The right no

Che Fece [what did]

For some people the day comes
when they have to declare the great Yes
or the great No. It’s clear at once who has the Yes
ready within him; and saying it,
he goes from honor to honor, strong in his conviction.
He who refuses does not repent. Asked again,
he’d still say no. Yet that no-the right no-
drags him down all his life.

-Constantine P. Cavafy
In December 2009, I walked out of my job with the idea of killing myself. I had the sleeping pills, and I would take them. I said goodbye to the receptionist about one o’clock and went home, and sat in my living room. The strong desire to die¬†went away, but I¬†realised I could not go back to work. I was on a final written warning with an ultimatum “do this or get sacked”, and the next month I resigned in order to avoid being sacked. I took my month’s notice on the sick, and have only worked for six months since.
I had had to get out, immediately, without any plan for what to do next, and only the knowledge that I would rather die than stay there made me do it.
I do not know how this post will end.
I was going to write, “All my life I have run away and hidden and I have to come to terms with that” and-
Is that true? I have not really progressed a career, I have not had many friendships,
but I have transitioned. That took courage.
Perhaps rather than Cavafy, Awdry:
Once an engine in front of a train
was afraid of a few drops of rain.
He went into a tunnel
and squeaked through his funnel
and wouldn’t come out again.
So Henry was bricked up in the tunnel, and with no head of steam he could not call Hello to the other engines. Though it is a children’s story: he comes out eventually, and is happy.
Perhaps rather than Awdry, the Goddess: Durga dancing in me, and me in her.
I wanted to kill myself because I was hurting that badly. I still do. I slowly Рno, patiently and carefully, at the fastest speed I can manage, release my own bonds and come to self-acceptance. As I do so, it becomes possible to move on, perhaps to say a Yes- though I cannot yet be sure. And part of this is realising how awful and destructive my self-criticism has been, and mitigate it.

I know what I have to do. I want to get a job. If I want to heal, or to do performance, I have to develop my raw talent and get doing it. I took the opportunity on Saturday 26th: friendly audience of about forty, I compèred, some told me I had done it well, noticed that I had thought out what to say. And after, in the night, I was distraught, thinking of the level of human connection then and the chance to show off and be applauded, and then going back to my loneliness. And-

it cannot always be a high like that, and I have the skills to make more opportunities like that. And there will be more opportunities like that.
My life has been really, really hard. And I have now transitioned, and come to greater self-acceptance than before. And I am calming my fears.
The Episcopal Church ordains trans people to the priesthood. Thanks be to God.

And now for something completely different

Macbeth was unfairly traduced by Shakespeare. He was a very civilised and enlightened monarch for his time and place (eleventh century Scotland) rather than a cowardly, murderous tyrant. He reigned for seventeen years.

A great deal of the credit for his enlightened and progressive rule should go to his sister Polly. Polly was an early feminist, strongly in favour of the rights of women, educated in Latin, English and French, and influential in the Celtic church.

As you will have heard if you have read the play, before Macbeth was King, he was Thane of Fife. It is just about the only fact Shakespeare got right. Thane is simply an early Scottish title, roughly equivalent to Duke today. When Macbeth became King, his old position of Thane became vacant, and one of his first decisions was who would fill it best. Of course, his choice was his sister Polly. So he went to her, and he said to her,

“Polly, you’re a Thane”.

Polyurethane! Ha! Geddit? Geddit? ROFLMFAOSHTIWSMS!!!


There was an ant, a rather nasty ant, highly intelligent and completely amoral. He had an eye to the main chance, this ant, and in 1933 he saw which way the wind was blowing and joined the Nazi party. He joined the SS. He was so proud of his black uniform and his six shiny jackboots!

But then came 1945, and it was no longer so advantageous to be in the SS. He had to pretend to have been a simple farmer, and never an SS man at all.

He was an Ex-Uber-Ant.


There was a complete Ring cycle at the Sydney Opera House. The roles of the Volsungs, Siegmunde and Sieglinde, were played by the Heldensoprano Mathilde Bauermeister, and Luciano Pavarotti. As the Sydney Herald reported, under the heading, Volsung Mathilde.

The Keltured and Idiocated Clare Flourish, ladies and gentlemen. A better class of pun.

More stage time

“Comedy with content”, one supportive friend said; “it’s too intelligent”, said a useful critic. “Gorgeous legs you’ve got”, said¬†a¬†member of the audience, without irony. I¬†need to improve my writing, and so I will devote time to that; and also I want to see some quality comics.

Tiz, the best of the evening, has his own stage persona very far from his own: the loser gay man who has not had a relationship since The Nolan Sisters were in the charts. He counselled me against using my own life quite so closely: it can be too near the knuckle. I see the point. He also advises, stand still and talk, so that the movement when it comes has power. In too much movement, energy dissipates. And keep practising.

I was not too keen on the joke about the turd in the loo, which would not flush away, or the joke about rape.

Sunday was a different sort of performance. We have been rehearsing a performance created by improvisation, based on King Lear, for nine evenings and one weekend, and performed it on Sunday. Each of the nine of us shared the roles. With a loving, supportive, invited audience, I could reveal myself on stage. Jane emailed to a larger group,

Still completely blown over by the staggering wondrousness of King Lear

That is what I want. Naked and unashamed. Today I remembered a memory I have not considered for years and turned it from a source of shame and symbol of my weakness into a source of celebration of my courage and strength of character.

Stand up

 It takes a long time in adulthood to realise that the toddler tantrum energy no longer is such a threat, and longer to take the realisation into ones heart. And that is what I am doing now.

One good place for that force is the stage. It needs to be focused and directed properly, but I can learn that. I did my stand up routine for the first time last week, at the Lions Den Comedy Club, Shaftesbury Avenue. It is very friendly, with a wide variety of styles. I liked the man in character as a waster, living with his mother and drifting between dead-end jobs, earning enough for his drinking habits. I saw the drag act, and thought, oh God, but he was sweet, bitching about celebrities. There is a great deal of talent. There are several comedy courses in London, but I turned up and did my thing, and I had the greatest buzz I have had in a long time.

I have so much to learn with it. I want to vary my delivery, pitch, volume, speed; I want to pause and create tension then play with it; I want to play with microphones, see how to use them; I want to move around a stage and control the space.