Friday, 5 June 2015



In bed, at midnight, between the 15th and 16th May, I picked up my phone and checked the time.


I noticed it, because it was midnight exactly.

The next day, I found out that's when Jojo had died. Maybe it was just coincidence. Or maybe the earth did stop turning for a moment at midnight and I sensed it. 

I've spent the last few weeks trying to find good enough words to do Jo justice. It's felt like no words could be good enough - but on Wednesday, at Jo's funeral, I listened to tributes from her family and friends. They captured the perfect magic and perfect beauty that was Jojo Gingerhead. It was an honour to be there. Being able to call Jo my friend will be one of the greatest privileges of my life. I still don't think I have good enough words for Jo, but there are some things I wanted to write down....

The white feather

The night before Jo's funeral, myself, Aimee and Rebecca arrived in Brighton. After saying hello to the sea, looking up at the big, bright full moon and discussing spells, eating a ton of sushi, and drinking more than enough wine, we went back to our apartment. Rebecca and Aimee had brought to Brighton a selection of big, bold geisha wigs. We all planned to wear one to Jo's funeral - it was one of the little ways in which we could pay tribute to her.

It was Jo that had found the Geisha Wigs shop first. And it was Jo that picked out the one for Aimee which she then planned to wear to the funeral. We were all trying the different wigs on and then Aimee stopped, stunned and said "Oh My God."


"This was on the floor."

She held up a white feather.

"What the fuck? Where was that?"

"Right there, on the floor."

It hadn't been on the floor when we came in. We checked the bedding. No feathers. We all started to cry.

It was my mom that first told me about white feathers, a few days before my granddad died. He was in a hospice, and in the days before his death, as his body was shutting down and he was out of it on morphine, he was talking to his own parents. My mom found a white feather on the floor, next to his bed. She said white feathers are messages from loved ones who have died. She was certain it was a message from his loved ones, that they were waiting for him, and that all would be ok. It gave her a lot of comfort, and I humoured her.

After he died, she found another white feather in the house. She thought it was a message from him. Again, I knew what it meant to her, and I humoured her.

Then when my mom died herself, I found a white feather in her hospital room by her bed, and one in my old bedroom at her house. I'm not religious, I'm not spiritual, I don't believe in life after death. So I put it down to coincidence. White feathers are probably littering all our houses and hospitals all the time and we just don't notice them.

As for the white feather that appeared when we were trying wigs on... The logical (and cynical) part of me can think of all sorts of ways it ended up there. Maybe it got caught on one of our clothes while we were out, unnoticed, and then fell to the floor as we were trying on the wigs. It doesn't really matter. However it got there, it moved us all. For a moment, it felt like Jojo was right there with us, drunk, big hair, big love. 

7 bitches

Me, Jojo, Aimee, Andrea, Cinzia, Rebecca, Rosie. Our little group is so special, the bond of friendship is so strong. When it was my birthday in March, the other 6 clubbed together and bought me a beautiful silver bangle. It has a little tag that says "Seven Bitches Forever" on one side, and "YOLO" on the other. It was Jojo that picked it out. It was perfect. For Jo's birthday, we got her some little hoop earrings, which were engraved with the same. I wanted all 7 of us to have something, so I got a little gift for the others. We all now having matching bangles - all exactly the same as the one Jo picked out for me. Rosie and Andrea couldn't be at the funeral, but the other 4 of us wore ours that day. 7 bitches forever.


The next day I had to be up and away early. I was giving a speech at a protest  as part of a campaign I am supporting in Staffordshire against the sale of NHS cancer care to private companies. I didn't want to leave Brighton and my friends, but it was an important thing to go to.
On the train I was listening to what is possibly my most favourite song in the world. It's called Daphne and tells the story of Daphne the nymph. She was being pursued by Apollo, one of the most powerful gods. She pleaded with Gaia, Mother Earth, to save her from him. She did - by transforming her in to a laurel tree. As I sat on the train, listening to this beautiful song about transformation, life and death, spirit and matter, I couldn't help but think about Jo.

These are the lyrics. It's a beautiful song.

Daphne in the wood, you'll become the wood
Fire in his eye has gone and fuelled your flight so high
Over the river rocks, the wind will carry thee
Call on nature now, for she'll keep you safe
From your own beauty

A heavy numbness seizes her into bark
Feet so swift to root, arm to branch and hair to leaf
Woman to tree

A heavy numbness seizes her into bark
Feet so swift to root, arm to branch and hair to leaf
Woman to tree


And in the end it's the difference of the spirit and the matter
It's the difference of the lover and the flyer
Don't it make you want to cry?

It's nothing less, nothing less between the worldly and the one self
All this breathing and the truth that's in your last breath
Don't it make you want to cry?

So fly, fly and we'll wear you like a leaf crown
Fly cause your truth is in the solid ground

Yeah, fly, fly and we'll wear you like a leaf crown
Fly cause your truth is in the solid ground

The Origin of Love

Once I was home I downloaded one of the songs that was played at Jo's funeral service. The Origin of Love (Hedwig and the Angry Inch). Listening to the lyrics, I realised it was another song that used stories of the gods. I listened to it on repeat, for hours and hours.

It's all so fitting.

Jojo Gingerhead is a goddess. She's of the universe, not just of the earth.

I might not be religious, I might not be spiritual. But as I sit here listening to the Origin of Love (loud) and think of the full moon, the feather, the moment the earth stopped turning... As I think of Jojo, I realise if that if I ever do decide to believe in a big, awesome power up there, I'm going to be picturing Jojo. The most powerful and brilliant goddess the universe ever created.

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