Sunday, 28 July 2013

Edinburgh Festival: Podcasts and Live Shows‏

Hello everyone,

Dave related Edinburgh Fringe Festival News!

Stand Up Tragedy in Edinburgh:

SUT is a night where people stand up and tell tragedy. We make you sad; we make you think; we make you smile. Expect music, comedy, fiction, spoken word, true stories and more, all playing up to the tragic form but not always taking it seriously. The night ends, not with a whimper, not with a bang, but with a cathartic sing-a-long.

We are booked in nightly as part of the Spoken Word at PBH Free Fringe 2013 performing at 6.30pm at the Fiddlers Elbow from the 3rd to the 14th of August. We're also going to be releasing podcasts daily during the Fringe Festival. We'll be kicking off the daily Stand Up Tragedy season with a really amazing piece of true storytelling from comedian Josie Long on the 2nd of August.

We've been releasing podcasts weekly through 2013 and you can listen to them to get a taste of what is in store. They're available on iTunes, Stitcher Smart Radio and Soundcloud.

We have an amazing line-up booked in including Robin Ince, Rob Auton, Sarah Campbell, Jay Foreman, Superbard and more. We have cabaret acts, harpists, magicians, authors, true storytellers, poets, lecturers and more sharing their tragedies at our shows.

So if you are coming to the Fringe come and see us. We are on the Free Fringe so it is free to come and see us (although we will be passing around a hat at the end).

"Join Dave Pickering on his journey to get better acquainted with the people he knows. There are lots of shows about famous people. This is a show about the rest of us. Part interview show, part oral history project, the show was nominated for a 2012 Radio Production Award and was featured on the Radio 5 Live podcast special, Helen and Ollie's Required Listening. It has just finished it's first season on Resonance FM"

I am also going to be doing my weekly show Getting Better Acquainted at the Fringe. I'll be documenting the Fringe experience in one or two specials and releasing conversations that I record up there. Before that I'm releasing two conversations with remarkable true storytellers who have performed at Stand Up Tragedy. One with Allan Girod whose performance at SUT can be heard here, and the other with Daniel Simpson whose performance goes out on the SUT podcast on August 4th, but you can listen to him tell his story at Spark London here. Daniel will be performing with us again in Edinburgh.

I will also be recording two live GBA's as part of the PBH's Free Fringe 2013 at 1.40pm at the Banshee Labyrinth on the 12th and 13th of August. The guests are still to be confirmed but they will connected to the Festival. Come and join us if you're in town.

If you haven't heard the show yet there are lots of ways you can: It's available through via Stitcher Smart Radio and it's Soundcloud page. At this moment the iTunes feed is currently playing up but you can still get the first 119 episodes and eventually the feed will catch up. You can also follow it on twitter and like it on facebook.

Spark London in Edinburgh:

I may be missing the next Spark Hackney open mic (which I usually host) but to make up for it I'm running a Spark London workshop in Edinburgh. Again this is pas part of the Free Fringe. It's on the 8th August at The Fiddler's Elbow 12.15 - 1.15pm.

The workshop will explore ways to locate stories from your life with the focus on connecting with an audience spontaneously, without the aid of notes. 

The Hackney open mic isn't cancelled however. Radcliffe Royds is filling in for me and the them is Planes, Trains and Automobiles. There's a 2 for 1 offer if you quote "story time" to the box office. So if you're in London on Monday 12th August at 7.30pm why not go tell some stories at the Hackney Attic.

A Maze of Breaths:

Last month we launched A Maze of Breaths: Spoken Word at PBH's Free Fringe. The Stand Up Tragedy team put the album together. 19 tracks that show the variety, quality and energy of the Free Fringe's spoken word community. The whole album is £5 (or more if you wish to give it) and individual tracks are £1 (or more if you wish to give it). I've worked really long and hard on this over the last few weeks and I really think it's a quality album. It has at least something for everyone and is a mix of poetry, storytelling, music, comedy and everything in between. 

Sunday, 21 July 2013

The @GBApodcast Family Season 2013

All 4 guests new me at a time when I looked like this!

I've had writing this blog on my list of things to do for weeks and I'm only just getting to it now, in the last week of the season of Getting Better Acquainted that it's supposed to comment on. I've been busy editing the season and  the rest of my time has been spent working on the exciting and time consuming task of taking Stand Up Tragedy up to the Edinburgh Festival so it would be easy to put the delay down to that. But that's not quite right. I've been avoiding doing it.

If I'd have been ready to write this blog I would have found the time. Normally if I have a blog to write I do it using my thumbs on my smartphone while walking through the street or travelling on public transport. I needed to write this outside of the noise and barrage of this non-stop life I seem to have made for myself. I needed to write it in quiet reflection. Today I finally got that chance.

Each of the conversations in the Family Season 2012 is a big one for me; in different ways and for different reasons. By having conversations with my family I've been having conversations with myself, with my genetic and social makeup, with the people who make me me. The conversations in this season have been about some of the big narratives and emotions that have shaped my life.

I talked to my dad about women, sex and fidelity and to my mum about rage, depression and becoming like your mother. Both of those conversations exposed me in very different ways; the nature of the way GBA works is that it's an exchange. If I am going to ask people to be open and to share themselves I have to be prepared to do so myself.

With my dad I found myself swapping virginity stories, sharing experiences of sexuality in general and then, to my surprise, discussing with my father whether he should feel guilty towards his children because of his chaotic love life. It wasn't an apology I ever asked for. It isn't an apology I think he should make. It was a question he asked himself within the space that we created within our dialogue, where both of us reached for understanding of ourselves.

It was a conversation I found hard to put out into the world because it reveals things about me, actions and perhaps attitudes, that might change people's opinion of me. I take ownership for my actions. But not believing you should be judged is not the same as being unafraid of judgement. And I have guilt and shame aplenty that will always help stoke the fires of fear of judgement.

But I'm also aware of how privileged to have had this conversation. Not everyone has this kind of opportunity, not everyone has a relationship with their father that is open in this way, on a personal level I am so glad to have had it, even if I'm afraid to share it.

I am also struck by the uniqueness of a conversation between a 30 year old man and his 88 year old father about sexuality where they tell each other things for the first time. If feels an important thing to share.

And they all knew me as a teenager too.

With my mum sharing the personal revelations that come up scare me less. I'm less afraid of judgement but I still feel very exposed by offering this conversation up into the world. It was an incredibly important moment in my life where I had a real leap forward in the way I view my relationship with my mother, my sense of self and my understanding of her reality. There are lots of subtexts that flow through the conversation which I'm not sure will all be felt with people with less context, but I feel like many of them will be.

Again ideas of who is guilty came up, although it introduced to the conversation more intentionally this time. There is a moment very like the moment in my dads conversation where my mum wonders whether she can legitimately apologise for behavior that she can't promise not to repeat.

I am very vulnerable in this conversation. I found it quite hard to listen to myself when editing it because of all the complex emotions that were bleeding out of me. There is a moment where I can't formulate my words because I am too busy processing my emotions. And yet the conversation wasn't confrontational, and if not everything was directly addressed, everything was at least indirectly addressed.

I've been holding back these conversations for quite a while, they have been mentioned a lot in the episodes previous episodes, and many of the events and anecdotes covered have been told by other people in other episodes. For the GBA completists many strands get tied together in these four episodes and in some ways the conversations with my parents show the farthest limits of openness and dialogue that this show has allowed me to reach.

This episode contained a story about my Gran and was followed up with a special episode that documented my personal response to the conversation I had with my mother and gives context to the life changing weekend that surrounded it. This was another strange thing to share with the word, my blathering into a microphone at the back of a bus, and believe me I edited out a hell of a lot of nonsense, but it has shaped up into something I feel is worth sharing. It captured the truth of that day and capturing truth (even while knowing that truth always changes) is what I'm generally interested in trying to do.

My parents conversations are book-ended by two other different but also very personal conversations.

The season began with a conversation with my dads first wife, Sheila. This and the follow up GBA Extra, where my older sister as a little girl spoke with her grandmother, are conversations with dead people. The voices remain but the bodies that spoke the words have passed away. My older sisters asked for this conversation in its then raw unedited form to listen to in the immediate aftermath of their mother's passing and it helped them come up with ideas for her funeral. Being able to give them this resource was an amazing thing which I am so glad I could do.

When I was editing it I felt the weight of it. It was strange to be editing someone who was dead but who I had known. Our conversation completely avoided mentioning my father and so didn't end up in the kind of areas that the other conversations in this season end up. But in a way by not being about any of that drama it allowed me to see sides of Sheila I'd never seen before. I'd only ever really known her as an old person and by talking about her years as a child and teenager I got better acquainted with her in a way that  I'd never had the opportunity to do before.

The season ends with next wednesday's episode which I just finished editing this morning. It's a conversation with a family friend called Sue, who remained friends with my dad and both of his wives. She never chose sides. In fact all four people this season focuses on once shared a house. Sue and my mum were the lodgers and my dad and Sheila the landlords. That household ended when my dad left Sheila for my mum.

Sue is a wonder to me because she is both wise and kind. Her ability not to judge people at the same time as observing them is something I admire and aspire to. I felt hers was the perfect episode to end the season. Not just because she links the other three together through bonds of friendship but because we talk about whether people can change, listening to others,  being honest and open, challenging and speaking up for what you believe in.  The conversation really pivots around friendship, community, responsibility, empathy and sharing knowledge. Those are the things that run through this family season.

They are also ideas which I feel sum up the Getting Better Acquainted podcast project as a whole.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Quick comment on

The author of this claims to be anti-slut shaming but he then writes an article thought-slut-shaming himself. As a man who has lots of guilt surrounding my own sexuality and relationship to the fact that I am a man I could relate to his feelings, but the conclusion he comes to is not one I support. As a sex positive feminist man I think his approach is pretty bizarre, to achieve equality we need to stop oppressing women's sexuality and autonomy not oppress our own. It isn't wrong to fantasize about women it is wrong to treat women as if they are not equal human beings while you are doing it!