Tuesday, 22 September 2015

On Collectives (the most complex poly relationship of all.)

The post below is an excerpt from an old online diary => 'stone femme shoes' March 24, 2009.

it's been an interesting week...which reminds me of the curse 'may you live in interesting times'. for around 25 years i've been working with collectives - to varying degrees and in different situations.

it has been an experience that has had me in tears, angry to the point of combustion but it has also been one of the most amazing loving and learning experiences in my life. because collective working is having a relationship - a complex poly relationship.

in my work there has always been a tension between doing things for my own solitary ends and being part of a community. constantly working to find a balance where i am neither isolated nor giving so much of myself away that i have nothing left.

feminist/lesbian groups and political organising in the '80's were my first experience of collective working. i had come from a working class background where there was certainly a 'pack' mentality - but heirarchy ruled.  the thing i found confusing about open collective processes in the '80's was that there was a statement of equality but to me as the outsider there seemed to be a very clear and yet unspoken flow of power in the group - as most of the members already seemed to have agreed what the social rules were - and those who didn't fit were some how less empowered within the collective.

in the late '80's and through the '90's i worked mostly with the same group of artists/musicians/social miss-fits/bohemians/politcal activists in several incarnations of community arts collectives. the group in its various forms had the ethos of the political and trans-formative power of creativity - as sort of situationist based theory- and messy but always fairly exciting/fun/some times effectively disruptive activity. constant events/open creative groups/workshops/inexplicable happenings....based in and often dominated by our struggle to keep open community resource buildings.
this was one of the most luxuriously creative times of my life, to be surrounded by constant creative activity was amazing.

what was frustrating was the difficult notion of community, at times working long hours to keep open buildings which were only sporadically occupied, dealing with the boom and bust cycle of the 'communities' energy and the difficulties of what was a cultural ghetto. protective, caring, creative…but struggling to negotiate the gap between subculture and some sort of more engaged political activity. The collective both approached the political realities of living with no jobs and no money while stumbling in our ability to reach a wider social group – some of this being about access to resources, some about being so centred in our own world view and privilege.

In the late ‘90’s I moved to Sydney and began a helter-skelter ride with the autonomous political scene, particularly reclaim the streets, the chaotic sexy queer scene and the burgeoning ‘no borders’ movement. Particularly within reclaim the streets I learned a great deal about strategic planning – when the NSW police force are the main people who you have to outwit, you are dealing with motorways full of traffic and crowds of up to 5,000 people you learn to think fast, let the crowd think for themselves and just plan the logistics around the wild card.

Of course it gets tiring having detectives who follow you everywhere in these public gatherings who don’t believe that collective organising means no one is the boss….and who listen to your every word in case you are telling other people what to do.

But I suppose what I loved most about those times were when I could distinctly FEEL the power shifting and being shared within the group. It was a feeling so tangible, like a ball being passed, the sensation of being in balance with other people who knew what they were doing, and who trusted the other people around them was an incredible feeling. I also learned a hell of a lot about letting go – that people have different ways of working, that with a core group of maybe 10-14, a plugged in mid group of around 200 and a wider free floating group of around 2,000 – 5,000 – its IMPOSSIBLE to control. At some point you HAVE to trust the group and that there are other networks you know nothing about that are just getting on with it – without any input what-so-ever from you.

All the queer collectives I worked with setting up events/festivals/gigs/demonstrations/occupations/ again struggled with issues of inclusion/ghetto/classism/racism/sexism….all those isms manifesting within our microcosm.

Particularly within ‘no borders’ people were pushed up against and hopefully through the limits of their own worlds.
Trying to communicate across different languages/cultures and realising that the world does not begin and end with our own little way of doing things is a continuing challenge.

Currently for the past 5 years I’ve been here – europa – bouncing back and forth between Serbia and London. Still mostly working with collectives, still mostly deep in the autonomist world – tho with a lesser relationship over the last 18 months, and far deeper in the queer world than I have ever lived. No matter how much temptation, opportunity and capacity there is for going it alone, I am still a person IN LOVE with community, some one who has a need to work with other people and feel ‘part of’.

This last week has seen some fighting with in the Beograd collective – but the amazing thing is i've been having a relationship with these people for FIVE years now – and its come to the point where we seem to be able to talk things through…..some how and really god bloody knows how….we have figured out how to communicate with each other.
We know how to spot a power struggle within the group – how to see when some one is presenting their own crap in the group – and hell we learned to love each other anyway.

In other groups I am involved in the result has not been so happy, in part it may be about culture. Me….i never lived in the 'straight' world…but some people have a little power in that world and struggle for more. It’s sad to watch people who declare that ‘collectives don’t work’ and are unable to see past their own massive egos –but it’s also a reminder. For me work must have roots, community is a living thing – we create it. I never want to live apart from that…I want to keep fighting against creating my own personal ghetto.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

reporting back on the book fundraiser/latest news - book ready to go to print!! - and a BIG THANKS

The event 'An afternoon of tea, cake and anti-fascism' was I think, quite beautiful. The readers Charlotte Cooper, Juliet Jaques, Jonathan Kemp, Liz Willows, Andro Andrex, Lise Munro, Greg Renegado, Ellis Slacker (and Myself), did a great job. THANK YOU ALL!

The act of giving people pieces that didn't necessarily match with them genderwise or in other ways helped to really show the content of the work and the quality of the writing, finally seperated from their original characterisations.

For example I asked the writer Jonathan Kemp to read 'Cigarette Girl'... a piece written for and usually performed by a very naked Maria Savic, with it's subject matter focusing on borders, traditional roles for women, transactional sex and sexism. Jonathan had asked me if I thought it would work with him reading it and I offered him the reassurance that I felt he could definately carry the piece.....which he did brilliantly.

Afterwards some one from the audience, who I don't think has so much experience of the queer world, commented that during his reading they had the realisation that 'What if we were suddenly freed from all the constant messages about gender that surround us, what if we stopped being bombarded by all of that and were free to just be completely ourselves?!' They looked excited, elated,.... hell what more do you want from an event you put on?!

The crowd were lovely, there was a warm feeling. I'm usually SO deeply critical of my own work but I don't think I am misinterpreting how this was. I felt SATISFIED, as if all the important elements of the work, the execution, the people present and the energy of the event balanced!!

THERE IS ENOUGH MONEY FOR THE PRINTING!!!  12 months after the book design was finished by the fabulous Ola Podgorska.

Oh and I wanted to add how the last piece of the fundraising event was...... I had asked my 'tea ladies' to perform the last reading. It was a piece written in 2011 in collaboration with A and M in Athens, to be performed as part of a Queer Beograd guest appearance there. At the time it only just made it into the  performance as there was so much despair and disruption in Athens that my friends wanted to just cancel their piece. Originally it was performed in Greek to a home crowd and with lots of loud music, jumping up and down, shouting and a roars of support from the crowd, a time at which the whole energy of the room lifted.

In London listening to it in a rehearsal reading for 'tea, cake and antifascism' I thought 'surely this must be the most dry, boring and politically didactic thing I have ever written.'....like I said I can be overly critical.

At the reading on Sunday the tealadies (Greg and Ellis) came to the front of the audience and did the sweetest most moving rendition of the piece. When they repeated the end lines of the piece 'Love and rage, love and rage, love and rage' ...the feeling was RIGHT THERE, tangible. They were just perfect.

I'm so grateful to all the readers for helping to show me the work from another perspective, it's very different to sit and listen to a reading, to be relaxed, instead of my usual state of being in the midst of producing a very tense and often dangerous event. Also a BIG THANKS to all of the people who baked, helped set up, served tea, came along and DONATED to the project!!!

Next I'm hoping it can be a semi-simple story with the printing in Athens.... *note to self must find the additional money needed to pay for freight!!*  Tongue

My friends in Athens are in the midst of opening a womens cooperative cafe and meeting space called BeaVer! Life goes on!! Surely somewhere to visit!

In other news I have just finished a transcript of the 'Queer Beograd Border Fuckers Cabaret' film so it is able to be subtitled and I have sent it off to Merlinka Film Festival so it can be screened in Beograd. I'm also sending a copy to a friend who will take it to be screened in Bulgaria later in the year.

On September 26th another attempt was made to hold serbia-gaypride , banned yet again by the government. This time 'as night fell, around 200 gay activists waving rainbow flags and banners that read "This is Pride" gathered outside Dacic's government office before walking to parliament flanked by riot police. They chanted "This is Serbia" and "We have pride.'

Of course there have been a lot of discussions about what people think of all this, some critical, some celebratory. The best summing up of this from a grassroots perspective is here: but unless you read Serbian you will have to throw it into google translate to read it. I think it's worth it!!

Currently thinking a LOT about precarity, money, access to healthcare, and the irony that healthcare is even harder to access when you are ill!! Perhaps all this can be melded into some new performance material.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Roll up, roll up, get yer tickets here!!!


The time to buy tickets for 'AN AFTERNOON OF TEA CAKE AND ANTI-FASCISM' is here!!

As there are only a limited amount of seats available for the event I recommend buying tickets in advance to make sure you get in. Of course this also gives you the opportunity to support the publication of Queer Beograds latest book - the collected scripts - and to enjoy an afternoon of readings from that book by wonderful people, accompanied by tea and cake. Cosy delights perfectly suited to an autumn afternoon.

The event details: Sunday September 22nd, 2.30 - 5pm at the Common House in Bethnal green.
readings start at 3pm SHARP!
More details on the event HERE

Our readers are: Charlotte Cooper, Jonathan Kemp, Juliet Jaques, Liz Willows, Andro Andrex, Greg Renegado, Ellis Slacker and Meerak Meinhong. Hosted by myself: Jet Moon.
We will be reading a selection of scripts from the book which give an overview of the politics, humour and material that made up Queer Beograds political cabaret. All done with an extra queer twist that lets those reading add their own icing to the cake.

How to make a booking:
1. email me at jetmoon@gmail.com to let me know how many tickets you require.
2. make a donation of £5.00 per ticket using the paypal 'donate' button on this blog.
   (please remember to mark the payment as 'gift/donation!!!) Many thanks to people who have donated MORE than the recommended amount! You are very welcome to follow suit!
3. Come along and share this sweet treat of an afternoon with us at The Common house in  Bethnal    Green

Looking forward to seeing you all there!!!!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Your Royal Meme for the day.... (I hope it helps) 'The Artist formerly known as Prince (Harry)'

In the light of yet another royal parasite being delivered, I though I would offer an antidote to the barrage of compulsory celebration. Here's a story I wrote a while back - A satire about Harry the larakin - 'The Artist formerly known as Prince (Harry)' ..... What IF he's really just terribly misunderstood??

The Artist formerly known as Prince (Harry)

The weight of history is a heavy thing, I feel it with me constantly. The eyes of my ancestors, their long stares following me down through the halls of history. Their expectation is that I their descendant must join them. There is a huge amount to live up to, eyes watching, tongues wagging, my life is history in the making.

History. The public, biographers, the trash tabloids, all those who mark and record, who shape the story of how we will be remembered. Of course it is not just the recording of history, but its manufacture. The business of constructing history and with it the longevity of power, shoring it up through words and deeds piled up one on top of the other. The building of a grand edifice fit to support the continuation of my line.  It's a strange way to live, looking backwards, living each day with attention paid to how the story will be told. Fame or notoriety, what will I make of myself?

Some say that to be born into such expectation must be a terrible thing, tho who can say what choices we make before birth?  What roles we choose? Is there such a thing as fate? And we as players, surely there must be some choice in how we undertake the parts we are cast in, what shine we give to a role. There you it have the age old argument of nature vs nurture, free will over determinism.

My name was chosen before I was born, fashion gauged, a calculation made of what might be seen as proper, fitting. What might best serve the public perception of how 'A Royal' should appear. Following the tradition of lineage and the passing on of names: 'Harry' an upbeat, modernised, version of Harold was chosen. The last royal Harry was a King something I will surely never be. He also had his parallel William. Harold the poor bugger trying to reinstate his good reputation on the battlefield, then taking an arrow to the eye.

Or so the legend goes, who can really tell what is true? The story of king Harold and the arrow in the eye has always been told as history, but no one knows for sure. Legend and history are often passed off as one and the same thing. The Bayuex tapestries, the tabloid press of the time, depict his fall under the arrow. Recently there's been another look at those ancient tapestries, it seems that they may have been altered later on to tell a different story. That's the thing with history, there's always tampering along the way.

In the modern world there is our relationship with the press, ah! The heady interplay between british popular culture and the media. It's how politics gets done, the building of images, alliances, the playing of one house against another, we royals are certainly good at that. Power moves as it will via the melding of public opinion: to sell newspapers, fund political parties and float the banks. But the balance of power has shifted over time in ways we never envisaged, first monarchy was overtaken by the state, now the state slowly sinks under the rise of the corporations.
Still There are roles to be played and we royals hash out our soap opera like lives, in the ready service of whoever pulls the strings.

It's a bit like being a member of the Spice Girls, being a member of the royal family, Posh, Scary, Baby, Sporty, Ginger. Easily understood characterisations through which simple stories can be told, ourselves manipulated like puppets. Wet Charles with his ineffectual interests in the environment, Diana 'The Peoples Princess', Horse faced Ann, Fergie the strumpet, The corgi loving gun toting grandma: Our Queen. I have to admit that piece of PR got a bit offside. William, the first son, heir to the throne after Charles. Squeaky clean William, the only one who really stands a chance of being king. And to reinstate the balance I have to be 'bad Harry'. To prop William up, grant him the crown of respectability, I'm always there: second in line, the fall guy. I have become Harry of the astounding pratfall, 'Harry the lad'.

I have to admit, I can see now that the nazi incident was a mistake. Looking back I can understand that dressing up as a member of the Nazi party doesn't exactly convey a good impression. But it's all a matter of interpretation, honestly, it might be a surprise to you but I'm actually very lefty. More than just 'small l' liberal too, I've read my Bakunin. I know thats a bit of a turn up given my background, but think about it, what better position from which to consider the corruption of a centuries old feudal monarchy? The British monarchy set within the decaying Uk, drenched in its bloody history of colonialism and imperialism, it's enough to give you nightmares.  The image of me stepping out in Nazi regalia, complete with Nazi salute, was supposed to be a wry commentary on all this. A knowing wink at the political games of diplomacy, and the royal families historic connections to Germany. A parodic self reflective pastiche of class control and royalty, meant to be read as an ironic post colonial narrative.

Thats the thing with a multi layered post modern rendering of a fancy dress theme, the rest of the crowd were too dull to pick it up!
No one knew that I was shouting 'God save the queen' at the time they never thought to apply the classic punk reference I was making, but thats the tabloids for you. Never mind the bollocks. I mean what other story are the tabloid press prepared to tell? Of course it's going to be the shallow surface skim of 'Harry the larakin', drunk, thoughtless, no heed paid to the sensitivities of others. I forgot, it must be beyond them to have any sense of irony.

Pointing the finger at me is a good foil for the red-tops own constant racism, sending up 'Harry the idiot' and subliminally giving a the English pound a good boost. Nothing like the flash of a Nazi uniform on the front page, no matter who is wearing it, to halt any veering towards a single European currency. We might be dependent on the Krauts to keep on bailing out Greece, but no way are we ever going to forget who won the war. Let's hear it for the tabloids, successfully shoring up a bit of good old British Bulldog pride. 'Rule Britannia!'

Of course there's never any mention of the real Nazis in the family, the House of Saxe-Coburg and all that. Grandfather was rather limited in who he could invite to the wedding from his side of the family when he married the our gran. The old family photos, featuring members of his  extended family in brown shirts and SS uniforms made things very awkward, all hush hush and a bit tricky when dealing with diplomatic relations after the war.
The thing is we of the old ruling class know who have remained in power, the right wing may have looked crushed for a while as borders were rearranged, damages paid and economies balanced, but the faces in government are very little changed. The ruling class and especially Royalty is just that, an inherited line of privilege, you don't get rid of us that easily.

Then everyone thinks its so easy being top of the heap, but its true what they say, money can't buy you happiness.
Do you think I have it made?  That I'm the prince of privilege? That I have all the advantages? You just don't understand.

I'm oppressed by the system too you know! I suffer from patriarchy, class prejudice and racism. I'm always having the finger pointed at me, because I have so much. It's horrible. Here I am supposed to be blamed for everything, all the 'isms'! Its not my fault I was born into this situation, its so frustrating, I hate the system too you know, why won't people understand I'm just as trapped by it as they are!?

People are always making such an outcry about how hard things are for them. Poor people, black people, women, the list is endless, Christ! Its so unfair! There they go with their ready made excuses for everything: that I'm making it hard for them, that I'm hogging all the wealth. What in the hell is wrong with them, there's no sense of balance or empathy.  Always trying to paint themselves as the wounded party, always trying to win the advantage in the sympathy game.

Everyones suffering is relative, people don't understand how difficult it is for me being a rich white man, who's grandmother is one of the richest people in the world. The pressure to achieve is incredible. Again its all the assumptions: they don't see how I struggle, that I'm half orphan, and my mother ran off with an shop keepers son. I'm not the one to blame, I'm not doing anything to you!

Political correctness, is another great catch cry in the press. These days even the queen is jumping on the minorities bandwagon, signing 'the commonwealth charter'. It's being touted as a watershed moment of her speaking out for human rights, 'One of the most controversial acts of her reign', oh how late radicalism comes to some. Heralded as a  great feminist and LGBT rights moment, 'the First time Her Majesty has signalled support for gay rights in 61-year reign'. Note the word 'signalled' not once in her entire reign has Her Madge so much as uttered the words 'gay' or 'lesbian' in public.

You would think the queen had personally declared herself in favour of class warfare and started waving the old red and black, or pinning on a suffragette rosette and throwing herself in front of her own horses at the races. The truth its all about spin, she got a live television broadcast out of it and press time is valuable. She knows how to walk the line of political expediency, the woman is smarter than she looks, read that how you will.

Its true that there's no point in bald statements of lefty sentiment, just look where that got Charles. Side-lined to the extreme edges of looney vegetarianism and 'save the environment'. William its clear which game he is playing, marrying Kate and the speedy production of a baby: efficient breeders right off the mark. It's obvious which audience he is appealing to, the bloody traditionalist. The pictures of their engagement. the triumphal tour even featured him being carried around by 'native bearers' atop a bamboo throne   Jesus Christ! He's playing it straight down the line, betting on the conservative vote. No fucking imagination, The Wanker!

Well I'm capable of my own spin doctoring, in this game you have to know how to be subtle, to play a close hand to the point where even you might not be sure of the next character re-invention or plot twist.

The 'Naked Harry' pics saw me transformed overnight from buffoon to righteously defended hero, and a buff looking one at that. Never regret those hours spent in the gym, the glimpse of a well defined torso can do miracles for your press rating. But first of all there was the very loud fight to prevent the images from being published in the Uk, nothing like drumming up a bit of interest in a story to release it's full heat. Then once the pictures were out we saw the construction of a red-top hero: Harry, sexy down to earth man of the people, a human contrast to the stiff formality of the rest of the royal family. Harry, not afraid to have a good time, play with the ladies, let it all hang out, a diamond in the rough prince charming.

I've made sure that my role in the military has been well reported in the press. At first my going into the army was seen as a place to ship off the bad lad of the family, we all know where the best place for our armies of unemployed young people would be, on the front line soaking up a bit of artillery fire. And then just as the traditionalists would have us believe, a bit of national service sorted me out. How I struggled to be allowed to fulfil my role in the army, not wanting to miss out, wrapped up in cotton wool just because I was a royal. I became a fine example of a young man, doing my bit, defending our country.

In the publics eyes I have been transformed and in ways that I wouldn't have dreamed of. Take a walk through London's central gay district in Soho and check out the mural painted on the back wall of 'Man Bar', one of the older gay mens cruising establishments. It features a larger than life replica of one of my nude tabloid pics with a gigantic pink union jack as its background. I have found my place as a gay icon, they love a man in uniform. This is either a massive coup in terms of subversion, my ascension in the gay world as a sex symbol or it's a sign of how conservative and nationalistic a once marginalise group of old queens can become, you decide. Like I said earlier, 'God save the queen!'

Oh the quandries of the doubling of meaning, its a mixed up, messed up, shook up world. Do you know how difficult it is to reconcile being a queer icon and an anarchist revolutionary? It's the post-modern paradox, like Madonna I have to constantly reinvent myself, responding to the times, a prince of pop culture. I'm an artist ahead of my time, a parodic mish-mash of popular memes, growing and shifting according to public opinion and the polls. I am: 'the artist formerly know as prince' (Harry).

Maybe I can be king after all.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS: two day theatre workshop in Vienna with Jet Moon

Your life, your political theatre: A two day theatre workshop with Jet Moon.
26th-27th June

Organized by: Ivana Marjanović 
In collaboration with: maiz, Autonomous Center by and for Migrant Women - „Wer lacht(e) wann über wenn? Fest des Lachens"
Support: daskunst/ diverCITYLAB

Time: 26th-27th June 2013,11am -4pm
Place: Kabelwerk ARTSpace, Gertrude-Wondrack-Platz 4, 12. Meidling, Wien


'We must place our stories in their political context not only to survive, but to realise our own power.'

When I was growing up, All around me were stories of who I should be, how I should fit in, what I should think. I felt lost among the messages of an alienating society. Now I know that those stories, the ones where it seems like you’re the only one who isn’t ‘just like everybody else’ – they’re a lie.

What I’ve found instead is that each of us is made up of a thousand precious details. Memories, desires, heartbreak, hope, times when we have struggled, times when we have risen above - our own beautiful intimate stories. Our stories are important. There are never enough stories of how we are different, our commonalities, how we came to be where we are, what we think, feel and experience.
The telling of our stories, the act of making the hidden visible, is a radical act in itself.
Jet Moon

A two day workshop with Jet Moon.

The focus of the workshop will be on demonstrating and teaching the techniques used as part of 'Queer Beograd Border Fuckers Cabaret' to develop scripts based in real life experience, our ordinary lives made into politically relevant stories. Fostering the development of performers and to begin to write pieces with the potential for future performance through placing personal anecdote into it's context of place, time and politics.

The workshop will cover: working collaboratively, understanding structural considerations, exploring methods for gathering material, writing techniques and constructing the basis of a script with a view to future performance. Creating performance as a way of surviving, communicating and as political activity.

The focus of the workshops is to increase the capacity of those whose stories are hidden or distorted within mainstream media to develop their own voices and ability to present their stories in their own words, on their own terms and from their own perspective. The workshop call will prioritise those who are a members of marginalised or minority groups.

Open to activists, performers, non-performers, people who have a story to tell.

Working language: English.

the subject
A suggested focus for the workshops subject matter is work and survival, what we are looking at every single day, that interlocks with so many different things. To find a way to deal with and to talk about this situation of work, money, survival, migrant work, class, borders, of who holds power and who is the outsider.
How do people talk to each other? Connect? Communicate?
How do people combat/ dissolve prejudice and separation at a personal level?
How is story telling a part of this process?

Participants for the workshop would prepare by selecting a personal situation or experience they would like to write about/perform.

Applications should be made via email to jetmoon@gmail.com by the 16th of June,
a short summary of no more than 300 words including: your reason for wishing to attend the workshop, your experience and background, plus the script idea you would like to develop during the workshop. The number of participants is limited and we will inform applicants of our selection process by the 19th of June. A donation of 15euro is asked towards costs.

Jet Moon is an artist/activist producing politically engaged creative work that combines performance, writing, and film. Her particular interest is in creating events, works and collaborations that push for change, re-evaluation and empowerment in our gendered/sexual and cultural lives.
Often working outside of the traditional arts context, in clubs, autonomous spaces, as part of queer or activist gatherings, travelling to work with marginalised groups and promoting exchange and mutual aid.
Over the last 25 years her work has manifested in many different forms: from fine art exhibitions to organising and participating in street demonstrations. Primary within all of this is a belief in our right to live freely and the necessity to actively transform our society in order to do so. She is a founder member of Queer Beograd collective and has a long tradition of working within collective and collaborative contexts.

Queer Beograd ‘Border Fuckers Cabaret’ -
Since 2004 Jet Moon has been part of the Queer Beograd collective: A queer antifascist collective in Beograd Serbia producing a yearly underground cultural and political festival. As a part of this work Jet has been producing political theatre in the form of the ‘Border Fuckers Cabaret.’ as a writer, director and performer.

The content of the cabaret has always been a careful knitting together of the personal anecdote with its political context. Collaborating with artists and activists to produce scripts, we created shows which ranged across the topics of detention centres, genocide, anti-militarism, sexism, anti-fascist struggles, domestic violence, capitalism and homophobia and trans-phobia. To show the interconnections between personal stories and a broader politics, and to go beyond the idea of any 'single issue'.  The idea was to be able to find some other way to communicate, to entertain, and to present some direct political messages without everyone being bored to death, using laughter and sexiness to make the events fun, what developed over time was a form which was informative, political and celebratory.

Weblinks: http://www.jetmoon.net/

The workshop is organized as part of Ivana Marjanović’s research project: Kvar Performans Politics supported by diverCITYLAB/ daskunst. Tracing recent local proposals for the politics of interconnectedness and exploring historical genealogies of gender and political difference, the research project Kvar Performans Politics looks at transnational encounters as spaces of critique and spaces of negotiations driven by the desire of transforming subjectivities into actors less entangled with hierarchical and exploitative social relations (gender, work, ethnicity, nation related dynamics) and less defined by different intersecting violent vectors of power. The point of departure for the analysis is the proposal by transnational collective QueerBeograd to “translate” queer as kvar (in English malfunction) and thus redefine it using the categories beyond sexuality and gender. More details soon on: http://www.daskunst.at/divercitylab/

Saturday, 1 June 2013

FUNDRAISING for the QUEER BEOGRAD BOOK - PAYING for the printing and distro!! YES we need your help!

Through the long dark London winter (all 8 months of it) I was working not only on finishing the Queer Beograd film, but also on it's matching counter part: THE BOOK.

The Queer Beograd Script Book is a compilation of the scripts written and performed as part of the Queer Beograd Border fuckers Cabaret between 2004 and 2011. It features 18 scripts many of which were performed in Beograd and also those which were written for performances in London (Transfabulous), Linz, Berlin and Athens. In addition to the scripts, the book contains an introductory text which describes the formation of the cabarets, the collaborative process in writing with local activists and some back stories on the scripts.

The book features some beautiful illustrative work, I was extremely lucky to be able to work with designer Ola Podgorska, using photographs from the original performances by Biljana Rakocevic, Ola has produced a beautiful and coherent design for the book which reflects the written and performative style of the cabaret itself.

Publishing this bilingual edition will continue the work of Queer Beograd in diseminating first hand Queer Antifascist and radical politcal stories wider than the original reach of the Cabarets live performances. Our plan is to print and distrubute the book, in conjunction with the film within the Balkans and elsewhere. 

Of course we don't have a big budget, in fact at the moment we don't have ANY budget, all of the work done on the book so far has been a labour of love. We would like to offer you the opportunity to show your support for our work in the next step of it's journey out into the world.

YOUR FINANCIAL HELP no matter how modest would be appreciated!! We need to raise £1300 to print and freight a small print run of the book, donations can be made directly via the paypal link on this blog (please remember to mark your donation as a 'gift'). If you would like further info on the publication or its distribution please feel free to make contact. More information on Queer Beograd Collective can be found here and at the collectives website here . The book is ready to go to press, so hopefully we can get copies of the book out into the world very soon! Please let us know if you would like your donation to be acknowledged in the books 'thanks' page.
The current amount raised so far is: £625!!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Femme-insm 101 (refreshing the memory)

The following is an abridged version of the script 'Femme-inism 101'. Written in 2006/7 it was a response to the sexism, femme-invisibilty, gender queer invisibility and stereotyping I experienced around that time both inside and outside of the queer community. So often the assumption is that the systems of oppression opperating in the world at large will magically evaporate once inside queer spaces.

I post the script here as lately I have been pondering my own evolution as Femme, especially in terms of gender identity and plan to write more on this to follow up. 


Ah yes, the ‘80’s… It was a wonderful time for me, when I left home and discovered feminism… and lesbians.

But, oh my god, the clothes! It was a nightmare. What can I say? Doomed.

As we waved goodbye to the 80’s I felt the pull of sadness in my heart.
Oh no, no more lavender dungaree sets, no more women’s consciousness raising groups.
No more non-penetrative, totally respectful, equal partner, woman identified woman, lesbian vanilla sex.
Oh well, and so the world moves on. I went into the nearest store and brought myself a slutty push-up bra, some sexy underwear, a tub of hair removal cream and some lady shave razors.
I never was a very good earth mother.

I got to tell you, I never did buy the whole thing about essentialism. I’m a girl, but there’s no way that that relates to any ‘true notion’ of what a woman is.

I’m your bastard daughter white trash whore sister bitch goddess chipped brick über-slut, fuck-you-in- the-ass nightmare kinda girl. Raised by mama to do all the right things, and just look at how I turned out. An angel in the kitchen, and a whore in the bedroom. Give me half a chance and I’ll see if we can work out something that combines the two. How about you cook me dinner in your underwear and then I fuck you on the table?

I’m neat, I’m clean, I’m nice as pie. I know how a good girl behaves. I smell sweet as the new mown hay, all fresh clean hair and soft perfume.
I’m the kind of girl who loves her switchblade, I’m gonna force you to your knees and make you say please. I’m a real girl.

Wymmim, (how is that spelt?)
I have a word for you of a new social movement.
This is not the first wave, this is not the second wave, it’s not even the backlash.
Ladies… I present to you Femme-inism.

My momma was the über-femme: beautiful, immaculately dressed, so perfectly feminine. From her I learned everything: how to walk, how a real girl talks, and how to behave. To speak softly, to laugh at the right moments, to carefully calculate the effect of my movements on those who watched me. To phrase and consider everything I did until I became an embodiment of artifice, a moving object. Growing up with my mom was like going to Geisha school.

True or false? I’m dragging up into my real self.
We’re talking about gender… and we talk about femme.
I try to explain, I know it’s a construction, I know I have some heavy conditioning. Just try growing up in my family! But I also know that I can’t and don’t want to get rid of it. Getting rid of my femmeness would be like trying to remove my bones.
There’s so much internal fakery that makes up the real me. And so many heavily fetishized objects to which I attach my identity, my fascination with the external symbols, the clothes, the wigs, shoes, make up. I know this stuff is crappy make believe.

But I want to explain that when I put on this drag, this fake, this costume, that’s when the outside begins to match the how I see myself inside.
When I dress up I’m becoming who I really am. I’m like a transvestite husband dressing up in his wife's clothes.

You may have heard about the good old binary gender divide operating out there in the big bad straight world. Of course I’m sure its something that would never ever come up in the queer community? Sexism?

The assumption that because I'm femme, I'm also stupid and passive, there’s something dodgy going on there, some deep buried belief that femme is ‘normal’, ‘natural’, the default mode for females. Fail to see the gender fuck in femme, read me at face value and we’ve got nothing to say to each other.

It’s amazing though how being femme means that you are endowed with certain magical powers! Really! For example: the power of invisibility!

The other side of passing, well I call that knowing the tricks of the trade.
You have to be smart to play the con. If you dress like a girl, you soon get used to finding ways to stay safe.

On the train crossing out of Croatia into Slovenia I suggest we fuck. She’s out in the hallway smoking a cigarette and I keep flirting, lifting up my skirt, flashing her my underwear.

Back in the train compartment she’s shy, like always I’m the devil’s advocate, talking her into it, saying ‘Come on, don’t be a pussy, let’s fuck’. She draws the curtains and is genuinely scared. What’s to worry about? I don’t get it!

I strap on a dick under my pretty pink skirt and get her down on her knees on the carriage floor. I tease her calling her a sissy boy, my little faggot cocksucker, grabbing her hair and pulling her head back to tease her lips with my cock.

Just as she’s really getting into giving me a bit of good head, the ticket inspector comes to check our tickets. He flicks aside the curtains and as soon as he sees her down on the floor he backs out. ’Excuse me’. He’s the one who apologises, for interrupting our little scene.

I smile at him in a sexy coy sort of way, rearranging my skirt and holding my bitch close and he leaves us alone. My girl is totally freaked out, really scared that something bad could happen to us because we’ve been sprung having sex.
Me, I couldn’t care less, it’s like I always thought it would be, we’ve just passed again, riding the wave of heterosexual privilege. The ticket inspector thinks my butch is some guy getting lucky with his girl, wishing he should be so lucky as to get to go down on some hot slutty girl on the train. He has no idea that there’s a big fat dick under my skirt.

It’s so complicated isn’t it? Gender, sexuality, how we see each other and the expectations we have. All these ideas that stop us making it up as we go along.

I’m playing with this young transboy, I’ve got him down on his knees and I say ‘Jack off, I want to see you jack off, I’m going to piss in your mouth while I watch you cum’. He looks a bit nervous, understandable. But what he says is ‘I have to go and get my cock.’ This is one of those pauses that can be a bit of a scene killer.

So he gets his cock and holding his dick between his legs, he jacks off, just like a boy would. And I’m fascinated, because just the night before in my room I’ve been trying to figure out how to do exactly the same thing! Me and this boy, we think the same way about our cocks.

How come no one ever talks about Femme spiritual cock?
Me and my mate, she’s another Femme of the trashy hardcore variety, we spend a lot of time talking about our cocks. There we are rifling around in our handbags, and at the same time we have those conversations along the lines of: ‘If I had a real cock’, talking about our favourite dicks, ‘This is what it would be like… except  bigger.’

Isn’t it funny how all this comes back to cock? Sometimes it really worries me.
How did I get to be such a ‘dick for brains?’ Freud would have something to say about that.

Now ‘Phallic symbols’. Basically anything that’s long and pointy represents THE PENIS. So: High heels, yep, phallic symbol, knife: phallic symbol, strap on, well honey what can I say that’s not a fucken’ symbol! And the weirdest thing of all… the feminine woman herself, yes that’s right, represents… A PENIS.

So if I’m a chick and I’ve got a knife, high heels and a strap on, that means I’m standing here with 5 fucken dicks!!!

What can I say? Woohoo! All right! I’ve been waiting all night for this moment. Come on Darlin’, come to Daddy… that’s right… c’mon… come to Papa.’

The script has been performed in London, Vienna, Stocholm, Malmo and Beograd. It featured as part of 'The Gender Queer Playhouse' At Transfabulous Transgender Festival of the Arts 2008, and the feature film of the same show titled 'The Lovers and Fighters Convention'. It has been published in Queer Beograds documentation of their festival on "Trans and Sexwork' 2007.