Tag: Nottingham

“The grossest possible misogyny”

by Ruth

It was a great weekend. We played a fantastic punk alldayer in Nottingham on Saturday evening alongside some amazing, inspiring acts, and met some really cool new people as well as old friends.

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Relaxed in the glow of an evening sun filtered through train windows during the journey home, a couple of us decided to log into the website to make a small update. We initially weren’t too surprised to see a spike in visits over the last couple of days, but became curious and confused when we saw that the vast majority of the hits were for the lyrics to our song “Freedom of Speech” (which we happened not to play on Saturday).

It turned out that this page had been discovered by a TERF (“trans-exclusive radical feminist”). She found our lyrics “upsetting”, so wandered over to Reddit to share them with a bunch of her TERF friends.

The uninitiated can read about TERFs here, here, and here. Warning: it’s not pretty. The subreddit in question is “Gender Critical Feminism”. We’re not gonna bother linking it for obvious reasons. Google it if you must, but trust us when we say that you’re not missing much.

The resulting brief burst of outrage was somewhat predictable. Ruth was misgendered, trans experience was put down to “magical thinking” comparable to George W Bush’s saviour complex, and there is a sarcastic comment about our use of swearwords (yes, we know that swearing is no longer anything like as cool as when MC5 instructed listeners to “kick out the jams, motherfuckers” back in 1969, but you can’t have everything).

The strongest message that comes out of their strange little conversation though is that we’re a misogynist band. That’s right folks, Not Right hate women!

So what’s misogynistic about the song? Well, we do use the word “cunt”. That one’s up for debate in some feminist circles, although we use the word in such the same way as we might use “dick” or “arsehole”. Body bits, yeah?

Beyond that – is it because we say “we’ll hit right back”? Because we talk about “hateful slurs”, and then there is some rude condemnation of said slurs? This is exactly the kind of language that’s used in feminist discourse around protests and events such as Reclaim The Night (which, for the record, we fully support) and it’s not meant to be literal. We’re not planning to actually “hit” anyone – we wish to instead strike metaphorically against their discourse.

This all seems painfully obvious, but is genuinely beyond TERF logic. The same kind of disregard for metaphor and irony can be found in recent TERF criticisms of Against Me! that accuse Laura Jane Grace of misogyny for using lines such as “your tells are so obvious/shoulders too broad for a girl” and having an image of a breast as a slab of meat on the cover of Transgender Dysphoria Blues. This kind of accusation misses the point so spectacularly that you have to wonder if the ignorance is intentional. How can anyone read those lyrics, look at that album cover, and not see a blatant condemnation of binary gender expectations and the sexist objectification of women, trans and cis alike?

Might it instead be that Freedom of Speech is “misogynistic” because we state that trans bodies, trans lives and trans genders shouldn’t be up for debate? If so, there’s no way we can win a rational debate: if you can’t recognise the experiences of others as real and valid, then you’re inevitably going to find yourself at odds with them. You end up with the same kind of entrenched ideological warfare that takes place between LGBT people and homophobic religious fundamentalists.

At the end of the day, it’s ridiculous that women who call themselves feminist are wasting so much energy getting angry about the existence of trans people. There is actual, real suffering happening in this world. Freedom of Speech addresses the suffering that arises from the dehumanising logic of transphobic (and homophobic) hate speech: violent murder, horrific medical malpractice and frequent suicide attempts.

We’re quite prepared to accept that we point all of this out in a blunt, stroppy manner. But “the grossest possible misogyny”? Fuck off.

b&wIn other news, some guys who had turned up to the weekend’s gig decided to engage in some “friendly banter” as we got ready to play. As usual, Ruth’s arms were covered in transphobic slurs, and Kirsty had written “culture slut” on her chest. “We’ll see about that,” muttered one member of the fun little group at the front.

We plugged in and blasted out Never Back Down, a wave of heavily distorted noise and furious feminist condemnation. The dickhead parade couldn’t take it. They were out of the pub door before the song was over.

We were left to enjoy the rest of the night free of their presence. The end.

Review: Nottinghamshire Pride

by Ruth

I’ve never been to a Pride event quite like the one in Nottingham.

I’m used to large inner-city affairs bounded by concrete, in which ordinary revellers festooned in rainbow clothing rub shoulders with extravagant drag acts, corporate floats, angry activist types, and a whole host of questionable human adverts employed by the big clubs. Vibrant street discos in which almost exclusively male DJs pump out the dance music that’s become synonymous with the scene, lesbian singer-songwriters singing quietly from small tent in a car park, community organisers and charities getting a word in edgeways whenever they can, and that same guy in the flat cap selling whistles on every corner.

I’m also aware that some Pride events are far smaller, less extravagant affairs. Pink picnics in town and city centres, small but powerful marches in areas of tension, and club collaborations between established scene names.

Nottinghamshire Pride was something else entirely. Placed slap-bang in the middle of a massive field, it was more akin to a (largely) family-friendly music festival, albeit one that happened to be really gay. There were many different tents, every kind of act you might imagine, and barely any of the corporate nonsense I’ve come to associate with Pride.

I normally object stridently to the idea of paying for Pride, but at £1 per head the entry cost struck me as entirely reasonable for all. And with an estimated 20,000 visitors, it’s a pretty good way to raise large amounts of money whilst minimising the need for dodgy sponsorship deals.

It was the most chilled-out, friendly and diverse Pride event I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending.

View from the Trans Tent.

We spent most of the day at the Trans Tent, so the content of my review reflects this. The very idea of a Trans Tent was pretty exciting given how marginalised trans people tend to be within the wider LGBTQetc community. Recreation Nottingham – a local support and social group – successfully won both the tent and a pot of money for performers after approaching the Pride organising committee, and proceeded to book a wide range of acts featuring both trans people and allies.

Things didn’t quite run according to plan on the day due to various delays, technical hitches and the like, but the Trans Tent was ultimately a triumph. Every performer was brilliant in their own way, and impromptu stage manager Jennifer of Single Bass did a great job of keeping everything running.

And so without further ado, and in (broadly) chronological order, a review of the acts I managed to see

Solo singer-songwriter Single Bass performed a number of short sets throughout the day. Her songs were accompanied by fluid, evocative basslines rather than the typical acoustic strumming you might expect from such an act. The material was gentle but fun, soft yet strident.

El Dia performed feminist poetry and hip-hop that explored her identity as a queer woman of colour. Her powerful, punchy words tackled the complexity of femme power, gender politics and race in a world full of both oppression and potential.

Elaine O’ Neillwas on form, delivering a typically warm and witty series of poems that examined the intricately silly ways in which trans people (and the process of transition) are understood by the wider world. As always, her puntastic take on the relationship between doctors, surgeries, surgeons and hospitals was a particular delight.

Lashings of Ginger Beer Time are always a lot of fun, and their three sets during the afternoon were no exception. Highlights included the cabaret act’s tuneful skewering of of Gok Wan, and the sight of Margaret Thatcher performing the Evil Charleston. Unfortunately the orientation of the stage and less-than-intimate environs of an open tent meant that the group’s performance had considerably less emotional impact than I’ve experienced on previous occasions. Nevertheless, they rose impressively to the challenge.

Dieselpunk singer-songwriter Dr Carmilla forsook her normal electric instrumentation for a compelling set of originals and covers on a very shiny ukulele. The dark, evocative tone of her tunes translated surprisingly well to the bright sound of her instrument. Notable moments of genius included a re-imagining of Radiohead’s Creep (“Because I’m a crip…”) and a thoroughly original Rickroll.

Our colourful zines rub shoulders with badges from Single Bass and Dr Carmilla’s fantastic new album.

Our own performance was meant to take place near the start of the afternoon (following Elaine’s poetry) but for various reasons we had to rapidly re-arrange everything, and ended up playing two sets.

The first took place around mid-afternoon. We rapidly set up the stage, performed the world’s fastest line check, prevaricated a little over whether or not to swear in front of a potential all-ages audience during our cover of Repeat, and then blasted out a wave of messy noise.

Not Right set 1:
My Body
Balls
Tory Scum
Repeat

It went pretty well, with an additional benefit of the increased noise drawing in a larger audience. Some got into it; others others seemed to stare in a state of mild confusion. We couldn’t have asked for much more!

We originally assumed that we’d be taking to the stage again shortly afterwards and effectively play the second half of our set. However, it turned out that a whole bunch of acts had to leave early, so we agreed to stick around for the rest of the afternoon and effectively provide the stage’s closing performance.

Sadly we missed a few acts whilst grabbing a much-needed bite to eat: amongst them was the Sensational Sally Outen, who has always made me laugh hysterically whenever I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her live. I could hear her inhuman  dinosaur shrieks emerge from the tent in the distance as I queued for jerk chicken.

We returned in time for an astonishingly powerful poetry reading from Roz Kaveney. She opened with an epic account of the Stonewall Riots, reflecting upon the motivations and actions of those who were there and those who might have been there; expounding upon the context of lives both known and unknown in a more difficult, more brutal world. Roz then read a couple of poems about her cunt (and to think we had a brief moment of concern about swearing…). She explored the feeling of feeling, the very experience of living through radical surgeries before growing into your remoulded skin.

A later, second set from Roz was more relaxed, more comedic, as she performed a number of delightfully dirty poems about sex as seen largely through the prism of age. I was familar with much of the material, having previously read many poems on Roz’s LiveJournal, but it was a delight to see it performed live.

George Hadden played a good acoustic set, tales told with feeling. His music was great for a sunny afternoon, and a relief of sorts from the heavy material on offer from some of the other acts!

Fellow punk band Trioxin Cherry also took to the stage in acoustic format as a stripped-back two-piece. Their material was a lot of fun, and certainly a lot more polished than our own! Of note was their cover of a song by The Creepshow, a band favoured by Snowy.

The final performer prior to our second set was Jessie Holder of queer feminist opera group Better Strangers. Now, opera really isn’t my thing, but I’ll readily admit that this was a very special performance. Singing to a backing track, Jessie explored the inherently queer complexities of classic roles, bringing an appropriately different performance to Pride.

We then dived back on stage for our second set. We decided to treat it as an entirely separate performance, writing a new setlist and bringing back a couple of songs we’d played earlier that day.

Not Right set 2:
Balls
Debate Club Wanker
Short Songs
This Revolution is Not Complete
Intersectionality Song

Rebel Girl
Kirsty’s PhD
The Facilitation of Lawful Protest

Tory Scum

We were more relaxed than earlier and I think we benefited from this, with our playing more cohesive and direct. Particular highlights for me included a well-received performance of new song This Revolution, the collection of stereotypically lesbionic ladies who turned up to dance during our cover of Rebel Girl, and the amused reaction of the police officers who wandered over during Tory Scum.

There was also this gem of a comment from a friend:

‘Lady at Nottinghamshire Pride walking away with her 6/7 year old son: “So what have we learnt today darling? Tories are scum.”‘

As we packed away our equipment we got a taste of the variety elsewhere on the festival site, as furious folk-punk fiddling erupted from the nearby (and somewhat inaccurately named) Acoustic Stage. The culprits were the incredible Seamus O’Blivion, who I wish I’d had the time (and energy!) to see properly. I’ll certainly be looking into their music.

Apparently our set was filmed, so we’ll see about linking to that when it appears online! In the meanwhile, we’ll soon be announcing details of Revolt, a riot grrrl night we’re playing in Coventry come October.

We couldn’t have done it on our own, so I’d like to thank Leamington Jess (for transport), Dan and Freja of We Are A Communist (for loan of equipment), Nottingham Jess (for dealing patiently with a deluge of organisational emails) and Kat (for booking us following a chance meeting on the train to Manchester).

Not Right at Notts Pride

by Ruth

We’re playing the Trans Tent at Nottinghamshire Pride from around 1:30pm tomorrow (Saturday). In a sense, this is our first “festival” gig. We’ll be debuting a new song during our half-hour set, and will have some multi-coloured copies of our second zine.

If you can make it, there’s a whole load of other exciting things happening in the Trans Tent during the Saturday afternoon. Recreation Nottingham have put together a brilliant line-up with some of the best trans and queer performers in the country. Poetry, cabaret, comedy and rock…it’s all here.

We’ve created a Facebook event page for our set.

…and the full timetable for the afternoon is available below!

12:00 (Pride opens)
Single Bass
Angel/El Dia
Jase Redfield

13:00
Elaine O’Neill
Not Right

14:00
Lashings of Ginger Beer Time (1st set)
Dr Carmilla (1st set)
Single Bass

15:00
Lashings of Ginger Beer Time (2nd set)
Roz Kaveney
Sally Outen

16:00
Lashings of Ginger Beer Time (3rd set)
Dr Carmilla
George Hadden

17:00
Trioxin Cherry
Single Bass

18:00
Tia Anna