Monthly Archives: November 2012

Ho-tel. Mo-tel. Holiday Inn



I am in a hotel, because my house is a bit grose at the minute, and it’s made me ill. I was in hospital and everything. Don’t feel sorry for me. The money I’m saving on rent I intend to spend on interrailing around Italy next year. So, you know. If your priorities are a mess, these are the risks you take.

I wanted to write a little bit about how Spill was for me (Oh noooooo, a serious, kind of, blog, with opinions, and everything) – because it was really wonderful for me as a person, and doing that piece made me think a lot about fat and dieting, and Chewing the Fat, which I’m doing some R&D on at the minute.

Good God, there is loads to talk about, Guys and Dolls, and I wish very much to be succinct.

A list, then:

1) Spill/Travelodge Life/Everyone was nice 

I like Ipswich. That’s the first thing. I’m not sure why, but in my head, I thought it was going to be very 80s, very grey, a bit like… hmm. I’m not going to name any town names, so as not to offend, but I thought it was rough, I’m not sure why that was the connotation I had in my head. But it wasn’t, not even a little bit. Picturesque, if anything. And small. And everyone staying in about 3 hotels together felt a little like a school trip. It was a really lovely atmosphere, not a pressure cooker, not pretentious, not hierarchical, or any of the bad things that any curated event can become in the wrong hands. From start to finish everyone was lovely and supportive. And to see so much work, at a time when I felt like all I was doing was applying for things and working, and worrying about money was cleansing. Like an artsy booster shot. That’s all I wanted to say really.

2)Pat it and Prick it and Mark it With B/Jess and Vicky did most of the hard work/More Durational Work as experiments and learning times please

7 hours… and it wasn’t, really, it was more like… 6 and a half, is the longest I’ve ever performed. Which, when you think about it isn’t that long. I’m listening to the soundtrack from The Artist Is Present (have you watched it yet? What do you mean no? Sort your life out) as we speak, so my sonic surroundings are reinforcing that fact. But it was a lot for me. I got to think a lot. About the image and how it worked, and if it worked, and whether all of this was in my head, and perhaps impenetrable for others, and the extent of the help I needed – ridiculous. The piece never would have worked without other people. Which is good, but thought provoking. Hmm. Too many thoughts to type now. Hmm.

I didn’t expect holding the position to hurt as much as it did, but it did hurt, it killed. I couldn’t hold it for as long as I wanted, and I had to stand up, because I was in agony, and I felt embarassed and ashamed and like I’d let everyone down.

It didn’t work. We had to change tactic three times. As we were doing it the first time we knew it wasn’t working, though we appeared to be getting somewhere.. .and then it was desperate, and then it started to come together, but it was painful, and I was immobilised by it, and there was very little I could do.

I don’t like being looked at, if I’m not saying anything. I hate it. It was difficult to look up, once the dress was finished. Pain/Failure.

On the picture on the Spill website at the minute, I look like I’m looking at my phone. Snigger. I’m not. I’m on the front page, sneak a peek:

I really, really, really love watching kids engaging with live art/experimental practice:

“Why’s it all in pink? It should be for boys too”

“Why are there no paper towels?”

“There isn’t enough cake, you didn’t think this through”

These reviews, internet. These are the reviews I need and want.

I want to do that piece again, very, very, very much. I want to embrace and play with the necessity of help and support. I want to confront how difficult I find it to be watched when silent. I want to push the spectacle  and the potential garishness of it all, and now that I know that the aesthetic of it all is actually really home made and domestic, I want to change my approach to materials. So much to play with. I wonder if I can shoplift £200 worth of cake and icing from asda. I’ll stuff it up my top, I’m sure it’ll be fine.

3)Ending Chewing The Fat/Embracing the Fat Body/Lush/ShoppingShoppingShopping

– being on a bus or walking somewhere, and thinking that if I take CTF somewhere, it needs an ending point – but what can that ending point be, if I haven’t found it in my life.

– looking at good quality, on trend, of fashion plus size clothes properly. Actually entertaining the idea of ordering clothes from America – sod the price.

– thinking about being 16 and wearing make up always, and cowboy boots, and leather jackets, and shaving my hair off.

– working with 30 women (and about 6 men) – different sizes and shapes and ethnicities and styles and ages and thinking about what an elixir that is for me, and the fact that in me, that stimulates a need to dress well, to look good.

– Re reading FIAF and The Forbidden Body, and going “no. no. no.”

– being bored, really bored by “I need to lose weight” conversations. Because I’ve heard them about a hundred times, and they sound the same always. And being really aware of that boredom and dismissal of that way of talking, and knowing that that feeling isn’t new – it’s just more pronounced, and that guilt is absent from it.

– Something has changed, somewhere. And I’m not sure how or why or when. It’s good for the piece, it’s good for me.

Here is a picture. Ben took it. Cake.


Here are some words Lorraine Wood wrote about what I did At Spill


Friday 2 November 2012


by Lorraine Wood


You are invited to a party, a celebration with balloons and party poppers scattered across the floors of the space, paired with a musical score of tunes that ooze aspiration, inviting you in to help the artist craft her way toward a common cause. The mood is light, natural even, a sense of home and comfort resonate throughout the gallery walls, but the undertone of this durational piece of work is one that is affecting, subtle yet bold.


The artist remarks of her mother that ‘eating, for her, was like a prison’; it’s hard to believe that the act of keeping oneself alive can also leave you bound and tortured.


The impenetrable prison walls, made out of soft spongy delicate cake, cemented together precariously and playfully with fluffy pink icing create the foundations of a dress that will eventually be made and worn by Thompson. As each layer is imperfectly pressed together, the audience are invited to offer their hand, piece by piece, moving buoyantly around in the sweet mess created on the floor. There is a sense that this colourful creation is a platform for alleviating past troubles, brushing off the negative connotations depicted in her mother’s relationship to food, canonizing and celebrating the fun and excitement that one can have with food. Yet there is a sense of an underlying provocation that portrays the dangers of excess.


There are direct social implications, which run throughout tge piece, outlined in themes of control, judgement, imperfection and the act of letting go. In a society that permits immediacy to so many elements, the right here, right now, allows a cruel type of freedom that paves the way for a self-inflicted nightmare. The dress made of cake is fragile, the foundations shaky, yet the woman behind it, strong.


Throughout the process there are different levels in which her intention permeates, markings on the floor conversely reading ‘eating is cheating’ and ‘suck it up and someday you won’t have to suck it in’ convey that there is a balance to be struck and a deal with oneself to be negotiated. Walls are indeed built, but if history is a marker to go by, walls also come down, not just by hope, through collective engagement, as Thompson rightly points out that ‘nothing is achieved alone.’


Represented in a form that flirts with its audience, invites and tantalises their appetites in an overtly light-hearted manner, there is a subtle tension between the action and intention. Dealing with autobiographical subject matter may often tip the boundaries into giving away too much too soon; however this piece of work, played out over many hours, sees a woman starting out on a journey with a clear objective, which transforms her into an almost mythical being, exuding confidence wearing a dress made out of cake. 

Everything’s Coming Up Milhouse!




I got Arts Council Funding!



Joy Unbound!

In May, at the end of my degree, I made and performed a show called Chewing the Fat. It was precious to me, my first ever autobiographical, solo, live art venture, about the fat body, and my experience of that. It meant the world to me, and I was blessed, because people liked it, lots more than I thought they would. So I performed it at a festival called Emerge. People liked it some more, and with a great deal of help – and I mean a SHEDLOAD – from Invisible Flock, Theatre in the Mill, Dick Bonham, Daniel Evans, and my good friends Jess Paetz and Becky Moules (“Get out of bed, Sel. Come on, Get out of bed and get on with it”) we got an arts council application together. 

Yesterday, I came in from Spill Festival, itchy form a Icing induced Rash (a story for another blog), ill from my first experience of Brunch (when will I learn, guys? I’m 22, I should know to drink less by now) and a general mix of exhausted, exhilarated and overwhelmed by the joyous experience that was Spill. And there, on my front table was a brown envelope from the Arts Council.

And inside, a green dot, filled with the word ‘Congratulations’.

We – because it will be we, I have big plans, and you’re going to have to get involved with this one guys – are going to make a show, a show about fat, a messy, joyous, funny, hopeful, adjective-ridden, Yorkshire-based, alcohol-fuelled (not true.) show about fat – how we talk about it, how we live with it and what it means.



P.S. Spill was one of the best experiences of my life. More on that soon.


P.P.P.S. – This is the song that I had my 25 minute dance party to, when I found out I got me some funding :

So, you know. Next time you think of the Arts Council, of buy yourself a lottery ticket, think of me dancing around my kitchen to this, with my best mate screaming on speakerphone. Thank you, thank you, thank you.