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 with a beaming spotlight 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 shrouded in a cloud of incense. Betty is quietly standing at the front of the stage a book covering her face, walled in 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.

 

No phone

5th May 2017

 

I turned off my phone last night. I had a mixed response from the 8 people that I told. I text Mum, Dad, my sister and my best friend. I told Scott and the boys.

Scott said I won’t last until Sunday

Dad text me back “ok, love”.

My best friend sent a text within 2.5 seconds of me telling her I would not have a phone until Sunday. Why? Ok?

My sister: Why? Is everything ok? Enjoy the peace and quiet.

Scott and T went fishing this morning at 4.00am. One undersized dart was caught in the 3.5 hours, but they had a great time together.

J asked for the day off school as it was cross country, he was complaining about it and that he hates to run. When I told him that he could have the day off, only if he went fishing at 4.00am and then went to the art gallery with me at 10.00am, he had his school uniform on in record time. His brother, however, jumped at the chance to have the day off. My first thought was shit – I have to find the email address to let the school know. Our school seems to have gone digital – if that’s a thing. We now need to email when our kid has a day off, it’s annoying. Why can I just ring the office! (Which I suppose worked in my favour today as I don’t have a phone)

T and I went to the art gallery after dropping J at school. We sat for an hour and listened to the artist speak about his contribution to the installation at The Hub at Caboolture Regional Art Gallery. He spoke of the breast plate that he created and the story of his nanna that inspired it. The breast plate was made from lead, it is heavy, toxic to the nervous system and it’s cold. The other element to the piece was old fencing wire to represent his nanna’s living conditions as a young child. (read the post here)

I took my camera with me and asked permission to take some photos, it was awkward walking around with a digital camera instead of my phone. We had errands to run after the gallery and headed to the local shopping centre. I wanted to print some photos for my sister and frame them for her birthday, we were having an afternoon tea for her special day – I hadn’t wished her happy birthday yet, no phone. We got to the shop and I couldn’t print the photo of her gorgeous girls because – no phone, the photo that I wanted was tucked away on my phone in my cupboard. So we had to think so something else for her birthday, while at the shopping centre I had to get my watch battery replaced as I usually use my phone to tell the time, I tried to call my husband to find out what he wanted for dinner and I also tried to check my account balance, again no phone.

We had afternoon tea with my family celebrating my sister’s birthday and I am usually the one snapping pictures but – no phone. My family couldn’t get over how weird it was that I was not using my phone, apparently there was a back and forth texting session the night before when I had told everyone I was going phone free for a couple of days, between my mum and sisters who were concerned about me and why I would want to have no phone. I think they all think I am mad.

 

( you will notice that this has taken me a couple of days to publish – keep reading my future posts to find out why)

Just mow the lawn.

I read an article this morning while on my third cup of coffee. I worked yesterday afternoon, got home at midnight and couldn’t sleep. So feel as though I was on the wines last night. My reaction to this article could be merely because I am tired and cranky.

As I started reading it, my initial thought was “good on you!”, the longer the article went the more I thought of for fuck sake woman. The article was about a woman that mow’s her own lawn.

I hope you understand that I am not mowing the lawn because someone told me to. I am not mowing because it’s my job. I mow because I am quietly making a statement.”

If you own a house, with a lawn, then it is your responsibility to keep your little piece of earth tidy and well maintained. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female.

“Mowing the lawn is, in a way, my silent protest against patriarchy—which is still alive and well no matter how many people tell you that women and men have equal rights. We are still fighting an uphill battle.”

Can everyday tasks not just be that and not a protest? I have chopped wood, I have changed a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere, on the side of a dirt road in 40 degree heat with my 30 week pregnant sister, I have fixed a broken pipe in the laundry, and I have mowed the lawn, and pitched a tent. I watched my mother, a single mother, do lots of “men’s work”. Mow the lawn, move furniture. I have talked to my sister on the phone while she was driving a bull dozer, she musters cattle, fights bush fires or builds farm fences.

“I hope the other younger girls in our neighborhood see me mowing the lawn and remember the image of a strong woman, a strong working mother, who has the power to decide which way the stripes go. I hope they see a strong woman sweating, not wearing any make-up, enjoying the satisfaction of hard work. I hope they all see me—a woman doing “men’s work” without asking for permission.”

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My hubby loves to cook dinner while I sit on the bench with a wine.

 

None of the above was done for recognition, or to show off to the neighborhood children and we certainly don’t ask for permission. All of the above jobs are just that. Everyday jobs that need to be done as part of life. When I am cold I chop wood, flat tyre change it, long grass mow it, broken pipe fix it. Our father didn’t let any of his girls apply for a drivers license before we knew how to; check the oil and water in the car, change tyres, replace wiper blades and get fuel. As young girls, we unloaded trucks full of hay, we were expected to help out in the yard, there was no “men’s work”. I say to my two all the time that if you live in this home you contribute, doesn’t matter the task just do it, and we all help. My boys wash the dishes every night, they help in the kitchen, and they know how to iron a shirt and make their bed properly. They also carry the grocery bags for me, pick flowers and arrange them in a vase. They know how to make a cup of tea as well as they know how to change the chain on a push bike.

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My two boys pick me flowers and arrange them in a vase.

Happy Monday

Hi.

Do you know what I am doing today?? EVERYTHING. I have done the school run, grocery shopped – I deliberated between the $1.99 avos that were ripe and the bag for $4.99 that were hard as rocks as long as I possibly could. I shopped at the local crystal shop for a smudge stick, came home and cleansed my house – so now every room in the house smells as though I have had a session of smoking weed.  I cooked up a huge brekky for my husband and I that lead to me cleaning the whole kitchen, I have washed all the clothes I could find, towels, sheets and doona covers, I have vacuumed, weeded one of my gardens. I have sat with two cups of coffee and watched my husband absolutely lose his mind over a bolt on the ride on mower. I have had a nanna nap. AND I am writing again after a break, from baring my life and soul to all. Busy day hey!

All this spring cleaning is not because I am bored or because it is the first day of my annual leave. No, it’s because I have an online art history exam to do and I am petrified. I am being tested on Greek, Indian, Chinese / Japanese art and philosophy. Last time I did an exam if was for the subject “defining women” – I earnt a HD for that subject, however, when I sat down in front of the computer screen and clicked the begin button – I looked at those questions and thought I must have been given the wrong exam because not a single question seemed at all similar to what I had been learning. My brain completely shut down, my heart was pounding out of my chest and I was freaking out.

Hence my OCD cleaning binge this am, this post is the closest I have let myself get to the computer.

 

Two hours, an exam, a school run and afternoon tea later.

 

The exam took me less than an hour and I got 95/100.

Day 50

Day 50.

50 days of writing, well sort of. There were a few days of writing that I chickened out of but they will be added to the end of the 100 day challenge. I feel like I should celebrate 50 days some how, not sure how to do that, but thought I would recap on some parts of the last 50 days, follow up on some the blog posts.

Where to start? Well the 5 days that I chickened out of writing, I found it a relief not to write and blog for a few days. I was sick of writing and reading my own babble. I was finding this writing challenge to be lonely, even though people take the time to read and comment on my posts. I was frustrated that my husband knows that I write everyday but he hasn’t read any of the blog posts. Usually this doesn’t faze me at all but this week it did.  Unfortunately the only routine to when I write is when I am on my own, the kids are at school, husband is at work, when I am on a tea break at work, after work at midnight. I write the blog posts on my phone, on my work email, on my home pc.

I wrote a post on day 43 about my favourite thongs breaking. It was a post that really surprised me. As I was writing it I felt a bit ridiculous writing about rubber thongs. But my readers enjoyed it and it was one of my most popular posts.

On day 47 I wrote about cricket training being at a time that sends my OCD dinner tendencies a bit mad.  This was exacerbated as my Dad called on the day and asked if he could stay the night. He lives in western Queensland and was coming to Brisbane for a funeral. He was a very good cricketer in his younger days and has a deep knowledge, experience and advice when it comes to most subjects and cricket is one.  He came to training with us. I was waiting all day for him to ring me and say that he would be late or that something had come up and he wouldn’t make training.  I hadn’t told my boy that Pop was coming to cricket, because I didn’t want him to experience the disappointment of Dad cancelling on him. But he shocked me and he was there and he helped my boy, he gave him invaluable tips and small adjustments to make my boy 1’s game better and kinder on his body.

On day 4 I wrote about working on my marriage and looking back on the last 50 days of writing I have skimmed over all the hard work that we are both doing in our marriage. It is definitely not all roses, but we are working the hardest we have ever worked on us. Some days suck and I am pretty sure that we hate each other, but instead of letting issues and comments brew and fester we are talking them through or texting each other if we can’t chat. Our happy place is the beach and we find it easy to reconnect, relax and enjoy each other there. There is a definite theme running through the blog in relation the beach and the ocean. With the way that we have plotted our rosters it is favourable for the boys, but definitely not great for our relationship as we pretty much high five each other on the way in and out the door. I took a sick day to travel to Northern New South Wales with him and was excited because we would have dinner together.

Another part of the 50 days that I has kept me writing is the #mesistertribe interviews

My Mum

Marina Meier

Amanda Metelli

Peta Hughes

Daphne Kapsali

What I have noticed over the last 50 days is how much more aware of the little things that I am, how I look for the positive in everyday and how I am much more observant of how I spend my time.

 

End of day 50

 

I am now on 3 days off and I can not wait to have the weekend off.

 

Thanks everyone for reading over the last 50 days.

Day 48

Day 48

Travelled to Northern New South Wales today to visit Scott’s nanna. By the time we reached the farm at Coraki, my whole body was vibrating with stressed out energy. I wasn’t angry, or upset, I had  mother stress going on, where I didn’t know whether to scream or ignore them or disown them. My two had been given red/green/cola medium sized Slurpee’s when we stopped to get fuel. I think that BP laced that coloured ice with speed or some such drug. My kids were off their faces. We have a duel cab Hilux Ute, so not lots of room but usually enough. Not on this trip. They were being loud and silly and poking each other, kicking chairs, laughing hysterically about nothing.  It didn’t matter to them one bit what I said or asked or threatened them with, they thought it was hilarious and cackled about everything. As soon as we got out of the car, I made them run to the gate (about 200 meters) and back, made them skull water and not come anywhere near me until we had to go and visit nanna. They ended up climbing trees, doing laps around the yard, checking out the cows. I sat on the wide open veranda and had a cup of coffee – wanted wine but thought it was probably rude to ask.

We visisted the nursing home to see Nanna, had a tour of the farm, feed orphan baby calves, made the family smile a lot while I snapped away with the new camera, drank wine on the deck. Nearly peed my pants at some of the family stories that were told, ate home grown and killed duck with roast veg for dinner, slept in the most comfortable bed in the cutest little room in a Queenslander style cottage that has been Scott’s aunt’s family home all of her life.

 

End of day 48

Made some great family memories with the family

Dreading getting in the car with two kids again.

 

Day 43

Day 43

 

This afternoon, I am mourning the loss of my favourite pair of thongs. They broke this morning when I was reaching up to get in to my four wheel drive. I wore these black little pieces of rubber everywhere. I bought them at Seaworld on the Gold Coast when the boys and I were there celebrating the birthday of my besties boy three years ago.  They were instantly comfortable. They didn’t need wearing in like most of the cheaper types.  There was no blisters in between my big toe and my second toe and they fitted perfectly.

Those thongs had some stories to tell, they have walked in a mothers footsteps. I wore them every day for school drop off and pick up, grocery runs, they were at all most every Wednesday morning coffee, they went to majority of the Tuesday and Thursday cricket training and every Saturday cricket game. They have been to the hinterlands of the Gold coast, Sunshine coast and northern New South Wales. They have been on beaches from the top end of the Sunshine coast to the glorious beaches of Northern New South Wales. They have stepped in cow shit, and saved me from barb like thistles in the paddocks of my sisters property in south west Queensland.

They were worn with jeans and skirts, cute little shorts, and maxi dresses. I wore them with socks in winter. They went from being too big for my boys, to, too small for my boys.

I have just re-read this and can’t decide if I am deliriously tired after my 17 hr work day yesterday or a complete bogan for writing a post about a my favourite pair of thongs breaking.

End of day 43

Back to work, I tried to have a sleep earlier and the dog started howling and a bird was tapping on my bedroom window.

Did a search for book publishers, for when I go to Europe and write a book about it. Found a self-publishing option via Hay house called Balboa press.

Love the big tree in the feature photo.

Day 41

Day 41.

Our home is devoid of boy’s voices and their presence today and I feel a bit lost. There wasn’t the frantic rush and nagging this morning to get ready for school, where is your belt, where is your tie. I was parked on the drive way watching my boy close the gate, and he had on his belt and his tie and it was 8.00am and we were already on our way to start a new school term. “I love you extra hard this morning mate, you are wearing your belt and tie and we didn’t argue about it.” “mmmmm” he says with the tiniest, tiniest of movement of lips towards a smile, he didn’t smile though.

We live in a Queenslander home, it was originally located at West End in Brisbane city and previous owners relocated it to where we are now. I always wanted to live in a Queenslander. Our house has so much character and imperfections. Whoever moved it here didn’t do a great job of getting the height to standard, because everyone except children have to duck when they walk under our house. There are small, tiny gaps between floor boards and walls where wind whistles through in the winter. None of the doors shut properly and if there you place a ball on our kitchen floor it will roll away.  Our toilet that is in the bathroom reminds me of a public toilet. There is a single floor board outside of our bedroom door that creaks when you stand on it. It is a home that makes its own music, the tin roof pops with expansion or compression in the heat and the cold. The floorboards in the lounge room echo when they are walked on. Windows without screens and trees nearby, mean that bird sounds pour through our windows, along with the occasional butcher bird that likes to sit on my kitchen bench and mozzies and sand-flies that like to feast on my family. All of these noises kept me company today with no children around.

I sat with a cuppa and eggs on toast and finished the book that my sister recommend to me the language of flowers. Don’t know if book club books are my thing, but then maybe they are because, I either hate the book or wouldn’t usually read that style or make me think a lot.  I finished this one, I loved the start and hated the middle and I yelled are you serious at the end. I thought she was a selfish bitch, who never really grew up. I know that she was an orphaned foster kid, but the people surrounding her showed her love, kindness and how to be a decent human and she learnt nothing. There was certain parts in the book that made no sense and I found very frustrating. (I won’t go into it too much don’t want to spoil it), glad I read it only because I can have an in-depth chat to my sister about it.

End of day 41

Just got called in to do an overtime shift tonight.

Want someone to pay me to write so I don’t have to work night shift.