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!
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 .
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.
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…
She sees me before I see her. “Hey!” she says and smiles.
“Hey!” I say and smile back.
I have just emerged from the lift and I look like shit. Of course I do – four hours sleep, messy hair, no make-up and I am wearing an old grey cagoule that my mother bought at a jumble sale for 99p.
She was on ‘holiday’ she says, finishing her dissertation, doing job placements. There is no coffee counter between us. She isn’t in uniform and my lanyard is hidden. Here we are, in a small frustrated crowd of folks waiting for the lift, chatting like normal people, like acquaintances, like two old friends.
She is tired. I am tired. We compare tiredness. Perhaps I should tell her I am so tired, I need a lie down and would she care to join me (here, let’s get you out of those wet clothes…)?
I don’t, of course.
Her lift arrives, others get in, but she keeps chatting. This happens at least three times. As if she’s in no hurry to leave.
***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 email@example.com Please do not send your film until you have received a submission form.
She’s back. She. Is. Back.
I get in the longest queue to see her, readying myself by pressing my hair and straightening my posture, practising what to say. Do not, I tell myself, scream “I missed you!!”. Relax. Relax!
The queue gradually gets smaller.
Finally, she sees me and her face breaks into a big smile. And the other girl, the one on the coffee machine asks what I want, but I don’t even have to say because she remembers.
“Hey”, she says.
“Hey” I smile. “Where you been?”
“Oh, night shifts”, she says and makes a face.
“Oh, that’s rough”
“You cut your hair”
“Yep”, I say and turn my head so she can see how short it is at the back. (It was really long until I had it all chopped off at the brilliant Barberette a couple of weeks ago. I bloody love it).
“But why?” she says. My heart sinks a little.
“It was time”.
“Oh. I really love long hair” she says, indicating the length of hers.
I pay and when I take my coffee and say thank you, she’s already onto the next customer, her smile gone.
Reader, you’ve waited long enough. It’s time to update you on what’s been happening. So, here goes…
Nowt, nothing, nada, zilch, bugger all.
That’s right – my Latte Lady has disappeared and I haven’t seen her for over two weeks. Every morning I go down there with my heart beating a little faster in anticipation and then…nothing. Just an overly-hot coffee from a bored barista. I get back to the office, look at my colleague L and say three sad words – She wasn’t there . Then L gives me the sympathy look and says Oh, maybe next time and smiles encouragingly. I try and drink my coffee, but I can’t because it’s too damn hot.
She is not there. She was not there on Friday either. My coffee is too hot and laced with disappointment.
Last week, the following happens:
- She remembers my coffee order before I even say anything. She remembers me.
- I ask if she’s studying as well as working here. She is, for a Masters. We have an entire conversation about non-caffeine-related things.
- The next day, when I see her, she smiles (that smile!) and instead of saying “Hello, what can I get you?” she says “Hey”. Hey. As if we know each other now. As if I’m not just a customer.
- We begin to ask each other how the other is doing, what kind of day we’re having, how we feel about our jobs, the other stuff we’re doing. After each encounter I return to my office grinning.
But today she is not there. And she wasn’t there Friday either.
I shall need more coffee tomorrow, though.
I received this lovely feedback from a guest (playwright) of the Queer Writers Retreat 🙂
…realising I’ve barely touched my work since [attending Queer Writers Retreat] and have started to hanker for an ‘away’ space, I’m really starting to get a sense of the value of the opportunity. I’m not a writer by habit but I’m a writer at heart, and that I think is a big part of my problem!
Having a space dedicated to that work and to have other writers working around me gave rise to a relaxed focus. Working alone I find I lack either one or the other in that equation. Luckily all the other writers were of similar minds. In the intimacy of the workspace, this became quite important. I was wondering about the need for a specifically ‘queer’ workshop and realise that aspect probably had a large role to play in creating that sense of ease. I was worried that a queer writing group might be a bit self conscious and seem unwelcoming to people who don’t identify as LGBTI and also whenever I see ‘queer’ anything I’m always half expecting ‘worthy’ and possibly ‘divisive’. However, the sense of openness was important to the work, it turns out. I can see the value in sticking to the label. I’m also 100% sure you couldn’t be unwelcoming. All fears allayed.
It feels almost more like a salon than a ‘retreat’, considering it now. It was a great day – and now I’m going to transcribe my play…”
I was chuffed to bits that he said it was like a salon! 🙂 That’s what I was aiming for – not just a space to write, but a space to share your work and discuss writing and build a community and eat, drink, laugh and be merry.
The next retreat is on Saturday 11th January and there is an earlybird discount of £10 if you book by Christmas Eve. So if you’re still looking for a Christmas present, or you want to pre-empt your New Year’s Resolution to write more – then click here to book.