HAPPY INTERNATIONAL OPTIMISM WEEK
It’s the most forward thinking time of the year, I hope you’re still feeling hopeful and wide eyed about everything. I hope you had a good Christmas, and that you got really drunk at New Year. Messy Mess is good for your soul. When it struck Midnight, me and my parents were sat on their bedroom floor, drinking rum from the bottle and giggling. Mate. They’re so awesome.
I don’t really have a new year’s resolution. I’m a free lancey artist now, so I feel like doing that, doing it well, and keeping it up is packed with enough challenges and twists and turns and the like without me adding nonsense like ‘eat more kale’ to it (I might eat more kale though. Love that stuff) And that comes with a series of little changes – the first being to use this blog more as an artistic diary, and less as a LOOK AT ME, which is what it started to be later on in the year last year (sign of insecurity, innit? Also, boring to read). It’s a nicer use of a blog, and much, much more useful. One of my fave blogs to read is by a company who’s work I love, but don’t really understand (no names – clue… the letters of their companies name are hidden throughout this paragraph) – it’s sort of mystical to me, getting that insight into their work. Mine won’t be that good, cus I’m fundamentally an idiot. But still.
I decided to start working again today – it’s a little head start, which just means I can ease myself into the new year, and also that I can work at my own pace, and hit the ground running next week. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s nice to work quietly and be happily stimulated. I like my parents popping their head round the door and seeing what I’m doing. S’nice. Working towards the end of last year felt a bit like… hmmm. Being a really, really stroppy teenager, and a nagging whining parent all at the same time. Blech.
Today I’ve been thinking about Dark and Lovely, which will be happening in Leeds in the 3rd week of February (get in on Valentine’s Day, cus I have no date and want to punish everyone I work with that does. JOKES. I like Hallmark holiday.). I’ve been planning the publicity photo image (SQUEEEEEEEEEE) which is super exciting, but I can’t tell you about it, because of surprises! But also, just gently trying to piece together the different bits of it:
– Trying to lock down the magic exchange that happens when you sit at your aunts, nans, sisters, mothers feet, and they do your hair, What they get what you get
– Trying to grasp at – maaaah, none of these words are right (that’s why we make images of them instead) – but looking at moments of cultural recognition between strangers and between friends
– Thinking about the piece I’d like to make, but maybe can’t and why that is
– Looking at construction of black identity. This is what I am very much fixated on at the moment
– Thinking about locating anger in a work, in a way that isn’t numbing and attacking and subduing your audience
– Thinking about the positioning of interviews, and other people’s words within the work
– How many wig changes can you get away with in a 40 minute performance? (40 minutes is an arbitary number, we’ll change it to fit the number of wig changes)
– Thinking about the difference between Solange and Beyonce
– The difference between Tina Turner and Diana Ross
– Looking at my hair and willing it to grow (it doesn’t get longer, just denser, like a star collapsing in on itself and forming a black hole)
– If you can internalise racism, if it can be that insidious, how can – ?
– How to thread Chapeltown through the work, delicately, but in a way that is really, really essential
– “It’s called Dark and Lovely? Like the relaxer? That’s wicked” = FIST PUMP OF JOY
– Reading a lot of Dean Atta ‘I wish I grew up on a Council Estate’
Hmm, Hmm, Hmm.
For a little while, I was trying to separate the identity questions from the hair questions… because asking those questions at the same time, changes the tone in which I ask the hair questions, makes it sadder, and angrier. Hmm. Is impossible – the one doesn’t make sense without the other.
And reading this:
“As they become known to and accepted by us, our feelings and the honest exploration of them become sanctuaries and spawning grounds for the most radical and daring of ideas. They become a safe house for that difference so necessary to change and the conceptualisation of any meaningful action. Right now, I could name at least ten ideas I would have found intolerable of incomprehensible and frightening, except as they came after dreams and poems. This is not idle fantasy, but a disciplined attention to the true meaning of it ‘it feels right to me’. We can train ourselves to respect our feelings and to transpose them into a language so they can be shared. And where that language does not yet exist, it is our poetry which helps to fashion it. Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.”
Whilst listening to this, and sometimes getting up to dance like a child with no religion:
I fell down a rabbit hole. Hmm.
Lots of people got in touch following the show to request a reading list of the various…