Here we go
Yesterday we launched this website and last night we celebrated by holding our launch party. In the cab on the way to the venue I started having a hard time with my tics and Leftwing Idiot had to carry me from the cab through the drizzly night into the club. But once safely inside the fantastic accessible venue I recovered and we started to set up for a night of amazing music.
Cassetteboy kicks off
As people started to arrive a DJ set from Cassetteboy, long-time Touretteshero supporters, got things off to a cracking start. I loved hearing my Theme on the big sound system.
Miss Pink storms it
DJ Miss Pink played some deep tunes; I was thrilled she’d been able to make it. As she played the club started to fill up with both familiar and completely new faces ready to share a night of music and laughter.
Why Kier’s wonderful
There are many reasons why my friend Keir is wonderful and last night he made two crucial contributions to the event. First, along with his mate Toby he organised the tic-inspired visuals which were projected onto the wall behind the stage. These included video, images and tics, and altogether they gave a fantastic summary of what we’ve achieved so far. Secondly, on the couple of occasions my tics got really bad he was quickly on it and whisked me off to the private room Leftwing Idiot had organised for us to use when I was struggling. At one point I was lying on the floor with my muscles contorting painfully, but I could hear The 2 Bears starting their set and the energy coming from the dance floor made my tics a lot less unpleasant.
Tourettes Ruthie – stage takeover
I’ve written a lot before about my friend Ruth but I don’t think I’ve mentioned that she’s a singer. Ruth has written a song about living with Tourettes and performed it as Tourettes Ruthie. The song is bold, funny and in a bashment style. She ruled the stage and was fantastic. Ruth is currently making a documentary for BBC Three about her life with Tourettes and her camera crew were with her, filming her performance.
A Celebration Speech
Then it was my turn. Fifteen minutes before we’d set off for the event Leftwing Idiot and I decided it would be important for us to get on the mic briefly and explain why we were all there. I scribbled some notes while the cab waited downstairs and this is loosely what I said:
‘All I do is have Tourettes and this is not going to be a performance. Touretteshero is about celebrating the humour and creativity of Tourettes Syndrome and we’re all here tonight to celebrate the launch of Touretteshero.
I’m going to do what I did at my sister’s wedding and read a prepared speech trusting that Tourettes will prevent it from being boring.
Today is the culmination of a huge amount of thought, work, energy, love and a million favours by so many people. Thank you to everyone who has contributed their time and skills to Touretteshero, to all the DJs and performers tonight, to the venue and to everyone who has worked on the website, especially King Russell for managing the day-to-day IT and patiently explaining to me things I have no interest in.
Before Touretteshero I saw my tics only as a problem. I found it hard to recognise that they might have value and be interesting to other people, but I’m very fortunate in having a friend who’s a visionary and also very persuasive. Leftwing Idiot, I say thank you to you more times a day than either of us would like, but working to shape Touretteshero together has been amazing and I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved.
Touretteshero aims to tackle one of the biggest challenges of living with Tourettes – the social impact. Thank you for joining us, and together we can change the world one tic at a time. Have a great night, enjoy the amazing performances and be very glad we’re having a launch party and not as Tourettes suggested, a “Sarah Jessica Parker, minge party.”
Of course this wasn’t everything I said and my tics made some interesting additions, most notably:
“Together we can fuck 42 sheep”
“Together we can fuck 4 sheep”
“Together we can fuck Russell Lucus”
All feet on the floor for the Heatwave
Gabriel Heatwave stepped up next with MC Rubi Dan. “It’s a feetwave” is one of my tics and it would’ve been an accurate description of the dance floor last night. As part of his set Gabriel played Ku Klung Klung, a tune that set off weeks of tics last year. I briefly took over on the mic and ticced along.
Al Tourettes moves me
Bristol based DJ Al Tourettes travelled down to play the launch and he was amazing. He played the last hour and dug deep with some cracking tunes including the one he made for me, “You’ve got a 1990’s Face”. Leftwing Idiot and Poppy helped me to get up and dance which I’d been finding frustratingly difficult especially as the music all night had been so good!
But I also enjoyed sitting on the stage above all the speakers, absorbing the bass. I could see Leftwing Idiot was enjoying himself as his moves included throwing Poppy round the dance floor, and that’s always a good sign.
The night was fantastic and everybody I said goodbye to was happy, and sweaty from dancing. The atmosphere and energy was everything we could’ve hoped for.
All I can say is ‘Wow!’