#SSHHI: Reclaim the Night

Hey guys,

Excited to have taken part in Pride House Manchester/To Russia with Love last night.

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Started off at Taurus Bar where Pride House Manchester is based, fake snow whirling in the cold. Then marched a circuit of the village ending up back at Taurus where I wanna hold your hand began waltzing the air. Then came the hand holding ring encircling the Village. It all went pretty easy till one corner where we were being stretched finger to finger. But we did not let go! That would have been to admit defeat. So we stretched our way round to conclude for our part of the circle near Vanilla. The hand holding campaign #SSHHI is one I have always been really excited about. It’s a very simple concept, same sex hand holding to show solidarity; in some places of the world SSSHH could mean you are subject to street harassment and worse. So last night we were sending it out to Russia to show support for the LGBT community who are now so threatened by accident of location that jail and death threats are daily realities.

Back at Taurus the Manchester LGBT Choir sang, their first song was I dreamed a dream which was pretty ace and felt somehow really appropriate. Then to a bar to warm up as despite the snow being fake the air was pretty crisp.

So that’s a recap. Actually I wanted to talk about Reclaim the Night which is coming up on 27th Feb.

reclaim 2014Stirred Poetry is going to perform at the afterparty, represented by Anna Percy, myself Rebecca Audra Smith, and Steph Pike. I’m interested in writing some group landays for the event. Landays are something I recently discovered through this article. I’ll just copy some of the descriptions that inspired me about this folk song from the women of Afghanistan:

”The couplets express a collective fury, a lament, an earthy joke, a love of home, a longing for the end of separation, a call to arms, all of which frustrate any facile image of a Pashtun woman as nothing but a mute ghost beneath a blue burqa.

People share landays virtually via the internet, Facebook, text messages, and the radio. It’s not only the subject matter that makes them risqué. Landays are mostly sung, and singing is linked to licentiousness in the Afghan consciousness. Women singers are viewed as prostitutes. Women get around this by singing in secret.

You sold me to an old man, father.
May God destroy your home, I was your daughter.
*
Of the tens of thousands of landays in circulation, the handful a woman remembers relate to her life. Landays survive because they belong to no one.”
I think this is amazing that in a culture where silence is prevalent people still find a way to share, to create, to speak the words that are shut down by society. So I’m really inspired to try and create some of my own, here are two I’ve written and performed at The Quiet Compere Tour:
*

I walk from bus to home

It is a million miles being alone.

*

City corridors stalk me

Woman is lost when camera can’t see

*

The idea is to use this colloquial collective voice to express some of the fears of street harassment that stalk women in the U.K. We will see how it goes!

Let there be light and words and voices.

 

 

 

 

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