EQUALITY & PERVERSITY
Sez Thomasin is an angry poet.
Not to have a conversation with - to talk to they are more than affable, welcoming - chatty at the door. Discuss the relative merits of doing a spoken word show in a venue as palatial as Bar Bados (seriously - it’s like doing poems at the Ritz) and you’ll get smiles, fun and laughter. Get Sez onto talking about work or more precisely the job they did in the not too distant past? It goes a bit Game of Thrones.
And why? Because of boxes. Boxes that need ticking. Quotas that need filling. Targets that if you don’t meet them?... Well, we’ll come to a mutual agreement where it just won’t be possible for you to come in anymore. Not black enough? Not disabled enough? Not the correct type of Lesbian for the form? It seems the NHS has left a few extra scars where preventive measures should have been taken.
This is a collection of poetry as a response to those daily challenges that Sez found as an Equality and Diversity officer - a job which they openly admit was a triple win for the employer in that there was a veritable smorgasbord of box ticking going on. Sexuality, Gender and Disability quotas all being met in one fell swoop. A nightmare to do data entry for but it’s more than probable someone in HR went home with an over-inflated sense of achievement that day as they got a 3 for 1 offer.
The poetry is direct and to the point as you would expect and as Sez tells us their self the words come courtesy of the NHS as many of the pieces were written while they were sat seething at the desk. It’s important to note that there is no beef with the NHS deliverers of healthcare here - just with the bizarre notion from management (and their governmental paymasters) that you can close key services left, right and centre without there being a disastrous effect.
It was quite a picture to have painted and I love the idea that words as reflective and incisive as these clearly came pouring out in the very moment they were felt. These as Sez tells us are, after all, poems about people who put the N in cuts...
Occasionally (and only in a couple of places) this makes the pieces a little raw and structurally underdeveloped but that is honestly the beauty of this collection of work - it’s a rage against a faux attempt at diversity that comes when someone buys samosas for the office and calls it diversity. To make it slick, shiny and rolling off the tongue at a moments notice takes away a little of its true purpose. The power of these words from Sez is that they came straight out of their gut and onto a piece of paper. It’s the thing you wish you’d said at the water cooler.
There is (and spoken word performances very much underuse this technique in my opinion) also a costume change in the middle of the show - alongside the inclusion of some very serious looking props. The audience were very much sat up and listening at this point and the change even received a few whoops and cheers in the big reveal. I’ll go no further there so as not to give any spoilers but what I can say is that it was carried out in a fantastic spirit and fit perfectly alongside the shift in tone with the poetry at this point.
Sez took complete control of the room and the rapturous applause at the conclusion to the show was rightfully deserved. The anger had subsided a little - now we felt informed enough by Sez to do something about it. And as they said on the poster...”No more Mx Nice person”.
We definitely got the message.
‘Equality and Perversity’ is playing at Bar Bados Room 3, till 24th Aug (not 19th) at 16:30