Posted by: stelladuffy | September 19, 2014

IndyRef – now can we lift the Left?

Because we’re stuck with this lot if we don’t.
It’s 8 months until the next election. I’m really interested in how we use the passion of the Scottish Left (both those for independence and those against) to FULLY engage the (fractured) all-Britain Left, especially the too-many who feel so disenfranchised from Westminster politics that they choose (or don’t bother) to vote at all. I do not believe that the majority of this country agrees with the poor-punishing, disabled-attacking, divisive and brutal austerity-lie ‘coalition’. Rather than rely on UKIP to split the Tory vote*, we need to find a way to unite the Left and engage those who have given up on party-parliamentary democracy. It’s the only system we have right now, and therefore the only way of getting rid of this government. With another five years they WILL complete the dismantling of the NHS and our education system. Thank you Scottish voters, from both sides, for your passion. Time for everyone else to pick it up a little. A lot.

* it won’t, Tories will always vote Tory when it comes down to it, they’ve shown us that time and again, it’s the Labour Left vote that gets split to Greens, Respect, and other Left-leaning (or Left-seeming) parties. It’s the split vote that has (recent) historically gone to the LibDems (though I doubt that will happen now), but it was a left-split vote, rather than a pro-Tory vote, that enabled this (not)coalition to emerge.

ps – I have my hopes pinned on a positive result in New Zealand. watching you with interest, Aotearoa. xx

Posted by: stelladuffy | September 11, 2014

51 to 27 and 75 (aka, how the ‘failures’ are useful)

Dear 27 year old me,
today you have two interviews about Fun Palaces and one about your short story collection, you have a book reading tonight, tomorrow you fly to NYC to get a show you directed into a new theatre, on Sunday night you fly back in time for a Monday Fun Palaces interview.
Yes it is knackering, and it’s brilliant.
And you’re very lucky in that you also have a brilliant partner who gets how it is.
The thing is, 27 year old me, you wanted all these things then, and you didn’t understand that you hadn’t yet done the work that would make them happen. You hadn’t yet done ALL the work that was rejected or ‘not understood’ or seemed to end in nothing.
Those ‘failures’ got you to this place too.
Dear 75 year old me, I’m so looking forward to what you have to say to me at 51.
Stella x
(ps 75, do you think, by then, someone else might be paying for the flights?!)

Posted by: stelladuffy | September 1, 2014

Fun Palaces – by, for and of the people.

I just dropped off some Fun Palaces posters for Brockwell Lido Fun Palace. I haven’t attended any of their meetings, partly because it’s my local FP and it’s important it feels it belongs to the locals, not the national FPs – and partly because my Mrs, Shelley Silas, convened it, and for the sake of our marriage it’s probably vital she doesn’t feel like I’m telling her what to do with their FP!
But I have to say what a thrill it was to see such a big group, mixed races, mixed ages, mixed genders, mixed sexualities – all there to make a LOCAL Fun Palace, for THEIR community. All volunteering, all doing it because they believe in the idea and want to be part of a national event that shouts about the value of cultural participation for all.

There are moments (usually at about 3am) when I get completely terrified that it will all be a damp squib and these 20 months of solid work will turn out to be for nothing. And then I meet the actual Fun Palaces makers, as we did on our national mini-roadshow meeting local makers in July, as we did at OvalHouse last week meeting makers from London, Whitstable, Glasgow, and I remember who and what it’s for. It’s for the people who turn out on a grey and damp Monday night, after a full day’s work, to do more – to share arts and sciences with all, to engage and participate and enjoy whether they’re ‘expert’ or not, to truly create the democratisation of ‘culture’. To say that culture belongs to all of us, and it belongs in our swimming pools and cafés just as much as it does in our big shiny venues.
Huge huge yay for the people.

Joan Littlewood said she believed in the genius in every person. What we’re finding with Fun Palaces is that everyone really is an artist, everyone a scientist. We just need to give them opportunities to make their mark.
Because when we say yes please to the people, when we honestly and truly invite them to make, to create, when we let them make it theirs … this happens :

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