Hey everyone Reflecting on another great National Collective meet up I have been inspired to think on new creative ideas and have promised to spread the word about the work of the collective to those I think may be interested. I kinda started this political evangelism after the last meet up and so far it has to be said I have had a very positive reaction with many people wanting to find out more about the work of the collective what we do and how they can get involved.
When explaining who we are, I am always mindful to say that we are an organisation who are comprised of members of all parties and none and who are campaigning for a yes vote in the referendum and seek to build a better fairer and more equal Scotland than we can achieve under the union.
During the last month I have told
many people about the organisation and why I believe it is important to listen to the voice of the cultural community in the run up to the upcoming vote as a poet myself I believe it is fair to say that we are always a wee bit ahead of the general population when it comes to creating a climate of change.
At Tuesday’s meeting it was agreed to change the Glasgow meet up to the second Monday of the month as this will mean more members will be to attend the gathering. This will not only be good for the collective but also for the potential of inter disciplinary collaborations between artists with different skills.
The potential for artists to get involved in the southside festival was also discussed as was the idea of guerilla poetry which I think will be highly entertaining should it happen. The concept of guerilla poetry is that poets hijack unsuspecting members of the public and read them pro independence poetry which will hopefully illustrate that only the real powers that independence can offers has the capacity to change Scotland for the better.
Needless to say I have expressed an interest in taking part in this event and have been requested to send five of my pro independence poems to pop up politics for consideration. This has given me a wee bit of a headache as I have written a lot more than five poems on this issue. Now I have to get down the business of selecting my favourites and believe me this will not be an easy choice to make. I did read a few to other members of the collective and it does look like A Nobody Writes A Begging Letter On Behalf Of Blethers Together and Voice Of Number 10 are stronger candidates than The Champagne Socialist and the jury is still out on A Choice Of Two Futures. These are just some of the many which I will have to give serious consideration.
This was not the only interesting development I heard of at the meeting as I also heard during the discussion that the national library of Scotland are wanting to document the referendum from both sides of the debate and are look out for supporters of both Yes and no votes to contribute their materials as a historical record of this important time in the history of our nation. As a poet I think it is my duty to send some of poems on the topic to the national library so that when I am long gone from this world people will be able to see what my views were and the values and visions that made this girl say yes.
After the main business of the meeting it was down to the serious matter of socialising and networking and I have to say I was a very interesting and enjoyable evening as a result
of which many more people have my contact details than was the case before the meeting.
This may result in an increased number of new faces at Words and Music as many of those in attendance are poets and expressed an interest in attending the world’s most manic monday particularly as they know that the hostess with the mostest is a gabby little madam with opinions on everything. This has got the potential to get seriously interesting with lots of talented new faces coming to Sammy’s to join in the madness.
As most of those in attendance began to call it a night a group of battle hardened patter merchants stayed behind for a bit of banter though there was only guy who braved it to stayed amongst us girls. During this social chat a number of us were getting to know each other a wee bit better and even tried and I think succeeded to write a collective poem.
Before trying this excellent team building activity we discussed what may or may not happen post 19th September and I said that if God forbid the result goes the wrong way and I make no apology for saying that a no vote is in my opinion fundamentally wrong, the collective must keep up the fight for a better Scotland with independence being the eventual aim but if we need to put the case for more powers for Scotland then we must be prepared to do so. It was interesting that the company agreed with my comment and one young woman saying in no uncertain terms ‘we must never abandon our country, even if our country abandons us’. Strong sentiments I’m sure you’ll agree and sentiments I don’t altogether disagree with.
One of the things which attracts me to the national collective is the fact that is multi disciplinary and there is a genuine chance to network and even collaborate with artists from different disciplines. This is a prospect which excites me greatly and I have already started discussing the idea of working with another writer either on a project which will either focus on independence, gender stereotypes, or both.
Talking of gender issues we discussed the role of women in Scottish society and how stereotypes have held us back. As a Transwoman I was asked if I had written poetry on my transition to which I replied I had and I duly performed The Lemon Dress a poem about growing up with a secret in the 1970’s and having no sisters who could have given me their hand me downs. Indeed one of the girls in the company acknowledged that it must have been difficult for me at a time when both Scotland and Britain were far less culturally and socially liberal than they are now.
As I had to rely on my mum’s clothes there is a line where I say that I looked like a proper little wife and I was asked if I had ever played up to this gender role to which I said I hadn’t as I wasn’t a good enough cook to play the domestic goddess with any credibility and my credibility is very important to me. Well as a transwoman I not only have to look the part I have to live the part and that means developing my own personal style both in terms of fashion sense and my politics. Therefore I know what combinations work together and what ones just don’t work together. A good example of this type of combination is internationalism and trident
You see as any socialist knows if you are a real internationalist you don’t do war as internationalism is about friendship between nations. Contrast that with a missile so dangerous that it could wipe out whole geographic areas or conurbations. Indeed it can be argued that the unionist demonstrate their hatred for Scotland by deeming these weapons too dangerous for Portsmouth but fine for Glasgow. This shows a causal contempt for a people whom the unionists think are too scared to answer them back.
I have to say however convincing some voters of the potential risks of trident is not an easy task. This is due as we know only too well more than 300 of indoctrination and being what we can’t do however if there is one thing creatives are good at its creating things and what we are creating at the moment is a climate of confidence and can do culture where the people of our country can believe in ourselves and the possibility of a better future. A nuclear free future where the price of tights and make up are considered more important to the Scottish economy rather murderous weapons of mass destruction.
No doubt some of you are reading and thinking did I really say that tights are more important than a nuclear missile system and the answer is yes I did and I believe I can prove it with a reasoned argument based on facts which dismantle any opinion to the contrary. Ok I know I am going down the Elle Woods school of logic, for those who don’t know Elle Woods was the lead character in one of my all time favourite movies Legally Blonde but trust me it does work. You see I believe that we women get good value for our money from the tights and other accessories we buy. The same cannot be said of Trident.
I validate my argument as follows. Whilst Trident creates a false illusion that Britain is some kind of global superpower based on the fact they have the capacity to blow the world to bits my dad always told me that the powerful can defend themselves without the use of weapons. The supporters of obscenity claim that it is a deterrent which never they hope will never need to be used, as far as I am concerned you don’t buy something unless you are going to use it. To say anything else is just bad economics and makes no sense.
In contrast to the destructive power of a killing machine it is now time to move on to the seductive power of a passion machine. OK so that might be over stating the case slightly but there is no doubt that tights unlike trident are fit for purpose. If you take a walk round any fashion outlet or the hosiery department of any well known department store you will see a collection of hosiery in a range of colours and styles and we can select the appropriate pair to wear to suit our outfit depending on the event or occasion and whilst a normal pair of black ones are the staple of most women’s hosiery drawer it is good to able to adapt as and when required so the girl who wears patterned or fishnet tights to go clubbing on Friday and Saturday nights can be the same prim and proper missy in tan tights for church on Sunday morning.
Also it has to be said that the right accessories can do wonders for a woman’s confidence. For example if you wear the right tights or make up to complement your outfit you may look more professional at a job interview and get the job. As a way of celebrating go out with the girls to a club. Feeling pretty good about yourself you may attract the attention of an admirer who may ask you out for a date the next night when they may take you take you to a restaurant. Bearing this in mind you may feel finances permitting, like splashing out on a new outfit maybe a dress and some new make up to help you to look your best I know I do when the chance avails itself. If you are suitably impressed by your new partner and the feeling is mutual you may agree to go on more dates possibly to the theatre, a comedy club,or clubbing. By taking part in these activities you will be spending money which will either save jobs or maybe even create more and all because you made the right choice of outfit and had the accessories to go with it.
Not surprisingly having explained my theory in detail and provided the evidence to support it all of the girls that the price of tights and outfits in general contribute far more the economy of Scotland than an outdated nuclear missile system the main purpose of which is to be used as a bullying tactic against other nations. This is not internationalism as I understand it nor will it ever be.
It was during this predominately female dominated discussion in which we traditions, gender norms and the economics of fashion that I first thought of considering a collective collaboration. I have since approached one of the girls at the meeting with the seeds of an idea which I believe we could
develop and the response has been very positive however like Scotland we will have to wait and see what the future holds but this is what excites me about the collective lots of creative people filled with a sense of purpose who though we might be coming at the issue from very different perspectives still end up at the same destination.
Love And Best Wishes