Make gigs safe for women

Blog #1

I am not really the heroic sort. It is probably something to do with not being very big and having gone to an all-male school. You learn quickly how and when to keep your head down. And I don’t think quickly enough in real practical situations. I see someone lying on the street in London and I am still trying to work out why and if there is something really wrong by which time half a dozen heroic types have rushed to their assistance, leaving me feeling vaguely inferior. When the job vacancy comes up for Superman I will probably not be applying.

I think there is only one instance where I might, in a very small way, have been a bit heroic. It was a long time ago – at least 20 years – so my memory is a bit vague. I was on the train home from work to Kingston, a busy train as always. I was at the end of a carriage reading my book when I became aware of a noxious group of young men. They were smart and suited, I think now City but that may be post-recession bias. They were in high spirits, loud, no doubt on their way out somewhere.

Then they targeted a young woman sitting opposite them. You know the sort of thing, “Alright love, give us a smile”, “Why don’t you come out with us and have a good laugh”. She was also reading and studiously ignored them. Then it was “Are you always so serious? You need to lighten up darling” and so on and so forth. At first I was irritated at being disturbed, then I began to feel for the female target who maintained her head down ignoring of them. Then I wondered why no-one was telling them to back off. But everyone was sunk into their books or papers or thoughts; apparently I was the only person witnessing this.

There was no alternative. “I think you should leave this woman alone as she clearly doesn’t wish to talk to you.” – or something like that. I know it sounded prissy and middleclass and humourless. Needless to say their attentions turned to me and I had another ten minutes of their sparkling prose aimed at me as I also apparently sank into my book without noticing the verbal assault.

Two things stick with me about this ancient memory. Firstly the woman involved never responded to anything at all and finally left the train, I think where she should have done. But secondly that no-one supported me. I think I expected at least a word of approval, a muttered “quite right too” or something. But there was nothing. I put my head over the parapet and that was my responsibility.

The woman, of course was probably used to such things happening. It does to some extent to every woman in this country then, and sadly now. In the spirit of ‘Everyday Sexism’, the movement that says women should not put up with low-level sexist actions and comments, I would like you to support SafeGigs4Women, a pressure group that says that women should be able to go to music concerts and festivals without being subject to the unwanted attentions of men (See It does not seem unreasonable that in this day and age a woman should be able to attend entertainment of their choice without being subject to the perhaps trivial, but deeply threatening and upsetting attentions I have described.

One of the foci of is men. It is up to non-heroic men like me – and perhaps you – to stand up just a bit and voice our disapproval of bullying and sexist behaviour. We are just off to Beautiful Days this afternoon, and I really hope the Levellers crowd are not the types to harass women. But if they are, I will do my best to uphold the values of the SafeGigs4Women and risk putting my head over the parapet again.

Blog #2

Blog #3

Blog #4

Blog #5

Blog #6

Blog #7

Blog #8

Blog #9

Blog #10

Blog #11

Blog #12

Blog #13

Blog #14

Blog #15

Blog #16

Blog #17

Blog #18

Blog #19

Blog #20

Blog #21

Blog #22

Blog #23

Blog #24

Blog #25

Blog #26

Blog #27





If you would like to comment on any of these Blog pieces please email me on:



Return to home page