hebden bridge…it’s not grim up north

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i’d only vaguely heard of hebden bridge cause edwyn collins played a show up there in the trades [union] club..that’s all i knew,but as we turned off the motorway in west yorkshire,it soon became apparent we were entering a place of great beauty… i should have already been aware of this,but my only interest was to see a favourite band ‘the tiger lillies’.it was perfect english summer weather…the hills were high rolling,and maybe it’s just cause i’m old now that this sort of thing is beginning to floor me, cause it doesn’t feel so long ago when the idea of greenery, trees, and old mills would have bored me ridged.

we arrived five minutes before the tiger lillies sailed on to the stage…they were endlessly funny,highly musical,and a true assault on the senses…they always are…this little clip doesn’t do them justice..you have to hear the full range of their songs.

we checked into our hotel round midnight starving for food..the kitchens were closed but the night receptionist waved her magic wand and conjured up the freshest softest sandwiches,flanked by the hugest pot of yorkshire tea to our room within minutes,where we lay on a bed,shoes off,stuffing our rabid faces….the following morning over a full english breakfast,we learn we’re in the hotel used for that david jacobi telly series ‘last tango in halifax’.venturing away from the breakfast table,and heading back into hebden bridge,i’m puzzled at how such a small remote village could be so groovy…the trades union club i mentioned earlier is tiny,yet patti smith[?!] played there recently…dexys midnight runners…it’s a humble scene,yet here are these folk who can fill the albert hall keen to play there….and then there’s all these dapper vegetarian restaurants…thomas casually sensed there might be a lot of lesbians living up there,and i scoffed at him for swallowing the parody of all lezzers being vegetarians n’all…but maybe he was right,cause when i got back home two days later,i googled,and it came up’hebden bridge..lesbian capitol of england’…i dandered into a neat little hybrid vinyl record shop/cafe,where they were playing mott the hoople records,and got talking to a long haired groover who’s lived there all his life … i was asking him how come a village has patti smith and the likes playing here in a tiny room,and how come it’s just so great,and he said they’re fiercely independent up here,and that there’s no macdonalds…no starbucks…no costas…it’s all local…he also said they’re getting a lot of white guardian readers moving in….white guardian readers… we both laughed at that i said yeah.. it’s easy to buy a bloody guardian…still… a white guardian reader has got to be a load better than a white sun reader. he talked about how the old mills are being converted into apartments,and mixed feelings of that sent my head spinning…..i mean..it’s great when a place flourishes…i just hope the local folk always benefit from it.. those newly upholstered old mills made me think of those old crumbling breweries in the east end of london now morphed into million pound apartments.

i loved hebden bridge…the yorkshire folk are good to talk with…they’ve got that lovely country feel about them without being rednecks…londoners are great too,but they’re speedy and tightly wound,probably because they have to be…but with me being older now,yet still a bit of kid with crayons,hebden bridge fits like a glove…it’s no wonder david hockney returned to his home nearby to paint those hills and breath that clean air…even the water’s nice and soft.

there’s that saying ‘it’s grim up north’…i believe it can be grim anywhere depending on your own private situation,and no doubt hebden bridge has its own particular darkness in the winter months…but if life deals out a workable hand of cards,the north to me isn’t so grim…it feels like a great place for artists…writers…songwriters…film makers…you could surely blossom up there.

all my loving…mary of many a wilderness.

west yorkshire



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these are terrific, are they not..undergarments you don’t wear on your arse,but on your hands…ladies and bellends, for your entertainment, i give you …..HANDERPANTS.

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rude art exhibitions

IMG_0396sometimes i think the best way for enjoying a gallery is to just slow right down,hang out,and not try too hard in understanding what’s going on. it’s fun watching other visitors reactions, and the aloof bored employees,opening or closing doors for the wide eyed and cynical. the whole affair adds up to so much more than the sum of its parts. this particular exhibition is now showing on the very posh savile row where the beatles offices used to be, and where many bespoke tailors reside. http://www.hauserwirth.com/exhibitions/2161/richard-jackson-new-paintings/view/         i love how something so rude shows itself off on such a smart civilised street…..here we have a line of cute fit men made from immaculate shiny fibre glass, bending over with their trousers down,splashfarting brightly coloured paint out of their arseholes onto the gallery wall behind them…there’s also a sexy female office executive astride a photo copying machine taking pictures of her private lily garden… i don’t care if this has meaning or not,it just looks fantastic. maybe it’s got something to do with the artist and his relationship with paint … i dunno..i just love it…it looks good.


this was tuesday..a nice sunny day where i’d surgically removed myself from the house and sailed into town for a haircut.my most excellent hairdresser is a boxer in his spare time,and is mad keen for music…next was the gallery, followed by supper in an art deco room on piccadilly. http://www.brasseriezedel.com i’ve no worries dining alone…i love to be solitary in the middle of a buzzy scene, listening, or off on my own internalised revery…the previous day i received sad news that a man who used to manage me had died,so i walked past a landmark that was relevant to both of us on the way for supper..i stood there still in the sunshine hallucinating the two us walking towards me down that very street..i recalled the exact conversation we were having…it too was a sunny day…he was trying to calm me down in his usual reassuring way…memory’s a very powerful thing.

IMG_0399on my way back home i stumbled on what might be one of those banksy numbers.it was painted on a wall by a place where warner brothers records used to be,but is now the bland offices of jaeger clothing…there’s a story of the singer billy mackenzie in that building…he went up there one day to be told by a big cheese that he was deemed difficult and would therefor be culled from the label,so he asked for one final request that a car be sent round to take him home..the label obliged,without realising the driver would be taking him all the way from london to his house in dundee up in scotland…i love that…the mischief.

i rode on the train for half and hour back to the countryside where thomas met me at the station with his warm genuine smile..dear reader…life is everything,isn’t it..it is all at once past..present…future..fortunate..unfortunate…heartbreaking .. joyful…oh for gods sake ..shut up mary.

all my loving…back in the wilderness.


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funeral for a tree.

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we once had a low hanging fruity apple tree in our back garden, where upon a set of musical wind chimes rang happily in the breeze,but one day last year we woke to find it lying dead on the ground…to clear up the bomb blast, it had to be chopped up into logs where it remained far too neat and behaved for the afterlife. the conformity of those stacked logs gave me a strong desire to free the very soul of all that lovely wood. i had a vision of it rising like a phoenix from it’s own ashes as a moss and lavender garden.

yesterday when we woke, i pleaded with thomas that we make this vision real by sundown,so we missioned off to one of those garden centre places.i don’t like garden centres. they’re a gateway to the world of beige, and i can slide into a dark mood in that kind of environment,but on this day i was on a keen pursuit of tres naturelle plants..lavender..heather…moss. my heart usually belongs to the sluttier flowers… i’m prone to common things like big brightly coloured daisies,or petunias, as they are without a doubt the purple velvet whores of the flower kingdom.my favourite flower of all is the dandelion. i love everything it stands for..it is wild and looked down upon by tight arsed folk who would sooner consider it a weed,even if it is not…it is scruffy, yellow and free. we’ll be wiped out long before it will .

i am so pleased with our newborn mossy lavender garden, that i fancy when i die, some of my ashes be scattered over it…the rest to be scattered up in the high desert in california near pioneertown … maybe scatter a few spoonfuls down the durty drains of soho in london, then a final cloud of my bone dust for northern ireland,to be blown in the fresh clean air over portrush beach near where the arcadia ballroom used to be.

i’m happy to report our mission was fulfilled just as the day got dark. we argued and laughed..i kept throwing hissy fits,but under it all we were having a groovy day,while billy fields looked on bemused and amused as much as we were…the same oscar peterson long playing gramophone record repeatedly spilled out of the open living room window…i got up this morning and went directly outdoors starkers to have a look and take a picture.there is grass seed planted too, which should green things up in a few weeks…dear reader…do you like it?…isn’t it very tasteful and understated?….not like me at all.

i feel a bit uncomfortable that i’m sitting here writing about bloody gardening,and will counteract this in my next post with a story about me getting caught with my personal supply of cannabis at the airport.

here’s a new song just to remind you why i winged my way down onto this beautiful yet dangerous planet 55 years ago… heavens willing, more songs to follow.

all my loving…mary mary..extremely contrary.

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alf garnetti feel embarrassed by my own baby boomer generation..we’re the ones that should know better..we brandish our loud long haired classic rock records,but behind it we’re just like our parents..twitching the net curtains,allergic to change and colour…dear reader,i hope you take a second to read this link below..especially that ignorant and intellectually vacant Facebook comment…and i promise no more gassing off from me anyway..happy voting..love and cream suede chelsea boots…the mary one. http://www.nickkingsworld.com/blog/2014/5/17/dear-nigel-farage

as a seven year old poofter, i found alf garnet with his long suffering wife riveting entertainment, and i always loved the character una stubbs played…she and her boyfriend seemed so groovy to my young eyes .. i was gently educated by this groundbreaking subversive sitcom.

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under the skin

being a bit dumb,i thought we were watching an art house film knee deep in metaphor,but the next day i learn it was actually a sci-fi movie. had i known that,i’d probably not have gone in the first place,but i’m glad i did. for me it was more about human alienation rather than mere aliens.

have you seen it?…if you have, i’d love to know your interpretation.even though pinned to the wall, i wasn’t completely sure what was going on. it seems it’s a girl on a highly sexualised journey of sorts. some of the movie is real actors, while some of the men she attempts to pick up in her white van are true to life people on the streets of glasgow.i now read scarlett johanssen practiced picking up hitchhikers to play her role convincingly.


she starts out as a predator of solitary men, then mid flight is made vulnerable by love,and then finally raped of something…or maybe it was herself shedding a skin.i could easily be wrong about this. a bright lady who i talk to on the internet says it’s about a journey of disintegration. she calls it ‘an internal piece’,and that definition helped a lot.honestly dear reader,if you have seen this film,i’d truly love to know what you think. aside from the actual meaning,it had a breathtaking beauty about it.located in scotland, it taps into the tough look of the more downbeat side of the country,the extreme weather…the miserable side of things rendered in deeply poetic visuals….i loved how the makers had taken a natural sea storm and added subtle effects that maybe weren’t effects at all..it’s hard to tell,and the bits that were unabashed effects were startling … it was a stunner,even if the cinema was indeed nearly empty. often things that aren’t big mainstream hits at the time, turn out to be classics in the end. the soundtrack alone was noteworthy.

that film left me feeling so odd and strange as we drifted back out into the evening air…it was that curzon venue in mayfair that i’ve written about before…i always bleat on about how RCA records was housed on that street in the 1970’s..i only know this cause of the bowie,sweet and nilsson singles i bought as a kid in portrush..the address was always on the paper sleeves….and i’m forever aware how keith moon and mama cass both died in harry nilssons apartment on the same street,but last night when leaving the cinema i clocked a convoy of rolls royces parked outside…it occurred to me how flushed that part of town is,and because of that it’s been diligently preserved…i get the feeling it was pretty much the same there decades ago…money maintaining money…on the way back to the car we passed those cute mews houses that highly privileged gentry live in..i notice they actually have potted plants on either side of their front doors right there on the pavement in the middle of london…no fear of them being vandalised due to the heavy presence of night time cops. inner city civilisation for those that can afford it.

dear reader…all my loving

mary mcwilderness


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telephone box libraries


sometimes i think we’ve seen too much evil for this world. with every passing week the news at 10.pm seems to get more intense,yet in the midst of all that badness they’ll occasionally throw up a token piece of good news just to add a little bit of sugar to the horror. i was tickled when they featured a clip of a sweet guy washing the windows of his local red telephone box…he was totally out there with the fairy liquid,brushing the floor,then building neat shelves into the booth.who cares what low or high brow books fill those telephone boxes, just only that no pigs vandalise them….the fun chappy said he often wondered what the hell he was doing,knowing full well that any moron could easily turn it all upside down…or equally annoying that the actual government might in time deem these ideas a health/safety hazard…so this dear soul on the news at ten was laying himself wide open for a crushing … and wouldn’t y’know it…


how very very uncool…those ruined books in the mud are like tears from the very telephone box itself, while it cries out in naked embarrassment. the rapists who destroy these boxes won’t even give it a second thought unless they’re rumbled…i looked on the dolly-net and learned how there’d been a few cases of arson on the phone box libraries. it’d be great if one day these killjoys realised the most rebellious expression during these extremely corporate times is to do something beautiful,and to do it for free.a true rebel would leave a little cheap mobile in the booth,and hope for it to remain there incase a phoneless soul needs to make an emergency call.y’know one of the neat things about those telephone box libraries is there’s often comics for youngsters where the parents don’t have any extra hard cash for their kids.

01-telephone-box-rushmoor-parkthose darling red telephone boxes play into my sense of nostalgia in the same way as a dansette record player..they’re colourful…electrical,and home to ziggy stardust…in my life i’ve watched those living works of art travel through time on their own bumpy journey…in the early 1960’s they were beacons of communication,then in the 70’s on my first trips to london i got my first insight into the world of prostitution from the sexy little cards mysteriously placed inside the booth … apparently steve strange in the throws of heroin addiction used to pin those cards into the telephone boxes around central london to finance his fix…then in the late eighties as the human race got even murkier ,they began smelling of pish,and now in the age of mobile phones they’ve been left adrift like washed up film stars……so when i saw a resourceful chappy on news at ten turning his local one into a mini library,it gave me a warm glow all over.


i made life changing calls from those lovely red boxes…as a teenager in northern ireland i’d sashay out of the caravan i lived alone in to make calls across the irish sea to kick start my life…the last time i used one was in the early nineties,and noticed how sensitive i’d become to urban dirt when having to talk into the rancid receiver,and then only recently i had the brainwave of maybe acquiring one for our back garden , but was shocked at the price they were going for…the round pillar red letterboxes are now fetching eight thousand pounds,while the telephone booths are being exported to hollywood to sit aside swimming pools as funky outdoor shower units! so y’know it’s great that local people can buy their own red telephone box off the government for exactly one english pound to share their joy of books…it’s all too beautiful..libraries in telephones boxes…flippin nora..no one saw that one coming…i love it.

and i send all my loving to you………sweary mary on your telephone line.



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