We have been friends since we were 15 and what this book represents to us is a merging of two radically different ways of being that through our love for one another had to be constantly mitigated, a learning of another’s language, of seeing the world through their eyes. Toyah, the spiritual one, and Frances, the political one. Both finding a deep love of women and asking themselves, how the fuck can we make this better? So Toyah went inward, and Frances went outward, always coming back together to teach the other what we had learned.
Toyah’s journey is one of festival culture, of connecting with the Great Mother through psychedelics, dance, meditation, workshops, the immersion of self in a world where what matters is personal growth, taking responsibility for your healing and wellbeing, reconnecting with the womb, and learning what we would later call the biz. Frances’ journey is one of theory, of activism, of feminist writing, of the entry into a world of politics that criticised social oppression on every level and fought to dismantle the hold of the powerful over the powerless. What Toyah called universal oneness, Frances called solidarity. And what one learned in her world could always be translated into the other.
The similarities between festival culture and left activism, as well as how the patriarchy insidiously seeps into both, is striking if one bothers to look. Both of these worlds are searching for something deeper, more connected than the isolated realm of neoliberal hyper individualism that has been culturally forced fed to them. Both are about getting free. Of finding belonging and meaning in a world set on pitting humans against one another. Of establishing alternatives to a blatantly broken system where mental illness, suicide, poverty, environmental destruction is rampant, and ideologies of separation, loneliness and survival dominate how we understand and behave towards one another. Of creating community and reconnecting with the Great Mother in ways radically outside of the nuclear family and outside of ideas of domination and the exploitation of people and resources.
When we search for difference, we are bound to find it, when we search for flaws, we are bound to discover them, when we search for superiority, we are bound to further isolate ourselves. When, at this crucial time, what is needed is conversation, connection, finding friends and allies and lovers and teaching each other what we know. It is a coming together of all those who are seeking to do things differently. And it is an acknowledgement that this is both internal and external work, a bridging of the political and the spiritual, an opportunity to look deeply into our shit whilst looking hard at all the shit that society puts on us. For us, there cannot be one without the other.