The Alternative UK Manifestos 4 + 5: Light from Frome - Peter Macfadyen and Liv Torc
Welcome to numbers 4 and 5 in our Alternative UK Manifestos (1, 2 and 3 here). We invited those who are travelling with us on our journey to reimagine political language and practice to give us some kind of response to the UK General Election. And we asked for them in all shapes and forms...
So today we present two videos - one short statement, one spoken-word performance, and a poem. They are from two prominent citizens of Frome - a town and civil parish in Somerset, but also the home of one of the most exciting phenomena of the new politics in UK, called Flatpack Democracy. Their representatives have taken over governance of the town, and are experimenting with new forms of participation (see Guardian article).
Peter Macfadyen kicked off Flatpack Democracy, and used to be the mayor of Frome. And he has reacted with typical independent-mindedness to our request to him for an election manifesto - see video above (and see his explanatory blog).
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Our second Fromean is the spoken-word performer and poet Liv Torc, who describes herself as a "wondermentalist" - a celebrator of life in all its maddening variety. A/UK, Flatpack and Pete Lawrence's Campfire Conversation did a joint event in Frome recently.
We asked Liv to perform her poem, "It's all gone wondermental" (a clip from elsewhere posted below). But we also asked her to respond to our evening of discussion, food, music, and envisioning about the future of politics, with her own spoken-word performance. Between these two pieces, we think there's a manifesto in there. .
Liv Torc @ FROME
We light little fires,
At the centre of little circles
In the middle of little streets
Whisper our stories into the smoke
until they fill our lungs
and stain our hair
Until we smell of ash and ideas.
Cook local sausages
over beeswax candles
and lean back into the arms
of beautiful smiles.
We become constellations of culture
Get Google maps to chart us
like a new universe
and trip advisor to rate the satisfaction
of our hearths and hearts
A roaring conflagration of voices
Grassroots twitching between our toes.
we put down our bats
and stop playing ping pong with whispers
set the ideas free
crack them like greyhounds
detonate the damn and stand in front of the approaching tsunami
wearing racing green wellingtons
and a hat made from the Guardian
we start spending every Tuesday afternoon trying on other people's shoes
To see which ones are best for dancing
or standing in line at food banks
catapult our bubbles
into the dewy dawn,
let them float over back gardens
and brick walls,
car parks and playgrounds,
alleys and prisons,
skyscrapers and dockyards.
Like the rainy season after a drought
The 2% and the 98%,
the 48% and the 52%...
Our friends, parents, colleagues, neighbours, children...
You, me, the Prime Minister
and the woman who works
in the Coop...
we just try
to live together?
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