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.

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”

Adventures, Books, Nature, Recommendations

The Seabird’s Cry – Adam Nicolson

It is not stupid to think that birds might play, and here from the clifftop it has always looked as if that is what the fulmars were doing: the endless, repeated turns, first on one great circle and then another, skaters outlining discs on the ice, stiff-winged, patient, waiting for the long rotation to take its form, a series of geometries, as if the birds were cutting shapes through the paper of the air.

The air doesn’t always comply. Now and then a strange lack of certainty runs through a fulmar, even as it makes these Euclidean digrams beneath you, a whole-body hesitation, coughing in mid-flight, when it shudders and disassembles, all sleekness gone and all purpose paused, as if waiting for the data stream to resume, which it then does, and the long effortless gestures, milking energy from the wind, continue from one end of the ballroom to the other.

Continue reading “The Seabird’s Cry – Adam Nicolson”

Adventures, Books, Recommendations

The Road From Coorain – Jill Ker Conway

The primal force of the sun shapes the environment. With the wind and the sand it bakes and cleanses all signs of decay. There is no cleansing by water. The rivers flow beneath the earth, and rain falls too rarely. Continue reading “The Road From Coorain – Jill Ker Conway”