Friday, 5 February 2016


Listen to your dreams....they are the very deepest part of your subconscious voice, at last allowed to be heard when the incessant chatter of waking life is silenced with sleep. The message usually isn't clear-cut and I'm not saying you should always take it at face-value, however just....listen and be aware.

I had an abortion. Long enough ago that I can write about it without hurt but recent enough that I can still recall the confusion and pain. Without going into detail, I simply wasn't sure that the decision I was about to make was the right one. The night before the operation I lay awake for hours tossing, turning and sobbing....then finally I slipped into a dream which has haunted me ever since.

I am in a river with a man, he looks to be some sort of Bear-Grylls type; I know him although I don't know how and I believe us to be in a swamp in Louisiana or New Orleans and for some reason (who knows the logic of dreams!) we are trying to find our way home to Ireland via these waterways. We are waist-deep in water  and wading slowly but steadily along until eventually we come to a bend in the river and I look up to see a giant tapered tail just ahead. This giant tail is attached to a giant resting crocodile, facing away and ignoring us.

I am terrified and can't move. 

"Don't be afraid" says my friend. "Keep moving, he won't touch you."

"I can't!"

"Yes you can. Just don't look at him and move forward."

"No no no I'm scared"

"Look I will distract him and you keep going. Seriously this is nothing to worry about."

"No. It's not going to happen."

This back and forth continues a little while longer until finally frustrated, my friend turns to me, looks me in the eye and says,

"But haven't you seen what has been swimming alongside us this whole time?"

Almost paralysed with fear I shake my head and slowly look down into the water in which my lower half is submerged. Through the murkiness I can see shapes. I look closer and to my horror I realise there are hundreds of smaller crocodiles propelling themselves along, past my body, twisting and weaving amongst one another. I look up to see my friend smiling kindly at me.

"You weren't afraid before" he said, "because you didn't even know they were there."

The crocodile is the first day sign in the Mayan calendar. It symbolises many things, least of all primal instincts and the maternal need to protect. As water is so closely associated with the crocodile, it is interesting to note that this also represents the birth process and motherhood. Subliminal messaging at it's finest right? Is the body trying to tell the mind something? Who knows? It's fascinating to delve into though and incidentally when I calculated my birthdate and hour, it turns out my Mayan Day Sign is in fact the crocodile.

Just for fun, try calculating your own Mayan Day Sign here:

And just for the record, I also believe my decision was the right one.

Crocodile kisses,


Monday, 1 February 2016


So it just dawned on me recently that even though my blog is called Rhythm and Art, which encompasses my two life passions - drawing and drumming, I've never actually posted anything about my band. Today I'm going to change that and write a brief post about my touring experience in Denmark.

Why Denmark? Well I'm here at the moment on tour with my band The Great Malarkey so it's a perfect place to start. We also have a day off and everyone has taken a jaunt to the nearest town Svendborg so I'm taking advantage of the quiet time to catch up on some artwork and blogging. I always bring my sketchbook with me and besides which I really don't want to take 10 days away from the drawing board!

Tour Dates

One question we get asked a lot is 'why do we play so much in Denmark and not in the UK' and there are two simple answers to that....

  • We actually get paid over here and can thus afford rehearsals, equipment, studio time and the means to front money for flights to play in other countries, as well as payment for each band member. If you take into account that we are a 7-piece, it can get spread pretty thinly!
  • People are happy to see us and the fans are loyal. WE LOVE THEM!

Of course we love our fans in the UK and everywhere else we have played too and would absolutely love to be able to play more for them but it just simply isn't financially viable a lot of the time to tour, even with the tightest of budgets. Isn't it sad that money can be so influential on the direction in which your passion flows?

Hanging out with a fan at Tønder Festival

SO, we come over several times a year and have apparently now grabbed the title of 'festival darlings' (yes really!) from Tønder, an amazing folk festival in the South of Denmark where we have played at twice, gotten National radio airplay, TV and radio interviews and just generally great gigs all round. We have a Danish tour manager called Brian who has been absolutely instrumental in all this and who we randomly met about 3 years ago when he visited London to watch his favourite football team (Ipswich) play on home turf. He popped into the 12 Bar where we happened to be playing that night and in his own words was 'blown away'. Incidentally, the old 12 Bar was on Denmark Street. Fate anyone?


What's so great about the system over here is that the government subsidises (most) music venues with grants each year so that they can properly pay the musicians playing there, like one would expect with any business transaction. Sadly this is the exception, not the rule for most touring bands. Treating your art as business apparently somehow sullies the whole vision...I mean, to have the time of your life doing what you're good at, spread some joy AND get paid for it? Shocking! But please remember that most of us didn't just pick up our instrument 6 months ago and magically manifest the ability to play, write songs and create on the spot. It takes a LOT of practice and dedication and it still saddens me how often this gets overlooked, even by those in the industry!

The tour we are currently on is going to help pay for our new album being recorded in the spring/summer as well as the PR, radio plugging and marketing to go along with it. We are super excited about it and our intention is to tour it as much as we can both in Denmark, the UK and elsewhere in Europe so keep your ears and eyes peeled. You're in for a treat!

Halloween fun

Just for fits and giggles, and while I'm here, a few other observations about Denmark:

  • When you are visiting another country I think it is simple common courtesy to learn at least a few words in the native language....even if it's just 'please', 'thank you' and 'hello'. It is genuinely appreciated and shows you've made even a small effort to learn something about the culture. Danish? Don't bother. Seriously it's IMPOSSIBLE. I've been here so many times and I've done those 6 week online courses, asked Brian's kids to teach me, downloaded an app on my phone and I still can't utter one legible sentence.  So, just don't try. Nah.....only kidding. Give it a go, I'd love to see a video of your efforts! 
  • My experiences and interactions with Danish people have been nothing but positive and pleasant. They are very direct and to-the-point which, to the British uber-polite/skirt around the issue ears, might come off as rude or abrupt. This really isn't the case, and you'll always know where you stand with a Danish person. 
  • It is a really clean country. No litter on the streets here! 
  • The promoters understand that musicians don't live on fresh air so you will have dinner before you play. This is usually a luxury for bands at our level.
  • There are an abnormal amount of jellyfish in the sea surrounding parts of the Danish coastline at certain times of year. A couple of years ago we experienced this first-hand when Owen and I dived off the pier into a swarm of jellyfish to see what it felt like. That's not as crazy as it sounds, these were the 'nice' jellyfish that don't's the big red ones with long tentacles you need to watch out for. We saw one but it was far enough away for me to think I could out-swim it if it decided it fancied Irish stew. And what an experience it was....slimy more than anything really....

So that's it really. I love playing in my band, I love Denmark and long may it continue!

J xx

Tuesday, 19 January 2016


Hi everyone,

So in my time-honoured (well, 3 years) tradition of producing anti-valentines artwork around this time of year, I'm excited to present this year's offering 'Your heart belongs to me Now'.

I think it speaks for itself really.

AND because I am particularly feeling the love this year, I'm giving a 10% discount when this and last year's drawing 'But I Love you so much I want to....' (pictured below) are purchased together.

Here is the link to my online shop where you can find both prints:



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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

RIP DAVID BOWIE 1947 - 2016

Beautiful, inspiring, magical, brilliant, genius....these are just a few of the words that are uttered reverently when the name David Bowie crops up in conversation and for good reason. He will live on in the imaginations of everyone that he inspired for the rest of their lives and more. And what a legacy he has left behind! I don't claim to be any sort of authority on his life and works but I do know how profoundly his music affects me and I can proudly say he is a person I aspire to be as unique as. The style, the belief in and determination of his art, the powerful music, the re-inventions, the wonderful man he was.....

I felt compelled to sketch my tribute to the Starman and here it is:

And in case you haven't seen it (where have you been??) this is 'Lazarus' the first single off
Blackstar,  Bowie's final studio album. Tony Visconti, Bowie's producer, said it best, "His death was no different from his life - a work of art." And THAT is what separates him from the rest. I do hope that when we look up there, he really is in HIS heaven.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015


Happy Xmas everyone!

I had the pleasure of answering a few questions for Inktears recently which touches on some of my inspirations, what I like to read, movies that have influenced me....and also a secret........but you can't tell!

Inktears is a lovely website dedicated to 'short fiction for busy people' and I recommend you spend a little time reading some of the stories which have been published on there as they really are superb... and if you are a writer yourself, then why not submit?

Please find the interview here.

Monday, 2 November 2015


Hi everyone, 

I am delighted to present my Faun lady drawing set within a Cameo Necklace, produced by the wonderful folks at Curiology. There is a limited set of 20 that have been made and all come numbered in a velvet pouch.....for only £12.50!

I'm very excited about this as I've never seen my artwork presented in this way before and I received my own cameo necklace last week which I've been wearing with pride since. (the Gothic design was particularly apt over the Halloween period.) Anyway my head is now ticking over with ideas for other drawings which might look great as get scribbling!

PS: Get in there quick of you want to bag your own Cameo necklace....the link below will give you more information and details on how to buy:

Tuesday, 20 October 2015


I'd say the show opening was a resounding success! 

After a heartstopping moment when my painting wouldn't fit in the car with less than an hour to get from North London to Bermondsey (thank goodness for Eagle cabs and their large people carriers!), we finally  got the painting into the gallery and hung.

The Saturday night was very busy, the music was loud, the booze was flowing and the art was vibrant. I had a great night and would like to extend my thanks to Martin Stacey of The Bermondsey Joyriders for inviting me to exhibit.

The show is open to the public until the 25th October so there's still a few days to get down there and check out the art. I may be biased but I highly recommend it....and lets hope we get to do it all again next year.