On Friday 29th January, I had the pleasure of seeing Ms Emilie Autumn and her wonderful Bloody Crumpets performing live in Wolverhampton. And, needless to say, it was absolutely amazing! The unique composite of circus burlesque theatricals, comic sketches and ground-shaking music is a truly awesome experience, and was totally worth waiting outside in the freezing cold for several hours for!
But Emilie is not just an amazing performer, artist and musician. She is a great role model.
For those of you that don't know, the 'story' of Emilie Autumn is based around 'The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls' - a Victorian psychiatric hospital in which the manic depressive Emilie and her crazy Crumpets reside. Although these girls are clearly completely insane (in the best possible way), it is also made clear that the institution is crazier, and crueller than any of the murderous, morally delinquent inmates. The girls are trapped by a society that is unable to countenance 'outsiders' - people who are different - so enforces their imprisonment.
But at the same time, these women are not victims. The madness that Emilie and the Crumpets suffer - The Blessed Contessa's a cannibal, Aprella likes to shoot her lovers, the Naughty Veronica is sexually revaneous and morally deliquent, and Captain Maggot is just completely delusional - are simply signs of their strength of character. These women revel in their individuality, however 'wrong' society may deem it, and rebel against the system. Although trapped inside the Asylum, they flounce all the rules and have a rave whilst doing it.
And although these characters are clearly all theatrical caricatures of insanity, there is a great message behind it. That you should be yourself and indulge yourself in your individuality no matter what - and that is true strength of character. And in a society that teaches women that to rebel you should openly drink and and reassert your (predominantly submissive) sexuality - I'm thinking of people like 'Ke$ha' and the godawful 'Tik Tok' ('Cuz it sells to be a slut...)- this is a powerful message. (For one, I am confused why people think the behaviour that Ke$ha and her contemporaries promote is rebellion when our culture actually expects and encourages it from young women).
I will leave you with one final thought. When performing the incredible 'Dead is the New Alive', Emilie asked (or rather, screamed) "Are you ready to fight like girls?!" By this, she did not mean some pathetic catfight or bitchslapping-fest: she meant proper, full-on violence. Obviously, she was not provoking a fight in the audience, but what she said had a point. Girls can be just as strong and powerful and guys if they want to - and don't let themselves be brought down by the system. 'Craziness' and individuality is to be embraced, not something to be ashamed of, and locked away. Emilie's rallying call to 'FIGHT!' is not a cry for violence, but a plea for resistance against a society that would like us all to be kept quitely under control.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any footage from our gig, but this is from a gig earlier in 'The Key' tour - and this includes the fabulous Maggot, who was sadly missing from our show. Enjoy!