Day 1 Machynlleth Fest

Food poisoning + Post workout body pain trauma + B&B without a bath + lack of sleep  for over a week + drained from making work, battling the establishment, fighting for inclusion, cycling two hours a day, excitement and anxiety of reuniting with old pals.

Watched Grainne Maguire and Phil Wang testing new stuff* then bailed on the other shows I’d booked. This is a general experiment in things I don’t normally do – going to festivals and watching stand up. This is a reccy to find out what people are making and what people enjoy. I’m curious. How would the material sit with my politics and world view? I worry about running into people I kinda know and being awkward as usual. My brain and body aren’t cooperating. I mention making political work and a couple at lunch look blank/shocked/displeased. A young mixed race woman half smiles at me and I’m not sure if I know her. The idiot Londoner in me didn’t smile back quick enough. I worry about being a terrible friend, not being grateful enough for all the things, and seeming a helpless baby. I think, oh dear, I am so disgustingly privileged that I can write off some expenses because of my mental health woes. I worry about my mental health and how often I feel like giving up and curling up. 

Wait. No. This trip is about seeing Catriona James and her dance theatre piece about mental health. This is about fresh air.

I am reminded that some people care deeply and ferociously, kindly and generously. 

I remember Chris Giff.

And I am thankful, despite my wobbles. 

And so everything turns out ok. 
* I get uncomfortable when folk talk about their current partners. Especially if they’re talking about girlfriends. For me to think about: How are women described? I’m also interested in how people use sex as a topic for comedy. How and why we hold sex as transgressive/naughty/gross etc. and how we can not. I’m interested in Grainne’s expose on wanting to be liked and loved. How strange dates are. Makes me think about how strange the search for companionship is. What are we looking for? 

I’m interested in how much and how little you have to do on stage to be interesting and beautiful. Currently: less is always more. Personally I don’t like “jokes”.

Interesting to be Malaysian-Chinese and on the front row at a gig by a Malaysian-Chinese-Dusun-Englishman. Why do I make of the pro-empire chat? The anti-Malaysian chat? Wonder what the finished show will be like. Love the idea of feeling “far”.

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