Bhangra at a Worthing family party, queer art at the town hall, online apologies for experiences of racism: signs of conviviality in Worthing?
Today is a day of national mourning.
An Elizabethan era ended – Carolingians again.
The town appeared to have somehow catapulted straight from 1960s to the 2000s. Time felt woozy. Millenial nostalgia for the mid-century modern collided with memories of actual mid-century, when life really did feel modern, in a not-ironic way.For an hour or two, I lived the fantasy of moving to Whitstable for the last part of my life: a return to Kentish birthplace but folding in that seaside vibe I’ve grown to love.
Aunty Eileen’s doctor advised her to take up smoking for her asthma. You have to understand that this was in the 1960s. Doctors now are prescribing choir as part of proven Singing for Lung Health programmes.You might not yet have heard about ‘social prescribing’ – but you will.
The vest is mine, the underpants too, the cock – well I suppose it’s mine. I bought it. I wrote the little piece above about the time when I took my drag king persona Eddie onto a public stage in Brighton.
White, mainstream, middle-class, respectable, assimilated gaydom?As Edelman’s global ethnographic review from 2001 will tell you, liberation doesn’t tend to emerge from such spaces.
I’m not a fan of stand-up, but we needed a group night out and I mistakenly assumed that a Black comedian would be offering something interesting to us here in melanin-starved Worthing. When he opened with an anti-royalist joke and a poke at Brexiteers, I knew we weren’t going to be getting creative absurdist monologue or Afrofuturist mould-breaking humour, but I thought we’d be fairly ok.
A huge contrast to last Friday’s cabaret night over at Worthing’s The Factory, where Revolver Revue served up a signature blend of humour with burlesque and some sheer daftness.
‘Patriotic Alternative’, the extremist organisation of which Worthing Conservative councillor Tim Wills was a member, appears on Princeton University’s TRAC terrorism’s list of 4000 terrorist organisations to watch. It is noted for its sophisticated recruitment methods, high competence in social media and the massive disjunct between its outward-facing communications and the inward-facing rhetorics. The gamification of extremism has arrived. … We are fortunate that we have many Worthing locals who won’t stand for a takeover by extremism. No Fascists in Worthing. That’s something to hold fast to, this coming remembrance day.
Whether we think of ourselves as connected by, or divided by, the seas that lap at land masses is a profoundly political question.The Indian Ocean coast has been imagined and lived as a porous boundary where people freely leave and travel, return or arrive – a place that has been valued as a space of hybridity and cosmopolitanism. (The latter, of course, are engines of creativity and innovation).
While there is a familiar shared trajectory to the gentrification and regeneration process, there can be many missed opportunities to intervene and shape the (inevitable) process of change in positive and inclusive ways.
A Sussex lockdown queer wedding. Blending some old and well-known traditions with Celtic spirituality and a nod to church roots worked. And at no point did it ever feel like ‘Sheilaism’ (the term Robert Bellah famously used for describing the contemporary fall from traditional religion and rituals and into an utterly individualistic solipsistic pick-and-mix contemporary state of ‘spiritual but not religious’). The celebrant reminded us Boomers how far we’ve come since our teens, when ‘gay wedding’ was preposterous blasphemy. Keep an open mind. Allow the unexpected into your life.