Unfinished Business

We all have unfinished business.  Whether it be a project, the ironing or a divorce settlement.  Here are just a few of ours to make you feel less inadequate:

Mrs H’s business:

I have to admit that I don’t actually have a lot of unfinished business myself. Now, this isn’t because I finish things. It’s actually because I don’t get started in the first place. I think of an idea, get very excited about developing the concept, consider how much work I would have to do and how high the competition might be and then go for a sleep. So, from this you might be able to deduce that I am a calm and contented little soul …


But I do have a couple of unresolved issues that one has to get off ones chesticles …

Decoupage the Dog

I was at rather at a loss as to what to get ones friends for a certain birthday (40) age.  I was racking my tiny brain cell for some inspiration, whence I came across one of these (minus ears and batteries) in a charity shop.  My first reaction was buy!  And my second was (and I think you will a agree with me here) decoupage!


Happy doggy

So I frantically set about preparing the ripping of the paper and the gluing of glue.  Started sticking and gluing and then found that the whole thing was just a little too foolish and sticky even for my liking.

Sad humiliated doggy

And so we have a half decoupaged K9, sitting under ones coatstand, guarding the First Aid box, just in case burglars steal a band aid.

My friend is now 75 years of age and lives in warden assisted accommodation where one is  not allowed to keep retired robot doggies from rebooted telly shows.   What the Who?


“Well, should I?” by John McKie. No

Thank you for being a Friend


This next item contains a big swear. Be forewarned and keep your legs crossed at all times …

Many years ago I had a  friend (for those that know me, this may be hard to believe).  This friend of ours had a female friend.     The female was not my choice.  The female was the friends’ choice.  So in order to keep friends with my friend I embraced her with open arms and pretended that she was my friend.  But she wasn’t my friend.  My friend was my friend.  You get the idea.

Fingers. I am the one with the bow

They married and multiplied (which was unfortunate) and the fifty of them came to stay overnight (as in an overnight stay in order to gain ground on their true destination that they would leave for the next day) at my property.  All was nice and all was calm.

Until …

In a totally unprovoked attack that very night over a game of Strip Scrabble and a light cheese board, she verbally abused me with such wordings as, “You bore me”, “Your fashion sense sucks”, “Your house smells of toilet and so does your breath” and worst, much worse than that “Your passion for Duncan from Blue is somewhat unhealthy”.

Although some of the above wasn’t actually said by the aforementioned “friends” female partner, the words I have chosen carry the spirit of what was actually alleged to on that day, and instead of my kind self opening the door and requesting that she left my premises forever, I found myself speaking in silence and saying nothing.

And so they stayed over night, left the next day, and I haven’t heard a jot from them since.

I suppose I should have known that was our last night together.  Foresight is such a valuable gift.  Perhaps I am concerned for my mute offering of words on the night and perhaps the lack of vocal ability is very well my “Unfinished Business”, but I believe in the old adage “Actions speak louder than words”.  So please do not think ill of me, and know  that one condones violence in any bestial form or flight of fancy, but one regrets from the bottom of ones biscuit tin that one didn’t have the initiative to tie up ones Doc Martins and kick the cunt in her hairy fanny.

2008-06-05 01.30.01

Fingers. I am the one with the bow

Ah regrets, I have  a few …

Jenny Chitloose has worms (in books that is) …

Apologies to the many lovers of Michael McIntyre and Pollux

… I am so very annoyed!!!  I started to read How I Escaped My Certain Fate.  The Life and Deaths of a Stand-Up Comedian by Stewart Lee at the start of January.  It was the book that I would read on the bus to distract me from noisy personal music players and potent bodily odour and I was thoroughly enjoying it (not the smells – the book you fool).  And then, and sadly this sometimes can happen – I just stopped reading it.  No reason or rhyme.  Baa!  I’m sure I will finish it one day – but I fear I may not be reading on the busses as I’m sure my public transport colleagues will notice and make the assumption that I am a very slow reader (for they have nothing else to think of as they wind their windy way to work in the morn).  And as for Mythology – Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, by Edith Hamilton, twas a lame attempt to “culture” myself.   Well, do behave!

Miss C’s business:

“Tell me about your unfinished business”, said Miss H.

Unfinished business, Do I confess? And if I do, do I then have to finish it?

Truth be told I probably have more unfinished crafty bits than finished ones. My home is filled with beads, buttons, wool, paper, paint and body parts.  I love things, bitty things, and so they are everywhere.

Anyone for “Bitty”?

Of all the unfinished bits and bobs there is one I think about a lot. It’s the one piece that, more than any other, I would like to finish. So why don’t I, you ask, and the answer is I have no idea. It’s a tapestry that I started making for my youngest son before he was born. He is now 14! What makes it worse is that I finished the cross stitch sampler I made for his brother.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I

To quote “Mortal Combat” … FINISH HIM!

I could still finish it. I could finish it and hang it on the wall in my bedroom, I could and maybe I will.


If you would like to share your hopelessness with us please send a picture of your Unfinished Business to either our facebook site or by email at kerry19@talktalk.net – The bestest one will win an exciting prize!  Oh joy!


The Lady Garden – Thrifty Shades of Green

Thrifty Shades of Green


Welcome one and all to the dubious titled Lady Garden. Let your green fingers take a wander through our overgrown bushes to enjoy the fruitful delights that are found within. Perhaps we shall just leave you with that thought and introduce you to the Emporium’s very own Percy Thrower, Lady Emma David

Hi folks, and welcome! I’m delighted to tell you it’s almost That Time again –  you know, that special time we all yearn for from the very depths of our existential core… No, not “Cake Time” – who are you, yes you on the red sofa there – Marie Antoinette? Hrrumph! No, c’mon, work with me here – think green… (although I suppose that could apply the Dauphine’s suggestion if one were to overindulge – but no, you’re distracting me, stoppit!!) Yes, you there, blue chair – I like you – that’s it – SPRING!!  All hail the approach of Spring, longer days, a  soupçon of returning warmth, and green shoots bursting forth everywhere, like chickenpox, but not red or unpleasant, or… ok, scratch that – no, NOT the chickenpox, it’ll scar – I meant the simile… it was a bit off, wasn’t it… see, that’s the type of shoddy writing you get from me when SOMEONE (mentioning no names but glaring quite pointedly at the crumb-faced and distinctly bilious Marie-A over there… I hope your sofa is reinforced, young lady!) keeps distracting me with CAKE…

Ok, where was I? Yes, the imminent arrival of Spring. Because a large rodent 4000 miles away can’t be wrong, right? (If he is, I’m calling that punk’s attorney)To Phil you in, the Pennsylvania tradition has its roots in Europe, though a bear or badger was the usual prognosticator. The canny immigrants substituted groundhogs once in the US: easier to come by in the new Motherland than badgers, and more manageable than bears… Personally though, I prefer the “olde” traditional tale of the crone living in the woods… by early Feb she would have exhausted her store of winter firewood, and if an early spring was due, then, hey – nothing to worry your warts about – BUT, if further cold wintriness lay ahead, then the crone would simply magic up some sunny weather (see – she’s that kind of crone; didn’t you guess at the point where she knew what the weather would be for the next six weeks, hmm? DO keep up!), the better to gather further supplies of firewood by… Chez moi this year, where we have no badgers, bears or groundhogs, and a plump rat proved too nippy and swift, I used the “old crone” yardstick. We had some bright-enough-to-cast-a-shadow periods inbetween heavy cloud, so enough to gather a smidgen of firewood by, I reckon, but not sufficient to last a full six weeks… So, I declaim with the kind of cast-iron authority you can only get when backed up by dodgy folk superstition, Spring is Almost Here!! Yay!

Which brings me to the main thrust of my article today: I’m hoping I can infect you… not with chickenpox this time, but with… the Joy of Growing. The symbol of Easter – aside from thorns, crosses, betrayal and torturey deaths – is the egg: did you ever wonder why? It’s because this seemingly cold, hard, dead object cradles, within its inert exterior, the promise of new life. Crack! – and a fluffy chick beaks its way into the world! (But hopefully not into your omelette pan: that would be alarming… for both parties…) Now you have that image in mind – not the frying chick silly, the life within the shell – gosh, you’re a tough audience – ok, go on and HAVE some goshdarned cake if that’ll make you more cooperative, dammit!! – yes, along with that image, consider also the humble seed… for it too is a secret guardian of powerful everyday magic…  and you, yes YOU, can make that magic happen.  (Though you, err… might find it… a tad easier… if you just put down that gateau for a second?)


Testa (Snigger)

You don’t need a garden to be able to grow fantabulous stuff. At Castle David, every windowledge is chock-full of sprouty things, saplings, and sundry green growth. In addition to that, we have planters and troughs along the outside walls edging the carpark space – plus while trying to help save a runover cat late one December Sunday, I fell to talking with a nice old lady co-rescuer who lives across the road, and who has offered us the edge-strip of her garden for us to plant out – yippee! – and we’re negotiating some space in a chum’s greenhouse… It’s addictive you see, and practical, and fun. Far from our postie minding his journey to our letterbox necessitating having to limbo, duck, swerve and sidestep in a sequence bettered hitherto only by John Travolta, he eventually confessed to a shared passion for growing, culminating in the swapping of one of our Paulownia tree saplings for some of his raspberry canes. First Class bartering, no stamp required! (actually more of a gentle treading, just to firm the soil down…)

We can talk technical tips in future dispatches if you like, but for now let’s ponder your choice of seeds. Consider the amount of space available to you, how much sunlight it receives, and the type of soil if you’ll be planting directly outside.  Many gorgeous flowers are a cinch to grow – nasturtiums for instance – or if you want returns-on-investment to shame the whizziest stockbroker, why not plump for planting some of your favourite herbs and veggies? For a first-timer, I heartily recommend the cherry tomato: they germinate quickly, and all the exciting growing stuff goes on above ground right where you can see it! Plus you’ll be able to feast on sweet fresh tomatoes, or slow roast to keep under herby oil, or make yummy sauces and chutneys – great for bartering or gifting too, if you have spare! The sharing – of advice, progress, AND produce – adds a social aspect to what is already a wonderful and practical hobby, not to mention a highly effective depression alleviator.

Do be warned though that growing trees from seeds /pips – though a real passion of mine – does involve cracking that particular tree’s arcane entry-and-activation code… stands to reason I suppose; to unlock something as spectacular and ultimately mighty as a tree from such a tiny package, you need to prove your worth by performing the right spell! There may be soaking, freezing, prising, bagging, pricking or sanding involved – or some combination of the above, or more: the internet is a rich source of tutorials if you want to see what’s involved for a particular plant. Some are easy-treesy – though be aware of “Apple Pip Lotto”: you may get a treelet of the variety the pip came from, or it MAY be the variety the blossom was pollinated with – often crab apple – so two pips from the same core may well give you two very different results!

Must sign off now and repot the avocados. Even if you’ve not ventured beyond rudimentary childhood cress experiments, or not dug a hole since the last ex “helped strengthen” the patio foundations, I hope I’ve persuaded you to get growing – let’s meet up again soon and compare shoots!

Adios. You may return to your muffins now.


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You Little Sew and Sew – Krusty Allstroppy has a meltdown.

The Emporium’s Crafty Corner (featuring little or actually no sewing at all).  All craft making has been tested on human specimens that have no creative ability what so ever.  So with this in mind, may I introduce to the glamorous and gammon smelling Ms Krusty Allstroppy  …


Snuffle, snort!  Hello my dearest publics and may I welcome you all to the rather inferior and slightly disappointing world of small projects, especially designed for the easily distracted and … how should I put it .. not so able crafter.  Remember Tracy Island dear reader?  Remember how your child yearned for the real, newly packaged Thunderbirds toylet from the shiny Gamleys in the High Street?  And do you remember what happened to Gamleys?  Jesus dear viewer!  They went into bloody liquidation because you starting fucking about with PVA and toilet rolls!  And do you think your child has ever forgiven you for the birthday gift of a prolapse in a box?  Biddy Baxter broke a lot of innocent bodies and minds that year.  Well my clueless dearheart, let me ease away the tears of disappointment and sorrow and cast new tears of pure indifference with this kind and simple craft that will take just under 5 of your earth minutes (if your preference is gas and not electricity). So come hither and make something dated and useless a little bit more dated and useless instead …


(Tracy Island – a pooers worst nightmare)

BE A RECORD BREAKER (or melter as the case may be)!


1 record (album or single, size doesn’t matter)*

1 oven

1 moog

  1. Ahem!  If you do not possess a record you may purchase one at your local charity shop (like what I done don’t you know).


(My charity purchase, “Daniel O’Donell – featuring such classics as “Summertime in Ireland” and “My Side of the Road”.  Altogether now …)

* If you do not know what a “record” is, it was what us “old folk” use to listen to and buy at Tower Records back in the days of our youth – if you have not heard of Tower Records, Black Tower, Blue Nun and Blue Velvet you are not welcome here!  Go on with you, sod off and come back when you have responsibilities or whiskers on your chin and down below regions!


(Blue Velet – great family film)

1.   Take your record to the kitchen and pop your oven onto Gas Mark 6.

2.    Take one moog (we do not use the word “mug”  in the Allstrop household, for fear of cockney rhyming slang and someone  breaking wind), and lay down your shiny plastic circumference on its rear end like so …


(We’re having a Gang Bang.  We’re having a ball)

3.  Place in the middle of your preheated oven.


(Using a wooden oven can be dangerous – please ask for parents permission and then totally disregard what they say, for they are old and they never fully understood you and didn’t like you anyway, no one does)

4.  After approximately 20 seconds have a check to see if your Daniel is all hot and melty  (like sexy cheese).   If so, use protection on both hands and take out the oven.  Then mould and squeeze  around your moog until truly satisfied.


(Hello children!  Play spot the difference betwixt this fine picture and the tother one.  By the way children, you really shouldn’t be reading this, as it has swears in it.  Best not to learn to read at all, then no harm it done)

5.  Wait to cool down and by jolly! – you have your very own record bowl that you can use for all sorts of apparatus such as … things.


(Oh!  Well that’s a wasted 50 pence then)

6.  My serving suggestion dear reader – is to use as a handy holder for ladies absorbent providers which adds the finishing detail to any bathroom or kitchen.


(Oh, Mr O’Donnell!  With this pad selection, you are really spoiling us)

7.  Turn off that television box, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

8.  Turn the telly on again – or have a sleep.

And there you are my dear publics.  A beautiful creation that perhaps you can give to your adult child to try to ease their torn and hopeless soul (such pain.  So much pain).  Enjoy!

Keep Snuffling for truffles!



The Rules of Deaf Club


Mischief  Mayhem  Pardon?

Words and thinkings by Hilary Bennett

THE FIRST RULE OF DEAF CLUB IS  that one must indeed talk about it. The Second Rule is to talk about till until one is purple. This is because people cannot see it or touch it and therefore forget. It is worse with people I love the most….because I make a huge effort to listen and understand them, as I wish to understand and they then don’t realise and forget a little more. Although people who I don’t like so much can be just as pickle brained.


Let us start the complaining…er…explaining deafness in the workplace. One has spent nearly 13 years in an office environment and at first wished to engage without ‘making a scene’ as I was only a 19 year old babe in arms. As I grew older and moved about offices and teams I learned it was best to address one’s deafness as colleagues would treat me as an idiot if I did not. The laying it on thick approach was eventually the only way I could deal with working, but even this failed a lot of the time. My request on the first day of working within a new team was that I had to see a person’s face if I were to understand them. It always started off so well. Especially when I would say it was perfectly reasonable to touch my arm or shoulder gently to gain my attention. Alas, as time went on, the team would forget, along with management. I mean, how difficult is it to remember to write important things down for me? This should be done anyway.


So, eventually and for about two years before I left the office entirely, I gave up trying and reminding people and tried to view it as ‘their’ problem if they forgot. Therefore the last two years were most funny, to me at least. I was working with a bunch of crazy folk who all started a sentence midway through and I got to say that I really really did not understand them if they did that. I got to swear myself blue if someone were to standnext to my desk without alerting me to their presence. The most challenging events were completely silent team meetings, in which I fell asleep a lot.


The next group of folk I wish to speak about is family. I love my Dad and he has been extraordinarily helpful over the months that my mobility has been challenged but he will insist on vacuuming in another room and deciding that’s the best time to impart some important information. Then we will fight about it later that I am the forgetful one in the family. The rest of my beloved family are much like colleagues in forgetfulness but as I usually see them one on one, it is easier for me to concentrate, as my lip reading skills are pretty ace. In fact….don’t gossip in my eyeshot. I have learned many things…..some I wish to know…some I really don’t….by lipreading eavesdropping. The best people to talk to when deaf are children. Up until the teenage years, children tend to demand your attention and what to see your face and know you are listening to them. They also are far more exaggerated in their mannerisms, which are awesome for someone who has to read faces. Group family events are a struggle. The Christmas Dinner table is most impossible to keep up with, but as long as I say nice things and wear my hat, I have managed to wing 35 of them.


The most varied of people and experiences in deafness are friends. My close friends are aware of my deafness but put much more of my behaviour down to my eccentricity. Being eccentric has actually been a gift through life when deaf, as people shrug my confused responses off and think no more of it. I do meet friends one on one a lot and make sure they sit directly in front of me. It is walking side by side that is the most difficult, along with getting drunk. The drink makes people forget even more so but then you can shout at them and no one cares. I have endeavoured recently to meet up with more online friends. I usually explain the deafness straight away and most folk are really good. One experience recently actually rather tickled me. I had gone to Edinburgh on holiday and met up with three Glaswegian friends. We first met in a rather dark restaurant and I struggled and had to explain why I was a little quiet. We then went to a pub which was brightly lit, but as the time ticktocked and the drink dropped, the accent got thicker and thicker. I had to give up and just laugh along. When they are smiling I smile along too.


  I am telling you all this in case we meet again. I do not mind if you forget though, as it’s part of my charm.

deafclub logo

Hilary…she loves to knit, play with words and love things. Proficient in domestic sluttery and is slightly feral. A tiny bit deaf…so throw stuff if she does not respond. ”The greatest gift you’ll ever learn, is to love and be loved in return.” Nat King Cole.


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What is not Art – Give the Girl some SPACE


Is there life on Southgate?  Barely!  A forgotten planet, riddled with charity shops, banks, fast food outlets and an ASDA up the road.  If you are in search of culture of the creative nature, you are better off going to Wood Green.  But what is this I hear?  An art gallery?  In Southgate?    No, it can not be true!  Well, it bloody well is and so The Emporium of Genius braved the smokey and sewage ridden streets of North London to have an artistic chin wag with Fionn Wilson to find out more …

What is Space?

The simple and straightforward answer, generally speaking, is that a space is a set or points satisfying specified geometric postulates. From there on it rapidly starts to get sort of complicated and rather abstract and somewhat boring. In Southgate, however, SPACE is a new art gallery located at 141 High Street, where the old Barclays Bank used to be. This feels like a sign of the times.

You’ve transformed a bank into an art gallery. What the … how?

Explosives and balaclavas. The problem was getting in. Once the door was open, all it took was determination, a passion for art and a whole lot of hard work.

Are you working alone, or do you have a trusty Gilbert to your George, a Frida to your Kahlo or a Rolfaroo to your Harris?

The gallery is run by Gosia and me. We make up what we like to refer to as the Central Committee and we make the decisions. Beneath us we have officers, and the officers have operatives who have field agents who have informers. And then, of course, there are the artists. The artists are the ones doing the important work. We understand art because we are also artists. We’re doing the gallery for one reason, because we love good art. We want people to get a chance to see it and to come share our enthusiasm – and to get inspired.

Do you insist on using just local artists, or are you venturing further afield (for example is Arnos Grove too far as the crow flies)?

We have artists from all over the globe coming to Southgate to present their work.
We will be exhibiting Scandinavian artists, American, Russian, Iranian, and more. Already we have a full 2013 calendar, and all of the artists are presented on our website. We’d be happy if more local artists came forward. We aren’t scary, honest!


What is the process one has to go through to get ones piccie stuck up in your Space area?

It’s a very rigid and exhausting procedure involving both loads of paperwork and some late night rituals dancing naked under the moon. Since none of us can be bothered, honestly, we usually just ask people to drop us an email with a website link and a few examples of their work attached. If we like it and feel that it could potentially be gallery material, chances are that we will be able to work something out.


Photo of the Space Gallery by Gosia Stasiewicz

A turd on the head of a Blue Tit. Is it art and if so, can I submit it for your viewing pleasure? Discuss.

What kind of a turd is it?

I hear you have several stains on your carpet – please explain!

I am a painter, and painting is messy business. There’s a lot of rubbing and smearing and dripping involved. When you sit there with your brush all wet, and you get excited and caught up in it … Accidents happen. It can’t be helped.

How would you describe your work?

It’s difficult for me to talk about my own work, partially because I’m so involved in it and it’s an ongoing project. My work is probably characterised, I think, by my fascination with the interplay between objects and lights, how it all emerges from this weird black mirror that I see, to create spaces and bodies. Faces and surroundings. I am particularly interested in the female nude. It’s a classical motif, of course, but for a very good reason. The female nude is perfect for exploring and expressing this feeling of emergence or coming-into-being whilst at the same time getting the sensuality or eroticism of it. The female body is the most beautiful thing to me.

Venus 2

“Venus 2” by Fionn Wilson

Who do you admire in the world of all things arty?

There are many artists that I admire, some of them famous and some of them not so famous. I admire people who have the courage and the integrity to be honest with themselves and to be critical about their work. Those who actually try, even if they often fail or don’t quite manage to get it right. I am less impressed with pretenders or people just trying to make a name for themselves. There’s a whole lot of fakery in the art world. I want honesty, and I want SPACE to be a place for real artists – and for people who enjoy real art.

Is Space the Final Frontier?

I certainly hope not. My hope is that SPACE will be not only a gallery for everybody to enjoy, but that it will also enable us to collaborate with all sorts of people and groups, and that further new and exciting things will grow from it in the local community. It would be truly wonderful if that happened.


“40 x 30 Scribble” by John McKie  

(Exhibition now showing at the Space Gallery.  Go and see it, it’s naughty)

For more information regarding the Space Gallery go to


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Are you ready? Are you ready for love? Yes we are! So come over here and let us radish you.

Hello my lovely land lovers! Long time no blog. The Emporium has been busy transforming itself into some, well, rather special. We’ve gone all retro, shiver me timbers and have transformed ourselves from a caterpillar into a FANZINE …


Mrs H will be strutting her stuff and quite rightly thrusting parchment in the public hand on Saturday, 6th April at The Space Gallery, in North London.  The exhibition is FREE, The Emporium of Genius is FREE, so even if you are travelling from Skegness, you have still saved your pennies!  For more details regarding The Space Gallery, please click on the following linkage:- http://www.spaceatsouthgate.co.uk.


If you can not be bothered to leave the comfort of your own surroundings, do not fret!  For the price of postage and a promise of a kiss, we will gladly send you one (a fanzine that is) in the old post.  Contact Mrs H via the Facebook page, or email kerry19@talktalk.net and she will get stuffing that envelope and licking Queen Liz on the head.

Good tidings to you all!




Something’s happening here.

What it is aint exactly clear,



Hush people.

What’s that sound?

Sorry I got over exicted and I’d leave it ten minutes if I were thee.


The times they are a-changing



We will keep you all posted on the whats, wheres, whoms and prunes!

Until then …

… hoots man and a scon.

Wink!  Wink!