Category Archives: Arena

Ivana Trump seen at the Guggleton Gallery…..

The Guggleton’s Milking Parlour Gallery hosted a successful ‘Secret Postcards’ Exhibition last Friday and Saturday, for Home Start North Dorset, raising over £2,600 for the charity.

Approximately 70 friends and supporters attended the event and bought most of the 120 cards (displayed anonomously) which had been created and donated by 70 local and national artists, including a few celebrities such as Dame Judi Dench, Sir Antony Gormley, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Ivana Trump.  Local celebrities, aka ‘The Pearlies’ Dave and Paula Hemsley, also attended to add a bit of sparkle. Photographs courtesy of Sally Evans Photography.

The remaining cards are now displayed and available for sale (with the names of the artists visible) on the Home-Start North Dorset website for £40 each.  Interested purchasers should visit   to review and select a card, donate £40 on the ‘Donate’ page, then email Chelsey Gowen at to organise postage of the card.  Home-Start North Dorset is the local arm of the national charity which raises funds to recruit, fund and prepare parent voluteers to support and assist disadvantaged local families with young children struggling to cope.



My latest exhibition at the Gugg , GO FIGURE, is a mixed media show selected by artists Wendy Elia, David Cobley and Anthony Connolly, from an online submission call. Works included take their point of origin, or departure, from the human form….

The show will be open from 11-3 from Tuesday to Saturday up until the 1st of September.

The private view on the 19th of July was a well attended affair with both participating artists and guests gathered to here the announcements of who would win the GO FIGURE prizes.

CONGRATULATIONS  go to Millie Gleeson, who took the first prize of a solo show at Guggleton next summer, and to Sasha Constable, Sue Baker and Matthew Hayward who were awarded a joint show to follow Millie’s.

Thank you to all the 25 artists who were eventually selected for the final show, and whom Guggleton hopes very much to be working and collaborating with in the future.
Go Figure….

Guggleton Farm Arts – A place to Become?

The Milking Parlour Gallery well on the way to being ready for the GO FIGURE Summer Open Show, which starts on the 20th of July. Wonderful amount of entries submitted via the website. Judges [Wendy Elia, David Cobley and Anthony Connolly] currently mulling them over. Watch this ‘space’ – literally….. I am feeling very privileged to have been allowed to programme this space and move it on in the direction that I see fit. Thank you Isabel de Pelet……

……..and set up later on Friday for the inaugural night of GUGGLEFILM and the screening of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange”

Frogman 2018


The amphibious nature of man.

Have you ever had one of those relationships?

You want them on the land, they want in the water.

You join them in the water, they yearn for the land…

Hag Wisdom

The Madness of Mis

For the story of Mis please visit Sharon Blackie here:

Hag, harridan, crone: 16 words we only use to describe older women

sourced from:  

Battleaxe, noun

Used to describe strict headmistresses, dragon-like mother-in-laws and any number of older women who have dared to have assert themselves. ‘A formidably aggressive older woman’ says the Oxford Dictionary online. Their example sentence: ‘a battleaxe with inflexible house rules’. Because the home is the woman’s domain, naturally.

Bint, noun

Originally from 19th century Arabic, when it  meant ‘daughter’ or ‘girl’ – specifically one who was yet to have children.

Nowadays, far more likely to be used as a derogatory term for a woman of advancing years, often prefaced with ‘silly old’.

Cougar, noun

From Demi Moore to Madonna, any woman dating a younger man is labelled a ‘cougar’. Makes a change from ‘Mrs Robinson’, I suppose.

The online Oxford Dictionary, sums it up with this delightful example sentence: ‘She’s easily 20 years older than you but she’s drinking a Shirley Temple and she’s pretty tarted-up, pretty hot – a bona fide cougar.’

Which is probably about the maximum number of sexist stereotypes you can fit into one sentence.

Demi Moore - predator...
Demi Moore – predator… CREDIT: LUCAS JACKSON 

Crone, noun

The Cambridge Dictionary online defines this as ‘an unpleasant or ugly old woman’ or ​’in stories, an old woman with magic powers’. Which basically means the male equivalent would be wizard… infinitely less offensive.

Often used alongside ‘revolting old’ or ‘withered’.


Frump, noun

Shapeless old-fashioned clothes? Flat shoes? It can only be a frump. The word originally denoted mocking speech and later a bad-temper. It was only the early Victorians who started using it to describe a ‘dowdy’ woman. The current dictionary definition is: ‘An unattractive woman who wears dowdy old-fashioned clothes.’

Sometimes used to describe an outfit itself, to avoid accusations that the woman wearing it is herself being unfairly targeted, for example ‘she was wearing a frumpy dress’.

Never used to describe men.

Hag, noun

Belongs in the ‘crone’ category and defined as ‘an ugly old woman’.

While some have suggested male equivalents – such as curmudgeon or git – it is the female-centric terms that specifically denote ugliness, unpleasantness and often poor hygiene.

Harridan, noun

Definition: an unpleasant woman, especially an older one, who is often angry/bossy.

Thought to derive from the 17th century French for ‘old horse’. Oh good.

One imagines the Victorians never called their queen a 'frump'
One imagines the Victorians never called their queen a ‘frump’ CREDIT: PA

Hormonal, adjective

You’d be forgiven for thinking than only women had hormones, so often are we accused of being slaves to them.

Commonly used to reference the menopause in older women – because there isn’t enough to deal with.

Matronly, adj

‘A matronly woman, usually one who is not young, is fat and does not dress in a fashionable way’, says the Cambridge dictionary.

Commonly denotes a motherly, bosomy, caregiver, which is all a bit ‘Carry On’ and outdated.

MILF, noun

Unlikely though it might seem, this is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary online – a sign of the times – as ‘a sexually attractive woman who is a mother’. Which is about as polite as this one gets.

In the interests of fairness, the male equivalent is DILF and there are entire Instagram feeds devoted to ‘Dilfs of Disneyland’ and the like. Still, more commonly used to describe women, when father’s lean towards the ‘silver fox’.

Mutton, noun

‘A middle-aged or old woman dressed in a style suitable for a much younger woman’ says the dictionary, offering up yet another term used to judge how older women dress.

See also the offensive ‘Kronenbourg’ – used to describe a woman who looks 16 from the back and 64 from the front (or as Urban Dictionary puts it: a lady who looks great from behind, but has a face like a chopping board’).

Hillary Clinton was called 'shrill' during the US election campaign
Hillary Clinton was called ‘shrill’ during the US election campaign CREDIT: JULIO CORTEZ 

Old bag, noun

Who knows whether the ‘bag’ refers to under-eye wrinkles, piles of supermarket shopping (see also: ‘bag lady’) or the frumpy clothing older women are so often accused of wearing.

Definition: ‘A woman, especially an older one, perceived as unpleasant, bad-tempered, or unattractive’.

Shrill, adj

Commonly used to describe a high-pitched female voice (see Hillary Clinton). Margaret Thatcher was so afraid of it that she took elocution lessons to make her voice sound deeper and therefore more ‘serious’. Rarely used to describe a high male one tone.

Spinster, noun

Surely the days of any woman being seen as ‘left on the shelf’ are over? Yet the word spinster persists, describing an unmarried and ‘childless’ female – typically one viewed as beyond the age of marriage (though research shows that more women aged over 65 in Britain are marrying than ever).

The male equivalent? Eligible bachelor.

Wench, noun

This can be used for older and younger women – lucky us!

Witch, noun

‘A woman who is believed to have magical powers and who uses them to harm other people’ – yet this fictional (the clue being in the definition) term is still used to describe women, particularly those in positions of power. Theresa May has been called this, while the women sharing their experiences of sexual harassment via the #MeToo hashtag were accused of a ‘witch hunt’.

April is the cruelest month

April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

At 18 T S Eliot rocked my world.

I obsessed over The Waste Land, like the sea on the sailor, picking apart it’s bones; wringing every morsel of meaning from its limbic resonance.

It hit me hard.

The fecundity of the language alongside its barren themes. To me it was a glimpse into the future; all hope and regret,

The limitless possibilities of a creative life limited by its very nature; mortality.

The artist striving all their life for the one image that sums it up, says it all, forever almost there. All promise until death.

Bacon’s  burning*.

Always, ultimately, doomed to failure; usurped by life and the next big thing.

Phlebas [insert your name here] the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell
And the profit and loss.
                                   A current under sea
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passed the stages of his age and youth
Entering the whirlpool.
                                   Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.

Like Van Gogh in his Wheatfield, undone by what he had done [apparently].

After all;

After the torchlight red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the gardens
After the agony in stony places
The shouting and the crying
Prison and palace and reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience

Happy Days!

Image result for van gogh cornfield

Wheat Field with Crows, Van Gogh, July 1890, Van Gogh Museum

*previous blog post 25/2/16

Vocational Arousal

In the early 1990’s, whilst toiling in the London media scene I was approached by and attended an interview at Dennis Publishing.

My interviewer was none other than the man himself, Felix Dennis; a frankly amusing and amazing man, character of legend and many a magazine myth. He had occasion to recruit a team for a new venture; the launch of the title ‘Stuff’.

A bi-monthly men’s magazine about, well, stuff:

Stuff is the world’s best-selling gadget magazine, and is the online version of that magazine (if that makes any sense). It’s where you can find tech news that’s wry but not dry, the world’s most trusted gadget tests and exclusive previews of the latest phones, computers, wearables, tablets, games, apps, TVs, hi-fi, headphones, cameras, consoles, and media players, as well as insights into the technology that’s changing your future.

It’s not all gadgets…that’s not all – cars make us quiver and robots rock our world. We’re seduced by sport and tickled by toys. We worship watches, marvel at music and fawn over films, fashion and furniture. OK, we hardly ever do furniture. And thank goodness for that, eh?’

Stuff, stuff and more stuff. Stuff it seemed to me that was really rarely needed. Though the title was acquired by Haymarket publishing in 1999 and still exists to this day so what would I know…

Needless to say I declined the job offer but left with a kind of a pal, which in turn saw me in 2006 with a signed copy of Felix’s tome ‘How to get Rich’ .

Yeah, yeah, get to the point, I know.

The point being that I still have the book, and I know that it is a signed copy, but I have never witnessed the signature as I have never actually opened the book……

The fact that a magazine about stuff I could see no point of launched by a man whose book I possess but did not buy and have never read says way more about me than anything else I totally concede.

However, by the time the book came in to my possession I had long since left London and Media behind me to return to paint, due in no small part to the fact that working in an industry so wholly unconnected to my sense of self made me unhappy to the point of heaving……

…..and therein we have it. Finally. the point of this month’s blog.

The pursuit of stuff nobody needs can make us sick.

The pursuit of things that resonate with our-selfs makes us well.

The provocative term, vocational arousal, came by way of the visionary thinker Barbara Marx Hubbard.

Vocational arousal describes an internal yearning or calling to our highest work; to our specific duty while on Earth.  While this calling used to be experienced by the few, possibly those in spiritual vocations, artists, healers, nurses, physicians, and teachers in particular, this arousal is being expressed more and more now by people not yet sure of where their joy lies; because they have never had occasion to ask…

When you love your work, you spend your days in a heightened state of arousal Marx Hubbard tells us. Good work is sexy, Pretty cool. What’s not to love?

The world has been filled with people who have unwittingly bought into the system. Namely to do as you are told, go to school, get the required education, get a good job and work for the machine – until retirement and ultimately death. Increasingly,  though, students are finding that following this path does not lead to a job at all, never mind a good one. Mere qualifications are not enough, educational establishments want life experience, individuality and point of difference. Vocation.

Not job seekers

But what has a job been? And who on earth would want one long term? A job has no vitality. It is a way to fill your day while you are planning what you really want to do. And often in the planning you become numb, totally swallowed by the machine. And you forget who you are. And what role you have to play that makes your eyes sparkle and your heart sing. So we have cities filled with zombies. The most aroused they get is through very ordinary sex, too much social media, or crap TV.

Buckminster Fuller, the American architect, writer, inventor and theorist long ago did the ‘math’ and concluded that it is cheaper to pay people to stay at home, to not commute, to not produce stuff that adds no real value but consumes earth energy. They then might have a chance to discover where they are vocationally aroused. Then we could honour people for doing what was spontaneously arousing within them and that added value to the whole, collective, existence.

We would honour those who love to do the caring roles that our current society regards as worthless; taking care of children, the elderly and the physically challenged. We would not say that they are less valuable than the ‘worker’ who gets paid silly money for trading bits on a screen. We would honour men who wanted to be stay at home fathers, and women who wanted to be stay at home mums. We would celebrate the artists and artisans, music makers, poets and musers. We would measure value by the joy in their eyes, the weight of hell lifted from the collective consciousness and the contribution they make to the joy and well-being of all.

Vocational arousal is the real work of life. It is the twinkle. The divine spark.

As Buckminster said:

‘We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living’.


We need far less Stuff than we have led ourselves to believe.

‘Enough is as good as a feast……’ now was that Thomas Mallory or Mary Poppins? You decide as I am currently vocationally aroused by this:

Just this:





‘Machines for suffering’

Ahhhhh Pablo, don’t you just love him?

Me? Not so much, ever since the Hayward.

Lots of gals did though.

In the year that is 100 since women first received a right to vote, owing in the most part to the actions of an active and empowered few, and a slowly emerging narrative [if sought] of self sacrifice and protest at all levels from kitchen to castle, I am reminded of my experience of the Hayward Gallery’s ‘Picasso’s Picassos’ [1981] where I first felt the glimmerings of fear.

In 1981 I was 15 and on a school trip. I felt a chill for the first time, inexplicable, a thought I could not then form. A fear of being female.

All because of this:


Nude, Green Leaves and Bust (Femme nue, feuilles et buste) (1932), Pablo Picasso. Private Collection

And so in honour of the man who first ‘fraided’ me I offer this…..

and this:

I’d say ‘enjoy’ but you’re not gonna…..

Everyday Sexism – Laura Bates

Here I have simply cut and paste an article that appeared last April in the Guardian, when I first became aware of the everyday sexism campaign and website. It is a wonderful resource and reassurance to women, young and old, who may feel that the #metoo campaign is less accessible for them

What I have learned from five years of Everyday Sexism

To be a feminist is to be accused of oversensitivity and hysteria. But in the face of the abuse the project uncovered, the strength, ingenuity and humour of women has shone like a beacon


Laura Bates: ‘I became aware of the sheer force of hatred that greets women who speak out about sexism.’

 Laura Bates: ‘I became aware of the sheer force of hatred that greets women who speak out about sexism.’ Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian

In spring 2012, a week after setting up a website to catalogue experiences of gender inequality, I asked Lady Gaga for her support via Twitter. Keen to raise awareness of my newly created Everyday Sexism Project, I hoped she might spread the word among her millions of followers.

The next morning, I sleepily reached for my phone and saw more than 200 new notifications. I clicked eagerly on the first message and stopped cold. It wasn’t, as I had hoped, the first of many new entries from women who had suffered harassment or assault. It was a brutally graphic rape threat – and the moment I became aware of the sheer force of hatred that greets women who speak out about sexism.

The threats continued to flood in. The sheer tenacity was startling. Who were these men, who could spend days, weeks – years, even – bombarding a woman they had never met with detailed descriptions of how they would torture her?

Over time, things became clearer. I met men who opposed feminism in different settings, and began to recognise their varied tactics. In some ways, the online abusers – who hurled hatred from behind a screen – were the least threatening. The repetition in their arguments (if you can call “get off your high horse and change your tampon” an argument) made it clear that their fury was regurgitated: rooted in a fear of that man-hating, society-destroying “feminazi” of online forum fantasy.

More sinister were the slick, intelligent naysayers who hid in plain sight. Men who scoffed at social events, confidently assuring those around us that sexism in the UK was a thing of the past and I should look to other countries to find “real problems”. Men who asked my husband, in commiserating tones, how he coped with being married to me. Politicians who told me I was “unnecessarily negative” and that girls these days didn’t know how lucky they were. The newspaper picture editor who overlooked the content of my interview when he announced his priority was to make me look “as sexy as possible”. People with the power to change things and the will to keep them exactly the same.

Despite this, the site was a success, and over the next five years, hundreds of thousands of testimonies flooded in. Almost every woman or girl I met told me their story, too. A nine-year old who had received a “dick pic”. An elderly lady who had been assaulted by her late husband’s best friend. A young black woman refused entry to a nightclub while her white girlfriends were waved through. A woman in a wheelchair who was told she would be lucky to be raped. My assumptions about the type of person who suffers particular forms of abuse and the separation between different kinds of prejudice quickly shattered.

The sadness of the stories was a heavy thing to bear, as was the continued abuse I received. A man who had offered me directions crossed the street in disgust when I told him I was on my way to give a talk about workplace sexual harassment, snapping: “For God’s sake, we’ve got to have some fun!” An interviewer asked me live on air whether it was difficult having no friends because I was so humourless. An American commentator wrote a blog publicly warning my husband he would one day come home to find I had burned down our house, murdered our children and joined a “coven of lesbian witches”. Somewhere around the time I received a death threat alongside the claim I was a dripping poison that should be eradicated from the world, I started seeing a counsellor. And – at low moments – I seriously considered the coven.

But there were pleasant surprises, too. I hadn’t anticipated the practical and emotional help offered by other women – solidarity from those of my own age and staunch support from older feminists who had seen it all before. And nothing could outweigh the privilege of being entrusted with so many people’s stories, often never told before. I felt a great sense of responsibility to make sure women’s voices were heard. I began to work with schools, universities, businesses, politicians and police forces, to try and ensure that the stories of one generation could alter things positively for the next. It helped hugely to feel that concrete change could come directly from the project.

Another joy was being part of a burgeoning wave of feminism, standing alongside others tackling everything from media sexism to female genital mutilation. Perhaps the most important lesson I learned was how closely connected the different forms of inequality are. It is vital to resist those who mock and criticise us for tackling “minor” manifestations of prejudice, because these are the things that normalise and ingrain the treatment of women as second-class citizens, opening the door for everything else, from workplace discrimination to sexual violence.

To be a feminist, I have learned, is to be accused of oversensitivity, hysteria and crying wolf. But in the face of the abuse the project uncovered, the sheer strength, ingenuity and humour of women shone like a beacon. The dancer who performed for hours on the tube to reclaim the space where she was assaulted. The woman who waited five years to present her contract and a salt cellar to the careers adviser who had told her he would eat her paperwork if she ever became an engineer. The pedestrian who calmly removed the ladder of a catcalling builder, leaving him stranded on a roof.

That’s why I can honestly say that the experiences and lessons of the past five years have left me more hopeful than despairing. I can’t celebrate this milestone, exactly, representing as it does a collective outpouring of grief, anger and trauma. But I think of the resilience, the solidarity, the resistance, and I can’t mourn it either. In five years, I have learned that the problem is immense, but the will to fight it is greater still.

The Guardian, Monday 17 April 2017