The Bridgwater Arts Centre joins The Edinburgh Pleasance Theatre in being responsible for thwarting the uploading of the audio Dollop. Their WIFI connection was working perfectly in the afternoon, but by the time I’d finished editing the audio version at 720, the WIFI connection had disappeared and didn’t return. I should have had both written and audio versions of yesterday’s Dollop published for 730, but lack of WIFI meant that the audio version couldn’t be uploaded and I had to use my phone’s Internet to publish the written version.
We arrived at the Bed and Breakfast just before midnight, but alas there was no WIFI. There were signs all over the place, proclaiming that their breakfasts were multi award winning. We have clearly broken new ground in terms of our status in the folk world. There was a time when we would stay at B&Bs that hadn’t won even one award, and now here we are staying in places that have been awarded multiple times. I am of course aware that we may currently be at a high point in our career, and that one day we are likely to be back on our way down, and we’ll be booked into places that only serve breakfasts which have merely managed to secure one award win, or possibly even a place that serves a breakfast that has only been nominated for an award. I will accept this fate with good grace, for I am not arrogant, and I don’t do this for the award winning breakfasts, or at least not entirely for that reason anyway. But if we get to a point where I find myself eating a breakfast that has neither won or even been nominated for an award, then I will know that it’s time to bow out and retire.
So there we were, in the morning, a multi award winning folk group eating a multi award winning breakfast, our multi award winning lips gracing their multi award winning food. I could never have dared dream of such a moment when I was a child. I imagine all the other diners were looking on in reverent astonishment, unable to believe their good fortune, that they were eating with a multi award winning band who were eating a multi award winning breakfast, whilst they themselves ate a multi award winning breakfast. The other diners must have wondered what it was like to be a multi award winning band eating a multi award winning breakfast, imagining that it must be a highly incredible and enviable experience. But they were wrong. The breakfast was very nice, and no doubt deserving of its multi awards, but I was unable to appreciate it, as I was smarting about the lack of Internet. The expert panel of judges may have found their award winning organic apple juice to be sweet, revitalising and refreshing, but I had an acrid taste in my mouth, for I had yet again had to swallow the bitter pill of audio Dollop failure. I kept trying to locate a WIFI network, but there was nothing, not a sausage, multi award winning or otherwise.
We were about to embark on a three hour drive to a school in Hampshire for our next community project. We wouldn’t get to the arts centre until about 5pm, and so I wouldn’t be able to upload the audio version until then, at the earliest, making this the biggest failure of this challenge so far.
We received another complaint after our gig a couple of nights ago in London. A very drunk woman was annoyed with us for one of our songs. The song was about Dr Kate Stone, who had a harrowing and near-fatal encounter with a wild stag, which charged at her, puncturing her neck and very nearly killing her. While she was recuperating in hospital, re-learning to walk and talk, various newspaper journalists were reporting on her story, but choosing to principally focus on the irrelevant fact that she “used to be a man,” AKA she is a transgender person. So we wrote a song which was inspired by Kate’s none-aggressive and compassionate way in which she dealt with the newspapers and her subsequent work in helping to create more understanding and acceptance about this subject. But a woman in the audience was peeved, and asked why we had chosen to sing a song about this particular woman, and transgender issues when there were more important “Women’s issues” that could be discussed, such as domestic abuse or femaleinequality. I couldn’t really understand her point. She seemed to be berating us for not singing about domestic abuse or women’s inequality, but I don’t see why she’d singled out the song about Kate Stone as a reason for contention. After all, if we had a song about domestic abuse or women’s inequality, then surely we could still sing that as well as the song about Kate Stone? I think her rant was clearly born out of being uncomfortable with and disapproving of the transgender subject, and she’d tried to justify her opinion with a badly cobbled together argument that she hoped would disguise her prejudices.
We started our set with a song called A Place Called England. But she didn’t have a problem with that, and didn’t ask us why we’d not sung a song entitled A Place Called Japan, or A Place Called Papua New Guinea. Or when we sing Billy Bragg’s Between The Wars, maybe we should extend the first verse beyond, “I was a miner, I was a docker, I was a railway man,” to list every other possible profession, which could feasibly take up the entire gig. But for some reason this lady didn’t seem bothered by any of that, but rather chose to focus her attention on our song about the media’s coverage of a transgender person.
I wonder whether she’ll complain to the gig organisers, like the woman in Australia who accused us of being sexist. I very much doubt it, as I’m sure that when she gets home, she’ll immediately fall into a drunken sleep, and when she wakes up she’d either have no recollection of the incident, or feel embarrassed by exhibiting her prejudices so passionately yet incongruously, or realise the ridiculousness of her complaint when she attempts to put it into words. But we have now received two complaints in a month. If you’re coming to see us on tour at all, prepare yourselves, we are clearly becoming more controversial, with our sexist anti-transphobic ways. In fact, I am so sexist against women, and equally vehemently anti-transphobic, that I want to suggest that all women become men, and thus wipe out the pointless and stupid female gender altogether. There, it’s controversial, but I’ve said it! I accept that, being heterosexual, I am cutting off my nose to spite my face, but at least that’s only a figurative nose being cut off an allegorical face, whereas you women will be forced to go through far worse with your actual literal genitals. And before the compliants start pouring in, I know that just because someone is physically female or male, it doesn’t mean that they will identify themselves with that gender, so my idea for eradicating the female gender doesn’t really work. OK, you’ve found me out, I was making a joke, albeit a joke that when held up to any scrutiny doesn’t really work.
Don’t worry, if you happen to be the drunken lady from London, be assured that I’ll redress the balance. I intend to spend tomorrow’s Dollop joking about domestic abuse, then on Sunday I’ll write a Dollop full of jokes about female inequality, before moving on to fill all my other Dollops with jokes centred around every different type of job I can think of, until the end of the year when this project ends.