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Indiegogo: 45 hours left (thank you!)

19 Jul

Hey folks, just a short and sweet post to say there’s 45 hours left on my Indiegogo to publish a poetry pamphlet and fund my taking my show Asking Nicely up to the Edinburgh Fringe.

You guys rock! I’m already over my asking (nicely) total! You have made a nervous, broke poet with big dreams very, very happy!

I’m talking to my wonderful small press publisher Allographic and since I now have more funds to play with than I dared hope for – the poetry pamphlet is gonna be pretty beefed-up. Shiny full-colour cover, bigger print run, etc. The funding also means I can pay for my accommodation at the Edinburgh Fringe. This is all thanks to YOU GUYS. So thank you so, so much.
At this point I want to give a sneak preview. My collection will be called Alchemy, Treasure and Butterfly Wings (after a line in this poem) and I think this image will be the cover.

With a little number crunching I am astounded to see that people have donated an average of £14.25. I am so, so touched and so grateful. However, the ‘entry point’ donation remains £4 for a copy of the pamphlet and there’s still a little time to order one.

Also, if you run any poetry events you might want to take up the £20 funding option and get a 20 minute set. Three promoters have taken this option up already and I’m doing my first of these gigs at Lipped Ink tonight at the Poetry Cafe, Covent Garden.

Thank you everyone. Over and out. xx


Occupy, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Sneering at Activists

15 Oct

This post might be a bit of a fudge, but it’s of the moment. It encompasses Occupy, Jesus Christ Superstar, and the historiography of activism. Please bear with me.

Today is the two year anniversary of Occupy London beginning on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral. I never camped but I know a few people who did, and I was there on the first night – I saw the riot cops, the snatch squads, the police dogs brought out in an attempt to intimidate a peaceful group of protestors. I was also there on the last night as the community that had grown there prepared to split apart and tried to work out what to do next.

Throughout the time Occupy were camped there I couldn’t believe the levels of vitriol being pointed towards people trying to bring the system (which everyone knows is screwed) into sharper focus. People camped out were angrily denounced by people who had much the same opinions as them. This Daily Mash article at the time of the eviction just about sums it up: Millions back removal of dirty hippies with whom they are in complete agreement

 “I don’t know who I hate most – the bank that sent my business to the wall while awarding huge bonuses to its failing management
or the human sewage who have been pointing out what a fucking disgrace that is. 
Look at them, with their hair.”

This Sunday, I took my Fairy Godmother to see Jesus Christ Superstar. The choice was hers – I wanted to treat her, she loves Tim Minchin who’s playing Judas, so off we went to see Jesus Christ Superstar.

timminchinjudasI hadn’t read any reviews – I’d seen a production when I was 11 and liked some of the music but wasn’t that eager to re-visit either soppy musical numbers I’d swooned about early crushes to, or Christian doctrine which is not really my bag these days.

After the first number I was breathless with excitement: the stage for Jesus Christ Superstar was just grey steps with banners and tents all over the place. The crowds had black bloc hoodies, jeans, and dreads. The Roman soldiers were cops with riot shields who suddenly loomed behind the crowd from the top of the steps exactly like the riot cops had on the first night of Occupy.

I cannot begin to explain how excited and grateful I was to see the story of scrubby radicals from 2,000 years ago portrayed in the clothes of scrubby modern day radicals. Continue reading

Book Review: An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein

7 Mar

Book cover An Adult Evening with Shel Silverstein. It is a plain pink cover with black text.An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein by Shel Silverstein

A Forgotten Classic

I am forever grateful to my university’s drama society for putting on An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein, and opening my eyes to the wonder of Uncle Shelby’s adult stuff.

Quick word of warning: this is a lot closer to Freakin’ at the Freakers’ Ball than The Giving Tree.

It’s a series of dramatic shorts, each one riffing around two or three characters interacting in a dark, twisted, well observed, and often hilarious situation. Yes, it’s a script, and I don’t normally read scripts in my spare time, but this is what writing should be, Continue reading

Found Feminism: Kulcha Jammin’

1 Oct

This post originally appeared in Bad Reputation – a feminist pop-culture adventure – on 1 October 2012

This post is belated – I thought I’d lost these pictures on an old phone – but wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, I found them on my computer the other day.

Some time in 2010 or 2011 (I’m dating this by my handset) the Harley Medical Group started advertising plastic surgery on the tube. Images of pert models told women that they needed ‘new year, new confidence’. Plastic surgery is nothing new, but pushing that advertising on people as they go up the escalators was a new and unwelcome assault. “You’re on your way to work, by the way, have you considered that your tits could be better?” Then something wonderful happened: people started answering back. (Click on images for zoom.)

I was tickled to see a few with red printed ‘sexist shit’ stickers which I’d seen sold at a feminist event a couple of weeks before… but then more appeared. People were writing their own slogans on stickers and whacking them on as the escalator sped them past. At first I just saw them at Kings Cross where I commuted through every day. Then, little by little, I saw them in more and more places. More handwriting, more slogans. This was… a movement Continue reading

Article in the Independent on Royal Wedding Judicial Review

15 Aug

The pre-emptive action to stop dissenting voices

Article originally appeared on The Independent Blog on Friday 3rd of August 2012

Republic demonstration on the day of the jublileeOn the day of the royal wedding I was arrested for being in fancy dress. I had gone to Soho Square to report on the zombie flashmob I’d heard about on Twitter. I planned to take photos, interview people, and report on it for a friend’s zombie blog. Five of us left the area when it looked like we might be kettled. We decamped to a nearby Starbucks to drink coffee and talk zombie movies. From there we were stopped and searched, arrested, handcuffed and held in police cells for hours. The reason: police interpreted the flashmob as an anti-royalist protest.

We were arrested for a ‘breach of the peace’. Two weeks ago the High Court dismissed four separate Judicial Reviews that myself and others brought against the Metropolitan police. The stage is set for extremely heavy-handed policing over the Olympics, and the crackdown has already begun. Continue reading

Beginner’s Guide to the Edinburgh Fringe

7 Aug

This article originally appeared in Bad Reputation – a feminist pop-culture adventure on 07 August 2012.

The Edinburgh Fringe has begun! I’m not there yet – I’ll get there next Saturday – but the Twitter updates from friends there are already making me jealous and nostalgic in almost equal measure. This year will be my fourth Fringe – so here’s a beginner’s guide from – if not an old hand – someone who’s been ’round the Edinburgh block a few times.

Welcome to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival! Wave goodbye to your money, sobriety and any semblance of a normal sleep pattern. Say hello to the weird, the wonderful, and hysterical, dry-heaving laughter of a kind that won’t quite translate to the outside world.

Get ready to start spotting your idols just walking down the street, get ready to say ‘no thanks’ to flyers roughly every 30 seconds, and wind up taking them anyway because the person handing you them was funny/charming/in a funny costume/worryingly eager. Primarily: be prepared to be completely overwhelmed for choice.

Image of flyering on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh

No poster stays up for long before someone posts another over it

The very first time I went to the Fringe, I just dipped in for a day when I happened to be in Scotland. My travelling companion and I almost had panic attacks when we started leafing through the Fringe Brochure (about 1/3 the size of a Yellow Pages directory and stuffed full of tempting offers). In the end, we managed three shows in one day, literally ran from one venue to another to make it in time and managed a pretty full Fringe experience: Debbie Does Dallas: the Musical, the wonderful Aussie musical comedy guys Tripod, and Phil Jupitas Reads Dickens – which turned out to be just Phill Jupitas reading some of Dickens’ lesser-known short stories and – on that day – he was in a foul mood. Also: the day cost us £45 each in tickets alone. This was before I knew about the Free Fringe (more on that in a moment). Continue reading


19 Jul

HOLY COW I GOT AN ARTICLE IN THE MUTHA-LOVIN’ GUARDIAN! Getting an article published in the Guardian has been on my bucket list since my early teens and holy hell I’ve done it. I wish it were about something more positive than having the Judicial Review claims dismissed – which was gutting on many, many levels – but this article was my silver lining.

Even if I did get Comment is Free trolls aplenty (a new one on me) I also got this Guardian BylineBOOM.

Arrest without crime – the truth of a royal wedding overreaction

The high court has ruled that 15 pre-emptive arrests were not unlawful, as the criminalisation of protest continues

On the day of the royal wedding I was arrested for a fictional breach of the peace. This week the high court has ruled that there was nothing unlawful about the police’s actions.

Four people in zombie fancy dress outside Belgravia Police stationI was in fancy dress on the day. That was it. One minute I was in a Starbucks near Soho Square with four other people who’d come for a zombie flashmob. Four hours later I emerged from a police cell with handcuff marks still visible on my wrists. If it can happen to a boring, middle-class white girl like me, it can happen to anyone. Continue reading