“What??? Shopping???” I hear you cry. “Has the woman lost her wits? SHOPPING? None of us is shopping now, in case you haven’t noticed, you great lummox!!!”

Well, of course I had. But firstly, I hope this finds you all in full health, and living the quiet life.

Strange times, eh?

We’ve all been upended by this ruddy coronavirus, haven’t we? I’m at home now having got 2/3 of the way through a theatre tour which was of course cancelled, or rather, postponed. But to be quite honest, I’d started to feel heartsick with worry for my old man. So I’m surprisingly relieved to be home with the people I love, preparing for what looks like a long siege.

And so are most of you. It’s not been too bad this far, apart from the occasional clutch of alarm when some twazzock comes and stands right behind you in the queue at the chemist – and then coughs… Yikes! But modern communication means that we can stay in touch with family and friends and my WhatsApp groups have been extremely busy with all sorts of hilarious nonsense.

But we are going to have to change our lives, and one area we can change is in our constant desire for the acquisition of stuff. Listen, I’m not oblivious to the joy of a new dress, buying a pretty antique vase, or bringing home a souvenir from abroad. However, especially in the light of the present circumstances, it seems a rather shallow pleasure.

Can we learn to live without shopping? Can we learn to only buy when we need, and to buy quality over quantity? Few of us will have the money to purchase anything for the next while, so can we make it the habit of a lifetime?

Dahling, don’t you just LOVE all those classy bags????
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Shopping as a pastime

We’re encouraged to think that shopping is a lovely way to spend the day. Hmmm.

I live near an excrescence known as Bicester Village where you can get wispy little designer frocks in a size zero reduced from £3000 to £1500 and other high end “bargains”. Honestly, Bicester Village is full of Shit You Don’t Need! People come in droves and at Christmas, the queues down the A41 are shocking. Coachloads, families in cars, minibuses from other parts of the UK. Imagine what the traffic is doing to the air, all that fossil fuel being burnt! All that pollution!

Bicester Village, strangely empty because I took the photo on 21 March before we went into lockdown but clearly, business was right down even then.

I’ve been there – reluctantly – to get the odd gift. Am I lucky in being able to say that going to Bicester Village brings me no pleasure? I think so but…

The rise of designer shityoudon’tneed…

There was, I think, a massive turning point in the 1980s when the French designer, Philippe Starck, looked at the old toothbrush and the workaday lemon squeezer and thought, “Mais regardez cette vielle chose, c’est terrible!” Or something along those lines. And lo, squillions of these gadgets became (and continue to be) an ornament to all fashionable bathrooms and kitchens.

Sweetie, it’s simply iconic!

Suddenly, everything had to be designed, re-thought, beautified and made stylish.

Especially us. Magazines urge us to make ourselves over, to rethink our living spaces, to order that stylish kettle, the latest iPhone, an Arne Jacobsen egg chair. We must purchase new and fashionable table linen, Christmas china for once-a-year Yuletide glory, 50s retro furniture., etc. Throw out that brown furniture belonging to your grandmother! Buy new towels to match your tiling! Heaven forfend that you should have last season’s bag / trainers / eye-shadow!

And where will your old stuff go? The charity shop – okay, good. Bonfire – hmmm, not so good. Landfill – BAD.

Temptation at every turn

Even online, we’re greeted by Satan and his harpoon with every click. Amazon suggests “other books I might like”. Sahara, which sells lovely clothes for older women who resent beige (me) and don’t want to blend into the background (me again), sends me regular emails featuring photos of my kinda clobber. It takes strength to resist. I don’t always succeed.

In the chemist, BOGOFS and other bargain offers tempt the most hardened shopper. Ooh! I think, 3 supersize bottles of body lotion for the price of 2, must get those! A year later, I’m still working my way through bottle no. 2.

At the supermarket, tempting delicacies attractively packaged and arrayed at eyeline level to distract me from my carefully written shopping list. Even when I stick to the list, my old man subverts my good intentions when he “just happens to pass M&S” and stocks up on dainty morsels in plastic trays. He’s mad for those fishy mousse thingies, so we end up with a fridge groaning with grub, and me grouching about waste.

And at this very moment, the fear of empty store cupboards has led people to madly shop for loo roll (grr) and food, much of which is expected to be thrown out as people have bought far too much fresh food.

Chatting last Friday to the stallholder of a local market stall (a judicious 2m apart, I hasten to add) he said, “You wouldn’t believe how much people are buying, at least 3 times more than usual. Dunno how they’re going to use it all.”

But shopping gives us a kick!

Much has been written about how the brief rush of pleasure we get from shopping can become addictive. I’m not going to go into it in depth here, but here’s a nice summation from the Priory website. (The Priory is an addiction clinic in the UK.)

When we make a purchase, our brain releases endorphins and dopamine. For some, this momentary pleasure can lead to compulsive shopping, as the instant reward and motivation to re-experience the ‘rush’ starts to outweigh self-control and practical financial considerations.

Oh, the pleasure of shopping doesn’t last.

But debt lasts…

Today, Sofology the sofa shop is offering interest free credit on purchases over £500. That’s today, 27th March 2020, when the world is in meltdown and people are losing their jobs and their income right left and centre. Here’s a bit of blurb from the website.

We don’t think you should have to wait or save up before you can feel at home on a sofa you love. With our range of payment options, you can select the option that works best for you, and order the sofa of your dreams today.

I only mention Sofology because their current advert annoys me. This sentiment is echoed all over the internet and what’s left of the high street. Why should you save up for something? If you WANT it, you MUST HAVE it! You’re ENTITLED!

Because you’re worth it!

Somehow, during the 67 years I’ve been breathing the air on Planet Earth, shopping has transmogrified from buying what you needed to ordering what you deserve.

When I was a child, you might need anything from a loaf of bread to a new outfit for a wedding, but if you didn’t need it, you didn’t purchase it. Now, thanks to L’Oreal grasping the zeitgeist with ruthless brilliance, we think we are worth it – whatever “it” is. We accumulate stuff simply because we imagine it enhances our sense of self-esteem. My very glamorous mother had one lipstick, I have five. Some women have many more than that. Young people are encouraged to buy ultra-cheap clothing, wear it once and then chuck it. OMG, can’t be seen wearing the same thing twice!

The visual blight

Our desire for stuff has blighted our countryside with vast distribution centres the size of towns.

Each of those small yellow blobs is a huge truck. I lost count of how many of these buildings like this there are in Magna Park, Milton Keynes

Where are we supposed to grow crops?

Our desire for stuff means our homes are full, so our towns are desecrated with storage units.

Appropriately, the colour of the rape flower.

Is this really how we want our towns to look?

Our lockdown opportunity

So now we’re all holed up at home in unsplendid isolation, and shopping has been transformed overnight into a risky necessity. Wouldn’t this be a really good time to address our habit of acquisition, and abandon shopping for the sake of shopping? And when we come out of our siege, could we make sure we don’t rush headlong for the shops and start the whole damn cycle over again. After all, you can bet the Burghers of Calais didn’t make a dash for Carrefour the minute Edward III spared them in 1346. They’d have gone home to their families and thanked providence.

End notes.

I hope everyone stays safe. Thanks to all the new people who’ve joined. I shall try and keep an optimistic tone to this blog as life is tricky enough as it is. Some are saying that this pandemic could slow climate change quite considerably, proving that it’s an ill wind and all that mullarkey. But I think we’d all rather that it wasn’t this particular ill wind!

If you’re reading this on the website, the photo at the top is by Erik Mclean on Unsplash. If you’re reading this at home, there’s no picture at the top. Don’t ask me why, blame the vagaries of WordPress.

Unattributed photos were retrieved from t’internet by yours truly by cunning means of screenshot and cropping.

Please continue to share and do tell your friends about the blog, but only if you’re standing 2 metres away.

Obligatory animal pic

Piper loves going for a drive. She won’t be doing that for a bit.

She’s a bit of a back seat driver, if I’m honest.

58 thoughts on “SHOPPING…

  1. Bicester Village. Used to live/work nearby so have visited (once). It still baffles me that people will go there on a coach outing. They’re just shops, FFS. Still, looking at the positives, the hordes of people jamming up the car parks and surrounding roads can’t be going where I prefer to spend my time.


  2. Having grown up in a lower middle class educated poverty-stricken home, with my Glaswegian mother darkly muttering about some awful thoroughfare called ‘Queer Street’, I always had a fear of debt. Actually, this has stood me in good stead, as (past mortgages excluded) I have never bought what I could not afford, always bought the best quality of what I needed and never, ever, been in debt.

    I am not a mean person, except with myself. I don’t think I have ever bought a really expensive item for myself without being slightly tiddly. But, on the plus side, I have never had a sleepless night worrying about bills.

    I should say that I don’t think I have ever ‘gone shopping’ unless I have something I need to purchase. My much younger brother and sister who arrived when the fortunes of my parents took a relative upturn are far more cavalier. However, they are swamped in debt.


    • Yes, that’s an interesting point you raise. Growing up in postwar Portsmouth, I thought my mother was rather extravagant compared with my friends’ mothers. Actually, looking back, I see how careful she was. Although she bought expensive food, she never wasted it. She bought two expensive outfits every year and wore them for best only, last year’s outfits then were relegated to anywhere she had to look smart, year 3 outfits were for shopping and bumping into people, and year 4 were for housework (in case anyone popped in) and year 5 were for working in the kitchen. As a result, her clothes lasted years. I’ve inherited her thrift in the kitchen and my Aunty Betty taught me something even better which was how to disguise leftovers! And both my parents were horrified at the prospect of debt, and thus I’ve never taken out any loans except a mortgage. It’s a good way to live.

      Liked by 1 person

    • My most essential lesson in life was taught to me aged about 8 at Charing Cross station by Zelly, my wonderful Belgian god-mother. It was in the days when there were 3 classes on the trains and Zelly cheerfully announced to the ticket-seller, “Vee vill travel third”, Zelly said, “…. because there is no fourth”. And “because there is no fourth” became my guiding star ever since. Thank you, Zelly dear – it’s stood me in the very greatest stead.


  3. Well said. Couldn’t agree more. Before all this stuff started I had made myself not to buy any new clothes this year. Honestly, it’s amazing how much perfectly wearable stuff I’ve accumulated over the last few years. Hopefully I can keep it up.

    Great to see you in Monmouth before they locked us all up – here’s to the renewal of the tour ASAP.


    • Thanks, Mik. I’m using my splendid isolation to go through my stuff and prepare a number of boxes and bags of “stuff” for the charity shops as soon as they reopen. My weakness is knick-knacks!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love it! Having returned to live in the UK from very rural France a few weeks ago, I was just beginning to enjoy going into nice shops again…but I`m not a great shopper to be honest. We all buy far too much & then (like I did when we moved) have to get rid of so much, which has sat in our cupboards & wardrobes(or in our case the attic) for years & which has not been used. Your blogs do make me laugh…I loved the lemon squeezer! Please continue 🙂
    Regards Christine

    Liked by 1 person

      • Toothbrush? Is there and iconic one? I’m going to have to research this! I missed out on this post-modern icon. 😢 Another two minutes sorted out!!! I feel so lucky to have been brought up by ‘war child’. Entitlement is an insidious and has become embedded in our lives. My father was always muttering ‘the veneer of civilisation is getting thinner and thinner’.


  5. Thanks Dillie – I and three others came to see your show in Cambridge before all this CV stuff happened. It was great in lots of ways btw! That was what made me join your blog – keep up the good work. You say the right things in a good (and right) way. Helen Moroney

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 2 people

  6. Well said Dillie!!! You beat me to it. I have been saying today -the answer to climate change is here for us all to see. We just need to stop spending money…or at the very least cut right back.
    My upbringing taught me- to only buy what you can afford and always save for that ‘rainy day’
    Thank you for your wonderful blogs. have to say I’m not so impressed with your photography.
    Best wishes Pat


  7. Shopping should only be done when sober, however, since the isolation, I haven’t been sober!! I just rely on the children to make sure I am stocked up!
    Just missed your show in Brighton, as the bloody lurgy closed the Dome! but at least you are rebooked for 4th November!
    in the3 meantime I can Singalonga Max to all your songs!
    Hoping for your take on this madness ………….. in a new rendition of course.

    Keep safe

    Sue Vanneck

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wonder if when we finally get back on the road, whether people won’t be heartily sick of coronavirus and the last thing anyone will want is a song about it…? I’ll see what gives. Sorry about Brighton!


  8. Stay safe, Dillie.

    I’ve been sorting out the garden (a lot…) and switching my two compost bins over. These two are called – ahem – Bill and Ben… And now there is a third compost heap I’ve christened Al (as in Al Fresco, because he’s open air as opposed to being in a bin).

    Best wishes from Normandy


  9. Dear Dillie, as a long serving fan of sweet FA (dating back to early shows at the Lyric Hammersmith and yes with signed copies of vinyl in the collection as well as CD albums) I have felt aligned to your wry humour, acerbic wit and power of recording your observations on society.
    I enjoy the SYDN blogs not only for the underlying message but also for the way they are written. On a Friday at the end of a sht week (bitch on heat and only one walk a day – and the dog is in a similar state) there is nothing better than to read someone else’s rant and to realise “it’s not just me”
    When all this is over you will have so much material for another tour of FA and the queues for tickets will be longer than those recorded outside supermarkets for the [don’t mention] toilet rolls!
    Keep at it


    • Thanks so much, David. I wonder if I’ll write a song about the pandemic, I kinda doubt it. I keep getting sent songs by other people which cover it, it’s hard to find something new?


  10. Hi Dillie, my friends and I recently went to see you perform in Carlisle. It was for a friends 50th and I purposefully didn’t do any research on your group, so went with an open heart and no preconceptions. I was blown away and left feeling psyched for life, for creativity and for humour. Despite the comic aspect, all three of you projected love, a depth of care, familiarity and such talent. We rode the wave of laughter, Piano theatrics and the mesmerising tones of opera. I was literally blown away and signed up to your blog straight away. Despite a weakness for shopping, I have been striving to suppress it by attending ‘clothes swap parties. Simply arrange a party with nibbles and wine, everyone brings the clothes they don’t use any more and you then try stuff on and take what you want. It’s like a free shop but also a fascinating social experiment, regarding how to maintain some semblance of fairness if several people want the same thing. It’s hard to live a truly honourable life, regarding protecting the environment, and I think many of use are trying to strike a balance between enjoyment of life and guilt about impact. My feeling is that if your current year is more ethically led than the previous one (and so add infinitum) then you are at least trending in the right direction. Loving your posts. P.s the lupins are thriving and worry not about a looming crisis. Apply lots of caution but worry little, that’s the balance. Love to everyone and especially our vulnerable.


    • WOW! What a lovely message. My friend is a great fan of clothes swaps, I’m not sure anyone would want to wear my clothes though, I’m always accused of dressing in “VERY BRIGHT” clothes! Glad you liked the show, stay safe yourself, and enjoy your lupins. I shall have to check mine tomorrow, I’ve had my eyes on other things!


  11. Maybe this is an age thing. Again we were never dared to buy anything unless we could afford it. My kids seem to think we keep things for ages! Obviously parenting skills didn’t work with my kids and they were sent money of this and that from the age of 15 which i was horrified about. Having kept clothes from the ’70’s suddenly they saw the light and i had more room in my wardrobe and my grandaughter can’t wait to also have her turn.
    Can you tell me why anti-wrinkle cream is always advertised by woman who don’t need it and the small print says 79% of 75 said it worked for them. How? Do they think we are that stupid!
    Loved the show in Yeovil. Take care of yourself and loved ones.xx


    • Maybe, but I have always been mad for a glorious pair of shoes and that hasn’t changed. My other half calls me Imelda Marcos. And I’m a sucker for new kitchen equipment, so much that I’ve had to commandeer the cupboard in the hall for scarcely used stuff like the meat mincer, the paella pan, the juicer, the blender… so much STUFF!


  12. Not that far behind you in age Dillie and this current situation has got me thinking. Life did seem simpler when we were younger. Even if Oil of Ulay sold me the idea that my skin would be beautiful and young-looking as I got older. Lying toads – 45 years I’ve been using the stuff. Never got ID’d in my life. And still don’t get ID’d when I ask for over 60 concessions!


  13. I joined after High Wycombe and I’ve been following with interest and nodding agreement.

    Bicester Village was amazing when it had just opened: my brother bought five smart shirts from a “seconds” outlet that have lasted twenty-five years, and a year or so later I bought the best grater I have ever had (and still have) at a kitchens shop there, as well as some silicone “wooden spoons” that are still going strong. I went back a few years later and not one shop there was worth a visit — even the Le Creuset shop was no cheaper than going into John Lewis, and all the clothes seemed to be either grossly over-priced or tat.

    On the other hand, there’s a shop in Bicester proper that sells wool — it has moved from Sheep Street but it still exists. Or at least it did, I hope it will still be there next time I need it. And another that sells kitchen goods like freezers, which is a useful thing if your fridge suddenly dies and you need a newone RightNow and have a friend with a van.

    I don’t enjoy shopping anyway, thank the Lord fasting.

    Stay safe: I want to come to another gig. Oh, and please give a furfle to Piper.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The wool shop in Bicester was there last time I looked, down one of the side alleys. Bicester Village basically dumped all the practical shops and the mid-price, high end High Street shops. They refused to renew Hobbs’ lease because Karl Lagerfeld refused to have a shop there if his designer stuff had to share the same air as a chain store. But it’s great value if you’re a size 0 and think £1500 reduced from £3k is a great bargain.


  14. My friend and I were so looking forward to catching the tour as it passed through Southampton (‘local’ to us), glad to hear it’s just a blip and you’ll be back once it’s all safe again.
    I think some of these firms (like Sofology) are just fighting for survival at the moment as no one is buying … however, rather than interest free, I might be more tempted with 50% off and the comfort of knowing it would last 40 years, like my last one.
    Keep Well


  15. “Mais regardez cette vielle chose, c’est terrible!” – just to stir life’s pot a little, in France these days ‘”terrible” pretty-much means “great”. More like P. Starck thought the simple lemon-squeezer, “une putain de bouse” … which, er, doesn’t quite mean “great”.
    But you & FA are, or course, totally “terrible” – for which I am for-ever thankful! Stay safe – especially from Shopping.


    • Bless you for helping my French. I chose terrible because I thought at least readers with no French at all would fathom the meaning. I assumed it’s newly positive interpretation was at least 50/50 either way, rather in the way that “sick” can mean cool or something very very wrong indeed, depending on context and who’s saying it. Yes, let’s all stay safe.


      • If you hear an enthusiastic voice in your next gig shouting “Terrible-Terrible”, yes, that’ll be me!

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Ah yes, the temple of Mammon known as Bicester Village. One thing I won’t miss now I’m in Darkest North Wiltshire! I used to go quite a lot in the early days. Plenty of “useful” stuff, like wide-fit size 13 Church’s shoes for £120 a pair, Ralph Lauren chinos for a tenner. Better still, an old friend of mine stumped up the money to build it, so I used to get another 15% off. Now it’s the #1 stop on the Chinese whistle-stop tour, it’s lost its appeal. Odd really. All the stuff gets made in China and half of it finds its way back there! What used to piss me off was that it’s well served with trains, even having a dedicated station now, but most people turned up in their BMW X5s, Maseratis and Mercedes, quite content to drive for two hours,queue for parking for another hour and probably end up on a park-and-ride bus, rather than take a 45 minute train journey. Rich doesn’t necessarily correlate with intelligence.

    When I’m working from home (all the time at the moment), in the garden or whatever, I tend to wear T-shirts that I can pick up on t’internet for a couple of quid each. They last for a year or more and reduce the wear on my decent clothes. What amazes me is that they’re really intended to be bought by people to wear once only!

    I recently attended a marketing excellence seminar ( I don’t work in marketing, I just have to work with them) and the facilitator’s opening comment was “70% of the world’s products could disappear and hardly anyone would notice.” I think the intention was to demonstrate the power of marketing; I interpreted it as a perfect example of SYDN. Sadly, gullibility is an (almost) universal human character flaw. The late, great Douglas Adams had it right. If you don’t know what I mean, I suggest you reacquaint yourselves with the original radio broadcast of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Fit the Eleventh.

    Ironically, I find myself shopping quite a lot at the moment, but that’s because I’ve gone from having no garden of my own to a vast expanse of lawn, soon to be re-purposed as something more useful, such as a vegetable plot.

    Keep safe everyone.


    • Great suggestion. When I’ve finished my current talking books I shall go back to the Hitchhiker’s Guide. And now you’ve entered the wonderful world of gardening, can I pay you back in kind and recommend a website/ source of gardening advice – QUICKCROP. Wonderful, personal and humorous and full of terrific advice.


  17. I blame the Chinese…for cheap tat everywhere ,Bicester retail experience park..and….the virus !!!
    How can one have so much stuff that one needs to pay for storage..>£100 / month, most of it still in the wrapper, or it doesn’t work because its fabrique en China


    • I’m not sure that’s the full picture, though, Claxby. We don’t have to buy the cheap tat but we do. We demand it. Much of it comes from Taiwan and other countries. Large quantities of the cheapest and worst clothes come from Bangladesh. We’re the ones demanding endless stuff. I sometimes wonder as I look in the windows of souvenir shops selling tat what they must think of us as they make this appalling stuff. And calling it a Chinese virus seems unnecessarily divisive at this time of international crisis. After all, the virus doesn’t know what its nationality is.


  18. An amusing incident about ID. I was with my daughter a few years ago and she called into a shop to buy some wine. She did not use Oil of Olay and had just finished a busy weekend. She came out sporting a broad grin and said “I have just been asked for ID!” She was 27 and had paid with a card which said she was Dr H.P. She is now married to a Kiwi and doing 12 hour shifts daily in NZ. Thank goodness for the technology which allows us to keep in touch. Loved the show in Sheffield and I much preferred it being in the Crucible rather than the Lyceum.


    • How interesting, we largely prefer the Lyceum because we have the audience in front of us and I’m aware that some of the audience at the Crucible are behind us. So that’s encouraging that you liked it better there.


  19. Hi Dillie

    What a timely piece you have given us. Thankyou.

    Now, we all have enforced down time. I’m certainly not missing the smug and important who declare “I just have’nt got the time/bandwidth/resources…” ( the clip of Dark Arts Dominic running away from Downing Street in the BBC pack declaring the PM and Minister had tested positive made me think that there are some people from whom all time and resources should be permanently isolated).

    I travelled around supermarkets in my location yesterday, (there’s seven of them in a 5km area and that does not include the express ones or the concessions at service stations).

    I did not get out of the car until I got back home again. I had stayed at home for seven days, on my own, and needed to see a bit of the world. If I wanted/needed anything, it would be milk and teabags and give the dogs a much needed stretch of the legs. Items that the local corner shop historically provided before it got ransacked by the anxious. At every supermarket there were the ‘rings of non-confidence’ of folk queuing around car parks and buildings.

    I am not that far from Bicester either. (I avoid it like I have always avoided a soft play park, with or without children.)

    Home shopping is booming. They are using the ‘lock-down’ as a marketing tool. That age-defying balm is just what you deserve at this very difficult time. Rub it in. Rinse if off. The enhancing of our sense of self-esteem.

    Hopefully, when this is all over, we will wake up to the fact that our self-esteem has been made into a commodity for the marketeers. They question it, doubt it, bolster it and then sell it back to us in bite-sized, over-priced pieces slathered in stuff we do not need. Wake up people! We are already good to go.

    Formula = Detergent to strip – Grease to moisturise.
    Rinse and repeat.

    Dillie, you say your mother had one lipstick and you have five. My friend has 32 at the last count because “its the right shade for the outfit” …and on. ( I don’t have any. My lips are far too thin and tightly pinched together in order to not offend those who shrink from my plain speaking. What comes from these lips will not improve with decoration or emphasis!

    Keep well.

    & a big cuddle to The Lady P.


  20. Great blog – as always – Dillie. Not sure what the toothbrush lemon squeezer combo is for, but it reminds of the creatures in War of the Worlds. Also, are you aware that you have something in common with our queen? She too (apparently) has a dislike of beige and so is always seen in colourful outfits, as she doesn’t want to blend in either!! Keep doing what you do, and I hope you and yours stay healthy and optimistic. Nett. (Fellow 67-year-old) xx


  21. Dillie you’ve got it in one re: “if you want it, have it” culture – it is where reality telly came from – no need to learn your trade, just get an instant career. At least on “New Faces”, they’d usually worked the club circuit for a while beforehand and not their Mum’s front parlour. I can’t stick it – does my head in. I’ve worked for every single thing I own and every single thing I’ve achieved. Do I buy on credit? Only things like if I need a new bed because mine broke (no not like that, Moore’s the woe!) and I needed a new one immediately, but not ordinarily, I save up. I’d never dream of just expecting to walk into a record deal and a career in music without having proven myself longer term than a few weeks on a reality show. We don’t hear from that many of them again – it’s a brutal industry and going into it with no resilience training is probably not good for one. I blame “Big Brother” – it started the “people who are famous for being famous” and “instant life” fads – we had the former before but they were mostly royals or Tara Parker-Templeton et al. – and bloody influencers…don’t get me started…


  22. *notes down Bicester Village as somewhere else to avoid*

    Mind you, I’ve never really grasped the notion of “shopping as entertainment” – probably because from a relatively early age bits of me out-grew the garments usually targeted at young girls and there are few things more crushing than seeing rack upon rack of “pretty things” that are definitively Not For You, The Boys And Men Section Is Over There, Try That. (Yes I HATE shoe shopping above all!) Wandering around big chain shops mostly tends to fill me with a crawling sense of bleak existential dread, so I try not to do it unless I have to.

    In any case, it’s been my observation that we mostly don’t value things we haven’t had to put some effort or consideration into obtaining. Easy come, easy go – straight into a charity shop or landfill, usually. Although the charity shop angle works for me, since I raid them for things I can unpick and use for patchwork. Right now, however, I am doing hand applique on a linen charity shop shirt that actually fits me (it still had the M&S label attached!) with flowers cut from a skirt that also came from a charity shop. And then I shall in all likelihood wear it to death!


  23. Superb insight . You are making me think so differently about our wonderful planet.
    Started to follow you after your Carlisle gig this year. 6 of us on a girls night out. I’d not seen any of your stuff before and wondered what was coming but trusted my friends judgement ! My sides still ache 🤣🤣
    Please keep up the good work 😁


  24. we saw your show in Yeovil this February. Laughed and cried. We saw you first at the Edinburgh Festival several years ago and have been fans ever since.Your blog is brilliant. I agree that while aspects of Isolation are rubbish (not being able to see and hug the people you love), the planet is benefitting from our enforced stillness and afterwards, hopefully, people will realise they don’t need to go rushing round buying things and zoo ming off to far flung corners of the planet to take selfies in front of the Taj Mahal etc..
    Look forward to seeing you again sometime, .


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