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Poems, performance and other good medicine / 5 February 2014

Flyer for Penny Pepper's event on Saturday February 8th.

Flyer for Penny Pepper's event on Saturday February 8th. Erica Smith design. Photo by Mark Davidson

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Over the last few days, a small robin has sat on my garden fence, stubbornly holding his own against the wind. I feel a bit like this robin, as life has battered me along on its usual rollercoaster but I’ve hung in there. New Year’s Eve, I was in hospital, hearing the fireworks along the embankment from my bed, a poignant sound that flushed me with sadness and conflicting thoughts of frustration to get on with life, or to rest and slip into the labels of fraility imposed on me.

A month has now passed and thankfully things have stabilised and work has picked up. Creativity, ah the best damn medicine!

Firstly, this Saturday I am performing on the south coast, at my own event: ‘Penny Pepper’s Poetry-Song Mixed Bag Miscellany’. I do hope you will come along if you’re local enough. Only an hour from Brighton… if there’s any rail tracks or road left.

My idea is to encourage beginners on to the open mike slots. Imposing my rules as a benign dictator in the evening, there will be no stage set-up, no performers' hierarchy and no pressure to come up to the front. So many people tell me that this is the green light to nerves.  With this in mind, everyone can do their bit wherever they are sitting. Naturally, I will be doing 10 minutes slots of my own material throughout the evening; I promise politics, I promise passion and I promise the protest song. With laughs throughout!

In some ways this is a palpable starting point for my one-woman memoir show ‘Lost in Spaces’, which I hope will go into R&D soon – kissing the lucky Hagstone that I am successful in my GfA.  When that happens (be it sooner or later), I would like to share my journey with DAO, in part because I face some crucial challenges arising from having a chronic health condition. One you don’t fuck with – a dodgy heart. The access stuff can be managed; barriers can be removed. But my stamina can’t be miraculously modified. As it is, my lack of stamina affects much of my life; even how often I can write my sadly neglected DAO blog.

The Mixed Bag Miscellany will test me; hence the open mic slots to allow me breathers. But this format is not what I want for Lost in Spaces. I feel that the need for a new structure should be responded to creatively. I aim to do an hour-long show, minimum.

How can I turn what might appear a disadvantage, into a creative catalyst for something I hope will be remarkable? I welcome your thoughts.

Meanwhile, I hope to see some of you this Saturday. I am performing again at Folk in Motion on February 15th, at the mighty all-things-folk HQ, Cecil Sharp House with the gorgeous cello accompaniment of Jo Cox, and other guests such as Liz Porter and the folky dance crew, which includes Sophie Partridge.  The event is to celebrate that they now have full access, hurrah.

Watch my spaces and my spoutings. This is my angle on the fight, the half cliché of not the pen, but via my slinky Mac, the word being the mightiest weapon against pernicious and multiplying injustice.