Cathi, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed by raccoons. Let’s start big. What is wrong with fashion in 2022?
The problem is not fashion per se - it is a culture of overconsumption, of throw away clothing, of items sold so cheaply that the makers cannot be paid a human wage, of thousand of tonnes of hardly worn clothing ending up in landfill or being shipped to other countries where they become someone else's problem.
Fast fashion encourages us to feed that "want/click/get" mentality, to buy multiple versions of things we already own, to shop as a way of filling a wider emptiness inside us.
I think the 2020 and beyond lockdown pushed many of us to move to on-line and sterile shopping experiences - it's much harder to value clothing that appears at the click of a button, that can be done 24 hrs a day and with no social interaction.
There are movements to challenge this - shopping pre-loved, buying from charity shops, wearing what you already own, clothes swaps, we can chose to ignore the siren call of the new new and replace it with the pleasure of the new to us item instead.
Q You have been known to do a poetry slam or two. How do you prepare for taking words that you’ve lovingly crafted in private and bringing them to a live performance?
There are poems i write which are very definitely designed to be read on the page - a more considered experience which allows the reader time to read slowly - some poetry really benefits from this but a lot of my work is designed to be performed. which means work that is instantly gettable and resonates with an audience. One of my editing tools is actually to perform work at an early stage, to gauge its sounds and structure and to read audience reaction. I've been doing this for a long time now and have become more comfortable at accepting that some work will be more appreciated by audiences and some not so much - it's really about doing the best you can by a poem, trusting your editing and believing in your work and accepting that sometimes a piece you are happy with may not work in front of some audiences, some events. My work is not particularly personal or confessional so it doesn't feel as if i'm ripping my skin open to an audience - i can take work not being liked - although obviously it's a wonderful feeling if a poem resonates with other people or means something to them as well.
Q A lot of the people reading this will be in bands or otherwise making something on the indie scene. How can we all make better Art in 2023?
We are in hard times - i've had gigs canceled recently due to low ticket sales and i don't see this getting better any time soon - but, in hardship art in all its forms becomes even more important. We need to keep the faith, to keep making art, to keep creating spaces where there is light. My personal commitment is to do more benefit gigs - for striking workers, for the #enoughisenough campaign, for the #dontpay campaign
Q Where do you see signs to be optimistic about the future? Can 2023 avoid being even worse than 2022?
Oddly enough I think the current cost of living crisis has opened up conversations about poverty and austerity which are challenging the idea that poverty is simply personal failure. I'm hoping that more and more people are seeing the destructive power of global capitalism and governments that put profit before people. maybe next year will see even more grassroots revolution, more people saying enough is enough, more actions that are about community and not the individual. Sounds revolutionary - count me in.
Q Where can readers find out more about your work and support you?
I have a book - it's had excellent reviews - "Your cleaner hates you and other poems" - please DON'T buy if from amazon - contact me directly
I have a youtube channel @cathirae
I’m on instagram @cathirae
I do gig around the UK and publicise this on all the usual social medias
I teach regularly @attenborougharts in Leicester
AND....I'm happy to discuss poetry workshops, performances and 1-2-1 mentoring with new writers firstname.lastname@example.org