A 20.15 blog (written in 20 mins 15 seconds)
Yeah. We get it. The Tories won. So put your anger back in the box for 2020, Henry.
Well, I feel like I never got a chance to vent. Because over the last month you might have noticed a lack of blogging. That’s because I’ve been mega busy. Like, I’m always busy. But the meganess makes it even more busy-ised.
What’s been occurring? Well I bought a car so I can zip to gigs, festivals and workshops quicker. That feels a big deal.
I finished my 2nd draft of Who Shot The Sherriff, my play for Harrogate Theatre, a summer family show about Robin Hood as a kid. It should be a good madcap comedy and I’m happy with the result, a few more tweaks and it’ll be ready for rehearsals. I’m going to write a proper blog about it later, but for now. It’s there, the arrow is notched up, the aim is true.
I’ve also been working on a community project for The On Our Turf Project. I am the Community Artist and my role was to put together an evening of entertainment for the people of Selby, inspired by their stories, the town’s history and it’s character. We had various groups come and perform, a nice sizeable audience and lots of smiling faces. So that was a positive buzz.
But Thursday night wasn’t, and nether was Friday morning when, after 18 years, the Tories got a majority government. I went through a whole series of emotions that night and morning, as I did think Miliband might have turned it around. But he proved a damp dishcloth of a banner-bearer when it came to the crunch, and we’re stuck with a Tory cabinet unbound by Lib Dem liberalisms.
The Stage article by says it best, but I want to say I found myself falling into the trap of preaching to the converted. Well, not quite. In the past year I got into challenging the problem and problematic culture within punk, nerd and the left. Trying to wrestle with my own privilege, my own preconceptions and attitudes. My poems have been trying to remove or play with gender. I have been putting on gigs as both Say Owt Slam with Stu Freestone and Who Killed Moose? with Nick Smith where we really take time to consider the acts we book. I’ve also been playing my guitar. WOT?
But certainly I have not been performing to an audience of Tories and trying to explain why their votes have doomed many to death. I have not been gigging to Liberal Democrats who cling to the idea their party’s fence sitting does more harm than good. I have not been gigging to UKIP voters, who buy into the sickening lies of fascists in suits.
It I want to change that. I want to use my platform as an artist to try and perform more to different crowds. I’m not a theatre company, I’m a poet who just needs a voice and just needs to turn up to open mics and events. I won’t water down my opinions, I don’t hide my politics and I won’t compromise my performance style. But is there any point being the punk who plays to punk crowds saying the same old rhetoric everyone in the room agrees with? I want to challenge those audiences, and hope I do, but time to challenge those who need to see.
This inevitably involves me being staunch in my views. I do need to change views. I do need lines in the sand. I do need to acknowledge some people are wrong. Not evil, but still their perceptions on the economy, on race, on business, on immigration, on arts, on homelessness…on all sorts of issues leads to regulation, law, control and cuts, torture, deportations, death.
That’s how I’m feeling at the moment. An immense sense of duty, of certainty and, sure, call it righteousness. But I want to channel that not just into demonstrations (but trust me, there’ll be plenty of that). But also writing new work, accessible but sharp, dangerous and defiant but truth-telling. And I will do my best to keep fighting.
Because another world is possible, so another way of thinking and fighting is always, and should always, be possible.