Tag Archives: History

Review: “Carnation for a Song”

The Young Vic Café / Bar is bustling…filled with people hanging out and relaxing, unlike the determined queue of people waiting to get access to the performance space for this show, tickets (which are free) are now scarce, such is its popularity.

This Community event commissioned by the Young Vic as part of its ‘Taking part project’ has clearly been a resounding success.

“Carnation for a Song” inspired by Oscar Wilde’s famous queer reference to green carnations, is an ensemble piece for fourteen LGBQ Londoners aged 50+, who share their personal life experience through stories and song.

This is a production that is both comedic and poignant. Its participants have lived through decriminalization, HIV, Section 28 and the legalization of same sex marriage, as well as the day to day trials of Gay life and online dating!

Josephs Atkins’ original songs and musical accompaniment, inspired by the original interviews with the cast, were a highlight, of the show. Expansive, expressive and toe tapping! I particularly loved “Gateways Girls” but enjoyed them all.

Director Megan Cronin shepherded her flock of ‘fearless participants’ and enabled the authenticity of our collective history to shine through. The audience were visibly moved.

This is an entertaining and interesting production. It illuminates the importance of narrating our history, lest it be made invisible. We must not forget our Trans and BAME family’s part in it.

 

Young Vic 10-13thApril

Tate Late 26th April

17:24:31

Remember the London Nail Bomb Attacks?

3 bombs over 3 consecutive April weekends.

Each bomb packed with a thousand nails

Each explosion wounding, maiming…murderous.

 

Its aim was to incite fear and hatred

In Afro-Caribbean, Bangladeshi and LGBT places.

Targeting people just going about their business.

Ordinary, extraordinary people, like you and me.

 

In Brixton, people were shopping,

Thinking about what to cook for dinner.

Popping out, to pick up a paper.

Chatting in the street with a neighbour.

 

In Brick Lane, people were relaxing.

Eating dinner in local restaurants.

Planning their family’s weekend.

Repairing their car.

 

In Soho, people were Celebrating.

Having a drink en route to the Theatre.

Meeting up for the start of the weekend.

Hanging out, in a safe Gay space.

 

We commemorate those unfortunate people

In the wrong place, at the wrong time.

The shocked, injured, wounded, dying.

Who showed great fortitude and courage

 

Those bombs incited acts of individual heroism.

Kindness and generosity between strangers

A public outcry of outrage and horror

Immediate, professional support.

 

Our diverse Communities enrich society

We were not. Are not. Will not ever be

Diminished by hatred and evil

We stand united in our humanity, and love.

WOMEN & AIDS (World Aids Day Vigil 2018)

We are the hands that rocked the cradle,

Administered to the needs of those affected.

Comforted the shocked and confused,

Nursed the sick and dying.

 

Women and AIDS go hand in hand.

 

We were infected by husbands and lovers,

By a half forgotten one night stand.

By a not forgotten rapist.

By people, who didn’t know they had it.

 

Our babies were born with AIDS.

 

Because we had a blood transfusion,

Or were registered hemophiliacs.

Because we were ignorant and careless,

Or junkies, desperate for a fix.

 

Women are 52 percent of those who survived

 

Remember those women who lost their lives

Celebrate those that survive.

The mothers. Sisters. Aunties. Friends,

Who now stand, hand in hand, with the men.

HIV/AIDS

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Performed at Celebrate, Commemorate, Cabaret 


The name strikes dread into our heart,

We know what its impact can be.

We’ve seen the worst and best of it,

Its devastation of our community.

 

In the hedonistic excess of the 80’s,

We saw our playmates falter and fall.

Their fluids turned into Hades River,

Some swept away. Some, not at all.

 

The randomness, of the infection.

The suspicion, ignorance and fear.

Our family, friends and lovers blamed

Just because, they were Queer.

 

Investment in medical research

Stopped this killer in its tracks.

The afflicted now can live a life,

Improved by treatment and facts.

 

We honour our brothers and sisters,

Who didn’t survive that fight.

We salute and support the survivors

Whose life turned out alright.

 

Let us celebrate our lives today,

And those, whose lives are past.

Embrace our loving community

May it prosper, flourish and last

The Way We Were

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Performing ‘The Way We Were’ at the British Library launch of the Gay UK Exhibition

Newly arrived in London

Seeking fame, fortune, friendship…

And the kind of sex we couldn’t find

In our small towns and villages.

 

We were ravenous.

Wanted to grab life by the throat,

Or, fall in and be overwhelmed by it.

Grow into ourselves.

 

We were gagging for it.

Brimming with fear and excitement.

Impatient for a brand new life,

Of our own making.

 

We took courses.

Loitered in clubs, pubs and places,

Hoping to meet a bona-fida homosexual

Or become one.

 

We marched together

On streets paved with hope and wonder

Held hands at Greenham – shouted

Made love as much as possible.

 

The way we were

We thought would never change or end

Now the way we are today

Will tomorrow’s history amend