Tag Archives: spoken word

some biggish news……

Regular visitors to rubiesandduels will have noticed the Hunger Writing Project – an exploration of food, eating, hunger, body image and restriction.

Most, although not all of these, have been written with performance in mind and several have been already performed at Open Mike slots in Leicestershire.

But, I’ve felt for some time that I want to do something more formal and larger with them………………….so…………………..

with support from Leicester Writers’ Club and Carol Leeming – local arts promotor, i am working towards a one woman show in summer 2014, with performances in Leicester and hopefully beyond.

There will be more new pieces and re-writes of some of the current work and some supporting visual inputs……I’m very excited, if a little nervous, I’m not a performer by training or even inclination.

watch this space for  updates and more information.

The last Ping! Of 2013

So, 27th December 2013 and the traditional post Christmas Ping! cornucopia of music, performance, poetry and more……
If you live in Leicestershire and love/are faintly curious about spoken word events and fancy a very supportive environment to try your hand at reading your work to audience…..come and check it out.
The last Tuesday of every month @ Duffys Bar on Pocklingtons Walk in the city centre.
This may or may not be a selling point…..but you can usually hear rubiesandduels read something.

And some ( sadly not great quality ) pics from the post Christmas evening….an evening that celebrated queer culture, metro-sexuality, traditional Indian music, jazz and the spoken word.






Just vanity really

I’ve never had a pro photo of me performing before and yes, it’s a little vain….but hey


Hunger 10 – Postcards from Pro-Ana

It’s all about the figures, the figure
Heaviest weight, current weight, goal weight, ultimate goal weight, secret goal weight
BMI of 17, 15, 13, 11
Numbers going down and down and down

“I can fit my hands around the top of my thighs”
“Who wants to join me on a 7 day water fast?”
“Help me …I’m binging on brocoli”
“Where can I buy size 4 trousers in the UK?”

Pictures posted at lowest weights
“They hospitalised me just after this one, god I wish I was still this thin”
“You look so hot, I want to look just like you”

Girls so thin they look as if they could snap in two at any moment
Collar bones
Elbows that seem bigger than the arms that they support
Hips don’t lie, but almost tear the skin with their new definition

Postcards from Ana
Postcards from another country
( because that fat wench is dead, a long, long time ago)
Postcards in another language

Safe foods

UltiMATE ana



UGW……always UGW

“Is it better to restrict and exercise or to fast and rest”
“How can I look fatter for my therapist appointment”
“help me to enjoy feeling empty”

And in the photgraphs, the girls
white skinned, bruises easily
smokey eyed, but not made up
hair thins and falls

( “I love when my hair starts to fall, it’s like I know I’m doing it properly then”)

bones break, crumble
and cold, always cold
bony wrists jutting from underneath 2 and 3 and 4 sweaters, even in summer.

New Thread ” Do you want to be seen as beautiful ?”

And the answers……..

Other wordly
Broken & fragile

I want to look so disgusting that people will never come near me, ever again”

And the diets, the constant diets
200 calories a day
Tasty meals of less than 50 calories
Rice cakes

Help me – Im binging on raisins
Help me – all I can think of is food
Help me – my mom noticed i’m loosing weight

Help me stop eating.

Help me stop.

Help me


The eternal, ever-giving, fun loving clowns…..at the end of the show.

This is the final part of the clowns sequence, I think there is perhaps another segment or two to put into the body of the work, but, the ending has been floating in my head for a few days now, so it’s been written out of time, rather like the clowns themselves.

Out of sight of the children, away from the crowd, the curious onlookers, the clowns’ shoulders slump, the clown dog paws at the legs of the biggest clown, cocks his head and finally, pulling out the biggest crowd pleaser, sits and begs, waiting to be picked up and carried back to the buff coloured bell tent. The tent is dusty, leaning into another broken wall,another ruined space.

The smallest clown stretches to his full height, his upturned palms almost, but not quite reaching to the biggest clowns shoulders and then drops his arms, lets his palms hit the floor outside the tent.

Today, the ground is dusty, dry, a few yellow rocks, yesterday, they walked, trudged up to their knees in deep clay mud, the day before that, on feet that felt every mile of their journey, the stepped over poppies and the remainder of long ignored wheat fields.

Inside the tent, there are 3 steamer trunks, faded blue leather, scuffed brass clasps,


The 3 clowns move in economic unison, balletic exhaustion and each sits on his steamer trunk, while the clown dog jumps or falls to the ground and lies, belly to the air, panting quietly to himself.

There is nothing to say, just the ritual of putting away, packing the tent and moving on.

The biggest clown opens his trunk, removes a tiny jar of cold cream, the packaging worn, letters faded,
P…..something ….D and begins to rub the white cream into his face.

The smaller clown leans down and pulls at his bright red clown shoes, the feet that come out are small, prehensile toes, suddenly released, scratching into the dust at his feet.
The shoes, abandoned, lie next to him, waiting to jump and swoop and cartwheel again……later.

The smallest clown, the junior clown, bustles around the space, still in his stage persona, a little irritating, a little too busy, a little too much.
He pulls off his clown nose, gives his clown bow tie a gentle spin,checks the bulb of the water spraying rose and then is still, finally quiet.

The biggest clown delves into the trunk and pulls out a once gaudy scrap of fabric, the hint of what is left of an over used silk scarf, demoted from juggling to neckerchief and now finally, a rag to remove cold cream.

As he rubs, his own skin, greying, tired begins to appear from behind the white greasepaint, his less than impressive eyebrows, sandy rather than the definition of those painted on with thick black lines, emerge and his nose, surprisingly retroussé under the bright red bulbous nose, is a daily surprise even to himself.

The smaller clown is more careful, more precise, he uses a small mirror, dabs cream onto his face in neat blobs, blends them together, ghost skin, paler even then the moon white, lead white clown finish.

The smallest clown, spits onto the hem on his shirt, notices a little more fraying, a little more fading and then uses the almost damp shirt to rub, rub hard against his skin,feels the pull of the fabric against his nearly beard and spits on the hem again.

The three clowns group together

And stare into the tiny, chipped mirror, their faces distorted by dust and decades of wear and tear on the glass.

Their reflections stare back at them, faces cleaned, almost cleaned of clown makeup, except of course for the row of tears, roughly drawn in thick black line, tracing a path from eye to chin.

The clowns have long since given up trying to remove these tears, in truth they hardly notice them anymore.

And then, with an economy of movement based on long, long practise, they pack away the tent and walk away, down the ruined road.

And a clown dog snapping at their heels.


A bit of out and about…..and a new hair do

A kind friend facilitated me attending Word! @ the Y theatre in Leicester, I read a shortened version of the clowns piece, which I think went down well.
Oh and I may have dyed my hair pink..it’s just an age denial.


Strawberry Fields Festival

Rubiesandduels headed off to deepest darkest Leicestershire today to deliver 2 sets at the spoken word space.
A lovely day, even some sun, good company and even some dancing.
A huge thanks to the organisers and the audience.