Thank you, Steven Tyler!

I first heard of Aerosmith when I was 30, and that was over 30 years ago. A colleague said to me that if I liked Van Halen, I’d like Aerosmith – to my eternal shame, I said, ‘Who are they?’ Aerosmith – Shame

I saw the video of Love in an Elevator and thought, I’ve seen them somewhere and I like them! So I started buying the albums, and watching them on all the TV rock shows. In 1989 the band came to London, and my sister and I saw our first Aerosmith concert, and met them in Tower Records when they were signing. How young we all look.


I joined Aerosmith’s official fan club at the age of 33 (I know!) and went on the trip of a lifetime to the West Coast of the USA – 5 Aerosmith shows in 8 days, all seats in the front 5 rows, meet and greet with the band, who are the nicest guys ever. That was it, my life was incomplete without their music. I’m still in touch with a lot of my American friends, nearly 25 years later. A few years after that I ended up running the band’s official European fan club, which meant I got free tickets and backstage passes – yes, sometimes life really does begin at 40!

Joe, Julia, Steven, Tom - Copy

In 1993 I met two people who would become lifelong friends. I was waiting with my sister outside Tower Records to meet the band (bit of a pattern here!), and got talking to Jenny and Paul in the 4 hours that we waited in the cold. This is what we used to look like in 1994.


A couple of days ago we all met up in London to see Steven Tyler at the Forum, Kentish Town. He is now aged 70, and is fit, energetic, charismatic and in great voice. So now, for all the great friends, for the best music that can cheer me up no matter what, for the good times that are still coming, and for being the greatest rock god ever, I say again, ‘Thank you, Steven Tyler!’

Oh, and since I wrote this, Jenny and I have arranged to go to Las Vegas this summer to see Aerosmith at the MGM, for their 50th anniversary, at which we look forward to meeting up with some of our American friends from 25 years ago. We’re going to two gigs, for one of which we’ve got tickets actually sitting on the stage – after which I’m sure I’ll feel a new blog post coming on, so watch this space, fans of the Demon of Screamin’, Joe F**kin’ Perry, Joey, Brad and Tom!





How not to Write a Novel, by Fay Weldon

I don’t normally (wouldn’t presume to) post advice for writers, but when I read this article by Fay Weldon I was struck by her good sense, which comes from her many years of expertise and experience.

Fay Weldon, Portrait shoot, January 28, 2011

I hope you find it entertaining, and maybe informative as well!

Wishing you a happy, productive day.


About Anything But Books!

Anything But Books ~ a fun blog tag item that amused me, and I hope will amuse you too. 

I’m pleased to take part in one of those random questions posts, after being tagged by author @TerryTyler4 – you can read her post HERE

  Q1. Name a cartoon that you love.

I don’t watch cartoons anymore, but I used to love Top Cat, and I’m sure would watch it again if I saw it on TV. I didn’t realise of course, as a child, that it was a parody of The Phil Silvers Show, and that Top Cat himself was supposed to sound like Sergeant Bilko – and it was the first time at 6 years old that I ever heard that sharp, New York way of talking. I didn’t really know what it was, but I loved it.

Top Cat

Q2. What is your favourite song right now?

Oh dear, I hardly ever listen to music, but yesterday when I was constructing an Ikea bookcase and drawers (PS, they’re fab!), I was listening to a radio station that only plays 1980s music, an era I like very much. So my current favourite song which has been in my head ever since, is ‘Waiting for a Star to Fall’, by Boy Meets Girl. Here it is, bet it makes you want to dance around the room too!

Waiting for a Star to Fall

Q3. What could you do for hours that isn’t reading?

 Dance classes – I discovered the joy of dancing about 4 years ago, having never previously had the time to go to classes. Now it’s something I do most days of the week. I attend adult beginner ballet classes, and would encourage anyone who is able to do this, to go along. It’s an eye opener. I’ve got my bronze and silver medal awards. I like Latin dancing best, and like to think I look like this, but suspect I look more like Russell Grant on Strictly!


Q4. What is something that you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?

Housework – there, that’s not very interesting, is it, or indeed anything that I imagine would prompt any of my followers or friends to say ‘outrageous, how can this be?’ – but I love to create order out of chaos, as my mother used to call it. Then sit down and watch Strictly with a bottle of wine and 2 straws, as a reward for a job well done!

Q5. What is your favourite, unnecessarily specific thing to learn about?

When I go to another country, I try to learn at least a few phrases of the language so that I can make an effort to interact with people. I’m already OK with French and Spanish, but learned few words of Catalan and Italian when I had to, which made me very chuffed. Turkish, however, completely baffled me – even the words for ordinary phrases such as ‘good morning’ and ‘thank you’, were beyond me, much to my annoyance and frustration. Seriously, look it up and have a go! Unless you’re Turkish, of course, in which case you probably can’t understand why I’m so useless at it.

Q6. What is something unusual you know how to do?

Aha! 30 years ago, I was a croupier at the Ritz Casino in London, dealing blackjack and roulette to the ludicrously rich and A-List famous. I worked in this very room here, in a posh frock! Don’t play cards with me – or at least, not for money.


Q7. Name something that you’ve made in the last year.

A large amount of cakes. I’m not interested in cooking, but I love baking. My brother-in-law forbids me the house unless I’ve brought him one. His latest favourite is my coffee and walnut cake:


Q8. What is your most recent personal project?

I’ve spent months doing up my flat, and it’s been exhausting, infuriating, expensive and now – most gratifying! I’ve pretty much finished. How do you like my proofreader’s wallpaper, pretty good, eh?!


 Q9. Tell us something that you think of often.
 Like my sister @TerryTyler4, I think about my father often. He recently passed away, and we were very close. He was a wonderful person. I took this photo of him in August.
Douglas 3-5x7inch print

Q10. Tell us something that’s your favourite, but make it oddly specific.

I am a compulsive viewer of The Big Bang Theory, can watch repeat episodes endlessly, and could win a trivia quiz about it any time. I didn’t watch it for years, thought it was a science programme that wouldn’t interest me, until a friend suggested I watch one episode and I was hooked. The writing is incredibly clever, you have to concentrate to keep up sometimes. And the acting is perfect. Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik are my heroes.

big bang

 Thanks for reading this, if anyone’s interested. And if anyone would like to discuss The Big Bang Theory with me, I’m up for it at any time.

I’m not tagging anyone, so I hope that’s all right with the rest of you! Thanks for asking me, Terry (she’s my sister, by the way, the one who kindly made me fish fingers and broccoli for dinner 3 nights running, as documented in her post).

What are you reading this week?

I’m taking part in this meme hosted by Sam: Taking on a World of Words

It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Here goes – what I’m reading now:

A collection of stories  Old New York by Edith Wharton

Old New YorkHow I have loved her work since someone gave me ‘The Age of Innocence’ twenty years ago (before the film came out!) It includes ‘The Old Maid’, from which they made the film of the same name starring Bette Davis.

What I recently finished reading:

Room 119: The Whitby Trader by TF Lince. Yes, this was in the course of my work, as I proofread the book, but I’m sincere when I tell you that it’s a wonderful story, very well written by a new author. A timeslip mystery written with humour and pathos.

Room 119

What will I read next?

I am very drawn towards ‘Countdown to Osaka’ by Joe Hefferon. Having worked on Joe’s previous book, The Last Meridian, I found myself immersed in the sophisticated, noir world that is a million miles away from my own, and even though I’ve not worked on this particular book to be published on 4th December, I know that I want to read more.