James the First



He was the first of many of my boyfriends who were christened “James”. He was in an achingly shit folk band with a friend of mine, way, way before folk music began its reincarnation into popular culture via a selection of Americans in Edwardian style clothing plus tattoos. No mobile phone or car adverts for these guys. We were only 17 and being 1997, most of our peers were listening to shit death metal or shit boy bands (plus, mobile phones were not in the shops yet). I should have felt privileged to be a comrade of such fearless pioneers of this wilted music genre.  They wore corduroy flares whilst finger picking and singing in harmony despite the low level mockery they incurred every time they forced a dour gig upon one of our many nights in the pub. A part of the older me salutes their refusal to conform and their blissful ignorance of just how bad most of the songs were. I shit you not- one number actually contained the criminal lyrical combo of cry, lie and die in its chorus.

James had ridiculously long hair and a penchant for 1970’s fashion, which I just loved at the time. He lived in a big old house in the countryside and we spent summer days walking around the lanes and meadows stopping off to smoke the odd joint before going home to listen to The Kinks and drink pots of tea.

One day James informed me in a super exited state that he and his cousin, Shaggy from Scooby Doo, had been out in the woods with a camera and saw a fairy which they consequently attempted to photograph. If I wasn’t such a stoner at the time I feel I may have been a little more interrogative. I covered the obvious such as the likelihood that it was in fact a flying insect (i.e.: likelihood=very strong), to which I was met with more insistence that it was deffo a fairy. Back in this period of history we did not have digital cameras so when the subject changed I thought no more of it and certainly did not mention it again. Until of course, a week later, when James returned from Boots the chemist with a pack of freshly developed amateur photos. My heart sank a thousand times as he pointed out indeterminate fuzzy red areas in pictures and gleefully declared “there it is, see?”. He may have been quite the handsome young chap, with beautiful hair and ok guitar skills, but it was now obvious that he was also maybe a bit insane. He believed in fairies.

A few months later he dumped me for a ginger girl who I think may have also believed in fairies. Then she dumped him for some older dude whom, I’m assuming, did not believe in fairies.


Jenny Tree Woman

jenny tree woman


(Or hippy number 1)

That was our un-original name for her. She claimed to have actually spent time protesting in trees and have done some actual magic spells with actual magic crystals. Tragically, this initially impressed me somewhat (it was 1996). I should have been questioning her motives for performing magic to generate the ability to be more poor and more confused. Alarm bells should have rang when the whole reason that we met was because she joined our sixth form college to do pottery from somewhere down south because she claims to have placed a finger on the map with her eyes closed and figured that Nuneaton sounded like a nice enough place. Her hair and clothes smelt of cheap incense. Not that I got up close and sniffed her hair, more that it sort of radiated out of her like radioactive patchouli farts. I had the displeasure of visiting the house she rented with some other crusties. They were arguing about which washing powder to buy, whilst simultaneously having a competition to see who could go longest without using a hair brush. This is a particular bug bear of mine, because when people stop washing their hair for hippy reasons, they stupidly always stop brushing it aswell. Historically, we did not used to have shampoo and it was, in fact, regular use of a fine tooth comb that helped keep it “naturally” clean. Sigh. Anyway, one of them was insisting that they started buying the eco-friendly detergent at a greater expense, to the others disagreement. Rather than having individual choice it seemed that they shared all of the household goods via a money pot that they all contributed income into. The words “cult” and “commune” came to mind and I wanted out of there. My friend came back from the toilet and discreetly informed me that there was a soiled sanitary towel on the radiator (which was on), just cooking there, stinking the place out. We left.