September! The last of summer’s festivals thump across meadows.
I was performing in an immersive theatre venue, at one festival, when the audience staged a coup. As Belle, my white supremacist person-of-colour character, I’d been so engrossed in an act of passion between a bearded nurse and an androgynous Devil, that I’d not noticed other escapees from the cast, swelling The Green Room, egging on our mock orgy.
Sean, our director, entered. “Look, you lot, if you want to twat around, why don’t you do it in front of the audience?”
But when we tumbled through the canvas flaps, our ‘audience’ were singing gospel songs in a coffin. Six people performed a healing ceremony in Nanny’s bath. A woman dressed as a glow-worm danced on the shoulders of a man dressed as a television.
At the best festivals and club-nights, divisions like spectator and performer are inverted. Dancing with strangers reacquaints us with our familiar-unfamiliar selves. We explore. We take risks.
A transformative festival experience warms us through the winter, encouraging us to dissolve barriers. So, for this issue, we celebrate strangeness and difference, through the porn art of Renaissance woman Vex Ashley, the migrant heritage and self-doubts of debut novelist Mahsuda Snaith, disabled casual sex with Lisa Jenkins, photographic drama by Laelia Milleri and more, including a competition for V.I.P. tickets to October’s Liverpool Disco Festival for those who simply can’t stop partying.
Soma Ghosh, Editor.
Main photo of Ruby Stansfield and friends Abi & Cass.