i usually post about social awareness stuff but every so often even i need a break from this shit so here’s a story

King of Shadows

I fell in love with Oberon when she was stood outside the nightclub, smoke curling from her cigarette and a snake tattoo around her arm. I couldn’t find my lighter. She stepped closer as the rain started and the flame jumped from her fingertips, I breathed in her scent of sulphur and lavender and couldn’t find the words to say thanks. Her eyes were liquid silver. It rained harder but none of it touched me.

My friends stood with me and seemed not to notice her. They complained about the rain with volume fuelled by drink, but I didn’t hear them. I was only aware of her and the bass that thrummed through the ground. I moved a step closer to her without meaning to. She told me her name and I knew it even as she said it, the way you know echoes of facts in the back of your mind. Oberon, King of Fairies, King of Shadows. She already knew mine. Her voice was the crunch of gravel. She saw the pulse of fear just beneath the surface of my skin and her mouth moved in the ghost of a smile. Her eyes held mine without blinking and I could see rainstorms and flashes of lightning and tasted metal on my tongue. My friends called me back inside. I didn’t want to go, but she raised an eyebrow and moved away. The sudden rain was cool on my skin.

Back inside the nightclub. People everywhere, bodies pressed against bodies moving with music, bodies pressed up against the bar shouting orders with hoarse voices, bodies pressed too close, every brush against my skin was a lick of flame and I couldn’t get my bearings. I was pulled onto the dancefloor and closed my eyes and tried to let the rhythm take me. It usually doesn’t take much. But that night I couldn’t lose myself. My shoulders were tense. A drink. A drink would help. I made my way to the crush of people in front of the bar, hemmed in by the low ceiling and the heat and the sweat of expectation. Someone behind me placed their hands on my hips. I twisted, trying to knock them away, but the crackle of their voice in my ear stopped my movement. I was cold. Her fingertips burned white hot through my jeans as she dug them into my flesh and suddenly we were at the bar and she was beside me. Two shots appeared in front of us. I was sure she hadn’t ordered anything. We picked up the drinks and I could feel her eyes on me as I knocked back the purple liquid back in one gulp. She did the same. My hand flew to my throat. Cold. The taste of nothing, a void, a lash of ice. She laughed, then, loud even against the music. Ran a hand through short dark hair swept back from her brow. She took my hand and pulled me to the tables in the shadows at the side of the room.

Everything about her spoke cold confidence. Her arm around my waist and legs crossed on the opposite chair, heavy biker boots resting on the red leather. The dark make-up around her eyes, the ripped jeans that clung to her legs, the silk shirt too big but a perfect fit. The multiple piercings in her pointed ears. Drinks kept appearing – gin for me, golden honey wine for her – and nobody came to tell us not to smoke inside. She talked about herself for as long as we sat there. She spoke about her kingdom, about the magic that flowed through her veins like a heady wine and the power she held over the fairy court. About her ex, the fairy queen. Her servant and friend, Robin. Casting spells and shadows, making fools of mortals, making people fall in love. Her arrogance was attractive and her voice hypnotic. My phone buzzed a few times but I ignored it. The spell broke when she stopped speaking suddenly, looking over my shoulder. One of my friends, talking quick and loud, relieved to have found me, the club’s closing now, we’re getting a taxi, come on. I turned back to Oberon, but she shrugged and took her arm from my waist, suddenly distant. I made an effort not to care. I told her I was going home. Her eyes flashed with a momentary anger but cooled instantly. Fine.

I followed my friend back through the club, joining the people beginning to drift home. It took a while to locate the rest of our original group and by the time we got back into the rain, everyone was outside. We went to the main road and found a taxi quite quickly. My friends got in. I stopped. Turned around. Walked to where she was standing, I knew she would follow me, I could feel her there, and pressed my lips to hers, my hand on the back of her neck, tasting the nicotine and sulphur of her mouth. And then I left. I watched her from the taxi and felt a small thrill of satisfaction at the blush on her cheeks. Unexpected. My friends laughed at me on the way home, called me outrageous, asked where that all came from. I shrugged, smiling.

I finally checked my phone when I was in bed. It was getting close to sunrise, but we had stayed up a bit longer, drinking some beer from the fridge and predicting the worst kind of hangovers for ourselves the next day. There were a few texts from throughout the night.

Where r u?

No serious hun where did u go?

R u alive?

And then another, from only an hour ago:

You surprised me tonight. Let me see you again. Fare thee well.

I didn’t remember giving her my number.


I ran my fingers over her wings, taking care not to wake her. The colours changed like a raven’s coat in the light. They trembled with the slightest touch. Spiderweb thin and steel strong.

She was sleeping. Eyelids twitching, brow slightly furrowed. Her face is more relaxed in waking than it is in sleep. I told her that she could talk to me about her troubles, but she always brushed me away, saying it didn’t matter, saying there were more important things. Saying that mortals wouldn’t understand. The last time she had said that to me, I walked out of the restaurant. We had been together for a few months at that point, and the Greek place was one of my favourites, with the blue tablecloths and traditional music and fake vines. I don’t think I’d mentioned it to her. She had a way of just knowing things, of knowing me.

I’d never let my temper control me before. But there was something about her that brought it out of me. For the first time, my emotions were raw and unchecked and it was exhilarating and terrifying and empowering all at the same time. She was surprised, at first, that my temper could match hers. The king of the fairies, the master of all she surveyed, locked in a shouting match with a mere mortal. I would say that about myself, voice dripping with false humility, hating myself but not being able to help myself at the same time. When we became used to one another she would revel in my passion and I in hers. The weather changed when she did. Furious storms, seductive breezes, melancholy cloud, bright blue sky. Empathetic fallacy. I never saw her cry.

The first time I saw her get angry, I was paralysed with fear. Sparks danced like deadly festive lights around her arms, her eyes shone with flame against steel, and she opened her mouth to scream into the night air and the sound of a thousand nightmares came from her throat and I swear the clouds shook and the trees shivered and I just stood there. Her skin turned blue and her hair grew long and the lightning flashed behind her and I just stood there. Her fists clenched and her coat swirled about her and I just stood there. I couldn’t move. I stared, eyes shocked wide, aching to run away or to hold her to me, wanting to feel how the air around her felt. I never loved her more than in that moment.

If that’s what it was. If that was love. I had nothing to compare it to, no way of gauging if this fist around my heart was an embrace or a stranglehold. But whatever it was, I called it love. It was the power, I think. The magic, literal and metaphorical. I enjoyed being her woman. I craved our clash of tempers. I had never felt so safe standing at the edge of an abyss.

I always thought she would take me back to her world. She seemed so in control of this mortal realm, but it bored her. I could tell. A part of me thought she might only be staying here for me, but I knew that was a hollow fancy. I entertained her. She was out of place in this world. When we first slept together – inevitable, I know – it was in the house I shared with three other mortals. No bed of leaves, no fairy bower. No dancing beneath the pale moon. An evening of boardgames in my living room, drinking beer and listening to David Bowie with my housemates. I asked her to stay with the confidence of alcohol. And she did. And in my room she gripped my wrists with her white hot hands and pinned me against the wall, eyes flicking between my eyes and my lips, and whispered “am I not thy lord?” in a voice so low I could feel it in my bones and then we kissed hard and fast and then


I longed to travel with her. I know she visited her world without me, to the fairy court where she sat on the throne of leaves and commanded the attention of every creature. Her ex was there as well, Titania, the graceful queen of the fairies. Their tempestuous relationship made jealousy flare in my chest, and when I told her she would smirk and tell me there was nothing to worry about. And I believed her. I had to. Her visits to that land became less frequent the longer we stayed together.

In the beginning she would use magic to impress me. Moving things without touching them, conjuring things out of thin air, transfiguring herself into different people and then into animals and then into breaths of smoke. She pressed her fingers to my eyes and sent me visions that I couldn’t escape, filled with neon colours and poetry and sound that roared around my ears and left me breathless and shaking and smiling. They became less as well, the longer we spent together.

I know why that is now. I understand without her having to explain it to me.

I like that her touch no longer burns me. Her voice doesn’t set my teeth on edge any more, there are no more sparks around her hands. She uses an umbrella just like everyone else. It all clicked when we fought on a bright summer’s day, and it stayed like that. Bright. Sunny. And she noticed too and the look of utter defeat in her silver eyes provoked the strongest feeling of fear and care I have ever felt. She didn’t have to explain it. Relationships like this are taken very seriously where she comes from.

We moved in together not too long ago – well, she moved in with me. Didn’t bring much stuff. She gets on with my housemates well enough. I think she’s still getting used to everything. She’s growing her hair now, self conscious about her ears. She sleeps on her front out of habit. I run my fingertips over the silvery scars on her back, just beneath her shoulder blades, careful not to wake her. I fall in love with her every night. Her eyes are still silver, the only sign that she is not quite of this world. I lie beside her and she shifts towards me and I breathe in her scent. Sulphur and lavender.

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i spend a lot of time on rightmove when i should be working but anyway here’s a blog.

There’s a woman stood on the platform in the rain. She’s shouting about bombs and yelling threats to people waiting on the opposite side. She shouts what are you going to do threaten a young girl / I’m homeless / I’m scared / I’m scared / I’m scared and the anger in her voice is almost bored but slightly desperate, as if she’s yelling to make sure she’s actually there.

Four high visibility metrolink people stand on the opposite platform. They’re ignoring her, ignoring the looks that the passengers are shooting at them, they’re laughing, I don’t know if it’s at her, but it feels like it. They’re just there to check tickets. This isn’t their job. This woman isn’t their responsibility. What are they going to do. She’s yelling. Pacing up and down the platform.

She doesn’t seem dangerous. If it was a man then the situation would be different. But men yelling are a threat. Women yelling are crazy/a nuisance/invisible, especially if the woman is homeless and scared, she’s scared. She’s not dangerous. I wonder when was the last time someone spoke to her. Asked her how she was. I stay silent.

There are billboards all around the city centre boasting the city council’s achievements in their fight against homelessness. They’re black with the Manchester bee on them, a giant pat on the back for the council, doing so much to end homelessness that they can spend thousands in shouting about it. As long as everyone knows. When the election rolls round they hope that people remember the giant billboards more than they remember the sleeping bags in every shop doorway on Piccadilly Gardens. It costs thirty quid for a standard bag of weed and a tenner for a standard bag of spice, the most dangerous epidemic this city has seen in decades.

A tram pulls up and the women slaps the button, kicks the door. People on the platform look at her blandly, the British attitude towards everything exemplified. She gets on the tram and throws herself into a seat. What are they going to do. She’s homeless. She’s scared.

The flats that my dad used to live in have been done up. They have gravel driveways and balconies and are on the market for a minimum of £249,000. Ten years ago he paid £300 a month for a two bed flat in that building. I pay about the same now for a room in a house of five, where the landlords take months to fix the lights or the cracks in the windows. I read articles about how my generation are ruining the housing market by not buying homes, that yes house prices are going up but so are peoples wages, that when my parents were my age they had their own house and a child. I hope that I can rent a flat on my own one day.

The guy that sits on the corner outside Santander is called John and his dog is called Strepsil. John reads crime thrillers that the charity shop throws away, he likes chatting about the stories. He’s read a lot. He takes turns with his friend sleeping in the local shelter because they won’t let dogs in, so one of them sleeps rough for a few nights and looks after Strepsil while the other is in the shelter. It’s a good system since they took down the tents near the MEN, John says. Strepsil is friendly and doesn’t need a lead.

I get the next tram towards Bury. I hope the woman from the platform is alright, but I hope she doesn’t get on the same tram as me. She’s not dangerous but it makes me uncomfortable. It makes me feel guilty for ignoring her as well. She’s scared. But it makes me angry that the people responsible for the rise in homelessness don’t get the same guilt as the people who take the tram to work. They don’t care. But there are billboards and new houses and they’re sure the new high rises won’t burn, but they don’t cost enough to be sure of that. The new flats won’t catch fire. They’re far too expensive.

Bailiffs are sent in to evict everyone from a squat near the town hall. People have been occupying a massive empty building and opening it as a shelter for the homeless. They open between 10pm and 10am, provide some shelter and advice and a bit of food for rough sleepers in the city centre. At 4.30 am everyone in the building was evicted by 8 police officers and 20 bailiffs on to the street in just the clothes they stood up in and what they could carry. They weren’t allowed back into the building to collect personal belongings. The amount of buildings that sit derelict in the city centre and beyond is astounding, empty and gathering value and ready to auction, looming over the too-many people who can’t afford to stay in a hostel overnight. And then the people paid to live in substandard housing so that the council can say they’re dealing with the homelessness problem. And then the people who scrape to afford a week’s rent in some of the most miserable accomodation on the housing market, bedsits that would starve the soul out of anyone.

I grew up here, in Manchester. This is my city. I have memories attached to so many places, there is so much good about this place, I love Manchester, I love the history and the culture and the art. Fuck this place. What are you going to do. She’s scared.

I get to Bury and get a bus to Ramsbottom to visit my friend. The bus costs me almost five pounds. The drive is scenic, row upon row of small terraced houses with little gardens and flowers in the window. I hope the woman from the tram stop is alright. I put in my headphones. There’s snow on the road.

Geraghty out x

want to feel better so i can be a better friend/person/creative but i don’t talk about my feelings out loud here’s a blog.

I went for a walk today in perfect weather, down sun striped pathways, across patches of mud covered in panes of ice, cracked and solid and unsinking. I walked without my headphones. The trees creaked in the wind and knocked against each other, the frost looked like snow on the riverbank. The sun was blinding against the water. Everything felt calm. I walked for an hour and a half. Not a power walk. A stroll. A thinking walk. I needed to get out of the house, out of my own head.

I hate January.

I’ve been meditating for the past four nights before going to bed, following a programme I have on an app. I sit and focus on where my feet meet the floor, practice bringing my thoughts back when they wander. I’ve kept a nightly routine for the past week. I wash my face, do my teeth, get ready for bed, stretch out the trapped nerve under my right shoulderblade, light some sandalwood incense, meditate, set some alarms, get into bed. I’ve been in bed before midnight every night since 2018 started.

I hate January.

Before I left the house today, I made a plan for the next six months. I planned deadlines for funding applications in purple, festivals I have already applied to in green, provisional weeks to make theatre in orange. I am Getting It Together. I am All Here Right Now. Every word on that page told me that. I am Sorting Shit Out. I have my life planned until June. And then I panicked and I had to leave the house.

I hate January. January to me is a month designed solely for the purpose of regretting the festive period and everything that came before. It is a month that is in the calendar so that you have time to be Not Good Enough. And that’s it. It must manifest in different ways for different people, but for me it is physical. It is body. It is fat. That’s all people seem to talk about – weight. How they “really let themselves go over Christmas”, how they need to “get back into shape”, how they are “going to be good this month”. I hate that phrase. Get into shape. As if by carrying extra weight your outline suddenly disappears and you’re just an amorphous mass with no definition.

January is when my Food Brain comes into it’s own. This was maybe the first Christmas that I didn’t panic about my weight or how I looked. I ate what I wanted to eat. I dressed how I wanted to dress, I drank what I wanted to drink. I had a lot of fun. I felt good. And then January hit me like a tonne of salad and reminded me that I am fat and therefore should immediately stop doing everything and that I have to “be good” and every decision I made over December haunted me and still haunts me because just look at the size of yourself, Emma, you’ve put on so much weight, what have you done my hand hovers over tubs of SlimFast powder in the supermarket, I scan websites that are advertised on the back of buses that promise I can drop four stone in under three months, I calculate whether I can afford herbal weight loss treatment, I promise myself that I will go to the gym and then hate myself when I don’t. I order scales on Amazon and then immediately cancel the order. Twice.

I can’t remember it hitting me this hard before. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t body conscious over Christmas, I’ve saved up all the anxiety and stress and self-hate from that month and so have a double dosage in January. I have no body positivity this month. Eight days in and I feel no better about myself than I did on New Year’s Day, when a hangover magnified everything into a horrible graphic close-up. I’ve deleted myself off a dating site and then immediately regretted it, because I know that my physical self is not the reason for people to find me attractive but seriously, who is going to find that attractive, Emma, how could you ever be undressed in front of anyone, even with the lights off I am so aware of my size, it amplifies until my thighs scream, my belly screams, my arms scream, I looked at myself naked in the mirror and cried, because it all feels so hopeless, even though I know it’s not. I think I know that. I think a large part of my brain is still hanging on to the hope that I will one day lose weight and then I’ll be fine. Because I am definitely an advocate for body positivity and fat acceptance and self love, but I can’t practice what I preach. Not this month.

I’d been walking for about half an hour when I realised I had no idea where I was, and I wondered when I should head back. I didn’t know when I should stop. And the thought occurred to me that I could just keep walking. Nobody was there to stop me. I could just follow the river until I couldn’t. I could carry on until I got properly lost. And there was something about this knowledge that felt a bit like letting everything go.

I’m not okay right now. I am wrapped in packing tape marked FRAGILE. I am caught in a space between two heartbeats. I am covered in a pane of ice, cracked and solid and unsinking.

 

Geraghty out x

 

Band Aid is an awful song and you should all not listen to it. Here’s a blog.

(The Civil Wars Poison and Wine)

The cafe is playing mid 2000’s Live Lounge cover music interspersed with Christmas songs and I have never felt closer to Christmas than I do right now. It’s the 21st December. Everyone is doing top ten lists of things and going shopping and having parties, and I fall into all three of those categories but I don’t feel like I’m moving forwards. You know in old Road Runner cartoons where the ground disappears under Wile E. Coyote? He keeps on running until suddenly he stops, looks at the camera, and falls. And I think that’s where I’m at. The running bit, knowing that there’s no ground underneath me and that somewhere there is a camera that I will look at before I fall. Apart from it’s not a desert that I’ll fall into, it’s a pit filled with tinsel and mince pies and capitalism.

(Acoustic version of The Calling’s Wherever You Will Go)

I’m feeling alright at the minute, it’s just Christmas. Tis the season to be stressed and worried and skint, and part of me cannot wait for Christmas to be over and everything can go back to normal and the days can get longer and I don’t have to worry about shopping or scheduling festivity. But another part of me is excited. I finished work yesterday until the fifth of January. I’m going to the staff party tonight. I’ll finish my shopping tomorrow. And then it’s christmas and that’s fine.

(The Calling cover Suspicious Minds by Elvis.)

(Holly Jolly Christmas)

I cannot wait to spend time with my mum and my sister and brothers. I don’t spend enough time with them, I love my mum to bits and pieces and my siblings are hilarious and Mancunian to the point of caricature. They’re growing up to be brilliant human beings and that makes me really proud. I’m looking forward to spending Christmas Day with my dad and grandma, the first time that’s happened in over twenty years. My grandma is one of the most remarkable women I know – she’s funny and difficult and strong

(Avril Lavigne When You’re Gone, acoustic version)

(Tears in Heaven, Eric Clapton)

and full of stories – and me and Dad are going to get drunk on Christmas night and we’ve not done that in years. I’m spending Boxing Day with some of my closest friends who I love dearly and who make me a better person, and then the day after it’s a massive family party at my aunty’s house and there are so many people in my family and this is the only time we all get together and me and my sister can drink together and have a fabulous time. I think I say I hate Christmas out of habit. I used to not like it. And there are plenty of shit things about Christmas, it’s weighted with expectation and guilt and spending spending spending hoo boy, look at the capitalism SHINE.

(Acoustic version of Down and Out, The Academy is…)

But giving presents is brilliant. Getting them is great, but I love choosing books for people that I think they will genuinely like. I love that. I love christmas carols, not christmas songs. All I Want For Christmas is not Mariah Carey singing All I Want For Christmas over and over again. Choral singing and singing together, harmonising on God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and lustily belting the FairyTale of New York. I love eating too much food and then making more sandwiches in the evening with leftovers. Wine and company. Films. Home Alone, Muppets Christmas Carol, Die Hard, Nightmare Before Christmas, everything.

(Florence and the Machine, Shake It Off)

This was going to be a reflection. Tis the season and all that, but I’ve spent so long on introspection and retrospection that to do it on here feels selfish to me. And I need something to write for the new year, so that can be it. I’m doing my best to look forward to Christmas, and I think I’m getting there. Just a few more presents to buy. I’m severely tempted to fill my pockets with glitter for everywhere I go. Mainly because I won’t have to hoover any of it up. And wear a giant rainbow flag

(Acoustic version of Finch, Letters to You.)

because I want to be fabulous. I might be running in mid air, treading water above a constant sense of impending dread, but I want to look good while I’m doing it. So I’ll put the self-reflection on hold for a while. I’m going to run face first into celebrating everything I have, I’m saving my anger and sadness and despondency for the new year (which means this blog is going to be full of fun and hijinks, yaaaas) and I am going to christmas harder than I have ever christmased before.

(Ed Sheeran acoustic singing something boring.)

Look after yourself over Christmas. Self care is difficult at this time of year, and remember that it is totally cool to take time for yourself and make sure you are alright. Read a good book. Listen to your favourite album. Write. Sing. Have some you-time. And if family is a difficult thing for you, then remember that you are your own person and you are brilliant in your own right. Give yourself room to breathe, to relax. Don’t feel bad about dampening things down and not dealing with stuff over Christmas, don’t beat yourself up for ignoring the ignorance of other people when it makes it easier. Rise to it if you have the energy and the strength. Let it slide if that’s what you have to do. But whatever you do, look after yourself. Fill your pockets with glitter.

Geraghty out. x.

(Final song is Baba O’Reilly by The Who WHAT A SONG TO FINISH ON YES PLEASE.)

Losing things

The last few weeks have been difficult. Really difficult. That’s what I’ve been saying to people, when they ask how I am, I say I’ve had a really difficult couple of weeks but I’m on the way out of them now. I don’t think that’s true. I can’t see any end to this path, not yet, and it sounds fatalistic but don’t worry. I’ll get there. The thing is, I am terrible at being any less than okay, so I always tell people I’m fine. Or that I’m close to fine. I wish I were less practised at putting up a front.

The truth is.

I have no idea. I feel completely surface level. I am functioning well and I am working well and I am getting along with people well, but I feel a little bit like they are all preprogrammed actions with no depth to them. Maybe if I keep having these conversations I will feel better. I will fill up again.

There are times I look at my hands in the washing up bowl and I cannot tell if they are mine or my mother’s, and times when my handwriting is indistinguishable from my father’s. Sometimes my thoughts of self doubt and inadequacy are mine and someone else’s, I don’t know who exactly, and the voices of frustration and perseverance and dogged determination belong to my teachers and my friends and the characters from books I treasured years ago. Echoes of characters. Echoes of a million voices and faces. I can’t tell whether I lost myself by accident or on purpose. I think it was a more deliberate act than I realise.

I love what I am doing at the minute. I love making theatre and that I am capable of doing so. The people I surround myself with are brilliant and caring and the exact right people. I read good books. I eat well. I am writing more, leaving the house more, planning more, doing and being so much more than I ever thought I could that the whole idea of change, the whole idea that I could be anything less than happy is ridiculous and maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s why I can’t feel it. I have ticked all the boxes for contentment but it’s been lost in the post somewhere.

I am my mother’s daughter, so I love intensely and care intensely about too many things at the same time. I deal with everyone else’s problems before my own and I surround myself with friends and family and care. I perfected a brave face a long time ago. My eyes are green. I am an expert in passive aggressive washing up.

Sometimes I feel like I could genuinely make a difference and then I laugh at myself for being so idealistic, I go outside and smoke and drink black coffee because we’re all going to die anyway and why bother, I embrace fatalism like a lover, we knock back shots of bleak humour and wait for the world to end together and I love it.

I am my father’s daughter, so I know my voice and how to use it, I can talk my way in and out of any situation. I love music and literature and being in new places. I can be charming. I can go for days without talking to anyone. I hate responsibility but will take it on. My hair is dark. I make bad puns like there’s no tomorrow.

All of my emotions crystallise to perfect rage and I have no idea why. Maybe I’ve been saving it. Maybe it’s the cold weather.

I am the delicate balance of anyone who has ever had an influence on my life, which is positive and negative all at once, and I can match my traits to so many other people that I lose myself in the mix and the lines that tether me to myself vanish and I float. I don’t think I can stand the idea that I am not me. Maybe I have no uniqueness. Maybe all the individuistic qualities that people say I have are only because they do not know all the people that I am. I think I want to change. I have no idea how to do that.

I can’t tell when I lost it. I put it down here a minute ago or a year ago or several past lives ago but I swear it was here. Somewhere.

If you’re in the know, you just know, y’know?

I was going to write something about the Harvey Weinstein thing, but I don’t really know what I could add. He’s a horrendous abhorrent specimen. We all know that now. And it’s great that people are coming forward and feel able to come forward, and it’s prompting some people to mention that it is rife in the theatre industry as well, an industry I love being part of. And of course it is. But nobody is saying anything. Not really. 

It’s all people knowing people who have had something happen to them, all rumours and hearsay and we can’t really be sure, but I’m pretty sure this director made this actor do something against their will but we don’t really know, and if we do know we’re keeping quiet because of careers and reputations and if you’re in the know, you just know, y’know? 

There’s a lot going around from respected theatricals on social media about “industry gossip” and “open secrets” about abuse that feature “big names”, and it’s a little bit scary. Now, we know that this goes on. We’re not naive about it – it’s the same in any big industry, I presume, and it’s ridiculous that it almost seems an accepted thing that we have to deal with and that’s that. But all this nose-tapping I-know-something-you-don’t-know is driving me a little bit mad. 

I was going to write something about the sexual abuse of power that goes on in the theatre industry, but it seems like I would be talking to a lot of people who already know what’s going on and aren’t saying anything about it. I get that it’s difficult to come forward, to report people, the power lies in the fear and I’m not suggesting for one moment that people should be made to come forward, but this is more about the people in the know, y’know? The people who are claiming to be wise to all of these behind-closed-doors incidents and aren’t saying anything because it’s not their place… Nah, pal. Not buying it. 

It might ruin your career. It might ruin their career. It’s not your story. It didn’t happen to you. 

Well, it might ruin someone’s life. And you can report it without giving your name. You can put it on the record. Tell Equity anonymously. Just tell someone*

And how must it feel for those people who it has happened to, to see all these open secrets acknowledged with a sly head nod and a knowing wink all over social media, how must they feel if one of their friends or colleagues or someone they look up to puts up something like that? Thinking that if that person had just said something, it might not have happened. Thinking that they are one of the open secrets. 

And maybe I am completely and utterly wrong, but I am sick of the opinion on industry-based sexual assault being spearheaded by straight men, because they still hold the power in the entertainment industry, because if anyone knows the rumours it’s them, because if another person mentions they are against sexual assault because they have daughters I am going to hit the fucking roof. 

I was going to write something about the conversation around industry-based sexual assault but I was worried it would just turn into a rant, which it is doing, but that’s fine because I have every right to be angry about the way this is being handled, everyone has the right to be angry about the way this is being talked about because it is shitty to say you know the perpetrators and not name them because it perpetuates the culture of fear where these kind of scumbags thrive, it’s great to start talking about it but if we as women as young people as people new to the industry and not in-the-know do not know who you are referring to then whatthefuck good does it do for us? How are we meant to protect ourselves? How are we meant to feel safe reporting shit like this that happens when people we know and respect and look up to won’t even do it? 

If you’re going to talk about it, then fucking say something. Don’t tell us it exists, because we know it does. Don’t give us dark hints about something that happened and follow it up with a coy “I’ll never tell”.

And if you don’t want to risk it, if it’s not your story, if you’re worried about the repercussions, then for the love of god do not put it on social media. Grow the fuck up and tell someone who can do something about it. 

I was going to write something about the Harvey Weinstein thing, but who the fuck would listen? 

Geraghty out.

 

*Here’s a few places to go to if you do want to tell someone:

Citizen’s Advice: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/discrimination/about-discrimination/equality-advisory-support-service-discrimination-helpline/

Safeline: https://www.safeline.org.uk/contact-us/

Samaritans: https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us

Equity: https://www.equity.org.uk/contact-us/equity-helpdesks/ (there are more contact details for Equity members who log into the site)

If you want to get in touch with the theatre or organisation itself, there are also quite a few websites that will allow you to send anonymous emails that you can search for on Google.

 

 

Party Trick

I feel it’s that time again. It’s time to write, without actually having the time to write what I need to. It’s time to make a massive list of things I need to do and things I want to do and cross-reference that with shift patterns and tour dates and family events and the ever looming threat of Christmas. It’s time to tidy my room, time to do all of my washing, time to find spiders with names like Gerald and Bernard and forcibly eject them from the premises. Time to run out of time. Again.

Or, it’s time to ignore everything. Time to hibernate, to stop thinking ahead, to close my eyes and hope that the many spinning plates don’t fall. Time to dream, to drink hot chocolate and buy too much knitwear. Time to stare at falling leaves. Time to relish the snap of cold and the bursts of sunshine and the promise of winter and breathe clouds of steam into the air.

Time to accept that some things, like time itself, are out of my control.

I’m trying to find the line between too much and not enough. Ticking things off as they pass and feeling a little of the tension release from my shoulders, only to be re-knotted when my brain fills up with Things that are Yet to Come. Half of me wants to live in the moment while the other half is trying to plan for the future and it’s an unstoppable force and an immovable object because I seem to just be waiting. Nothing is happening. And yet everything is.

This probably makes no sense.

One day, I think to myself, one day I won’t be doing too much. One day, I’ll work on a maximum of three things at once. I’ll have my own space, give myself time off, sleep properly, take care of myself. But I have to cap this kind of thinking, more often than not. Because I project myself too far into the future and I forget to deal with all the shit that leads up to that point. The point where I’m… happy? No. Because I’m mostly happy now. I’m stressed as hell but I have my friends around me. I’m starting to figure out what mtters to me, figuring out that I can say no to things and the world won’t collapse. I’m getting better at being by myself.

Quite a few of my friends seem to be hitting milestones. New houses, new partners, better jobs children, engagements, traveling, getting married, and it makes me feel weird. I don’t resent them. I just feel like I’m lagging behind. I think it’s a common thing for people who go into the arts – we pause life in the hope that we can create something both economically and culturally worthwhile before we press play again. Or at least I hope it is. Maybe I just tell myself that to feel better.

I think a lot of people in the arts world are waiting to pass the milestone that is being an “emerging artist” and turn into an accomplished cultural butterfly. I know I am. Working towards a transformation that nobody knows how to achieve, working shit jobs in the hours between creating in the hope that one day we won’t have to do it anymore, in the hope that it is just a temporary thing, it’s a means to an end, we won’t be stuck here forever, but I can’t see it right now, I can’t see the endpoint where I get to be writing or making theatre instead of serving people coffee and dealing with shitty customers over the phone, and I need to just stop and breathe and look at the bigger picture but at the moment the bigger picture is still me in a hospitality uniform surrounded by unfinished writing.

I’m just feeling despondant. It happens. I know, I know. I’m very lucky to be doing what I’m doing and success is only measured by something that is immaterial and I’m doing a lot better than many people who have gone into the arts, but I am having a difficult day and I want to wallow. I want to hibernate. I want someone else to spin plates for a while.

Geraghty out.