To begin with: one of the reasons I was in London, though not the main reason, was to perform at Bar Wotever. Wotever is a great night at a great venue, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, ran by an amazing team of people and usually attracting a brilliant crowd of top humans. Rather unfortunately the event this past week also attracted a noted transphobe who, I'm given to understand, has a history of stalking and harrassing people among the Wotever regulars. This person snuck in hoping not to be noticed, got noticed, and got told to leave. Personally I was tickled pink at the thought of this person being in the audience when I did my spot, but the organisers have a pretty clear duty of care to those attending their event, and ejecting people who've made members of your audience feel unsafe definitely comes under that heading. And that's pretty much all I'm going to say on the matter. A bigoted wanker turned up to a pub and got bounced. To say anything more than that is to give that wanker entirely more attention than she deserves. End of, as I believe you young people say.
But not the end of my London adventures, as I will return to London in just over a fortnight to perform at Transpose, the phenomenal CN Lester's showcase of amazing trans art and creativity, occuring on the 28th of June as part of London Pride. CN wants everyone attending to bring a cis friend partly to raise awareness, and partly to annoy Louise Mensch, who thinks the word 'cis' is offensive, the poor dear. Coming down from Newcastle that might be logistically difficult for me, but I'll see what I can do.
One thing I do want all my cis friends to come to is this year's Newcastle Pride. Although I note that you wouldn't know it from their website (quelle surprise), this year's Newcastle
The Big Announcement is that I am honoured to be one of a select group of poets chosen to collaborate on Architects of Our Republic, a very special project organised by Apples and Snakes, sponsored by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights March on Washington DC and Martin Luther King's seminal 'I have a dream' speech. Us poets have been selected to write poems in response to the speech which will be turned into films by film-makers in our regions. These films will then be screened at the South Bank Centre in London on the 28th of August - the exact anniversary of the March, along with a whole host of other cool goings-on including choirs, placards, processions, music, and - oh yeah - godfathers of rap The Last Poets. As I say, I'm honoured to be included in a project like this. Writing something that won't look like total crap beside one of the greatest pieces of oratory in history is a daunting prospect, but I'm working on something. I don't want to say too much about it yet, but what I will say is that I've used one of the key metaphors in King's speech as a way into writing about a particular instance of modern injustice I've been quietly incensed about for some time now. When you see the film, and hear the final piece, you'll see that I'm now being noisily incensed about it. And hopefully, by bringing it before the South Bank Centre crowd, I can bring it to a wider audience, and - maybe, just maybe - prove Auden wrong and write some poetry which makes something happen. Maybe.
So: those are the announcements. Will the congregation please now rise for the final hymn, '(If You Don't Wanna Fuck Me, Baby) Fuck Off' by Jayne County and the Electric Chairs...