Saturday 31 December 2016

Here comes the love, here comes the light

Here's the long dark

Here's the big night

Here comes the love

Here comes the light

Here comes the love, here comes the light

I'm waving goodbye to 2016, the year we lost so many heroes, great artists, poets, writers and musicians, bold hearts and truth slayers. We lost some originals, mentors and leaders. Humanitarians. One of the things these beautiful souls had in common was not shiny fame or celebrity, but a lifetime that contained rejection and betrayal, the fear of being different, of having to go first, and of being misunderstood. They shared perseverance, that inspiration and courage to carry on, to fail and fail again, to keep making work and to continue. We must let people mourn and be kind. Personally I mourn because it isn't what was lost, but what was found, what was discovered and left here to teach us. As I said at the beginning of the year in my Bowie poem, you'll find that here

The tears are not for love is lost
I cry for what was found and tried
That is why I cried
The day that David died

As I write this blog, my farewell to 2016, more and more bad news pours in, death and war and death and politics and now I'm thinking you can read the headlines and despair and wring your hands OR you can switch off the fake news and choose to get more creative, more proactive and more determined. Feed your head. Let every slammed shut door be a reminder that you have work to do, every loss a cold slap that everybody counts and nobody is to be taken for granted. We clearly have no time to waste. We all want a better world and so we're going to have to work for it and this is the perfect time. Now is always a good time, the best time to do anything is Now.

I have seen posts and tweets to the effect of I just hope new heroes are being born this year... but surely your heroes are all already here, darling, your heroes are here, I follow them, never giving up on their dreams, crowd funding their books and kick starting their albums and tours, writers and artists are more punk and DIY than ever. This generations heroes are in the queue at the food bank, your heroes are broke, with no funding or arts grants. Or maybe, our heroes are in Calais and Dunkirk volunteering to help the refugees, your heroes are down in Soho donating food and blankets to the homeless, your heroes are working overtime in the NHS A&E departments, your heroes are taking phone calls at the Samaritans and talking people down from the edge. Our heroes are everywhere, they walk among us.

The support and nurturing of these heroes is our responsibility. We can all do our part to help others, to help others who help others. We are losing our libraries, museums, galleries, independent bookshops, pubs and venues, so the beautiful spaces where writers and artists could meet and gather and blossom and dream are slowly being erased. The survival of the now generation is ours, here and now. It is more important now more than ever to fight for all of this, from diverse voices in publishing through to our most basic Human Rights. Because we need heroes, volunteers, humanitarians, kindness, we need the poets and thinkers and doers and creators, science and art and books and music, otherwise what is the actual point of living? Why are we all here if not for the love? Are we all here just for our safe Hygge? Pass me a fleece blanket I'm going to vomit lavender candle wax all over my fluffy woollen socks...

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the summer of love. 1967 was tumultuous, 475,000 were serving in Vietnam and thousands attended demonstrations and peace rallies. Martin Luther King denounced the war in Vietnam and America exploded in protests and race riots. Mohammed Ali was stripped of his boxing titles for refusing induction into the army. Israel went to war with Syria, Egypt and Jordan. The Beatles released Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band, it was the summer of love, multi-coloured beautiful people, all smoking pot, wearing daisy chains, beads and beards, afro and long hair, the love revolution and The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and The Byrds.

This is a cliche' picture in my head, of course, this was all way before my time, but I do remember that 1987 was also declared a summer of love and that 1987 was also a terrible year. Ronald Reagan was the hilarious clown in the White House then and Margaret Thatcher reigned Downing Street. I vividly recall that trippy yellow smiley face and that 1987 was the beginning of more exciting counter culture, aciiiiid and illegal raves. I guess what I'm saying is that we've been here before, we've seen this brand of political ambition and xenophobia. There is nothing new about power drunk and opportunistic businessmen and politicians and their dirty handshakes and dodgy arms deals, their disregard for the poor, elderly and weak, it's like we are going in circles, a stupid loop, we've been here before, we will survive, stand our ground and hold the line.

2017 is gonna be a helluva of year, 2017 will be a summer of love, there will be happenings, there will be LSD fuelled orgies, daisy chains and strawberry ohms and free love and naked bodies writhing in Woodstock mud and 24hour raves and we'll wear flowers in our hair! Haha! Perhaps ... perhaps not. I mean to say now is a time to share the love, feel the love, to get creative, to use that  DIY punk ethic, to roll up our sleeves and help each other. To feed the light, get connected, be vocal and active within our local communities and the global community. We have to nurture our books, our diverse writers and artists, as they are documenting this time we withstand and live through. We have a planet to save, this isn't a rehearsal, climate change is real and one direct consequence of war and climate change is migration and refugees.

There are more lovers than haters, more good than bad, there is a beauty inside this to be seen and shared. If a manbaby will be made president of the USA in 2017 in spite of his foul intolerance and ignorance, just think how far we can go with some intelligence and consideration, and with one love forged in the fire of our united best intentions. Please don't you tell me the sky is the limit when I've seen men walk on the moon. When hate is rising, then love will rise higher. New years hippy rant over and out!

Here is the love, here is the light

Here in my small poetry bubble 2016 was a manic year. I took lots of trains and travelled with my suitcase of books to hundreds of gigs and talks, festivals and events, I did some radio and TV. I woke up in strange places and beige hotel rooms. Thank you for the lovely adventures: Edinburgh Book Festival, Green Gathering, Neu Reekie, The Roundhouse, Arvon, Bookslam, For Books Sake, WOW Festival, Stoke Newington Lit Festival, Inside at L'Escargot, Spoken Beat Night Amsterdam, Backlisted Podcast, Cosmic Trigger, Festival 23, Margate Bookie, Churchtown, Cheltenham Lit Fest, Durham Book Festival, Manchester Lit Festival, Outspoken and all the amazing festivals, gatherings, podcasts and parties I contributed to this year. I met some incredibly inspiring people this year and had some illuminating conversations, I went around the back of the internet and through the mirror, and it was remarkable. Life changing stuff. 

Also this year I had two very small parts to play in two feature films - Indie comedy Brakes directed by Mercedes Gower starring Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding was released at Edinburgh Film Festival to rave reviews. And I was honoured to be the narrator for feature film documentary Cahier Africain which garnered director Heidi Specogna great accolades including the German Human Rights Film Award and the DOK Silver Dove.  

My short story Blue Cornflowers was shortlisted for the Guardian Short Story prize and will be published in 2017.

Books, books, books...

I had new writing published in four beautiful and diverse books: Untitled Two published with Neu Reekie and Polygon, The Unreliable Guide to London with Influx Press and poetry anthology Word Life published with Opus Independents My essay Shade was published in The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla, crowd funded and published by Unbound. It was bloody exciting this year to witness The Good Immigrant soar, to see this crowdfunded independently published anthology become a best seller and a book of the year on every notable book list. It trended and featured on BBC Radio 4 book of the week and won the Readers Choice Book Of The Year Award. Above all this I will always remember with pride seeing The Good Immigrant in book shop windows, I'll remember that forever, that for a brief few weeks in the winter of 2016, we were visible, we were seen, we had a book in the shop window of Foyles on Charing Cross Road, this is something I have dreamt of since I was a girl. I'm so proud to be part of it and so happy that it resonated with so many people.Huge thanks and love to Nikesh Shukla and my fellow contributors and Unbound crowdfunders. If you already read The Good Immigrant and want to read more from the 21 contributors please scroll down for a further reading list. The paperback for The Good Immigrant is published in May 2017.

'my tits are more feminist than your tits' film is now on youtube

The Nymphs and Thugs LIVEwire album launch party was in Soho on December 7th and it was a great success. Thank you for all that made it out! We raised lots of money for the Refugee Community Kitchen RCK and gave prizes to people we believe to be 100% originals, rebels and renegades, DIY punk spirits and true LIVEwires, the first ever LIVEwire prizes and love and thanks and 3 cheers and ahip hip hooray to: Tim Wells, Joelle Taylor, Kevin Richards, Chris Redmond, Tongue Fu, Anthony Anaxagorou, Karim Kamar, Outspoken, Daniel Cockrill, Laurie Bolger, Bang Said The Gun, Oli Spleen, The Naked Grace Missionaries, Kelly Anne Davitt, John Lee Bird, Bishi, Nikesh Shukla, Iona Lee, The Bundy Brothers, Gemma Rogers, Sally Dunbar, Janie Mac and the Refugee Community Kitchen.

My first show of 2017 will be January 19th-22nd in The Hague, I'mperforming at Writers Unlimited, Winternachten Festival in Holland. 

I'll be back on tour in the spring with the release of the special edition LIVEwire double vinyl LP!! Yes! Nymphs and Thugs are releasing LIVEwire on VINYL! It's gonna be an exclusive, limited edition, and feature work not on the CD album. That's all I can tell you now. It'll be a thing of beauty ... I cannot wait to share it with you!

Thank you for subscribing to Waiting For Godden. Please scroll down to click on some links to articles, things to read or listen to and cool projects and sites to check out. I wish you peace and love in 2017, happy new year, keep fighting the good fight, sgxx

Here comes the love, here comes the light

a selection of 2016 winter highlights 
and things to read or listen to

LIVEwire review: 'truly electric'  The IPaper:

'my tits are more feminist than your tits' on youtube

We now have LIVEwire CD's, my tits are more feminist than your tits T-shirts, 
and tote bags, you can buy them at: 

Salena's Bookshoppe

"A spoken word album that truly is electric." 5* The i Paper
"Everybody needs to hear #LIVEwire." Prowl House
"Godden is at the vanguard of this particular publishing moment." The Empathy Library
"Go see this girl - she's an angel in boxing gloves." Mike Garry

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