Betty Grumble : Love and Anger

The award winning, Betty Grumble, surreal showgirl, obscene beauty Queen, and Sex Clown, brings to the Brisbane Festival.

Betty Grumble Love and Anger.

Love and Anger the show, is an excessive assault on the senses with Betty stripping all the way back to, the two, most powerful human emotions. Love and Anger.

The book, The Scum Manifesto is the thread that weaves its way through the show.  The book written by Valerie Solanas and published in 1967. The book centres on valid social concerns centred on patriarchy. Valerie wrote:  Men have ruined the world and it is up to women to fix it. Betty in her own wild approach to Valerie’s views, highlights that; women are still grappling with the same stories, conversations, and fears 51 years later. Betty Grumble is a conversation starter.  Conversations you never thought you would have. These dialogues are shocked out of you through various forms of expression.

On entrance to the Block at QUT’s Theatre Republic the room is a cloud of incense. Betty is quietly standing at the front of the stage a book covering her face, surrounded by suitcases and a white backdrop with scribbles of black writing. Betty welcomes the crowd and lulls us into a sense of community – that we belong in this space. She takes the time to assure us that all reactions are welcome and if our senses are overwhelmed there is no judgement in having to exit.  Betty is enthusiastic, and excited to share her show and so it begins. Betty Grumble Love and Anger, draws philosophies from The Scum Manifesto, Betty recites passages of the book through out the show, venting through an in your face, shocking and confronting communication of women’s liberation, the worship of the divine feminine and a woman’s body as a political playground. In an extravagant way Betty shows how movement, creativity and art is used to heal and expand the spirit of woman. A stripping naked of all barriers and exposing vulnerability in a safe womb like space. A singing vagina. A touch of magic. Cabaret dancing. The show involves science experiments, painting, and flower arranging in the extreme. Conversations on relationships. Relationships with yourself, Mother Nature and the environment, patriarchal relationships, mother/ daughter connections, bonds with your siblings and the weight that you each carry.

By the end of the show, the full frontal nudity was not so shocking to my friend and I that sat through the 60 minute show. Our drive home was an explosion of hilarity, tears from laughing and shock and at one stage chest pain. The conversations and questions that were screamed hysterically through the car were a testament to Betty and the boundaries and comfort zones she pushed within us.

 

Today, I write.

I have been in hibernation this winter, hence the radio silence on the blog. I am allergic to the cold and struggle to be motivated when the air is cold, the wind is blowing, and I have to be rugged up in multiple layers. No, really I am allergic to the cold season, my skin goes into meltdown the minute the weather changes. My skin starts out really dry, and then changes into an eczema type skin condition on my neck, boobs, and stomach. It is crazy itchy, and it doesn’t matter what oil I put on it or how much a fill my gut with good bacteria like kombucha, yoghurt, green vegetables, bone broth, turmeric. The only thing that makes it disappear is spring.

Sunday morning we were at the beach, my husband truly believes in his soul that the ocean fixes everything, he was convinced that the salt water would fix my skin, and made me go for a dip in the ocean, in winter. The water didn’t fix my skin, but it livened me up. It was cold and gave me goose bumps, had my teeth chattering, and my extremities purple, heart racing, but so refreshing and cleansing. My husband and two boys frolicked in the ocean with me after their morning of surfing in wetsuits, laughing at me in my summer bikini.20170723_111225

I will back track a bit and explain how my husband made me go for a swim in the ocean, in winter and made me write today.

I have a little project that I am in the planning stages of. Anyone that reads my blog, knows that I have a categorgy called #sistertribe, where I interview women and post the interviews and photos on the blog. Well I want to expand that. I want to Interview more women and be paid for it. I have found a platform called Patreon that will facilitate this project. I have been planning and making notes and making lists of women that I want to chat to, I have been setting goals and researching and researching. To sum up, I am procrastinating.

Sitting at the football on Saturday, I put my foot down – I actually stamped my foot like a two year old, and told my husband that I would be doing more writing, that I am going to make this project work and I want his support. He looked at me like I had three heads. See he doesn’t at all, nor has ever, understood why I write, or post to a blog or want to interview women and post their stories.

“Honestly babe, I just don’t get it, it makes no sense to me. Why do people give a shit, why on earth would someone pay money to read about someone else? Why do they want to read about other people’s business? You tell me you want to do this, just do it. You want to write and talk to women, just do it! Not once have I ever told you can’t have or do something. It doesn’t make sense to me, but so what. Just because we are married, doesn’t mean I am going to agree with you 100% of the time. If you enjoy something, do it. Do not, however, hide yourself away in your office when we are all home, we need you and want you with us. Prove to people like me, that don’t understand what you do, that you can make it successful. That you can prove people wrong.”

At this point I didn’t know if I want to punch him in the face or kiss it. He kissed me, patted my leg and went back to watching our boy play football.

On our way to the beach on Sunday morning, my husband asked me, who are the women that I have on my wish list to interview. I told him about a woman from Northern Wales that is on my wish list, Natasha Brooks (please, please click on her name, it will direct you to her film), she swims in the mountain lakes there. Yes in northern Wales, where there is snow and temperatures below freezing, she swims naked. I want to interview her and ask her why, and find out her story. I told all of this to my husband. So by the time he had finished surfing and I had been sun baking/ sleeping in the winter sun, he leaned over me, dripping freezing water on me and said come for a swim.

“No, I am not swimming in that ocean today!”

“Northern wales this is not babe, it’ll fix your skin.”

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“Fine”.

 

Sitting at dinner that night we were going over our day like we usually do.

“So how much writing did you get done, while the boys and I went four wheel driving.”

My dear husband took our boys out to a local four wheel drive track for 4 hours after we came home from the beach, he text me at one point and said “we will be a while – write, do your thing while we are gone”.

“I washed and ironed clothes, washed the floor, carted wood upstairs for the fire, started dinner, baked muffins.”

“Not helping your cause babe”.

So today I write.

 

Got my phone

8.05.17

 

Monday and the no phone experiment was meant to finish yesterday, I have sent the odd text but I didn’t use my phone today either.

I have an essay due in a couple of weeks for the art history and design unit I am studying. I have a few days off work, kids are at school, Scott is at work, so I got stuck in today and learnt all about 19th century Paris. Not just the art but the urban planning, feminism, the culture, the fashion, the alcohol, drugs and prostitutes. I didn’t want to research the well-known artists, I wanted to find some interesting creatives. My research didn’t really go as planned but I ended up with Marie Bracquemond, Jean Béraud, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and I love them all for different reasons, they are what I was looking for. I got sucked into the rabbit hole that is the internet. I started on the university library website and found a few articles that lead to a few more, and then I was reading websites and blog posts and then went back to the library articles.

Before I knew it the clock said 2.15pm, I forgot lunch and my coffee was cold after sitting on my desk from 8.30am when I walked in to the kitchen to brew it post school drop off. My phone was still in my handbag, on the back seat of my car parked in my garage, so another day went by without my smart phone. No phone could prove a little dangerous socially and mentally for me. I love the no contact too much, and would become a recluse. I know this about myself already, I am very well known for not answering the phone and can be a shocker for not replying to text messages. I am not being rude, I just forget, or at that moment too hard to talk. I didn’t think that I would find it so easy to cut myself off, however, my life seems to be on the phone. It has all the phone numbers of the people that I love and need in my life – before mobile phones I knew everyone’s home phone number by heart – not anymore. The phone holds my roster for work – I used to carry a diary. The phone holds my banking app – I used to do banking from desktop at home. My phone holds all my photos – I have cupboards and boxes full of printed photos from before mobile phones. I can catch up on study on my phone, the high school app is on my phone, I have kindle on my phone and can read a book, I can even write a blog post on the WordPress app, Google maps is my absolute best friend, I love how she can tell me how long to get it will take me to get where I need to go – no more upside down refedex or listening to an inaccurate traffic report.  Overall the experiment was good for me to shut off for a few days focus on my family and friends, and not be looking at the endless list of apps, social media and other features on my phone. It does seem though, it is an evil necessity.