Category: Rage

Fringe Diary #8B

Hiya folks, welcome back. My last post got a bit too long and if I’m doing 500 words for every 24hours then 900 words on a 4-min conversation is a lot.

So, to yesterday. I recovered from my verry emosh day by talking to Josiah on the phone for an hour. Josiah is brilliant for many many reasons but one is that they’re the kind of friend who will somehow make you feel better by just relentlessly making fun of you. I also rang them because I’ve got a storytelling show almost the moment I get back to Berlin next week and I’m thinking of telling the story of how we became friends and they basically showed me how being a girl is actually really fun. (We didn’t discuss this at all because we were too busy chatting about boys.)

My gig last night was a bit rubbish to be honest. It started out fine, I got some pretty big laughs, but then it just trailed off and died by the end? I’m trying to figure out quite what went wrong and it might have been that I didn’t get straight to my set but did some like “hey how’s it going?” stuff at first, but I’ve got a gig-free day to think about it. Comedy’s not as much of an exact science as you’d like, but also, I don’t like science.

Andrew’s spot onstage was just after mine and he won them back no problem, so I was really pleased for him (if a little jealous! but not really. but a bit). But the guy who headlined the show though, oof. I’m not one to throw shade, really, but this guy’s jokes were just so hacky and offensive. It was upsetting how he managed to get some response from the audience with jokes about how “men who identify as women and expect everyone should just accept them as that should have to take a test. Can they break into my iPhone in the time it takes for me to go to the bathroom?” and then closing with like a full minute of a fake Indian accent, talking about Bollywood dancing and squeezing women’s tits. It was frustrating because there are so many people who hate comedy shows because they’re full of people just easily getting laughs by playing off how some people are different, just reinforcing harmful stereotypes and it’s offensive, it’s boring and it’s unoriginal. There are so many really amazing comedians who are from a minority and who don’t get the time or space to tell their side of things, or to make fun of the perceived “norm”, because they’re still marginalised. They’re kept to a minimum on the bill, so that nobody thinks it’s a show for anybody other than this same “””norm”””. Representation matters people!

Phew okay by now my mum will be upset by how angry I sound so let me say also that I bought a lot of fruit today and that later I’m seeing Rose Matafeo’s show Horndog and then Demi Lardner (again), both super great and amazing comedians and WOMEN OF NOTE. I’m going to go eat an orange now, it’s good for scurvy

Fringe Diary #8A

HI TODAY’S POST WILL BE A RAGE POST ANY QUESTIONS

[“Wow I really like Josie’s blog, especially all of the feelings in it. Really great” – You]

Okay this is a public service announcement:
Women never want to be spoken to by a strange man on the street. Ever ever ever. Even if you’re dazzlingly handsome, it is annoying and scary and confusing and makes us feel bad.

This morning, I was walking back from the shops with two big grocery bags, listening to Las Culturistas (which is very good) on my two very big headphones, in the drizzle. This guy in I’d guess late 30s, early 40s, and not handsome, runs in front of me, and cuts me off. I’m wondering if maybe something has dropped out of my shopping bag or something because I was just deep into the podcast, so I adjust my headphones.

HIM: Hi, hey. I wanted to tell you that you look like a giraffe with your long legs. 

Ah, okay, so, you know. What?

ME: Um, thanks?

Well, I guess he’s told me now. Goodbye, strange man! 

HIM: You have a bit of a Central European look about you. I was just in Poland, you look Polish or Hungarian but you sound completely Scottish.

I am none of those things.

ME: I am none of those things.

By this stage I know I am in too deep, I’ve engaged in conversation and I need to get away. This guy seems okay but I do not know why he wants to talk to me, why he feels he can come up and talk to me, I’m assuming it’s a sexual thing but he’s talking about stuff that isn’t sexual. I’m just assessing the risks, assessing the risks, assessing the risks.

HIM: So if you’re not Scottish I imagine you’re a student here at the university?

Well, too bad, I’m not based here. Not worth pursuing, mate.

ME: No I’m – I’m here for a couple of weeks for the festival.

HIM: Oh for the festival! Are you travelling alone, or are you here with friends?

Aha. I’ve got another card up my sleeve.

ME: No, I’m here with my boyfriend. We’re both comics – we’re performing.

This is such a bittersweet defence because it works, but it’s because what you’re saying is “no no no, it’s not that you should respect my boundaries – it’s some other man you’d be pissing off! Don’t worry, I’m still not really a person with my own thoughts and feelings!!!!!!!!!”

HIM: Oh you’re both comics! Right, right. Well I thought I’d come up to you because you looked interesting, with your green skirt and your leather jacket, and you know, you’ve got to take a chance and you are interesting.

ME: I’m sorry I’ve got to go – I’ve got to write before the show, sorry.  

HIM: No of course, I’ve got to go meet some friends. But listen you do seem really interesting so I’d love to take you out for a glass of wine sometime.

Should I just scream that I don’t drink? No, maybe it’s not the wine that’s the thing.

ME: Oh, thank you, I’m really sorry but I’m really busy with shows and my boyfriend, I can’t. 

HIM: How about I’ll just text you once, and you can reply or not. How about that?

That sounds reasonable? Is that reasonable? He just wants to text me, and loads of people have my number. Does it sound silly to say “no, I’m never going to hang out with you, EVER?”

A few years ago I’d probably have just been like “uh sure, fine” because it’s so easy for someone to make it seem like a reasonable request. He just wants a chat! He just thinks I look interesting!

But it’s not like I was going around on a flippin’ unicycle yelling “FASCINATING AUTOBIOGRAPHY, RIGHT HERE!” I was walking along with shopping bags and his first comment was on my legs. My legs! My legs don’t even drink wine.

ME: I’m really sorry, no. 

You’re not sorry, why did you say you’re sorry? Ugh.

The thing is, his perspective on the thing was probably “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. And like – he got to talk to me, for something like three or four minutes, even if I was just trying to figure out an escape route. So he got to get some of my attention, but why did he think that was okay? Why did I act like it was okay for him to just come up to someone who clearly is busy with whatever they’re doing, carrying stuff, listening to something, just to ask to hang out with me and then try and guilt me into giving him my number?

No, nobody hurt me or screamed at me or assaulted me, but it made me feel weird and bad afterwards because I was very uncomfortable and the man didn’t seem to notice or mind that I was uncomfortable and clearly didn’t seem to respect that I might have more going on than wanting to talk to him, and undermined my “no” to a drink with him by asking to text me. Yuckkk.

#Oscarzzzz

Another year, another chilly January day spent complaining about Oscar nominations. Yes, the Oscars are so white – but even more so, broadly speaking, this year’s choices are restrained, safe, and kind of boring.

What I’m wondering is why we’re even bothering to be angry. You’re wasting all that good outrage. Get back online and find a useful outlet for it. Because it is just not worth getting angry about the Academy any more.

 

We all know what an Oscar-winning English-language film looks like. We know the performances that get nominated, the common themes, the style of cinematography. We know the politics of it. It’s an annual tradition, a game to see who can guess all of the winners, and who will wear the best dress, and how terrible the host(s) will be.

This is because it has been going for eighty-eight years. Can you imagine it? It’s older than my grandmother. It predates the Second World War, and plenty of other wars besides it. It has honoured many incredible artists and films that are still as beloved today.

But the film industry has changed completely since my granny’s day. Filmmaking used to be so expensive that it was the preserve of the big studios, and all that pomp and ceremony would reflect that. Lush, well-funded films would win, as they do today, because they would have been the most professionally made.

Now, the industry is far more democratic. Cheaper and more readily accessible equipment, advice and support have allowed more and more people to capture a video that ever before – just think about how many videos you’ve taken on your phone, and the different platforms you have to share them. Online streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have allowed lesser-known filmmakers to exhibit their work, with ever-growing audiences for independent films. Beasts of No Nation, one of my favourite films of 2015, was the first feature film produced by a streaming service. Sean Baker’s excellent Tangerine was not even captured on a camera – it was shot entirely on two iPhone 5Ss.  In short, our idea of what even constitutes a “film” isn’t even the same as it was five or ten years ago, let alone the business behind it.

It’s bizarre that the Oscars haven’t adapted to these changes, and instead consistently adhere to the same patterns year on year. Yes, non-white actors may get nominations, or even awards – provided they are nobly tolerating something dreadful (e.g. slavery – thanks for helping me work through white liberal guilt, guys!), rather than driving a film forward. Last year’s Best Picture nominations were all about white men shouting, this year, they’re fighting against injustice/financial collapse/bears.

Both of the films mentioned above have received strong support for Oscar nominations, and there has been considerable grumbling that they were “snubbed”, as everyone insists on saying about great films not nominated for an Academy Award. In my opinion, this would be the least appropriate way to recognise the achievements of the cast and crew behind these two films. Raw, exciting, experimental filmmaking doesn’t get an Oscar, nor do marginalised voices or controversial storylines. If you want to see these films win prizes, go to Berlinale, or Sundance, or any of the independent film festivals.

We should stop believing in the silly, outdated idea that Oscars go to the best films of the year. They go to big, expensive films with well-known casts and certain established conventions. So don’t expect to see your favourite, queer indie number on that list, nor expect Idris Elba or Kitana Kiki Rodriquez’s names to get read out at that podium – but they’re all the better for it.
Ed: my granny, for the record, has always loved Alfred Hitchcock and thoroughly enjoyed Pulp Fiction. Just so you know. She’s great.