@Mannionaise’s Blog

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So I wrote this last night while falling asleep, basically instructions to read my girlfriends blog. It’s rather good. Her blog, not mine.

Mannionaise is keeping a blog. Every day she writes 250 words of poetry or drama to flex her creative muscles, to discipline herself in the ways of the Professional Writer and to identify any preferred working conditions.

(Night. It’s always at night.)

Tonight Mannionaise has realised that she’s thirteen blogs behind schedule and needs to do some serious catching up. I’m currently in bed being Not Helpful (apparently) while she types. My attempts to suggest things to fill up her blog quota have not been welcomed.

These also aren’t helpful:

•Breaking into her WordPress account and posting 250 words of freshly made erotica.
•Recording an interpretative dance version of her blog. Or my blog. And posting it online.
•Getting everyone we know on Twitter to guest post.
•Sex.
•Taking pictures of The Business Seal.
•Falling asleep (and snoring).

Then I fell asleep. And snored. Probably*. But enough about how difficult it is to co-habit with me! Go read #250for250. 250 words for 250 days. Running until July.

*Just checked, I did snore.

My New Twitter Picture.

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My New Twitter Picture.

Created by the delightful @frogcroakley via Twitter, its a drawing of my old photo of a bunny in glasses – but I asked for an additional rainbow because of my big gay identity. Frog decided to put them coming out of the bunny’s mouth.
ISN’T IT PRETTY?!

Valentine’s Day.

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A confession: I quite like Valentine’s Day.

Not the commercialism. Not the pressure to make it a perfect indulgent trembly sexfest. But I do like the sense of obligation. The expectation you should spend time with your loved one.

Or loved ones.

Or anybody special in your life.

It’s nice to set aside a day to recognise their impact on your life/emotions/libido.

It’s not just for couples, or a day to take stock and mourn your singleness. Don’t focus on what you think you lack. Just enjoy togetherness! Call your best friend for a long chat, make your housemate a cup of tea and tell them they’re awesome or even take your parents out for dinner. When I was a teenager, I used to buy my mother flowers on my way home from school on Valentine’s Day. My father worked away for most of my adolescence and couldn’t afford to do the big mail order bouquet thing. So I’d give my mother a humble bunch of something pink or white on the day, to remind her she was loved by all of us and to tide her over until my father came home days later with something slightly more elaborate. She didn’t need either of our bouquets, but we liked to give them.

I’m a big fan of celebrating love – any sort of love. It’s great. All kinds. Platonic, familial, romantic, erotic, kinky, gay, straight and everything else that ties us to other humans

If you don’t habitually let someone know how important they are to you, 14th February is pretty handy. I consider it a little check-in for relationships. Not ideal, but useful. Of course it’s nice to do it more than once a year, but gestures/expressions of love don’t necessarily come easily to everyone. Especially if you’re more reserved in your affection. Or particularly busy.

I’m not reserved in my anything. But I am certainly busy. I am overworked and underpaid. A frazzled nightmare of a workaholic. I, for one, appreciate the obligation of Valentine’s Day. I’m taking 14th February as a cue to text my best friends and my parents and tell them I love them. And to uncharacteristically turn off my computer and take my girlfriend out on a date.

I’m lucky enough to be in love with a tremendous woman. But I’m not around as much as I’d like to be. I’m not as present as I could be when we do get together. I don’t think holding hands while I organise rehearsal schedules counts as a proper date. I’m perpetually distracted or exhausted. And she’s so understanding. She’s patient and proud and constantly there for me when I’m mindless with fatigue.

So yes, it’s only Valentine’s Day. Yes, it’s tacky and clichéd and the lowest of holidays. But tomorrow I spend the day with my girlfriend. Whom I love. Society expects it. And for once I shall bow to society’s arbitrary requirements, if it makes me stop working myself into the ground, appreciate the fucking amazing people in my life and take my girlfriend out for flirting and a movie.

Gag Reflex at Battersea Arts Centre (a scratch performance by @mannionaise).

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My girl is doing something amazing on Saturday night.

Freshly Scratched is a work in progress night at Battersea Arts Centre. Over the past week new and exciting pieces have been showcased to a ‘pay what you can’ audience.

Tomorrow night hosts Philippa’s first performance of Gag Reflex; a one woman show about sexuality and vomiting.

Yes, vomiting.

Have you ever felt disgusted with yourself? That churning hot feeling in your gut when you consider what you look like, what you did last night or even what gender you’re attracted to?

Gag Reflex is an exploration of this nausea. It’s the exposure of the questioning process we all struggle with about ourselves and our sexuality.

This isn’t about the light at the end of the tunnel. This is about the tunnel itself.

Since the beginning thoughts, I’ve been so excited by this idea. I have eagerly read each of the Gag Reflex R&D blogs on Philippa’s website. This concept feels very fresh in the wider context of queer theatre. There are works which celebrate the relief of being out, and less optimistic stories of gay relationships ripped apart by doubt, denial or hate. They all go to encourage us to love ourselves for who we are. I admire this greatly, but exploring the idea of being in limbo, of questioning and attempting to accept oneself is fascinating.

I feel this speaks to an audience which has either experienced this sensation or is experiencing it right now.

I’ve been lucky enough to read some drafts and offer a clumsy opinion or two. I can’t wait to see it live. Philippa will be performing the work herself.

If you are in London this weekend, please come along to support Philippa’s performance at Battersea Arts Centre on Saturday. Tickets are at a pay what you can rate, and available online. The show starts at 7:30pm.

I will of course be there to see this debut performance. Join me to watch this tremendous first step.