Sat 23 Aug 2014 – Living Independence

Hang On To Yourself

Living Independence


With Alison Peebles, Robert Softley Gale, Jo Clifford, David Greig, Julia Taudevin, Nancy Somerville, Gerry Campbell.

This was one of my favourite All Back To Bowie’s. It was deeply personal, passionate, angry, hopeful and the best kind of political, the personal kind.

David and I were co-hosting and we weren’t sure what to expect. We were interested in talking about fighting for independence on a personal level, interdependence and dependence and having to fight for your own space and your own autonomy. That word, autonomy, proved to be the key theme for the show in the end.

We kicked off with a beautiful Bowie cover from Gerry Campbell and then a provocation from the great actor and director Alison Peebles. Alison talked us through her own experience of discovering she had MS and having to adapt her life, her career, her identify, her wardrobe to adapt to the change. She was then joined by the brilliant actor and theatre maker Robert Softley Gale, recently returned from a European tour of his show If These Spasms Could Speak about living with cerebral palsy and ever-inspiring playwright, performer, father and grandmother, Jo Clifford. The panel discussion was deeply personal, as I suspected it would be, but I hadn’t anticipated it becoming so passionate about Scottish independence – which, for me anyway, was bloody brilliant!

There was one member of the audience for whom it wasn’t brilliant and there was an amusing moment when Jo Clifford was talking about the abuse she suffers on a daily basis as a trans woman and who Scotland has experienced abuse for generations and the disgruntled member of the audience shouted “Bollocks.” After the show, Jo said she wished she’d shouted back “I don’t have any anymore”.

It was a shame, though, that the gentleman was so unwilling to hear the discussion that was being had about Scottish independence he wasn’t able to engage positively with the more personal and wider reaching discussion about autonomy and independence on a personal level. I hope he has found some happiness since that day.

After the panel we had some rip roaring poetry from the fantastic Nancy Somerville and a final beautiful number from Gerry full of hope. The grumpy gent left before the end and consequently there was a most wonderful feeling of hope and strength and possibility in the Bowie yurt. What an incredible summer it’s been.

Julia Taudevin