I’m writing this blog post on the day that my co-blogger, Polly Popinjay (pictured above right) comes back from a two week holiday in Greece. I thought I’d mark the occasion by reflecting on co-blogging and what we’ve done over the last six months.
Readers might assume that Polly and I are close friends, bandmates, or that we grew up together. That’s the funny thing. We don’t really know each other. I’ve probably met Polly fewer than ten times in my life.
The first time was in the 1980s when she promoted The Pop Club at the Bull and Gate pub in North London. At the time, bands from up North were persuaded to bring a load of fans down to play a London gig. It was supposed to be prestigious and cool; to me it always seemed stupid to take your own fans 100 miles to see you play when you could just play at the Princess Charlotte in Leicester. Anyway, my band PO! did that, and Polly was charming, shrewd and very amusing. I guess she liked my band because of the strong female viewpoint of the songs and the punky pop. I think we wrote a few letters at the time.
The second time must have been when PO! were asked to support Polly’s band, The Popinjays somewhere like Wolverhampton. This was part of their UK tour, which was lavish by my standards, and we had a great gig. The Popinjays seemed like proper touring musicians compared with our little John Peel cult status.
The third time was an excellent weekend when I went down to London to see a gig at the Mean Fiddler featuring the High Llamas, where Polly was DJing. Then there was a massive gap of years when we probably didn’t even send Christmas cards; she moved house, we both stopped playing in bands and we lost touch.
We must have got in contact again as a result of Facebook, the Internet and so on. We started emailing and messaging culminating in me visiting London with the aim of getting a band project together. We messed about with guitars and wrote some half-finished songs before deciding to do a blog. Punkgirldiaries was supposed to be much more about us creating songs together, but we haven’t managed that part yet. In the meantime our old bands, PO! and The Popinjays have reformed and played some great gigs and festivals under the mantle of ‘heritage indie’.
In talking and messaging with Polly, what became apparent is how influential the spirit of 1977 punk was in our lives, even though we were too young at the time. Punk was the reason we formed bands, made fanzines, designed our own clothes, started record companies, became gig promoters, DJs, photographers, arsey awkward gits, creative thinkers, musicians and now….bloggers.
What is remarkable is how an unofficial commitment for one of us to write a little retrospective blog post each day and post it on punkgirldiaries.com has improved everything in my life. I have a focus, an outlet for my creativity, a necessary friend/ workmate and a bit of happy competition. Writing a blog on your own can be gloomy and often self-indulgent, but doing it with a blog-mate whom you don’t even meet up with has been a revelation. I recommend it highly.
So, welcome home Polly! I had a bit of fun trying to get loads of new followers on Twitter; it was a bit dicey trying to write a blog every night after stupidly stressful days at work and it wasn’t half as much fun without someone commenting, encouraging, laughing and plotting with me.