Life: Epidemics, Kate Tempest & Piercings

Chickenpox is generally a good gauge that Spring is on its way, as is the macabre tradition of hosting a chickenpox party. Should you be unlucky enough to get an invite to such a gathering, all you need to bring is a pox free child. Once the horrid mingle has come to an end, instead of a party bag the little ones hopefully all leave with a harrowing childhood disease and their immune systems boosted. As I don’t have children this is the one party invite I never get, bothered? Most definitely not.

Brighton Festival Fever has nothing to do with contagious childhood diseases, but it is contagious to those with an interest in arts and culture, regardless of age, and it also starts to slowly sweep across the city in February. I became a member this year – is that an age thing? – and accepted the invite to the member’s preview show.

It was a surreal evening, the curator of this year’s extravaganza, spoken word idol Kate Tempest, was live but not live on a pre-recorded VT from her holiday in Sri Lanka bizarrely interviewing herself. You had to be there. I have a great respect for Kate Tempest and her talent, but her words don’t really resonate with me. At one of her recent gigs, I was most upset by her obvious disapproval of people who like new shoes and drink coffee. That night I was wearing fabulous new shoes and had just had a coffee. I stood amongst Kate’s crowd as they worshipped her every word. I felt as if there were a flashing neon arrow above my head, highlighting me and my frivolous spending on heels and caffeine instead of giving it away to dis-enfranchised millennials in a bid to stop them spiralling into drugs and prostitution.

If you’re reading this Ms. Tempest, just for the record I’ve done my time as a screwed up twenty something and frankly, I’m proud to have made it this far without being sectioned or forced into rehab. So please don’t make me feel guilty for sorting myself out aka “growing up’, buying shoes and drinking coffee. I thank you.

Not sure what Kate would have made of the “Exclusive” members evening full of people with a disposable income drinking free wine and coffee, but she actively encouraged us to spend money, book tickets and not give to worthier causes other than our own enjoyment – which personally I think is a very worthy cause. I left 100 quid lighter, several events in the bag and a fun filled, guilt free May to look forward to.

As I am clearly well beyond my twenty-somethings, it must have been a subconscious midlife backlash that took me to a get my helix pierced. A totally pain-free experience and the delightful girl, that took a very large needle to my upper ear, obviously thought that this was the start of my piercing journey. She handed me a loyalty card, “have six piercings, get the seventh free”, she said. Personally, I can’t imagine having anything other than my ears pierced but I loved the way she tried to up-sell me to have my nipples lanced. I politely declined.

I love a loyalty card and get great satisfaction when I complete one, the usual reward being a free coffee. Not sure a free intimate piercing would give me the same kind of buzz, but it would defiantly make me feel more at home amongst the kids should I ever decide to go to a Kate Tempest gig again.

These words also appeared in The Huffington Post and the Brighton & Hove Independent

Follow: