Adventures, LGBT, Other, Theatre

We made a Fun Palace!

Fun Palaces:

  • is an ongoing campaign for cultural democracy
  • promotes culture at the heart of community and community at the heart of culture, making the most of local spaces and local skills, empowering people to create
  • is led by local people for local people – which is what makes it all so different! There’s no central theme, no central idea, nothing that everyone does the same

About a month after the second Fun Palaces weekend, Stella Duffy came to talk to the students at my school about it. I went along, and was delighted to see how interested and focused the students were. I wanted to get involved, but wasn’t really sure how. So, for a while, I watched people making Fun Palaces all over the place, doing all kinds of things, and told people about it, and I waited.

Fast forward four years, and I’ve just made a Fun Palace! My friend Megan came down from Manchester to join in, too, which was truly wonderful. I was very much an accessory – writer and theatre-maker Amie Taylor was the genius behind it – but I think I was useful and I definitely had a wonderful time. Our Fun Palace was hosted by the Pleasance Theatre in Islington, and although many many makers are queer, and it’s a queer phenomenon in many ways,ours was the first specifically LGBTQ Fun Palace. We had workshops on creative writing, mental health, activism, and burlesque, and drop in sessions to write poetry, decorate biscuits, dress up, and make drag queen/king puppets. Everyone – makers and the people who joined us – wore pronoun badges. I helped with the puppet-making and I really enjoyed helping people – mostly children, but some adults too – have a play with making something that I had only tried myself that day. It felt shared and special, even though – or perhaps because – it was so far out of my comfort zone.

I have been involved in something huge and important. I spend so much time deferring to other people, people who know better, when it comes to creating something new, that I find it hard to identify what I can do. I’m already thinking about what I can do next year, how I can improve on what I brought to the day.

I feel empowered, and I feel hopeful, and I feel a strength in my community that I didn’t really know I’d been missing.

Books, Nature, Other

I don’t care about plants

There’s a pattern in my life. My mum tries to get me interested in something, and I resist, then I decide by myself that actually it’s great. So far, this has happened with: reading, cooking, driving, and, most recently, plants. Also being tidier, but that’s a slower process because I have terrible habits. You’d think, now that I know this about myself, I wouldn’t still resist. You’d be wrong. I am still regularly heard declaring that, obviously, I don’t care about plants and gardens. At all. It’s all lies. Continue reading “I don’t care about plants”

Books, Nature

Why do birds suddenly disappear? – Lev Parikian

“The thought bludgeons me around the head, as it has done repeatedly throughout the year: what the hell was I doing for those thirty-five years? How could I have gone so long without this simple pleasure in life? What was I thinking?”

Continue reading “Why do birds suddenly disappear? – Lev Parikian”

Adventures, Books, Recommendations

Daphne du Maurier, or, finding out what I’ve been missing

I’m going to Cornwall this summer. I’ve never been, and I’m excited. I’ve got a google map with loads of places saved on it already. With any luck, I’ll get to swim in the sea, which is a joy, always.  Continue reading “Daphne du Maurier, or, finding out what I’ve been missing”