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Joyous Dissent in The Borough

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“The fiesta was empowering, challenging, hopeful and celebratory… and I can’t wait for the next one” Mme Montserrat

Oh what a fantastic fiesta we had in the Borough on Saturday! From what began as a little conversation with Polly and Bingo Brown in our local pub it just gathered and grew into something much more exciting and fierce than we imagined.

There was dancing, and smashing, and screaming, and much much laughing… The Sisters of Perpetual Resistance had a welcome home party they will never forget.

My washing lines of badly ironed shirts fluttered joyously and without apology above the street and Shanti was on the door in uniform looking like queen of the new model army. Inside Cleo and Flo served up red queens and gin mufftails at their Bitches Bar with Mistress Debbie at the helm while Sanchia laid out a huge table with Suffrage cakes of purple white and green beside death mushroom pies and lush and salty Old Woman of the Sea sandwiches. Above the table she strung a line of poems and images of heroines long gone.

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Cristina (formerly known as Gold Peg) got things going with a mad plate tossing game in the street and then Silvia Ziranek took up the stage and spun her haughty feminist magic across some old 70s pop songs. Later she launched her new headline grabbing feminist broochettes that said things like ‘Terms and Conditions may apply’.

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In one corner Betsy de Lotbiniere set up her tarot tent behind the Gerty banner and only left it to perform her new and very beautiful Body Is Now poem. In another corner Nat and Rachel had their stall selling big NO t-shirts and feminist cards, the best selling one read: I’d call you a cunt but you lack both depth and warmth.

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Mahtab covered a wall with her exquisite silver jewellery, sad and beautiful at the same time, locks and keys and women halved and tiny doves locked in delicate cages. Domestic pirate Paula Chambers came down from the north with her beautiful pieces of work – brass collars to keep the Bronte sisters on leads and poltergeist pictures of distruptive domestic hauntings and amazing subversive porcelain sipping cups.

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Artist Angel Zatorski set up her desk to give instruction on the art of female ejaculation with one to one advice sessions on the topic. She was very popular. Electra had a ball selling her lovingly crafted bad girl floggers, all leather, tassles and cane and Miss Sophie was on the Muff Power stamp and Sisters shop stand with hoods and muffs and the Sisters In A Jam Jar series specially created by artist in residence Jimmy Cauty and riot scarves by Fernando Mialski – all being sold at scandalously low prices. As it got busier she doubled up as Bad Bird selling Andrew Webster’s exceedingly popular knitted penises.

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Outside Bingo Brown had set up her ex-lovers crap stand and dishonesty box in the gutter and in the spirit of wild abandon soon left it to drink beer with her girlfriends. Maria Teresa Gavazzi roamed the street with a huge bunch of balloons, painting portraits, taking photos and offering up pins for people to pop their own faces. At some point two bewildered policemen turned up at the door. Someone had complained that there were a load of women having a great time without too many men around. We live in crazy times!

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Viv Albertine from the Slits dropped by and gave a hilarious reading from her new book about the time she attempted to give Jonny Rotten a blow-job comparing the bodies and smells of the 70s – ‘crusty, smelly, stinking of stale piss‘ – to those of today – ‘odourless, smooth and occasionally silky but not as half as exciting’.

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At 5 o’clock the patriarchy piñata was lowered from the rooftops to the street below and Rachael House and her gang of rebel women and children orchestrated their glorious smashing game. There was a cacophony of raucous banging of rubbish tin lids, screaming and howling – it was hilarious and brilliant and loud and mad and so much fun.

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Helen who had been washing glasses all day in her Muff Power pink gloves was so overtaken with happiness she lay in the remains of the patriarchy giggling to herself for some time.

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Back inside Jade emerged from behind the curtains on the stage utterly and completely transformed from her normal everyday self with wild hair and dusted in gold.. She was entirely naked but for a sequined banana stitched to the front of a pair skin-coloured panties.. She danced to an old Cab Callaway track, she danced just like Josephine Baker but she didn’t stop. She had the track on a loop and she just danced, and danced and kept on dancing till she was dripping in sweat and almost dropped, and finally had to be helped off stage by Bad Nurse Zanna with a towel (better than James Brown). It was an extraordinary performance, and gloriously disconcerting, a total triumph.

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Thanks to all who came, to the artists, the dancers, the drinkers, the thinkers, the makers and breakers, the buyers and the sellers. The Sisters of Perpetual Resistance salute and applaude you all!

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