scribbles from a Polari Writing Workshop – on happiness, anger, change, and love


Today I had an opportunity to speak out some creative writing jottings in a fun and rather fantabulosa workshop run by Polari literary salon hosts Paul Burston and VG Lee, with a bunch of West Midlands aspiring writers. I stumbled through reading aloud, to the background of a clanging radiator, and in the setting of the Birmingham Lesbian And Gay Centre cafe/kitchen. Here are some of the scribblings, though none have reached a status of a ‘work in progress’. Just exercises on themes. Don’t judge me.


Skippy* came again last night. It’s the first time I saw her eating the biscuits I put out. She appeared bang on midnight, like Cinderella running home from the ball.Our eyes met, and she half scowled, half grinned. I never know with her. The fireworks have made her all skittish and flighty.

Then the alarms went off. Was that you, mischievous Skippy? And then you were gone.

The alarms were still going off when I left this morning, and you presumably lay dreaming with the biscuits heavy in your belly.


So I was expecting that this wouldn’t be a problem, turning up here, and then I came across you and your standoffishness and snotty insensitive attitude. It’s a routine medical procedure, and you seem surprised that I didn’t carry round the make and model of my heart valve.. “Isn’t that in my medical records?” I ask, as politely as I can. “If it was me, I’d want to know what was in my body.” It’s not you, and you’ve no idea what I’ve been through. I feel told off and I only turned up for a bloody MRI.

And then I get told the scan won’t happen because you don’t have the details. THEY’RE IN MY RECORDS! just …. have a look. Or ring the Cardiology Unit. I’LL DO IT FOR YOU.

I get my coat, and I’m off. Fuck you very much. FUCK YOU VERY MUCH!

And then the anger quietens, and I begin forming plans, and complaints, and ways forward. And I thank you, you bastard. Because I survived my surgery to spite bastards like you.

A moment of change

London. You big, scary, beautiful, exciting tart. I’ve run away from you every time before. I’ve felt the panic, and my head was swimming with noise and chatter, and I became small and ran away.

But tonight, it’s a New Year. There are lights and crowds and a friend walking beside me. And I can see your lifeblood, that river, and all of a sudden it sparkles with adventure and promise.

I’m no longer scared. I’m going to embrace you, for all your largesse and danger and pigeons and tubes and cockerney villains, and all those people I know here, and all those people I may get to know here.

Hello, London.


It’s soppy and dirty and infectious and sudden and hard and forever and gone in the blink of an eye.It’s me and you and them and him.

It’s Saturday night and Monday morning, births,deaths and marriages, the in-laws and the out-laws.

It’s words and songs and films and books and plays.

It’s murder and hate and war and unfair. It will kill you and it will save you. Protect me from its cruel deceit, and give me more, more, more.

It’s hard to put into words.


*Skippy is my local neighbourhood fox. This was her first public appearance.

I was lucky to catch Polari on tour. Troll along to their website to find out more.

For more on Cinderella and polari, varda my previous blog



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