No, I have not been in prison. Apart from the prison of my mind.
One of the hassles of being a famous screen-printer constantly in the public eye is the amount of bonkers conspiracy theories about me doing the rounds. The latest of which, recently circulated by our disgusting tabloid gossip press, is that I am a career criminal who spends regular stretches of time whacked up in one of her Her Majesties steel castles. This is a theory based on little more than the apparently "suspicious elapses in time" between my blogs. A related rumour, equally libellous, is also doing the rounds that the lack of intricacy in my printed output can be explained by the abject screen-printing facilities provided in contemporary prisons, many of which are now run by the hideous G4S, a company which makes no secret of its disregard for the expressive arts and creative crafting.
Well, apart from the G4S characterisation, I'm here to inform you this is all complete nonsense.
There are several reasons why I haven't been writing regular blogs none of which have anything to do with stealing fishcakes from the local Spar (Daily Express) or counterfeiting fake Matalan store cards (The Mirror).
To begin with I've moved house at least twice since I last blogged. The disruption this causes has been profound not least because in all the confusion I lost the website. I don't know how this happened because I remember writing "WEBSITE" clearly on the outside of the box but these things happen. Of course I am being deliberately mischievous here. I didn't really lose the website. I just lost the passwords to access the website. I also lost my computer into which I put the password. I'm not a complete idiot!
The other important thing to remember is that I am not one of these artists who carefully nurtures their originality by avoiding the work of other creatives. Just the opposite. I have spent the past summer immersing myself in several brilliant books, the very best of was Milkman by Anna Burns and Everything Under by Daisy Johnson, both of which are stunning literary achievements, treating language like a bunch of wobbly notes emanating from the bendiest of guitars.
I attended some amazing gigs including Lucinda Williams in Birmingham and Edwyn Collins in Manchester. As is now custom I went to the Green Man festival in the Brecon Beacons, taking the Accidental Republic bandwagon on its annual jaunt. Although I didn't get to see/hear much in the way of bands at the festival - such are the demands of running a superstore - I did catch sets by the marvellous Tiny Ruins and Hand Habits. I also caught the very end of Sharon Van Etten's performance on the main stage. Fittingly she was singing her lovely ditty "Every time the sun comes up I'm in trouble" which has become my perfect morning song ever since I acquired diabetes. That is a joke about unmanaged sugar levels in my blood for anybody who didn't quite get it.
Talking of people not getting it, I ran the numbers at Green Man this year (which means I just made it up based on how I was feeling) and the indifferent/bemused/bewildered camp now stands at about 85%. Anyone who considers themselves part of the Accidental Republic contingency are definitely a discriminating minority. Having said this, there is a heart-warming fervour displayed by my crowd best exemplified by the slightly drunk fella remonstrating to me that "I don't even buy bloody t-shirts!" whilst wearing 'Why is my Life Happening To Me' in a black tencel jersey with blue print.
Incidentally, this may well have been my last festival outing as a big part of doing it was having a crazy adventure with my son every year and he is now of an age where the stardust of watching his dad trying to erect a rusty clothing rail, whilst swearing like a character in a Tarantino film, has finally started to wear off.
I'm not sure yet what this means for the future of the Republic as the summer festival was always the badminton net over which the shuttlecocks of my mind were launched and visibly received. Securing a pitch at these festivals is also eye-wateringly expensive making it one of the most overpriced badminton nets I've ever seen. I either need to source a new reasonably priced badminton net or transform the business into more of a swing-ball model, a game I can play on my own, in the quiet of my own back yard, not bothering anyone else with the exception of neighbours close enough to hear all my sweary complaints.
One of things I hate most in the world is product placement. All of those annoyingly straight-faced column inches masquerading as honest content when all along it is nothing but a blatant exercise in sleight of hand marketing and purposeful befuddlement. Apart from anything else it's insulting to think that anyone would fall for it. Especially in the run up to Christmas and the gift-giving season. They must think we're a bunch of mugs or something.
I have to stop now because its time for my yard exercise.
Until next time.