On Georgie Fame, casual racism and being chick-lit-erous

Mama & Georgie FameI met my hero this week. And it was fine. Despite some casual racism.

Georgie Fame didn’t disappoint – his audience did though.

I travelled to Cornwall to hear Georgie’s fine Hammond organ grindings, soulful’n’hip, spirited but controlled. He’s my hero because his music turned me onto jazz and grooves (via Matt Bianco’s 1985 version of Yeh, Yeh). He did it again at the gig, after recommending Peggy Lee and George Shearing’s Beauty and the Beat! album.

Georgie Fame's organPity his audience weren’t hip to the music of black origin steaming up out of Georgie’s organ.

Casual racism incident #1: An elderly lady saw me passing an outdoor seat in the sun for a place in the warmer marquee. “You feel the cold? You look like you’re from a hot country,” she offered.

Casual racism incident #2: After taking my seat in the auditorium, the man behind me leaned to his neighbour and asked him if he had any scissors to cut my vision-blocking hair down. His mate answered: “That’s not hair, that’s wool – that would be sheared if it was on a farm”. It?

I’d love to say that I devastated all the people involved with some sharp retorts. But I didn’t. I laughed at the first incident and fumed internally at the second.

The last time I had hair-abuse I made a poem up about it, so I will have the last word, honest.

It might be safer to stay indoors and listen to music – unless you’re listening to my undertaker mates from The Green Funeral Company, of course (who’ve just featured in this Observer story).

They do a must-hear show on Soundart Radio every Monday morning at 10am that’s now available via Mixcloud.Ru and Claire

The husband-and-wife team (right) makes for some performance hen-pecking (that’s their gag), coupled with a stimulating mix of music, impersonations, thought and readings. It’s called Dead Air. Natch.

It’s down to that show that I’m having my mind blown by Sum by David Eagleman – a collection of 40 possible afterlife scenarios. Eagleman’s a Possibilian – he’s “open to…ideas that we don’t have any way of testing right now.” I like that in a neuroscientist.

At the same time, I’m ploughing through Dale Spender’s Man-Made Language – which is like reading the author’s doctorate, but with doses of feminist ire (mine) rising to the surface. Dale says that because the geezers were the grammarians and language-keepers, they’ve designed and encouraged a masculist way of speaking that leaves womankind muted and powerless. I’m a quarter of the way through and as a wordy-girl I’m very interested.

She makes the point that women are painted as the talkative sex, where experiments on conversation demonstrate time and again that the fellas butt in more, hold the floor for longer and turn the direction of conversation to their point of view whenever they can. Ring any bells, chicks?

I’m getting even more feminist action through newsletters from the Treesisters (working to green the Earth) and V-Day’s 1 Billion Rising Campaign, and my forthcoming poetry and music show at the Dartington Women’s Institute AGM in June. I’m being paid in cake, scones, preserves and doilies. Fine by me.

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