Bitch on the Blog

April 2, 2018

Alternative Comment Box – Nick

If I were a teacher having to face class every day I’d be both overjoyed (facing class) and in despair (when marking their work).

Dear Ramana, on his blog, writes a heart warming “first page”, in response to which Nick – who appears to be incapable of talking about anything other than himself – writes, and touching it is:

“The first page of my novel would be rather too long to reproduce here. The first sentence maybe. Someone else has already used “It was a dark and stormy night”, so I’ll have to think of something else. “I was born in one of the coldest winters of the century, when strict rationing was still in force a year after the end of the second world war.”

To which I replied, and I am aware of how cruel yet instructive my comment is:

“You need an editor, Nick:

The Allies and their enemies had bombed the shit out of each other. To little gain. As is my wont, I was born in March – an unusually unwelcoming one. Strict rationing in full swing, my mother wasn’t able to nourish me to full potential. The year was 1946.


If my father taught me one thing it’s that “dog bites man” does NOT make a headline. “Man bites dog”? Yup. In the meantime just keep barking.

Belated Happy Birthday, Nick. And don’t worry about the dog. Rarely, though occasionally, even I don’t expect an old one to learn anything new.




June 18, 2017

Shades of white

I am no good at drawing. Which is rather surprising since I come from a long line of people who actually made their living painting.

My father who inherited that most remarkable talent – though never made anything of it because he was more interested in pursuing other interests, once helped me out. I was about twelve. Our art homework was to do a portrait of a pirate (water colours no less – the smudge’s devil of all inventions). We had a few days. The worse and the more dreaded the task the more it’ll spoil not only your life in the interim but you’ll put it off to the last minute (deadline by another name). (Un)fortunately my father passed my desk (Sunday afternoon) as I was putting the finishing touches to a half hearted attempt at conveying both the cliche and the menace of a pirate (Johnny Depp my creation wasn’t – it was before his time). So, in a moment of charitable (or was it) intent, my father chucked my effort into the nearest waste paper basket and conjured up the most magnificent pirate ever. Took him zero time – not that he meant to ram home that I most certainly had betrayed the creative family line (on both sides). Not at all. He was far more interested in taking all my essays and other writings apart – even if they rated A* by assorted teachers. You want to know what my father called my teachers? Don’t. Repeating it would be flying in the face of my genteel upbringing and the manners my mother instilled in me.

So Monday was grand. My art teacher’s face lit up. He studied my father’s effort in detail. He was chuffed. He smiled. At me. After an artfully executed theatrical pause  he said: “Do tell your father that, on account of fraud, I’ll only give him a two” (a one being top mark). After that I can’t remember anything. Other than that I was always tops in the theory of art and art history. Brush to canvas? Forget it. Why would I? Know thy limitations.

Not to sell myself short and as befits my temperament, I did and do passable caricatures (of people). That’s about it.

As Karma has a way of biting you unawares,  most nearest and dearest to me, friends and assorted family, are masters of their chosen art. Occasionally forced to remind them, ever so tactfully, we can’t all be artistes. Some of us have to be the appreciative audience. The ones who do the clapping, the stroking of ego, the catchers of tears, the slayers of tantrums, the ones who write the critiques, facilitate you, marketeer your stuff.  And, BUY IT.

Whatever you do, please do not talk to me about gallerists. It was Basel/Switzerland, ca. 1997, when I fell off my chair on learning that a gallerist (the marketeer and provider of large swathes of wall and the monied) will take a  cool 66 % off your sales for services rendered.

Titanium white greetings,



November 19, 2016


I don’t like “flimsy”. Bound to leave you freezing. Like flimsy excuses. The see through type blowing in the wind and many a hole. Worse – flimsy reasoning. Where reasoning has fled discourse before it has had a chance to get a foothold.

Despite coming from a long line of the artistically gifted indeed earning a living off their talents, I couldn’t paint you a thing to save myself from being drowned in a tube of Titanium White. However, and I am the only one surprised, the other day I came across a pile of caricatures – all done by my own fair hands ca. when I was about eighteen. OH MY GOD. The girl who, just like during her PE lessons, eschewed the marathon (ie pain staking painting) for the sprint (a pencil swift glimpse of someone how I saw them). Well, insert self indulgent sigh, nothing much has changed. Except that that pencil doesn’t draw as much as scribbles. Which, as the years march on, brings me to a neat though not welcome by others conclusion: The word is indeed mightier than the sword. Where people tend to be mildly amused at being “caricatured” in pencil, they sure don’t like it when that same pencil strings together letters, words, sentences, paragraphs – no more acerbic. Few recognize benign.


October 22, 2016


Filed under: Future,Pencil and Paper,Photography — bitchontheblog @ 18:38
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Thank you for your truly refreshing, and refreshingly honest, answers on the subject I last raised. Yes, affection and trust. The very foundations friendship is built on. From there we fly.

Today? Today I am contemplating the labour of love. Both Ramana and Shackman have had their (un)fair, true and hard share of it. Myself unencumbered, I think along seemingly ridiculous endeavours. Don’t laugh or do, say, archiving all (and ditching some) photos, in a coherent format. Say, condensing a lifetime’s cooking into notes useful to the Angel.

I am no Beethoven so my legacy will be largely with those who’ll remember me whilst still alive themselves. Before I drift off into my own la la land of thought on the futility of it all, let me say that I think there is no better labour than that borne out of love, be it for your children, humanity as a whole, indeed – dare I say it – yourself. In which spirit I’ll now go back to the washer woman’s ironing board. Give me a crease … I’ll try and smooth it.

You know something? If I were my own editor (and she is merciless) I’d scrap the whole of the above as so much sentimental indulgence. Still, one might argue, why not indulge some spur of the moment whim?

Any labour(s) of love, as yet to be accomplished, on your wishlist?


September 9, 2014

Dream on: I have started so I’ll finish

Take it from me, Sweethearts, and I am the expert in falling into holes: Some projects are best never started.

Why? Because to finish them is the devil’s own job. One moment you amble along happily, the next I get a bee in my bonnet. When I, full of the zealot’s zeal, tell the Angel that I am on a “roll” he is happy. Two weeks later he asks me why I appear to be stuck in the jungle. I don’t know. Let’s leave aside that my eyesight is now so shit it’s like wading through fog. Let’s leave aside that I inherited (from my father) that most unfortunate trait of things having to be just so. Ever since part of my life and believes collapsed a few years ago I tell the Angel (correction, I tell myself by way of mantra and to soothe shattered nerves) that before order there is chaos. And it’s true. I have proven it so many times I’d qualify as something … a chaos expert. God. The Universe. Before it all went pear shape in paradise.

Back to “best never start anything”, particularly if you intend to bring it to a satisfactory end. I remember my great grandmother (paternal side). She was tiny even before she shrunk in her old age. To the last she was independent (she lived well into her nineties). She was the wife of a painter (my great grand father). He died early, and her daughter (a portrait paint) lived with her. My great aunt a person full of mystique. When I was young they lived in a mansion, rambling. An Aladin’s Cave for the very young me. Circumstances reduced them to move to a much smaller house. Yes, how to cram a quart into a pint pot. Have been there, done that. So, to my then, say, ten year old self, their abode right on the shore of the sea became even more of an Aladin’s Cave. Treasure (and cobwebs) wherever I nosed about. It was brilliant. It was phantastic. Then my aunt died, some years later my great grandmother. Enter my own father. Oh, my god. I still haven’t forgiven him – and we are talking decades. He ordered a skip. And made order out of chaos as only he can. Unfortunately, at that time I was freshly married and marooned in England, under my husband’s watchful thumb. So I couldn’t intervene. A shocker if ever there was one. Never mind. I am having the same conversation with my father now that, sooner or later, he’ll be on  his way out. I besiege him not to throw away all his files and folders of  “intellectual property”. Forget it. I know exactly what I’ll find: Zilch. He’ll probably scrub and desinfect the place before he takes his last breath.

Where was I: My own shambles. I need people, say,  a secretary, an IT wizzard, my sister-in-law (if ever there was Ms Efficiency no barrels held it’s her), a cold compress, and most of all, and dearest sweetest hearts, count your blessings if you have it: SPACE. Apart from time,  SPACE is the ultimate luxury.  The less space the more organized you need to be, the less forgiving daily life is.

To be continued … If you can find me that is.

No hugs today, only a hiss from underneath the mountain,


September 4, 2014

Cloud Nine

Filed under: Pencil and Paper — bitchontheblog @ 00:18
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I know the necessity of sleep and the science behind it.

However,  I don’t like sleep. Let’s forget how much time one may waste. Though am sure that some people waste a lot less time by being asleep. My main grievance with sleep are dreams. My dreams are god damn awful. All night (well, all five hours of it) I live another life whilst I am supposed to rest and regroup for another day full of folly and adventures I’d rather avoid. Can’t a woman have some peace?

I don’t know about you. I go to bed (only because I am tired) and then I lie there. Thinking. About stuff. Two minutes later I am asleep. It’s annoying. I’d rather think than sleep. Then I dream. These days I have taken to talking in my sleep which means I am woken by my own voice. So startled on waking I promptly forget my dream(s). As cost benefit goes it’s an accountant’s nightmare.

Some years ago I bought a Sony voice recorder. I don’t know why. I never record my voice. If I have something to say or on my mind I’ll write it down. Still, and may Sony listen, if a contraption were devised trapping/recording my dreams I’d work overtime.


January 19, 2014


As you may remember, and please don’t, I read a lot. One of my daily bread’s health hazards.

You think YOU are addicted? Whatever your poison: Try print. I am in despair and determined. It’s got to stop.

One could say hurtful truths directed at people who write. But I won’t. Not as long as I read. The crux falls and limps away with a bruise: It’s like dog shit. Supersized. 2000 words on one blog entry alone. How interesting do you think your life is other than to you and your mother?

Before anyone goes mad at me: Remember it’s Sunday afternoon and Sunday afternoon does bring out the worst in me. My father is still alive but I already remember him and his advice fondly: Cut, cut, cut and cut again.



December 30, 2012


Filed under: Pencil and Paper — bitchontheblog @ 18:01
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Observed, to the Angel’s feigned delight, that if life were a business proposition few would invest  – and your accountant and his bottom line would be in despair. The calculation does not add up. What, in the end, do you get for your continued efforts, and despite swallowing the whole of a Vitamin B capsule to smooth the ride? NOTHING.  That’s what.


September 13, 2012

With you in the squeezing of a lemon

God damn it: This post will make me so popular I won’t see you for dust.

Drawn to my attention by the amicable Paul of blackwatertown fame, and he is not the only one: The writer’s lot. For heaven’s sake: What makes a writer? Anyone who can write is a writer.  People write. I write. A lot. It’s like saying “I breathe therefore I am a breather”. “I speak therefore I am a speaker”. “I clean the toilet therefore I am a charlady” or “I cook therefore I am Anthony Bourdain”. It’s complete rubbish. Just as sleeping with your husband –  when you don’t feel like it – doesn’t make you a prostitute. Or may be it does. There is too much angst among all those aspiring to be published. Anyone can write (rubbish), whereas few will take up a paintbrush or compose a bit of Beethoven and expect it to be seen or heard. Sweethearts, do what you enjoy and don’t paint yourselves into a corner. Did Kafka ever call himself a writer? Don’t think so. He was an insurance clerk who wrote in his spare time.


July 11, 2012


Filed under: Pencil and Paper — bitchontheblog @ 17:32
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People say we all have a book in us. Complete nonsense. We don’t. Why not have a painting, a symphony, a dish, a sculpture, the next hybrid of a Paeonia (the tight balled one) in us?

Just because we can make ourselves heard doesn’t mean we can write. Most of us can’t. Let this not discourage you. The artist’s soul needs to be tortured. Think constipation. I will stand by you with a spoonful of Castor Oil. Oh my god. You will thank me in the short run. Later you will forget.


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