Matthew is currently walking 10,000miles across Europe to Stop Child Sexual Abuse, go to www.roadtochange.eu
CALL FOR WORK!
Seeking 10-Minute plays from around the world for reading & discussion at Glasgay 2012
Theme: acts of union, marriage equality, LGBT civil rights. From full, equal, legal status to the total denial of the presence of homosexuality within their borders, LGBT Marriage Equality means different things in different countries. What does it mean in yours?
Snapshot the LGBT experience in your native country and submit your 10-minute play to AnyObjectionsSubmissions@rlbrody.com
Winning entries will be performed during Glasgay 2012, the UK’s biggest LGBT arts festival, as part of a rotating program presented between 17-28 October, 2012 in Glasgow, Scotland. Writers may also be awarded a small honorarium for their work. Requests for anonymity will be respected.
10-MINUTE PLAY SUBMISSIONS SHOULD BE SENT TO:
No submission fee.
Glasgay! t/a GALA Scotland Ltd, 27-29 TRONGATE Glasgow, Scotland G1 5EZ
Tel: 0141 552 7575 | Fax: 0141 548 5157 | Web www.glasgay.com
A Company Limited by Guarantee | Registered in Scotland No. 157153 | Registered Charity SCO 23620 | VAT Registration 797 3863 59
To Kill A Kelpie
Retelling his gruesome tales of a child-devouring monster – The Kelpie – the men talk to the wee boys they once were, shedding stoicism and sobriety in an isolated Scottish croft.
With the rambunctious humour of those who have lived the unlivable, To Kill Kelpie journeys through a family album filled with life shaping events and conflicting memories, deftly handling huge themes and fine details with an equal measure of care. Rich in Scottish culture and mythology, Matthew McVarish’s searingly honest and uplifting script tells a universal story without borders, realised in Poorboy’s trademark engaging, visionary and bold production.
By Matthew McVarish. Directed by Sandy Thomson. A Poorboy theatre production co-produced with Stop the Silence: Stop Child Sexual Abuse, Inc. Supported by Creative Scotland. In association with The Moira Anderson Foundation.
Follow me on Twitter x
You often hear folk say “I’m going to jump out a plane because the church needs a new roof” and no one ever questions it…why do we expect to be given money for doing something bizarre or dangerous? I like to think that if something’s a worthy cause and people can give something – they will, so when did these random displays of masochism become so obligatory?
Well anyhoo, in the spirit of ‘why not?, I decided to walk from Spain to France to raise as much as possible for ‘Stop the silence – stop child sexual abuse ‘ based in Washington DC. They recently appointed me their ‘European Ambassador’ and although I am really honoured to receive the title, I realised that its only an ‘honorary’ title unless I actually do something with it. So I figured I should really get off my arss and do something. In 2008, I walked the West Highland Way (96 miles of mountainous midgie-ridden Scottish back roads in the pishing rain) for a similar cause and I promised myself that if I was ever to do it again, I’d choose a better climate. A friend happens to own a house on the French side of the Pyrenees, which is approximately 120miles from Barcelona. Flights to Barcelona are often only £20, so this seemed like the ideal scenario. The dates were set for July and the FUNd-raising began. Of course, I set up the facebook and online giving pages – ‘give-me-your-money-or–I-wont-walk-from-Spain-to-France-across-a-mountain.com’ and all was going well, but then a wee hiccup. A friend who had hoped to join me was told by his work he couldn’t get the time off till October. Not to worry, we simply reset the dates and I waited. Truthfully, I was quite embarrassed to have to reschedule the event after some people had already donated money, but I was Adam Ant that it was still going to happen, just not yet. In the meantime, my wee cousin Amanda set up a charity gig for ‘Stop the Silence’. I dragged some celebrity pals along and we raised the roof plus £500 that night.
October came, and again my mates work told him he couldn’t go, but having received over a thousand pounds in donations by that point, I knew it was only fair I keep my side of the deal. My other mate who had been chilling in his house in the French mountains all of July, was now busy up in Paris, so I could no longer walk to his place, instead I was just heading for the nearest big city, Perpignan. Flights booked and bag packed, off I went…alone. What could go wrong eh…? I started feeling quite guilty during the flight to Spain. People had given their hard earned money so that I could go on a walking ‘holiday’ for a week, because although I knew I needed to cross a mountain in the middle, I was only going to be walking up the side of nice flat roads for the most part, while camping in beautiful countryside, getting a tan…if you’re now thinking: ‘I can’t believe I donated £5 so that this wee dafty to could go and enjoy himself!’ Don’t worry folks, it was all ‘downhill’ from there, or ‘uphill’ infact…
Day one…evidently, I couldn’t take a camping gas canister onto the plane (and by the way, don’t try slipping the Prestwick airport customs officer a twenty in a hand shake coz he still won’t let you take your gas but he keeps your twenty…) So job one, after landing, was to find a camping shop and buy gas. It hadn’t occurred to that I wouldn’t know where to find a camping shop in Glasgow, but I was somehow confident that I’d easily find one in a city I’d never been to before that speaks a language I don’t…spookily, after a two minute walk, I found ‘El campo d shopa’ (or whatever it was called) and bought a wee 10 euro can of gas, to go on the wee camping hob thingy my big brother’d lent me. I then needed to buy a map. Again, I wouldn’t know where you’d buy such a thing here but angels or someone must have been pointing me in all the right directions because two streets later I stumbled into ‘El mapo d shopa’. Expecting to spend 5 euro, I came out with 40 euro worth of ordinance survey maps for the entire Catalonian region…better safe than sorry I thought…gas sorted, map sorted, now I had to find where I was sleeping.
To keep expenses down, I had decided to stay in a hostel on the first night and camp the rest of the week. Be pointless raising all that money if it cost me as much to do the actual walk. I’d never stayed in a hostel before, but I’d seen the movie and so I was suitably nervous about sharing a bedroom with people I didn’t even share a language with. But all worries subsided when I tumbled into the room and was met by a tall handsome Canadian by the name of Gabriel. My middle name’s Raphael, and I suddenly thought ‘all we need now is Michael and Uriel and we’ve got the old gang back together’. Gab was apparently travelling alone too but when I asked if he was crossing the Pyrenees he said ‘God no, not this week, far too dangerous…’ You’d think that would have been my first clue…
I must have closed my eyes for just the briefest of moments, trying to imagine why crossing the mountain this week would be more than usually traitorous but when I opened my eyes again, Gabriel was gone! Suddenly I wasn’t even sure if he’d ever been there. Was it possible? Had I just met the real Archangel Gabriel, materialised to deliver a stark warning? Stunned, I stood wondering wither it was because God has chosen me for an important mission. My true purpose, that I must be ready and able for when the time comes, so he has sent his chief messenger to rescue me from certain harm and spare me for this great life fulfilling quest but then I heard the toilet flush and I realised Gabriel had just gone for a pish. Anyhoo, I started studying the maps and attempted to attach the gas to the wee hob thing only to learn that I’d bought the wrong gas…back along to ‘El shopo d camp’ (or whatever…) to learn that they don’t actually have the gas that attaches to the wee hob thingy at all, so I now needed to buy a whole new wee hob thingy…70 euro later, I had used the entire weeks food budget to buy something to cook the weeks food with…Smashing…Catalonia has some of the greatest food in the world, luckily I would now be surviving on supernoodles for a week…
It was getting dark and I didn’t know the city, so I figured I’d take a light stroll round the well-light centre and then get an early night. (If you’re panicking that you’ve started reading this blog and now you are 900 words in and I’m still only on day one, don’t worry I just tell you the first night then skip to the end I was aware that I was nervous, so I figured a night cap would settle me. I headed for the friendliest safest looking bar for one drink. Even though I’d only been in the country a few hours, I was so relieved to find an English speaker. He asked why I was there alone and so I explained about the walk and about ‘Stop the silence’, then, as is beginning to happen more frequently I find, he quietly told me about his own childhood experiences. Things he rarely discloses to anyone. Perhaps he was the angel put on my path to remind me why I was there…
Next morning, Valderi… In a way, the next 6 days where the same but different, so I’ll just summarise:
Top five observations:
5 Every home in Spain has a walled garden and a big scary dog that never stops barking ever.
4 Everyone in Catalonia smiles and says ‘Ola’, but they don’t like being asked questions…
3 ‘Wee fee’ means the campsite has wireless internet, and is not a charge for peeing…
2 Spain is paved with dead frogs. Ironically, France isn’t…
1 People in France don’t look at you. (You’d think, living in London, I’d be used to being ignored, right? Wrong! It’s not like that in my London. In Gay-London we REALLY look at each other, like a wee girl looks at a pencil when she’s trying to move it with her mind)
Top five lessons I learned on the walk:
5 When you discover a lizard in your tent, it is important scream as loud as you can before you tear the new exit and escape, so that everyone in at least a mile radius knows that you’re gay.
4 The only thing scarier than seeing a big hairy spider, is the moment after you’ve thrown the shoe when you don’t see the big hairy spider but now you know he’s angry…
3 It can actually rain for five and a half days without stopping…
2 There is a point when a sleeping bag can’t absorb any more water, and at this point a tent can double as a handy indoor paddling pool, retaining about an inch of rain to float in while you sleep…
1 For some people in the world, a day is just the period of light between the long dark nights.
Top five favourite moments on the walk:
5 Arriving into the tiny town San Pere Pescador. I’d been walking so long that it’d already gotten dark and I couldn’t work out where the campsite was. Luckily, the scariest looking man I’ve ever seen noticed I was lost and alone and began following me. This is the point when I realised that it would have been helpful to find out the area code so that I could call a taxi from a British mobile in an emergency. I found an open bar and ran in. I tried to calmly call a taxi to the campsite, while the big scary psycho guy smiled at me, waiting across the street. The driver couldn’t understand why I wanted to pay a taxi to take me two streets to a campsite, when I looked like I had just walked twenty miles. I didn’t sleep that night. With the rain now underway and the scary man no doubt knowing where I’d gone, I just kind of waited for day light.
4 Shortly after dawn, walking into the tiny village of Pedret, I encountered my millionth big scary dog. Luckily, this one wasn’t chained to anything and I seemed to have interrupted his wee midmorning stroll looking for someone to eat. I stopped, suddenly finding myself in a kind of Mexican stand-off with the growling werewolf, and while vivid images of facial reconstruction surgery kept my mind busy, I discovered that I could still run – wearing a four stone rucksack and after walking forty odd miles in the worst rain Spain has seen in 34 years…
3 When you’re in a foreign country where you can’t speak the language and you’ve forgotten you’re phone charger, the only company you have is your ipod. It becomes like a really close friend, especially when it’s been raining for three days and you’ve been a bit freaked out by scary psychos and devil dogs. Anyhoo, I was walking along listening to the ‘Annie’ sound-track. I wouldn’t normally but I was tearfully hoping that somehow, someway it would make the sun come out tomorrow, when suddenly I snagged my earphones on a tree. Luckily, they snapped and suddenly I got to appreciate just how alone I really was…The first thing I heard myself think was ‘oh no, now I’ll have to listen to my thoughts…’
2 After four days of walking alone outside in the rain, listening to my thoughts and the constant sound-track of dogs barking, I was pointlessly assembling the tent to gather a deep enough puddle to sleep in, when a wee Spanish lady approached me under her wee Spanish umbrella. I could tell she was inviting me to follow her. I must have looked a right sorry state, unwashed and thoroughly drenched, I couldn’t even remember the Spanish word for ‘thank you’. Overcome by the kindness I was witnessing, we walked towards a house, a nice dry warm house, and then we passed the house and kept walking and finally she showed me a wee shed. A kind of utility shed. It had windows but luckily they had no glass in them so the rain had still been able to create puddles inside as deep as the ones outside. That night I learned that you can’t sleep on a washing machine, even if it’s switched off.
1 I finally made it to Perpignan, a twelfth century gothic city, after dark, alone and at Halloween…but I was well chuffed…
I raised $3000 to help prevent child sexual abuse, and improve the future for those already affected. That fact made the week of crawling through a storm clouded Catalonia worth every last tear-soaked supernoodle…I threw what remained of the tent in a big bin and limped off to find a hotel, ran a bath and burst some blisters…
So, if I’ve completely sold you on the idea of this walk, be sure to realise one thing – the ‘Pyrenees’ is plural! Don’t imagine walking up a mountain in Spain and walking down the same mountain in France. It’s more like walking up a mountain, then walking over another, then down a bit, then up over another one, again and again until you want to kill yourself and everyone who has ever smiled
I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who donated. Rest assured, I won’t be claiming expenses back out the total like some people do, every single penny will go to ‘Stop the silence – stop child sexual abuse’ and the ‘Moira Anderson Foundation. Also, a huge thanks to my big brother Roddy, who worked extra shifts as a paramedic to pay for my flights over and back, cheers Bro and finally, massive thanks to my mate Alex who made this walk the truly unforgettable experience that it was, by having me postpone it until the crap weather before pulling out and making me do it alone anyway…cheers bud
Thanks for reading…hi diddle dee dee…x
As the new European Ambassador for ‘Stop the Silence – stop child sexual abuse’ based in Washington DC, I’m walking 200km/124miles from Spain to France to raise as much as possible and awareness to prevent child sexual abuse in the UK and USA. Please follow the link and give what you can to help children effected and prevent further lives being ruined. Child sexual abuse happens everyday and creates unrecognized misery for millions around the world. Every penny will be put towards prevention so please donate now, thank you x
New Album by Tom Urie and Matthew McVarish available now on itunes
My latest showreel is now online.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,
our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It’s our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves: who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are we not to be?
You are a child of the universe.
You’re playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There is nothing enlightening about shrinking,
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are born to make manifest the glory of the universe
that is within us. It’s not just in some of us: it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
And as we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.