Reading, watching, listening to – April

It’s going to be May this week! Not that you’d know by looking out of the window.  You, like me, may be fed up to the back teeth of hearing about GDPR, so I’ve decided to just delete my database and Mailchimp account and won’t be sending out marketing emails anymore! My work blog will still talk about current projects and will offer PR advice, and my inane witterings and updates will stay here.  At the bottom of my marketing emails (long after everyone had stopped reading), I used to talk about what I was reading, watching and listening to. And here it is!


The husband has just bought me a copy of “Coal Black Mornings” by Suede frontman Brett Anderson as he knows how much I love this band. I haven’t told him (my husband, not Brett Anderson), that I read this earlier this month. In one sitting.

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It is a beautifully-written autobiography about Anderson’s pre-fame days, before Suede won any Mercury Prizes and before the release of Dog Man Star, one of my favourite albums of all time. Far from being the posh boy I thought he was, he grew up in dreadful poverty on a council estate with eccentric parents.

Anderson calls it a “book about failure” but it is far from it. It explains everything about their music and their raw, blistering lyrics. There’s no romance or luxury here and when you read about Anderson’s upbringing it explains Suede’s gritty, real lyrics and the classical undertones to their music. It is this incredible musicality that drew me to them in the first place – I remember hearing So Young when I was in sixth form and feeling blown away. As a huge misfit myself, this was a band that I could identify with. Their first two albums are a major part of the soundtrack to my life and they were the first band I ever saw live. He is a phenomenal frontman – so energetic and passionate. And so beautiful….


I came across The Good Place on Netflix by accident and stayed as it has the always-brilliant Ted Danson as the architect of the afterlife and Kirsten Bell, she of the voice of Anna in Frozen in a brightly-coloured afterlife.   Eleanor Shellstrop dies and owing to a mix-up (they think she was a human rights lawyer), turns up in the Good Place in error. What I didn’t realise until a few episodes in is that this ‘Son of a Bench’ was getting a ‘forking’philosophy lesson. (You can’t swear in the Good Place).


There’s a twist at the end of series one that you’ll see coming, but The Good Place is the first time I’ve ever seen a comedy that has moral philosophy at its heart.  Eleanor is a self-centred, terrible person, but you’ll love her and admire her for trying to get better. Moving into series two, Eleanor has become inspiring. Though she isn’t perfect, she’s fascinating and has inadvertently inspired me to be a better person too.

Listening to:

Emily Barker

Let me know what you’re reading, watching, listening to! @newburymummy

Athena – what’s on May -June



Making a good impression is integral to networking and is one of the subjects of the next month’s Athena Network meetings gs for West Berkshire businesswomen.

Speakers for May and June include Rachel Maunder, the ‘Mindshift Mentor’ who will be discussing the ‘power of speaking as part of your business promotion’ and will be offering tips on writing and delivering a presentation at the Hungerford meeting that takes place on Friday May 11th at Audley Inglewood.

The Thatcham meeting takes place on Tuesday May 15th at The Regency Park Hotel, Thatcham where Victoria Lochhead of Frankie & Ruby will be offering tips about personal style.

The Newbury Central meeting takes place on Wednesday May 16th at Arigato, Newbury; Jodie Green, tax accountant at Wilkins Kennedy will be offering expert advice on tax.

The Newbury West meeting takes place on Thursday ​June 14th at T​he Red House Marsh Benham where Lara Lauder, Presence, Impact and Image Consultant will be discuss how to ensure you and your business create a positive first impression.

Debbie Miles runs the four West Berkshire groups and said: “At the Athena Network we pride ourselves on the quality of our speakers and the relevance of the topics to supporting our members’ business and personal development.”

All meetings take place from 12pm to 2pm and visitors are always welcome but must book in advance.