RADVENT DAY 10 TAKE A BREAK FROM THE POLITICS – NOT REALLY THAT WAS A JOKE I’M STILL TELLING YOU TO VOTE THE TORIES OUT, I APOLOGISE FOR NOTHING EDITION

Hey I guess we all just need a break from thinking about what’s happening with the election right now so here’s a picture of an 80s festive jumper i just scored in a charity shop for £3.99 to wear ironically when global temperatures rise by 3 degrees. It’s a bit Partridge! I will say, and that will be extra ironic because East Anglia will be permanently under water. Ho Ho Ho. Please enjoy this break from politics thank you.

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Stop buying shit you don’t need! Stop buying other people shit they don’t need! In this climate, that is a radical move. Next up: give away a whole heap of shit you don’t need! I don’t mean broken crap that you don’t want but reckon it’s good enough for the charity shop. That isn’t charity. I mean stuff that is clean, working and useful, just not to you. This year i’m giving away anything that doesn’t spark joy, which includes the 78 different recipe books I have been gifted over the years (wow! no), my least favourite child and the mental and physical load of clearing the house out every year just before Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. If you are in the shops, and you see someone moving towards the scented face cream section, just make SAS ‘retreat’ signals at them until they understand. Follow them into the jewellery section and prevent them from buying something with a heart on it by silently making a heart shape with your fingers and then slamming your fists against the glass cabinets until they put some actual thought into their gift buying. No guys. NO.

CASH TO SPARE

Buy your presents in charity shops. Get into town. Recycle, reuse, donate, shop local, all in one. That’s efficiency, that is. Try Oxfam online if you can’t get to the shops. Or buy a gift from the Choose Love site. There are many terrible things gathering pace at the moment, at home and abroad, and we need to see how they are connected. We are all connected and we all need to be fucking nice to each other – not passively, but urgently, and as an act of rebellion. Plus, get yourself a party dress off of oxfam, go on. You can wear it while stockpiling your cupboards with Blitz spirit and asthma meds for Brexit, and imagine you are a TV chef!

SELF CARE

It’s dark and freezing out, so as soon as you are at home wear all your brightest clothes, like all of them, and wrap yourself in actual lights and put some tunes on and rave it up in your kitchen while you make a hot beverage of your choice, HAVE IT LARGE, YOU WONT BE STOPPED

RADVENT DAY 9 BRITISH POETRY GOD BLESS THE QUEEN THEY ONLY HUNG ME THE RIGHT WAY UP YESTERDAY EDITION

You know what we all need in the week of an election? Apart from a buccaneer shirt and a large periwig in which to complete our descent into madness? That’s right – your first answer was correct – poetry, motherfuckers.

Britain has a long history of dissent, and radical poetry and song to go with it. We like to present ourselves to the world as polite, stiff upper lip types with a deep seated sense of fair play, which is why we are constitutionally bound to write the word ‘TWAT’ on anything featuring Johnny Mercer’s face. Under even the slightest pressure, we revert to our natural state of shouting ‘Bus Wanker’ out of car windows at our elected political representatives while cheerfully voting for the ones most likely to punch us in our actual faces.

We are in fact an anarchic, back seat of the bus bunch of arseholes with a particular set of skills, those skills being civil unrest, knob jokes, racism and naming boats, not necessarily in that order. It’s a double edged sword. On the one hand i see that we’ve decided to leave the European Union with all the dignity of a middle aged man who has taken his divorce badly, and is driving his Morgan into the Channel to fight the French AND the Germans while wrapped in a National Trust promotional banner and waving a cutlass. But on the other hand, i see Prince Andrew is in the news and the hashtag #nonceuponatime is immediately trending. The yin and the yang there.

ANYWAY, i digress. Poetry. Radical poetic acts for the day. Here you are:

FREE/SELF CARE

Go and immerse yourself in radical, fuck you and fuck this and laugh about that poetry. If poetry nights sound fancy, we have youtube now, fill your boots. Find a poetry night near you. Find poets whose experiences are different to yours. Whatever and wherever you are, find a new perspective. It doesn’t have to be British poetry, I’m just saying – radical poetry is big here and always has been. We don’t get taught this at school. Learn a poem off by heart – a free and radical act that makes you richer and noone poorer, apart from possibly my children who have heard one limerick about farts too many from me. I am learning, for Christmas Day delivery the most radical text of all – How The Grinch Stole Xmas. Recommended.

https://www.vanessakisuule.com/

http://johncooperclarke.com/poems/twat

CASH TO SPARE

You can support poets through the Poetry Foundation, or via their websites and on Patreon and in all kinds of initiatives. A couple below. Or just go along to a spoken word event and support the venue and the poets.

You can of course express your feelings on the current government in the traditional English way in the form of pithy poems on publicly available billboards around the country – just a thought.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/give

https://www.boatpoets.com/about

RADVENT DAY 8 I FELL ASLEEP AND FORGOT TO POST DAY 7 DICKENS EDITION

FREE/CASH TO SPARE/SELF CARE

There’s an election on!! Have you SEEEEEN??? Tis the season! The Conservatives have picked Christmas time for an election, because it plays to their core values – elaborate lies about old white men! Decreasing the surplus population! And of course, a perennial fave: pregnant women in temporary accommodation.

The best thing about an election really is that you get to enjoy the democratic processes and the rule of law that we fought a world war to protect, before everyone currently getting nostalgic about the ‘good old days’ votes to obliterate them in a way the Blitz never did. Because if there is one thing the British do better than anyone else, it’s irony. And also – genocide.

Anyway, never mind how you vote, what’s most important is that we respect each other’s opinions. I’m joking of course. So, if you came here looking for phrases like ‘agree to disagree’ then you need to pick another place, and a decade that isn’t only responsible for Dominic Raab as a credible political force, but also the recommissioning of Death in Paradise 9 ACTUAL TIMES, including the ones with that guy from the BT ads, as if we haven’t suffered enough. Anyway, buckle up, strap in, get your big girl pants on, or big pants at the very least and get out there because we need to get the Tories out or die trying. Find out how to vote tactically. Get in touch with your local campaign office, put up posters, man a stall, wear a sticker, share something online, drive people to the polling booth, all of this stuff is free if you have the time. You can canvass! You can travel to a marginal seat and canvass there! Tell people to Vote With Love:) Come to my marginal seat where there may be as few as 100 votes in it and stop me shouting ‘I SAID VOTE WITH LOVE, YOU SHITS’ and showing everyone my hostile environment. This is not a drill. I’m very tired, I haven’t slept more than 6 hours/night for the last 8 years and I have 73 things to organise before Christmas and working to prevent my childrens’ early death from a preventable disease because of lack of affordable health care is like, number THREE. God bless us, every one!

RADVENT DAY 6 NOT GOING OUT OUT EDITION

Booze. Boozey boozey booze booze. It’s gin o clock, ladies! It’s one for the wine mums! Hard week? Big meeting? Christmas shopping? Intersectional oppressions making everyone a bit ‘off’? Have a wine! A large wine! But not a spliff or a bottle of White Lightening, that’s for drug addicts. Anyway, don’t overthink it guys – the alcohol industry wants you to have FUN! Remember, the less uptight you are about the 67 to do lists scrolling down the side of your vision like The Terminator as you go about your daily life, the more attractive you are! Like a sexy Terminator! The kind of Terminator that has come from 200 years into the future to tell you that the only things that have survived the heat death of the planet are cockroaches, the Morecombe and Wise Xmas special with Angela Rippon and the gender pay gap. But in a bikini or something! And also – SHHHHHH.

Today is possibly peak work Christmas party day, so if you aren’t already out there with a paper hat on pulling crackers in a Cafe Rouge, then buckle up for your party season radical acts cos here they ARE

FREE/SELF CARE

If you want to feel the heady thrill of genuinely making people uncomfortable in a social setting with your radical behaviour, then don’t drink. If you aren’t going out (and i can’t recommend this enough) then have a cuppa and watch Gogglebox or read a book you fucking rebel. If you are, have a soft drink with someone who is also alcohol free. It’s a thing now. Some people even drink in moderation, it’s like we’re French or something. I know, I know that alcohol is just a fun and traditional part of Christmas, like domestic violence and suicide, so that means that not drinking is actually a real load of effort for those trying to avoid it. If you are going to a work do, you can help make sure there are loads of nice non-alcoholic drinks around. Maybe you could make mocktails! Maybe you could make molotov cocktails and incite civil unrest with Sarah from marketing! It’s just part of the magic of Christmas guys, i don’t make the rules.

CASH TO SPARE

Check out all the support available for people who want to manage their drinking and mental health better. Have a look. Slip them some cash. Maybe the cash you were going to spend on wiiinnnneee, everybody wins.

RADVENT DAY 5 GOING OUT OUT EDITION

I haven’t got long to write today – I’m going out in the actual bloody evening. On a school night. Normally, once I’m home and my bra comes off, it would take a genuine emergency to get me out of the house again. However. I bought tickets in the summer holidays, when I was off my face on Vitamin D and picnics, forgetting that by December I would be tucked up in a box in the attic with plenty of hay and a 6 month supply of Quality Street, like Mrs Rochester but way more into standing on rooftops in wedding dresses laughing maniacally. Anyway, i”m going out to see people i know and do things. At this point in the year, it feels radical.

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We are supposed to be very divided at the moment. Well, I can tell you from spending most of my working life in community spaces, we ain’t. If you feel the same, then undertake a radical act, and talk to people you know. Pick up the phone, talk words at friends. If you are overdue a coffee with someone, make it happen. If you’ve got extra time and energy, pop round to a neighbour, see who is feeling low or happy and wants company. Many people experience intense loneliness at this time of year, especially if they lack money or mobility. Age UK runs a brilliant befriending service you can get involved with, and check your local council and voluntary sector websites, or the library for other things you can sign up to over christmas. I guarantee there will be a community cafe where you can get excellent Bakewell Tart with custard and a game of mah jong is all i’m saying. Go.

CASH TO SPARE

Find a project that supports your own community, and donate to it. Better still, find out how you can invest, and help them to grow. Or gather friends together, online or in person, to support someone you know is struggling. You will know someone, and if you don’t, find those who do.

You could also donate to the Samaritans, whose volunteers provide support on the phone to people who are suicidal all year round, 24 hours a day, and are an incredible service.

SELF CARE

Pay attention to who you are with when you feel like the best version of yourself, and spend time with those people. Break bread with your mates. Eat the food that nourishes you, and that can mean anything – Gregg’s pasty, a massive roast, a fruit salad, fill your boots guys. Eat, drink and be merry. Squeeze your marvellous people. Yes, i know it’s a school night just DO IT.

RADVENT DAY 4 WHY DON’T YOU JUST BE MORE ORGANISED EDITION!

Is there a lot to do this month? Well MaYbE yOu ShOuLd Be MoRe OrGaNiSeD ladies! Make a list!

Here’s mine for today:

Plan better in order to be on time. Make kids lunch boxes in advance! Life hack.

Feed evil cat

Make nourishing self care porridge breakfast. Maybe some seeds and so on!

Be relaxed

Don’t shout at kids when they put face paint on the cat and it eats my breakfast

Handmake Gordon the Goat outfit for nativity play instead of buying from Amazon

Respond to Google Hangout invite

Google ‘Google Hangout’

Maintain the will to live

Park in parking space, not in a bush

Don’t overtake horse boxes on the A46 in third gear wearing a beret with the windows down because the de-mister is broken, while eating a triple bounty bar for breakfast

8 hours of work.

Buy healthy food from local zero packaging shop

Carry porridge oats home in a coffee cup, 16 Happy Meal boxes out of your car, a pair of socks and your own actual hands

Next time, remember kilner jars, like you are French and have a pantry

Don’t buy dinner from an actual petrol station even if there is a surprisingly wide range of pizzas there

Buy exactly the right card for a colleague who is moving to Spain but might be pro Brexit you can’t remember

Buy thoughtful Christmas presents made by local artisans who live in huts with white painted floorboards and are only visible to the human eye as the Instagram filter ‘Maven’

Pick up kids 10 minutes late. Don’t shout at kids

Text neighbour apology about evil cat

Send supportive email to friend

Send supportive facebook message to someone you are not sure you actually know but they went to that yoga class you tried out once and they are really going through some tough stuff with their divorce right now

Don’t shout at kids for eating only cheerios and face paint

Save planet from heat death

Overthrow government

Drink enough water

Be relaxed

Wrap all handmade gifts in cloth not paper this year that will be definitely a William Morris print or some shit like that that you have painstakingly sourced from 6 different local shops

Apologise to kids for shouting

Apologise for kids

Apologise to everyone

Go to bed, late

Google ‘Latest election polls’

Google ‘Crypto-fascism’

Maintain will to live

Remember, too late, to make snack pots in advance

Buy child’s goat outfit off Amazon

Be relaxed.

FREE RADICAL ACT

Don’t do anything at all that you don’t have to do. Not one thing. Sip your motherfucking tea.

IF YOU HAVE CASH TO SPARE

Buy the shit you need. Don’t make it. If you like making stuff because that’s your groove, buy things for someone else that doesn’t have the time or money for that shit.

SELF CARE

Make a list. Colour code it. Burn the list. Daub your face with the ashes of your mental fetters. Stand naked reciting the list to the distant, milky sun while eating a triple Bounty Bar. Log in to that Google Hangout. Enjoy your meeting with the finance team! You’ve GOT THIS.

RADVENT DAY 3 HOPE AND ACTION AND GOOD THINGS EDITION

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It might feel like there isn’t a lot to feel hopeful about at the moment. It is, of course, hard to say why. Maybe it’s the long, dark nights, maybe it’s because Poldark has finished but the good Christmas TV hasn’t started yet or maybe it’s because the country is being run by the Slytherin Second XI. WHO CAN SAY.

Whatever the reason, to hope right now is a radical act. I don’t mean a general sense of optimism that everything is going to be OK. I mean hope as a feeling that it’s worth doing something, and all is not lost. Hope is contagious, it has consequences we don’t know about yet, and above all, it’s free. FInd the things that give you hope, and share them. Here’s a video that has been watched many, many times around the world. One of the people in it has written a book about big, hopeful ideas like everyone having enough money to live on, and it’s in the library, so read it before your library closes. Anyway, this video gives me hope about speaking truth to power, and the things it can do. Yes, even if they won’t let me into soft play without buying their expensive branded socks THEY CANNOT OPPRESS ME AND I WON’T BE TOLD.

IF YOU HAVE CASH TO SPARE

There are quite a lot of cash strapped essential services that need support at the moment *gestures vaguely at everything* but to pick one at random, the number of children living in temporary accommodation in the UK has risen by 51% in the last 5 years to 135,000. So if you aren’t keen on a record number of children spending christmas day in a sub-standard b&b, or a damp room above a boarded up pub, sometimes hundreds of miles from their schools and home towns, then you might want to do something. Maybe voting!

But also, you can donate to Nightstop, an organisation that supports young people in crisis around the country through community hosting. You could look into becoming a host yourself. Or you can give to Shelter, who provide an incredible advice and support service to homeless families around the UK. Or contact your local council’s housing team directly to find out more about how they support families facing homelessness, and how you can help. Many have a welfare support fund to pay for essential items during these periods. Many, recently, do not.

SELF CARE

Watch Flirty Dancing. Feast your eyes on hope and love and joy. Seriously. Binge on it. You will cry happy tears. I did, and I have a cold, frozen heart and i never cry at anything. You are welcome.

RADVENT DAY 2: KIDS EDITION

FOR FREE

In the last financial year the Trussell Trust saw a 19% rise in the use of their food banks across the UK. 1.6 million emergency food parcels were given out. 500,000 of those were given to children. Tonight, C4 launches a Dispatches programme about children living in poverty in the UK. Have a watch before you vote next week. Tell other people to watch it too. Have a look at the ways in which the Trussell Trust campaign to reduce food poverty in the UK, and get involved. You can volunteer at your local food bank – they are extremely busy at Christmas and often need extra hands for collections and distributing emergency parcels.

I’m going to point vigorously at the campaign to end the 5 week wait for Universal Credit payments. If you want to talk more about this, message me because dealing with the insecurities in people’s lives caused by Universal Credit is literally my job and i will shout about it AT ALL TIMES please invite me to parties i’m a hoot.

IF YOU HAVE MONEY TO SPARE

If you want to help the children featured in this C4 film, you can go to https://aletheiafoundation.org.uk/

If you want to help a food bank, check the Trussell Trust website for your nearest one. Ask what things are in short supply, or check their social media for the latest priorities. I know razors and toiletries are often overlooked. Maybe steer clear of baked beans and chopped tomatoes. Also they have an attached organisation that looks for toys and children’s clothes donations.

While donations peak just before Christmas, they will still need your help in January, so if you can, set aside something from your big xmas shop for donating over the weeks ahead, or slip them a cash donation to kick off your New Year.

SELF CARE

It’s hard to avoid the headlines at the moment. Maybe you should give yourself a break. Take a stroll down to a local supermarket that’s popular with the older consumer, head to the newspaper aisle and find the Daily Mail section. Do you see it? Well not any more, because you have methodically covered all of them with copies of The Beano and The fucking Independent. Or maybe you have just gently placed them all on the floor under the shelves, where hate speech should be found! Do you feel better? Yes, you do. I hope everyone enjoys getting their little green coins and free cup of coffee now.

Radvent 2019 DAY 1 SHOPPING EDITION

RIGHT. Buckle up everyone because it’s *RADVENT*, that magical time of the year where i try to post 3 radical things a day until Christmas day or whenever i hit 26 things on my to do list or the point at which i start smoking cigars and wearing a pineapple as a hat in the car park at Asda, whichever comes first. Obviously, I’m already late and knackered. Anyway, one thing will be for free, one will be if you have some money to spare, and one is about looking after yourself. OK. Here we go, here we fucking go.

DAY ONE

FOR FREE

It’s Black Friday weekend, and for those who enjoy a 45 minute queue for new age fun with a vintage feel, late stage capitalism is a *delight*. Maybe by vintage, shops designed for women actually mean ‘the Stasi’ because that’s who designed the cubicle lighting in Toast at Swindon Retail Outlet. Just so you know. They will ask you for your papers. Maybe you’ll be deported! It’s very 2019.

Anyway, not doing any of that is a radical act. Maybe you’ve been told that we need to prop up the economy by spending a shit tonne in Anthropologie, but you only experienced the existential pain of realising that the floor length yellow velvet dress you thought would make you look like a fourteenth century French queen inexplicably attending an office festive brunch was actually made ONLY for Tilda Swinton and you are not, and i cannot stress this enough, Tilda Swinton. No need for this. No need.

IF YOU HAVE MONEY TO SPARE

Dick off Amazon and get shopping ethically. I know, i know, there’s no such thing as ethical consumption, but not actively promoting a company that abuses it’s employees and works best in a hyper-consumerist and unsustainable environment is a good start. If you can afford to. Some of the time. Birdsong is good! Check them out. There are loads more. Use the world wide web via your smartphone containing cobalt mined by children in the DRC lol try and escape complex inequality in a post industrial landscape you can’t. Merry Christmas!

SELF CARE

Baby it’s cold out there. So don’t go out and have to listen to dubious Christmas music about dudes that don’t let you leave their house. Stay in with a bunch of small children that take 3 hours minimum to leave the house. You will spend exactly no pounds, so you can sit back and imagine you are a large multi-national evading corporation tax. Maybe find yourself a swivel chair and dress entirely as Tilda Swindon and stand masterfully at windows while shouting ‘I OWN THIS TOWN’ at the cat. Me time.

I Threw Out All My Pants Today

I threw out all my pants today.

I did not like them anyway.

They were too tiny for my arse,

I’ve set my bottom free at last

It’s time to let my derriere

get loose and let it get some air

because, to tackle tasks with ease

your vulva needs a steady breeze.

Acrylic, nylon, polyester,

stuff that lets infections fester;

if it’s designed by blokes and chaps

it is not healthy for your flaps.

I do not know why anyone

would want to have a hungry bum

and spend, oh, twenty quid a go

on things that give you camel toe.

I’ve swapped my high leg, low rise lace,

my itchy guts, my squinty face,

for pants extending up my torso –

like a sturdy vest, but more so.

They come in packs of five, or triples,

they nestle underneath my nipples.

They are not made of see through netting,

they mop up when my boobs are sweating.

The question that we all should ask

is – Are these pants that multi-task?

and

Is it really underwear

if you can’t keep your keys in there?

I cannot run or dance or laugh

with my butt cheeks cut in half.

I cannot argue or clap back

with knickers half way up my crack

I can’t think clearly, I am edgy

when I have a giant wedgie.

These times are tough, resolve must harden

so be kind to your lady garden.

Be kind to yourself, full stop.

And let your body flow and flop

all over rigid patriarchy.

I’ve had it with this ‘should’ malarkey:

‘Should’ and ‘must’ can take a hike –

I’ll wear the fucking pants I like.