So, yesterday evening my daughter and I jumped on a train to Bristol for a girls night out. I say jumped on a train. Husband actually drove us to the station and came inside to buy our tickets, because manned ticket offices are just so last year and I am utterly inept when it comes to machines. If I ever have to face a cyber army that demands I remember any sort of number or password under pressure then I am doomed.
Prior to setting off on this latest adventure I had Googled the hell out of Bristol centre, plotting and memorising our journey from station to venue. Wonder of wonders, I broke the habit of a lifetime and did not get lost. We traversed that mile across the city like pros. Can I say that? Do you now have a picture in your head of a different type of street walker? Moving swiftly on…
I had promised daughter food, but when it came down to it was rendered useless in the face of vast quantities of people, buildings and traffic. Realising that there was a risk she may not be fed, daughter took me in hand and marched me across streets filled with street art and and an eclectic mix of people such as would never make an appearance in our sheltered little corner of Wiltshire. It was fabulous. We found a supermarket, stocked up on picnic items, and went to sit, eat and watch the world go by. I had never before realised that, just as London has its black taxi cabs, Bristol has blue. Simple pleasures.
What can I say about Caitlin Moran? She comes across as outrageous, irrepressible, hilarious, rude and slightly bonkers. She is also as real and inspiring as any entertainer I have had the pleasure to go see live. Within the first half hour she had the 1769 women and 53 men in the sold out venue standing on their chairs shouting “I AM A FEMINIST!” My daughter and I were right there, seven rows back. The only members of the audience who didn’t join in were the ones who fell off their flip up chairs, victims perhaps of the lure of the bars on such a hot, summer’s night.
The evening was such fun. I loved the fact that the audience, although mainly women, were of all shapes, sizes and styles. Theatre attracts the affluent, music gigs the fans, Caitlin attracted women in all their incarnations. It was refreshing to feel at home, not to have to even think about what I looked like despite being out in public. It was a rare and thought provoking experience.
And my daughter loved it too, she even thanked me for taking her. At seventeen she was amongst the youngest in the audience, which I thought a shame. Young women would benefit from hearing this message presented in such an amusing and irreverent way. Woman are normal even though we are not men, we should not allow ourselves to be conditioned to feel shame.
A great night out was completed with a slow exit from the hall during which we saw Caitlin taking more photographs of the crowd with her phone. I loved the thought that she was as blown away by the camaraderie as the rest of us. Daughter and I made our way back through the buzzing city streets of Bristol, avoiding the leers of passing men, to catch our train home.
Thank you to My Independent Bookshop for providing us with tickets to this event. Daughter was most impressed that I was on a gig guest list, and very much enjoyed being my plus 1.