Drowning not waving: Fight the stigma by providing the support

Another week, another batch of stories about mental health. Another week, another soul I consider a friend in trouble because of their mental health. Another week, another plea on social media for understanding as the damaged try to out run their demons. And another week when I feel helpless against this sea of pain.

All the talk in Westminster and the media is about reduction of stigma around mental health issues and yet. And yet. For me there is no point in reducing stigma if, once a person dealing with mental health issues has found the courage to speak out and seek help, that very help is denied. The endless stories of 12 month plus waiting lists are there for all to read. The reports detailing the immense strain our A&E departments are under are shocking and yet. And yet.

Why is no-one adding up the numbers and making a difference? If you cut the funding to mental health services (apparently its called streamlining – I’d like to see Jeremy Hunt feel the real effect of being caught in the slipstream of no staff, no talking therapies, no emergency beds) the effect is massive. A&E has been allowed to become the first port of call for those in distress and police cells have become holding centres for the mentally ill. How are they equipped to cope – their staff training doesn’t come close. When frontline mental health workers are writing about the lack of care they can give in an cash strapped service things need to change. Fast.

And yet when will they? And how many more cries for help will be lost in the endless waiting lists and the poor excuses for a underfunded mental health service? I know my voice was lost. The endless assessments were always a disappointment. Drugs prescribed and solutions not found. Therapies recommend but ‘unavailable’ or with waiting lists of over two years. Underfunded and over worked mental health charities recommended as the only means of support or the sick notion of suggesting paid for basic therapies to patients more likely than not to be living below the poverty line.

And yet they get away with it. How? Well how do the sick, those with low self esteem, no energy and filled with self loathing fight back? How do you begin the process of complaining? How do you stand up for your wellbeing when, to be frank, you don’t give a shit about yourself?

And the answer? I’m not sure. Its been another week where mental health, mine and that of others have been in my mind. I made a small breakthrough treatment wise this week – a complaint was heard and, fingers crossed and if the paperwork comes good, I’ll get something close to what I need. But I know so many are not so lucky. And we need to stand beside them. Demand equality within the NHS. Support mental health charities 24/7 and initiatives such as The Guardian’s Christmas Charity Appeal. Make a noise. Break the stigma yes, but demand the support. As events have shown me this week, from Ruby Wax‘s heartbreakingly honest account of her day to day struggles with depression to that dear soul of a man so nearly lost, we owe it to each other.

Thursday 5 February 2015 is Time to Talk Day and will ask the nation to take 5 minutes to have a conversation about mental health. Say something and you could make the difference.

Be good to yourself and BeAvantGarde at The Hub

10004010_755569604497802_1830554507462120620_nIts always good to have a wiggle. And if that wiggle can last till dawn and be fuelled by the passion of a bunch of promoters and DJs determined to put the underground back into Brighton seafront clubbing so much the better. So big wiggle love to the charmers at BeAvantGarde & BeRestless After Party at The Hub who’s mission to keep house as it should be is a fine one we can all embrace. With a diet of tech house, deep house, techno and minimal tunes from DJs including JustBecause, Manfred Spagnoli and Merc Russo plus the calibre of guests only the best could wish for including Giuseppe Raimondi, Nathan Coles and Jack Wickham, BeAvantGarde delivers. End of.

Friendly, fuelled with passion and always one to blame a wonderfully earned hangover on, BeAvantgarde is not just full of promise, its full of the right stuff. And I can’t get enough. Which is just as well cos there’s a 12 hour marathon NYE / NYD session in the offering and its taking no prisoners. BeAvantgarde. A right proper reason to see you at the (sea)front.

Be AVANTGARDE 12pm-3am £2 b4 3am
Be R E S T L E S S THE AFTER PARTY 3am-Late  £3 with wristbands b4 4am £5 without/after
Every Friday at The Hub 193 Kings Road Arches (Next Door to Coliseum Brighton)

For details of their parties and NYE celebrations find BeAvantGarde on Facebook

Gold-plated festiveness with Traumfrau Family Queermas

10682262_662653893847274_7005081303296126247_oIts been a while since something on the queer clubbing scene in Brighton put a grin on my face, but Traumfrau do just that with their fabulous mix of party people, unique entertainment and attitude free clubbing. They are like the best kind of sweetie tin – filled with treats the like of which you’ll always love. I believe the word for it is tasty, right tasty!

After our DJing debut at their Late Summer Backyard Festival in June, we are disco thrilled to be returning for their Traumfrau Family Queermas at Charles Street Club on Friday 12th December. With a line up of live performances from must see wonders including Alfie Ordinary, Hannah Murphy, Collective DIY Project as well as the Traumfrau Twisted Market for all your queer festive needs and the brilliant DJ Solomon Onyemere entertaining what must be one of Brighton’s friendliest dancefloors, Traumfrau’s Family Queermas is set to be the alternative gold plated Xmas celebration you’ll want to be at. We can’t wait.

For more info and tickets head to Facebook.com/TraumfrauBrighton

 

BrightonPride25: Celebrating 25 years of my favourite day

10600672_1498707730395792_8222032163310184886_nIt’s hard to believe but 2015 will see Brighton Pride celebrate its 25th anniversary. It seems only yesterday me and my Doc Marten’s, hippy hat and shaved head were stomping through the city I love, banner in hand, pride in my heart. So I am thrilled and honoured to be part of the BrightonPride25, working alongside Pride Brighton & Hove and Alf Le Flohic to a new community history project celebrating each and every proud year Brighton Pride has been part of our lives. below is an article I wrote for the December issue of Gscene Magazine. 800 words on the BrightonPride25 project. A project we hope will celebrate 25 years of Pride wonders, 25 years of us.

In 1991 we were years away from equality. There was no equal age of consent, we couldn’t serve in the armed forces or adopt, civil partnership and same sex marriage were decades away and we were protesting against Section 28, government legislation that banned local authorities from promoting homosexuality and “teaching the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”. And yet we weren’t pretending. Our pride in our sexuality was very real for us and about to become an important part of LGBT life in our city.

The first Brighton Gay Pride took place in 1973 on Saturday 7th of July 1973 with a march from Norfolk Square to The Ship Hotel, followed by a Gay Dance at The Royal Albion Hotel and a Gay Picnic on the beach on the Sunday. But it wasn’t until 1991 that the Brighton Pride we know today began. One of the organisers, Dani Ahrens, recalls its protest-fuelled beginnings. “We (Brighton Area Action against Section 28) had been organising an annual march from Hove Town Hall to Brighton Town Hall for a few years, at first (in 1988) to protest at the passage of Section 28 into law, and then to mark the anniversary of that event. By 1991, we felt that the focus on Section 28 didn’t really fit what we had created. Our resistance to this law, and its effects, had built a community that was strong, angry, and full of creativity. We wanted to move forward and claim our rightful place in the city, not continue to look back and identify ourselves with an attack on us”.

Those fours days of Pride in 1991 with its creative and inclusive mix of protest, film, art, history, live music, cabaret, clubbing and a Pink Picnic at Preston Park announced to the city that Brighton Pride was here to stay. Alf Le Flohic remembers what it brought to the city’s LGBT community. “There was a new sense of direction – we may have failed to stop Section 28, but we were determined to reclaim the one thing that law was supposed to stop us having – pride in being lesbian and gay people”.

BrightonPride25 will tell the story of our Pride through main stage videos on Preston Park and public installations within the city. Brighton Pride Managing Director Paul Kemp said, “As Pride reaches this milestone anniversary of Pride in our city, the BrightonPride25 project hopes to celebrate our shared history and recognise the trailblazers and community organisations, the brave campaigners, activists, artists, club promoters, performers and Pride-goers who have been part of shaping the Pride movement in Brighton and Hove over a quarter of a century. We believe passionately that Pride should have purpose. Campaigning to highlight global LGBT communities and community fundraising is at the cornerstone of everything Pride represents and we hope BrightonPride25 will continue to reinforce this message. We’re extremely grateful to Alf Le Flohic and Kate Wildblood for agreeing to work with Pride on this exciting community project.”

“I’m so proud that my adopted home town has kept the Pride flag flying for so many years,” said Alf about Pride’s 25th anniversary. “The UK has come a long way but there are still global bullies who would love to turn the clock back on our human rights. Every Pride has helped someone accept who they are and know they are loved for it. Brighton has played a solid part in all that change and it’s time to celebrate what we have all achieved. It’s really exciting to be a part of this project, celebrating the dedicated politicos, performers and party-goers who have made Brighton Pride the unique celebration of love and liberation that it is today.”

Brighton Pride 1991 March Western Road Kate Wildblood Liv Laura StellaSince 1991 I’ve watched Brighton Pride blossom by campaigning, celebrating and, most importantly, connecting communities. It brings so many aspects of our city together – charitable, voluntary, political, business, allowing us to achieve so much together. From its glitter to its grit, from the partying to the fundraising, Brighton Pride has become the most fabulous jewel in Brighton’s crown and the BrightonPride25 project will enable us to remember how we got here and fire us up as we move forward. From those early days of Queer On The Pier and days out on The Level to the park life of Preston Park and campaigning for the Freedom To Live, Brighton Pride is has a history worth knowing and a history we should all be proud of.

Get Involved: Play your part in BrightonPride25 and contribute your memories, photographs and footage by uploading your photos and add your memories using #brightonpride25 via Twitter @PrideBrighton, on Facebook, tagging @brightonprideofficial on Instagram or by using the contact form below.

Pride Brighton & Hove 1st & 2nd August 2015 www.brighton-pride.org

Queenie does David Ethics and its all marvellous!

Me Pic for GsceneWith DSD in hibernation, Queen Josephine catches up with fellow DJ David Ethics to hear what he’s up to this winter.

Where can we see you playing these days? As DSD is on its break, the best place to find me is at Rebel Rabble – look out for our events at various venues or hear us on Trickstar online radio every Wednesday, 6 – 8pm.

How would you describe your djing style? I love to have a good dance especially if a big group of people join in with me! I’m quite an adaptable DJ as I have a wide taste in music, but when playing out you’ll generally hear big party house tunes and long mixes from me.

What’s your favourite song of all time? I always struggle with this question but I’m going to go with DJ Misjah & DJ Tim Access. A life- changing tune!!!!

Which tune always fills up (or rescues) your dance floor? It really depends on where I’m playing, but for over a year I’ve found Sharam Jey & Kolombo’s Non Stop! never lets me down.

What would be your ultimate dream gig (no holds barred and in an ideal world!!!)? The Zion rebel rave in the cave (Matrix, Reloaded). Not an ideal world but hey!!!

Name a tune you wish you’d never played? When I was a teenager I used to drop some pretty obscure tracks in the middle of a banging set. Once I played ‘Black Lace – Superman’ which I hadn’t heard for years. The humour was lost, and I ended up with a room full of confused ravers swaying uncomfortably. Next question…

Guilty pleasure? It’s got to be Chaz & Dave. I’m instantly transported back to the lounge where we grew up, jumping up and down on the overly distasteful orangey brown 80’s style floral settee with my bother and sisters. More for the nostalgia than anything else.

What’s been your best ever gig? The first time I played in the main room for Good Times in Cambridge – having been a regular there for years it was not only a privilege but a personal goal of mine.

Tell us a secret? I travelled around South America in 2010 with a handful of CDs. A fellow traveller (Jess from Bristol) became my ‘manager’ and convinced various bar and club owners/promoters that I was a big shot DJ looking for venues for part of my South American tour. I ended up DJing in some ‘interesting’ places including ‘Route 36′, La Paz, Bolivia.

David’s December Wonders 

Mirco Caruso Systematic (Original) Go Deeva

Mark Lower & JazzyFunk The Love We Share (Original) Nurvous

Hector Couto Don’t Need You (Original) Roush

Luahaus & Kabale Und Liebe Hiphouse (Original) Rejected

Zaki & Saison Give Me Light (Original) Suara

soundcloud.com/david_ethics

facebook.com/davidethics.music

Wildblood + Queenie’s Wonders of 2014

12_Gscene_Dec2014So that was the year that fabulously was. A year in the Ouch House we’ll not forget. And a year perfectly soundtracked by the understated but never underrated. So if you want to treat the ears of those you love, here are our wonders of 2014. Go get. Queenie insists.

For those of you liking the kooky it had to be the majestic Metronomy’s Love Letters on Because Music, The Blue Collection on Eskimo Recordings, one play of Atella’s The Monster will make your heart will sing, or dip into the delightful PillowTalk’s Je Ne Sais Quoi on Wolf+Lamb, electronica of the blissful kind to blow your, well you know what we mean.

2014 was a year of right decent compilations with 10 Years of Crosstown Rebels and Get Lost VII mixed by Craig Richards on Crosstown Rebels, Moda Black Vol. III, Needwant:5Years, Late Night Tales complied by Bill Brewster for Nightshift and Fabric 76: Deetron ensuring the must-hear labels of 2014 were on fine form. As did Sankeys 20th Anniversary Album by Darius Syrossian which had us begging for the beast that is bigger than prince and our compilation of the year the phenomenal adventures of La Fleur on Watergate 16. So good we almost wore out our play button!

Add the wiggling wowser that is Detroit Swindle Boxed Out on Dirt Crew Recordings, Huxley’s impressive long-playing debut Blurred on Aus/!K7, the disco debauchery that is Horse Meat Disco IV on Strut Records and the enchanting Hercules & Love Affair’s The Feast Of The Broken Heart on Moshi Moshi and you have a sweet treat of a musical selection box.

As for our album of the year? It has to be the joyous The Night Is Young by The 2 Bears on Southern Fried. A true celebration of this thing we call life, it had us skipping to the woods in search of bear love. Connect to them and you connect to life – with a suitably glorious soundtrack. Enjoy and have a disco fabulous New Year.

Wildblood & Queenie’s Best of 2014 12”s

The 2 Bears Not This Time Southern Fired The woman done wrong song just got bear real. Perfection.

Horse Meat Disco Candidate For Love (Joey Negro Feelin’ Love Dub) Z Records One day all tunes will be made this way and Kate won’t stop grinning.

Hercules & Love Affair feat. John Grant I Try To Talk To You Moshi Moshi Records Those lyrics. That voice. That piano. That beautiful. That simple.

La Fleur Stella Watergate Records House deep yet delightful, a playful wonder we can’t get enough of.

Gay Marvine Lost In Music (Original Mix) Solardisco Records Who’d of thought Mr Green would complete our Pride celebrations with this anthem?

Mia Dora Jezebel Glasgow Underground It’s all about a groove. Oh and that sponge of a bassline.

Phil Weeks It’s The Inside That Counts Robsoul Recordings  Nothing made Queenie get her DSD wiggle on like this beauty.

Hercules & Love Affair feat Krystle Warren My Offence (Detroit Swindle’s Anger Management Remix) Moshi Moshi Recordings The tune that made it okay to swear outrageously in public. Love it.

Brodanse Nobody Walks (Original Mix) Danse Club Records Divine and moody as hell tune (just how Wildblood likes it).

HNNY Tears (Original Mix) Local Talk This has Brighton’s Audio stamped all over it. Thanks for the many glorious years (and hangovers) Mr Holland.

Catch Wildblood and Queenie at Traumfrau Family Queermas Drama Disco on Friday 12th December.

 

UKIP That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore

camarageInsomnia occasionally has its plus points but being awake late enough to hear the results of the Rochester and Strood by-election and Mark Reckless’ victory for UKIP isn’t one of them. How long can you lie there before you stop feeling grrrrrrrr? Not long enough it seems, because when I finally woke this morning the grrrrrrr continued as the news confirmed my country’s continued lurch to the right.

Its a lurch that is leaving me feeling hopeless. Today the BBC’s Nick Robinson asked UKIP’s Nigel Farage (is it a coincidence that the last four letters of Nigel’s surname capture exactly how he makes me feel?) about his (yes his!) prospects for government come the 2015 general election. Seriously, he asked him seriously. That half joked about nightmare of a coalition between the Tories and UKIP is looking possible. And it is frightening the hell out of me. But I can’t do a Paul Daniels and threaten to leave the UK if the election doesn’t deliver the government I want. I have to stay. And I will have to watch as so many of the values I love about this country are buggered. Buggered. Buggered. Out of Europe. Out of favour. Out of decency. A country where xenophobia and the fear of the Other decides our policies and our place in the world.

But I’m the Other. I’m queer. I’m a woman. Once upon  a time my family arrived here from France. (That’s probably nil poi as far as UKIP and Britain First are concerned). I’m no pure breed Anglo Saxon. My freinds come from Europe and beyond. Some are in relationships with those who would never get a visa if UKIP are shaking the tail of the Tories. So where do we fit in this new far right-sided world? As a rather wonderful woman said on Question Time last night, are are our lives to be governed by MPs who get a bit racist when they are tired. Are we to be legislated by MPs and councillors with connections to the vile Britain First or BNP? Where does this stop? And how do we stop it?

The country we live in today and the everyday problems we encounter – our buckling public services, stretched NHS, limited school places and lack of decent, contracted, fairly paid jobs are not the fault of the Other. Just as in previous times of depression and economic downturns we are not broke because of the immigrant. As a country we would be broken without immigration. And I’m feeling broken just thinking about the battle ahead if we are to stop Farage and the panicking leaders of Labour, Lib Dem and Conservative party’s taking this country so far right we can’t turn back. Who can I vote for to stop this madness?

The answer? I’m still too sore from banging my head against the wall to work that one out today but I do know one thing. We need to change the conversation. Its not about you and me vs the Other. Its about us. Maybe its time to reclaim Osbourne’s infamous catchphrase. We are all in this together.

Rant over. Suggestions on WTF we do next most welcome. We can sort it. Can’t we?