Christmas and New Year

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my lovely followers! It has been a hectic but mostly happy year for me. Here are some drawings inspired by the season that I’ve been working on. Next year my hope is to share on this blog more often. Please note that this site is now ‘‘. I changed it because over the last year I have branched out into other art forms hence why my old site name didn’t really fit anymore.

Anywho, I hope 2017 brings you good things.

Imogen xxx

A mouse wearing a piny is perched on a chair trying to put a star on top of the Christmas treeMice sit around tables at a Christmas cafe. There is a mouse waiter holding a tray. There is snow outside. babies at highchairs.A mouse family. Mum and dad looking proudly as small, chubby, child mouse holds a traditional christingle.A mouse nativity scene with Mary, Joseph, wise men and a Shepard.

Open Mic Performing

Recently I’ve been able to start doing more events. This makes me very happy. This week I went to The Speakers’ Corner in York and performed at their open mic. I was shaking like a leaf but extremely comforted that I couldn’t see the faces looking at me. Blindness does have some benefits! I’ve even made some poetry writing friends and I’ve had some great feedback.

Anyway- this was just a quick post to say hello, I know it’s been a while. I will be posting some new material really soon (including what I read at this open mic) so please do stick around!

Love and Lemonade,


Where Gay People and Peadophiles Differ

“I like pride, but I don’t understand the parade bit. Don’t people usually march when they are oppressed? We don’t oppress gay people these days do we?”

This is a quote from a chat I had on Sunday morning about my adventures at York Pride on Saturday.

I had never been to a Pride before so everything was new; huge rainbow flags, flamboyant drag artists and merchandise sellers. I went along with my friend who is also LGBT* and Noodle who wore a quirky ‘Guide Unicorn at Work’ sign I had made that morning. As the crowds assembled outside the Minster in a chattering assortment of colour and excitement; the speeches began from the top of a double decker bus adorned with rainbows. This included some words from Canon Michael Smith, speaking in front of the mighty church. As I looked around all I could see was love in its many forms.

The Church isn’t too sure on its stance with homosexuality yet, making the relationship between religion as a whole and the LGBT* community frosty at best. The decision to take part and give the event a seal of approval was brilliant but controversial. Most prominently speaking out against the plan was Reverend Tinker of Hull. He took the drastic step of making clear in a radio interview his thinking that the church accepting LGBT* people as ‘valid’ opens the door for others from the ‘immoral category’ such as peadophiles and serial adulterers. Likening homosexuality to peadophilia. Nice.

This is oppression. We walked in the parade because we are not the perverse or shady characters some people make us out to be. We are people and we are here. Yes, in this country we have made radical steps to equality but on the playground the sniper of all accusations is still ‘lesbo’ or ‘gay’. The week of Revrend Tinker’s radio comment a Canon went to discrimination tribunal because he has been banned from his work in the church because he married another man. In Russia, laws against ‘gay propaganda’ mean that a generation of young LGBT* people are growing up to think they are repulsive. A 2012 study found that 2/5 school-age victims of homophobic bullying attempt or contemplate suicide. 79 countries have anti-homosexuality laws. It is estimated that in South Africa 500 lesbians a year are made victims of ‘corrective rape’ to ‘make them straight’ and in ten countries being gay can cost you your life.

This is not right.

This is not fair.

Rainbows appear in the sky in every country around the world but some people are just too blind to see them. England is making big steps forward, but we haven’t found the pot of golden equality just yet. I wore the rainbow flag because I am proud that I can do so without fearing handcuffs, I wore it because I am proud of all those fighting for better and I am proud of everyone who has ever been oppressed for simply being who they are. I think these things are worth shouting about.


Only The Following People Should Vote…

It is finally the day of the general election. Not that this will be news to you; the election is everywhere. It is in my humble opinion that only certain people should vote, so I have taken the time to make a list of the demographics which I believe should go out and vote today.

The list goes as follows…

  1. People who complain
  2. People who don’t think there is anything to complain about. 
  3. Women
  4. People who have ever encountered women and care for their rights.
  5. Men
  6. The employed
  7. The unemployed
  8. The religious
  9. The non-religious 
  10. People with skin of any colour
  11. Homeowners
  12. Those who want to be homeowners in the future
  13. LGBT+ folk
  14. Those who care for the rights of LGBT+ folk
  15. Those who really don’t care for the rights of any minority group
  16. People not planning on emigrating within the next five years
  17. People who, if the result goes against their opinion, will emigrate sharpish.
  18. New citizens
  19. Young people
  20. Pensioners
  21. Middle aged people
  22. People with disabilities 
  23. People with long term illness
  24. Those who hope they won’t develop a disability or long term illnesses
  25. NHS service users
  26. Parents
  27. Teachers
  28. Those who have ever been taught by teachers
  29. People who have an opinion of any kind
  30. People who complain about the ‘youth’ of today
  31. People who worry about the ‘youth’ of tomorrow
  32. People who think human rights are pretty cool
  33. People who like the current government
  34. People who hate the current government
  35. Those who have ever shuddered at the actions of a dictator on the news. 
  36. The people who say their votes don’t count
  37. The people who say they are all idiots anyway (you need to choose the best of a bad bunch)
  38. People who don’t understand
  39. People who think they understand
  40. All UK Citizens over the age of 18. 

Don’t fit in any of these categories?

Don’t bother. 


I’m Angry- The Forgotten World War Centenary

I’m angry.
I’m angry because one hundred years ago today at 11pm England declared war on Germany.
I’m angry that one hundred years ago last monday, the first declaration of war was made between Austria-Hungary and Serbia.

This was the starting block of a war which would later take 8.5 million lives and injure 37 million. Not mentioning the 6 million who remain to this day unfound, but presumed dead. I am angry that in the egotistical nature of this country, we didn’t care about when the whole thing started. It wasn’t in the news, and went vastly unnoticed. We only take note of when we got involved in the massacre, when our lads got hurt. which takes us back to one hundred years ago today. But aren’t they all our lads regardless of nationality? They are all humans like us aren’t they?

A little known fact which also makes me sick to the stomach is that 306 British men were killed; on home soil, by their own country’s firing squad, all because they did not want to kill others. These men continue to be viewed by the military as a disgrace and their names are absent on all war memorials. They are being punished for not taking other’s lives.

I am angry because we have learnt nothing from all of these deaths. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what day we light candles, or sit in prayer. It doesn’t matter if it was the first declaration or our own. We are still killing. In fact the world has been at war ever since this original Great War. We see pictures of suffering and dead children on our front pages and complain on twitter that it is putting us off our cereal. We watch the death tolls rise like the stocks and shares.

How can we expect peace when we hold such an ‘us’ and ‘them’ attitude to international relations? We view conflict elsewhere in the world as being so separate from our own lives. Lives are lives. Loss is loss. Will we ever learn this true empathy?

A globe

The Smell of Coffee in The Silent Cacophony- What Makes a Good Music Teacher?

I have been learning the mandolin since christmas 2012. For those of you who don’t know what the mandolin is, its an instrument which is strummed like a guitar, about the size of a ukulele, tuned the same as a violin and with two strings per note. It is the first instrument I have ever actively enjoyed playing and I have now reached the point where I feel semi-competent in making bearable sounds from it (I can change chords and strum at the same time… just).

This success is largely thanks to my brilliant mandolin teachers of the past and present- both of whom happen to be called *Trevor and both predominantly use the nickname *Trev. The similarities don’t stop there as both have hefty facial hair of some kind, the ability to play the ukulele and spend vast amounts of time in rooms filled with musical instruments. All of which they are able to play- of course. Trev number one, a folk musician who lives near the sea, appears to have converted his front room into a musical man cave. Guitars hang from the walls like trophies and the occasional bell or kazoo is perched on one of the many music stands cast around the edges of the room. On top of his piano lives an impressive collection of trilby hats which seem to all possess different personas which he chooses carefully from before heading out to a gig. I only had a few sessions with Trev One, but he did a lot of work with me on how to sing and play simultaneously which I am very grateful for.

Trev number two teaches in a music school above a shop which sells cheap-but-cheerful brightly coloured guitars. In his room he has narrowed his collection down to just a few instruments of choice, some preserved in expensive looking cases like coffins whilst others sit perched on stands welcoming students in. Before moving away to college, and away from Trev number one, I’d had no idea how hard mandolin teachers are to come by. In fact it took nearly a term to find Trev number two. However since our first session, we have met up nearly every wednesday to learn chords and songs.

It has not always been the case that I have had brilliant music teachers- in fact previously I presumed that hating children was a necessary attribute of being in the school’s music service. I met my first ever music teacher when I was around seven years old: she was an ageing woman who wore a lot of hand knitted jumpers. Every thursday morning she attempted to teach myself and a small group of other girls the violin within the confines of the echoey school hall. I had signed up for violin lessons having never held the instrument before, and mistaking its sound for that of the cello. I soon discovered that the shrieking wooden devil was not for me. Plus our teacher appeared to be on a personal mission to find us the most embarrassing and childish songs to perform in front of school assemblies. After much pleading to my parents I was finally allowed to give my violin and makeshift sponge and rubber-band shoulder rest back to the council.

My next teacher was a lady called Mrs H, who was a plumpish woman with angry red cheeks. This could have possibly been caused by her spending all her working day either playing the clarinet or shouting at her students. I had gone to her with the intention of learning the flute, but after being told that I had a ‘clarinet mouth’ I was lumbered with the instrument until I finally left primary school. I hated the noise that it made and the way the texture of the reed on my lips made me shudder. Telling her I wanted to quit has to be one of the bravest moments of my school career, and though at first she appeared angry she didn’t start a vendetta against me as I had feared she might. In fact, she disappeared completely and I didn’t see her again.

It is these experiences of instrument learning which make me so grateful for the two Trevs. My current Trev is the inspiration for this blog. Last week I went to the music school for my usual wednesday afternoon lesson, mandolin in hand. When I entered his teaching room, which smells strongly of coffee and wooden instruments in their silent cacophony, I suddenly had something very different on my mind.

“Trev… would you possibly mind showing me a guitar?” I asked. I have only held acoustic guitars a few times before, their size has always been slightly intimidating compared to my mandolin and I distinctly remember breaking one’s strings in secondary school. Trev however was more than obliging, and we went on to spend the whole half an hour session looking at all the different types of guitar. He let me hold and explore each one- classical, acoustic, electroacoustic and just electric and did his best to explain the differences between them. I asked a lot of questions, all of which started with “It’s a silly question but…”, however that was ok because all of his detailed answers began with: “There is no such thing as a silly question but…”. He taught me a few basic chords and has agreed to do some lessons with me on the guitar, because I would love to be able to play a bit and apparently it is a lot less fiddly than the mandolin.

The experience reminded me that the best teachers are the ones who don’t just teach you the notes, vocabulary and rhythms. The best teachers are the ones that install in you the passion that they have for music. Even if it is not the instrument you are supposed to be learning, a different piece to the one you have been working on for weeks or just you wanting to chat about music in general- enthusiasm is the most valuable thing a student can gain from their teacher. Once you have that passion for music or a paticular instrument the notes and chords tend to fall into place because you have the motivation to practice until you get it right. That passion is the thing that makes you want to play your instrument to gain calm after a hard day, or makes you listen more carefully to songs to find ‘that chord’. It is the passing on of this enthusiasm which I think makes a really exceptional teacher.


Me holding the mandolin



(*Trev is a pseudonym for both mandolin teachers, however they do both share the same name.)

What Chance Does a Young Girl Have?

Today I came across a link on Facebook. It backed up thoughts I have been having recently about the role of women in the modern society and how much things have changed. When the subject of ‘Feminism’ was mentioned to my 50% female sociology class there was an audible sigh, which is a shame. I believe most women will support women’s rights, however I think the main problem is that in the UK women are fortunate enough not to have too many problems to face. This makes a lot of women see sexism as a war that has been won, and people who continue to fight it- those hairy-legged ‘feminists’- are often seen as just a bit strange. Produced by the BBC for the 100 Women Season, this moving animated film displays facts about life as a modern woman around the world. The film has music in the background and the statistics are only displayed visually, so I felt it would be a good idea to reproduce them so that everyone can access the facts about sexism. The video highlights the fact that there are many issues faced by millions of women around the world that are hardly ever heard of in more equality-driven societies. Facts displayed on screen include:

  • Women are illegally trafficked for labour and sex all over the world.
  • 1 in 3 women will be victim to domestic abuse from a partner.
  • Though more girls are attending school world wide, statistically women earn less than men doing the same job.
  • 16 million teenagers give birth every year. In Niger, Africa, 95% of 15-19 year olds have had children.
  • In Somalia 98% of women have been subject to female genital mutilation. There are many more countries with similar statistics.
  • Not to mention the millions of girls who have been aborted, just because the family would have preferred to have a boy.

Some positive advances are mentioned, such as the fact that women now have voting rights in most countries around the globe. Women are also gaining more seats in parliament.

These figures show clearly that sexism is not a won battle. Millions of women are still treated differently and abused simply because of their gender. Though in the western world there is much higher gender equality, I believe women should use this power to support those who are not as fortunate.

You can see the video here:

You can also help girls in the poorest countries of the world to get access to these basic rights by donating to and supporting the Plan UK ‘Because I am a Girl’ campaign.