Shortlisted for the Ultimate Planet Community Awards 2014


Oh, I do love standing in the spotlight with a microphone in my fist, body bedecked by sequins and a filthy glint in my eye. Looks like someone else loves it too, coz I’ve only gone and been shortlisted for Cabaret Artist of the year (London), Most creative club night/event of the year (FMAS) category in the Ultimate Planet Community Awards 2014! Woohoo!

Photo credit: AbsolutQueer Photography

Photo credit: AbsolutQueer Photography

Voting is open until 31st October. If you’d like to support me and and all the categories you are interested in, you can vote here:

Photo by Stav Bee

Photo by Stav Bee

Winners will be announced at the Ultimate Planet Awards Ceremony on Sunday 2nd November at Sway Bar in Central London. I may well buy a new frock.

Mistress Says...



As seen on the Good Blog Guide

NWS_WIDGET_72dpi The lovely people at New Writing South have, in their infinite wisdom, included Chez Goldberg on their Good Blog Guide. WooHoo! They’ve given me a little internet badge and everything. Dedicated to “inspiring, nurturing and connecting all kinds of creative writers across the region and beyond”, New Writing South are a brilliant resource for writers. Their workshop ‘Stop fucking about and start writing’ looks particularly good and is the kind of ethos I fully endorse 🙂 Check out all the good writerly stuff they have to offer.

Conversations with my Mother, Part #5: “You’ll have to get a thing”

On the ‘phone to Mum, I told her I was getting a plumber round to give me a quote for installing a shower. I thought she’d be pleased. She suddenly sounded very serious.

Mum: You do know, don’t you, that you’ll have to get a…a thing.

Me: A thing?

Mum: You know…! A shower curtain. Or a door.

Me: Mum! I have had showers before! I’m not an idiot!

Mum: Do I know what you know?!

Do not attempt without a shower curtain. Or door.

Do not attempt without a shower curtain. Or door.


What I Saw

I saw it on my way to work today. Its fragile body lying stretched amongst the leaves, arms and legs reaching out to the railings, as if it wanted to squeeze through to the allotment on the other side. Its cheek was damaged – the fur bunched up where it should have lain flat. But the rest of it looked unbroken – short grey and black fur tiger-striped and strokable. I looked for a collar, an identifier, but there was none. Wondered what to do. Should I tell someone? Be late for work? Who to tell. It was probably someone’s pet. It was someone.

I left it there. Walked to the station. Sad. Moved. Impotent.

Sad for this soft creature and for whoever it left behind.

I wish now that I had stroked it.


Writers Workshop in South London’s Newest Cinema!

Cinemas are one of my all-time favourite spaces. The feel of plush velvet beneath your fingertips, a dark room filled with anticipation, the whir of long red curtains being drawn back to reveal a giant screen. And then…the music, the flickering lights, the sound and pictures so big, so all-encompassing.

Agata Zielinska-Hryn clearly loves it too, because she’s built one beneath her shop in Forest Hill, South London. Doopo Doopo opened in 2012 and is an independent art gallery, boutique and arts hub. It’s home to the Vortex Cinema Club, creative workshops including film-making, oil painting, guitar classes and life drawing. I’d been in several times before popping the question earlier this summer: Have you ever thought of hosting a writer’s workshop here? Yes! she said, that’s exactly what I’ve been looking for! And so The Forest Hill Writers Workshop was born.

Every Thursday night from 7pm – 9pm the newly developed cinema space will be converted into a writers workshop and I’ll be taking writers through their paces in a supportive atmosphere. There will be detailed feedback and inspiring weekly excercises. Writers will write. And laugh. Because laughter is important in these things 🙂

The new workshop begins on 23rd* October and is strictly limited to 12 places. See the Forest Hill Writers Workshop page for more details.


I studied with Stephanie Goldberg for two terms and found her classes dynamic, challenging and hugely enjoyable. The structure of the class was always reliable, allowing time for free writing and shared responses to students work. Her critical feed back was always immensely valuable. My writing grew significantly under her tutelage and I would not hesitate to recommend her classes to writers of all levels.

Denise Stephenson, writer of Pentimento (recently awarded 4 stars by The Stage)



*This post originally stated that the workshop would begin on 9th October. The venue then changed the date and this was updated on 5th October 2014.


Coversations with my mother, Part #4: The Wrong Trousers


We spoke on the ‘phone yesterday. Mum was thanking me for her birthday treat (see Part #3 for our planning session). I took her to see ‘Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense’ starring Mark Heap and Robert Webb and I cannot recommend it enough. It really was the most perfect nonsense – an absolute delight of brilliant comic timing and enchanting silliness.

Feeling super-femme on the day*, I decided to mince about in a Lady Outfit (yellow cardigan, navy pencil wiggle skirt with gold zip, bronze t-bar heels, red lips and a small floral bag swinging from the crook of my elbow). Mum, uncharacteristically, wore jeans. I wondered if they were new as I hadn’t seen them before.

And then yesterday, she revealed all…

Mum: Shall I tell you something that will make you laugh?

Me: Go on.

Mum: You’ll like this. You know I said the jeans I was wearing on Saturday felt a bit tight?

Me: You didn’t, but okay.

Mum: Didn’t I? Well when I got home I realised…they were your father’s!

Me: Ha! And you give me funny looks for wearing men’s clothes.

Mum: (Seriously) That’s different. I didn’t do it on purpose.


*Sometimes I feel feminine, sometimes I feel masculine. I dress and move accordingly. Today I’m wearing very sensible shoes. More on this later…


Conversations with my Mother, Part #3: “Nothing weird”

I am taking my mother to the theatre for a birthday treat. “What do you want to see?”, I say.

“Nothing weird”, she says.

“What do you call ‘weird’?”

“I don’t know”.

“Ok, leave it with me”.

An example of what my mother thinks I will make her sit through if I do not heed her detailed caveat


Barista Crush #7: Over to you

coffee love

Perhaps I am impatient. Perhaps I am a fool. (Perhaps I just want more to blog about). But I want something to HAPPEN.

She is there again this morning. Looking annoyed until she sees me and her face opens into that huge smile, like she’s genuinely pleased that I’m there. And even though she hasn’t made me a coffee in quite a while, she remembers just how I like it, doesn’t even have to check.

“Hey!” she says

“Hey, how are you?”

“Still alive!”

There is a queue and she’s handling several orders, she doesn’t have time to chat. When she goes back to steaming the milk, her smile leaves her. And I think, hmmm, what now? Should I do something? Should I take this forward? What happens now?

But, but, here’s the thing(s):

  1. She might be resolutely straight. I had a conversation with my mother recently: “I don’t know how you can tell”, she said, I never know when a woman is gay”. “Welcome to my world!” I said. “I never know either. It’s a bloody nightmare!”.
  2. We might have bugger all in common.
  3. Am I just being a total idiot about this and I should just leave it alone and stop poking it with a stick just because people like reading about it and her smile makes me smile and I get a bit excited every time I go to get a coffee and my heart sinks a little whenever she’s not there?
  4. How on earth, if I was to actually, er, I dunno…ask her out or something, would I do that? HOW?
  5. Again, am I being a total idiot etc…?

So. I need your help, Dear Reader. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Over to you.






Barista Crush #6: Like normal people

She sees me before I see her. “Hey!” she says and smiles.

“Hey!” I say and smile back.

I have just emerged from the lift and I look like shit. Of course I do – four hours sleep, messy hair, no make-up and I am wearing an old grey cagoule that my mother bought at a jumble sale for 99p.

She was on ‘holiday’ she says, finishing her dissertation, doing job placements. There is no coffee counter between us. She isn’t in uniform and my lanyard is hidden. Here we are, in a small frustrated crowd of folks waiting for the lift, chatting like normal people, like acquaintances, like two old friends.

She is tired. I am tired. We compare tiredness. Perhaps I should tell her I am so tired, I need a lie down and would she care to join me (here, let’s get you out of those wet clothes…)?

I don’t, of course.

Her lift arrives, others get in, but she keeps chatting. This happens at least three times. As if she’s in no hurry to leave.

Tomorrow, I’m definitely putting make-up on.
coffee love


The Queen of Procrastination

Aaaaargh!!! Staring at a blank screen, writing something, deleting it, wondering how you ever managed to complete anything before when the drivel that is coming out of you now is so rancid, the prose so decrepid and puerile that you should be taken in front of the Judge of Writing, court martialled and then shot. You are that judge, of course. The nasty little voice saying nasty little things about what you’re getting down on paper, on screen. You are the “Creative devil” laughing at any attempts you make.

You set yourself a challenge last week to write a blog every day for the month of May. Already you have failed. This is no reason not to get back up and carry on anyway. You have learned this, over the years.

This morning you write three lines about a trip to the Rivoli Ballroom on Saturday night, decide it’s crap, look at Facebook, watch every interview of the entire cast of The Crimson Field on the BBC website and then an interview with the scriptwriter, Sarah Phelps, which leads you to procrastinate further on the BBC Writersroom blog, where you find this: Getting through Writer’s Block: Established television writers share their strategies for getting through writer’s block.

Your favourite tip from this video comes from Toby Whithouse, writer of Being Human and No Angels, who says

What you need to do is to book a room above a pub for about two months time, tell all of your friends there is going to be a reading of your script and I guarantee you, you will get that script written. Because sometimes the only way to overcome writer’s block is to literally push through it.


This tip speaks to you because you are driven by deadlines and fear. Specifically the fear of completely humiliating yourself in front of an audience. It’s the reason why writing workshops are so great – just the idea of reading your work out in front of others forces you to work harder on it, to make it less shit. More importantly, to finish what you start.

As the self-proclaimed Queen of Procrastination, you can sniff out every excuse, every trick, every lie people tell themselves in order to get out of what they’re actually supposed to be doing. When you run the Queer Writers Retreat for example, the first thing you do is get the writers to hand in their mobile ‘phones. You all chat and laugh and eat during the breaks, but when they sit back down in the Writing Room, a hush descends and the gentle tapping of keyboards and scratching of pens takes over. They’ve already agreed their goals for the day, they are there for one reason only. There is no distraction, no escape. It works.

There is of course, what you like to call “Productive procrastination”. Would you get any cleaning done if you weren’t putting off doing something else? The scarier the task, the cleaner the home. In fact, most of the boring chores you do seem to be a result of putting off doing something else. Sometimes you write stuff to avoid writing the thing you feel you’re supposed to be writing. And sometimes that avoidance writing turns out to be far more satisfying. This entire blog post, for example, has been an excercise in procrastination (you were supposed to be writing about Saturday night, remember?).

Be stubborn (you were born that way, you might as well utilise it). Force yourself, allow yourself, to write any old shit. As long as you’re getting something down, it is never a waste of time. You can make it good later. Remember the maxim: Don’t get it right, get it written.

Then get it right.