Happy New Year II: In which we say goodbye to January and start again

Dear January 2015,

I know it’s hard, being the first of the year. December is a difficult act to follow, what with all its froth and glitter and celebratory wantoness. Then you come along – turning up the morning after and picking your way across a dirty carpet covered in streamers and fag-ends. You are overwhelmed by expectation. People expect change goddammit, they want something new, something better and they expect you to deliver. So you reach into your pockets and pull out your offerings: cold air, short dark days, a broken boiler. You root around for more, desperate to find gold amongst the bits of fluff and loose change. But all you can find is illness, a flu virus here, something more serious there…Then you bring out the big guns. The media go mental. It’s not your fault, of course it’s not. It’s not as if these things don’t happen to the others.  It’s just that you’ve got this reputation and frankly the weather doesn’t help. You’ve done your part. You’ve ushered in the new year, you’ve given people the excuse they needed to hide under a duvet, to stay inside, to ingest something healthy. But now it’s time to move on.

So. Let’s start again. Happy New Year. And HELLO February (Oh for god’s sake put those chocolate hearts away, what are you, twelve?!).

Faith in LGBT

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I’m excited to be chairing ‘Faith in LGBT’ as part of LGBT History Month 2015 in Camden on 6th February.

“An evening of exploration of sexual orientation and gender identity contextualised within religion, faith and belief with short presentations and Q&A from Father Bernard Lynch, Rainbow Jews Project Manager Surat Knan, Kieran McCrystal from Soka Gakkai UK and Dr Rusi Jaspal from the De Montfort University.”

Free refreshments available on the night (soft drinks and wine). Tickets are FREE but you must register at: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/faith-in-lgbt-tickets-15004989327

For more on the Camden & Islington LGBT History Month February 2015, download the programme here

Cabaret Artist of the Year!

Recently, I’ve been taking a hiatus from busy places both on and off-line.  I’ve been craving quiet and nature. In short, my current fantasy is to hide out in a log cabin in the wilderness, surrounded by trees. No social media, no traffic, no people. Just green and sky and pen and paper. Huge windows in a small room. A wood burner and a decent coffee pot. Time. The sound of the wind through branches. Just being and writing.

But yesterday I found myself all dressed up in a nice frock and heels, a gold evening bag frantically swinging from my shoulder, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I jumped in a cab for the last bit of the journey (because these kind of heels are for looking good in, not for rushing from tube stations in) and arrived at Sway Bar in Holborn to be greeted by Katie and Naomi from Planet London for the Ultimate Planet Community Awards 2014‬. I’d been nominated for Cabaret Artist of the Year – which I didn’t think I had a chance in hell of winning. But also, the club night I compere: Female Masculinity Appreciation Society (FMAS‬) was nominated for the Most Creative Club Night of the Year award, and the Wotever DIY Film Festival, which I was involved with and which is run by the wonderful Theresa Heath-Ellul and Tara Brown was nominated for Film Festival of the Year. In addition, friends and all-round brilliant Wotever World people Ingo Andersson, Positive Change and DJ Jo Gattenberg were also nominated for, respectively, Role Model; Volunteer of the Year; and DJ of the Year. I thought it would be nice to hang out with mates, gawp at hot women and maybe bag a free drink.

There was free drink*. It started at 3pm. And although it didn’t stay free for long, it did not stop flowing. I forgot about the log cabin and embraced the glamour. I met some amazing, inspiring people, including author Karen Campbell. We bonded over the completely cast-iron fact that neither of us could possibly win our respective categories (I think you know where this is going…). I met the inimitable Lady Phyll, who runs UK Black Pride. Not only was she hilarious when she presented some awards, she also let me have some of her wine after mine ‘disappeared’. I screamed and whooped when Kerry Positive Change, Jo Gattenberg, Ingo, FMAS and the Wotever DIY Film Fest all received Honourable Mentions. And then, I, er, won an award myself. It was very surreal, because I just didn’t think that could happen. And so I was quite drunk and hadn’t planned anything to say and just thought ‘What?? What the fucking what??’ and did some embarrassing gushing** and then had to have my photo taken against the ‘media wall’ by one very sexy photographer who said something that I misheard as “are you ready for your bikini shot?” (which was a little disconcerting, as I don’t even own a bikini). And then there was dancing …

Winner – Cabaret Artist of the Year 2014 (Photo by Emma Bailey)

You know when people say “I NEVER WIN ANYTHING!”? Well, *I* never win anything! Only now I have. And that’s rather nice.

So, thank you everyone who voted for me. It was unexpected and appreciated and meant more than I thought it would. Thank you Ingo, who’s given me lots of opportunities to prance around on stage talking stuff and nonsense. And thanks to Katie and Naomi at Planet London for making us visible, creating such a lovely event and bringing so many talented Lesbian, Bi and Queer women together.

Crawling home in the wee hours, then getting up again for work this morning with feeling in only some of my toes*** was a brutal bump back to earth. Am I still craving that log-cabin in the woods? Yep. Thing is, if you wear gold fishnets in a forest, do they make a sound?****

Wotever Family Outing

Wotever Family Outing (Photo by Emma Bailey)

You can read the full list of winners here and see more pics and video from the night here
*and hot women, obvs.
**not *that* kind, you perv.
***feeling in all ten toes has now returned, but it took a while.
****That doesn’t work, does it. I tried to be clever. It didn’t work. Deal with it. You get the gist.

Conversation with myself: I’m Writing

Sick and twisted

I’m writing a story.

~No, you’re updating your blog about writing a story. Not quite the same thing.

Yes, but it’s just so dark!

~Your blog?

No, the story.

~So?

I disturb myself sometimes.

~Good.

Good?

~It means you’re getting somewhere. You’ve hit a nerve.

:-/

~Look, the things you write about aren’t a literal representation of you. We all have darkness inside us. We all think horrible things. At least you’re not doing them.

True.

~Now, stop pissing about and get back to work.

Thank you.

~You’re very welcome.

Shortlisted for the Ultimate Planet Community Awards 2014

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Oh, I do love standing in the spotlight with a microphone in my fist, body bedecked by sequins and a filthy glint in my eye. Looks like someone else loves it too, coz I’ve only gone and been shortlisted for Cabaret Artist of the year (London), Most creative club night/event of the year (FMAS) category in the Ultimate Planet Community Awards 2014! Woohoo!

Photo credit: AbsolutQueer Photography

Photo credit: AbsolutQueer Photography

Voting is open until 31st October. If you’d like to support me and and all the categories you are interested in, you can vote here: http://bit.ly/UltAwards14

Photo by Stav Bee

Photo by Stav Bee

Winners will be announced at the Ultimate Planet Awards Ceremony on Sunday 2nd November at Sway Bar in Central London. I may well buy a new frock.

Mistress Says...

 

As seen on the Good Blog Guide

NWS_WIDGET_72dpi The lovely people at New Writing South have, in their infinite wisdom, included Chez Goldberg on their Good Blog Guide. WooHoo! They’ve given me a little internet badge and everything. Dedicated to “inspiring, nurturing and connecting all kinds of creative writers across the region and beyond”, New Writing South are a brilliant resource for writers. Their workshop ‘Stop fucking about and start writing’ looks particularly good and is the kind of ethos I fully endorse 🙂 Check out all the good writerly stuff they have to offer.

Conversations with my Mother, Part #5: “You’ll have to get a thing”

On the ‘phone to Mum, I told her I was getting a plumber round to give me a quote for installing a shower. I thought she’d be pleased. She suddenly sounded very serious.

Mum: You do know, don’t you, that you’ll have to get a…a thing.

Me: A thing?

Mum: You know…! A shower curtain. Or a door.

Me: Mum! I have had showers before! I’m not an idiot!

Mum: Do I know what you know?!

Do not attempt without a shower curtain. Or door.

Do not attempt without a shower curtain. Or door.

What I Saw

I saw it on my way to work today. Its fragile body lying stretched amongst the leaves, arms and legs reaching out to the railings, as if it wanted to squeeze through to the allotment on the other side. Its cheek was damaged – the fur bunched up where it should have lain flat. But the rest of it looked unbroken – short grey and black fur tiger-striped and strokable. I looked for a collar, an identifier, but there was none. Wondered what to do. Should I tell someone? Be late for work? Who to tell. It was probably someone’s pet. It was someone.

I left it there. Walked to the station. Sad. Moved. Impotent.

Sad for this soft creature and for whoever it left behind.

I wish now that I had stroked it.

Writers Workshop in South London’s Newest Cinema!

Cinemas are one of my all-time favourite spaces. The feel of plush velvet beneath your fingertips, a dark room filled with anticipation, the whir of long red curtains being drawn back to reveal a giant screen. And then…the music, the flickering lights, the sound and pictures so big, so all-encompassing.

Agata Zielinska-Hryn clearly loves it too, because she’s built one beneath her shop in Forest Hill, South London. Doopo Doopo opened in 2012 and is an independent art gallery, boutique and arts hub. It’s home to the Vortex Cinema Club, creative workshops including film-making, oil painting, guitar classes and life drawing. I’d been in several times before popping the question earlier this summer: Have you ever thought of hosting a writer’s workshop here? Yes! she said, that’s exactly what I’ve been looking for! And so The Forest Hill Writers Workshop was born.

Every Thursday night from 7pm – 9pm the newly developed cinema space will be converted into a writers workshop and I’ll be taking writers through their paces in a supportive atmosphere. There will be detailed feedback and inspiring weekly excercises. Writers will write. And laugh. Because laughter is important in these things 🙂

The new workshop begins on 23rd* October and is strictly limited to 12 places. See the Forest Hill Writers Workshop page for more details.

Testimonial:

I studied with Stephanie Goldberg for two terms and found her classes dynamic, challenging and hugely enjoyable. The structure of the class was always reliable, allowing time for free writing and shared responses to students work. Her critical feed back was always immensely valuable. My writing grew significantly under her tutelage and I would not hesitate to recommend her classes to writers of all levels.

Denise Stephenson, writer of Pentimento (recently awarded 4 stars by The Stage)

TO BOOK, POP IN OR CALL DOOPO DOOPO ON 078 4271 8336.

DOOPODOOPO

*This post originally stated that the workshop would begin on 9th October. The venue then changed the date and this was updated on 5th October 2014.

Coversations with my mother, Part #4: The Wrong Trousers

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We spoke on the ‘phone yesterday. Mum was thanking me for her birthday treat (see Part #3 for our planning session). I took her to see ‘Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense’ starring Mark Heap and Robert Webb and I cannot recommend it enough. It really was the most perfect nonsense – an absolute delight of brilliant comic timing and enchanting silliness.

Feeling super-femme on the day*, I decided to mince about in a Lady Outfit (yellow cardigan, navy pencil wiggle skirt with gold zip, bronze t-bar heels, red lips and a small floral bag swinging from the crook of my elbow). Mum, uncharacteristically, wore jeans. I wondered if they were new as I hadn’t seen them before.

And then yesterday, she revealed all…

Mum: Shall I tell you something that will make you laugh?

Me: Go on.

Mum: You’ll like this. You know I said the jeans I was wearing on Saturday felt a bit tight?

Me: You didn’t, but okay.

Mum: Didn’t I? Well when I got home I realised…they were your father’s!

Me: Ha! And you give me funny looks for wearing men’s clothes.

Mum: (Seriously) That’s different. I didn’t do it on purpose.

 

*Sometimes I feel feminine, sometimes I feel masculine. I dress and move accordingly. Today I’m wearing very sensible shoes. More on this later…