An Artist… in Residence, Me?

It’s sort of one of those things you’ve always heard of in the creative arts. I’ve been to workshops ran by artist in residence or read blogs by them. I knew that Sarah Kane, Sue Townsend and Caryl Churchill have all been artist, writers in residency. So it’s defiantly a thing yeah, sure! Just a thing that I never thought would happen to me!

I come across and apply for so many creative opportunities that I see scatted around the tinterweb on a weekly basic. I apply for jobs, send my scripts off, share my spotlight link to casting agents like I’m armoured in iron, yet all too often get the thanks but no thanks reply and even more often, don’t get a reply at all! It’s a real confidence builder this industry eh? So when I saw the Hull Truck Grow Programme call out for artist in residence I added it to my “Shizz to have a stab at, LoL” bookmark in a flash. Though unlike my normal haste to smash through my list and be the proactive machine I like to pride myself on, I put this job off for a few days. I realised that this one meant more to me than all the others. Although I’m used to rejection by now, It’s a total hoot! I wondered how I’d feel being rejected by a place that had been apart of me for so long and pretty much since the start or my creative journey.

Hull Truck was one of the first places I saw people like me, ‘normal’, working class, a bit odd but very real, represented on stage. During my student years we worked with Hull Truck many times, in the Spring Street days. We performed our final showcases their and it was also the place I got my first freelance job as a stage manager working with the youth theatre. My own comedy group Scarlet Lights have performed there a number of times and my writing has been showcased at Truck twice with one of those time being part of the ‘Grow’ season. So when I found out I had been successful, I’d been picked… as an artist, in a residency, as an official thingy with a title and means something and everything… I freaked out a little. That ‘Imposters Syndrome’ sneaks in and I wonder, should I call them back and say, “You Sure?”

I’ve always struggled to call myself the things I’d like to be. I was always worried about the questions you’d get back… “Oh yeah, what have you done then?”

I am also very aware of the talent in Hull, so to be 1 of the 3 chosen ones out of many worthy applicants was surprising and overwhelming but extremely exciting and I am so looking forward to the year ahead.

Our first meeting has happened and the plans for the next couple of months are in place. My head is full of ideas, hopes and ambition. The motivation to focus on developing myself further, networking and learning more about working professionally in the industry excites me and I’m a tad giddy about it all, canny lie. Couldn’t be more appreciative of being part of a great establishment, with awesome staff and surrounded by such talented people.

If you’d like to read more about the residency and the Grow programme, you can find more info here: https://www.hulltruck.co.uk/news/hull-truck-theatre-announces-new-grow-artists-in-residence/

 

 

Molly (Is Happy) #NationalWritingDay

Molly is late 30’s, happy-go-lucky woman who undoubtedly is very content in her life.

Molly: What do I want to be when I grow up? (Sighs)

Molly: (Mocking Voice)

“What exams are you going to take in school?

What will you study at college?

Where will you go to University?

What’s you’re perfect Job-for-Life?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Where do you want to be by the time you’re 20, 25…35?

What are your ambitions, your targets, your goals…?

You don’t have any goals?

You’re over 35 and you still don’t know what you want to do with your life?

No idea what you want to be?”

Molly: I’ll tell you what I want. I just want to live my life for today, be in the moment and just enjoy! Oh, but I can’t. I mean, that’s not ambitious enough for you is it? Ya set of self-righteous twats!

You know, some days I want to do loads, and adventure and explore. Others I just want to sit on the grass, in the park and be thankful that I’m here another day. Or lay in bed, enjoying a rest, deserved or not! Or get hyper and clean my little house, with no bra on, singing along to Cher. She’s my Dad’s favourite.

It seems everything has to be one way, conformed. You’re not allowed to enjoy a real book but also be a Kindle reader, you have to be one or the other. Preferably a real book reader, if you want to be accepted as an O.H …

[Pause]

 … an Original hipster!

[Deep breathe in] You’re some sort of cretin if you appreciate the digital world. You’re only cool if you collect Vinyl and a brainless millennial if you have a Spotify account. And yet somehow you have no worth as a fully-fledged ‘Adult’ unless you’re a career driven junkie who can’t switch off their emails even when their first child is being born.

…Apparently, a meeting can take place anywhere with Skype!

It’s just so contradictory.

So even when you are content, with everything you want or need for your best life, there are these demon voices all around you… they go by the name of ‘society’… telling you otherwise. Oh, ark at me, I’m getting political now!

See if I want to get political I can do, but on some days, I just can’t be arsed.

Why can’t people just accept that I’m Happy, as I polish my little wooden Ikea kitchen table that I saved up for and bought myself? And that truth be told, I actually like my life! What’s so wrong, or uninspiring about that? You want me to feel bad for being content?

The worlds crazy!

So yes, me… Molly, 37 years old and I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, other than this. What I am right now.

Happy!

 

 

(c) Kerrie L Marsh 2019

Shadow Girl – The Isle of Kelham

‘Shadow Girl’ is one story from an LGBT Short Story collection – The Isle of Kelham

Pulled up just in time, three minutes to spare and lucky to have a space available just outside the barbers. Lou is still sporting sunglasses despite it being the back end of October and there been a definite crisp autumn feel in the air, the sun is bright and, well, absolutely blinding when driving. Plus, her sensitive green eyes mean’s that she wears shades all year round unless it’s dark, gloomy and overcast. Which surprisingly this year, hasn’t been that often. Lou likes to make the joke, ‘Global warming, good for something eh’ then instantly feels bad that she’s said it. As she does carry a reusable water bottle around with her and is conscious about reducing waste and recycles where she can. There isn’t a Netflix documentary about sustainability she hasn’t watched, and she’s read enough blogs to keep her awake at night worrying about if the palm oil in her products, really is from an ethical source.

She shuts off her engine which cut’s out her blurring chill-hop music. Lou checks herself out in the review mirror, making sure her hair is presented nicely, ready for her hair cut. Lou steps outside and checks her watch, ‘Perfect’ she says. It’s one minute to her appointment. As she’s crossing the road heading towards the barber shop, she hears ‘You my 6pm?’ Lou looks towards the voice as she auto locks her car. She see’s Amber the barber she has booked with, smoking outside the shop. ‘I thought you weren’t coming’ Amber said.

‘Sorry, traffic’ Lou lies, she only lives in the apartments across the way, she only drove because of how late she was. Lou prefers the barbers to the hairdressers. They cut her hair in a more precise way compared to the hairdressers. ‘What do you want doing then?’ Amber asks as she is running her fingers through Lou’s hair. ‘Just an inch or so off the length and thinning out all over. I like the side’s faded starting from No1 please’. Lou is new to Sheffield and as her and Amber chat, Lou begins to discover all the amazing things Kelham Island has to offer. ‘Yeah, as an artist I am lucky to land a good job here, and in such a creative city too’. Lou crows about her new adventure and how she is loving Sheffield life and especially living on the Island. ‘It’s so my thing, I already feel so comfortable and at home here, it would be hard for me to go back to small town living for sure’. Amber looks at Lou via the mirror, ‘so you mentioned you’re meeting somebody in a bit, is it business or pleasure?’ Lou grin’s, shuffles in her chair a little and clear’s her throat but tries to remain casual. ‘It’s er, well. A drink, meeting somebody for a drink’. She looks back at Amber through the mirror, Amber is smiling. ‘So, a date?’. Lou laughs aloud, ‘Well, er… I guess? No. No actually, not a date as such, more like, just a meet-up really. Casual. You know, I’m new here and just want to meet people’. ‘Absolutely yeah, good on ya. Where you off to?’ Amber asks. ‘Oh, just down the road there, The Old Workshop. Not been in yet but their Instagram looks ace, so been wanting to go check it out. You been in?’ Amber nods ‘It’s awesome, nice and cosy. Good choice.’ Lou smiles pleased with her venue choice. It’s got the approval of Amber, and she oozes chilled vibes, so Lou feels it’s set to be a good night, at least she hopes so.

A few moments pass, Amber is concentrating on finishing Lou’s hair. You can clearly see she is passionate about her job. She uses about three different sets of clippers while she does Lou’s fade and uses a small one to tidy all the edges and add the finishing touch. ‘So, a fresh cut for your date eh, let’s hope they are impressed.’ Amber starts to brush all the loose hair away. ‘You met before or…’ ‘No, Lou interrupts. ‘First time tonight, only been talking a week and a bit. Seen photographs of course.’ Amber smiles as she take’s the apron off of Lou. ‘Tinder, where would we be without it eh.’ They both laugh. ‘I know right, well bumble actually if we’re going to be factual’ Lou laughs it off, ‘what’s a new girl in town meant to do eh?’ Amber makes her way over to the cash desk, Lou follows. ‘Exactly Lou, we’re not here for a long time are we, so we may as well have a good time. An old cliché my NanNan used to say.’ Lou like’s it, ‘Nanna clichés are the best!’   Lou hit’s her bank card across the contactless machine and waits for it to approve. ‘Here’s your receipt. Thanks for the custom and I hope to see you again.’ Lou has one last glance in the mirror before she leaves, she has a quick play with it. ‘Defo, love it! Awesome job, thanks’ chick!’ ‘Aww thanks.’ Amber is chuffed, ‘have a lovely evening with your er, new friend?’ Amber gives Lou a playful wink as she’s leaving the shop, Lou sniggers and nod’s in agreeance. ‘Thanks.’ Lou leaves and the loud Barber shop doorbell sounds as she exits.

Out on the street Lou breaths in the fresh cool air, checks her hair out again via a reflection in a van window parked outside the shop. She ruffles it a little more, she likes the just-out-of-bed look and checks it’s all good from every direction, turning her head left, to right and placing her hair just where she likes it. Ruffled and forward. Happy with her final look, she gives her reflection the nod of approval and chirps ‘not too shabby I guess’ and pulls her jacket on, setting off up the street towards The Old Workshop.

Lou take’s in the area, she loves it. The vintage shop just across the road, the old warehouses and courtyard where the food market is once a month, an array of music and artist studios dotted about and the street art kicking around on many of the street corners of Kelham. The sound of the River Don running close by and one of her favourite things about the apartment where she lives. It has a small balcony overlooking the river and the bustle from a couple of the bar’s and restaurants below on an evening provides her with an atmosphere she thrives in. Lou take’s in another deep breath, closes her eyes for just a moment and feels thankful.

The bar is busy, Lou wasn’t expecting it to be this full. It’s a Tuesday evening and from the outside, it’s very deceiving. Where have all these people come from? Walking towards the bar, she was one of the few people on the street, it was so quiet. You could walk past this venue and not have the slightest idea it was even here, let alone how full it was inside. She instantly loves it. The Old Workshop looks just as the name perceives and it most certainly lives up to its awesome Instagram profile. She makes her way towards the back where the bar is situated. She knew it was ten minutes too early but cruised the room as she went to see if her meet-up was here yet? She couldn’t see her at first glance, but there was quite a sea of brunettes scattered around so Lou thought it best to get herself a drink and then find a perch to spy from, see if any of them are her friend as Amber the barber would put it. Lou asks at the bar for a suggestion of a pale ale, she enjoys her craft beer and likes to try different ones. She’s sold on one that has a hint of passionfruit and heads over to a seat in the corner of the room, facing the door and with quite a good view of the whole space. She checks her watch, almost seven. She scans the room for about the third time. There seems to be no sign of the woman she’s supposed to be meeting. She checks her phone, no txt’s. Lou take’s a sip of her pint and enjoys it. She lets out an appreciative sound and maneuveurs to get comfy in her chair.

Looking around Lou see’s people chatting and enjoying themselves. It’s actually quite loud when you tune in to the chatter, a constant murmur as though on a loop. There is a communal table in the middle of the venue and a group of ladies fresh from work are letting loose with a few glasses of wine, the laughter from their table roars through the bar. It makes Lou smile, she can’t wait for her friends to come visit her in Sheffield. She will definitely bring them here and she can already picture them all sat around that table just like these ladies are doing this evening. She checks her watch, ten past seven. She checks her phone, nothing! ‘Hmmm’ she exhales. A no-show she assumes in her mind. Lou places her pint on the table and begins to text.

“Hi, I’m here! You still up for meeting chick? X”

A group of four hang around near where she is sitting. Lou looks at them and then looks at where she is sitting. An area with a small table and four seats. She rolls her eyes but knows she should do the right thing. ‘You wanna sit here guys?’ The group reply, mumbles of uncertainty and awkward politeness. ‘No worries’ Lou says, ‘I’m going to head outside.’ Her and the group exchange pleasantries and they take over the area and Lou make’s her way through the busy bar towards the exit.

There is a wooden bobbin turned on its head, acting as trendy make shift table and a couple of wooden crates masquerading as seats around it. She puts her pint down and takes her phone back out of her pocket again before taking a seat. She’s the only one out there and still, hardly any action on the street. Lou is starting to think her meet-up has bailed. She txt’s.

“I’ve got a drink, sat outside, I’ll wait till seven thirty X”

She puts her phone away and takes a sip of her refreshing passionfruit pint. ‘Don’t suppose you have a light?’ Lou’s surprised to see somebody appear from near the door area, from the shadows. She could have sworn she was all alone when she came outside? ‘No, sorry. I don’t smoke’ Lou replies, unsure if this is her online connection finally. ‘Nor do I normally, still trying to ditch it when I drink though. I’ll get there.’ The voice moves away from the shadowy doorway and towards Lou and the table. ‘Mind if I join you?’ Lou realises that it’s not her date but kicks open the seat a bit more for the mystery shadow girl to take a seat anyway. ‘Please do’ Lou lets out a cheeky sideways smile. Shadow girl is pretty hot! They get comfortable at the table, Lou has a quick glance at her phone. ‘You waiting for someone?’ Shadow girl asks, casting her eyes over at Lou’s phone. Lou quickly slides it off the table and into her jacket pocket. ‘Er… not now no.’ Shadow girl smiles. ‘They can’t make it, but damned if I’m wasting my pint’ Lou takes a swig. Shadow girl follows suit and takes a sip of her wine. ‘I’m Lou by the way.’ She offers out her hand to greet her officially. ‘I’m Elizabeth, nice to meet you Lou’ They shake hands and hold eye contact for a short while, longer then would normally feel natural. ‘Nice to meet you too Elizabeth. Sorry I couldn’t be more of a help on the smoking front’. They giggle together, Elizabeth shrugs it off. ‘It’s ok, like I say. I only smoke with a drink now. I’ve left my vape at work like a nob.’ Lou nods, ‘they are so in aren’t they, vapes. I keep wondering if I should take it up?’ Elizabeth laughs at her ‘If you don’t smoke, why would you start vaping?’ ‘Because it’s in fashion and those big clouds of smoke look fun. I enjoy a shisha pipe on holiday.’ Lou say’s smugly, as though to show off somewhat. ‘That’s all a vape is, isn’t it!’ Elizabeth is giggling along to her ‘What?’ she asks Lou to explain. ‘A vape pen, it’s just a mobile Shisha pipe isn’t it.’ They both laugh, Lou notices what an amazing smile Elizabeth has, she embraces the moment, taking it in. The two women are locked on each other, gazing into each other’s eyes and smiles so wide even a stranger walking past could see there was a chemistry forming between them both.

Lou has an instant attraction towards Elizabeth, she likes the way she carries herself. Confident and a little cocky. Her eyes are a deep hazel and her laugh always ends with a sexy grin that could have the power to make Lou blush, if Lou was the blushing kind. Which normally, she isn’t. Though on this occasion, she does feel a little bashful around Elizabeth, this is a new feeling for Lou and one she doesn’t mind experiencing. As they talk, chair’s shuffle edging closer to each other, they brush up against one another as they laugh, a touch on the arm, a playful shove with the sound of giggling coming from their little doorway table for two. Elizabeth holds eye contact with Lou, ‘You’ve got the most amazing green eyes’. Lou grins, finishes her drink and looks at Elizabeth. ‘Thank you, and you have the most amazing smile.’ Elizabeth acts shy and playfully shoves Lou with her shoulder. ‘Shut up’ Lou laughs at her, she’s clearly not as cocky as Lou first thought, which is endearing Lou thinks. ‘Can I get you another?’ Lou asks Elizabeth as she indicates her glass is empty. Elizabeth shoots to her feet and down’s the last mouthful of her wine. ‘Allow me!’ Lou waves her wallet in the air, ‘no, no. I asked first, here, let me…’ Lou tries to get up and past Elizabeth, but she pushes Lou back down and into her seat. ‘Seriously, stay put woman. You can get the next ones.’ Lou tries not to show the smugness striking across her face as she registers that the “next ones” indicated Elizabeth could be up for making a night of it. Elizabeth picks up the empties and asks Lou, ‘a pint of?’ Lou shrugs, ‘anything.’

Elizabeth heads towards the door to go inside and order their drinks. ‘Let’s find a table inside, it’s getting chilly out here’ she disappears through the door and back inside The Old Workshop. Lou stands to follow her and heads for the door. As she reaches for the handle. Her phone sounds. She’s forgot all about the meet-up. She has a text, it’s from her.

“Sorry, I got cold feet. You still there? I’ll get a taxi now xx”

Lou looks at her phone, reading the text and she ponders her reply. She wonders, looking towards the door, through the window she can see Elizabeth inside ordering their drinks, and looks back towards her phone. Lou bites her lip, then nods, making up her mind, she texts back. “No, I’ve left. Some other time maybe” Lou turns her phone to silent, put’s it away in her jacket pocket, Grins to herself and heads inside.

Photo by Vlad Bagacian from Pexels

Dear 13 Year Old Me

‘Dear 13 Year Old’ me was a piece I wrote for the Hull City of Culture LGBT50 celebrations. I wrote it as part of an LGBT+ writers group headed by award winning playwright, Tom Wells during Hull’s year in the spotlight, The City of Culture 2017. The writers group had their pieces published in a zine called ‘Lost Property’ which help raise money for an LGBT young persons charity in Hull called ‘Shout’ and we also recorded them as a podcast. Listen here;

I know you’re freaking out right now, I know that your head’s a shed as you’re watching that Beth Jordache and Margaret Clemence kiss on Brookside. I know your body is awakening to something that you didn’t even realise was actually a thing. It looks so visually right to you that you can’t deny the connection between you and the screen right now, but you’re shitting it in case any of your family walk in to your bedroom and see how flustered and short of breath you are. Clutching on to your chest and wondering, what the fuck is this feeling?

So, I’ve written you this letter because I want to let you know that things are going to be ok, when you’re staring at yourself in the bathroom mirror later that evening, crying. Saying to yourself, “I’m gay,” looking hard, and wondering when and how did this happen to you? “Shit, Fuck, Bastard, Cunt, I’m Gay!” you say, as the tears roll uncontrollably down your face.

I want to let you know, there’s no need to be scared. I know that right now you’ve got this throbbing heart beat that feels like it’s going to rip right out of your chest! That you feel as though you’re going to barf all over the bathroom at any given moment. Those feelings subside, they get easier to deal with.

Silently at first, on your own yes but you start to accept it and in time, you’ll embrace it. I mean there does come a point where you embrace it a little bit too much shall we say! Like a farmer with seeds, you’re sowing girl, but hey, you’re only young once eh and I’ll leave all that for you to discover on your own. It’s made you who you are today.

A slag your friends might say.

Hashtag bants, hashtag jokes. Hashtag things are all good with the folks.

The next three to four years will be hard ok, but just be prepared. They won’t be the hardest ones you’ve to face either. They are tough kid but you deal with it, and looking back, like a boss too. You did nothing wrong in trying to fight it, hide it and it’s a shame you had to feel ashamed but the times were a little different and you we’re only little.

You think, well I mean, you hope you’re bisexual. That way you can tell people, I’m still fifty percent normal, so you do the normal thing and keep dating boys. If there is one thing I would advise you against I’d say don’t bother with the boys. You just wound them up because you never put out, it’s a waste of everyone’s time really, and take down that topless fireman calendar because there is no way you are bisexual Ker, you’re proper gay. You tape Emmerdale just to fast-forward to the Zoe Tate sections! The fact is you date most of these boys to befriend their sisters anyway. If you think nearly getting caught by Gary while snogging his sister at a house party was pretty risky, you won’t believe what future scrapes you get yourself into. Some knowingly too.

There’s a lot of heartache to come, I won’t lie, from unrequited love and catching your ‘first’ with another girl the very next night, to the break-up from your first love that you travelled the world with and the dissolving of a civil partnership you imagined would be forever. But don’t worry about any of that right now, this feeling is far too big for me to warn you of the whos, the whens and the don’t do that agains.

Because there’s one thing about you Kerrie, you’ll always do what you want anyway.

I know your immediate worry isn’t about the future, it’s about your loved ones still loving you when they find out who you really are. You know your Dad’s opinions about ‘The Gays’ and you know he won’t be happy. I know your stomach turns at the thought of life without your family. I just want to tell you now…

HA! You wish! Those thoughts couldn’t be further from the truth Ker. Us Marshes are like a deranged version of The Waltons or something and you’ve earned the title of cool Aunty Kerrie to your eleven amazing nieces and nephews. A ‘self-proclaimed’ title maybe, but one they don’t argue with none the less. Yes, dad takes it hard at first, but his dismay isn’t for long. He stops you in your tracks on the way to college one day, tells you he loves you and that he’s proud of you. He thinks you’re brave and he cherishes you.

You cycle to college beaming, feeling on top of the world, proper chuffed, so much so that when Kelly asks you if you fancy her, you’re brave enough to admit it. “Yeah, actually Kel, I do!” She tells you not to tell anybody that she likes you too but that she has a boyfriend and so, nothing can happen. You’re not beaming any more. If anything you’re a little bit embarrassed and wished you’d played it cooler. But I won’t warn you from not telling the truth in that moment Ker, because it seems one night, at a sleepover, Kelly forgets she has a boyfriend, for a whole six hours.

So, your whole family accept you and it’s not really the Jezza Kyle drama some of your other queer friends experienced and that you were expecting. Everything you fear right now does not come to fruition – you’re nothing but loved. Mum tells you she knew all along anyway and that she could have told you years ago. That would have been helpful eh?

From thirteen to thirty-seven, it’s one hell of a journey Kezza. You have nothing to fear though. There are some lows, but they are overwhelmingly outweighed by the highs. You’re never not surrounded by love from your amazing family and your awesome friends. You may often take the path that leads you the long way around, but you learn along that route. You’ll learn that being true to yourself is key, that you know yourself and you know how to be happy. You’re not loaded but you’re basking in wealth, it comes in the form of accepting yourself.

So, dear 13-year-old me, you have nothing to fear. Life is good, I can’t wait till you’re here.

Poetry’s A Funny Thing

Hollie McNish is a funny lady, and I’m not sure if she even knows it?

Poetry is deep, meaningful and powerful and normally a world away from anything comedic, I once thought.

Over the past seven to eight years I’ve enjoyed the urban poetry/spoken word scene more than I ever imagined I could as I think back to the dreaded English classes at high school. Bored out of my tiny mind studying Dylan Thomas and her poems about milk in the woods or something? But soon as I saw and heard the likes of Kate Tempest and Scroobius Pip, my hip hop alter ego related to the genre like a wannabe does to a Spice Girl.

While watching spoken word act’s you may smile, snigger or giggle slightly from time to time, but with Hollie I was actually whole-heartedly laughing out loud, and so were the rest of the crowd. The group of friends I was with all said, “She could do Stand Up”

Don’t get me wrong, Hollie’s poetry is deep, meaningful and extremely powerful too, especially her ode to breastfeeding. But her honest and open outlook on the many strange realities of life makes her warm, relatable and… well… funny.

If you’ve seen her YouTube video’s, she can come across quite hard faced, a no nonsense serious and creative soul. She’s got points to make and she’s making them. Though in essence this is true of her work, in the flesh, she is instantly likeable with a soft, cute and very naturally funny nature.

This particularly shone through as she reminisced about writing a poem with her Nan inspired by the hip hop artist Flo Rider and his song “Blow My Whistle”. Which apparently is some kind of hidden message to women on how best to please the dude. Hollie had the crowd in stitches as she slammed his choice of metaphor, a whistle? The tiniest of instruments, that takes no skill to play. The audience agreed with laughter, she has a good point!

Her one liners between her readings are an honest insight to her feelings and she isn’t afraid to laugh at herself as she goes over old memoirs about being pregnant, having leaky nipples and wanting to beat the midwife up when she announces she is okay to have sex once again.

Being naturally funny is a talent too; Hollie is defiantly in my opinion, a funny woman.

Going Guerrilla

Like my mum always used to say to me, “If you want a job doing right, do it yourself”

Though, It’s not always about doing it right in some cases. Just doing it at all, would be an achievement. If you suffer from an active, overthinking, creative monkey mind such as I do. It can be hard to pin your time and efforts down on to just one project and complete it. My mental ‘to-do’ list is as long as a Costa coffee queue and just as frustrating.

But at times, us creative folks concur that don’t we and something magical happens! We create something and rejoice in a big fat ‘tick’ it’s done!

I enjoy being creative in so many ways and I have an internal struggle with what I actually want to be in life. Well that’s I lie, I actually just want to be a ‘Housewife of Beverley Hills’ but I can’t tell that to people can I. So one of the things I do and I enjoy is writing.

I’m the co-founder of a comedy troupe called Scarlet Lights and we have been together for 9 years and still going… well, we’re still going! That’s the important thing here. We’ve been up and down the country performing in fringe festivals, competitions and other wonderful comedy events. By eck we’ve been caught up in some very strange tomfoolery from time to time. But all that will be in our book next year. Scarlet Lights – A Decade of Tomfoolery.

Ah damn it, another thing on my ‘to-do’ list!

So I write and I’m in a comedy group, what shall one do? I know I’m going to write a funny play for me and the rest of the six strong, Scarlet players. So I did, I wrote a play about an Armature Dramatics society based in a sleepy village called Swanland who take the local drama scene by storm and I profoundly called it ‘The Drama Group’. I’ve always been very good with words.

‘The Drama Group’ was indeed meant for stage and it was performed and received extremely well, if I do say so myself, by the paying public, twice. As the Scarlet Lights we have also always made content for the Internet, extremely poor content, but we gave it a good bash all the same. Now, with no messing around, we got ourselves a proper cameraman and everything and we turned ‘The Drama Group’ from a stage production into a webisode comedy series for YouTube. Tar-dar!

Quite trendy eh for a bunch of 30 pluses and even some mums in the group.

It’s a way to show that if you have it in you, your passionate, a nice and friendly dedicated bunch and some good contacts with grownups, you can make stuff yourself. Like so many have done before us, just got together and started creating, made it and put it out there for the world to see. You can too!

Come on girls! Go guerrilla and show the tinterweb what we’re made of, funny stuff!

To London & Back, a BBC Radio Comedy Adventure.

** My first column for http://www.funnywomen.com**

“Calling all actresses who have or can do, an authentic Hull accent. While playing slightly butch, early to mid 30’s”

Look not further Lucy Beaumont you’ve found me!

The advertisement on Facebook filled me with excitement and a strange surge of confidence that made me hit the comment button and apply for the role. When stand up comedian and comedy writer Lucy Beaumont from Hull put out the advertisement, I knew it would have plenty of interest. I for one was one of those interested parties.

Lucy was looking to cast the role of her best friend Jean in a radio sit-com commissioned by the BBC, ‘To Hull and Back’. I was delighted, if not a little shocked when I got the call saying I got the part. I mean I’ve always performed and have a wealth of experience in the field. By field I mean, dossing around with my mates once a week creating random sketches for our comedy troupe “Scarlet Lights”. That’s experience right?

So landing this pro job with Lucy and the BBC took me back a little. Once I found out that I’d also be staring against another Hull born actress, Maureen Lipman. I wanted to revoke my application and run for the hills, this was too big time for a small fry like myself!

Despite worrying about my capability and suffering with the worst dry mouth I’ve experienced in my whole life. The pilot episode was recorded and when aired on BBC Radio 2 in 2014, was received very well and it’s success awarded Lucy with the commission of going to full series.

Recording the full series of ‘To Hull and Back’ has been an amazing experience for me. I’ve enjoyed visiting the Big Smoke for rehearsals and getting the opportunity to work in a new genre for me, radio. To perform on the BBC Radio Theatre stage was a real experience that meant a lot to me. Many of my comedy idols have tread those boards before me and I did have a total geek moment when I first stepped foot up there. Internally of course, I couldn’t lose my cool in front of the professionals could I now? Maureen and Lucy have taught me a lot, especially about remaining passionate about what you love and to always keep developing, especially as an artist. They are both extremely funny too, so I stole a few jokes off them to claim as my own.

It’s a pleasure to announce we have been commissioned a second series that we start to record this summer and will be aired later in the year.

“I am Vegan”

Calling all caring people around the world who want to save the planet. Forget wishing you were a superhero. The solution is so much easier than stitching yourself in to lycra, oh yes! Your starting point, go watch ‘Cowspiracy’ (Available on Netflix). Man oh man, that shiz is unbelievable! I watched it back in October 2015 and I was in utter shock!  The facts in that documentary are shockingly scary and I, I don’t scare easy no. Within the first 10 mins of watching ‘Cowspiracy’ I knew my whole outlook on this subject was changing. I’ve been vegetarian for ten years and during that time I played with the idea of veganism on a few occasions but as an avid lover of cheese and milk chocolate, not together of course. It felt like such a sacrifice that I didn’t want to take because of how much I enjoyed those products. After all, I made every effort to by organic milk and free ranged eggs that surely I was having no impact on the cruelty inflicted on all those animals that were farmed and mistreated for their produce was I? Wrong! All animals that are used for mass production are farmed, mistreated and live in terrible conditions. Instantly, without question, it was a ‘No’ from me. I wasn’t going to contribute to this wrong doing anymore, just because I selfishly enjoy cheese? What Kerrie… get a grip! I had a word with myself and took the 30 day vegan challenge. I’ve not looked back since. Made some mistakes yes, but not looked back.

Aside from the animal cruelty element, there is another important point to why I chose to try vegan, environmental. The facts that the documentary reveals were jaw dropping and just impossible for me to ignore and I’m pretty good at ignoring things, I’ve not cut the grass in months.

Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation

Agriculture is responsible for 80-90% of US water consumption

Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land

A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people

To mention just a few. I will let you discover the rest in disbelief while watching the documentary in the same way I did. There is also a mass of conspiracy unrevealed that you won’t believe unless you watch and listen with your very own eyes and ears. The amount of ‘Good Causes’ that wouldn’t back the documentary because animal agriculture is one of the biggest grossing business in the world and people who have medaled in the past have been killed, was just outrageous. F you Greenpeace! Go Leo Dicaprio!

Why you still here reading this? Seriously, go watch!

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7 months has passed and I can honesty say, this is the best I have ever felt in my life. Mind, body and soul. I know It’s all a bit hipster and you may just want to toss me in the sea but it’s all true. Yes, you get the majority of people being defensive, picking fun at you because they feel terrible that they are not as pure and amazing as you are but you get use to just looking down on those poor people. No, Joking aside, some people can get quite angry with you and they like to put you down, because by making a conscious effort to try and better yourself and the world for a cause you are passionate about, all of a sudden becomes a threat to them for some reason. People don’t like to be challenged and questioned about the choices they make if they feel somebody is judging them for it. And yes, I get asked stupid questions all the time. “So you just eat salad then?” Yes doofus, because the only alternative to eating the flesh or product of an living creature is gnawing on a carrot you big div.

“Not your mum, not your milk” Boom!

If this informative blog has enticed you to go watch ‘Cowspiracy’ or think about Veganism at all, I’ll be happy. If you would like to know more about being vegan and how easy it actually really is, just head over to The Vegan Society web page and you can find out almost anything you need to!

https://www.vegansociety.com/

A Christmas Blog

Twas a week before Christmas, and all through my head. Not a single thought stirring, nor a word said.No stockings hung by the chimney with care, that’s just not possible as there isn’t one there! But they are hung on the mezzanine

“It’s Chriiissssstttmmaaaaaassssss!!!”

Excited? Organised and prepared? Prepared… what is that? What is that organisational mist that drifts and settles over people after the last firework on bonfire night? Bang and crackle! Aww pretty lights, then it hits, Christmas! I must get organised, I must start making lists! If it doesn’t go on a list… it won’t happen. That’s a promise, ask any woman. As it says in the bible “A man without a list is nothing but a fool”. I don’t think that’s in there but it feels like it should be.

We begin to think of everything  all at once. Christmas shopping, who’s getting what? How much to spend? Who is still worthy of your Christmas card list? Scribble Jose and Matt off the list. If they can’t make the effort to RSVP and not show up to your ‘Welcome Spring! – Pimms Party’ they can forget a yuletide greeting! The tree, the Home Alone movies (Well only the first two of course) the food! Oh my, the food is a colossal part of Christmas. Most women start dieting for it from September. “Got to lose weight for Christmas, Got to lose a few pounds before Christmas” Why? So you can pile it all back on again soon as the Quality Street tin is popped open and so you can gorge yourself sick on the 3for2 mince pies that everybody has gone crazy buying.

Mums say things like “Good deal, good deal that… you can never have enough mince pies”  Er yeah you can actually mother! She’s still giving you a mince pie when you pop for a brew in February.

The manic panic as Christmas day draws closers and people freak out that they haven’t enough food in for their planned festivities, stuffing two or three of everything into their shopping trolleys forgetting that the shops are only actually closed for one day! Not even for one day if you live in a mixed cultural area. So don’t panic, our brothers and sisters from around the world will have one of their shops open somewhere. It almost becomes too much for our tiny little minds to cope with and you start hearing people say things like “I’m stressed, oh I’m so stressed out with Christmas” Stressed? What the dickens? Christmas is not meant to be stressful. It’s a time for joy, love and… the tacky decoration wars!

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How many lights can you cover your whole house in? Over the years this Christmas decoration thing has gone mental in the UK. I remember the first time I was given some lights to put up in my bedroom window I was as giddy as a schoolboy! I thought I was the big Christmas ‘I am’. Now, you almost hang your head in shame putting up the decs as some house across the road gets transformed into an all singing all dancing pimp-tastic groovy grotto. Glowing as bright as some dickheads full head beam in a built up area and kitted out with Santa, a sleigh and reindeer strewn across the roof. A big inflatable snowman in the front garden that has a five programme Christmas tune repertoire that changes with a clap of your hands and a flashing neon sign asking Santa to “Please stop here” Don’t worry… don’t think he’ll miss you somehow.

You must also prepare for the weather. You need your woollies! Your winter wardrobe is abundant with big knit jumpers, your winter coat, and thermal under garments, hats, scarves and gloves. And now we have the ever more fashionable ‘Onesie’. This can only be described as an adult baby grow! Each to their own though eh. What most people fail to remember each year is sadly we are no longer living in a Dickens Christmas Carol. Shops, homes and vehicles are all well heated leading to Christmas shoppers in mad sweats struggling to bare their wares in each shop and people at home in their ‘Onesie’s’ going through an early menopause.

New Years Eve planning is just as imperative too. Will you go out? Stay in, or go away somewhere? The inconvenience of booking taxi’s, paying double time and trying to get severed at an overcrowded bar versus the comfort of your own surroundings where you can just sit and sweat in your adult baby grow? Choices!

Well whatever festivities you have planned this year. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Becoming Pro 2K15

Ok so I’ve only wrote three blogs this year and although I wish I had done more, it’s due to doing much, much more elsewhere in my life. So I start with an apology but do continue with reasoning, otherwise known as excuses. I will start by referring back to my blog post “Working From Home” If you don’t recall it, or have never read it? Not to worry… its only two blogs down, Boom! Your welcome.

So in said blog I gloat about being able to drop a day in my ‘real’ job in order to focus on my freelance endeavours, become more self-driven and allow my creativity to flow. Guess what? Yup, this is indeed an “I told you so” blog. Bear with while I list some of my personal achievements I have experienced during 2015 baby.

No silliness aside now, I did wake up this morning thinking about the year past and although it has been pretty rubbish for some of my friends and family in personal life, professionally I’m quite pleased with myself and all I have managed to achieve via just one day a week. Ok, so not just that one day, it’s not super Monday every week where I get up and by the stroke of midnight my work here is done, no no. Though just having that time, that day to know I can spend it on myself and try and progress creatively is extremely helpful and beneficial. Of course it spreads in to other days as and when it can, weekends, evening…. Sleep time. But knowing I have a Monday to just collect my thoughts and put stuff in to action has been amazing.

Ok so the biggest thing I guess I should start with is, I bagged myself an agent. Not like a private detective, I’ve not started dating an officer of the law. An acting agent! She’s nice, the agency name has the word ‘Urban’ in it and it’s in Manchester, I like Manchester, winning. After managing to gain a professional credit last year with the BBC I thought it might be a good opportunity to open some new doors, see what’s out there.

I’ve continued to work with the BBC this year on the radio 4 sitcom “To Hull & Back” written by Lucy Beaumont and its been an amazing experience. I’ve been back and forth to the Big Smoke for rehearsals and live performances at the BBC Radio Theatre; I’ve had a pass and everything. Though I didn’t manage to acquire (steal) those hip red lanyards they all swan around in. There was loads of press stuff for it in the papers and on the telly box. I thought at any given moment I would be caught out and they would realise I’m just a normal person amongst all these professionals. Dreading that I was soon going to be sailed out of London quicker then Dick Whittington’s cat. Ha well I fooled them. I got away with it! It was aired on the radio, I was paid and the silly sausages might have me back for a second series. Shhhhh don’t let them know that I’m not really one of them.

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I’ve also used the time to write a play, it’s been performed with my comedy troupe Scarlet Lights as part of the Hull Comedy Festival. I think that officially classes me as a playwright? So… tick! And lastly my YouTube channel has hit 100 subscribers. Now I know that may not sound a lot in the world of YouTube but it was the target we set at the start and we said if we ever got 100 peeps watching our tomfoolery we’d feel accomplished. And we do! So go us! Kes N her Bez… go on, make it a 101.

So there you have it, thank you 2015 for being a great year for my personal creative journey. I’ve enjoyed you muchly and grown as a creative. I hope 2016 brings more growth creatively and professionally… not in dress size.