Freelance Reflections #26

It’s the second week of Living Record Festival, and after just five ticket sales, I’m being reminded that it’s better than nothing, and to hold on to the reasons why we do this, why we create and put it out to the world. It’s not the number of connections, but the connections themselves. So, I’m holding on to this lovely comment I’ve been given permission to share from Jodie Adams.

I’ve reached out to family members, which has been encouraging. After over a decade in poetry, it gets harder to ask for support from friends and family. A part of you thinks, shouldn’t you have an audience by now? Shouldn’t you not need them anymore? These kinds of thoughts can lead to a bad spiral, so sometimes it’s best to just ask directly, appreciate those who give the time, and understand those who don’t.

So far, my maternal grandmother and one of my cousins have sent me pictures of how they listened. I love how my gran has put her margarita inside the circle as something she loves, and how both of them have created such a nice space to give themselves that 15-minutes to focus on listening and colouring.

When you buy the audio stream of Circles, for ¬£5 as well as the audio and the Zoom Q&A, you get a copy of this black and white PDF of the book cover to colour in and draw inside, following the instructions. I also had a go at it myself and just about got the flowers coloured in by the end, finishing with this new doodle that was inspired by an exercise my friend Natalie Cooper (who illustrated the She Grrrowls anthology poems). I have often doodled and actually, as someone who is more of a conceptual artist (when it comes to visual art, this is always what I say, tongue-in-cheek, having illustrated my ‘Circles’ book myself), this is something I’d love to do more in an active way. After talking to someone else about their art therapy, which sounded like it incorporated similar techniques, I find it fascinating how doodling allows the free flow of moment without a plan, in a way that is so opposite to how I often work and live.

Lastly, I also want to recommend the film ‘Soul’. With everything that is happening in my life and other people’s lives at the moment, it was just so heart-warming and appropriate. I also recommend the short film on Disney + that goes into the background of the film.

The Party’s Over

Hannah and I at Mystery Jets

Scroobius Pip at Dragon Hall

Birthday bowling ūüôā

cards and pressies

Singing and miming along to I’m Just a Girl by No Doubt. I’ve had it up to here [with the patriarchy] ladies.

“You are not the victim of your life, you are the creator of your life” – wise words on the cubicle door at The Mill

fajitas and bean chilli

family reunion (dad’s side)


















































































A picture paints 1000 words today. For my birthday weekend I had a family BBQ, followed by friends and fajitas. We went to Bacchus in Kingston after a few drinks at The Mill. Matt and I got home around 3.30am. I went hungover for an eye appointment and was rewarded with a roast dinner. On my actual birthday I opened present and cards, and the sunshine stopped so Matt and I went bowling. We won one game each and played arcade games, pool and ate candyfloss.

He went back to Norwich for his job seekers appointment (but he has a job[s] now – yay!) I had a Chinese take-away with my parents and watched Towie, 56 Up and Desperate Housewives. I joined Matt in Norwich the next day.

We forego-ed a party sadly, but watched Eagle Vs. Shark. We saw Scroobius Pip at the Dragon Hall in Norwich, with great support including one of my favourite poets, Russell J Turner. I was working for Shake the Dust in Cambridge on Thursday and Friday. After the second workshop I dashed off, Cornish pasty in hand, to see the Mystery Jets in Brixton, with support from Theme Park and Slow Club.

Saturday night I went to my friend’s house, got more pressies and watched Two Lovers, stayed up until 3am and then was back at Sainsbury’s on Sunday, where I sprained my wrist.


Welcome Home

Today is going to be the end of a very social and productive week, before the start of a very busy week to follow (which will also include a bit of¬†socialising). I’m going to my friend Jo’s house for her housemate’s birthday, and I’ve also managed to see my friend Natalie who’s moved to¬†Coventry and Hannah who’s about to move to York! What I wanted to write about is Tuesday.¬†I viewed a gallery space called The Showcase, which is part of¬†Craft Central, as this is where I will be holding an event later this year, on 22nd August.¬†Afterwards I went with Siobhan Belingy to see Gillian Wearing’s exhibition at Whitechapel¬†Gallery.

I’m really glad that we went as it was so interesting. We started catching up with each other but the exhibition was so engrossing and all-consuming. We both have had the experience that the stories expressed through Wearing’s work was so strong that we couldn’t get them out of our head.

As a writer, I found it inspiring in terms of presenting a narrative and the ideas explored between fiction and reality. This was extended further to the concept of public verses private personas.

Wearing’s most well known work is probably Signs that say what you want them¬†to say, and not Signs that say what someone¬†else wants you to say (1997),¬†shown above. As I didn’t know that much else of her work, it was interesting to see everything else – each piece of work stood out and made an imprint on my mind.

In 10‚Äď16 (1997) adults lip-sync to the voice-overs of children expressing their fears and insecurities. This results in a disturbing yet sometimes comic effect (I witnessed one woman have to escape the room in a fit of laughter) which shows the strange way emotions can sometimes work in response to tragic events. Her videos depicting familial relationships deal with the¬†‘expression of both love and conflict so common to most families,’ and sometimes touches on metaphor, asking the viewer to interpret the implied meaning.

In the same room as the sign photographs are three sculptural maquettes of uncelebrated modern-day heroes, which was thought-provoking in regard to the way we put historical figures on both literal and metaphorical pedestals. Her self-portraits were intriguing as the prosthetics looked so real that you could only tell it was a facade from looking at the eyes.

Lastly, the confession booths presented the result of an advert Wearing posted Confess All On Video. Don’t Worry, You Will Be In Disguise.¬†Intrigued? Call Gillian….(1994) Like the grip of reality television, it was difficult to pull away from this seemingly never-ending reel of different true stories. It was tragic but thought provoking, and made me wonder how much we really know about the people that surround our daily lives.

Although at Sainsbury’s I’m quite aware that nobody knows me that well and I like it that way because I don’t want to enter into the petty problems that can occur in environments like that. I tend to distance myself from others and talk on a superficial level, and back away from questions asking how my long-distance relationship is and how my Valentine’s day was (err… weird, mind your own¬†business¬†cheers). I use the time to focus on the task in hand and sometimes zone out and spend time in my head due to the physical nature of the job.

However, the idea of everyone thinking you’re a great guy at work is turned sinister in the confessions booth as one man reveals his dark past as a murderer. The stories told elicit¬†a response in you, ranging from sadness and sympathy to anger and disgust.

You can catch the Gillian Wearing exhibition until 17th June 2012.