Never too much, never too much

June 16, 2019 by Ray Morgan

There's a running joke where I work that I'm always cramming in twelve things every evening and fifty in a weekend. My colleagues roll their eyes like: what ridiculous schedule of events do you have planned this evening?

This weekend was no exception. There is simply TOO MUCH good stuff, but I want to go to it all and I don't like missing out.

I went along to the launch of Grrl In Print's latest beautiful print edition, a zine titled 'A DIY guide to Feminism'. The Old Waterworks in Southend is such a great art space, and aside from hosting events, workshops and talks is also building a library there too of zines, intersectional feminist art theory, philosophy books, journals and art texts. Our good friends, the hosts of cult local club night High Tide, were DJing and we very much enjoyed the B-52's, Marianne Faithfull and Salt-N-Pepa before we had to scoot off to our next shindig.

Culture as a Dare is a longstanding and impressive arts organisation in Southend and is committed to bringing a host of truly diverse music to our town. Diverse it really was - set to the Twin Peaks-y backdrop of Twenty One on Southend seafront (open again! Yay!) we had four music acts that defied convention and it was so good. Pettaluck, CAAD's organiser Emma Reed's band, included loud hailers, playing the balloon and terrifying heeled boots on loop pedals. They were followed by Pancake Promises, an artist who writes (genuinely brilliant) electronica jingles for fictional products while microwaving pancakes for the audience (yes, there is actually a microwave on stage, icing sugar AND mini sieve for sugar shaking). 

If you thought that was avant-garde, Toxic Chicken from Holland followed, eating noodles live on stage in a chicken suit *while* singing about noodles. Sounds weird? It was. But sometimes you need to embrace the weird in life. Especially if you've had a long week at work, are tired and hormonal, and the acts make you laugh yourself out of your mood. That can only be a good thing. Rita Braga from Portugal closed the show, a charming collector of cabaret songs from the 1930s onwards, including Bollywood hits, German songs (all sung in their original languages) and her original material too. It was so enjoyable. We walked out onto the seafront cheered by the sheer bizarro world we had just been sat in. 

The next gig of the weekend was at Chinnery's, the dark, sticky back room where we all saw our friends' bands in our teens but still putting on an impressive roster of acts. This was the launch of a new album from Tallowah, but for once in my life I was there for the support acts not the main band! F\gurehead is a Southend two piece featuring electronica, beats, the flute and Portishead-style vocals. This is a band you really must see live - you get totally lost in the beats and vocalist Kelly Buckley's voice really gets to you when you're in the same room. We also saw Dirty Fairies, the brilliant all-girl 3 piece band (with guests, including the very talented multi-instrumentalist Lou Woodger from the previous band F\gurehead) - the funk/ska sound felt timeless and they had everyone dancing with their material. We stayed for a bit of Tallowah and then drifted out into the night, amongst the neon shadows of the arcades, past the boy racers lining up their cars like a toddler's Hot Wheels.

Where we live is very rich in Stuff To Do. This wasn't even counting the Leigh Art Trail which finished on Saturday (and was brilliant by the way) or the Southend Art Trail which is on now. So while it's easy for me to be the butt of the joke when it comes to how much I cram into my spare time (a joke that I love and encourage, don't get me wrong), it never feels like too much. At least, it doesn't when I spend my Sunday lying on the sofa, eating biscuits and smashing through series two of Killing Eve. Balance is good, right?

To read all of Ray's previous blogs please click here


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