Jemima Foxtrot is a writer, theatre-maker, performer and musician, who wears each of those hats with flair and originality.
We’ve been lucky enough to have her perform a number of projects with us – she’s presented her solo work at our regular development night Hatch; as well as performing with the drag king collective The Family Jewels. The Family Jewels were born after they met and collaborated at Drag Camp, a participatory course that we ran in collaboration with our sensationally talented pals Pecs. Since then, the Jewels have gone on to create and tour their own cabaret MANdemic: a journey through the heady glory days and spectacular decline of planet Earth’s men.
We love this video of Jemima reading her poem All Damn Day – which beautifully captures the joys and frustrations of bubbling city life, through interactions with strangers & overheard conversations. Her collection of the same title is available here and is a perfect tonic for these isolated times.
Jemima’s currently working on her first novel; touring her shows Kiss Me, Help! I hate you and Cactus, as well as being a founding member of the theatre company Unholy Mess. Here are her essential remedies…
Lucy Ellmann ‘Ducks, Newburyport‘ (Galley Beggar Press)
I’m still reading this relentless tirade of a book which is nearly 1000 pages long! If there was ever a time to read a big chunky novel, it’s now. And it’s really fantastic; it’s a portrayal of the busy mind of an Ohio housewife mulling over the state of the world, blending the profound and the everyday. It really fulfills what I look for in literature, combining form and content to great effect. Despite its length, it gathers amazing momentum and is a long, lyrical lesson in empathy. There are some freakish parallels with what’s going on now too!
You can order ‘Ducks, Newburyport’ from Guardian Bookshop. Or, the try the audiobook published by WF Howes, available through Audible.
Richard Dawson ‘2020‘ (Weird World)
This album is a strange homage to and indictment of everyday life in the UK. Each song is a little tableau, voiced by a different character: someone stuck in an office job they hate, a five aside football match, a pub flooding, a worker in an Amazon warehouse. I found it a bit difficult to listen to initially, but it sneaks up and grows on you; virtuosic arrangements, amazing melodies. Songs that make you feel angry, hopeful and alive.
Listen to ‘2020’ on Bandcamp!
One other thing
A poem that catches everything that’s right with the world. I love the elevation of everyday gestures into something holy and I think we would do well to remember that ‘Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.’
Danusha Laméris ‘Small Kindnesses‘:
I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”
Find out more about Danusha over on her website, where you can read more of her poems and buy her anthologies ‘The Moons of August’ and ‘Bonfire Opera’.