INTERVIEW: Josie Long | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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“Cara Josephine is about love, and about heartbreak and what people are like in relationships, but also about how to get over heartbreak by doing adventure sports and reading poetry.” Josie Long says about her new show, heading to Newcastle’s Stand Comedy Club on Monday 16th and Stockton’s ARC on Thursday 19th March. “It’s hard to sum it up without it sounding really serious. It’s not serious, but it is about me getting my heart broken and trying to figure things out after that.”

It may seem odd to some that the Oxford educated comedian is taking a step back from her politically motivated shows to engage with a more personal subject matter, what with it being an election year and all. But Long doesn’t seem to see political and personal material as being mutually exclusive, and it isn’t long before she is passionately expounding the virtues of DIY culture and chastising the “fucking vile Conservative government and their disgusting attitude towards the arts”.

“I always just write about what I think is important or about what I have learnt, it’s always very personal whether that be about DIY culture or lifelong learning or politics,” she explains. “I see all of that as quite political anyway. When I was doing the more deeply political shows it was because I felt it was what I really had to say; what I felt desperate to say. In this new show I felt like I didn’t really have anything new to say or add to that argument so I thought I’d rather write about what is really present in my life. And what has been present in my life is this emotional upheaval.”

From her very beginnings in stand-up as a teenager, DIY culture has continued to be a major influence on both Josie’s personal beliefs and her aesthetics. “What I love about DIY culture is that it just feels more authentic, it’s got more love to it, more spirit and honesty. I think it is a quite politically motivated thing; you can control the means of production, you can put things out exactly as you want them, exactly how you would like them to be. I fucking hate chain restaurants and corporate leisure, it just bores me! The Star & Shadow in Newcastle is such a good example of how DIY culture can do something great within a community; the perils of which do mean that it is always going to be a bit precarious because it’s not the prevailing thing, it’s not where the money is and it’s not where people with the most financial security are. But that is also part of its charm; it’s not just about money, it’s about creating something beyond a financial transaction, something that isn’t necessarily quantifiable or financially valuable and they are all the best things!”

“When I was doing the more deeply political shows it was because I felt it was what I really had to say; what I felt desperate to say”

It is difficult not to feel slightly intoxicated by Long’s anger and clear passion at the current state of politics and the arts at the hands of the Conservatives. “I hope these things will change though, hopefully we’ll move into an era where we’re a little more fucking enlightened than we are now,” she spits angrily.

So, how is Josie, often billed as ‘an eternal optimist’ feeling about the upcoming election? “I feel weird about the election,” she admits. “I was feeling really, really optimistic about it, as much as you could be, but now I just honestly don’t know. I think in this country we need to take heart from countries like Greece and Spain and Scotland and try and change things. Again, that comes down to DIY culture, to feel like you have enough power and agency to change things.”

Josie Long brings her Cara Josephine show to The Stand Comedy Club, Newcastle on Monday 16th and ARC, Stockton on Thursday 19th March.

Photograph by: Giles Smith

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