creating family feature

Sixteen years strong

May 1, 2020

On May 1st, sixteen years ago I met @andyrgarside. We bonded over our disbelief that we’d been dragged to a terrible club night by mutual friends. We were both also single parents who were practical & not looking for love. He used to make me mixtapes, I’d make him home-cooked food; we took our kids (who were 8 & 10 at the time) on days trips & went out to gigs. Gradually we fell in love. It was honestly quite an old fashioned courtship; a super-slow romance, & yet there’s a part of us both that will tell you we knew right from the beginning that this was different. Over the years we’ve created so much together from genre-defying bilingual evenings of music and spoken word (The Absurd) to utterly pretentious shows of poetry (me) with noise (by @stevenjnicholls) that included a wall of sixteen old TVs Andy & I scavenged from Freecycle (we could only fit 16 in the back of our old volvo estate) Andy would mix live visuals on stage. Anyone remember DRKMTR? (I think we were just ahead of our time on that). All the while I was performing, running poetry workshops, & getting some amazing writing commissions, Andy was playing bass in Mechanical Owl, designing album covers & paraphernalia for so many artists & events, as well as beautifully orchestrating all the cascading design for @focuswales (which he still does). I think we shocked a lot of people when we decided to toss everything to the wind & hurl ourselves off a cliff-edge in our van, hoping we’d learn to grow wings on the way. And we did. Which is another reason I love him. We always had that anarchic build-it-yourself-from-nothing spirit, but then suddenly we became ‘establishment’ and all the politics that goes along with that. That was never what we were about. We always had the punk ethos in our hearts so when we moved away from that our relationship felt less certain, more wobbly, as did we. Now we’ve found a way to be in the world that suits who we are; the work we have feels authentic as it allows the art, & our relationship, to take centre stage. I never knew life could be so amazing. I didn’t know love didn’t have to hurt until I met him. Love you Andy and everything we’ve created together. Life is Art.

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