Pessimism is for Lightweights: Episode 2: From Brighton Fringe to Parliament Square.
Salena Godden, poet and writer, continues her whirlwind of readings and gigs at festivals and invites us all to share a moment of peace, community and solidarity.
“The Future hasn’t happened yet. The idea that our civilisation is doomed is not an established fact. It is a story we tell ourselves.” – John Higgs
The Future Starts Here
This past few weeks I have enjoyed gigging alongside my hero and the champion of optimism John Higgs. Earlier in May, I was invited to Brighton Fringe Festival to speak at the book launch of ‘The Future Starts Here‘ John Higgs’ latest work.
I was speaking alongside hilarious comedian Joanna Neary and also Byline Festival favourite, Baron Victor Adebowale CBE, a most fascinating fellow, a cross-bencher and one of the first to become a People’s Peer.
It was such an uplifting and wonderful evening in Brighton, one that ended in dancing and rum and star gazing by the sea with Byline Festival regular and LIVEwire poet and musician Oli Spleen. I loved his last book titled ‘Watling Street‘ and John commissioned me to write a poem for the book for the Watling Street podcast. This was where my poem ‘Pessimism is for Lightweights‘ first appeared and sprang into life from this memorable phrase John Higgs coined in a talk he gave at Daisy Campbell’s Cosmic Trigger.
But I don’t want to dwell in a present, never mind a future, that is all villains, arms dealers, bankers and Tories.
For me Higgs’ voice sings in the darkness, his remarkable work offers so much insight into our relationship with the past and how that effects our here and now and our tainted and often negative vision of our future.
Last weekend, I was down in Devon at the wonderful and wonder-filled Seachange Festival in Totnes. Again, I was so delighted to see John Higgs there too. We were interviewed by the ceremonial undertakers Claire Callender and Ru Callender of The Green Funeral Company and Callender, Callender, Cauty & Drummond, agents of MuMufication. It was bloody brilliant. I also got to read a set alongside my Rough Trade Books comrades Martha Sprackland, Charlotte Newland, Emma Warren and Ana and the Raincoats.
I highly recommend you buy Higgs books and even better come and hear John talk. John and I will share a bill and be speaking together with Zoe Cormier, (author of Sex & Drugs and Roll and Roll – the science of hedonism), on June 9th at the Cockpit Theatre. It is going to be a corker of a show with ambient music provided by the great DJ Richard Norris too.
Tickets and info: http://thecockpit.org.uk/show/journey_to_nutopia
Leaving May’s Legacy Behind
So, this was the week that Mrs May resigned. For me her legacy is her voting history. Her legacy is holding hands with dictators and demagogues and those that wish to demolish our human rights, women’s rights, our autonomy and equality. I remember her for failing us all, for failing Yarls Wood, Brexit, Grenfell and Windrush.
But I don’t want to dwell in a present, never mind a future, that is all villains, arms dealers, bankers and Tories. I don’t want a future like those bad disaster movies I love to binge watch, horror movies of economical collapse, ecological disasters, zombie apocalypse, nuclear fall out and a three-headed sharknado tsunami, do you?
Changing the Story
So, let’s change the story. On the evening of 3 June – as Trump enjoys the pomp and ceremony of the state banquet of roast beef and bigotry pie – there will be an inaugural gathering of the Women’s Peace Council on Parliament Square. This will be a sisterhood and solidarity action.
There will be music and speeches and poetry and other activities. It is all wholly inclusive and there will be a very friendly community feel. And just before dusk there will be a mass moment for peace – a solidarity action of people standing together.
If not us then who? If not now then when? Let us unite in the spirit of hope and peace and unity. Come to the peace picnic, The People’s Banquet, Parliament Square, June 3rd from 7pm.
Also on June 3rd after the peace picnic, after reading a poem at the People’s Banquet, I will zoom across town to perform a set at WORD at The Social, with my Nymph and Thugs label mate Toria Garbutt and Rough Trade Books label mate Emma Warren and the Violette Records gang at The Social.
There are suspended tickets available for this one, I think this is a brilliant idea, it means if you cannot make it but want to support the poets and the arts you can pay it forward and if you cannot afford a ticket but would like to come you can claim one this way … come to this, it will be a extra special night! tickets and info: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/violetterecords
An Invisible Forest
I’ll leave you with this nugget of goodness from Peru – Last night I popped out with my best friend the painter Kelly-Anne Davitt to Whitechapel and the fabulous Gallery 46 to the private view of a stunning new show, The Invisible Forest. Phenomenal work!
If you are down that way, why not pop in and treat your eyes to these epic, colour drenched, vivid and breathtaking paintings by renowned Native Peruvian-Amazonian artists realised by London-based author and curator Patsy Craig, as part of her Flourishing Diversity Series.
If not us then who? If not now then when? Let us unite in the spirit of hope and peace and unity.
The Invisible Forest aims to address geopolitical and environmental issues of our time by celebrating cultural traditions that enrich and perpetuate healthy biodiversity as the means to ensure mutual flourishing. These Indigenous ‘wisdom traditions’ are recognised for their sustainable ideology and sophisticated understanding of our interdependence on the Earth System. This work hit the spot for me, it comes with a very bold and poignant message to love this world, to respect nature and respect each other.
Pessimism for Lightweights by Salena Godden is published by Rough Trade Books www.roughtradebooks.com