It’s been well over a year since I performed the full Frontal Lobotomy, but I’ve enjoyed breaking it into chunks and seeing if it works better over a shorter duration. I performed some sections of it completely stripped down, no costumes or props, at the Art House in Southampton, this November. It was for the album launch of Grant Sharkey’s and Dave Allon’s ‘Beasts.’ An album of no words, and Grant is famous for his extensively researched words; so I was to be the words. I hardly ever use a mic, I’m a teacher. When I used to use a mic in my early versions of the show, it felt wrong, and it got in the way. I explained to the Art House audience that I’m normally in a costume, surrounded by props, but that as my first public reading of my poetry was standing in that very same spot, where I was drunk and humiliated, I felt it fitting to be more naked than usual for them. Two nights before that ‘Beasts’ gig I had sight-read and brought two of my own choice of readings to ‘Naked Girls Reading’ in Fontaines, London. They were ‘Song of my Returning’ by Phil Ochs, and an Extract of ‘The Poetry of the Red Shoes’ from the Kneehigh show. I cannot describe how it feels to read for an audience naked, and I always come away from these gigs feeling different.
There had been an eruption building in my personal life behind the scenes of all of these outward looking ventures. In a weird way the gigs have kept me tethered to a reality, kept me looking beyond these four walls. I found a kind of incredible life in secret, but it was unsustainable, and eventually exploded. And I feel relief for the first time in a long time. Knowing what once burned brightly has been dowsed. What could be healed was healed in its own way.
And with some respite from work-related stress and a bubble of safety and familiarity in the place I call home; I’m gathering momentum for a new show, and a new tour of ‘Jeu Jeu la Foille’s Frontal Lobotomy.’ I learned so much previously from the creation process and subsequent tour of that show, and I’m on the lookout for festivals and quirky venues. The morning/evening/anytime pages I’ve methodically kept since September 2017 are slowly becoming more loaded with metaphor, and I sense patterns and reoccurring images when I read them back now. Plenty of themes but no form yet. Last time I immersed myself in the world of Tom Waits, and the show structure and writing came easily. This time I feel like I’m making my ‘difficult’ second album.
Pictured below is the ‘Fraggle Rock’ lighthouse, Falmouth, Cornwall. Xx