Monday 12 February 2024

The Time Is Now


It was hard to believe we were still only in February this morning, the glorious sunshine was already dazzling at 7.30am so, rather than save this gorgeous Indian block printed organic cotton dress for the Spring, I decided to seize the moment and wear it.

Spotted on the Pink Lemons website (link HERE), an independent Cornish boutique specialising in fairly traded & sustainable clothing, the maxi dress was part of an order which failed the quality standards so, rather than consigning the dresses to the rag bag, it offered them at a massively discounted rate. Other than one of the pockets being sewn up (easily rectified with the seam ripper), I've yet to find anything else wrong, it's just as gorgeous as the dress I'd bought from them previously.

 When I sent her a photo of the dress in one of our regular gossipy emails, my friend Betty described it as being "girly". With my complete lack of interest in weddings, babies, rom-coms, celebrity fashion and chick lit my female workmates used to tell me that I should have been born a man. I might prefer football, rock music, war films and spy novels but when it comes to clothes it's all about the girliness - ruffles, flounces, puffed sleeves, pintucks and prettiness.

Has my blog post title given you an earworm? On Saturday, Jon & I had tickets for art-pop goddess Roisin Murphy's gig at Wolves Civic. If you're not familiar with the name you might know her better as being one half of legendary electro-dance duo, Moloko whose third album, Things to Make and Do unleashed absolute bangers such as Pure Pleasure SeekerSing it Back and The Time is Now

Give up yourself unto the momentThe time is nowGive up yourself unto the momentLet's make this moment last

Jon & I were in our early thirties when The Time is Now was released and in the blink of an eye we're almost 60. Time waits for no-one, live for the moment! Wear that dress, book that trip, go to that gig. 

The capital of the Black Country, the city of Wolverhampton (or Wolves, as we locals call it), is seven miles away. The direct train from Walsall was phased out in the 1990s so, rather than an hour's journey via Birmingham, we caught the 529 bus and popped into Wolves' city centre branch of Spoons, The Moon Under Water when we alighted 20 minutes later. With it being match day the pub was full of Wolverhampton Wanderers fans fresh from the game and also groups of theatre goers in fancy dress, awaiting the performance of The Rocky Horror Show currently running at the Wolverhampton Grand directly opposite the pub.

Was there any aggro? Who's gonna argue with a 6 foot 4 inch bloke in leather hot pants, fishnets and a pair of thigh boots? 

After a couple of pints we walked down to the Civic. Our tickets had been sent via an app and, much to our frustration, we couldn't bloody access it. We chatted to an equally stressed out Amanda who'd travelled up from Brighton especially for the gig and agreed that with the majority of crowd more than likely being 50 or over, the organisers should have kept it old school and enabled us to print off the tickets at home. Our frustration didn't last long, the box office was brilliant, painstakingly looking up everyone's details and issuing us with proper tickets. 

I'm glad we had a few beers in 'Spoons, as always the wait at the Civic bar never improves and at £7.50 an effin' pint we decided to make that costly drink last! Whilst waiting to get served Jon chatted to a man from Prague and another bloke from Bradford, both of whom had traveled to Wolves especially to see Roisin. 

Funky dance act, Crazy P, was the support.

We bumped into a fabulous chick we first met during our vintage fair days!

Amanda was right, the crowd was mostly fifty plus and stylish in that cool, non-mainstream, festival-going way (no ath-leisure or beige co-ords here!) Popular amongst the female fans were Docs & metallic boots, dungarees, cropped wide-legged pants, sequinned bomber jackets, black berets and sharp bobs with fringes. The males favoured black framed specs, chores jackets, jeans with turn-ups, Breton tops, Docs & monkey boots. As usual, with my vintage maxi dress and clanking tribal jewellery, I looked like nobody else but got lots of compliments. 

Much as we hate people watching a live performance through their mobile phones Jon couldn't resist recording a couple of snippets (standing well away from the crowd!)

Much as I adore Roisin's back catalogue, I also love her recent stuff. I'm not one of those boring old sods who moans about all modern music being rubbish; brilliant, life-affirming new music is like fabulous clothes, it's out there, you just need to get off your backside and look for it. 

What can I say, Roisin blew us away with her mad costume changes, by doing press-ups and side stands on stage (my daily routine minus the adoring crowd) and with her gorgeously pure voice. Who says you can't be a rock god in your 50s?  

After dancing for four hours we caught the bus home, collapsing into bed in the early hours of Sunday morning, ears ringing and feet throbbing. What a night! 

Of course, it's not all been pure pleasure seeking. While Jon cracked on with prepping the middle room for its makeover, I rummaged through my fabric stash and made a patchwork panel from scraps of Indian & Afghan textiles, motifs and trims I'd accumulated over the years.  

I emptied out my wardrobes, donated an armload of vintage dresses to the Kinky Shed and whilst I was in there nicked the shoe rack and reorganised my boots.

The craft cupboard got a sort out and the fashion, craft & textile books were dusted.

My two Lundby Gothenburgs and Mum's 1940's Tri-Ang had a spring-clean (and I might have had a little play at the same time!)

Sick of having to get all my hats out of the wardrobe in order to find the right one, I decided to hang them on the wall. Moving my boots meant that the bricked-up fireplace was exposed so I repurposed an old 1930s dressing table mirror which had been on top of the wardrobe in our bedroom for years. 

The chimney breast is a bit of an odd shape so I hid it behind a string of postcards from my stash.

Oh keeping with this Victorian papier mache cabinet that we bought for a fiver from a charity shop a couple of years ago....

Jon gave the cabinet he'd painted black last weekend the Banksy treatment and spray painted a couple of birds on the doors.

Book-wise I managed to finish A Crowning Mercy by Bernard Cornwell which I'd started last week but I'm still reading Edith Hamilton's Mythology.

I've just started Matthew Kneale's English Passengers. I found Chloe Grimshaw's New London Style in a charity shop during the Covid years and although I've leafed through the photos hundreds of times, I finally read the text over the weekend.

These homeowners decorate just like we do - combining inherited pieces with stuff hauled out of skips, found on their travels abroad or bought at a pittance from car boot sales and charity shops. Things are repurposed, painted, distressed or wrapped in fabric - there's no rules or following trends, the interiors reflect who the homeowners are and not what's currently in vogue. 

There's loads of cheap secondhand copies available on Abebooks. (If you need to see more detail, you can click on my photos to enlarge them.)

Still with me? I'm impressed, I don't half rabbit on sometimes!

I'll be back later this week with tales of art and adventure.....


  1. My sister's selling her Roisin Murphy ticket for tomorrow night in Glasgow. She can't go now because she's in London this week. Wish I was in London this week!Love your new

    1. What a shame your sister can't get to the gig. I loved being around so many like-minded cool types, no edginess, no atmosphere, just dancing and being happy. I've not been to London in ages! xxx

  2. Your gig looks (and sounds) wonderful - her voice is gorgeous, so rich and textured in your sneaky video clip. ‘Spoons must have been amusing - I love how the audience ~still~ dress up for the RHS, after all these years.

    Look at you doing patchwork (giggle), it’s rather beautiful - destined for the new Room of Doom? (which is going to need a new name).xx

    1. It was so good. Roisin's voice is so distinctive, crystal clear and beautiful. The only thing I don't like about her is that she lives in Ibiza and that's just because I'm insanely jealous!
      Spoons was hilarious, I love that people still dress up after all these years and they could happily drink alongside a load of footie fans without it kicking off.
      I'm not sure what I'll do with that fancy patchwork (my sewing is definitely of the no rules variety!) Jon's got some very interesting plans for the Room of Doom, he's got far better vision than me! xxx

  3. Thanks for the book recommendation, I'll have to keep my eye out for it. Someone once described my house decor as a "clean and tidy tip" and was absolutely amazed when in general conversation I mentioned we had been broken into because it didn't look like we had "anything worth stealing".
    Your week sounds great, equal amounts of work and leisure/pleasure. For me, this weeks job is sanding and painting the kitchen floor. Take care, Megan.

    1. Hello Megan! I remember those days of floorboard sanding, the dust seemed to linger for weeks but it's well worth the pain in the end.
      New London Style is a wonderful antidote from the endless minimal, grey, pared-down style vacuum we're expected to conform to these days. I love the description of your house being a "clean and tidy tip"! That's a look I aspire to! xxx

  4. That gig sounds brilliant! I wouldn't mind seeing Rocky either!
    I love your new dress! Do you know, I get really sick and overwhelmed with realising how many billions of new garments are made every year and to think that some things might just be chucked out without being sold makes it even more stifling!
    I love the hat display! It works so well!

    1. We had such a good time! We've been lazy of late and all of the live music we've seen has been at festivals, it's so different going to a gig where everyone there has gone to see a specific act rather than taking part in an experience and tick off boxes.
      The mind boggles when you think how much clothing doesn't make the grade and ends up in landfill, I'm thrilled with that dress! xxx

  5. Amazing! I was a huge Fan of Moloko .. sing it back, do you know that? For sure :) Roisin Murphy is a great artist. Have a fantastic week Vix

    1. Another Moloko fan! I knew you were a woman of taste. Yes, she played Sing it Back - and I did! xxx

  6. Hi Vix, have not been commenting lately, sorry about that, but as always have enjoyed your posts. That patchwork blew me away, actually took my breath away, what an inspiring piece of work, I love your upcycle, recycle ethics and I've been teaching my nieces this philosophy as well and they have embraced it all. My 17 yr old niece tells me when she moves out of home she wants to get everything from op-shops, second hand markets as buying new creates more stuff and we have enough stuff. I love going to live music although I have slowed down a bit, before COVID I had once week with 4 gigs, almost killed me.

    1. It's always lovely to hear from you, DianeS. I keep pulling out all those trims and fabric scraps and admiring them so it seemed to make sense to put them all together and display them in some way - I've not thought of how I'll do that yet but it was a wonderful, mindful few hours sewing them together with ^Music in the background.
      Well done for spreading the word to your nieces. I love seeing teenagers rummaging the rails at charity shops and being creative with what's available.
      Although we see lots of live music at festivals we'd not been to a gig since pre-Covid, I'm seriously impressed with you going to four in a week! xxx

  7. Cool, I'll have to look for a copy of that book.

  8. The new dress is a lovely colour. I've visited Pink Lemons in the past when we've visited friends in Fowey. I bought a gorgeous top in their online sale last year. The quality and finish is amazing isn't it?
    I'm actually kicking myself. We were poised to get hold of some £5.00 tickets to see her in Wolverhampton, but had heard a pretty scathing review from a friend in recent years which put me off. I did like Moloko too, so should have just gone for it! Only fifteen minutes down the road too. Big mistake! I'm glad you had a good time. You made me smile with your observations about the hipster men dress code. All that "cool" in one room and I bet they all looked like they were in uniform! :-D
    I also like to use postcards as screening. Great idea to display your hats on the wall and Banksy would approve of the birds I'm sure! xxx

    1. I wondered if you'd visited Pink Lemons. The quality of their clothes is excellent, I was excited to spot that dress in their seconds sale, it really is lovely.
      Funnily enough I was going to message you and ask if you were going on saturday night, I should have done, it would have spurred you on to book. I last saw Roisin when Moloko supported Pulp sometime in the last century, she's so good, your friend must have been having an off day!
      I do like that hipster vibe but it is strange on masse, isn't it? Mind you, it beats the street uniform of grey joggers and a black puffa jacket! xxx

    2. Oh, it's from Pink lemons! I loved that shop when i visited it in Padstow! I love my sari silk dress from there! Kezzie x

    3. I didn't know your sari dress was from Pink Lemons, Kezzie. It's on eof the nicest I've seen. xxx

  9. Absolutely love Roisin Murphy's voice, I agree, not just nostalgia, fresh sounds are great too. We went to see Gruff Rhys at the weekend in Manchester part of my "wear the dress, buy the tickets" year of doing. The more I do, the easier it is to say yes to the next thing.

    1. Her voice just seems to get better and better and it's so distinctive, too. Gruff Rhys always puts on a good show.
      I'm in full support of your Year of Doing. You're right about the more we do the easier it is to say yes. xxx

  10. Your new dress is gorgeous and the London Style book is on it's way to me now they say.. As ever, I love reading your blog. Take care, Norma x

    1. It's always lovely to hear from you, Norma! That book is a proper coffee table read, you can pick it up again and again and always spot something you missed. xxx

  11. I absolutely loved Moloko in my student years. They were amazing, and her voice is just electrifying. It looked like a fabulous gig! The new dress is beautiful, and I always think you look very feminine with your long hair and beautiful dresses. I think it's really healthy to have a mix of traditionally feminine and traditionally masculine interests, far more interesting too. I bet it was an interesting crowd in that pub, but good to see how everyone can just get along isn't it? That looks like a good book. I've recently tried to ditch my Amazon habit (which I'm doing very successfully) and have also discovered World of Books, which is a bit like Abe inasmuch as it's largely used books that they save from landfill and therefore, decent prices. Anyway, I look forward to your next adventure. xx

  12. Well it certainly is a girly dress, but very lovely, it suits you definitely. The website is full of some lovely stuff and I will be popping in from time to time as something more my thing could well turn up. I am so impressed with Jon's Banksy drawers makeover, the birds are really lovely. I had never heard of Roisin and she does have a very distinctive and nice voice. The coffee table book is right up my street, will google it for a closer look. I love Justina Blakeney books (Jungalow, etc) but they are a little contrived and dependent on having £££, I'm all for style like yours - a 'proper home' imo can't be put together overnight, it takes years of finding/collecting and adding in layers to get the look and feel we want and yet it should and probably would look natural and meant to be. Those dolls houses need to be played with - I love them! Betty

    1. p.s. the ethnic throw thingy is also very lovely, I would like something like this to go on the wall behind my bed, it's beautiful and it fits right in to your bedroom. Betty

  13. I always thought Roisin Murphy was a comedian but that's Roisin Conaty! I know Moloko of course and what a wonderful evening that looks to have been. I winced at 7.50 a pint though! You and Jon looked fab and what a beautiful find was the first block printed dress.

    Loved your reorganisation and I'm in love with your papier mache cupboard. I have 'English Passengers' too on my shelves and think I read it many years ago. As I still have it I must have intended to read it again (the only reason I keep books). I do like a book of interiors to browse through and 'New London Interiors' looks very browseable indeed.

    Couldn't agree more with your advice to get, up get out there and do it - whatever 'it' is!

    Hope you're not deluged or snowed on.

  14. That Pink Lemons dress is gorgeous and that's such a fantastic colour on you!
    I loved Moloko and I've got one of Roisin Murphy's albums, both of which are long overdue a listen. Thanks for the reminder!
    That patchwork panel is fabulous, and I'm loving the "wall of hats". What a great idea! I'm swooning over that fireplace, by the way.
    I love browsing interiors books and the New London Style book looks to be right up my street. Loving the "Banksy treated" cabinet. Well done Jon! xxx

  15. I'm glad there are people who are alive past 60. Very interesting all that you mention in the post. Thanks for the post!

  16. Top gig - fab frock! Really like the 'wonky' frock idea at Pink Lemons - the dress looks lovely on you, Vix. I'm averting my eyes from East who have just launched a heritage range oh dear. However, I have acquired some pieces of Zandra Rhodes from her diffusion range for Wallis and Top Shop (from 2007!) in my much more modest budget range - bless you eBay lol

    I've browsed the book you showed us, but the New London Style title irked me as a chippy Northerner - your dolls houses are every bit as stylish LMAO Looking foward to the middle room reveal.

    Elaine Anon (66 and still have my own teeth)

  17. I have never heard or Roisin Murphy! I'll have to check it out! You're totally right, there is so much new music and lots of great stuff out there! You just have to look. I loved being along on your gig adventure, Vix, to Wolves with the Rocky Horror crowd, how fun!

    I'm loving your hodge-podge decorating as that's how I like to do it too. I've been angling at hanging all of our hats on the walls for years, but L is resistant, ha ha. Jon's Banksy-fication of the dresser is stellar! Well done! Seeing your dollhouses took me right back to the early pandemic years!

  18. That dress is so pretty! I love the outfit you wore out, too. Sounds like you had a fabulous time!

  19. That dress is really pretty and suits you to a tee, especially with those lovely blue boots peeking out. You really are working you way through the house re-organising and cleaning aren't you (and the little houses), it's all looking good.

    It makes me smile when in magazines they show houses full of gorgeous unique bits of furniture and decorations, that the owners have obviously lovingly collected and collated over the years and then a page or so later show you how 'to get the look' with brand new versions at astronomical prices. And I bet some people do exactly that!
    I used to have a handbag wall just like your hat wall, it made me happy at the time.

  20. Watching your snippet of the fabulous performance makes me realise just how long it has been since I've been to a live gig. Like you say, time waits for no one. I need to get out more :)

  21. What a fabulous post!. That new dress is such a lovely piece no wonder you had to wear it right now. Your attitude makes me feel encouraged to wear my new cotton dresses now too!.
    Your remarks about your not-conventionally-feminine tastes concerning sports or literature have put a smile on my face. When people talk to Mr.A. about comics, computers or action movies, he usually says 'ask to my wife, she knows better'!;DD
    So great idea to attend that concert and so great atmosphere in the pub (Rocky Horror is such a funny thing!) and also in the concert!. We fifty-something people still go to gigs and some even are actually rock gods playing new music!. Great attitude!
    Lovely to see how you arrange your wardrobe and display your hats so they're more accesible (and decorative too!).

  22. That's a gorgeous maxi dress.
    Your long hair is so stunning.
    You look fantastic!
    ...and you seem to be having a fabulous time.


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Lots of love, Vix