Upcoming gigs

Upcoming Gigs

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TESTT (Durham): April 12th

The New Adelphi (Hull): April 15th

Workshop Theatre (Leeds): April 17th

Hydra Bookshop (Bristol): April 18th

Derby Theatre: April 20th

Harrogate Theatre: April 24-25th

Ovalhouse (London): April 26-28th


London Book Launch at Ovalhouse, April 26th

York Book Launch at All Saints Church, April 29th

Small Fry DIY, Warrington, 2nd May

Spoken Weird, Halifax: 3rd May

Born Lippy, Newcastle 9th May

Shaken In Sheep Town, Skipton: 10th May

Find The Right Words, Leicester : 16th May

Queenie’s Coffee Nights, Huddersfield: 21st May

Gong Fu Poets, Coxhoe: 31st May

Verse Matters, Sheffield: 7th June

Slam Dunk, Hastings: 28th June

Word Club, Leeds: 29th June

Poetry Jam, Durham: 4th October

Saturday, 16 July 2016

20.16 Blog #14: Pokemon Go? Pokemon No! (or, Anxiety, I Choose You!)

I have loved Pokémon since 1999 and I will until the day I Faint, die and become a Ghost type, haunting the streets of York and known as that Odd Scrawny Ghost reciting poetry and writing blogs in 20 minutes and 16 seconds.

So it’s been a real kick in the Voltorbs that my Nokia windows phone cannot accommodate the Game (or App) Pokémon Go which is sweeping the nation like a Speed Boosted Mega Blaziken.
Don’t know what that is?  Don’t worry about.  Go back to catching Caterpies, mate.

The real salt in my wrenched wound was when a random drunk bloke (seemingly) took the piss out of me, assuming I was playing the game and pointing at nothing in the middle of the road saying “Did you see that?”  Maybe there was another (complex) joke at hand I (apparently) missed.  If so, I should have laughed.  Instead I posted on social media:  “Some guy took the piss out of me cos he thought I was playing Pokemon Go.  For Fuck's sake I can't win.

But clearly I can win, cos I got 25 Likes out of that little sharp observation.  Yus.

I post on social media too much, and check it too much too.  I touch my phone too often, and berate the instinct in my windows for doing so.  It’s becoming something I want to challenge in myself.  I am going to start making a tally on my hand in pen for every time I move to stop my phone.

Not because I don’t want my hand to do this, and that I want to cut down each day like beating a habit, but because I move to check my phone whenever I am nervous, or more accurately, anxious.

Many a year back, I worked for an EdFringe venue, and on Day 1 where everyone gets to meet one another, we had to find the people we were living with by going around and chatting to the strangers.  I couldn’t do it.  I don’t know what I did instead in the presence of people, but I essentially took trips to the toilet and sat in a cubicle more than once. 

I found it impossible to just start a casual conversation with people who were all strangers anyway.  But, of course, it all seems like they’ve all become instant friends with all the ease of a hot bath (a luxury during EdFringe).

As it happened, the people I stayed with where absolutely charming people I got on with exceptionally well, eventually.

Now I’ve found whenever faced with this issue of feeling nervous around people with an inability to add to a conversation, I’ll check my phone.  It’s become a social norm, something that’s acceptable and means that it takes pressure of being a voice within the voices.

As much as my phone has sucked me into a world of clicks and likes and a plastic sense of relationships, it has given me the ability to stay within a conversation, a space, a ensemble, without having to constantly be making eye contact, adding words and being entirely present.  I can take part of me away, and release some of that intensity.

If you know what I’m talking about, then Hi.

I’ve always found too many people all in one place, when alcohol and merriment flow, I become very uncomfortable, quiet and unable to hold a conversation.  Not just that, unable to stay in the place.  I see people in the arts scene do this a lot, post-show drinks, where people have big ol’ chats and buy each other drinks and compliment each other’s faces off.  Audience and actors and directors and techies mix and it all becomes so intense…

Of course, it’s not intense.  It’s just a form of intensity for me.

So I often end up leaving, no matter how my phone allows me some respite.  I’ve never tried just drinking through it, I don’t have the patience or money for alcohol.  If you are one of the people who has the energy for such beloved friendship circles, beer garden revelry and unfazed bar-waiting strength then I salute you, I don’t know how you do it, but you do it.

I don’t want to diminish anyone’s fun, and I also don’t think I want allowances or support on this.  I just thought I’d write a blog about it.  To say what I feel about an Internet-connected phone being so very useful when criticism is constantly levelled against it when it comes to ‘reality’.  To say how, if you feel it hard to network, to celebrate, to be involved in very involving scenes, you’re not alone.

You may feel alone.  I feel alone.  Hey, forget Pokémon Go, this is Anxiety Go.  Catching bad vibes and levelling them up.  Taming them.  Training them.  Choosing when they Evolve, and who they beat.  Be The Very Best, because there may be 8 Gym Leaders, an Elite Four but there is only One Champion.  So I guess being that rad is gonna be lonely from time-to-time, right?

And also to say FUCK POKEMON GO and I’m looking forward to Pokémon Sun & Moon.  Like I did with X & Y, I shall not be looking at any pre-release information, leaks or sneak peeks.

Love & solidarity

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