Midterms, Adam & The Ants, Preferred Gender Pronouns, and Slam Poetry


It’s hard to believe midterms are coming up! I’ve got several papers and exams coming due soon. So my adventures have been fewer this week as I write and prepare. But I did manage to get up to a few things.

On Saturday, I was determined to take a break and get out. So I looked online for shows. The first thing I came across was Adam & The Ants (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_and_the_Ants)! He was doing a one night only performance of the 1979 Dirk Wears White Sox album. So, being a long time fan, I immediately bought a ticket. When I arrived, there was an interesting crowd. There were people my age, 20 year old (anti-racist) skinheads, and a lot of punks in their 40s, 50s, 60s. The older ladies with their Adam Ant tote bags were especially cute. I imagined them sitting up in the balcony pulling black, glittery yarn out of their tote bags to knit beer cozies and sewing punk vests for cats (https://imgur.com/gallery/hNyh9) while enjoying the show. There were also some annoying people filming the waiting crowd and coaching them to do embarrassing things, like as if they were trying to get their own Heavy Metal Parking Lot (cult classic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavy_Metal_Parking_Lot).

Once we were in, I got a really good spot, one person away from front and center. Adam Ant was fantastic! He hasn’t lost it at all. He was dancing around and multitasking like a 20 year old performer. There had been a rumor that he was experiencing poor mental health and may not perform well. He gloriously proved them all wrong, and his fans were shouting all sorts of really sweet, encouraging praise in appreciation for everything he’s been through. The pit was surprisingly rough. When I wasn’t having the farts squeezed out of me, there was lots of elbows. The olds really wore me out with all the infectious energy. When he did Whip In My Valise, Adam (now 59 years old and still very attractive) did a strip tease partially behind a screen while singing, for his costume change. I momentarily lost myself in the excitement and climbed the man in front of me for a better view. Then became suddenly aware of myself and how silly I was behaving. Overall, it was an unforgettable night, and I’m so glad that I actually got to see him live. Especially in London, (his home turf) where he was much more famous, so I could see him with other devoted fans (now if only Kate Bush would move her show date to before I leave, I could die a happy woman).

At my internship, my boss had a flight delayed and asked me to cover his appointment. I was very surprised to be so trusted right away. With no information about this person besides their name and 3 questions to ask them, I met with them. It went really well, I took detailed notes, and asked good questions. They’re interested in having their organization work together with ours. After dispensing with the business, we chatted a while about the important roles that volunteering has served in shaping our lives, where we’ve come from, and how funding is allocated and government structure for social services in the UK. It was highly informative.

After the appointment, I went back and helped set up. This week we started our group session with introductions that included our preferred gender pronouns (Yay!). This practice is fairly widely used in the US, but this was the first time this organization had implemented it. It was a great opportunity for our transgendered youth (+ staff) to come out and experience affirmation and also for the cisgendered ones to learn to recognize/respect diverse gender identities. Some took it more seriously than others, but our hope is that we can cut down on our trans young people being misgendered by their peers and create an equally safe space for them. Next, we introduced slam poetry by showing performances like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5frn8TAlew0 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXFKSzNakuk . After that, we taught them poetry writing exercises. Several of them wrote poems and performed them on the spot. By the end of session, they loved it and were asking to see more performers!