a waiting room like another, just a few ordinary people peering into their devices.

No-one looked up when I entered.


I was taken to a nurse to get my blood tested.

Then, after all those years of inner turmoil, there right in front of me was The Doctor who was about to change my life.


He was gentle, kind, open, warm, asked me the same questions any medic would ask a new patient, told me I would need to see a psychiatrist, and if that went OK would start me on hormone treatment straight away.


Within two weeks I got the green light and on November 2nd 2009 received my first scrip.


For 50 years I had tried to live in the gender my body said I was and failed miserably.

I felt like an alien.

But I had to survive and back then there was no possibility at all of doing anything other than invent a male persona.


Transitioning is not a matter of becoming a woman, it is becoming ones true self, and fifty years of living as a man, living a lie, took a lot of stripping away.


Many things had to be unlearned, like walking.

As a child I watched other boys and copied them, settling on something they accepted.


I’d developed a deep voice and it took me a year of consciously training it to be in a higher register, with a different resonance.

I thought I’d never manage it, but with perseverance I did.

The phone is hardest.

“Hi can I get room service?” I’d enquire in my best female voice.

“Certainly sir.”

The first time someone said madam I jumped up and down on the bed whooping.


Other things too take a while to adjust, things you wouldn’t immediately think of.

Clothes buttoning, for example.


Before I started transitioning if someone would call unexpectedly I would be like a whirling dervish getting out of make-up.

After I started transitioning and someone called I would be like a whirling dervish getting into make-up.


Now, four years on, I feel I’ve made it, at last, finally, hurray, deep breath, and relax.

However, nothing fully prepared me for misogyny.


I have been a lifelong feminist, ever since I witnessed my father beating seven bells of hell out of my mother.

But unless you are a woman you cannot fully comprehend how a man can hate you for being who you are.


We see sexism everywhere, from the myriad photoshopped magazines to Page Three, from billboards to plastic pop stars, treating women as disposable objects, male fantasy meat, cum sluts.


In my work as a touring sound engineer I have come up against much discrimination, mostly from trolls sporting mullet hair cuts, dubious metal band tour T-shirts, and homemade tape holders strapped to utility belts, posture perpetually at a slant due to the copious rolls of gaffa hanging off them.

When they see it’s me, a middle aged woman, come to mix a band at their venue, they grunt and shuffle away, knuckles dragging the floor, cursing.


More insidious is the outright hatred that can rear it’s ugly head when a woman dares stand up for herself.


Once a man employed to help me screamed in my ear that I was a fucking bitch and he was going to fuck me up, this during a song I was endeavoring to mix.


Then there are the comments men write on social media sites, in anonymity of course.

Lauren Mayberry is the latest victim.


Lauren is the singer in pop group Chvrches, friends of mine, and she has men posting on Twitter threatening to rape her, saying things like they will find out where she lives and fuck her anally, and she would love it, or that, being Scottish, they’d fuck the accent out of her.

I shit you not.


Who are these people, what makes them sink to these depths of human depravity?

Would they be so bold if their mothers found out?


The man screaming in my ear was a bully and clearly extremely unhappy with me being there, doing what I know he considered men’s work.


What made it worse was denying it when confronted with what he had done in front of another man, my boss.

He fully expected some kind of secret male bonding to occur where they would both raise their eyes, snigger, and go get a beer together.


I felt sorry for him, the poor insecure frightened fool.

Fortunately my boss was a decent human being having none of it and stuck up for me.


Should I have to put up with this as I try to do my job?

Should women like Lauren Mayberry accept filth smeared all over their lives because they are in the public eye?



It’s abuse.

Stop it.


We are the other half of the sky.


I spent last year with a touring group of twelve in which there were five women, a rare and wonderful thing.

I was privileged and honored to be included as one of the five, and I thank the men for that too.


We talked about anything and everything with openness and love, yet there were some topics I could not fully engage in.

I’ve never menstruated so cannot say what it was like to get my first period; I went straight to menopause.

I don’t know what it would be like to be able to give birth, to be a mother.

I missed out on so much.


I was born in the wrong body.

I knew that from the very start.

Parents, if you have a child who knows this too help them as soon as possible, preferably before puberty.

You will never regret it.

That I have become a woman, albeit at this late stage of my life, is the best thing that ever happened to me, because I am finally me, happy in my skin.


People have said oh you are so brave.

Well, yes, coming out was terrifying, but once it was done the feeling of wellness was overwhelming.

What was hardest, I now know, was for 50 years staying trapped in that body, cold and alone.


Boys, it is not weak to be loving, open, compassionate, kind.

It is essential.

Don’t hate what you don’t understand.

There’s no need to be afraid.


Do I know what it feels like for a girl?

I am figuring that out more and more each day.

I’m on a wonderful adventure, and now my feet are firmly on the ground.



The Children of The Revolution

That was the week that was for Operation Yewtree.

First Dave Lee Travis went to court to face 12 counts of sexual assault, then Rolf Harris was charged with 9, along with 4 counts of making obscene pictures of children.


Yewtree, in case you’d gone to the moon, is a police operation carried out initially to investigate reports of sexual abuse of children by Jimmy Savile, radio DJ, TV personality, tireless worker for charity, friend of politicians and royalty, loving son to his dear old mum, The Duchess.


As we now know the reports turned out to be true and for 40 years he preyed on the most vulnerable people in society.

Yes, we all knew the rumours but no-one had proof, other than his victims, who were so young, so alone, so traumatised that they could not speak out.


When Louis Theroux met him he denied being a pedophile when asked outright to camera, a denial that fooled no-one.

What’s more it seemed clear that he’d indulged in more than one bout of necrophilia with The Duchess’ corpse.


Now every shot of him has been expunged.

When the BBC show old Top Of The Pops episodes it’s like he didn’t exist.

But happen upon one on youtube and everything he said and did show him for what he was.

Once he was outed the rest of them began toppling like dominos, but there were already signs that all was not well in that world of weird men.


Jonathan King was an incredibly successful songwriter and record producer of such inane but huge selling hits as ‘Loop Di Love’ by Shag, and ‘Leap Up And Down And Wave Your Knickers in The Air’, and presenter of long running BBC TV show ‘Entertainment USA’ where he’d report on what was happening in New York, although what was really happening for him was not captured on film, or certainly not broadcastable.


In 1997 he was awarded the BPI’s Man Of The Year award, with a personal endorsement from Tony Blair.


In 2001he was arrested for sexually abusing countless young boys.

He was released on bail stumped up by Simon Cowell.

His innocence was protested by the likes of Simon Bates and Max Clifford.

He was found guilty on all charges, sentenced to seven years in jail, and put on the sex offender register for life.


The one thing we repeatedly hear from his and the others apologists is that in those days it was just how things were, it was in the culture, it was acceptable.


By those days they mean the 1970’s and dark days they were.

Men ruled everything everywhere, women were chattel, children slaves.

Misogyny and racism were institutionalised.

If in doubt watch any clip of TV show The Comedians for a stark reality check.


Whist Marc Bolan and David Bowie showed us that there was a new way, a light out of the darkness, we had to at first see through the glitter, Gary Glitter to be exact.


‘D'Ya Wanna Be In My Gang?’ he asked.

Not really, Gary.

‘Do You Wanna Touch Me There, Where, There?’

No, Gary, absolutely not.


In 1999 he put his computer in for repair at PC World and the tech servicing it found 4000 images of hardcore child pornography, for which he served time.

Since then he’s repeatedly offended and has miraculously escaped with his life. 

For example, in Vietnam, to where he once fled, there were allegations of rape of 11 year old girls, and had they lead to a conviction would have carried a mandatory death sentence.

He is currently out on bail having been arrested in London for sexually abusing 14 year old girls with Jimmy Savile in Savile’s ‘Clunk Click’ dressing room.


That dressing room was the setting for many of his conquests and it is said involved numerous TV personalities of the time, some of whom have been arrested lately, such as Freddie Starr.


Freddie Starr, like so many of his peers, pleads his innocence, yet they somewhat contradictorily say that the offences for which they are being accused were such a long time ago that they should not be pursued, or, fumbling, that they cannot remember that far back.


Scared shitless they ran into the arms of Max Clifford, solicitor to the stars.

Max Clifford has now himself been charged with 11 counts of sexual assault.


Is their assertion that the offences took place way back in the dark ages a defence?


There is no statute of limitations.

Even if it was a defence how does that account for Max Clifford whose alleged reign of terror continued to the mid eighties, or Dave Lee Travis’ latest in 2007?


The argument that it was in the culture, that everyone was up to it, that it was acceptable, will just not wash.

At the same time as these men were sticking their dicks into every available orifice Esther Rantzen started Childline, and John Lennon no less said that after women’s rights must come children’s as children had none.


It is about power, and it is not just the preserve of celebrities.

My own mother was sexually abused by her father from the age of 8.

It was systematic, calculated, relentless.

He held court in the Magic Kingdom, where the secret potion that all good little girls drank was administered.


I had no idea.

He to me seemed a gentle, warm, caring man who occasionally touched me in a way I didn’t like, who died when I was a child.


It’s shocking when someone in the public eye who we revere is proven to be abhorrent.

It’s horrifying when it’s one's own family.

It makes us wonder how on earth we didn’t see it.

We didn’t see it because they are cunning predators who work hard sub rosa.


I don’t know anyone who was surprised when the revelations about Jimmy Savile started to appear, but we are all staggered by the scale of it, and by what we can now see his and others brash hiding in plain sight.


But The Hairy Cornflake, our cuddly breakfast time DJ friend, or Rolf Harris, everybody’s grandfather?

Now when I think of DLT’s jingle ‘whack whack oops’ I don’t think of sunny breakfast mornings before gaily hopping off to school, I think of it being him whacking off over an 8 year old.

When I think of Rolf Harris I don’t think of him happily painting pictures on TV, the meaning slowly revealing itself, I think of him wanking his flaccid penis to an erect state and asking his victim “Do you know what it is yet?”


Of the others who’ve been arrested under Yewtree, Jim Davidson, well known racist, is not going to be prosecuted, not because he has been proved innocent, but because there was insufficient evidence, not none, to guarantee a prosecution.

Sure, he was not on everyone’s favourite person list from the get go, but what about Ken Barlow, aka William Roache, longest serving and most beloved star of Corrie?

Or Tarby?


I suppose I mustn’t forget Stuart Hall, laughing gnome on ritual humiliation TV show ‘It’s A Knockout’, but I’d like to.


There are a slew of outer circle people who have been arrested, TV show producers, staff drivers, all caught up in modern day Rome, a debauched, despicable coterie.


It’s big stuff, big ugly soul destroying stuff.


Is it an aberration or is it truly part of what we are?


It is undeniable that this behaviour was accepted back then, it is all there to see on youtube and no, it was not black and white but full blown in-your-face colour at prime time.


It is there today too and you don’t have to look far as in every issue of The Sun men are encouraged to leer over topless girls, or in The Daily Mail where they continually gush over 14 year old curves.


I have heard pedophiles proffering the argument that they have a right to be what they are in the same way as homosexuals.


Let’s be clear, homosexuality is a loving union in mutual appreciation, respect, and consent in exactly the same way as heterosexuality, whereas the likes of my grandfather raped children and scarred them for life.


He knew exactly what he was doing.

To call it pedophilia somehow excuses it, and listing it in the DSM as a mental health disorder somehow legitimises it.


I do not believe that any of the people mentioned here acted beyond their mental capacity to distinguish right from wrong.

They boasted, they swaggered, they felt it was their right, they lived by their own code of justice, they made up the rules in their own warped world.


But they are not aliens, they are human, and we feel it deeply as it defiles each of us.


They took our children, our beautiful loving children, who looked up to them for guidance, hope, security, protection, and fucked them.


With enormous strength and courage the victims are speaking out, they are the children of the revolution.


At last we are saying no, you will not do this anymore and you will you not get away with what you have done, as we evolve, open our eyes, and heal.







Shrink Wrapped

This morning I went to see a shrink.

I walked into the empty reception area and, through what seemed like bullet proof glass, told the receptionist I had an appointment, handing him through a slit the letter I’d been sent to confirm it.


He looked it up down, tapped some keys on his computer, scratched his head, sat back in his chair and read the letter again, a look of consternation crossing his already mardy face.

He thrust it back through the aperture and without looking up mumbled “Take a seat.”


A few minutes later another man popped up in the glass cage and sat next to him.

They had a little confab and both shook their heads.

This second man came out to the water cooler next to where I was sitting.

I looked up at him and smiled as he ambled by.

He snarled.


Wow, I thought, these two are the grumpiest patient care people I have ever seen.

Having been looking for employment the past couple of months I would happily do it better.


I took out my iPad to read while I waited.

I heard a door opening and looking up was surprised to see the area full of people waiting for appointments, in varying degrees of distress.


We all looked over, like meerkats.

A woman called out a man’s name.

We looked around but no-one got up.

She said the name again, louder.

With dread and horror as I realized it was my old name, the name I had when I was a man.

I closed my eyes hoping she’d figure out the error and get it right, or would just give up after which, letting enough time pass so no-one made a connection, I could get up quietly and leave.

She said it for a third time, this time loud enough that people on the street turned their heads.

I opened my eyes, steeled myself, stood up and walked the gauntlet over to her.


“That’s not my name” I hissed as she fumbled with the combination lock on the door.


I could feel all eyes burning into the back of my head, my mouth so dry it literally felt like there was a sock in it.

I’d rather have walked on hot coals back to that water cooler.

She was mortified too, poor thing, trying to apologize as she finally punched in the correct sequence of numbers and we both fell through the doorway in relief.


We entered a little cubicle where she and another young woman quizzed me.

It was clear they were in training and more than a little out of their depth, but I smiled and we carried on.


“How did you do at school?”

The words Eleven Plus, Grammar, and GCE gave them cause for concern, as if I was speaking gibberish.


“Do you ever feel like you are a famous person?”

I mentioned this to a friend after and she said, “Did you just tell them you were in The Passions?”


“Do you ever feel like people are talking about you behind your back?”

Not the best time to mention the receptionists I figured, so kept mum.


After fifteen minutes trying to catch me out they told me to wait in reception while they spoke with the head honcho, then they’d give me their assessment.

Cautiously I opened the door and was relieved to find it again empty, and the receptionists replaced, presumably their shifts over rather than turfed out for their narrow mindedness callousness.


With barely enough time to regain my composure I was called back in, this time to a spacious office where sat a man, mid forties, leaning back in his chair behind a large desk, the two students seated to one side looking very down in the mouth.

I feared the worst.


“Do you know why you’re here?” he asked, eyes piercing my skull.

I glanced over at the girls hoping for a clue but their heads were bowed, looking at their trembling hands.


“Well” he continued, “I am a psychiatrist and your GP has asked me to assess your mental health before referring you on to hospital.”


I expected the door to open and men in white coats strap me into a straight jacket.


“I’m not sure why they sent you here as Charing Cross have their own psychiatrists, but as far as we’re concerned you clearly have no mental health issues so I see no reason why you cannot be treated for gender reassignment on the NHS and I’ll be writing to your GP in the next week or two informing them of this. Goodbye.”


I know.

Two weeks to write a letter!


The girls showed me out in silence.

I concluded they must’ve had a dressing down for using the wrong name and putting me into an awfully embarrassing situation which I thought particularly unfair seeing as it was most likely his error.


It was a kind of surreal and not altogether pleasant experience, my first and hopefully last encounter with the NHS mental health department.


In the UK one can have gender reassignment on the National Health Service but there are a number of hoops to jump through.

The psych eval was number two, the first being to register with a GP, a family doctor.

Step three is referral to a Gender Clinic for primary care such as hormone therapy, and for me this will be Charing Cross hospital.

To qualify for this one has to live full time in one’s chosen gender for a period of one year.

This is cruel as it is the hormones that give the confidence and body shape to do that successfully.


These hormones are Estradiol, estrogen, the female hormone, forms the breasts, redistributes fat, alters body shape, and Spironolactone, an androgen blocker, stops the production of testosterone.


In the US, where I lived from 2002 till recently, hormones are prescribed immediately after registering with a clinic and being assessed by a psychiatrist, something I did in 2009, and for which of course I had to stump up cash.

No, Obamacare doesn’t cover it, though it is now tax deductible.

Fortunately because I had been on hormones over there for nearly four years my GP over here prescribed them straight off the bat.



The final step, the one I am most keen to complete, is SRS or GRS, sex/gender reassignment surgery, turning my bits around, a procedure that would cost me upwards of thirty grand in the US.


I’m no medical tourist, before you reach for your green pen.

I’ve paid taxes and national insurance here for over thirty years and do so now.


SRS for many but not all Transgender people, is the final stage, the last piece of the jigsaw.

After years of hormones, the gradual reshaping of the body and mind, after laser or electrolysis hair removal, after voice training, after trachea shaving, comes the vagina.


Those of a nervous disposition look away now - for male to female surgery the glans of the penis, the head, is turned into a clitoris, the penis itself turned inside out to form the vagina, the testicles removed, the labia formed, and the urethra repositioned.

We’re talking major surgery.


Not everybody chooses to have it.

Some people do not want to have to go through the pain, discomfort, and the three months minimum recovery.

Some simply cannot afford it.


I have had done and paid for everything so far, including the trachea shave, where an incision is made under the chin and the trachea, the Adam’s apple cartilage, is shaved to reduce or remove its prominence, feminizing the neck.


It’s a long journey, a gender journey, and one not to be taken lightly.

Yes, it has been wonderful, calming, life affirming, to be able to at last admit to myself who I truly am and, most importantly, to feel good about it.

But there are pitfalls, should you, reader, be thinking about choosing this path.

It is not uncommon to find that the thing that makes you feel complete makes other people run for the hills, or want to beat you to a pulp.


Within the blink of an eye home, job, friends, can all disappear.


I’ve been lucky in that most of my friends have stuck with me.

Not all though, and not all those who’ve stuck around have found it easy.

It must be quite a thing to have a friend you’ve known for 30 years seemingly out of the blue declare themselves female and start wearing dresses and make up in public.


After the initial shock and embarrassment most folks come around.

Those that don’t, well were they really friends?


I travel a lot as a touring sound mixer, and in early transition found myself in some tricky situations, with my name change papers in one hand, and my old passport in the other, trying to get into, for example, Russia.

The thing is to stand your ground, be open, sincere, smiling just enough, not too much that you look insane, or more than they already think you are.


In Japan one time the immigration official looked at me, a woman, looked at my passport, a man, put a hand to his forehead, exhaled deeply, and waved me on, shaking his head.


In China I had five men in uniform all looking at my face, then my passport, up and down, up and down for 20 minutes, jut-jawed, grimacing, then begrudgingly letting me pass. 

I walked through with all the dignity I could muster.


One thing it’s worth bearing in mind at these situations, should you ever find yourself there, is to remember that sometimes the straightest looking people cross dress.

Oh yes, it’s a lot more common than you’d think.


Most who transition do so later in life, when it is hardest.

When the skeleton has formed, the voice dropped, the beard thick, the head bald, all the will and pills in the world may not produce the effects society deems appropriate.


The best time for anyone to change gender is before puberty, and thankfully that is beginning to happen now.


When I was eight years old I would go to sleep every night hoping I would wake up a girl, and cry every morning.

This was the nineteen sixties, when homosexuality was illegal, men were men and women were terrified.


Just the other day I saw an article in a national newspaper about a happy heterosexual couple who had both changed gender.

We’ve come a long way since I was eight.

But there are people who would’ve looked at that happy couple and called them freaks, or worse, much worse.

We can have two happy people who don’t fit into a warped nonsensical bigoted hateful view of humanity or two miserable people who do.


I ‘pass’.

This really helps, as no gang of uncouth youths have tried to hospitalize me.

But I am now a middle aged woman which presents me with a whole new slew of discrimination, not least that I am failing to get work.


A friend who is still struggling a bit said to me recently “I don’t understand why anybody would chose to be a middle aged woman.”


There’s nothing I can do about being middle aged.


Gender is not black and white.

It’s a rainbow.


Fortunately I am a citizen of a country that recognizes my condition as something essential to treat, that will do so for free at point of need, and will allow me to become my gender of choice legally whether I have had SRS or not.


Now, gis a job.





Oh Obama

I saw a headline on Democracy Now’s website this morning that started ‘Obama cancels Putin summit...’ and thought for a hopeful second that it was going to continue ‘...because of his barbaric treatment of LGBT people in Russia.’ 

Sadly no, Obama is miffed at Putin giving asylum to Snowden, a man who has had to run for his life after telling the American people that their President is spying on them, much the same way as.... wait..... The KGB once did.


Oh Obama.

We had such high hopes.

Remember all the people gathered together, singing, crying, believing that a real change was going to come.

It seems like such a long time ago, doesn’t it?

It was eight months.


You promised us that business in the White House would not be business as usual.

Well, that’s a promise you’ve kept.

How many people have you killed so far?

Let’s make it easier and say just with drones?


Of course your reputation as a cold blooded killer was sealed the day you strode up to the camera like a gunslinger and announced, with steely-eyed relish, that you’d killed Osama Bin Laden, the boogeyman.

Not merely found, taken into custody, but taken out.

No more covert operations for you.

Not even Dub-Ya had those cojones.

It left you jonesing for more.


Who next?

Everyone, it seems.

Remember when you were a young idealistic senator in Chicago?

If someone back then blew the whistle on say illegal wire tapping, such as, let’s see, Watergate, would you have backed tracking the blower to the ends of the earth?


What’s the difference between 8 years of Bush and 8 years of Obama?

Things got a whole lot worse.

It’s not a joke.


Yes you showed a lot of promise but somehow you lost the plot, took the wrong turn, got in with the wrong crowd.

I hope that very soon, like tomorrow, you will wake up, look at Michele and your beautiful children, realize you have been such a fool, and start to do the things you have a huge mandate for.


Here are a few ideas to get you started.


Close down Guantanamo immediately.

Set the detainees free, put them on the witness protection plan.

They are not going to hurt anyone.

It’s shameful.


Stop killing innocent people abroad and at home by (a) stopping all drone strikes and (b) taking some of the huge amounts of money away from the death squads, or the military as they prefer to be called, and feed the millions of people starving in America right now.


Ban guns, all of them.

I know, it’s so simple, it’s brilliant.



Pull out of Afghanistan.

You’ve destroyed so many lives over there, decimated so many families, that foul spot will not wash away, but you have the power to heal the misery right now.


Drastically, and I mean drastically, cut back the obscene amount of nuclear weapons you’ve got pointed around the world, and go for complete disarmament in your lifetime.

How much of a deterrent do you need?

Look, size really doesn’t matter.


Force the Olympic Committee to pull out of holding the winter games in Russia, don’t ask them or urge them, force them.

You’re the POTUS, you can do what the hell you like!

If you need more info on this read Stephen Fry’s letter to Cameron, or watch George Takei on youtube.

If ever there was a clear cut choice between right and wrong this is it.

Just do it, you’ll feel so much better.


If you must have a war, I know what you boys are like, then have it with the Corporations who are screwing it up for the rest of us, and really deal with Global Climate Change.

If you don’t then none of the above will matter anyhoo.


So, go on, give it a go.

Yes, the anally retentive around you will blow off so hard shit will literally fly out of them, but ignore them.

They’re idiots, and they’re wrong.


I know in your heart you are a good person and that when you were running in ’08 you really believed that you were going to make a change.

Well you did, but boy did you ever take a wrong turn.

Get up, stand up, we are in dire need for you to do what we hoped, make the world a better place, and yes, you can.

In 2012 the old world that Romney and his ilk propounded was roundly rejected.

You have the power, you have the brain, you have the choice.

Make it the right one before it’s too late, and do it now because the shit is inches away from the fan and there will be no turning back.



Kick Out The Pricks

I’ve been boning up on the protest over so called Lads Mags and the stiff pressure to cover up their covers and wrap them in cellophane at grocery stores.


It’s created quite a round of comment, from young feminists who say they are disgusting and degrading, to the magazine owners who say they purely reflect the views of millions of young men, from those who feel the cover up is an attack on freedom of speech to those who feel it doesn’t go far enough.


Well, let’s clear this up.

These publications should not be covered at all, nor should they be hidden on the top shelf to keep them away from the prying eyes of toddlers.


They should be piled on high and set afire.


There should be no place for this kind of abusive trash in an evolved society.

These rags are despicable, meretricious, without a mitigating feature.

They do not reflect the view of millions of young men, they feed on baseness and force them to remain in a state of mental bondage.


It doesn’t matter whether your argument is for or against these publications.

They are wrong and should have been banished from our collective psyche long ago.

We must not permit the printing of this misogynistic bile, must stop this perpetration of outmoded and sick mindsets so a bunch of unprincipled meatheads can stuff more filthy lucre into their cum drenched fists.


These magazines are not a bit of fun, they are about perpetrating the idea that the objectification and subjugation of women is perfectly acceptable.

Well it’s not.

It’s painful, hurtful, morally reprehensible, fucked up.


This is not a pornography issue, let’s be clear.

This is not about soft core as in Mags Fags and Shags shops.

No, this is about misogynistic bile vomited up by the likes of Loaded.


There was a boy a few days ago who with bravado egged on by the editorial content of all that bilge, Tweeted in scatter gun pattern callow thoughts about the sight, size, and smell of a middle aged woman’s vagina.

When threatened to have the beans spilled to his mother he was forced to examine his actions through her eyes, a middle aged woman, and was terrified, appalled, contrite.


People cry that every one is entitled to their opinion.

Well no, they are not, not when it's dripping in hate.

It isn't big, it isn't clever, and the only people laughing are the nervous under peer pressure and the profiteers, be they from Loaded, Twitter, Facebook, the local Co-op.

There is no altruism in this cover up, not when there are bucks to be made.


I am heartened to see that young feminists have taken this up.

I was beginning to think that there were no young feminists.

If you are someone who thinks that there is no need for feminism today, then please think again.

This is one clear example of why you are wrong.

Now look around you.

Those billboards bursting with photoshopped shots of barely clad girls selling us stuff we neither need or want are part and parcel.


It is slavery.


I am not one for censorship.

On the contrary I believe in the maxim ban nothing, question everything, with the proviso it causes no harm.

A bald man being called bald may feel uncomfortable, though it is a truth.

A woman threatened of rape in her own home for being a woman is a crime.


Degrading women is about control, power, based on fear, insecurity.

As an evolved, mature, enlightened species which we know in our hearts we are, we must not, cannot stand for it.


We are so much better than this.


Kick out the pricks!


Community Spirit


At the behest of a friend’s daughter I recently attended a free concert by a bunch of performers from a local high school.

I’m not sure what I expected but it was most definitely not to be as absolutely blown away by the amount of talent, joy, and love that burst off that little stage as I was.


There were three bands who were the match of many I’ve seen at major festivals around the world, and I’ve been to them all touring as I do with the likes of M83, Mogwai, and Caribou.

There was a singer with an acoustic guitar whose songs made me cry.

There was a human beatbox dancer who I wanted to wrap up in cotton wool and take home with me, that cute!


What makes this all the more incredible is that these performers were all aged 14 or under, were 50/50 girls and boys, and were from all races, creeds, religions, and backgrounds.


The school, Morpeth, and the organization that put on the show, Community Music, are in Tower Hamlets, the London borough that is one of the most culturally diverse in the country, if not the world.


This is exactly what the EDL want to smash.


Having not been living in the UK for the past decade I was unaware of the EDL.

They are the continuation of a cancer that we should by now have eradicated from our psyche.

The letters EDL do not as I thought stand for Extremely Dense Lumps, but should.

The members of this cretinous collective seem somehow unfinished, like a vital piece of their brains was omitted when they were cleaved from bulldog chalk.

They are I suspect the kind of people that in childhood pulled wings off gnats, drowned kittens, bullied peers mercilessly, failed to get exam points for spelling their name correctly.

They are white, predominately male, and so riddled with fear that they pummel anything they don’t understands with fists till it’s dead.

Queers, coons, pakis, slags, and poofs.

Translated that’s homosexuals, anyone of African descent, anyone from Asia, women, and the people they seem to fear more than anyone else, men in women’s clothing.


As a man who used to wear women’s clothing I have come face to face with the look of confusion turning to fear, to dread, and to hate in their eyes.

It’s very hard to comprehend that someone would want to beat you to a pulp for just being you.

Fortunately I don’t have to put up with that particular abuse any more as I am now a woman.


This behavior is passed down through generations, the abused becomes the abuser.

I’ve seen it in my own family.

My father was a violent sot who failed to come to terms with the pain inflicted on him by his own father and so carried it on by battering me.

When it became obvious that I was the most terrifying person in the world, a boy who wanted to be a girl, and he was not going to be able to punch me into shape, he disowned me.

He hasn’t spoken to me in 30 years.


After a while this blaming on the past for ones acts is a smokescreen, a copout.

Ultimately we must be responsible for our own patterns of behaviour.


What I witnessed at that performance the other day, from all those children, from all their parents, relatives, friends, was the complete rejection of this nonsense, embracing community, love, and acceptance of all people, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, colour, background.


This is the true human condition, this is what we are, this is the next level of our evolution.

To those who preach hate, who would denying us our rights as individuals to be ourselves, to be joyous human beings expressing love, it’s time to put your knuckles down, hug each other, open up, try reading a book even, and begin to truly live.


When I see children embracing the differences in us like this with love, with compassion, I know we have a future.


Community spirit is alive and well.

Now, let’s save the planet too.




The Heart of Westminster

A couple of weeks ago I applied for the post of Production Assistant at a well known English Shakespearian theatre company.

Not Production Manager, just a mere assistant.

There were 220 applicants.



Feeling up a gumtree I browsed some online general job sites and was flabbergasted to see that while the number of posts on offer totaled just 1900, the number of people looking were 33,000.

33,000, and on just one site!


What jobs where they, you may wonder?

Gofer mostly, paying minimum wage which in London won't cover rent in a shared hovel.


Full employment, it will never ever happen again.

Instead of dealing with this head on successive governments have spent their time putting their fingers in their ears and their heads up their bottoms.



This week some bright spark took it upon themselves to check the House of Parliament toilets for cocaine traces.

9 proved positive.



So, people with the power to literally decide who lives and who dies by what legislation they devise and pass into law are doing so coked up.

“I’ve got an idea, bedroom tax!”

“Brilliant!” (hoovers up line the size of arm and leg)


Let’s be clear about this, politicians may be wily, but they are far from smart.

Not having our best interests at heart their decisions are questionable at the best of times.

Under the influence of cocaine they are mad I tell you, mad.


There is something very wrong in the heart of Westminster.

It’s a private club, its members peeing on us from a great stoned height, clutching bags of our cash as they sell off what’s left of the family silver.


Britain’s not working.

Oh sure, wander around vast swathes of London chock full of restaurants stuffed with diners pigging out on overpriced offal and you’ll think recession, what recession?

But try and find somewhere to live as a homeless single person over the age of 40 and reality will hit you like a steam train driven by a blond buffoon.

What will you do when your boss texts you in the morning to say you’ve been fired, and with no explanation or recompense?

Ragged Trousered Philanthropist anyone?


One thing we don’t have to worry about right now is being blasted back into the Stone Age by North Korea as we seem to be dismantling all we’ve held dear since the formation of the Welfare State quite nicely on our own thank you.


Do we really want to go back to soup kitchens, work houses, rickets, back street abortions, plague and pestilence?


A bunch of immoral chancers backed by barely elected tosspots gambled our history away in a casino, then stole all our savings, climbed up their towers, kicked away the ladders, laughing like drains, and they are laughing still.


We have spent so long looking up the backsides of people who deserve not a jiffy of our time that we’ve gone blind.

Well it really is time to squeegee our eyes and wake the hell up from this infant state before, as Flaubert memorably warned us, the edge of the crapper on which we stand crumbles and we plummet headlong into a century of shit.


One Step Ahead Of The G-Man

The past four years of my life have been remarkable.

I came out as transgender and started hormone treatment to transition from male to female, and toured the world several times over with the bands Mogwai and M83 as their Front of House sound engineer. 

I moved from New York City, where I had been for a decade, to Los Angeles, into a fabulous little modern house with orange and lemon trees in the garden, and a little white car parked out back, christened Snowflake by one of my beautiful friends.

At Christmas last I and M83 finished off a triumphant year with a little run of arena shows, ending at The Gibson Theater in LA.

The after show party was, shall we say, legendary.

All was right with the world.


New Year came and went and I along with all my friends was confident that twenty thirteen was going to be amazing.

Easter arrived bringing still no work, but I was settling into my new home, relying on savings and credit cards to get me through what seemed just a sticky patch. 

I knew a couple of groups that were looking to hire and I guessed I’d be high on the list.

Unfortunately they passed me over for young men, but I was still sure it was all going to be fine, though my savings had all but run out and my cards were getting close to being maxed.


By the middle of June things were getting fairly desperate.

It was looking like nothing was going to come my way.

I began to look around my little house with trepidation, with a feeling that I was mad to think it would all work out, that this life could be mine.

I started to feel like a fraud.

Then at the eleventh hour came an email with the offer of a high profile tour starting immediately.

I said yes yes yes.

A week later and I hadn’t heard back.

I’d been passed over again.

Now all my cards absolutely were maxed out, my bank account in the red, my rent and bills overdue.

Reality hit me like a punch in the guts.

The dream was over.


What to do?

I’d become the person I always should have been, a woman, living in a place I’d aways wanted to live, LA, and had seen the world.

I decided it was time to go.


I’ve been meditating for a year and realized that I’d let go of my ego, was at peace with the world and myself, had been awestruck at the beauty of our little planet, had found the inner light, and was ready. 

I decided that I would drive out to Malibu to stand for one last time on the golden sands looking out at the mighty Pacific before heading up to Topanga national park where, at sunset, I was going to cut my wrists.

It seemed to make complete sense. 

I said my goodbyes online to my friends, being careful not to let them suspect anything as I didn’t want to be stopped, and went to sleep in my own bed for the last time.


Just as I was about to walk out the door the next morning my cell phone rang.

It was an old friend from London, England, who had clearly seen through my obfuscated farewell message and begged me to stay, saying she would wire me money for a flight, and that I should hot foot it post haste to London and stay with her till I sorted myself out.

It took some convincing, not because I didn’t want to see her or appreciate the love she was sending, but because I really had decided to go.

I was at peace, I was ready to leave this place.

She persuaded me to stay.


I’ve been in London for two weeks, sleeping on my friend’s couch, trying to figure out what the hell to do.

I abandoned everything in LA, just walked away with a suitcase and guitar in hand.


This is not the first time I’ve been here.

In 1991 I was playing guitar and singing in a band and we all decided to move to Amsterdam.

After nearly a year of living in a squat, stealing food from the local supermarket because I didn’t have any money, I sold my guitar getting just enough cash for a bus ticket to London, turning up at the same friend’s house, this time with just a suitcase.


But now I’m 54, a middle aged woman, and it’s really hard.

Capitalism is going through its inevitable collapse and leaving millions of us by the wayside.

I have no money, no home, no history here for a decade so zero credit, and still no job.

My friend, my angel, is helping all she can but the reality has me still gasping for breath.

Being a freelance worker, self-employed, one is always one pay check away from the street, and I’ve lived like that for 20 years.

This time though the paycheck didn’t come.


So here I am, one step ahead of the G-Man.



Whatever Happened To The East End Of London?

Whatever happened to the East End of London?


Where are the litter strewn streets, the pavements smeared with dog shit, the piss soaked phone boxes, the beaten up Cortinas and Jags belching unchecked emissions into pushchair strapped toddlers, the gangs of roaming racists, the queer bashers, gawd s’truth, strike a light?


I was born here in 1959, an epoch ago, moved to New York City, and after a decade have just come back.


OK, the days of Cortinas are long gone, but when I left it was a scary, miserable, grumpy, cold, grey, hateful place.


I decided to venture out and investigate, starting just the other day in Stratford east.

Now I know the 2012 Olympics generated bucket loads of cash with which to transform that part of the world, and in a hurry, but it’s beyond recognition.

The first thing one will notice upon exiting the much revamped but peculiarly painted in snot green underground station is the enormous shopping mall that has been plonked right next to it, like the result of a giant child playing with lego.


My initial thought was one of amazement, that maybe this paean to consumerism might be a good thing, especially as I was need of underwear, toiletries, a mobile phone, and fish and chips, all of which were located within spitting distance from each other.

After 30 minutes I felt like I had been scooped up by the giant child and dropped into a human ant farm.

At 3 on a Tuesday afternoon it was choc-a-bloc with folk all scurrying around on their particular missions, none of whom seemed to care a jot who or what they trampled over to fulfill.

I scampered out with bruised limbs and scrunched toes to survey the main street.


I attended school at Stratford Grammar from 1970, so this was my stomping ground.

It’s all gone.


The old shopping center across the way looked dejected, a bargain basement relic.

I remember before even it was built, before indeed the bus station was there, when Angel Lane existed in its place, full of two-up-two-down terraced houses, condemned then as slums, which now would have been absurdly high rent des reses.


As I looked out at the bijou coffee shops and restaurants my mind superimposed the old place, like Bobby Moore’s pub Mooro’s, previously The Two Puddings, a notorious watering hole full of stories of violence, where my old schoolfriend Carlton Leach worked as a bouncer before becoming a gangster proper.


Suddenly the clock chimes of the modern art inspired timepiece on the station forecourt brought me back with a jolt.

The good old days, they say.....


I jumped back on the tube to Bethnal Green, where I am staying, and went for a walk around Victoria Park, to clear my head.

Last time I was there the lake was brown.

Now it’s been dredged and is so clear it looks drinkable, with a brand new Chinese pagoda on the island in the middle, a cute little bridge to it.

I wonder when the lake was dredged if the bodies of all the war time aborted babies were found.


The Pavillion, once a rarely open workers caff selling mugs of PG tips and Mother’s Pride white toast, is now overrun with what appear to be trust fund couples paying ridiculous amounts of money for thin white lattes and soy cappucinos.

I mean, there’s even a bookshop!

When did Eastenders start to read?


Well, thing is you’d be hard pressed to find an Eastender around these days.

Is that a bad thing?

Eastenders to me were work-shy, racist, homophobic bigots, with the IQ of an amoeba.

That was my family in fact, coming as I do from the East End, a cockney born and bred.

I hated the filthy dump and could not wait to get out.

But now I find myself back I’m more than happy to sit with the yummy mummies and sip a ginseng and cauliflower iced tea whilst perusing Kant.

It’s beats watching kids on a lager induced rage smashing up phone boxes any day.





The black cloud hung like a pallid shroud over London town as the rickety American Airlines jet that had borne me from the City of Angels slid into the murk.

A cold, wet, gray mid summers day.


I arrived at my friend’s house sad and lagged from the redeye, suitcase and guitar in hand, having abandoned my home in a hurry.

She ushered me up the stairs and plied me with tea and toast before leaving for the weekend.

That day I slept for 16 hours.


Yesterday I went to the local doctor’s surgery to register.

They welcomed me with open arms and gave me an appointment for 10 days time at which I will get a physical and blood work done, then a chat with the doctor to be referred to the transgender clinic, then on to get SRS, and all for.... free!


Today other friends rallied round with offers of cash and work.

The sun has still to come out but it's a lovely day.


Radio FAB

Good morning this is Radio FAB

Here is the news 

Peace has broken out all over the world

War is over

We have finally woken up from our infant state

We as one have realized that greed is not good, profit is a dirty word, that the planet is a wondrous place and we must save it

Worldwide debt has been written off, corporations have been disbanded, world leaders have become our representatives 

President Obama said, quote, ‘I have been such a fool’

All armed forces have melted down their weapons to make musical instruments for all, and are using their enormous resources to  distribute food to the hungry, to build shelter for the homeless, leaving not one person behind

There are no borders, no religions, there’s no prejudice, no fear, just love, compassion, understanding


Here’s the weather - it’s a beautiful day


There was an item on the BBC World Service, broadcast on my local NPR station, KPCC, at lunchtime yesterday, about the effects of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, or LSD, colloquially known as Acid.

The reporter without any sensationalism described people's varying experiences whilst on the drug, saying that they can be akin to a spiritual awakening or that, depending on one's state of mind, can be quite terrifying.

She went on to say that the experience very much depends on whether or not one wants the doors of perception opened, or if that extreme form of otherness, that letting go, is absolutely what one cannot handle.

It's all about the ego.

This is true in all human interaction and experience.

It seems to me that our biggest problem as a species is our ego, and the thing we lack, the thing we need so much, is compassion, the compassion that puts the well being of another's state of mind above ones own, be that person friend or stranger.

I used to fear letting go of my ego, thinking that I would lose my sense of self, of who I am.

This is what stopped me doing many things in my life, and also meant that I didn't try acid until I was 28 years old, and it would've been the most god awful trip were it not for the selfless act of a friend spending the whole time with me, and in a similar psychedelic boat.

For the past year I have been practicing meditation, 20 minutes twice daily, and partly through this, partly through realizing that I had for much of my life been denying my true self, I began to let go of my ego.

Here's what happened - I stopped judging people, I stopped taking offense, I stopped getting angry, started instead to see the other person's point of view, no matter how much it came from a place of anger seemingly directed at me.

Arguments between two people are between two egos vying for pole position.

Two people, two countries, it's the same thing.

Replace the ego with compassion and everything else will follow, and one day we will all be melting guns and playing piccolos.

Letting go of the ego is finding the self, the true beautiful creative self, and dropping the infant state tantrums, the past pain.

War is over if we want it.

As for LSD, it's still not for me but as most right thinking people know, it and all drugs are part of life, of who we are, so let's quit that war too.



Pet Noire

So she's gone, the Iron Lady, the milk snatcher, the first British woman Prime Minsiter.

When she came to power in 1979 I'd just turned 20, and she stayed there till I'd just turned 31!

That is an extraordinary achievement.


In the early 70's her first memorable act as then Education Secretary in Ted Heath's government was to scrap free school milk for children over the age of 7, as part of wide ranging public spending cuts to fund promised tax breaks, and the 'milk snatcher' monica stayed with her throughout her long and appalling career.

Meryl Streep in the opening of the Iron Lady, portraying her in senility bemoaning the price of milk in her local grocery store is apposite.


What she was not was a feminist, a humanitarian, a seeker for truth and justice, a member of society.

For her there was no such thing as society.

What she was was a warmonger with blood on her hands, a friend to despots thugs and murderers worldwide, a destroyer of communities, a queer bashing cruel and heartless barking mad piece of work.

I'm sure she had feelings in there somewhere, but the destruction and despair she wrought by far outways any consideration for such by so many.


It is undoubtedly difficult for anyone with even an ounce of compassion to feel good about people gathering in Glasgow or Brixton to chant 'Maggie Maggie Maggie, dead dead dead', but that they are is a testament to her legacy.

She was our pet noire (sic)

While it is true that her policies are alive and well in the hands of the current crop of power crazed lunatics that call themselves left, or liberal, such as the Millibands, and Barack Obama over here, I truly believe that she will be only a footnote in history, as we as a species grow up and move on.

I'm not particularly glad she's dead, not like I am as regards say Jimmy Savile.

Her reign, spanning my entire twenties, was appalling, but it made me and many of my generation a socialist, and spurred me into creating art so visceral that today it shocks me.


Is the world better off without her?

Well, she's been out of the picture for 23 years, so that's moot.

Would the world be a better place if she hadn't existed?


She's gone, so please let's all stop the hatred that exploded all over Facebook and Twitter yesterday.

We are bigger and better than that.



I went today with my lovely friends John Schmersal and Toko Yasuda, to see the Bob Baker Marionettes, downtown LA.

There's something magical about this place, it's like going back in time to the 1950's, to a fairy grotto, where joyous puppets perform to crackly vinyl.

A splendid time was had by all - I urge everyone to go and support this wonderful place.


In 12 days time it is David Cassidy's birthday, as well as mine.

I remember vividly and fondly reading Jackie magazine whenever he was on the cover, which was practically every week in 1973.

He was gorgeous, with that breathy voice all teenage girls swooned over.


You know what, it's a mixed up muddled up shook up world, but war is over, if we want it.


Superfowl Sunday

I had no idea the Superbowl was happening until the Monday after.

Though I watched the extraordinary Beyonce footage that morning, the thing that struck me most of all was a report on NPR, that on that Sunday in this country 300 million gallons of beer were drunk, and, get this, half a billion chicken wings were eaten.

Half a billion!

Now, I fully expected this report to go into the moral and ethical repercussions of this slaughter of a quarter of a billion chickens, but no. Instead it went on to examine the different ways these limbs could be cooked.



I heard the other day that there has been a 'worrying increase in the number of shark attacks' worldwide. Further research proved this to be absolutely true. Last year we humans killed 70 million sharks.

70 million!

How many sharks attacked humans and killed humans? 12.



Another Day In Paradise

I went out to my local stores this morning, just a short walk away from my little house, a rarity in LA.

First person I saw was a desperate homeless guy.

There are a few regulars living around here and hang out at the parking lot in our little mini-mall.

I gave him a couple of bucks and he smiled.

I wanted to chat but something in his eyes looked so pained, so embarrassed, so sad, said that he really didn't want to engage in anything other than raising enough cash to shoot across the street to the liquor store and buy enough hooch to dull everything for another day. 


So I jumped in my car and drove to Trader Joe's, in South Pasadena.

South Pasadena starts about a minute from here. 

All of a sudden the road has no potholes, the tarmac fresh, the trees full of chlorophyll, the flowers pruned and blooming.

Trader Joe's is middle class nirvana, smug and affordable, unlike Wholefoods, which is smug, overpriced, and run by a bigot.

In London, from whence I came (apples and pears, strike a light), the neighborhoods butt up together too (think of Notting Hill and Holland Park) but here there is an awareness, a willingness to help, a sense of community, that in London is viciously missing

OK, yes, we have guns here in the US, yes we have gangs, and yes we are not by any stretch perfect.

But we have compassion, not least because we all drink ourselves into a stupor at times, and are struggling like crazy to juggle everything, many of us one paycheck away from the street.

I had to get out of London because I simply could not be myself.

Take one step out of place there and some ignorant bully (always male, probably latently homosexual) will want to and try to kill you.

I know it.

Check out what happened to Mary Beard online just the other week.

It's terrifying.


So yes, I live in LA, and I love it.

I can walk out of my little house and no-one bugs me.

You want to know how great that is.



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