It’s been a rough week. But I have so much to be grateful for.
One Mic was amazing. Maybe the best performance of my life,and definitely the best audience and the best vibes. It was a room full of love (and a little chaos, and sometimes bread). The other performers were varied, interesting, talented – that’s what I really love about a good open mic, when it’s really open and you get an absolutely surprising selection, from classic covers to the never-before-conceived-of, from nervous poets clutching notebooks to the singer with the sure voice of a lark, all there for the cause of creativity, entertainment, sending a message. All there together, to communicate and celebrate with a roomful of human beings.
I am grateful that people put in the effort to arrange events, that people care to come play, speak, sing, watch. I’m grateful that I got the chance to perform and that people were touched by my words.
I have a skill I can use to make vibrations in the ether. It’s time to start using my words. There’s nothing so ungrateful as wasting a gift.
The music video is out! Hope in dark times. There are so many of us with mental health problems. We can support each other in this struggle.
WATCH THIS! [CW: depression, self harm]
Hope you like it. No shame in scars. I’m just glad they could be useful, turning the signs of self-destruction into creative vision.
This video was so fun to make, despite the serious subject matter. Massive respect to JD, Sire and Self Taught for making this song, and Evil Unicorn for the amazing video. Thank you for letting me be a part of something amazing.
DOWNLOAD THE EP HERE, NAME YOUR PRICE! Five excellent tracks, well worth it. All proceeds go towards setting up a youth group providing mental health support. Young peoples’ mental health treatment is horribly underfunded, and although the majority of mental illnesses begin during adolescence, 50% receive no treatment whatsoever. (I recommend you read this report, there are some shocking statistics in there.)
I was lucky to be seen by CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services) as a teenager, which was about enough to keep me alive. I consider myself lucky even for that, because I know plenty of people whose teen years were blighted by undiagnosed or clinically neglected psychological issues. I wonder sometimes how my life would be different if I’d been diagnosed earlier. Maybe my young adulthood would have been a lot easier. Maybe I’d have a few less scars, and would never have been able to be in this video. Which is just one of many reasons that I don’t want to change the past. I’m thankful to be where I am right now. I just acknowledge that it is much more difficult, now I’m finally in treatment, to break habits and thought patterns that have been part of my being for over a decade. I don’t want any other kid to have to suffer so much.
Yes, I know it’s Monday. But I want to write about Saturday. Saturday was a good day. Though it wasn’t especially sexy, aside from my presence. Every day is sexy if I’m in it.
It was another shoot for the No Surrender video (read about the first one here), this time for the part of the story featuring only me. Aaah, attention. I drink it in like nectar. Everyone looking at me. Me, my mask, and my Emotions. Ha! Who am I kidding? I’m already terrified (as well as incredibly excited) about this being released to the world.
Carl, Brent and Jay of Evil Unicorn are indeed highly professional, and there were no technical problems or inappropriate comments at all. There was nice coffee though. Acting pro tip: When filming sleep scenes in a bed surrounded by men, defuse the awkwardness with innuendo. Also, always end the day with a drink or seven to release pent-up emotion. (And to warm up after filming the outdoor scenes.)
This filming made me really tired, because 10am-5pm is a really long workday by my standards. How do people live in real jobs? Is there something wrong with me? Even at school, back in the day, I’d end up in a state of constant tiredness. Is everyone is the world just really tired, all the time? Is that why everything’s a bit shit? You know, I might have hit on a truth about Capitalism here. But I digress.
My brother randomly popped round for a drink night, which was surprising as he lives all the way up in Cumbria. I was well happy to see him though. This was the first time he’d met Chris as My Boyfriend, and seen where we live. Oh, and he showed us a cartoon with Nazi dinosaurs. Netflix may now become a part of my life. Goodbye, any remaining illusion of productivity!
No, not that kind of video. A music video for the song No Surrender, by Derby hip-hop artist JD.with Darren Graffman and Self Taught. Check out JD’s Bandcamp or Youtube for some hard hitting tunes . His lyrics are conscious and real, bringing higher ideals than the objectifying money-worship of too much music of all genres (not to mention the rest of our culture). This video has a point and a story, raising awareness about mental health, the pressures we face to hide our problems and put on a happy face to satisfy the world. You just don’t know who is wearing a mask to hide their suffering…
I got this gig after being recommended, because I fit the bill for the character. Sunday was my first shoot, ever. I’ve never done any acting before (or at least not since Year 9 drama) and definitely never on camera. The guys making the video are hella cool though. They are Evil Unicorn, and they know what they’re doing. The whole reason I agreed straight away to be in this video, was because I’d seen what they made for Simon aka …pr@xis? The Road Less Travelled is a fucking moving video, again with a serious message as well as a raw expression of grief. So I trust this crew to present mental illness and distress with dignity and avoid prurience or cliche.
Shooting a video is fun but hard work. I had no idea what was going to go off when we went to Ryan’s Bar in Derby. The precision of framing shots, the fact that for each shot you are confined to a really tiny space, the sheer work… and then each few-second scene being shot over and over from different angles, different styles, trying to get that perfect emotional gesture down perfectly. I can’t even comprehend the work of editing, especially considering that this video features 3 artists with their stories, as well as my storyline. I’m working with some insanely skilled people, just out of luck, and I am grateful, and so hyped for this video. Also I’m sorry (not very sorry) for spilling a pint over Brent. It was in the pursuit of art, OK? Hopefully it’ll end up in the final cut. Otherwise, I wasted a pint for nothing. (I didn’t even mean to do it. But hey, the camera was rolling.)
Bonus round: Look out for Chris in the video. You can’t see his face. He drove me there, and was a good extra, and sat around while we did multiple takes of everything, and didn’t complain at all. And it was Valentine’s Day. Don’t ever say I’m not a true romantic.
On Saturday we’ll be shooting the denouement, the final emotional crescendo and revelation. I gotta act. I can do that. Heck, I’m hyped for that. Working with a chill, friendly, creative group of people is amazing. I think I’d forgotten that, it’s been so long since I last collaborated with anyone, or even discussed creative work in any real sense. I realise now that’s something I need in my life, and I need to make a serious effort to do it more.
Watch this space: the video for No Surrender should be released at the end of March. It will probably be shown at Five Lamps, Derby. I’m already so excited to see it. Bit nervous; it’s always hard to see the end results of your work, and have it put out there for other folk to judge. But I got faith in this.
Til the release date, listen to some on Soundcloud.