Four weeks ago, two days before my surgery (mastectomy/reconstruction, breast cancer no 2), some friends (some Buddhists, some not, and one wife) and I all determined that today, March 5th, I would be able to speak for Fun Palaces at the Southbank WOW Women in the Arts day, that I would be able to co-host (with Sarah-Jane) our Fun Palaces party. That I would be strong and able and capable and in a place (emotionally as well as physically) to share Fun Palaces with the most astonishing array of arts women gathered in the UK for the past 20 years or more.
The Buddhists chanted for this, the non-Buddhists equally determined and dreamed, and they all PLANNED and worked towards helping Sarah-Jane and I create a day that three weeks ago felt like an impossible dream from a St Thomas’s bed with a view of the RFH.

And so … I was capable of doing it, and I did do it.
And at 3pm today I VERY NEARLY went to find some piece of floor I could just lie down on, I was so tired and so desperate for a lie-down, and so very OUCH. (It really hurts this reconstruction* lark.)
And tonight the party was made by Jude Kelly’s astonishing, inclusive, supportive SouthBank who gave us the space, and us, the Fun Palaces (ie, me and Sarah-Jane, making it around our other jobs), who provided wine and sweets and cake, and our friends – OUR FRIENDS – who made the space SO pretty, laid the tables, served the drinks, made the Fun Palaces slideshow, the music, the little FP-related tags on the glasses, made everyone welcome … because they too love and live Fun Palaces.
Because they too, get it.
Get what it might do, what it might become, the change it might be.

So we did it. Thanks to Jude Kelly and Hannah Bird and the SouthBank, we were part of a day where we shared the dream of a community-led arts endeavour, that reaches into every community, into every part of the arts, and is led and run and enjoyed by every kind of person. A day in which we helped some more people understand that what we’re trying to do is both incredibly simple (does your community or locality want to engage/share culture/create art/learn or grow and have fun together at the same time?) and incredibly world-changing (if they do, it might make all the difference that they are talking to each other instead of behaving like none of us have anything in common) – it might change the world.

It’s totally simple and it’s totally world-changing. At the same time.
And it’s really worth getting out of (a sick)bed for.

Thank you Ali, Amie, Colleen, Connie, Emma, Hannah, JenL, JenT, Jo, Maggie, Mark, Martyn, Mary, Tom.
You make Fun Palaces.
We make Fun Palaces.
Fun Palaces IS (are?) the people who make it.

(Whoever comes is (are?) the right people …)

* it’s the wrong words, that’s part of why it hurts. If they said tissue and bone amputation followed by skin graft and tissue graft, well hey, then I think we’d EXPECT it to hurt. “Reconstruction” sounds way too do-able, way too ok. It is do-able, it is not ok.