Music for The Homeless: ‘The Key’ from The Department of Distractions

Update 6th March 2018:  ‘The Key’ raised a grand total of £61 for Crisis and Emmaus charities for homeless people. The track is still available to download, but if you want to donate directly to these or any other homelessness charities, please do!

The Department of Distractions was joyous fun to work on; the walks between digs and the theatre were quite saddening.

There’s a man sleeping rough in an underpass on the way, so for a week I passed him twice a day. He sleeps on concrete slabs, next to a busy dual carriageway, sandwiched between two concrete pillars and surrounded by pigeon droppings. read more

#MeToo: Some Sexism This Way Came

black and white image of vintage condenser microphone for voice

Inspired by Emma Bright's article about her experiences of sexism - Girl On The Platform Smile - and in the spirit of solidarity, here are a few of my experiences with sexism that some may consider easily walked away from, ignored; as unimportant. Not worth making a fuss about. Sometimes I did make a fuss; sometimes I didn't.

How This Introvert Learned to Love Being In A Live Performance – 15 Minutes Live 2016

15 Minutes Live 2016 Rehearsal15 Minutes Live by Slung Low, which played this year at The Holbeck (previously Holbeck Working Men’s Club), Leeds, was an awful lot of fun. More than I was expecting! I’m trying to pick apart why, and here are my thoughts. Is it just that I’m older and wiser, I’m working with friends, I’m far less caffeinated than I used to be? Maybe all these reasons and more…

The first 15 Minutes Live was performed in 2011 and since then (5 years ago) it’s become a streamlined operation. Originally we took a week to rehearse; now we’re at two days, including time for rehearsing the band and the dress rehearsal. read more

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up… Your Life

Cluttered bookshop in Venice, Italy

I decluttered from April to July, following Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying (which IS effing life-changing, though I won’t go into that so much here).

I liked her approach perhaps as I’ve already been sort of doing it in other areas of life, with interesting effects on work. If I’m completely honest, that’s why I do most things – this work-life synergy or symbiosis fascinates me, how one feeds the other and back again, and how to improve the experience and balance of both – because it just makes life more worth living (it’s completely selfish!). read more

Pause for Thought

A bench by a tree in autumn

Work is quiet at the moment.

This would have filled 27-year-old me with dread. She would find the not knowing quite when the next paycheque will come in daunting.

36-year-old me is different. She’s relieved. It’s been a busy few years since I had an appreciable gap in the schedule like this one, and I’m due a break. I’ve started sleeping longer hours. Mornings are sedate affairs; afternoon naps de rigeur. Work gets done in its own sweet time without the tyranny of the clock. There’s a little bit of ‘cushion’ money in the bank, and royalty cheques appear now and again to tide me over. I even caught a cold! A sure sign of an imminent holiday if ever there was one in our time-poor, workaholic, ambition-driven business*. read more

Yesterday’s Snack and How I Feel Today

Days 13 and 14 of #wpad

Yesterday we went to the Northern Vegan Festival in Manchester.  SOOO MUCH FOOD. Just about made it back home to Sheff before slipping into a sugar coma. But, my, it was good.

John’s hotdog was prettier in picture than the giant spanokopita type pasty I had (was scrummy though):


Then we had spring rolls from the lovely lady, Lisa Tse, who also made this sauce…

Sweet Mandarin Chili Sauce

… runs Sweet Mandarin Restaurant in Manchester with her twin sister, and got the funding on Dragon’s Den for these sauces. Their BBQ sauce was also sooo moreish she’d already sold out by the time we got to her at 11.30am-ish. read more

How I Chill

#wpad Day 12

Yoga Gear

For an hour and 15 minutes, 3 or 4 times a week, yoga keeps me sane(r).

A YogaToday subscription, an EcoYoga natural rubber and jute mat, two cork blocks, an organic cotton strap and blanket. Yes I was definitely attempting to ‘tread lightly’ with all of these acoutrements to make up for the electricity I’m burning through by streaming these videos through a modestly large LED TV and amped speakers. The irony is not lost on me.

Eventually I hope to be able to just freestyle it without the aid of the video guides but I’m not sure that’s happening any time soon. Not quite confident enough to just make it up. Plus the production values on the videos are AWESOME – crane shots and the Teton mountains in the background, so they’re just lovely to watch too. (The sound is sometimes a bit ropey but they’ve definitely upped their game in the last couple of years. And the subscription is so bargainous – works out at around £60 for the year, so I can forgive them!) read more

Next Film

Day 11 of #wpad

The next film I’m working on (after the current Red Star animation) is with Kilogramme, for the 3rd of a 4 part series for internet security clients Kaspersky.

Watch the first one below (it got nominated for a Roses Award! Yay!)

The next film we’ve got cued up to watch from LoveFilm is The Artist. When it came out, everyone was like, “You have to see this at the cinema! Don’t wait for DVD, see it on the big screen!”

That was perfect reverse psychology. Thank you that person. I’ve a complete bee in my bonnet about being told what to do, what I should and absolutely have to do… well, that puts me right off (like most people, really). Secondly, I really rather dislike going to the cinema, what with all the other people being noisy and eating the most stinky food and the picture not being quite right and the audio having some weird compression… I know it’s a bit weird for someone in my profession, but there it is. read more