A couple of years ago I made the heady decision to get pretty damn serious about comedy. I was a young clown, without guidelines or stabilisers, let loose on a unicycle with no real sense of direction. It was always going to be a bumpy ride but hey, if I’d never taken any tumbles how many people would have missed the opportunity to ask if I’d ‘enjoyed my trip’? Never gets old …
However, we really need to put joking aside especially when I’m trying to talk in all seriousness about how it’s the falls in life that keep us grounded and scattered across the ground are all the crosses that mark comedy gold.
Ironically, the time in my life that I was most continuously grounded was when I was at sea. I was a dancer for a 6 month venture on a cruise ship and my ability to slip into, or attach myself to, various costumes, scenery, wigs/other cast members was practically a cult.
Despite this cycle of trauma, this stint at sea opened my eyes to much greater plights than torn sequined knickers (a complete accident during an emergency loo break mid show). I witnessed first-hand the startling discord between the progress of equality in the UK/Northern Europe and in the rest of the world. This is because a cruise ship is, in essence, a petri dish filled with such a cross section of cultures; all of whom are forced to live cohesively under the jurisdiction of the majority (which, in our case, were the ever so affectionate Italian’s). I’d always dreamed of time travel, little was I to know that I could be catapulted back to the 1950’s simply by setting sail. We the dancers, or to use the correct term ‘ballerini’, were the exquisite figureheads to be delighted over, lusted after and thoroughly objectified.
Luckily, due to my un-naturally high survival instinct (despite my absent mindedness) I was able to treat the repeated bottom fondles with a pitiable irony due to the perpetrators’ low ranking on the evolutionary scale. (Similar to the way you would view a monkey at the zoo if it took a swipe at your ice cream).
Years later however, long after I’d swapped costumes of snakeskin for the banana skin life of a comedy producer, I realised that there was a bit of a renaissance happening where feminism was concerned. I’ve always been a sucker for a period of renaissance and I started to feel a ‘stirring’ deep within (which admittedly took a little time to decipher due to my IBS) but I soon recognised it as a call to action. The fishnets were reaching out to me, seducing me back into the world of false eyelashes and high kicks but this time I was going to kick back with purpose!
I liked the idea of Fish Nets being the title of the piece for two reasons. For most of humanity the humble fish net is an ancient, yet efficient, device used to trap creatures of the sea. For the performing community however they are a vital muscle defining, stomach flattening pair of tights. The protagonist of my piece is a woman called ‘Feminista’ (a name she self-styled after coming down with a rather unfortunate illness) and, to her, they symbolise both of these things. She is a showgirl on a cruise ship, with her legs permanently plastered in a pair of fish nets and trapped in her strange world by the sea.
I really don’t know how these ideas come to me… Okay OKAY! I’d like to take this opportunity to promise that my imagination did come into play at some point during the creative process and the whole show does not consist of me reading the above paragraphs to you whilst sporting a malting feather boa!
If you too have sensed the rippling undercurrents of the next wave of feminism - be them post-modern or postponed due to the sea of Tory blue currently engulfing the country (time will tell eh?) I would urge you to come on board with ‘Feminista’ as she embarks on a journey to the final frontier!
Her next ‘rabble rousing’ is taking place on 09/06/15 (7:15pm start) at the Betsy Trotwood in Farringdon as part of the Funny Women awards. Any support that can be offered will be greatly welcomed! If you can’t make that then she’s also hosting her own show for the second month in a row at The Lift in Dalston on the 21/06/15 in a cabaret called Feminista and Friends, starting at 7:00pm and it would be just wonderful if you could join her/me, it really would.
So come on ladies, let’s get Mexican and start that wave of feminism rolling... and then have a mojito (there’s a reason I do my gigs in bars!).