Essential Remedies with tom theythem

Tom they/them is a brilliant and most valued part of the Brainchild family – a cornerstone of Steez, which was the home of so many artists we love and admire today (and the notorious Steez café at Brainchild), they are an extraordinary poet, performer, theatre makers and facilitator. Their previous work includes the theatre show Crowded and Seeking Love and Meaning, a multifaceted collaborative performance piece.

For Brainchild 2021 they are bringing brand new group LOLA that we’re very excited to see live for the pure punk ENERGY! LOLA includes longstanding members of the Brainchild and OG Steez community Cieran Corr (guitar), James Wilson (bass) & Sam Jones (guitar). In Winter 2020, they got together for a long improvised session and produced some striking material engaging with the mixed feelings we’ve been going through since this pandemic hit. We’ve invited them to our new space, the Minty Cabin, to share new material that we hope reckon will tear up our expectations and bring something fresh to the festival. Dig into LOLA’s first recording titled these strange and unprecedented times.

One book (or Four…)

I’m reading more at the moment than probably ever before so this is real tough…

Alok Vaid-Menon, ‘Beyond the Binary’ (Penguin Workshop, 2020) – more powerful than I expected. It makes itself so accessible but pulls absolutely no punches. Very useful as an intro text to gender expansive thought/identity/life.

C. Riley Snorton, ‘Black on Both Sides’ (University of Minnesota Press, 2017) – this racial history of trans identity is honestly visionary. Beautifully theorises the connections between racial, gender & transgender norms from concrete examples & archives.

Christine Burns, ‘Trans Britain: Our Journey From The Shadows’ (Unbound, 2018) – it’s not nearly as radical & grass roots as I would like but this anthology of personal accounts is a rare & important book for contextualising transness within Britain.

Emma Dabiri, ‘What White People Can Do Next: From Allyship to Coalition’ (Penguin Books, 2021) – I’m only 2 chapters in but already it’s changing the way I approach political action. Can’t wait to dig into it more!

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One Record

​Planningtorock’s ‘Powerhouse’ (DFA Records/Human Level, 2018)

The voice, the production, their whole vibe – it’s all so sexy & funky & politically, explicitly trans. Revolutionary stuff. I regularly come back to “Non-Binary Femme” as a massive anthem. Any DJ who plays that out instantly gets my phone number.

Pick up the record on bandcamp here.

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One Other Thing

Morgan M. Page’s ‘One From The Vaults’

A podcast telling the histories of trans people, mostly in 20th Century U.S.A. & Canada. She is such a good storyteller, and the histories are dug with real rigour. I find trans history projects a powerful way of connecting to some sense of ancestry, and understanding the concrete temporality of gender norms, and Morgan Page’s is a really entertaining example of this.

You can listen on Spotify, Apple Music or on Soundcloud here.

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tom theythem at Brainchild 2018 by Alex Grey