Sunday, 28 October 2012

I like to sing, I like to chant

I love going to Anfield to watch Liverpool play. Especially in the Kop end with all the singing. I also love watching games on tv when Liverpool are the visitors but all you can hear is the red army singing. 

I have often wondered how songs come about. I often hear season ticket holders say "we need a song for..." a new player or manager and then they try to come up with an appropriate tune to fit their name. Some players names are almost made for a song like former Brighton striker Bobby Zamora and That's Amore. 

Liverpool fans have a reputation for coming up with some great songs and puns - remember;

"who let the reds out hou hou-lli-er"

Current songs for Gerrard and Lucas are really enjoyable to sing along to.
"Steven Gerrard is our captain
Steven Gerrard is a red
Steven Gerrard plays for Liverpool
A scouser born and bred"
(To the tune of the whistling song from Robin Hood)

and Lucas:
"His first name is Lucas, is Lucas, is Lucas
His 2nd name is Leiva, is Leiva, is Leiva
That’s why we like him, we like him, we like him
In fact we f#@king love him, love him, love him
Woooahh Wooooooahhh”

But I'm a bit disappointed with Agger's song. Singing his name to the tune of Bananarama's Na Na Hey Hey doesn't even work properly there's too many syllables in Danny Agger to replace Goodbye (even with the dodgy additional syllable the girls through in - go-od-bye)
Come on Kopites surely you can do better than that?? 

My other half likes to sing his own tribute to Agger to the tune of the Black Lace classic(?) Agado -  

Agger do do do Danny Agger we love you. 

Much better don't you think??

Friday, 20 July 2012

Reality takes the biscuit...

I had a bit of a reality check this afternoon as I got on to the Victoria line tube at Euston station.

After feeling quite frankly a little smug at my successful weight loss over the last 2 months I was reminded that I've still got a long way to go before I'm happy with my figure.

My weight gain started when I was 20 heading into my 3rd year of university and moving in with my boyfriend at the time, I decided to go on contraceptive injections. I piled weight on going from 8 stone 3lbs to 10 stone 8 lbs in just 6 months. And the weight naturally congregated in one place.

I got stretch marks - vivid red angry lines across my lower back which shocked me when I caught them in the mirror and my sister advised me that she had only seen stretch marks like that when she was pregnant.

Everyone thought I was pregnant " the girl behind the bar is pregnant" my fellow students whispered amongst themselves and some even asked me outright. One guy, when I said I wasn't expecting pointed at my stomachs and said "then what is that?"  "ma big fat belly"  became my usual response. I'm not pregnant it's just ma big fat belly.

Over the years I got used to the fact that I had a weird body shape. I didn't like it but I accepted that while the rest of my body had stayed pretty much the same my belly looked that much more out of place and I totally understood the reason people assumed I was expecting. 

Social occasions became a nightmare because I could never find a nice dress to wear that didn't look like maternity wear on my odd shaped body.

I thought that I could work it to my advantage however in public places, buses, over crowded tubes etc...surely I would always get a seat, but I don't know what happened to the youth of the last 10 years, but not a single person offered me a seat on the inner mother to be was outraged while my common sense berated me for being outraged at not getting something I didn't need anyway. I was well as fat!

Finally I met someone who didn't notice or care about my odd shaped body and we settled into a fabulous relationship. But we ate lots of takeaways and watched a lot of TV and the rest of my body caught up with my least I was in proportion! 

I made a few attempts at losing weight, tried various diets but even if I lost a bit of weir I lost interest and piled the weight back on.

2 months ago  I decided I truly wanted to do something about it. I'm not aiming for 8 stone 3lb but something a little less maternity would be nice. I started counting calories thanks to a brilliant website and iPhone app called My Fitness Pal. I started swimming too - to earn extra calories to eat at the weekend. I calculated my calories and set my limit to 500 less a day.  3500 calories is roughly the equivalent of 1lb of weight loss and I've been losing 1 or 2 lbs a week.

I also started doing strength  exercises with free weights to tone up my arms and legs and stomach muscles. When I was 8 st I looked Ill, skin and bone, my head was too big for my body and I looked pale and withdrawn with hollow dark eyes. I don't want to look like that again but I was always afraid that in order to lose my belly I would have to return to that type of figure. But I realised that I could tone and strengthen my muscles while working on the fat loss and hopefully I can gain a nice shape rather than go from chunky to bony.

So I've been feeling pretty good about my weight loss, I can see some improvement myself and I feel healthier, more energetic and stronger. I was particularly excited about visiting friends in London who have been encouraging and advising me on exercise and weightloss because I hoped they would notice a difference better than I can, seeing myself in the mirror everyday and not really registering the change. 

So I arrive in London during rush hour and I get on the tube at London Euston and shuffle down the carriage and hold onto the hand rails when a youngish guy attracts my attention and offers me his seat. I frowned and said " no you're ok thanks" then I pondered why he'd offed me a seat and not the clearly older woman in front of me...and then it clicked. 13 years of looking pregnant and the first time someone offers me a seat is when I look slightly less pregnant than before... Actually the incident made me smile for the duration of the tube ride because it reassured me that there are still a few gentlemanly type young men in the world.

But even so, 12 pounds lighter is great and everything but I've got a long long way to go yet.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Fifty Shades

Well seems that everyone else is talking about it, and if you can't beat them...

I was completely unaware of the Fifty Shades trilogy until last Monday (2nd July) when I was driving to work listening to Radio City and the DJ was playing a game called Fifty Shades of Andy Grey, where a listener called in and had to correctly identify whether the quotes they were reading out came from Fifty Shades of Grey or Andy Grey's autobiography.

The DJ could barely read some of the quotes for laughing - particularly the Andy Grey quotes which had been chosen to try and confuse the caller - things like "He always has great control over his balls" and such like. Of course I assumed at that point that the other book was a bit pervy, although I'd not heard of it and yet from that moment on I noticed my Facebook news feed was littered with people  referring to it.

Curiosity got the better of me - why haven't I heard of it if everyone else has, although admittedly I don't watch the news and I don't read papers and most of what I know about current affairs is told to me by my other half or my family - so I fired up Wikipedia and searched for it. I've not read any of the Twilight books although they have been recommended to me. I am however a big fan of the Sookie Stackhouse books and I love True Blood so I was quite interested when I saw that it had originally been written as fan fiction and I assumed that the Christian Grey character was initially a Vampire.

But still I wasn't particularly tempted until my sister called in the next day and waxed lyrical about the whole trilogy. Now my sister has good taste, she's older than me by 16 years, and is sophisticated and smart and doesn't suffer fools gladly. So I was even more curious that she was completely taken with this book which sounded pretty trashy.

So that evening I searched the internet for it and downloaded it. "What are you downloading?" my other half asked, "urm just a book..." "Oh not that Fifty Shades book?" Even he'd heard of it!! But he understood my curiosity under the same curiosity I have about occasionally watching X Factor just to keep up with the office gossip - not that I have office gossip anymore being self employed but there's always small talk to be made with suppliers, customers etc.

So I finished the third book yesterday morning. Yep it took me less than a week to read the whole trilogy. Now I am a fast reader but I was quite taken with it because it was easy to read and although its hard to find the story line in the first book it does develop in the second and third books. However I think the genius of this book and the cause of it being so popular is not necessarily the sex scenes, which are abundant, but the simple root of most women's fantasy - finding the most attractive, richest single man who has no interest in finding love until he meets you because you are the only woman in the world he could love. Oh and he also has a huge cock to boot!

It's Pride and Prejudice with handcuffs.

Chistian Grey is actually a bit dull. I mean on the one hand he sounds a bit like a young woman's shopping list;

  • Tall - tick
  • Dark - well he's ginger but he's dark on the inside - tick
  • Handsome - only the handsomest man in the whole universe, obviously - tick
  • Rich - tick
  • Likes music - tick
  • Can play a musical instrument - like some kind of rock star - tick
  • Knows about stuff like wine and art and the world in general - tick
  • Kind - well he wants to feed the world and try to make sure no one goes hungry - tick
  • Generous - he's filthy rich and likes buying presents - tick
  • Good in bed - well he's apparently had a lot of practice but he never loved any of the others only me - tick
  • Well endowed - tick
Not only is he this perfect man character he also happens to fall in love and propose within 6 weeks. I mean I've had a few boyfriends in the past and I'll admit that in my younger days when I would meet someone and fancy the pants off them because they were tall, dark and handsome and played the guitar I would think "oh my God I would marry him tomorrow if he asked me" but a few weeks later the novelty has worn off and I'm very much relieved that normal blokes wait a few years or even forever before they consider proposing marriage. It's a bit of a fantasy in fact for a woman to be proposed to and say "I need to think about it" as opposed to the "Oh My God yesss!!!" that most women say when their beloved gets down on one knee (I imagine, I don't know, it's never happened to me - I imagine I'd laugh and find the whole thing a bit embarrassing.)

Then again I also believe that when you know, you know and who's to say 6 weeks isn't long enough to be dead sure you've met the person you want to tie up and whip everyday for the rest of your life?

Of course the other thing that's worth pointing out is that Mr Grey has an amazing libido and the pair of them together have an amazing recovery time enabling them both to have countless orgasms within the same session. I think there are few people who would read this book and say 'I don't know what all the fuss is about, doesn't everyone have sex 6 times a day with riding crops and butt plugs?' Because - and maybe I'm on my own on this one but - I tend to just fall asleep after sex. But weirdly while Mr Grey likes his 'kinky fuckery', he is only doing all this for her pleasure - expanding her sensations and opening her up to a whole world of pleasure...he doesn't get anything out of it other than the pleasure of seeing her experience mind blowing sex. 

I mean what a guy. He's all over her like an octopus all day long but only so that she'll have the joy of multiple orgasms.

Brilliant...and while I'm quite a big fan of orgasms I'm also a big fan of watching TV, cooking, going swimming, hanging out with my friends and you know generally not being tied to a bed and endlessly molested all in the name of my pleasure. Make me a cup of tea and I'll be more than happy!

On the other hand,  one minute he's being a massive perv and the next he's talking to her like he's her dad. If I was about to marry someone I wouldn't expect to have to ask his permission to got to the deli in my lunch hour to buy a sandwich. I wouldn't expect my boyfriend to buy the company I just started working for so he can keep an eye on me and I wouldn't expect him to get angry with me and fantasise about tying me up and beating me to within an inch of my life just because I didn't tell him I was going to visit my mum.

But it's an easy read, I can see why everyone is going crazy over it and perhaps if the sex wasn't quite so full on it would just be yet another adult romance novel - however I don't get the fuss about Christian Grey. When I invite a man to watch TV with me he better damn well watch TV and keep his hands to himself!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Well the singer's frowning...

Miles Hunt & Erica Nockalls at St Helens Citadel Saturday 12th May 2012.

The first time in the 25 years Miles Hunt has been touring that he's played in St Helens. He may not be back again after an incident with the sound. Luckily it was towards the end of the show which had up to that point been brilliant.

As with the previous gig they worked their way through the Never Loved Elvis track list swerving Sleep Alone and Size of a Cow. I'd be willing to bet my house (if i had one) that they've never had to play the Cow song on this tour - everyone is going to cheer for Golden Green given the option which I'm sure they know already. I'd also be willing to bet my life savings that if they did somehow have to play the cow song they'd still probably play Golden Green anyway because it's one of those songs that just has to be played!

During the show Miles talked about their old local pub where there was no mobile phone reception. People go there to be together not sit together communicating with the rest of the world... while I was sat up in the balcony on facebook...

For a very good reason - I was having a facebook conversation with Henry Priestman (ex Christians, writer of "Ideal World", solo artist and all round Legend) because we are doing an event together tomorrow to celebrate Adult Learners' Week in Merseyside and because he was asking me to pass on a message to Miles.

I'm contracted by the national charity NIACE to coordinate Adult Learners Week on Merseyside. This is an annual, national celebration of adult learning, the achievements learners have made and to demonstrate the impact learning has on people's lives and try to encourage more adults to get involved with learning opportunities. NIACE do a lot of work all year round to ensure that adult education stays on the government's agenda and continues to be funded at a local level.

So Sunday 13th May sees us holding a lecture at the Museum of Liverpool delivered by Henry Priestman about the music industry and an insight into songwriting and all that kinda stuff. It's going to be amazing!

14 months ago I was planning an event for the 20th Adult Learners Week and NIACE wanted us to make it BIG. Try and get some celebrities, they said... getting celebrities isn't easy. I know they're sort of ten a penny these days thanks to Big Brother and so called reality TV, but would we really want any of those types of celebrities endorsing adult learning when all most of them can do is get boob jobs and walk around town with curlers in their hair?

Then one day Miles Hunt posted a link on Facebook to Henry Priestman's album on spotify saying he was going to see him that night and 2 things occurred to me 1) The Chronicles of Modern life had been played constantly for about 6 months in our house and 2) a friend of ours had messaged Henry through Facebook and got him to play at his community centre. So inspired, I sent Henry a message and a few weeks later Henry Priestman opened the launch event for us in St George's Hall.

So naturally I asked him back again this year. Although it's slightly daunting working with someone you're a fan of, Henry is a lot of fun to be around and makes it easy to forget that you're working with someone you happen to have a signed picture of on your wall at home.

So I'm sat in the Citadel cyber-chatting to Henry about whether we've got enough XLR leads and such like and he admits he's working on his lecture notes. I told him I was dealing with my nerves by coming to see Miles and Erica in St Helens and he said "Oh if you see them afterwards please send my apologies for not making it and tell them I will definitely catch them next time they're playing locally"

Now of course you may recall from my last post about the Wonder Stuff that I believe there's a sizeable  chance that speaking to Miles Hunt will unleash my 14 year old self and result in me skipping on the spot excitedly and no self respecting 34 year old wants that. So I decided that it would be for the best if I got straight in the car after the show, came home and blogged about it!

Anyway it wasn't far into the set before I switched off the phone and enjoyed the show. If you haven't had the chance to catch Miles & Erica I would certainly recommend it, I really enjoyed seeing them on a larger stage than the one in Liverpool where they had more space to move around. I also must confess that I really liked seeing Erica in sensible shoes... I don't know how she stays upright in those sparkly high heeled boots! Really enjoyed hearing Save it For Later too. We are off to see the Beat next month also at the Citadel - which is where I saw them for the first time and fell in love with them...Let's hope the sound holds up!

Incidentally there's a few places left for Henry's lecture - it's called "Long Player...surviving 33 1/3 years in the Music Biz" if you're in the area and want to come, please pop in.

There's also loads of other stuff happening across Merseyside for Adult Learners Week - visit for more info.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Give a woman the right pair of shoes and she could rule the world....but never give her a microphone...

On Friday night I went to a charity quiz night to raise funds for a particular local charity not far from my studio. They run the quiz this time every year and it gets great support from my previous employer, a company set up to support the local area charity and voluntary sector.

I went to the quiz 2 years ago with some friends from work and our team won. The format was fun with a booklet of dingbats and baby photos to guess at throughout the evening along with several rounds of questions read out over a microphone.

This year however the quiz was not as much fun as it had been previously. For a start, the quiz mistress seemed to think she belonged on television. She was loud and brash and as the night wore on and more wine entered her blood stream she became frankly, offensive.

It's often the case that in the community sector people tend to get to know each other and voluntary organisations often attend networking events and everyone tries to support each other so perhaps she unwittingly believed she knew everyone in the room and could be offensive without anyone taking her seriously. However I've worked in this sector, in this area, for 6 years and I've never seen her before in my life. My boyfriend works in a different area and the majority of our team also work and live in a different borough entirely.

When approaching the organisers to verify an instruction one of my team mates was rudely subjected to an impatient sigh and the words "like I already explained" from the quiz mistress.

Debates came up about the answers to some questions... How many fingers does Homer Simpson have? Well as he is well capable of holding a beer can we have to assume he has thumbs so that would be 6 fingers and 2 thumbs... No? No apparently he has 8 fingers (and presumably no thumbs.) "That's what it says on my answer sheet so that is the answer."

In the audio music round we had to guess the song title and artist from the intro. The answer to song number 2 was "the first cut is the deepest" by Rod Stewart.... Except we all know what Rod Stewart sounds like right? Gravelly distinctive voice? Yeah what she played to us was Cat Stevens. And Cat Stevens naturally was the answer we put down. We lost half a point. Naturally when we got home we went straight on to YouTube to compare all recorded versions of the song and were in no doubt whatsoever that we were right....furthermore the intro to the Rod Stewart version was completely different to the intro of both the Cat Stevens and PP Arnold versions.

Try this dingbat:

Head legs arms

You get "wait for nobody" right? Coz ton is a weight and there's arms legs and head but no body...yeah? Right?

No apparently the correct answer was "wait for no man" because only men have heads arms and legs while women have...I don't know what!

The whole room erupted shouting "body" she shouted "man" we shouted "body she shouted "man" we shouted "body" she shouted "I'm not going to argue about it the answer is man" we boo-ed, we shouted, we rose to our feet like an angry crowd at a football match and she threatened to have us all thrown out. Someone in our team shouted "burn her"... It descended into chaos. My boyfriend stood up and put his coat on intent on walking out in disgust but was stuck in the corner of the booth and couldn't get out.

A poor end to what could've been an otherwise fun night.

Give people a microphone and they think they rule the world! The shame of it is that as a result of the rudeness of the host and the use of questions that clearly whoever wrote the quiz didn't know the answers to, I've lost all desire to, not only attend future quizzes but, offer any support otherwise to the charity. People have made an effort to come out on a Friday night for a fun evening in an attempt to raise money for a good cause but have been subjected to rudeness and ridicule by the staff of the very charity looking for their about biting the hand that feeds them.

I should've stayed in on my sofa.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

I have been there, for a very long time.

Liverpool, 22nd February 2012. The Rodewauld Suite at the Philharmonic. Miles Hunt and Erica Nockalls. Moment of revelation.

This was only the second time I'd been to see Miles and Erica, saw them here 12 months ago and it was a strange experience having never heard any Wonder Stuff songs acoustically except on the documentary video Welcome to the Cheap Seats.

At that point, The last time I'd even seen Miles Hunt he'd had short hair. Last year he was sporting the shoulder length mid way point of hair growth and I remember laughing at myself when he got up on stage because he'd been stood at the bar for ages watching Ian Prowse and I'd been looking right at him assuming he was a girl. Now is that anyway to treat your long time teenage hero?

This year there was no mistaking Miles Hunt when he appeared at the bar. The longer tresses of the 90s poster pin up that had adorned my walls and ok maybe 20 years older but with the same boyish face and dimples. It's been a long time since Miles Hunt looked, to me, like Miles Hunt. But there he was. And there in that small room, 20 years of growth and maturity peeled away and revealed a 15 year old girl agonising over whether to go over and ask for a photo.

During the show Miles and Erika worked their way through the Never Loved Elvis track list. Brilliant. I thought optimistically I might, for only the second time ever, hear Inertia performed live. But alas we didn't make it that far. The cow song was, of course, swerved in favour of Golden Green.

What I enjoy most about these shows is hearing the stories about how the songs were written, I especially enjoyed the Room 512 story because as a kid I'd worn out that segment of the Welcome to the Cheap Seats video listening to it, tried all kinds of methods of recording it onto a tape so I could listen to it on my Walkman, slightly muffled with the occasional interruption by a Hoover or my mum telling me to tidy my room.

Miles referred to the split of Wonder Stuff audiences - balding 40 something men who used to be hipsters and those that get excited when they hear size of a cow on come dine with me. I'm neither of those things. I was never in anyway cool and I don't watch come dine with me. But I will always have a soft spot for the cow song and the song with the comedian. I know it's uncool to admit in the world of Wonder Stuff fans but after 20 years of loving the Wonder Stuff I hope that old snobbery had gone...yes that's right 20 years. I was too young for Eight Legged Groove Machine and Hup...

The Wonder Stuff changed my life, maybe shaped my life in fact. As a kid I'd grown up with siblings spanning a 16 year age difference. I can still picture my sisters 7" vinyl case containing Culture Club, Yazoo, Wham, King, Matthew Wilder and my dads 3 long boxes of 7" records that he'd collected since he decided to buy every single record that went to number one from the date my oldest sister was born (I believe that was 'when my little girl is smiling' by The Drifters)

I was massively influenced by my brother, partly because I hoped that by copying my brother he would stop tormenting me and think I was kinda cool...7 years age difference and as the older and wiser sibling he saw right through my scheme and picked on me anyway. But he did get me into bands like Level 42 and Squeeze. Music was handed down in our family the way most families hand down clothes, my sisters would be into something and get my brother in to it who passed it to me. I had no knowledge as a kid of finding music, never listened to the radio, music was just what my family played me, and it was all awesome, spanning decades from the 50s up to present day.

What I was personally into was TV, specifically comedy. I gobbled up comedy, it was my passion. Harry Enfield, French and Saunders, The Young Ones. My first real cross over with music was when The Young Ones released Living Doll, I discovered this show on the radio where they counted down to the number one single of the week and me and my brother listened to see if it would be the young ones.

So I became vaguely aware of modern music but it mostly sounded a bit rubbish, I liked Michael Jackson but I mostly preferred the Jackson get the point.

So there I am, 13 years old and I've developed my newest obsession...Vic Reeves Big Night Out... I watched it so much that I could quote the entire episode of each show. When he started releasing records I started going into my local record shop to buy them and then Dizzy came out. Vic Reeves and the what? Never heard of them. But then why would I? They're a modern music group and I'm stuck firmly in a music time warp. I loved the song of course, already being a fan of the original by Tommy Roe, but secretly preferring the Vic Reeves version because Vic was my hero. The first "gig" I went to was around that time, it was at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool which probably already tells you all you need to know about my first was Gerry and the Pacemakers supported by Tommy Roe and Bobby Vee. Yeah that's right in the same year I got to see both versions of Dizzy performed live...although Vic Reeves was singing along to a backing track only bringing out the Wonder Stuff for the show that was being filmed.

I was quite taken with Miles Hunts tartan suit though. The Wonder Stuff were immediately ok by me. A few months later I was babysitting for my nephew one Saturday morning watching Going live or whatever Saturday morning kids show was on 20 years ago, and they were having some kind of phone vote for the best single and right at the end of the list was Size of a Cow. I heard The Wonder Stuff and recognised the long hair and dimply face of the singer and picked up the phone to vote...I was a tv child I did whatever it told me... All I knew of the cow song was a 10 second snippet but they got my vote because they were linked to Vic Reeves.

Around that time my school friend (also a Vic Reeves fan) and I started teaming up during drama class and developed comedy routines for all the tasks we were set. I was convinced we would grow up to become a comedy duo like French and Saunders. I kept saying this to her and she kept looking at me like I was insane. Thing is of course, she was the funny one so without her my career in comedy was a non starter. Then I got talked out of doing drama for GCSE and my future seemed foggy.

One night during a sleepover my friend happened to be playing the latest NOW compilation which had size of a cow on it, having never heard the full song she played it for me and I thought it was the greatest thing I'd ever heard. I saved up my pocket money and ventured into the local record shop and bought Never Loved Elvis and it was a revelation. Every track on it was awesome. I had a look through my Dads Guinness book of Hit Singles and identified all the singles the Wonder Stuff had released and made it my mission to track them down. I bought Eight Legged Groove Machine and Hup and immediately recognised that they were even better than the cow song. I visited the ex jukebox stand in the market and picked up sleep alone and caught in my shadow. I remember buying a waistcoat and don't let me down gently on 7" at a car boot sale. At a record fair I picked up an older single on cd - I remember paying an extortionate amount of money but wanting it anyway, despite my entire collection being on vinyl to that point. Of course that then meant I had to start buying everything else I owned already on CD to match. I was visiting my local record shop so often that they eventually offered me a Saturday job.

The Wonder Stuff lead me to other bands...naturally PWEI, EMF, Neds, New Model Army, that lead me onto Nirvana, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Pearl Jam... But the Wonder Stuff were still the best of them all. One day in work I met the rep for Polydor who happened to have the new Wonder Stuff single. She gave me a copy for free. She told me she too was a fan and had actually been at the promotion launch thing with the band and had just been in awe. I was so jealous but excited to realise there was a whole industry surrounding this music stuff and I knew immediately that I had a career aim for the future...

Idiot came out and they toured. I met Miles Hunt outside the royal court, I got a couple of CDs signed and I remember asking for a photo, I couldn't believe it when he agreed...I realise that's what celebrities do but at the time I just couldn't believe my luck, I skipped around the little group surrounding him, I stopped opposite to get a better look at him and then carried on hopping on the spot, I was so excited I couldn't contain it. I caught the eye of the woman stood in the door way waiting for him and pointed at him and said "that's Miles Hunt" and carried on skipping.

I was definitely NOT a hipster.

But then when I was 16 they split up. I was devastated.

I was in the Krazy House when I heard they were splitting up after the Phoenix festival and I cried. I was drunk and there's no drunk like underage drunk, and I cried all night and all the way home.

I replaced them with The Lemonheads...again I discovered them through Mrs Robinson but much preferred their back catalogue and that lead me into American punk. I stepped even further away from current chart music and delved into otherwise unheard of bands.

I saw We Know Where You Live at the Lomax and told Malcolm Treece he was a legend, apologised to Paul Clifford for asking for an autograph (coz of his comment on the documentary about not really liking people coming up to him all the time or whatever) and met Martin Gilks. A few months later Vent played and I met Miles again under slightly less excitable circumstances, amazing what 2 years can do to your maturity - perhaps being allowed to drink legally zaps the fun out of it? I had a really good conversation with him about music. I told him I sang in a punk band and he told me to send him a demo...didn't tell me where to send it mind you...and it was all round a far more dignified display on my part than our previous meeting. Maybe it was simply because he had short hair and I didn't fancy him anymore. Who knows?

I did a Degree in Music Industry Management and lived in London for 6 years working for a collection of music companies, the PRS, EMI and Sanctuary Records. I was at PRS at the same time as Paul Clifford and my friend actually worked for him. I met him and confessed my love of the Wonder Stuff and he kindly invited me to have lunch with him and ask him anything I wanted to I was ecstatic but terrified. He told me some fantastic stories and I really appreciated that he did that. I appreciated even more that he copied some single tracks for me because all mine had been stolen when our house was broken into (including all the ones Miles had signed) and some of my favourite tracks were b'sides.

When they reformed and did those gigs at the Forum I had a ticket booked for the first night. Then EMI announced it was the Christmas party and I felt obliged to go. I sold my ticket and as more dates had been added I left a message on the Wonder Stuff website forum and a kind hearted soul sold me a spare ticket for the last night. There's actually a photo taken from the back of the stage and I'm there clearly at the front of the crowd. My boyfriend bought me a live DVD last year and I put it on to get myself in the mood prior to seeing Miles and Erica and there in the first few minutes is me singing along at the front of the crowd in the Forum clear as day. I recall that I couldn't walk the next day as my knees, ribs and stomach were black and blue from being constantly battered against the barrier.

I saw a few gigs courtesy of that kind soul. The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory style golden ticket for buying the Love Bites and Bruises album in HMV was a particularly memorable gig (HMV had forgotten to give them out so he was given 2 and invited me along.)

Then thanks to the daily drudge of working for a living, music was my job and I lost all interest in it. Eventually I moved back to Liverpool where I started rediscovering a passion for music. For all the bands I like now none of them have ever caught me the way The Wonder Stuff did. I may not listen to them all that much but I still know all the words and I still rank them as my all time favourite band.

Without the Wonder Stuff I wouldn't have got that job in the record shop, gone to university, moved to London, worked in music (which provided its own adventures) I wouldn't have the friends that I have and I wouldn't be where I am now.

Now I run my own business. I'm an artist and designer. I produce beautiful hand painted silk scarves, I design websites and publicity materials and I paint portraits. I create animations, and I deliver art classes. Bit of a mixed bag of skills and tricks. I learned design in my role at Sanctuary Records and the art is a long hidden talent from school days when I used to draw portraits of - you guessed it - Vic Reeves and Miles Hunt (worryingly, my school friends always thought my Miles Hunt portraits were self portraits.)

So I am not ashamed of my late discovery of the Wonder Stuff, and I don't think it lessens my credibility as a fan. The Wonder Stuff were the first band I got myself into, they weren't handed down to me by my much cooler brother and they influenced my life from that moment on. And they lasted far longer in my heart than Vic Reeves did.

I didn't go ask for a photo by the way. I decided to lock away that teenager. Maybe when he's next had a hair cut I could approach him with out my teenage self rearing her ugly head.