Posted By Sandra Alland

Just a quick note to say the gang at Suck My Left One (on Glasgow's Subcity) rocks the universe! Zorras had a great time on the radio last night.. made me nostalgic for the days when CKLN in Toronto was still a community radio station... thanks to Kate and Liv for being so lovely, and also for giving me that Sister Spit cd! Listen to the show (which is called Lesborific, and I guess I don't entirely qualify for oops...) at www.subcity.org/shows/suckmyleftone.

In other news, I'm on four different waiting lists for doctors, and will probably wait for at least three months to see one. But I had my first appointment yesterday (because that waiting list was started months ago)... it was physio and I was psyched. And guess what? The guy called in sick! And can't see me for a few more weeks... Yay, NHS. Sigh.

xox


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

Hi folks,

I posted a new video of Zorras here. It's from our gig at Museum of London. The lighting was truly pants (Scottish for sucky), but the sound was pretty okay.

In other news, there's much a-happening in Edinburgh for International Women's Day this Sunday. One cool thing is Raise Your Hem playing at 6pm at The Pleasance Cabaret Bar. Cost: £6/4. It's a fundraiser for "Gude Cause" campaign; combining remembrance and activism for women’s rights over the past 100 years. For more info call 229 0993 or email gudecause@peaceandjustice.org.uk.

Another cool thing is "From Margaret to Mary," a herstory tour of the Royal Mile, free at 1:30pm on Sunday. Meet outside the Camera Osbcura.

Also, I recently read Ann Patchett's Truth and Beauty: A Friendship (thanks to C for that). It's a beautiful and sad account of Patchett's friendship with fellow writer Lucy Grealy (who died a few years ago from an overdose after many years of struggling with chronic pain). I'm not usually that into biography, but it's a tremendous book, especially refreshing because it places such importance on friendship. Truly, where would any of us be without our family of friends?

Then I fell upon a copy of Patchett's Bel Canto, which I'm currently enjoying. Not sure I completely dig her, but I really love her style, characters, and sense of humour. I'm halfway through, though, and the book has yet to move me in any big way. We shall see...

In still other news, I have yet to tell you my latest NHS horrors. Too depressing. Almost as depressing as my employment horrors. Which I also won't bother with right now. But more deets soon, if I can pay my rent long enough to keep posting here...

xoxo


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

Well, last night's show went well... Kabarett at the Voodoo Rooms was sold out again! It was all a bit posh for me -- most of the space was pre-booked for tables of diners, so that anyone coming only to see the show had to stand at the way-too-crowded back. The dining thing also made me feel a little like I was performing on a cruise ship... but we met some wonderful musicians, and burlesque and circus folk, and the lovely T was there filming us. That made Zorras feel loved. Also, we did our new piece, Head Games, which makes me pee my pants laughing. So all in all a good time...

In other news, I just finished reading Virginie Despentes' Baise-Moi (Rape Me). I think the book is even harsher than the film in some ways. I like that there's more about the two main characters before they meet in the book; it gives more depth (or a different kind of depth). In all, it's a tour de force about how violence begets violence, and about women's capacity for violence (a subject that is certainly still taboo despite talk of "equality"). I don't recommend it for the faint of heart, but this book raises many fascinating questions, especially about how we perceive and accept violence from men, and about how we ignore brutality (until it is presented as coming from the supposedly gentler sex).

Speaking of violence, a woman was recently blinded, kidnapped and raped for 7 hours in a pre-built den in the bushes of a park I used to walk through often (the Dalry-Gorgie tunnel). The woman managed to persuade her attackers to let her go at 10pm. She was abducted at 3 in the afternoon, behind a Lidl supermarket, with many people passing by. No place is ever safe, but there is a specific horror to Edinburgh, and I'm not sure how much longer I can stand to be here. Two young men, 20 and 26 years old, planned the attack in advance and felt confident enough to carry it out in broad daylight. They have now been arrested, but of course with very little media attention... Edinburgh has a tourist repuation to uphold. And people with money don't walk anyway...

There is a Reclaim the Night march for International Women's Day on 8th March at 6:45 pm at Festival Square on Lothian Road. But in Edinburgh we also have to Reclaim the Day...

 


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

"There's no reason why a society consisting of rational beings capable of empathizing with each other, complete and having no natural reason to compete, should have a government, laws or leaders." - Valerie Solanas, SCUM

I just read SCUM Manifesto for the first time, and have to say Solanas is quite brilliant. She's sublimely talented at the difficult art of irony, and sometimes she's also really funny,

In other news, BBC presenter Jeremy Clarkson has apologized for recently calling Prime Minister Gordon Brown a "one-eyed Scottish idiot." Disability groups were rightly upset about the comment, and there has been much media coverage of complaints from those with disabilties. And now that being Scottish is officially considered a Disability, maybe I can get compensation! But seriously, I find it fascinating that no one mentioned the racial slur of an Enlgish commentator callilng someone a "Scottish idiot." The one-eyed part was crap too, but am I the only one who noticed that "Scottish idiot" sounded like a term that came out of Clarkson's mouth pretty often? And why did all the papers leave out the word "Scottish" when quoting him?

SA


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

So I just emerged from my worst-ever fibro coma of pain (more on this in my next installment -- "I Don't Heart the NHS"), and read Virginie Despentes' newly-translated King Kong Theory. As soon as I finished reading, I started again, breathless with bliss. The book is a short collection of personal/political essays about women's (non-)rights. Despentes, for those of you who don't know her, is the author of the novel Baise-Moi (Rape Me), which she also co-directed for the screen (a brilliant piece about rape and its psychological impact that was of course banned because it dared to show women reacting to violence with violence, and because it was written and co-directed by sex workers). In King Kong Theory, Despentes discusses feminism, "masculinity" and "femininity", rape, sex work, pornography, how much it can suck to be a woman writer, capitalism and class. She is brilliant and uncompromising, she is the kind of feminism that changes the world. Je t'aime Virginie Despentes...

SA


 
Posted By Sandra Alland

"It got to the point where it became logical: If a woman was fiercely intelligent, outspoken and passionate, I'd look towards her arms for the scars. They were almost always there."

- Sabrina Chapadjiev, editor of Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction (Seven Stories Press)

Wow. Live Through This is an intense and wonderful new collection of personal essays, graphic stories and photos by some of the most amazing women artists in the United States. About how they survive pain and trauma, and if self-destruction is tied to their creativity.

It's star-studded. Patricia Smith writes about her father's murder and its connection to her poetry, bell hooks writes about the effects of trauma, and photographer Nan Goldin contributes some stunning and disturbing self-portraits.On the slightly lighter side of things, Eileen Myles writes about the importance of flossing, and Diane DiMassa draws the birth of her career as creator of the comic heroine Hothead Paisan:Homocidal Lesbian Terrorist (her psychiatrist annoyed her into it).

Some of the slightly less-famous artists contribute the strongest pieces in the collection - visual artist Fly writes beautifully about art-journalling and manic-depression, and poet Daphne Gottlieb eloquently describes her fear that treating her debilitating depression and suicidal tendencies will also take away her creativity.

I was also especially taken with the pieces on cutting and self-harm. Kate Bornstein describes cutting and anorexia as survival mechanisms for a gender misfit in a gender-obsessed society, and Inga Muscio tells how she cut herself with broken bottles and burned herself for a year in order to grieve her brother's death. What I love about both these pieces is that the writers refuse to pathologize self-harm. They also remove it from its inferred ties to suicide, and place it more in the context of coping, of being in control of one's own pain, of choosing to live.

"Cutting, starving yourself, drugging, drinking...these are all rituals some of us develop in order to deal with pain.Each of these solutions to pain is in itself painful, so each solution/ritual contains a very personal lesson on how to handle the experience of pain. Pain itself is nothing scary. It's the surprise of pain -- the helplessness in the face of some pain -- that can debilitate people... Am I advocating self-inflicted pain? Yeah. Yeah I am.Yes it can get out of hand...but any ritual can get out of hand."

- Kate Bornstein

"I have read a lot about cutters -- psychological assessments and whatnot -- and none of it ever resonates with my experience. When my brother died I projectile-vomited screams, but it was not acceptable for me to do that every day for a couple years.There was no space to grieve, so I found a quiet way in a very personal space...I don't really like to write about this subject because I am supposed to have the moral responsibility to offer a cautionary tale, and I can't do that.The slash n burn time of my life served me well, though it was costly."

- Inga Muscio

In other news, Edinburgh arts afficionado Michelle Kasprzak has a pretty cool blog, the September 3rd one on prison (especially women in prison) is particularly interesting.

Off to live through another day.

SA

 


 


 
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