What a Prickly Pear

when the world burns down and the clouds turns black and the sky turns white and the days turn night

Hey, What’s up, Hello

It is summer, so exfoliate your feet, buy Ego Death by the Internet, kiss goodbye to monogamy and sit. in. the. sun. life is too short for a good work ethic and what is the point what is the point WHAT IS THE POINT if you’re not clearing time to drink booze and eat charred meat/halloumi/salmon/peppers –

(no, no, make hay while the sun shines blah blah blah)

I’ve not written to you for a long time, I don’t think – my last blog was a sad, exhausted little thing – it’s been a rough six months with depression, http://www.ourhealthissues.com/product/valium/ anxiety, also loads of growing up as a person and as an artist. I’m delighted to say that I look back on who I was 6, 9, 12 and 18 months ago and cringe a little, which suggests my personal growth is going as planned.

Here is a picture of me as a pseudo art hoe, but not really:

pseudo art hoe

I’ve just come back from doing Bryony Kimmings’s (google her name, get to know, I love her a bit – she was one of the five artists – with Scottee, Bobby Baker, Invisible Flock and everyone in Out From Under – that I looked at when I was a student, and went ‘ You can do that? I could do that! I’m going to do that, I can do that,I should do that’ – so its a very lovely thing to have a week of her time) week long work shop on making art if you a) procrastinate a lot b) get all up in your head a lot, and it’s imbued me with a sort of joyful, if frenetic (is that a word? text me if it’s not or I’ve used it the wrong way, don’t let me be embarrassed on the internet, fam) energy. I am feeling ready to swan dive into the making of ‘salt.’, the new work for next year, and a bit more ready to face the world, after a time of desperately wanting to hide. It’s good, and for as long as said energy lasts, I’ma use it to make the best art I can, I hope.

I’m in my beloved studio @ East Street Arts in Leeds – It’s Sunday, so no one is really around? I’m listening to Ego Death (v LOUD) and my door and window are open – it smells like my reed diffuser (it’s called ‘Fairy Dust’, and smells like a 10 yr old girl’s bday party, I hate it), Rose Tea and fresh air. I’m gonna mop the floor in the minute, so it’ll smell like bleach…I’m happy to be here, v cheery and chirpy. It’s good to note it down, to remember that that happiness is a big portion of who I am, when not weighted down by stuff that lives inside my head.

Anyway, love, this blog is to tell you



Touring is the best and worst of my job I think? A very unhealthy lifestyle gets more unhealthy, you’re exposed to lots more critique, v tiring,v stressful, lifting and carrying things off of vans, never in your own bed, v little routine, BUT also you just get to perform and perform and perform, you learn lots about yourself as a performer and your work simply by doing it over and over again, you meet lots of people, you get to know the country a bit better, and you get to trojan horse your politics and your way of looking at the world into people’s lives. It’s a beautiful thing, and I’ll whinge about it for the next six months (sorry Emma) but between you and me, I love it.

The work I am touring is


Which is the show I made about hair.

This blog is late (sorry Emma) – partly cus of a lack of organisation, partly because of being caught in a trap full of other work, but also, if I’m completely honest cus I didn’t want to write it (always the bottom line, innit?). I’ve had to really chop up Dark and Lovely, make loads and loads of changes to it – to take out the bits where the politics was cringe as hell (those in the know call it ‘hotep’) – to figure out what it means to take stories from a community out of the vicinity of that community, to clarify bits where I thought I was saying one thing – but actually I was saying another – to add a big dollop of anger, a richer palate of humour and playfulness and a thin, barely perceptible (but it’s there alright) thread of nastiness that I’m not proud of – but it’s there, and needs it’s seat at the table. Most importantly, I had to sit down and really figure out if the world really needs more work about black hair – and how I situate what I’ve made within a context where black women’s bodies and choices are over discussed (COUGH let Rihanna live COUGH) and dragged over hot coals as it is.

But I’m slowly starting to fall in love with what I’m reconstructing – and I can’t wait to do some little bits of scratch of new material over the next couple of months – and to show it to you in October in all it’s itchy, rum infused, Toni Morrison referencing, Leeds flavoured, unapologetically black, Joy, Rage, Fire.

Dark and Lovely is full of little seeds of how I grow into a an increased political awareness, the rejuvenation of my relationship with my mothers and aunties, me falling in love with a man and his daughter in the corner of a barbershop, me realising that both my blackness and my womanhood are inseparable things, and learning to move through the world on my own terms but also with a bit more gentleness. It’s got stuff you’d expect, memory, and pressing combs and shea butter and terrible hair cuts of the past and disembodied doll’s heads and wigs, and the sound of dry hair being aggressively combed, but also it’s got weird shit that just belongs to me. I want you to come and see it so I can wrap you up tight in it, I’m bursting to share it.

So yeh, that’s it really!

It’s in London in October – Oval house

Then it’s in Bradford, Sheffield, Newcastle and Birmingham in November, hitting up Theatre in the Mill, The Crucible, Northern Stage,and the REP.

Come, bring a friend, I’ll bring about £3000’s worth of synthetic hair, music by Buffalo, Lights by Cassie Mitchell, and Design by Rachel Good and we’re gonna have a great time.

mo hair mo problems

Hmmm, what else?

I’m doing a DIY in a couple of weeks, me and Ria Hartley are taking some gorgeous people for a two day countryside retreat, with support and care from LADA and Compass Festival, to look at how we work with a safe space as a site of radical agency. (POW!)
And then I’m in Edinburgh for the last week of the festival – i.e. British Council week. For a while, I’ll just be watching people’s work and pulling my art face at it, and then Fri-Sat-Sun, I’m doing Race Cards at Forest Fringe. TBH babes, I might write you something about that nearer the time.

1234 words, shut UP sel

Love you, Bye


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