Thursday, 8 November 2012

Glasgow Girls Take A Stand

I have been a corporate sponsor of Glasgow's Citizens Theatre for many years now and in turn the Citz has given me lots of support for Sea Shepherd (see video at end of today's blog).

Anybody who follows Sea Shepherd Scotland @SeaShepherdScot on twitter and saw the pics we posted last night will not be surprised at today's subject matter, we were at Glasgow Girls The Musical and it was BRILLIANT.

Brilliant with a message.

Not a touchy-feely, good always triumphs over evil, US sitcom style message. A real, gritty hard-hitting message in two-parts.  Firstly, some really shitty stuff is happening every day to people just like you and me. If only we would open our eyes and realise that the people it is happening to are just like you and me. Secondly, and most importantly, if we don't take united action against obvious wrong-doing what then? What kind of people would we become? Have we become those people already?

My very great friend Steven Purcell once replied to a Toast I had made to The City of Glasgow and he said, to what was a multi-national audience, "You don't have to have been born in Glasgow to become a Glaswegian."  That phrase came back to me last night as I watched Cora's fabulous cast recount the tale of Glaswegian children being subjected to dawn raids by the UK Borders Agency. Does that still happen was a common question heard during the interval. The sad answer is yes. Why? Because politicians would rather do what the Daily Mail tells them "the voters" want rather than do what is right. Except...

Except I'm a voter too so why is my voice not being heard? That was covered very pointedly in the musical with clever voice overs of radio talk show phone-ins. These featured all the usual one-brain-cell radio ranters telling the world how all these refugees are on the scrounge, what an easy touch we are in this country, how they "steal" all our jobs and all the other blabbity nonsense that anyone who really has opened their eyes can see is just simply not true. But it is this vociferous minority whose collective voice is being heard and if you are not sure that you have popular support it takes enormous courage to speak out against what is perceived to be "the system" because we all know that the system doesn't like troublemakers. Don't we?

This was driven home in an unmistakable way in the musical when Roza was confronted by her mum who wanted her to be just like all the other girls, keep her head down, say nothing in case it hurt her and that song had me in tears, just as it had the first time I heard Cora perform it at the Indigo Hotel in Glasgow. What could hurt more than doing nothing?

The story of the Glasgow Girls is that you must do something. In my Swim Wild, Swim Free blog of 4th Nov, I introduced the lifestyle mantra, "If it is to be, it is up to me." The Glasgow Girls know that already. Now so does everyone who has seen that production. Now I hope so do you.

This amazing production deserves to take the world by storm. It is a story from Glasgow and about what happened in Glasgow but it is relevant to so much more than Glasgow. It is a tale that we should all hope will inspire ordinary people, just like you and me, to take a stand. Here's what National Theatre of Scotland has to say on the subject:

"Inspired by the real life Glasgow Girls and the show based on their campaign, #TAKE A STAND is a new National Theatre of Scotland project, in partnership with the Citizens Theatre and the Scottish Youth Parliament, and with sponsorship from ScottishPower inviting groups of young people to take action, to inspire others and to make a positive difference to society."

Now here is one of those odd multiple synchronicity moments that seem to happen more and more as I dive deeper and deeper into this new ethical world I wish to live in:

Anna, my best friend who I invited you in an earlier blog to Help Send Anna to Taiji (please click on the link and do just that) was one of the co-founders of the Scottish Youth Parliament. Anna is clearly taking a stand. It gets better though because eighteen months ago National Theatre of Scotland invited contributions for their first Five Minute Theatre day and so Anna, myself and a few other Sea Shepherds and Sea Shepherd supporters worked with NTS and were massively assisted by The Citz to produce our own Theatre piece which demonstrated - you guessed it - a business executive Taking a Stand. And that became a self-fulfilling prophecy for us all as we now are committed to take action, to inspire others and to make a positive difference to our society. How many connections are there in there? If we can get you to be Anna's sponsor, playing the part of Scottish Power, we will have synchronicty big style.

Here is the video. It was filmed in one of the Citz rehearsal rooms and was first aired by NTS. The acting is enthusiastic amateur rather than consummate professional, the direction is missing, the lighting didn't happen and the sound... well, please just bear with us on the sound.

But the message! I hope the message is as clear as the one Cora, NTS and the Citz are delivering right now:

Thank you for reading.