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A visit to see friends in Gothenburg on the evening of International Women’s Day sparked off several conversations about feminism and how sad the state of affairs were that we still needed this one-day ‘holiday’.

A reminder that women all around the world were still living with inequality and that the feminism idealism we had grown up believing was still not a reality.

“Happy Inequality Day”, we said jokingly to one another as we clinked glasses.

Then we discussed more seriously, what should we be doing – on this day and throughout the year – and what should men be doing to help.

“Where are the men and why don’t they get involved?”, said one woman when she told us about her attempts to get male friends to come to an International Women’s Day literary reading. They all made excuses. She told us that there was only man in the audience.

So feeling inspired, over dinner, fellow female writers and poets and I wrote this poem.

Men, we think you should get involved and not just hide on International Women’s Day!

In case you are lacking in ideas, we hope this poem will provide some useful suggestions.

What should men do on women’s day: 

The Male-strensual Cycle

By: Amy Zamarripa Solis, Nadja Itäsaari, Evelina Varas and Louise Halvardsson

Bros don the pregnancy suits and red-doused tampons
Watching SATC reruns and drinking Lambrini
Culminating
In a sharing of feelings and a little cry

Encourage the fight for equal rights
By participating in “female rooms”
encouraging themselves to learn more
about the unseen

Put yourself in shoeless feet
Free yourself from being freed
You were always on top
get on your back
lead yourself through shoeless kind

And cry be outrageous
with your feelings
Put your heart
on the tram tracks
Put tampons in your arsehole
and phone every woman
you’ve ever known
And let her speak
for an hour
Don’t interrupt
your time will always come.

I’ve never been good with holidays, and this one is no exception.

This week has been my “staycation”, a much needed rewards after finishing a massive contract involving nearly every day of commuting.

Permission to sit around my flat and watch films, instead I am working on my artist film for my current project No Place Like Home.

I’ve been watching Youtube ‘how to’ videos after my film mentor suggested I edit the film myself. My video editing skills are fairly circa 2005. So today I’ve been learning about various new things on Adobe Premiere (and some not new things).

Split screen, photo montage.

Most of the Youtube videos copy one another, which slightly sucks – points on lack of originality for stuff like that.

On the plus side, learned who Ken Burns was (Ken Burns effect) & found this interesting article featuring him on the PBS website, as I didn’t know who he was.

It seems his method of filming using archive photographs is relevant to mine.

What Burns does is go beyond the two-dimensionality of a photograph by going “into its world and to trust that that world had a past and a present,” he said. “And to activate it. And to be the feature filmmaker with a master shot, a wide shot, a medium shot, a close shot, a pan, a tilt, a reveal, inserts of shots.”

leslie tate blog screenshotI invited writer and producer Amy Zamarripa Solis to guest blog about the ‘City of Culture’ arts-led type of regeneration seen recently in Margate, Folkestone, Liverpool and Brighton. Amy responded with a piece about the new Eastbourne Devonshire Collective venues where she is a key player. Amy also runs the arts organisation Writing Our Legacy and her own arts management / production company This Too Is Real.

Amy writes:

‘Arts-led regeneration is a tough subject in the UK these days. Not just because of austerity, Brexit and shrinking local authority budgets.

The arts themselves have recently come under fire as they’re used to help improve local communities and economies. Whereas gentrification used to be the dirty word, now it is ‘art washing’. In Brixton, you can buy your dinner from a shipping container, and in Manchester, you can sup cocktails via a clandestine route through to a laundrette.

Not all arts initiatives, however, are superficial and slapdash or ignore local communities and their needs. Arts and culture-led regeneration can make a lasting difference.

Real arts-led regeneration, working with local people and local businesses can improve people’s lives and livelihood. We have seen arts and culture transform towns and cities such as Margate, Folkestone, Liverpool and my home until recently, Brighton.

Read the full article

My first Digital Weekender for Eastbourne featured the awesome Japanese bass heavy artist Kiki Hitomi from Jahtari label.

Kiki was the finale act on Sunday 28 November at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre. Her performance was immense (we had to order in extra sub bass), made extra special by Live AV from her frequent collaborator Cliona Ni Laoi. They were both lovely to work with, and the finale didn’t disappoint (I’m a massive bass heavy music fan).

The weekend was curated by AΦE, an immersive digital performance company for Devonshire Collective.  A top notch programme for the first Digital Weekender!

Watch this stunning video to get a scale of what happens when you bring thick helpings of bass with eye-popping visuals to the oldest Victorian theatre in a sleepy seaside town on a Sunday night . Enjoy!

Film footage by Anna Winter, video by Kiki.

NWS blog unfinished business

I’ve always been a good starter. I love getting things off the ground. Unfortunately, as a writer, I’m not a great finisher. When people ask if I’ve written a novel, I squirm. I’ve written 3: unpublished, half-finished. Being unpublished is less of a crime than quitting. It’s like starting a marathon, then ducking out half way to go to McDonalds.

A few recent major life events have made me realise how much ‘unfinished business’ can create a psychic weight in our lives. An invisible object, it holds a distinct shape and size and has a colour and aura all its own.

Unfinished business can bear down unconsciously. It can make you feel sluggish, lethargic and finding day-to-day tasks difficult to complete. You won’t be aware of the root of the problem at first.

Read the full article

December 2013

8 authors throw down their sharpest tales of fiction and non-fiction at this award-winning cabaret evening event. Hosted by Amy Zamarripa Solis and Tim Lay and compere, Mr Geoff Westby.

Licensed bar, music, always promises to be a fun raucous night of literature and a good crowd.

Redroaster Coffeehouse, 1d St James’s St, Brighton BN2 1RE