Bhangra at a Worthing family party, queer art at the town hall, online apologies for experiences of racism: signs of conviviality in Worthing?
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).
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.
On one of our weekend lockdowns, at a Worthing hotel (where we drive just 10 minutes up the road once every few weeks, to get away from domestic life and the over-familiarity of home) I asked. Shocked, she responded, “thank you”. We both laughed at the response and at the thrill of making something good happen in the middle of all the horror around us. The older you get, the more you understand the cosmic complex truth that, somehow, when the house is burning down, remembering to laugh and to dance is important.
We came over to Worthing to look around for nice places, but really, we just needed an excuse – we’d chosen.
What’s missing from Worthing? I don’t think anything. It doesn’t need to be like anywhere else. It’s got everything that a place needs.
Weedkiller-spraying and care for the environment make the strangest of bedfellows, don’t they?
Splashpoint. Monday Morning, 10am. Lauren briskly swags in and sets up, no nonsense. Smiles at us all, asks us if we’re ready. Gets the music blasting and we all follow her lead and raise our fists, bounce on our toes, try to zone in. Lauren’s smile never drops and her energy is extraordinary. She’sContinue reading “Fighting – With A Narrative”