Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Stand-up poetry from my friend Alice

One shouldn't really use a platform like this to advertise a friend's artistic efforts, but I do want Alice to become as widely-known as possible, and be a success. And I can do my little bit by featuring her now and then on my blog.

This is the Alice who is my oldest trans friend, and was the subject of the short video mentioned in my post on 15 June 2013 called My friend Alice has made a film about being herself. Now a two-minute video of her reading one of her own poems is available on YouTube - see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otVY1Juvewo.

Don't let the word 'poetry' put you off. I'd like everyone to see this clip, in order to get a more rounded notion of what Alice is like as a person, and also as a public performer who makes a gentle but well-received impression. The people she mentions in the poem are her encouragers and promoters, and the poem is about having your life half-wrecked because, thus spurred on, you spend every waking and sleeping moment playing with words and ideas, scribbling ideas on the toilet wall when a pencil is available, chanting the words like a mad woman while walking the streets when a pencil is not, so as not to let go of them.

Me, I'd just flop down onto the pavement and capture those fleeting words using a note-taking app on my phone - quick and simple - and cut-and-paste them later into the Word document that will become my on-stage crib. But Alice is delightfully old-fashioned where Tech is concerned, and in the moment of inspiration never thinks of doing what I would do. Each to her own methods.

Alice's promoters on this occasion are the duo who organise dining evenings for the paying public under the banner Come Rhyme With Me. These began in London, and have now taken off in Brighton. The idea is that you get a trendy dining experience, a chance (of course) to make new friends, and in any event see and listen to a succession of local poets and writers, who are presented to you like the dishes of a meal. A great idea, if you wish to mix good food with fresh and original verse.

I think Alice is gradually gaining a strong reputation in the Brighton literary scene. It's the very kind of thing that will expand her public presence beyond the quirky one she would in any event have had, for Alice plunges into Brighton Life with gusto, and seems to be known to and loved by everyone who takes any part in the frenzy to have a great time. She is however no prima donna. She is unselfish and unpushy, very concerned to nudge others into whatever limelight is going, and to introduce people she knows to interested visiting businessfolk with media connections. I hear that she spoke to an Amsterdam film distributor last weekend at Trans* Pride.

I look on all this, on the entire Brighton scene - literary or hedonistic - with detachment. I salute it, I agree that it's colourful and exciting, and can be a lot of fun, but mostly I want to keep out of it.

For now.

I do however wonder what will happen when, only 464 days ahead - I am now counting - my State Pension comes into payment. I mean, I don't feel like an old-age pensioner, any more than Alice does. I intend to be very sensible, and save a big chunk of the new cash - that'll be for better holidays, and likely household contingencies, and, in the long run, my Medical Fund. But I'll still have cash left over for frivolity and simply having a good time. And if I keep my weight in check, I can if I fancy hit the Big Town in style, perhaps in the sort of get-up Lana Wachowski thought suitable for her Human Rights Campaign award acceptance speech (see yesterday's post), pink hair and all.

I mean, who is to stop me? What is there to lose? Where is the Regulation that says people of sixty-two shall behave in a seemly fashion? Alice knows of no such laws and prohibitions.

By that time, Alice may have gone viral. Supposing she has? It makes you think. Will caravanning be enough?


  1. A slightly different Alice from the last video. I could see you with your facility with words, standing up there with her. Do the poets get free nosh?

  2. I imagine they get a free drink on the house. It's not my scene, so I don't honestly know.

    A natal lady friend thinks that myself and another trans woman friend K--- would deliver a superb stand-up comedy performance together, but since I have no sense of humour, I don't think it would work. I don't do poetry, either. In fact I am not a performer, period.


  3. Lucy, I thought you wanted to be a TV star...

  4. No, merely to get onto Channel 4's database, in case they need a trans presenter for art or history programmes!


  5. That's odd......I always thought clowns needed a sense of humour!

    Shirley Anne x


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