MIGHT NEVER HAPPEN

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A while ago, I realised that (since I have a vagina and grew up in London), it might be about time I wrote about my experiences of street harassment.

I talked about people touching my body when I hadn’t asked them to. I spoke about being cat-called and how often this happens. I reminisced about lengthy stares and bum grazes and, unfortunately, it seemed to resonate with a fair few of you. As a result, I thought I would bring your attention to ‘Might Never Happen’: a play co-written by one of my best friends, addressing aspects of the abuse and harassment that women face on a daily basis in the UK.

Doll’s Eye Theatre, the company behind this piece, address some important issues. They have taken the time to demonstrate the various guises that harassment takes on, the way people do or don’t deal with it and the way that it can make you feel the size of a thimble when it happens to you in a crowded place or somewhere you should feel safe, which, in actual fact, should be anywhere- including a dark alley in the dead of night; wearing heels, trainers, or an all in one for that matter.

I had the pleasure of watching ‘Might Never Happen’ back in May at the King’s Head in Islington. An intimate setting, which lent itself perfectly to the aptly uncomfortable scenes we endured. The material is thought-provoking and – refreshingly – demonstrates the male perspective on issues that are predominantly reserved for women’s magazine articles or feminine discussions. To me, this was the most important aspect of the performance because, all too often, I meet men who assume that women are overly sensitive to slurs on the street or that ‘we love it really’ when a man in a van comments on our *insert body part here*.

‘Might Never Happen’ asks some really interesting questions and opens up a space for conversations about what men can do to prevent this abuse from happening altogether through a combination of dark comedy and satire. It also highlights how little women can do to stop it, despite constantly being told to ‘cover up’ or ‘wear less make up’ to avoid ‘provoking men’, finally taking the blame and responsibility away from women and placing it on those who commit these acts instead.

The more we talk about how invasive these ‘lighthearted’ bum pinches, whispered ‘alright darlings’ and the standing-just-that-little-bit-too-close-to-us-incidents make us truly feel, the less accepted it will become.

Doll’s Eye Theatre will be performing ‘Might Never Happen’ again in October. You can get tickets here.

Let me know what you think.

I AM ANNA

Oslo was never top of my list. In actual fact, I had never really thought too much about Norway beyond the confines of my university halls on one fateful Eurovision night. But, as it happens, a surprise trip to this snowy city makes for the perfect Christmas present. In truth, Oslo surprised me from beneath a blanket of snow. It was like spending a weekend in Narnia and there ain’t nothing wrong with that. Especially when you’re with your favourite human.

Welcome to Oslo.

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THE FORBIDDEN – A REVIEW

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I’m lucky in that I have lots of creative friends. I’m lucky in that I live in London and get to see them perform in creative spaces. But most importantly, I am lucky in that I have friends with very real talent who are a pleasure to watch.

Last night served as the perfect reminder of this.

Catherine, my oldest and dearest friend, was in a play called The Forbidden at The Canvas Cafe just off Brick Lane. The venue was a dreamboat made from delicious wines, intimate spaces and beautiful people. The piece itself topped all that.

Fiercely dark yet vastly comical, it left me worried that I was feeling nostalgic. Was I that evil as a teenager? Might I have been so easily swayed? Manipulative? Manipulated? With references to gossip in Science class at school, Abs from Five and a very real focus on every teenager’s obsession with sex and virginity, this piece absolutely left me wanting more. I don’t want to say too much because I think it’s best to enjoy it without any knowledge of the plot – me being the disorganised one of the group hadn’t a clue what it was going to be about and I think I was better off for it – so I won’t ruin it, but I will say go and see it.

If you’re of a certain age, you’ll understand the dread that your teenage years will come back to haunt you one day in the form of a forgotten about disposable camera, dug up from your bedroom drawer. You know that it will expose your poor judgment in spotty, fourteen year old boys and a badly cut fringe.

In The Forbidden however, a disposable camera brings back memories of something a little more sinister than blue mascara and a penchant for Tamagotchis.

Haunting. And the perfect date for Halloween week. Book tickets for Monday here.

LOVE TO LOVE TO LOVE YOU

If someone asks me to go to the theatre, no matter what it is, I go.

If someone asks me to go to the theatre to see something I’ve already been to see, no matter what it is, I never go.

This show is different. And not just because my friend is in it.

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I have a feeling that Florence Keith-Roach – playwright, director and actor – might just be my kindred spirit because Love to Love to Love You encompasses everything that I want and need in a play: great music, great writing, not-always-so-great sex and a great message.

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Turning the 19th century play La Ronde on its head and subverting age old gender norms where we see men as the predator and woman as the submissive, this is a tale about sex, set within 24hrs, told through the eyes of a modern day female.

Set to a wicked backdrop of disco beats and some seriously great costumes, designed by Lily and Edie Ashley, it’s a performance that toys with all the senses.

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If you don’t believe me – even though you should – the cast have already been up to Edinburgh to perform at The Fringe, where they received critical acclaim and a review of four stars from Ed Fest Mag.

I saw it at Library, a private members club on St Martin’s Lane in the summer, but this time the party – because it really is more like a party – is being held underground at Cavern, as part of the Waterloo Vault Festival.

Hilariously honest and brilliantly in your face, I suggest you buy a ticket.

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 “Prepare to be dazzled” – London Planner

“Delighted by all who came to see it. Don’t miss out !” – Wall Street International

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Ed Fest Mag

Girls

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Normally, I wouldn’t write about a TV show. It’s too subjective, although arguably beards are too, and I am not a TV critic. I can’t tell you whether it is well shot or whether the lighting is most excellent, but the essence of it? That, I can grapple with.

My oldest and dearest friend suggested I watch Girls and after taking in the first episode where Hannah has very real and very un-air-brushed sex with Adam, I thought: this is not what I signed up for. I was used to “girly” American shows being littered with couture, an ability to live way beyond their means on the Upper East Side and far-fetched story lines of murder and lust. This was different. It didn’t need all of that tat. It was like a gritty British drama but with funny accents and feminism running through it.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s basically a series based around the lives of four girls, living in Brooklyn, in their early twenties. Sounds like it has been done before, doesn’t it? It really, really hasn’t. Lena Dunham, who is one of my idols and an emblem of feminism for our age, captured the essence of being a twenty-something in 2014 pretty much within the first four minutes of the pilot episode. In the three series that follow, she addresses interning, drugs, virginity, dance routines, an inability to love, STIs, abortion, OCD, dance routines, doggie style, girls being bitches, boys being amazing, people enjoying ACTUAL sandwiches and peeing on each other in the shower, which, I can assure you, is some people’s reality.

Some people hide from this realism, they want to zone out of an evening and pretend to be in American Hustle or something. But Dunham baring all despite not being a size zero is, and you might laugh, inspirational for some. The programme considers body image without being clichéd and patronising, it gets feminism oh-so-right, and it explores the importance of friendship in a world of Kardashians and cat fights.

In one episode, two of the main characters are taking a bath, one “bogie bombs” into the water and they laugh it off: if that isn’t reflective of true friendship then I don’t know what is.

It has faced controversy over implications of rape, the promotion of taking drugs and many have been offended by Hannah’s decision to wear a green, string bikini throughout an entire episode. That’s what I love about it though. It’s a two fingers up to the conventions of a TV show. It basically doesn’t give a shit about barriers, expectations and the watershed.

Young women of the 90s had Sex & the City, we needed something different and Dunham has provided.

Bukowski once said that he didn’t get the big deal about Shakespeare. He said, “How are the troubles of Kings going to be applicable to my life when I can’t even afford to eat?” This is hard for me to say but the same is true of Sex & the City (Yes, I am comparing it to Shakespeare, bore off snobbos).

How can a world littered with walk in wardrobes and cocktails be more applicable to my life than the reality of having no money, never being satisfied and not having match sticks for legs?

It can’t. And therefore, as a die-hard Carrie Bradshaw fan, this is hard for me to say, but Girls, you knock the proverbial Manolos off of Sex & the City.

I salute you Hannah and your string vest!