Post archive



One sure way to drive customers away is through poor communication. Sounds obvious, right? Yet it’s surprising how businesses that provide a good core service can alienate people through poor or absent responses, especially where email or social media are involved.

This creates resentment. The customer receives the unspoken message that it’s OK for the business to take the customer’s money but that’s as far as it goes. Now, unless you, the business owner, completely lacks empathy there is probably something else going on here:

1.     You are swamped by emails and can’t face responding. Solution: add a disclaimer to your website, newsletters or email campaign. Say that you read and welcome all correspondence but can't respond to every email due to the large volume of messages received.

2.     You don’t have strong communication or people skills. This can be a hard thing to admit but it is worth being honest with yourself. Solution: employ someone, even on a casual basis, who does. Someone who can field calls or who will respond to emails on your behalf.

3.     You have set up a call-to-action (CTA) in a post or newsletter but do not follow through on it. Solution: be realistic before you invite people to contact you. Do you really have the time and energy to respond to everyone? If not, ditch the call to action - and keep the peace!

4.    You have too many social media accounts or you find it time consuming and overwhelming and consequently don’t acknowledge or respond to comments. This is a common mistake and people (customers and potential customers) notice. One Facebook ‘friend’ of mine never acknowledges comments I make on his posts even though I have successfully worked on his project in the past! This has prevented me from approaching him about working together again because I feel invisible. (I should really ‘unfriend’ him but his posts are informative and interesting.) Solution: don’t post unless you know you’ve got the time to respond. Or employ someone to manage your social media accounts.

5.     The email you received was too long, incoherent or the request was unclear. Solution: ask for clarification. Most people won’t mind and will appreciate that you are taking them seriously.

All this advice holds true during normal times but it is even more pertinent for businesses during the time of COVID-19 where face-to-face contact is rare. 

Get this basic right. Be a good responder and your clients will love you and your business -and remain loyal.


Chamber Postpones North Lancashire Expo - Coronavirus Pandemic

Honoured to write press release about postponement of prestigious North Lancashire Expo (due to coronavirus pandemic) for Lancaster & District Chamber of Commerce. Thanks to Vicky for being such an easy person to work with.


Lancaster and District Chamber of Commerce is postponing its flagship business networking event, the North Lancs Expo, until next year to focus on providing support to the business community throughout the coronavirus pandemic. 

The two day event, which the Chamber runs in association with Lancaster City Council and which last year saw 110 business exhibitors and 2500 visitors gather at Lancaster Brewery, has established itself as the must-attend business event across the district since its launch in 2017.

Chamber Chief Executive Officer, Vicky Lofthouse, said: ‘We are devoting our efforts into providing support to all our member businesses, small and large, through these difficult times.  We are still here, even though we will be working remotely. Our members can ring us at any time for a chat about any challenges they are facing or just for moral support.  We continue to provide support and information on issues such as HR, employment law and health and safety, all steps that can mitigate risk, protect employees and support customers.  This package of advice is available to all Chamber members as part of their membership.’

The Chamber hopes to run some briefings and networking events virtually while keeping the coronavirus situation under close review and businesses informed of new developments.

Vicky added: ‘Meanwhile we encourage our members to use each other’s services even more during these unprecedented circumstances. We are really looking forward to next year’s North Lancashire Expo as we aim to make it even bigger and better than previous years.’

In a coordinated effort to combat the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have agreed to work closely to ensure the latest and most reliable information and tailored guidance reaches the global business community.

Journalism in these Crazy Times

I have recently gone back to journalism.  

I have written two commissioned features which should be published soon, but I don’t like to jump the gun/tempt fate in these crazy, fast-changing times by saying too much about them yet. Once the articles are published I will post about them here.

This coronavirus pandemic highlights how vital the right words and images are to communicate powerful, necessary messages globally, nationally, regionally and locally.

If you are reading this during March 2020 and beyond do stay safe. 

Park Life: Judith Coyle Editorial Joins Forces with Cronshaw Editing

This press release, by Judith Coyle Editorial and Cronshaw Editing, appeared in the Chamber of Commerce newsletter recently.


Judith Coyle Editorial has joined forces with Cronshaw Editing to offer a wider range of copywriting, editing and proofreading services to businesses, writers and academics across North Lancashire and further afield.

Judith Coyle and Claire Cronshaw met via a comment made by another Chamber member, Russell Jackson, Ask Insurance Services, on business networking site LinkedIn.

“We quickly discovered that we are near neighbours in Morecambe, living and working on opposite sides of Regent Park, which we both love and visit,” said Judith, who was on the Chamber’s editorial board for six years. “There are few professional editors in Morecambe.  It seemed like a good sign!”

Both are members of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, (SfEP) the prestigious industry body that ensures high editorial standards. 

“Meeting Claire has given my business a boost,” she added.  “We support each other and our complementary skills mean that we can provide a really solid range of services to clients.  My background in journalism and PR lets me focus on writing press releases, blog posts, newsletters and case studies, as well as providing expert copy editing and proofreading, while Claire’s qualifications and experience as a teacher enable her to tackle lengthier academic proofreading jobs such as theses along with proofreading and copy editing fiction, from genres which range from fantasy to literary fiction.”

Claire said: “Writing always benefits from a second pair of eyes. It's really hard to spot your own mistakes as we read what we think is there rather than what is actually there. Judith and I are here to offer that quality assurance. Technically, we will continue to operate as separate businesses but draw on each other’s resources to provide a more comprehensive service.”

Judith added: “We can work with any client across the globe but we are both rooted in this district.  I’ve lived here for 21 years and Claire is a highly-enthusiastic newer resident.” 

Claire said: “In the two years that I've lived in Morecambe, I've met lots of lovely people and I'm looking forward to getting to know even more in a professional capacity.”

Proofread Church Website Goes Live

I proofread the main body text for the new Carnforth Free Methodist Church website which has just gone live in time for Christmas. A church’s website is often the first point of contact between the church itself and the public. It has to look and read well. CFMC’s copywriting was already great but the pastoral team sought my help to ensure that the words were spot on. As well as checking grammar a good proofreader can also look out for potential legal issues, pinpoint gaps in your information and give your writing that professional sparkle. I am a trained and experienced proofreader (from 1988 onwards). I’m now taking bookings for short-term copy editing and proofreading projects for Christmas and the New Year.

Why You Need Great Photographs for Your Business

Pictures sell stories.

Great pictures sell press releases - and that means better publicity for you and your business, product or service. Investing in some great images of yourself, or whatever it is your business does, is extremely worthwhile.

People/readers (your potential customers) love to see the person behind the business.  This is why newspapers, especially local and regional ones, mostly feature people pics.  

While a smartphone camera is useful for social media posts an effective media strategy needs a professional photographer.  Using a professional really ups your game and can help you get into glossy magazines or even national newspapers, provided you have a strong story to go with it, of course.

I suggest you put together a small selection of product/service pictures plus a couple of strong portraits of yourself, with one head shot.

There are many good photographers in the Lancaster and Morecambe area.  I like to recommend two that I've known for a number of years: Jonathan Bean of Beanphoto and Nick Dagger of Nick Dagger Photography

Please don’t skimp on this aspect of your publicity.  Every picture tells, and sells, a story! 

Contact me to find out how we can work together on this.

Music to Our Ears, Says King Sound Studio

Professional recording studio completes major relaunch and relocation to Lancashire-Cumbria border aided by crowdfunding campaign

Music lovers across North Lancashire and South Cumbria have helped fund King Sound Studio’s major relaunch.

The professional recording studio, run by four Lancashire-based musicians, producers and engineers, has relocated, greatly extended its range of services and relaunched its new state-of-the-art facility in the village of Tewitfield, north of Carnforth.

Mark Gray, owner and producer, explained: “We outgrew our previous location near Halton, and, after months of searching, found the perfect location for what had become ambitious plans - to create two unique recording spaces perfectly engineered for their purpose and to broaden our offering. We set up a crowdfunding campaign which made a big difference to achieving our goal of building a dedicated control room and live room.” Donations came from many supporters via ‘GoFundMe’, Crowdfunder and Facebook“People understand that a facility like ours is needed in this area.”

Both spaces are what are known in the recording industry as a ‘room within a room’ or ‘box within a box’.

“The control room is totally detached from the larger outside room, ensuring acoustic isolation, and set on rubber mounts, which eliminates vibration. The rooms are acoustically treated with diffusers and bass traps which makes the sound as precise as possible – essential for accurate recording,” added business partner John Kirby, who was named Producer of the Year after gaining his degree in Music Production from the University of Central Lancashire.

King Sound Studio now offers a range of services including high quality digital audio recording for musicians, audio books, voiceovers, podcasts, as well as live and location recordings.

The team has also launched a vocal coaching service led by John Kirby. 

“The human voice is an amazing instrument and very few singers use it to its full potential,” said John. “We aim to get the most out of our vocalists, helping them with technique, suggesting harmonies they may not have considered and generally exploring the full range of what their voice can do.”

Chris Brookbanks, engineer and producer, said: “We listen very carefully to our artists to discover what they are trying to achieve with their recordings. Each artist is unique. Sometimes we throw out the rule book and try new recording techniques which can produce amazing results.” Chris has designed and developed audio installations for many clients and worked with The Christians, Midge Ure, and Imogen Rae.

Fourth member of the team, Phil Wood, multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger, added: “Our new location on the border of Lancashire and Cumbria is ideal - just minutes from the M6 and West Coast mainline yet relatively secluded.  We have a roster of professional session musicians who will travel to King Sound Studio from across the country. Recording sessions can be intense so it’s great to wander down the canal to take a breather!”

Mark, whose great-grandfather, Robert, was a professional musician, (and played for King Edward VII on a Royal visit), added: “King Sound Studio is in a busy period of album releases at the moment. Debut artist Angela Denner has just released her album ‘Flotsam’, Imogen Rae’s ‘Doctor, Doctor’ EP is out now and Lancashire singer-songwriter Riz Riley’s album is in the final stages of production.”

He said: “We’ve had great interest in our new gift voucher scheme whereby people can buy studio time as a present. A voucher makes a unique gift for the budding musician or bedroom diva!”

 ·        King Sound Studio: 01524 317454 or studio mobile 07375 418750.


Morecambe Artist Colony Profile Packs a Punch

Updated my profile text on the Morecambe Artist Colony (MAC) website to more accurately convey how I work with artists to secure media coverage for their work, publications and exhibitions.  

I also help artists with copy for brochures, websites, blog posts, exhibitions and funding applications or overhaul their CVs.  I've upgraded to Associate membership too. MAC is a terrific, dynamic organisation of artists and creatives, making a difference in our town and surrounding area. 

Thanks to Johnny Bean for administrating.

Sensory Room & Salon Opens on 10th Anniversary of Autism Act

“No challenge is too great,” is the claim made by a Morecambe woman who has brought innovative sensory technology to North Lancashire to help a wide variety of people, especially those with autism and other additional needs.

Debbie Smith, with hairdresser Davina Simm, has opened Serene Sensory & Salon, a multi-sensory room, hydrotherapy pool and salon in Middleton, on the Heysham Peninsula.

The new facility comes at a crucial time: it is 10 years ago this year that the Autism Act was passed in England - a landmark moment in the campaign to improve the lives of autistic adults and their families. 

“Much has been achieved over the last decade,” explained facility manager, Debbie, “but a recent study, by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism and the National Autistic Society, revealed that two thirds of autistic adults in England are living without the care and support they need to live full lives. Just eight per cent of autistic adults believe that health and care services in their area have improved.”

She added: “Serene Sensory & Salon is the only place of its type in this area that caters for all ages - not just children - and for those of all abilities. This includes people with conditions such as autism but also those with anxiety, epilepsy, dementia and other sensory conditions. What’s more, we are open year round, not just in school holidays. I have 20 years’ experience working with clients who have ADHD, ASD, learning disabilities and sensory needs and am passionate about providing this much-needed facility for the community.”

Davina Simm and her daughter, Jessica Pinwell, manage the hair salon while Claire Winder runs the beauty room which offers everything from eyebrow waxing to stress buster massages.

Debbie, said: “Without our specialised hair cutting service people would need to travel many miles for a similar service. For those with autism and other special needs, a haircut can be very challenging. Whether there are difficulties with their touch system or sensory overload a traditional noisy hairdressing salon environment can be overwhelming. The sensation of scissors on the head or a stranger touching their hair may be unbearable. Sitting still for any length of time can also be difficult. We take everything very slowly and gently.”

The sensory room’s special facilities, like bubble tubes, fibre optic lighting, music and calming scents, provide relaxation and stimulation. Tactile items such as cushions and vibrating pillows and fidget toys are also provided. The sensory room user is in control at the touch of a switch and users must be supervised at all times.

A Sensory Parent and Toddler Group runs each week plus a number of special workshops and storytelling days run throughout the year. 

Serene Sensory & Salon’s hydrotherapy pool is particularly beneficial for people with chronic pain and can also help with sensory difficulties such as sensory processing and cognitive learning that often accompany autism. Hired by the hour it is already proving popular with parties as it seats up to five people at one time and a hoist is available. 

Debbie, who lives in the West End of Morecambe, continued: “We chose this quiet semi-rural site between Heysham and Overton because it has excellent transport links.  We’re easy to get to by car via the Bay Gateway and the bypass and buses run to Middleton Business Park itself.  There is excellent parking here, great disabled access, are near a nature trail and we look out on to fields with hand-reared sheep, something that the children particularly love.”

She said: “We also have excellent links with nearby businesses such as the Breath for Life hyperbaric oxygen chamber, and Grafters Café”.

Lucy Ellis, chairperson of the Lancaster & Morecambe branch of the National Autistic Society, opened Serene Sensory and Salon this Summer.  

See the Facebook page for the latest updates.

·        Serene Sensory & Salon, Park Road, Middleton Business Park, Middleton, Heysham, LA3 3PX. 07547 180 254 (Sensory Room) and 07895 534 542 (Salon).

Hold the Front Page!

Latest press release made the front page of Pet Business World! The story's about a new collaboration between Katie Jenkins and Toni Cherrett, of Dog Hair Day and Trover Coats respectively.

Okay, it's not Vanity Fair, but this is exactly the type of publication these clients need to be featured in.

A good result.


Academic attire company Churchill Gowns has just secured a £60,000 investment from Deborah Meaden on this week’s BBC Dragons’ Den TV show.

Judith Coyle Editorial clients, John Elles and Dr Sandra Wearden, are connected to Churchill Gowns. John’s painted graduation portrait service is via Churchill Gowns while Sandra has a close working relationship with company heads, Oliver Adkins and Ruth Nicholls, who pitched to the Dragons.

Ruth gave us a terrific quote for the John Elles press release.  We wish them every success in shaking up the establishment.

It's Chatsworth House, Darling

Currently writing for two separate clients who will meet each other in person for the first time at Chatsworth Country Fair, at the magnificent Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, at the end of August. This pair has been working together for some months. 

One client is based in North Lancashire, the other is travelling from the 3-mile-long island of Alderney in the Channel Islands. 

More news to come! 

Two Leading Lancastrians Join Forces

Two Leading Lancastrians Join Forces to Conquer Booming Graduation Market

At the height of graduation season two cultured Lancastrians have teamed up to offer new tailored services for the half a million students who will graduate from UK higher education institutions this year.

Dr Sandra Wearden, a world expert on degree ceremonies, has published her new guide to help students understand the significance of the pageantry behind the degree ceremony – the biggest highlight of the educational calendar. A Guide to Degree Ceremonies, is the first ever guide book of its kind that contains information relevant to most graduating students, and their families, in the UK.

At the same time, her colleague, leading Lancaster artist, John Elles, who provided illustrations for the guide, has launched a unique painted graduation portrait service in association with national academic attire company, Churchill Gowns.

Both initiatives, from the Lancaster-based colleagues, are believed to be the first dedicated products of their kind globally

“While I was conducting my own PhD research at degree ceremonies people would approach me and ask me to explain everything,” explained Dr Wearden, who is Associate Member of the Centre for Higher Education Research and Evaluation at Lancaster University. “Many attendees don’t know what the rituals and academic dress mean - it can seem intimidating. The idea for the book was born.”

“By 2025 there will be 262 million students in higher education globally with around 20 million graduating each year. Graduation is a huge growth area,” Dr Wearden said.

John explained how the partnership came about: “Sandra showed the proprietors of Churchill Gowns the work I’d done for her guide and they all realised that there was a significant gap in the market for custom, hand-painted graduation portraits.”

He added: “Graduation photographs will always have their place but are generic in style.  My portraits can include a scene from the subject’s university or favourite place.  For example, painted graduation portraits are popular with overseas students for whom attending a British University is a real mark of prestige. They often ask that an aspect of historic England, such as Lancaster’s Ashton Memorial or an iconic London scene, is featured.”

Students and their families can meet Dr Wearden at the marquee on Lancaster Square, Lancaster University, 16 – 19 July inclusive, where they can also buy a copy of the guide.

Dr Wearden, a former diplomat and management consultant, has recently founded a new business, Degree Ceremonies Ltd, supported by Lancaster University’s Enterprise Team, to provide institutions with research and consultancy services for their own degree ceremonies.  Her guide is the first product released by the business.

Sandra is only the third person in 800 years to have studied this subject area at doctoral level. She added: “There is a huge passion for pageantry in this country and abroad, as we’ve seen through the global interest in recent royal weddings.  That’s only likely to increase.”  

John, who is renowned as an imaginative cityscape and portrait painter, works from his studio and gallery in the heart of historic Lancaster. John has a Bachelor of Art degree in Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning from Manchester Metropolitan University and is well known for his distinctive, mysterious landscapes. 

His artwork has been shown in exhibitions across the North of England and his paintings are in private collections around the world. Clients include ex-Saatchi and Saatchi CEO, Kevin Roberts, and comedian Jon Richardson. John opened his own gallery in Gage Street, Lancaster, five years ago.

  • A Guide to Degree Ceremonies, by Dr Sandra Wearden. Price: £7.99. ISBN: 978-1-78926-936-9. 
  • The Elles Gallery, 4 Gage Street, Lancaster, LA1 1UH.  07930 941 694.

PR: Academic's New Guide to Help Graduating Students is Hot Topic

Client Dr Sandra Wearden’s news story, from our press release and campaign, about her new guide for graduating students and their families, A Guide to Degree Ceremonies, will be the main feature in this week’s Lancaster Guardian education section. 

The report will also run in other titles within the Johnston Press Group. 

Dr Wearden will be on BBC Radio Lancashire this Thursday alongside John Elles.  

Sandra is a world-leading expert on academic dress and graduation ceremonies – their history and relevance for today.  She is a mine of information about higher education. 

PR Efforts Pay Off for Lancaster Artist John Elles

My Lancaster artist client, John Elles, just appeared in Lancashire Life, the UK’s biggest selling county magazine, and he's been featured on the prestigious Lancaster University alumni website, which has a worldwide audience, as a result of our press release. 

Our PR efforts have also led to a six page advertorial in Lancashire Magazine, (coming up) and he will be a guest on BBC Radio Lancashire this Thursday. 

We hope that he will receive more coverage locally, regionally and nationally.


Nordkapp to Cape Town on a Royal Enfield - Gordon's Latest Journey

My oldest friend and client Gordon G May is on his vintage motorcycle travels again.  This latest project - UK to South Africa via Nordkapp - is Gordon's longest ride to date. 

In 2008 he rode his 1953 Royal Enfield Bullet from Manchester, England, to the Royal Enfield factory in Chennai, Southern India. The 8,400 mile adventure resulted in the book, Overland to India. His next trip was Manchester to Egypt on a 1952 BSA Bantam. After a false start in 2009, Gordon achieved his goal, crossing Tunisia, Libya, Jordan and Syria before returning to the UK in 2010. Another trip, another book: Overland to Egypt.

Then in 2015, he rode from the UK to Vietnam on a 1941 ex-British army 350cc Matchless G3L. He travelled across Europe to the Black Sea, through the Caucasus and into Central Asia, including visits to Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and into China. After traversing high altitude passes in Pakistan, Gordon continued through India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos. A new book, Overland to Vietnam, followed.

This time he is riding a Royal Enfield 500 Twin, first registered in 1952. Gordon has owned it since 2004. It has been fully restored and modified for the rigours of overland travel but remains, in essence, a simple 1950's British push-rod twin.

He called me from Norway this evening and I’m following his journey with deep interest. And looking forward to the next book!

#vintagemotorcycling #Nordkapp #capetown #publishing


Just secured radio interviews for two separate clients on BBC Radio Lancashire - yet they will be appearing together on Sally Naden's show.  Dr Sandra Wearden will talk about degree ceremonies and her new publication, A Guide to Degree Ceremonies. Artist John Elles will speak about his new graduation painted portrait service.  The pair know and have worked together previously and will complement each other well for this feature. 

Tuesday, 26 June from 11am, Sally Naden, BBC Radio Lancashire.

# piggybacking #PR # BBC 

Artist John Elles Leads the Way With New Must-Have Item for Graduates


 The traditional graduation photograph is a staple of many homes across the world but now proud parents and grandparents are turning to a new ‘must-have’ item to commemorate that hard-earned (and often expensive) degree.  Enter the painted graduation portrait, writes Judith Coyle.

And leading the way is artist John Elles who has teamed up with national academic attire company, Churchill Gowns, to provide what they believe is the UK’s, and possibly the world’s, only dedicated graduation painted portraiture service.

John explained how the partnership came about.

“Last year I worked with Dr Sandra Wearden from Lancaster University. She is one of the world’s foremost experts on the history of degree ceremonies and academic ceremonial dress.  I provided artwork and illustrations for her book, A Guide to Degree Ceremonies. When Dr Wearden met Oliver and Ruth from Churchill Gowns she showed them my work and they all realised that there was a gap in the market for custom, hand-painted graduation portraits.  Over half a million students are expected to graduate in the UK this year.  This could go worldwide.”

John, who is renowned as an imaginative cityscape and portrait painter, works from his studio and gallery in the heart of the historic city of Lancaster and he has seen a growing demand for portraiture.

“While graduation photographs have their place they can be generic in style.  My portraits can include a scene from the subject’s university or favourite place.  For example, graduation portraits are particularly popular with overseas students for whom attending a British University is a mark of prestige.  They often request that an aspect of historic England, such as an iconic London scene, is featured in the background of their portrait.”

He added: “There can be a strong element of imagination in these portraits. Churchill Gown customers are allowed to hire the gowns for a couple of days.  This means that they can be photographed in them wherever they want and may even ask their other family members to hire gowns to have group photographs taken. Using these photographs, I can incorporate a whole family into the finished portrait!”

Cambridge University graduates Ruth Nicholls and Oliver Adkins, who run London-based Churchill Gowns, believe that the scope for flexibility and creativity a painted graduation portrait provides will prove attractive to students and their families looking for something extra special to mark this major rite of passage.  

Ruth said: “Parents of overseas students can’t always fly to the UK to attend their child’s degree ceremony.  Having a portrait specially created by John makes for a particularly significant commemoration for such an important occasion.  A painting like this will last for generations and is a great conversation piece.  We are receiving a lot of interest.”

John has a Bachelor of Art degree in Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning from Manchester Metropolitan University and is well known for his distinctive, mysterious landscapes.  The way he can marry portraiture and landscape makes for a unique product.  

Ruth added: “We see the graduation portrait as the ultimate luxury graduation gift.”

John said: “This slight blurring of reality is something that I bring to my cityscape paintings as well. I merge the modern with elements of the past. The intention is to present a rich re-imagining of familiar places by manipulating the layers of time.”

John’s art has been shown in exhibitions across the North of England and his paintings are in private collections around the world. Clients include ex- Saatchi and Saatchi CEO, Kevin Roberts, and comedian Jon Richardson.  John opened his own gallery in Gage Street. Lancaster, five years ago.

·        Paintings are offered in two sizes: small (10 inches x 12 inches) and large (12 inches x 16 inches) with an expected time frame for delivery of around 2-3 months.  Prices start at £350.

·        The Elles Gallery, 4 Gage Street, Lancaster, LA1 1UH.  07930 941 694.  

Pop Culture: Give Into Me, Urges Michael Jackson

'GIVE INTO ME' by Michael Jackson with Slash on Guitar 

Judith Coyle takes us into the dark heart of Michael Jackson's Dangerous album. 

This is possibly one of Michael Jackson’s most tortured songs and was  released as a single only  in Europe because of the success of ‘Who Is it’ on Oprah. Video shot in Munich featuring Jackson, Slash, Gilby Clarke, Teddy Adriatus, (all Guns n' Roses) also known as Teddy Zig Zag, and Muzz Skillings from the band Living Colour. The video, directed by Andy Monahan, was shot in front of fans in a real club. 

The Rivals

The interplay between Michael Jackson and Slash is magical, both sonically and visually. The concept was, as Slash says, “Michael fronting a heavy metal band.” I would argue that there was rivalry between Jackson and Axl Rose at this time (1990 – 92). Both were hugely successful, intense, charismatic performers.  Axl was the lead singer of the world’s most successful rock band. Jackson was the world’s most famous and successful singer/performer.

Axl Rose stated that he wanted to beat Michael Jackson’s mastery of video. He also had a dig at him at the 1992 MTV awards where Guns n’ Roses was awarded the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award for 'November Rain' in September. Slash had played with Michael Jackson in February 1992 at the Tokyo Dome. Two nights later he played the same venue with Guns n’ Roses. Slash went on ahead of his band to join Michael Jackson. He recorded with him for Dangerous in 1991, coming up with ‘Give Into Me’ and the pre-intro to ‘Black or White’, as heard in the famous video. 

I think Michael Jackson wanted a slice of the rock action. Like a child it is almost as if he is saying: “Axl Rose? I can out shine him, play him at his own game AND I can commandeer members of his band/entourage – Slash, Teddy Zig Zag, Gilby - to boot." It was an ego thing as well as an attempt to seduce a huge chunk of the mainly white rock audience. It didn’t quite come off though marketing-wise due to the success of 'Who Is It'. This meant that 'Give Into Me' was released as a single and on MTV in Europe only. This is why the track and the video remain something of a hidden gem when comparing it to the more famous songs and films such as  'Thriller' and 'Smooth Criminal'. 

Michael Jackson is very sexual in this performance. I don’t just mean with the signature crotch grab; he’s a coiled spring, bursting with energy, energy that can’t be contained within that slight frame. This effect is magnified by the flashes of blue lightning that surround him and Slash throughout the intense performance.

Slash is very physical, arching his back, leaping about the stage. He is dressed down – plaid shirt, no top hat, that wonderful hair moving with every note. He seems to be truly himself here, a complement to Michael Jackson rather than a fellow icon who detracts from the main man. He looks as though he is enjoying himself. In the short film “’The Making of Give Into Me’ we see Jackson and Slash sharing a joke. Jackson whispers something to Slash and they seem to be very much at ease with each other. Slash had stated that Jackson had a wicked “sarcastic sense of humour.”


At one point during the performance Jackson puts his hand on the guitarist's shoulder and it seems to recall the time when David Bowie performed 'Starman' on Top of the Pops and he put his arm around Mick Ronson’s neck and shoulders. (This caused a scandal at the time.)

This may have been an instinctive move on Jackson’s part but it wouldn’t be the first time that he has  emulated one of Bowie’s moves. He also executed a trademark Bowie move in the ‘You Are Not Alone’ video – the chopping motion. Jackson and Slash/even share the microphone at one point and it feels very much as if they are dueting through movement and music.


The live action is intercut with sexually charged scenes featuring some sinister-looking eastern European-type guys and some sultry women. The atmosphere is one of suspicion and paranoia. At this time the video seems to mirror world events - war in the former Yugoslavia. Collapse of Communism. The video hints at dirty deeds done dirt cheap. It is a dark, very Gothic video. Slash’s descending arpeggios were described as “spiderwebs”, by I think, Rolling Stone. I’d have to check on that. 

As for the song’s title to whom is Jackson begging? We just don’t know. we can only imagine. People have argued that Jackson was not a sexual performer. This is nonsense. Jackson could use his sex appeal both vocally and visually. His sexual energy on stage and film is released. Margo Jefferson has written eloquently about Jackson's sex appeal.

‘Give Into Me’, the video, was directed by Guns' favourite Andy Monahan, who also directed the breathtaking Michael Jackson Live in Bucharest film from the Bad tour.

If you want to know more about 'Give Into Me' then I highly recommend the book Dangerous by Susan Fast. 

Notes from Dangerous by Susan Fast, Prof in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University, Canada:

In the chapter called Soul there are about four pages on ‘Give Into Me’:
·        Page 116: “…Slash’s virtuoso and unbridled guitar solo. Slash was a brilliant choice for this song because his style of guitar playing favours emotional excess – that’s a compliment – over clean, crisp technique.”
·        Page 123: section about 1991 MTV video awards. Talks about Will You Be There? and Black or White. Section about Slash’s performance, why he’s left to kick a trashcan of the stage and to drive his guitar into the car at the end of the performance. Also describes his “virtuosic exhibition” and “extravagant display”. Some discussion about why Slash can get away with rock ‘n’ roll rebellion when MJ can’t.
·        Guns n’ Roses mentioned in a fairly short discussion of power ballads on page 114. ‘Sweet Child’ is mentioned.
·        Video for ‘Give Into Me’ discussed on page 122. “This also gave him the opportunity to feature Slash in the video, which, given that Guns and Roses were, if not quite at their peak, then still pretty significantly at the height of their popularity, lent Jackson considerable credibility with an audience that otherwise probably didn’t listen to his music.”
·        “He [Jackson] offered up the table of gritty funk and gospel, punctuated by a dripping metal ballad, with one of the great, emotionally unbridled guitar players, Slash, in tow: no return to the crisp cheerfulness of Eddie Van Halen here.” (page 4)

Is It Scary? How I 'Left' Neverland

It’s been a couple of weeks since the Leaving Neverland documentary rocked the world. One of my proudest achievements was having my blog Is It Scary? featured in the superb book, Man in the Music, by Joseph Vogel, a study of the creative life and work of Michael Jackson. I have been studying Michael Jackson seriously for around 13 years and felt I had become an expert on the man and his music.  I researched Michael Jackson, minstrelsy and the Gothic at Lancaster University’s Continuing Learning Group (mid-2000’s).  The passion and sheer joie de vie I got from the music, the performance and the study changed my life.

However, two years ago I put my blog into private mode. This was partly because my research had led me to conclude that Michael Jackson may indeed have had paedophilic tendencies to teenage boys. I had convinced myself that he may have been guilty of emotional abuse but not sexual abuse.  I wanted to sort out my thoughts and feelings about this in private.

I came to the Leaving Neverland documentary with an open mind.  I have now watched it three times. I thought that Wade Robson and James Safechuck were credible.

There are various clues to Michael Jackson’s possible desires in his music and performance, not just in the way that he lived.  It was these artistic clues that reinforced my suspicions. These ‘clues’ are too many/complex to go into detail here. 

Will I stop listening to his music?  No. There is no denying his talent and genius as an artist.  Writer Peter Conrad described Jackson as the most interesting man on the planet - and he continues to fascinate in death. He was obsessed with duality: black or white, good or evil, adult or child, father or son, angel or monster, Christ-like or devilish, gay or straight, narcissistic or selfless, male or female.

Will I ever resurrect my blog?  I don’t know.  There’s a heck of a lot to process.


It's a Five Year Celebration for Bay Framing

I am proud to have worked with Tom Chesters of Bay Framing for the last five years.  I have helped publicise some of these projects mentioned below.  You can see pictures of Tom on my gallery page.  Here are some words from Tom:

This Friday 22nd February sees Bay Framing celebrating five years in business. 

We spent three and a half years trading from Morecambe Festival Market before moving to our current shop on Regent Road in July 2017.

There have been some many highlights in the last five years. Framing the official Eric Morecambe portrait, becoming a partner of Morecambe FC, work for the Morecambe Hotel among too many others to mention.

Local artists are the core of the framing business and we are proud to work with some wonderful people such as Jenny McCabe, Artist & Printmaker, Mark Pickup Photography, Ginny Koppenhol Photography, LEE METCALFE LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY and many others.

Thanks to one and all for your support over the last five years. Looking forward to the next five.


Tom, Mrs Bay Framing and The Boss.”


The publicity for the Lancaster launch of Fiona Frank’s book, Candles, Conversions and Class, went really well.

The press release was snapped up within minutes of being sent out.  It was taken up by a local magazine, we got a full half page in the Lancaster Guardian, and best of all, Fiona and her colleague, Janet Ross-Mills, from Lancaster University’s Continuing Learning Group, were interviewed on BBC Radio Lancashire with Sally Naden.  

I attended the launch at Lancaster University.  The Continuing Learning Group was delighted with the publicity that their innovative programme had received as a result of our press release.  One group member said: “This is the best publicity we’ve had for years!”

The Challenge

Fiona’s book is centred around a Scottish Jewish family.  Fiona divides her time between Glasgow and her eco-home in Lancaster.  The challenge was to find a way of giving the press release a local, Lancaster angle.  

At first glance nothing seemed obvious.  But I’ve known and worked with Fiona for a long time.  I remembered that she actually set up the Senior Learners’ Programme at Lancaster University many years ago and that she made use of its Research Circle.  Indeed, Fiona introduced me to it and I used to be a participant myself.  Here was the kernel of the story: Fiona’s book had been written, in part, with the support of older Learners at Lancaster University, people who had attended a group Fiona herself set up!

Somebody who hadn’t known Fiona as long as I have might not have spotted that angle, or not as quickly.  This is just a small example of how long-term relationships can benefit the client.



Detox Your Dog: Reducing Toxic Load is Key to Health

I used to think that detoxing your dog was a fad. The research I did to write this article persuaded me otherwise. Read on to find out why and how you can do this for your dog.

Detox Your Dog: Reducing toxic load is key to health

Detox. Cleansing. Fads, right? And as for putting your dog on a chemical detox … Surely you’ve got to be kidding!
However, a detox could be one of the best things you do for your dog. Here we discuss the very real burden of toxins that our dogs may be carrying, why it’s important and how to reduce that toxic load.

The Culprits

There’s no doubt about it, since World War Two developments in chemistry have lessened our workload and improved our lives in many ways. But there are some serious downsides and these are coming more into focus.

  • Water pollution from sewage and industrial waste discharge as well as plastics.
  • Air pollution – not just from your immediate surroundings but blown in from across the globe.
  • Chemical preservatives in food.
  • Chemically manipulated foods – genetically modified, for example.
  • Farming methods have introduced pesticides and hormones and into the food chain.
  • Vaccines and medications
  • Most manufactured items, e.g. paints, carpets, furniture, cars, with plastics being a particular concern.

Then there’s mould. It may be natural but it is also a major toxin, and one that is not always visible. It can do serious damage to human and dog health, well beyond better known symptoms of itchy eyes and wheezing. Long-term exposure can cause neurological issues, including tremors and seizures and even death.

We even bathe our laundry and our skins in a sea of chemicals. The skin is an organ and chemicals move into our bodies transdermally. This is not scaremongering but it is important and is why we developed Dog Hair Day. When we urge you to you bathe your dog with Dog Hair Day Shampoo it isn’t just because we want your dog to look and smell nice, it’s because fewer chemicals will end up on your skin and on your dog’s skin. You can see the full list of ingredients in our shampoos here. That’s one step towards reducing that toxic burden.

There are also toxins that come from within the body as by-products of metabolism and healthy liver and kidneys are needed to rid the body of these.

Your Dog May Be in More Need of a Detox Than You Are!

Dogs are smaller than humans. Their smaller organs bear the brunt of toxic overload more quickly than our larger organs. Also dogs are nearer to the ground than we are and they (mostly) do not wear protective shoes, which means that substances like motor oil or pesticides from lawns get onto their paws which they may later lick.
Our pets and their health are like canaries in a coal mine – alerting us to our polluted world.

How Your Dog May Display Toxic Overload

  • Runny eyes
  • Dry flaky skin
  • Dull fur
  • Halitosis
  • Lumps and bumps on the skin
  • Itching
  • Lethargy
  • Stomach upsets
  • Bad behaviour
  • Lowered immune functioning
  • Sluggish liver function
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • A very overburdened body will cease to function and die.

How to Reduce Toxic Load


This is a huge subject area in itself and we will cover various aspects of diet in future blogs. Basically, the fewer additives and fillers in your dog’s food the better. Such fillers in commercial pet food benefit manufacturers not dogs. You need to be an ingredients detective! Try to feed the highest quality diet you can reasonably afford.
Also it is important to rotate your dog’s food. By this we mean do not feed your dog one source of protein all the time, such as chicken. Varying the diet will reduce the chance of allergic reactions developing.


Give your dog filtered water. Municipal water contains chlorine which damages the essential gut flora. You can use water from a jug filter or you can buy a filter that attaches to the tap.

Clear Out the Chemicals

Reduce or eliminate the chemical cleaners, fragrances etc in your own home. (This will be good for you and your family as well). They really do contribute to that toxic burden. You can find alternatives in most supermarkets and online or you can even use things like white vinegar for a lot of cleaning jobs.


Brushing your dog’s coat is an excellent way of ridding his system of potential allergens, mites and mould spores. Use a good quality brush. Additionally it stimulates lymphatic drainage. Brushing is a type of massage and therefore you need to massage towards the heart as stroking away from the heart can impede venous flow.


Bathing or showering your dog is the best way to get rid of allergens and chemicals that are on the fur or skin. Also, once your dog starts detoxing from the inside waste products will end up on the skin and in the fur. Therefore, these need to be rinsed away or else they will just be reabsorbed. Use any of our Dog Hair Day Shampoo for a great result. They contain natural antiseptics and soothing properties.

Go Slowly

When introducing any measures to reduce that toxic burden your dog is carrying go slowly. As toxins move out of the fatty tissues they enter the bloodstream which can cause some unpleasant side effects. Slow and steady is the way forward.
Even though we can feel overwhelmed by our toxic world there are definitely ways forward.

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained here it is for educational purposes only. The writer of this article and Dog Hair Day can’t diagnose any physical, mental or behavioural condition in animals nor prescribe treatment. We urge you to consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog.

Who Do You Think You Are? A Scottish Jewish Family - New Book Launch

Currently promoting a book launch: Candles, Conversions and Class: Five Generations of a Scottish Jewish Family by Dr Fiona Frank.  It is published by the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre.  Fiona attended the launch today in Glasgow (3 February 2019) and there are further launches in Lancaster and London.

I originally proofread material for the book when it was a PhD thesis in development several years ago.  Am delighted that it is now a book available to all.

Written in a lively and accessible style, the story reveals the changing nature of Scottish Jewish identity through the last century, and the differing reactions of the host community to Jews across a century.  It looks at the changing experiences of Jewish women, education and work, Jewish life in the home and the public sphere, and the changing experiences of antisemitism through the decades. Previous studies of Jewish immigrants to the UK have tended to ignore the experience of people on the margins, for instance, those who married out, something that this book addresses.

LANCASTER LAUNCH AND MEET THE AUTHOR Wednesday 13 February 1 - 2 pm, Lancaster University, Fylde College, Lecture Theatre 3. Fiona Frank in conversation with Janet Ross-Mills. Includes refreshments. Free.

I’ll reveal more details as they happen.

A Cracking Christmas With Your Dog

A Cracking Christmas With Your Dog – Hints And Tips

Christmas time can be lovely for you, your family and friends and your dog. Probably you may have more time to spend with your dog and your dog may enjoy attention from visitors.
Also you may want to spoil your dog this Christmas. So here are some Christmas dos and don’ts to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Christmas Dog

Good Things

  • Do treat your dog but with something like a new toy instead of toxic foods or obesity builders. A toy will entertain and distract your dog at what can be a stressful time, with strangers coming and going from the house.
  • Put aside time to play with your dog every day during this season. Toys encourage bonding between you and your dog and the exercise benefits you both.
  • Take advantage of crisp winter days and get out into the park or woods.
  • You may want to treat your dog to a new dog coat.
  • Another good present would be a new dog bed. These come in all shapes and sizes and at a wide range of prices. Place your dog’s new sleeping quarters away from draughts and if you have an open fire, use a fireguard.
  • And, of course, we can’t not mention our Dog Hair Day Shampoo!
  • Ideally, every dog would receive the amount of love and care that you give yours. Some dogs are less fortunate.  Consider donating to a dog charity this Christmas. Or take extra blankets, clothing, food or toys to your local dog rescue centre.

Take Care

  • Don’t leave chocolates wrapped up under the Christmas tree. Chocolate is toxic to dogs. Your dog may decide that present is for him and go on a late night rummaging exercise only to end up with serious health problems.  It may sound dramatic but chocolate can kill dogs.
  • Keep your dog away from the pudding! The core ingredients of Christmas pudding – dried fruit, grapes and alcohol – are toxic to dogs (and to cats too, by the way).
  • Don’t let your dog chew on turkey bones as these may splinter and lacerate your dog’s throat or digestive system.
  • Watch out for those decorations. To your dog they may look like toys but baubles can shatter and tinsel can choke!  Keep your living room door shut at night so your dog is not tempted to play with decorations.
  • When out on walks make sure that your dog does not run onto iced-over canals or lakes in case the ice cracks beneath him. Please don’t make you or your dog headline news through a tragic accident.

Finally, a Merry Christmas To You And Your Dog From All Of Us At Dog Hair Day!

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained here it is for educational purposes only. The writer of this article and Dog Hair Day can’t diagnose any physical, mental or behavioural condition in animals nor prescribe treatment. We urge you to consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog.


One of the world’s leading digital artists has praised a Morecambe picture framer’s biggest challenge yet, reports Judith Coyle. 

Tom Chesters of Bay Framing, along with many of his customers, is a huge fan of artist Matt Ferguson, who is known to millions across the globe for his film poster art for Marvel Studios, Star Wars, Disney, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures. Matt’s work is highly collectable with some of his Guardians of the Galaxy prints selling for up to £2000 unframed.

Matt has previously shared and praised Bay Framing’s work to his tens of thousands of followers on social media and is particularly impressed by Tom’s latest framing - a huge triptych of his Captain America Civil War poster art.

 “Tom’s done a great job and has come up with unique way to frame this set together. People have asked me where they can get the tiered frames from, which is always a good sign,” Matt said. The UK-based artist added: “With some of my film posters a nice plain frame can work wonders as they have borders built into the art.  However, something that’s more like an art print is made better by excellent framing to really make the art pop. I recently had some work framed with museum glass and it made a huge difference to the viewing of the art. It’s definitely worth paying for a professional job and some extras.”

Tom whose shop is on Regent Road, said: “Validation from an artist of Matt Ferguson’s stature is a terrific boost to the business, especially as he has such a huge following on social media. Every cinema goer under the age of 35 will know the work of Matt Ferguson. He’s a big deal!”

Tom lives in Morecambe and his framing career began 15 years ago on Lancaster market.

He added: “No one else has ever framed this series of posters in one piece in this style. I first framed a miniature version and when that was well received I decided to attempt this full-size triptych which measures 6ft x 4ft.  It was a big undertaking, cutting out the frame and the perspex in one piece with all the precise angles.  I got my dad, Steve, who is a joiner, to help me. The triptych depicts the most recognisable scenes from the films.”

“The definition of what is art has changed. New generations view digital art as important as traditional forms like watercolours or oils,” Tom explained.  While Bay Framing frames virtually anything the business has developed a niche in creatively framing digital film art featuring superheroes, science fiction and horror.  

“Owning a piece of film art brings that passion for the film into the home. For example, the Bladerunner film may have up to 100 different related artworks. Some people will collect each and every one of those prints.  People love to share their collections on social media too.”

Tom attended Lancaster Royal Grammar School and set up in business for himself in 2014, based in Lancaster and Morecambe. Since he opened the Regent Road premises in 2017 his business has gone from strength to strength.  Bay Framing is the official framing partner for Morecambe Football Club.

Bay Framing, 24 Regent Road, Morecambe, LA3 1QN. 01524 936038.    Open Mon to Sat, 9am - 5pm. Delivery service available.


A Morecambe businessman is celebrating a new collaboration with one of the town’s most loved institutions.

Morecambe Football Club has appointed Tom Chesters of Bay Framing, as its official framer.

Tom, who opened his shop on Regent Road just last year, explained:

“I’ve been framing signed shirts for Morecambe Football Club for a while. The club gives these shirts to its sponsors as gifts. Now they've asked me to frame around 30 signed shirts over the course of the coming football season and have offered me a significant amount of advertising as part of the deal.”

Tom added: “This is great for my business, during a year that has seen the country gripped by World Cup fever. I’m really proud to have Bay Framing associated with such a historic club that dates back to 1920; this collaboration adds kudos to my business.  A nice connection is that I frequently see the away fans walking passed my shop on their way to the Globe Arena. I am a big football fan myself.  The framed shirts will go to businesses and individuals across the district and some will be on display in the club’s shop as well.”

Adam Wilde, Commercial Manager at Morecambe Football Club, said: “Sponsors bring in vital revenue to the club. These signed, framed football shirts are a gift that is hard to replicate and form part of a larger sponsorship package which we give to those who support us financially. We are delighted to be working with Tom and Bay Framing as the quality of the work is exceptional. We wanted to support a local business too.” 

Bay Framing will be advertised on a large board at the edge of the ground.  This will get the name out to thousands of people, not just football fans but those who use the Globe Arena for conferences, weddings and birthday parties.

Tom, who attended Lancaster Royal Grammar School, began his framing career in 2003 at the age of 16. He set up in business for himself in 2014, based in Lancaster and Morecambe, and has built up a reputation for friendly, expert service.  Since he opened the Regent Road premises in 2017 his business has gone from strength to strength.

The shop also features a gallery space which displays work by local artists, including Tom’s wife, Egle. 

“I frame all sorts of things,” he added, “not just football shirts!  Recent commissions have included a hand-carved Iranian metal panel, equestrian rosettes, and a 6ft tall oil painting from Denmark.”

Bay Framing, 24 Regent Road, Morecambe, LA3 1QN. 01524 936038. 

The Beauty of Guns n' Roses' November Rain; Stepin Fetchit; Dandy Blue Jim, and the Minstrel That 'Turned'

November Rain on Film

The video for ‘November Rain’ won the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award in 1992 at the MTV Awards. Recently it was cited as one of the most popular films on YouTube - after 25 years! That's remarkable. It’s a video that divides rock music fans and those interested in pop culture. 

To some it is a Gothic masterpiece, something that fulfilled W Axl Rose’s desire to outperform Michael Jackson’s highly successful and lauded films such as the John Landau-directed ‘Thriller’ and ‘Bad’ directed by heavyweight director, Martin Scorsese. To others ‘November Rain’, based on a short story by Del James, called ‘Without You’, is pompous and silly, rightfully lampooned by the French & Saunders comedy duo.  For me it is a guilty pleasure.

I would argue that the video detracts from the song. When you listen to it properly - on vinyl or CD or digitally - it's a great song, possibly Guns n’ Roses’ attempt at something in the vein of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’- Axl was, and may well still be, a big fan of Queen – with a huge nod towards Rose’s other hero, Elton John, whom he emulates in the video when playing the piano. (Also with echoes of John Lennon). 

As the film begins we see Axl taking pills for some, as yet unknown, malady. We then see him playing piano in a small, simple church in a vast desert. This quickly becomes a large, almost cathedral-like church, a church in the imagination, complete with Jesus iconography. The shift equates with rise of band who came from nought but have now reach epic status. The weeping Jesus we see has echoes of Madonna's ‘Like a Prayer’ video, although Axl’s Jesus is white. Axl, in his role as bridegroom-to-be, is dressed like some European prince - or a toy soldier from Tchaikovsky’s ‘Nutcracker Suite’. How you see him may depend on your feelings towards W Axl Rose.

Jim Crow
Slash, evidently the best man, stands next to Axl at the altar. Slash is rendered a Jim Crow character in this role. He’s in full minstrel mode – hat, hair, black suit. With the cigarette dangling out of his mouth he is portrayed as a bewildered, shuffling, comic character, too addled to have remembered the wedding ring. There is very much a Stepin’ Fetchit vibe here. 

Slash, whose race was an issue for some (he's Anglo-Afican-American), according to the man's autobiography and that of Duff McKagan, is cast as the shiftless negro, lazy and too focused on bodily pleasures, in Slash's case, drink or drugs, to be relied on. He may not have a drink in his hand or a needle in his arm during the film but the back story that all Guns n’ Roses’ fans (and those who weren’t) knew was that this was the most hedonistic band around, the “most dangerous band in the world” as Kerrang dubbed them in 1987.  

Seeing Slash fumbling in his pockets we, the audience, shake our heads and roll our eyes as we would about a child who constantly misbehaves. ‘There goes Slash, off his face again’. That’s the assumption. I’m not saying this was purposeful on the part of the video’s makers; these are simply tropes that are passed down through generations of ingrained racism and stereotyping. In minstrelsy the Negro was portrayed as someone who preferred eating watermelons or dozing in the sun to taking responsibility or working. In the film Slash must to turn to band member Duff, tall, blond, Anglo-Saxon, for assistance.

Sex God
However, as he strides out of the church there is a shift. This is the minstrel that turned. No longer Jim Crow but Dandy Blue Jim, the bird that white men fear. The bird that may procreate with your wife, daughter, sister. Filmed from above Slash seems to have grown in stature. The white shirt knotted at the waist screams sex god.

Indeed, Slash like Michael Jackson, is someone who plays with his sexuality on film and in photos, though he states that he hates photo shoots. Nonetheless, he knew how to work the camera to his advantage.  In some film/video shots - he is covered up, desexed, little more than a form that plays guitar. The beast. A beast of indeterminate race, possibly a ‘coon’ figure for ‘coon’ comes from the word ‘racoon’ – a beast. That’s who we see in the ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ video. Yet in others he is wild, free, sensual, self-assured in his sexual skin - face exposed, hair loose. He’s as slinky and slithery as one of his pet pythons. No wonder he recorded a song called ‘Slither’ with Velvet Revolver.

Give Into Me
Dandy Blue Jim is the Slash we see in the outdoor guitar solos of ‘November Rain’. This is also the Slash of ‘Give into Me’, his amazing quasi-duet, with Michael Jackson. Outdoors, in Guitar Hero mode, Slash seems to do battle with, yet also be at one with, the elements and the desert. It is as if the band, the church, the crowd imprison him and he is only able to be his true self out on the plain, like some mixed-race cowboy. He even wears the boots and the chaps. He must forge his own path, using his guitar in the way in a cowboy might use a gun, to ward off enemies and stake his claim. Interestingly, the desert used in the video is one that was used for cowboy films such as Silverado.

In 'November Rain' Axl is very much centre stage - the protagonist. Slash is the lonesome cowboy. Duff gets a look in whereas Matt and Gilby are shunted to the periphery. As Izzy Stradlin had predicted, G n’ R had become the Axl and Slash show. It is in sharp contrast to the ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ video where all the band members are focused on. The coda is the highlight of 'November Rain', both aurally and visually. Slash jumps onto the piano. Axl screams. His previous attitude of acceptance, lyrically, has gone. His true emotions surface. They are rage and bitterness, emotions that Axl appears to have struggled with for decades and which were brilliantly, if somewhat repetitively, expressed in the much underrated, sonically challenging yet hugely rewarding Chinese Democracy album. 

School's Out: Happy Holidays With Your Dog

School's out: Enjoy the holidays with your dog

The school holidays provide an ideal chance for you and your family to appreciate time with your dog. Fun in the garden. Walks in the park. Picnics in a meadow. Days by the sea. If he’s a quiet dog you could even take him to an outdoor theatre performance.child with dog on holidays courtesy of Pixabay

Generally, dogs are not solitary creatures; they love to be in the thick of it.

Caring for your family dog is a great teaching opportunity for your children too. Devise a rota and give each child a specific job. For example, one child feeds the dog, another child brushes his coat and together this would be a good time to give your dog a bath or shower with Dog Hair Day shampoo. Click here to buy. Regular daily dog walks are great exercise for the whole family and will get kids away from their screens!

If you’re looking to do something different why not explore some of the suggestions made by Dog Friendly Britain?

Please be responsible

And if you are going away for any length of time without your dog then book him into a kennel. Or send him to a dog-sitting service such as Barking Mad. Maybe have a trusted house/dog-sitter come to stay at your home.

Among all the fun activities remember that dogs are not simply here to entertain. Rescue charity Dogs Trust reports that they receive around twice the number of calls to its rescue centres when the school holidays are over.

Maria Wickes, Head of Dogs Trust Dog School, said: “While the majority of dog owners regard their dogs as valued family members it appears some may use dogs as four-legged nannies over the holidays and disregard them come September. In many cases dogs are not equipped to deal with the change in routine and may start displaying undesirable behaviour.” Dogs Trust urges anyone struggling to control their dog’s behaviour to sign up for training classes.

In fact, one thing you can do as a family is to take a training or socialisation class with your dog during the school holidays. This can be a very bonding experience and your dog will thank you for it.

Above all, enjoy the holidays with your best friend!

DISCLAIMER: While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information supplied it is for educational purposes only. The author and Dog Hair Day can’t diagnose any physical, mental or behavioural condition in animals nor prescribe treatment. We urge you to consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog.



19 November 2018 to 6 February 2019

A new exhibition will open this November to showcase the life and work of the celebrated Glasgow Jewish artist Hannah Frank. Hannah died ten years ago at the age of 100, after a 75 year artistic career. 

A major retrospective exhibition opened on her 100th birthday, 23 August 2008, at Glasgow University – with the artist herself in attendance.  Ten years on, Hannah Frank’s niece, Fiona Frank, is working with Glasgow University to commemorate what would have been her 110th year. 

This new exhibition will take place in the same venue - Glasgow University Chapel. It opens on Monday 19 November, with a reception and launch - including a kosher buffet sponsored by the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) - on Sunday 18 November from 5.30pm to 7.30pm, to which all are welcome. The exhibition runs till Wednesday 6 February 2019.

A programme of talks, events and workshops will run throughout the exhibition.  This will include an opportunity to spend a day examining Hannah Frank’s scrapbooks, papers, diaries and letters, which are held in the Hannah Frank and Lionel Levy Collection at the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre at Garnethill Synagogue. 

In addition, with the support of SCoJeC and Glasgow University Internship Hub, a team of knowledgeable Glasgow University student volunteers will be on hand during the exhibition to run tours and tailored activities for adult or youth groups.  The student volunteers have a strong affinity with Hannah Frank, who drew many of her most striking black and white drawings while a young undergraduate at Glasgow University. They are also available to travel around Glasgow and further afield to talk to your group about her life and art. A short film about her life, which was made to celebrate her 100th birthday and launched in 2008 at the Scottish Parliament, can also be shown at these events.  

Glasgow-born Hannah studied English, Latin and Moral Philosophy at Glasgow University while simultaneously developing her artistic talent at evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art. Her early drawings were published in the Glasgow University Magazine from 1927 to 1932 under the pen name 'Al Aaraaf'. During the war her drawings became darker. ‘Flight’, 1939, for example, links the plight of Jews escaping from the Nazis to the Exodus.  From the mid-1940s the drawings were light-filled, such as ‘Spring Frieze’, 1945.  In 1952 she turned to sculpture, studying under Benno Schotz at the Glasgow School of Art. She also illustrated posters and leaflets for many Glasgow Jewish organisations.

Her drawings and sculpture were exhibited for 49 consecutive years at the Royal Glasgow Institute and have also appeared at the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Academy. Her work saw a huge resurgence in popularity in the decade before her death; it has toured the width and breadth of the UK and in the United States including exhibitions at the London Jewish Cultural Centre, Brandeis University, and the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Centre in Connecticut.

·        Hannah Frank 110th Birthday Exhibition, Glasgow University Chapel: 19 November 2018 to 6 February 2019. Glasgow University Chapel, University of Glasgow, University Avenue, Glasgow
G12 8QQ. Opening Hours 9am – 5pm, Mon – Fri. Chapel closed Saturdays and Sundays. 



Long Form Content Works For Royal Enfield

I have proofread two articles for Royal Enfield India. These long form stories were about the links between Royal Enfield and the military, tracing the story from the late Victorian era to the present day. The author is Gordon G May, internationally renowned as a Royal Enfield historian. Here is a short excerpt: 

"In mid-1941 a new military machine came to the fore, the 350cc Overhead Valve single cylinder Model WD/CO. Apart from the cylinder and head, it was very similar in appearance to the Model C and largely shared the same format of engine bottom end, ignition and frame, although many of the parts were beefed up to cope with the bike’s extra power. More than 29,000 were built for the Army, RAF and Royal Navy, giving sterling service right through to the end of the war. However, it was another Royal Enfield motorcycle that was to become the pre-eminent offering from Redditch, the 2-stroke Model WD/RE, affectionately known as the Flying Flea."

Lucy's Law for Dog Hair Day

Lucy’s Law brings a timely reminder on taking care when choosing a puppy.

Lucy’s Law has been in the news a lot lately which seems very appropriate as this is the Chinese Year of the Dog.  This is a campaign to see a ban on puppy sales by pet shops and other dealers, a trade which supports commercial dog breeding farms and may lead to a change in UK law if enacted.

The government has announced a public consultation on the issue.

Lucy’s Law, if enacted, will make it illegal to sell puppies unless the mother is present, stopping sales by third party dealers.

The campaign was founded by Brighton vet Marc Abraham and the name Lucy’s Law is from a Cavalier Spaniel called Lucy who was rescued from a Welsh puppy farm and became a celebrity in her own right on social media before her death more than a year ago. The Mirror newspaper took up the campaign and it has gained support from vets and celebrities nationwide who want to improve animal welfare standards.

Naturally, we at Dog Hair Day welcome the opportunity for us all to have a say on a law which should spell the end of businesses that treat bitches as breeding machines, supplying often sick puppies to dealers to sell on to an unwitting public.  Until this law comes into being, it’s a good idea to do plenty of thinking and research before taking on a puppy.  We urge everyone to do this anyway. There are lots of sources of advice on this. Here is a link to the Kennel Club’s advice on how to choose a puppy.

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained here it is for educational purposes only. The writer of this article and Dog Hair Day can’t diagnose any physical, mental or behavioural condition in animals nor prescribe treatment. We urge you to consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog.

Judith Coyle, Theresa May and The Commonwealth

Who runs the world? I will – well, at least for a few seconds/minutes.
I have edited some words that will appear on some light boards (exhibition panels) that will be seen by UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, and ALL the heads of The Commonwealth states.

They are meeting in April and just three UK companies have been asked to provide exhibition pieces. One of these companies is Royal Enfield. I edited and rewrote around 400 words that will be seen by these dignitaries.

‘Hopeless Love’ Mystery Solved by Graduate Trainee

‘Hopeless Love’ Mystery Solved by Graduate Trainee –

Exciting New Hannah Frank Information

Detective work by a University of Glasgow graduate trainee has unexpectedly solved an artistic mystery going back decades.

New information about the work of Glasgow Jewish artist, Hannah Frank, came to light thanks to Marisol Erdman, who has just completed a graduate traineeship at the university’s Archives and Special Collections.

Marisol has been researching the work of Hannah Frank, born 1908, and who was a student at the university between 1926 and 1930.

“I discovered that Hannah’s lecture notes contain some drawings and sketches she had made during her time here,” Marisol said. “I’ve been trying to connect some of the sketches in her class workbooks with some of her artworks to gain insight into her artistic process and the development of her distinctive style.”

She stumbled on an unusual discovery surrounding a pen and ink drawing from 1929 entitled 'Hopeless Love',

Marisol immediately contacted the artist’s niece and champion Fiona Frank to reveal her findings.

Fiona explained: “Marisol discovered via our blog that the piece had gone up for sale in 2010 but that the origin of the quotation contained in the illustration was unknown. The words, in careful manuscript, are 'a lady murmuring low words of hopeless love'. Hannah often used poetry such as that by Keats and Omar Khayaam, as inspiration and included quotations in the finished drawings themselves. We put out a call for information on this unknown quotation in 2010.”

She added: “This drawing, signed ‘Al Aaraaf’, Hannah’s pen name, was untraced for many years. It features a woman, facing the viewer, wearing a long dress. There are typical eerie Hannah Frank trees and a closely-drawn dark nightfall in the background. ‘Hopeless Love’ went up for sale by silent auction in 2010, along with three other drawings and a set of two woodcuts. It transpired that this set of works had been in a private collection in Norwich for 30 years.”

Through examining Hannah’s English lecture notes Marisol has found evidence that the quotation almost certainly comes from a poem written by Hannah herself.

Marisol said: “Opposite a sketch, which I think clearly resembles the finished drawing, there is a draft of a poem with lots of amendments. The amendments made to the verse suggest that this is an original Hannah Frank poem and if you look closely you can see the words 'a lady murmuring low words or/syllables of hopeless love'.”

Hannah Frank had a love of poetry as much as for art. While studying at the University of Glasgow, where she graduated in Arts in 1930, she had a number of poems as well as a series of drawings published in the University magazine.  A close look at the sketches reveals the words: ‘A lady dreaming…’ 'unearthly woeful words' and 'chanting' and possibly the word ‘dreamless’ – clearly ideas that Hannah was playing with before settling on the final version.  The sketch itself is labelled ‘Lady’, presumably a working title.

“It is particularly wonderful that this news has come to us in the month when Hannah would have been 109 years old.  Her birthday is 23rd August,” said Fiona.

A major exhibition of Hannah’s work took place at the University of Glasgow chapel in 2008, which Hannah herself attended for her 100th birthday. She attended the opening night, receiving a standing ovation and a reception in her honour was held in the Scottish Parliament.

Next year will be the 110th anniversary of her birth and the family is hoping for confirmation of a commemorative exhibition to be held in Glasgow.  

Hannah’s drawings and sculptures have seen a huge resurgence in popularity over the last decade and has toured the UK and in the United States.

She died on 18 December 2008. In 2009 she received two posthumous awards: Glasgow City Council's Lord Provost's award for Art, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Glasgow.

Hannah’s many diaries, along with her papers and those of her husband, Lionel, (who died in 2003) have been archived at the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre.

·      ·        Marisol’s blog post about Hannah Frank's student lecture notes and sketches is now available on the University Library’s blog:



Notes for Editors:

A rough transcription of the lines:

 ‘a lady dreaming on her hopeless seamless [or dreamless] love

 a lady chanting murmuring low

unearthly words syllables

of hopeless love

I saw a lady who

murmuring strange

[the next line is hard to decipher – but is scored out anyway]

unearthly, woeful words,


How Effective PR Brought Art Nouveau Artist to Prominence

Case study - Hannah Frank Art

How Effective PR Brought Art Nouveau Artist to Prominence

When she was growing up Fiona Frank thought of the distinctive black and white drawings created by her aunt, Hannah Frank, almost as family members. But it was only in the early 2000s, when Hannah was moving into a care home and she asked Fiona to distribute the large body of artwork among family members that Fiona realised how important it was.

She secured two exhibitions in Lancaster, UK, but even Fiona, known for her tenacity, was struggling to make other gallery owners and art critics see the value of the work. “It’s like walking through treacle,” she told me.

I was immediately attracted to the stark beauty of the drawings and slowly we began to work together. We identified that Hannah, born in 1908 and then in her nineties, was “the last living link to the Scottish Art Nouveau movement.” This became the driving theme of all the editorial I wrote, always working with Fiona to ensure the message was communicated as she wanted.

Our ‘story’ began to appear in the media and a well-received show ran at Lancaster City Art Gallery and Museum in 2004.

Fiona then travelled the length and breadth of Britain and along America’s east coast helping set up exhibitions, workshops and other events. I remained in the “back room”, tending to the PR work needed for this ever-developing story.  Each show was publicised in print and on broadcast media, whether that was BBC Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour or a small newspaper in Staffordshire. Hannah’s work went on show in galleries from New York to Massachusetts, from Falmouth to the Shetland Islands.

Then came a major retrospective at the University of Glasgow to mark Hannah’s 100th birthday. The artist herself appeared, receiving a standing ovation from 200 distinguished guests. I overheard one of the organisers say, “Of course, she would receive such a reception – she’s Hannah Frank!” Some turnaround from the days of walking through treacle.  Our press release for this exhibition was used widely in the Scottish national media and in UK national, The Independent, as news stories and substantial feature articles.

We seized on new angles too. As Hannah was also a poet we ran a national Hannah Frank poetry competition. This involved schools across Scotland and thus brought her art to a whole new, younger audience.  The prestigious prize-giving was at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, which, of course, we publicised.

Hannah’s strong involvement in Jewish community life meant that we could write PR for the thriving Jewish press and a Hannah Frank drawing was used in a new edition of the Liberal Judaism prayer book. Press releases also publicised art workshops, print sales, the launch of new products, such as Hannah Frank note cards, special offers and book promotions. The more publicity generated meant higher sales of Hannah’s prints and even recasts of her sculptures.

When Hannah died in December 2008 PR had to be handled sensitively. The resulting press release secured very extensive coverage in the Scottish national media and other publications in the UK. Her death was also announced on the BBC. Hannah was awarded a posthumous doctorate from the University of Glasgow and she also received from Glasgow City Council the Lord Provost's award for Art. Both developments came about because of the increased publicity that we had achieved for her art over the previous years.

My work for the whole project has included writing regular newsletters, which go out to our long list of ‘fans’, writing and distributing press releases, co-authoring with Fiona, a book called Hannah Frank, Footsteps on the Sands of Time – A 100th Birthday Gallimaufry, writing and editing letters, writing articles for magazines, proofreading captions and compiling and maintaining our press list.  One challenging job was to write, with Fiona, text for the beautiful, heavyweight catalogue that accompanied the 2016 National Galleries of Scotland exhibition ‘Modern Scottish Women: Painters and Sculptors 1885-1965.’ 

Sandy Moffatt, Head of Painting & Printmaking, Glasgow School of Art, has said: “Her work will always be considered, when there's a discussion of art in the twentieth century, in Glasgow, and in Scotland.  I think her place is secure.” 

Why It Worked

·      Strong story that appeals on a number of levels.

·      Focused, organised client who was willing to delegate.

·      Patience and perseverance: understanding that PR is often a long game.

·      Snowball effect.  Once PR begins to appear in the media it becomes much easier to secure coverage subsequently.

·      Valuing accuracy. This is a story that spans well over 100 years, comprises a large body of work and a huge cast of people, dates, names, job titles, quotes and events. All needed to be checked before hitting the ‘send’ button.  

·      Client and PR needed to trust in the process – and in each other.

·       Project garnered help from journalists and other contacts, a loyal graphic artist, a talented filmmaker, interns and a host of other dedicated people.

Hannah Frank Art

Director: Fiona Frank

(+44) (0)7778 737681

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