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
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 …
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?****
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.
***SUBMISSION DEADLINE – 4TH JULY 2014***
As someone who describes the cinema as “my church”, I admit I got a little over-excited when I was asked to be involved with this year’s Wotever DIY Film Festival. It’s by and for queers. It’s independent. It’s do-it-yourself fantastic. And it’s going to take place in some of the most inspirational cinemas in London. Weeee!
So grab anything with a lens and get shooting. Here’s what you need to know:
This is the fourth Wotever Film Festival and the biggest one yet, with films, discussions and more over the August bank holiday in multiple venues, and we want to screen your creations!
We are looking for shorts (3-15mins) and mid-length films (15 – 30 mins). We will consider some feature-length films although please be aware we have very limited space for these. All films need to be DIY or independent films of any genre on a Queer theme. We have a particular interest in films about queer people and queer culture reclaiming space. Other than that, our only criteria is that they must be in keeping with our Wotever ethos and as such will not consider submissions that are racist, trans*/homophobic, religiously intolerant, ableist, sizeist or in any way prejudiced or exclusionary towards a particular group or identity.
We welcome films that push the boundaries of queer thinking and ideology, are thought-provoking and progressive. Saying that, we also appreciate a nice queer-meets-queer love story, slap stick comedy or music video we can dance to.
This a film festival by and for the queer community, and we especially would love to see submissions from people who may feel under-represented in the queer community, such as people from QTIPOC, trans and disabled groups as well as people with refugee status. With this in mind please share this with your friends, lovers and family and let’s get the word out to as many corners of our wonderful queer community as possible.
For submission forms, questions, suggestions or queries contact Theresa and Tara at firstname.lastname@example.org Please do not send your film until you have received a submission form.
So. Eight days ago, I started the Screw Work Let’s Play 30 Day Challenge. I’d signed up impulsively some time ago, forgetting that this month was already full of a demanding full-time day job, a weekly teaching gig at the Finchley Writers Workshop, devising and leading a Queer Kink Writing Workshop with Wotever World and performing some of my stories at LATES @ Flat Planet. I felt overwhelmed.
I had an idea, a fantasy, that I’d been nurturing in my mind for some time: A Queer Writers Retreat – a week-long retreat in a big grand house somewhere remote and beautiful. I had a vision of sitting in the sunshine looking at orange groves while listening to the scratching of pens, the tapping of keys and the crackle of creative minds coming from inside the house. In the evening, the pens would be laid to rest and the laptops closed as I served a lovingly-made dinner to the group at a big wooden dining table. Wine and conversation would flow, appreciative noises made as I served yet another delicious course and laughter would ring across the room. Later, we’d sit in the lounge by an open fire and read each other the stories we’d been working on that day. Sturdy friendships would be made, queer networks forged, projects begun. And the delightful noise would be replaced each morning with the sound of writing, writing, writing…
But grand houses overlooking orange groves are expensive, aren’t they? And how could I guarantee I’d break even after such a big layout, when no-one even knows who I am yet? “Why not start small?” suggested Selina, official “Play Guru”. And so I changed my immediate plans to something I could actually achieve, for little cash, within 30 days. This blog is part of it. And this is what I am offering:
“Picture this: A calm and cosy flat with two good-sized rooms for writing, for up to eight people. A relaxed but focused atmosphere. A lovely selection of tea, coffee and homemade cake in the kitchen whenever you feel like it. Gorgeous views and interesting things to look at, should you need a little visual stimuli. Essential oils to help you focus. A talented sounding board available all day, should you get truly stuck. An opportunity to relax at the end of the day with your peers and discuss your work over a glass of wine or a cuppa, should you so wish. And that warm satisfaction that comes from being utterly immersed in your work for an entire day and meeting, or even succeeding the terms of the pledge you made eight hours before.”
The basic elements are still there: the nurturing and taking care of people; giving people the time, space and encouragement to write; creating community; feeding them lovely stuff (you may have noticed I like to feed people – it’s my Jewish genes). But now it’s a one-day retreat, local and accessible.
I’ll be posting here to let you know how I get on. I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions. Encouragement is always nice too! And if you’re interested in coming along to the retreat, then be sure to leave me your email address and we’ll chat.