smash it up and start again
2016 upon reflection…
Jan : Planned and wrote all the lectures and session plans (from scratch) for my TV Comedy and Drama module at SHU.
Feb/ Mar/ Apr: A blur of endless teaching and commuting to and from Sheffield. 2 sets of board pens ruined. It was cold and rainy. That’s all I have in terms of memories of this period.
May: The markathon. Also briefly left the house to see Penny Arcade’s Loving Lasts Longer at Contact Theatre.
June: Having completed marking I headed off to Barcelona for the Primavera Sound Music Festival (my 3rd visit). Greatly enjoyed the line-up which included LCD Soundsystem (who were off the chart amazing – I never thought I’d have the chance to see them live) Tame Impala, Wild Nothing, Suede, AR Kane, Daughter, Air, Savages, Radiohead, Beirut, Brian Wilson doing Pet Sounds, Orchestra Baobab, Bradford Cox… and so on….. Plus there was a really cool punk exhibition in the Modern Art museum in Barcelona too (which is where I took the photo of the smashed up room above).
July: Wrote my paper (Positives and Negatives: Reclaiming the Female Body and Self-Deprecation in Stand-up Comedy) for the Mock the Weak conference.
Aug: Headed up to the Edinburgh Festival – saw the following Daniel Kitson, Bridget Christie, Lolly Adefope, Tez Ilyas, Alison Spittle, David O’Doherty, Tessa Waters, Grainne Maguire, Ellie Taylor, Elf Lyons.……Oh and I completed designing the programme for the Women in Comedy Festival.
Sept: Presented my paper at Mock The Week Conference at University of Teesside and subsequently had the abstract of my paper accepted as part of a special issue of Comedy Studies Journal in 2018. Saw Amy Schumer perform live at the Manchester Apollo. Commenced mentoring my Arts Emergency student.
Books and boxes
Oct: Moved house – will never be moving again. Watched a huge amount of comic talent as part of Women in Comedy Festival 2016! Started back at MMU working with the first year filmmakers on Contextualising Practice.
Nov: Tried to get our house into a house shape plus teaching, writing, writing, writing.
Dec: Xmased. Bunkered down for a few weeks to get a chapter of my thesis drafted.
2017 looking ahead…..
1: Read more fiction by female writers – I read a huge amount of non-fiction by female academics and theorists but as an avid reader and stories I need to up my game. I have just finished Chris Kraus’ epistolary novel I Love Dick and stacked up on the bookshelf ready for deployment are a variety of novels to enjoy – including titles by Zadie Smith, Maggie Nelson, Harper Lee, Sarah Waters and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (who was responsible for one of the most admirable television moments of 2016 when she reminded the terrifyingly short-sighted, Trump supporting editor of the U.S Spectator that as a white man he doesn’t get to decide who can feel discriminated against by racism (See here). How she remained composed when faced with such unbelievable ignorance was frankly astounding.
2: Accept that I can’t do everything – 2016 was a tough cookie and probably the limit for me in terms of commitments I can undertake whilst studying and trying to remain a functioning human being. There was a lot of turning down social engagements/ invites and then feeling guilty about having to do so. Moving house was also an exhausting and time-consuming activity and so 2017 will be about refocusing on what matters and accepting that I can’t be all things to all people. Get the research written, write the journal articles that have been accepted, teach to the best of my ability and be nicer to myself.
3: Try and do practical things that impact positively on others. Last year was basically a series of mornings that I woke up and cried about the direction humanity is heading in. I reject the inward looking rhetoric of placing certain nationalities/ classes/ economic groups/ ethnicities/ religions above others (anything that ends with the term ‘first’ needs to seriously consider the message it is sending). I will not let this stop me being positive but nor will I shut up and let thing just happen unchallenged either. The resources I have are small (and in many cases irrelevant – I research comedy) and I might not be able to do everything (see above) but I am hoping to find ways to make practical contributions myself and to facilitate others in making small contributions of time and skills to small organisations/ charities that need help too (by revolutionising the way one of the organisations I work for makes use of its volunteering policy).
4: March – www.womensmarchlondon.com Today there is an image in the press of two rich white men giving everyone the thumbs up having successfully stirred up hatred and division. In the background of this photo is a framed cover of a Playboy cover. This image says absolutely everything about how inequality is maintained and how systems continue to discriminate and ‘other’ those who do not come from privilege. NO MORE.