Sunday, November 08, 2009

Catch-Up Post

So I haven't been blogging much lately and I know there are a number of big subjects I just haven't covered at all...

Firstly stuff I've been doing:

Some people are still talking about my plinthing (pictured), including the fabulous Daily (Maybe).

I hosted the 2009 Feminism in London conference which was awesome. The highlight for me was a speech by Rebecca Mott about her experiences of being a prostituted woman. You can read the transcript of what she said here. I didn't get to see much else of the conference because I was running about organising things although I was very touched to see the contribution from the London Pro-Feminist Men's Group - they were running the creche! There are hundreds of photos of the event here.

After the conference we held a cabaret party with an all-female line-up which again I hosted and which raised over £600 towards the cost of running next year's conference and was followed by a DJ and most of the conference organisers and me hitting the dancefloor to let our hair down!

Meanwhile Soho Comedy Club, where I am resident compere, has been expanding and now takes up two rooms on a Saturday night (if you want to see me - ask at the door which room I am compering and you'll be sent the right way). We've had several brilliant Swedish comedians on tour recently including Magnus Betner, Tobias Persson (his blog is in Swedish but you can use google-translate), Lasse Nielsen and last night Fredrik Anderssen. This coming Friday (13th) we host one of the most outspoken acts you will ever see - Norwegian Dag Soras. There are a few tickets left but if you want to come please book now at the Soho Comedy website.

And as things are going so well there I have moved my Comedy Manifesto show over to Soho Comedy Club's main venue. We're there now every Thursday. It's a (the UK most popular and most successful) live topical panel show. And since it's all been rolled into Soho Comedy Club again you can buy tickets in the same place - hope to see you there some time soon.

I also did two runs of my solo show (The New At Kate) from Edinburgh at two brilliant places - one at Goldsmith's College and one at a great monthly show in Camden called Better Living Through Comedy. Thanks to everyone who came along to those. The next performance I'm doing of that show is in Southport on Sat 21st Nov. It's at the Floral Hall and is a benefit for striking journalists. Support, I hear, will be brilliant all-female sketch group Ladygarden. I'm not sure where you can get tickets but if all else fails show up on the night and I reckon they'll let you in for a modest fee.

I've also been on a few radio shows. On Friday night I was on the Stephen Nolan show on BBC Radio Five Live, just before midnight. I was supposed to be talking about office Christmas parties [have yours at Soho Comedy Club...] but we got distracted and ended up talking about sex education at school and how important it is. The good news here is that the government is going to make sex education compulsory from the age of 15. So even those kids whose parents choose to opt them out will have to have one year of sex ed before they leave school at 16. The bad news is: 15 is very very late to find out how your body works. By that age kids will have heard about sex in the playground, seen pornpgraphy on the internet or in newsagents and many of them will have already had sex. Still it's a start.

And secondly what's been happening in politics:

Well there was some good news here. The House of Lords passed Clause 14 which will criminalise the buying of sex from a person who has been exploited. In other words "I didn't know" will no longer be an excuse for buying sex from a woman being prostituted against her will. And if you're thinking "Oh no, what about my right to buy women's bodies for sex?" then surprise - you don't have such a right... But women do have a right not to be exploited. The campaign continues here.

Less encouraging is the announced closure of the Karma Nirvana helpline for women at risk of forced marriage and so-called "honour" killing [by which I mean brutal and pointless murder]. The government has decided quite randomly to cut funding for services supporting such women. You can sign the petition to urge Gordon Brown to reverse this decision here. Of course Gordon Brown is probably too busy to worry about stuff like women getting murdered - he has to focus on issues of national importance like who's going to win X-Factor... no really.

Johann Hari had a great - if very frightening - piece about David Cameron's policies in the Indie. And rather than looking at how dreadfully his manifesto betrays Britain's poor or coming out in support of funding for the Karma Nirvana helpline, Cameron decided to spend his time announcing to the world that he's deeply religious.

A report out about gender-related bullying in the school playground makes for disturbing reading but all the more reason to get involved with the Pink Stinks campaign to promote exciting female role models to young children which I found out about through their stall at the Feminism in London conference.

And what's coming up:

Sadly (but also happily) I will be away doing my show for striking journalists on Sat 21st Nov but what I will be missing is this year's Reclaim The Night march in London. I cannot urge my female readers enough to go along and male readers to show up afterwards for the rally and party - it's just one of those things that make you feel great and inspires you to go out and start changing the world. Have a great time.


Marina Sokolova said...

Sounds like you have been really busy

Ronan said...

The sex ed thing seems like an argument for argument's sake, neither side seems to be taking reality into account nor crediting young people with the intelligence they possess. Sex ed never created the oversexualised culture, and neither will it hold it back, and young people are hardly blank slates who are going to be corrupted or saved by either side. Any parent worth their salt will prepare their kids to negotiate the arguments surrounding sexuality, and especially to challenge the more dubious elements, without the need to pull them from class.

This is, however, an important attack on a parent's right to have the final say on their children's education. Of course, as soon as I heard the announcement that parents would be stripped of their rights and responsibilities when the child reaches 15, I thought 'ok, so they'll chip away at that age limit over the years'. It seems you're ready to lobby for that, Kate! What I don't get is why you would think the state, with the deplorable education they offer, are to be trusted where parents aren't? Compulsory education - very Stalinist, Tovarisch!