James Brown is not a Massage Tool

Dr Erin Bowe psychologist

October 26, 2021

It’s that time of year again. A month until ‘Bowe week’ – the crazy week in my family where we ended up with our wedding anniversary, plus the two kids’ birthdays all falling within the same 7 days. No, I didn’t plan it that way!
My oldest daughter’s birthday is a month before Christmas, and the SECOND it’s over she will want to put the Christmas tree. There’s a version of me in the past which finds this so unrelatable. But children are here to teach us right? So I reframe it as endearing. So endearing that I bought her this card from Typo…

It’s sweet, because it reminds me of one of my dear friends who is obsessed with Christmas. This is where James Brown comes in. Circa early 2000 and something when we started the tradition of tree trimming at Al’s house. Back when none of us had kids. Al had a cat called Jo-Jo (as in “Get Back, JoJo” from the Beatles song) but he ended being referred to simply as Joey. We used to wrap him in tinsel and ‘help’ him put baubles on the tree. I actually struggle to listen to that Concrete Blonde song ‘Joey’ without getting a bit misty eyed. It’s kind of embarrassing when there’s no context for it…

It’s no secret that I used to hate Christmas. The panic buying, the ‘just be cheerful’ police who don’t understand mental health, and the ick factor of being ‘a good girl’ so a random old dude gives you presents and asks you to sit on his knee. Don’t get me started on the music.
Al saw it as her personal mission to convert Christmas grinches, by gently introducing the idea of creating your own traditions. James Brown’s Funky Christmas album is where it started. Forget Mariah, forget Buble, for me, James Brown’s Santa Claus going straight to the Ghetto is where it’s at.
While searching for the Bluey album on vinyl, I thought I’d search for this specific James Brown Christmas album while I was there. Imagine the hilarity of the text exchanges when I sent this screen shot…

Is James Brown considered a ‘massage tool?’

I mean, I have an anecdote about Barry White… (it’s G – rated, I might share it one day).

I can appreciate that many women over 35 have a thing for Boyz 2 Men, but I absolutely couldn’t keep a straight face if someone tried to seduce me to their music.  

At one of my first jobs, I shared an office with someone who had delightful sound alerts that would appear whenever she got an email or a text. One was James Brown yelling “woowwww I feel good” and the other was “get on up!” suffice to say, that’s a ‘no’ from me about the possibility of James Brown being a relaxation or massage tool!

It’s worth considering what your ideal clients are Googling and getting your categories and key words for your services right. For example, very few people google ‘birth trauma’ in the early days of searching for support, but they do type in ‘bad birth’, ‘confusing birth’, ‘what is birth meant to be like?’ and similar terms. That’s been useful for me to know in the last 4 years of promoting any birth trauma work I do.

Confuse your client (such as using too much jargon) and you’ll lose them. I’m a big fan of saying exactly what you mean so people can find what they need and not feel confused or worse than they already do.


This week on Episode 17 of the Mum as You Are podcast, I talk about these things in relation to creating family traditions and manageable gift-giving. You can can also hear me sing that line in the Concrete Blonde song “Joey, I’m not angry anymoooore!”, which I used to sing to the cat after he play-bit me.

The kids had gone to bed when I recorded it, so I couldn’t exactly belt it out, but you’re welcome to my weirdness 🙂




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