February 2008

Click here for e-zine of last year’s event

 Losing It Again: Mad Chicks Lurking behind tabloid interest in the mental health crises of artists like Britney Spears, Heath Ledger and Amy Whitehouse is a vast unease around mental ill-health. The everyday stigmatisation of the Mad affects everyone. Mad Chicks fight this stigma by celebrating the creativity and eloquence of Mad women. Refugees and escapees of the Prozac Nation are converging at Corsica Studios on Sunday March 9th 2008 to host a wild night of art, music, video and performance. In celebration of International Women’s Day, Losing It features female artists of all genres including Ana da Silva, founding member of the supremely influential feminist post-punk band The Raincoats; renowned improvisational vocalists Maggie Nicols and Francine Luce; and Edinburgh Festival stunner Liz Bentley. The night will be MCed by award-winning Mad writer Dolly Sen (See complete line up following event details below) Building on the success of Mad Chicks’ & Mad Pride’s strange litany of creative and political events, Losing It celebrates cultural and psychological diversity and encourages self-empowerment for Mad women, who belong to one of the most marginalised groups in society. All are welcome!

Losing It Event Details Date: Sunday March 9th 2008 Venue: Corsica Studios, Unit 5, Elephant Road, London SE17 1LB Travel: Elephant & Castle Tube, Rail & Buses Time: 7pm to midnight

Price: £5, £2 Concessions Contact: madchickslosingit@gmail.com Web: http://www.mad-chicks.org.uk & www.myspace.com/madchickslosingit

Losing It Line Up March 9th 2008

Ana da Silva – www.myspace.com/anadasilva

Chanje Kunda – www.myspace.com/chanjekunda

Melanie Clifford – www.artsadmin.co.uk

Ceri Buck – www.openbracket.org.uk

Francine Luce – www.francineluce.com

Maggie Nicols – www.maggienicols.com

Rachel Anderson – www.lambethbandofsolidarity.wordpress.com

Rai Studley – www.myspace.com/raistudleymusic

Liz Bentley – www.myspace.com/lizbentley

performer Walki’s Monster – www.myspace.com/walkismonster

Drunk Granny – www.myspace.com/drunkgranny

Corey Orbison – www.myspace.com/coreyorbison

Stephanie Something – www.myspace.com/stephaniesomething

Dolly Sen – www.dollysen.com

Mad Chicks is about women psychiatric patients and survivors of the psychiatric system. The movement developed from within Mad Pride, a user-led mental health civil rights movement, committed to ending discrimination against psychiatric patients, challenging misinformation in relation to mental health and celebrating Mad culture. Mad Chicks believes that a women-focused organisation and campaign can highlight issues with particular female resonance, including abuse and sexism in the NHS, mixed wards, childcare, assertiveness and rights – and provide a more conducive space for women to discuss their experience of services. They draw on the considerable creativity and activism already existing within Mad Pride, and amongst its contacts and supporters, in order to show what extraordinary things Mad women have done and are able to do in supportive environments and elsewhere.

About International Women’s Week in Southwark Losing It is part of Southwark’s International Women’s Week. More than twenty events are taking place across the borough in celebration of the significant role that women have played, and continue to play, in shaping history. For more information on other events taking place between March 1 – 10 2008, contact: Lis Ssenjovu: elisabeth.ssenjovu@southwark.gov.uk http://www.southwark.gov.uk/DiscoverSouthwark/EventsSection/WomensWeek

Click here for e-zine of last year’s event


Last week when Ann Widdecombe’s right wing misogynistic tour of Britain
landed at the Methodist central hall in London’s Westminster and 200 women
picketed the event by standing outside holding placards and chanting,
something else happened and many things didn’t happen…

The something else that happened was that two women passed through the
picket separately, to reconvene in the main hall, they waited until the
programme of (poorly formed) hate speeches and lies began and then locked
their necks to the seating with d-locks, setting of personal attack alarms
and shouting to interrupt the talks… from elsewhere in the audience, four
other women (and men) began to shout, challenging the speakers and
interrupting the event.

In response to the women who had locked-on audience members; prayed,
shouted ‘murderers’, and yelled “women have no rights” (a direct quote in
response to the chant ‘women’s rights are human rights’) after twenty
minutes the police came and the lock-on ended (without arrest)

Ann’s rally with all the money and backing in the world couldn’t be called
a success with that sort of disruption, and the women and men disrupting
inside the venue saw and heard the real face of the anti-choice campaign
and how terrifying it is.

Now what didn’t happen is the following:
Before the lock-on a (3 year) member of the LFN asked a woman who she has
worked with, campaigned with and called sister (for 3 years) to help out;
the ‘in case of emergency’ keys needed to be held by someone in case the
lock-on went wrong (the arranged person had been held up) so she asked the
LFN sister to hold the keys. The LFN sister said she wouldn’t because
‘Direct action had not been sanctioned by Abortion rights and she was
stewarding for them that evening’

So the lock on went ahead with no solidarity or safety net– that’s a
pretty lonely state of affairs; to be in a room full of 400 people who
hate women and know that the 200 outside can’t/wont support you because it
isn’t ‘sanctioned’.

The other thing that didn’t happen was that the 200 women who stood
outside holding placards didn’t come into the rally. Imagine if 200 women
had entered that building (it was open invitation by the way which means
they could have without opposition)

Why did only 6 people go into the venue to challenge the speakers and

Why did the LFN/Abortion rights steward allow the organisational baseline
to come between her solidarity for a sister who was about to go onto the
front line?

Why did Abortion Rights block support for women who wanted to undertake
direct action?

Why did 200 women stand outside holding ready made placards which were
handed to them along with a list of recycled chants and not undertake
their own ideas and actions, either individually or collectively?

Do we really want to change this system or are we intent on becoming part
of it? Because to me, any woman giving another woman an order or blocking
her from action is as much a part of patriarchy as a government/church
telling her she can’t have an abortion. I don’t just mean the individual
who refused to hold the key (though she is a good example) I mean all of
us who tow the party line because it has ‘feminist’ somewhere in the
title. Women are powerful, we need to take the power, we can take the
power, but not whilst we behave like sheep, going here and there, holding
this and that and not breaking the rules for fear of upsetting the ‘nice
police who gave us permission to picket, thank you kindly sirs’ in case
they don’t let us next time.

Come on sisters… if we want to feel the revolution we are going to have to
do better than this… wake up! The cage door is open… step outside.

400 Picket Ann Widdecombe anti-abortion tour in London (report on protest outside hall)

Protest against Ann Widdecombe in Liverpool